About Carlie M A Cullen

Hi, I'm Carlie and I live for writing. My genre is Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I love the creative process of building unique worlds, designing monsters and crafting characters. I'm fascinated by my own imagination and the places it takes me to. Writing - well it's something I'm really passionate about. I can lose myself in the beauty of words for hours and truly respect those who do it so much better than me. My first four novels - Heart Search: Lost, Heart Search: Found, Heart Search: Betrayal, and Of Ice & Air - are published with Myrddin Publishing. I've written the first book in a seven book epic fantasy series called The Seven Doors, and the first draft of the second is almost finished. Sometimes my writing has to go on the back burner as I'm Principal Editor for Eagle Eye Editors. Being an editor as well as a writer gives me a whole new perspective on my writing and it's taught me a great deal. It's challenging work, and something I really enjoy, but nothing can compete with my love of writing. I used to hold the reins of Writebulb - a writing group who support each other with honesty, integrity & respect. If you're a writer and you live in Essex, UK, you need to join this amazing group. The group published five anthologies under my leadership with all proceeds going to support a local hospice. Reluctantly, I had to pass the reins over to a talented writer, Carly, as I moved too far away to continue. I do miss it, especially the people in the group, and hope to pop in to see them soon.

Interview with Sue Tingey, Author of the Soulseer Chronicles

After having reviewed the Soulseer Chronicles trilogy (if you missed them, the links for the reviews are Marked https://wp.me/p1UhOl-1Tt , Cursed https://wp.me/p1UhOl-1TB , and Bound https://wp.me/p1UhOl-1TE), I thought it would be great to finish things off with an interview. Luckily for us, Sue had a day free and came over.

Before we start, let’s just have a reminder of those great covers:

Okay, now here’s the interview:

Hello Sue, and welcome to chez-moi. It’s great to have you here.

Thank you Carlie, it was lovely of you to invite me.

Now you’ve got a coffee, shall we make a start?

Fire away!

This first question is one that I know always interests readers. Where did the idea for the Soulseer Chronicles come from?

This is, I’m afraid, a rather long story! I have always been interested in the supernatural, messages from beyond the grave, ghostly experiences and psychic phenomena, but I’d never attempted to write a ghost story. That was until one morning I saw a piece on breakfast TV about a chap who exposed fake psychics. This gave me the first germ of an idea of perhaps writing something about a woman who was not only a ghost hunter but also exposed fraudsters trying to con the bereaved out of money.

And this was what the novel that eventually became Marked was supposed to be about; a couple of psychic investigators. The main protagonist Lucky de Salle was to be a true psychic who really could see the dead. Of course her gift, or some might say curse, has left her alone and considered a weird freak by her peers with her only real friend being a ghost – until she meets Jamie; a fellow damaged soul. He too can see the dead following a tragic and terrifying event when he lost the young woman he loved. From this point the story was to be about Lucky helping Jamie to come to terms with his own psychic abilities and their adventures as they tracked down and exposed frauds and investigated supernatural occurrences.

That was the novel I was supposed to write, but I had barely managed to get the first thousand or so words typed out when I had a seriously scary nightmare, and when I say scary I mean screaming in my sleep and waking my husband up scary.

In my dream it was dark and I was walking towards the narrow passageway that led to the front of the house where I had lived as a child. Out of the shadows a man dressed like an eighteenth century fop appeared and came walking towards me. He didn’t actually say or do anything that was in the least bit frightening, he didn’t have to, he exuded menace and I just knew if he got close enough he was going to do something terrible to me. Then he smiled showing incredibly white, pointed teeth. In my dream I tried to turn and run, but as is often the way in nightmares I couldn’t move and I think that was probably when the screaming that woke my poor husband started. The next day I wrote probably one of the most important scenes in the book using the man from my nightmare and the character of Henri le Dent, assassin to the daemon court of Lord Baltheza, was born and suddenly my ghost hunter story had become something entirely different.

At first I wasn’t at all sure where it was going, but then as the words poured out it went in a direction neither I nor my poor heroine were expecting. Suddenly Lucky’s world was turned upside down, everyone was lying to her; including Jamie and her best friend Kayla, and everyone wanted something from her, but she had no idea what.

Poor Lucky; she wasn’t having much fun. But guess what? I was having a thoroughly brilliant time. I was getting to create a whole new daemon world, with Guardians, Deathbringers and drakons; a world with two suns and two moons; with scarlet trees and rust coloured grass and home to a violent and cruel court ruled by an equally cruel tyrant.

Yep, I was having a great time and I guess you could say that my nightmare changed my life. If I hadn’t dreamed of a an eighteenth century dandy straight out of A Tale of Two Cities I would never have created the character Henri le Dent, Lucky de Salle would never have visited the Underlands, I wouldn’t have written the novel that became Marked and I would probably still be struggling to get published.

What a great story. It just goes to show that we can get inspiration from so many different things. And I know what you mean about a story idea dramatically changing – it happened to me when I wrote Heart Search: Lost.

Next one. Do you have a favourite character from the trilogy? If so, who is it and why?

That is a difficult one. I love all my characters. My favourites are Pyrites, the drakon, and Kerfuffle and Shenanigans and obviously Lucky herself, but I guess Jamie and Jinx are the ones I adore and if you really pushed me I’d have to say Jinx. I guess because although he is the bringer of death and destruction he’s probably the most vulnerable. He’s funny and witty, but it’s a cover to mask how deep he really is and how doing his job causes him immeasurable heartbreak.

I love Jinx too, especially when he’s being a bit naughty! And I’d love a drakon like Pyrites.

How did you get your book deal with Jo Fletcher Publishing?

I guess if you ask an aspiring author who has been persevering for some time what one of the best feelings in the world is, they would probably say getting any interest at all in one of their works. So when on 31st January 2014 I received an email headed up ‘Submission’ from Jo Fletcher Books, I hardened my heart for a ‘thanks, but no thanks’, and thought well, at least they replied.

It started off in the usual way ‘thanks for your submission. Sorry it’s taken so long’ and I thought here we go. Then to my complete and utter surprise, they asked to see the rest of the book. There was much punching of the air and later that evening the popping of corks. I had jumped the first hurdle – and I am a firm believer in celebrating life’s small victories.

Of course I was excited, but I tried not to get too much so. I had got this far and this was good, but I didn’t want to build up my hopes only to have them dashed. So when an email arrived about three weeks later headed up with my novel’s previous title I was ready for rejection. What I didn’t expect was to be asked if I’d like to come up to meet with the Jo Fletcher of Jo Fletcher Books and editor, Nicola Budd.

I got very excited then – publishers are busy people – they don’t ask you to meetings if they’re not at all interested. So I phoned up, made the appointment and popped another bottle of fizz. Then I got an email from Nicola saying ‘by the way if you can bring any material you might have for the rest of the trilogy or series we’d love to see it’. Trilogy? Series? Gulp!

What followed was ten days of frenzied activity where I wrote the first 8000 words of the second book and a mini synopsis of where I saw books two and three going. The period of ten days that I thought was going to be an unbearable wait now seemed far too short.

So on 3rd April 2014 I travelled up to London a complete bundle of nerves. I was met upstairs by Nicola and it didn’t take long for us to be chatting away about everything but the book. Then Jo arrived and we got down to business. Jo and Nicola had five pages of notes. It started with a paragraph telling me what they liked about my novel. Then four and a half pages of things that they didn’t exactly not like, but felt needed changing.

‘Okay,’ I said and at that point thought they’d say, ‘well, off you trot. Come back when you’ve made the changes and we’ll see what we can do.’ What Jo actually said was, ‘I’d like to offer you a three book deal’.

Oh blimey! A three book deal!!!! I think my mouth must have dropped right open and I’m actually surprised I didn’t fall off the chair.

What a wonderful surprise for you. Something like that is what every writer dreams of!

What are the chances of you writing another book in the Soulseer Chronicles, especially bearing in mind the news imparted in the last chapter of Bound?

As much as I’d like to write another chapter in Lucky’s story I think it’s very unlikely that even if I did it would get published. Being a debut author today is difficult. If no one knows the book is out it won’t get sales and if the people who do read it and like it don’t post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads it won’t get sales. Sadly, although Marked made back it’s advance so far the rest of the series haven’t. I did get good reviews for Marked including a starred review on the Booklist in the States. However, I haven’t given up all hope. Last time I saw Jo she said that you can never tell what will happen – a book can be a really slow burner and then suddenly start selling terribly well, so fingers crossed! Perhaps you’ll get me some new readers!

Actually, I think I already have judging by a couple of comments I’ve received. I really hope you will get some new readers as a result of my reviews. As you said — fingers crossed!

What sort of reaction have you had from other writers since Marked was first published?

Writers on the whole are a friendly lot and most want other authors to succeed; it’s not a competition. I’ve made some good author friends at the conferences. The JFB authors are lovely and very supportive. It’s a bit like one big happy family when we all get together.

I’ve found other authors to be really friendly and supportive too, especially at FantasyCon. That’s one of the reasons I love going there – I meet up with friends that I don’t see between conferences and make new ones too. There’s always someone who’s prepared to offer useful advice too.

So, carrying on, what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you since Marked was published?

It must have been my launch party. Quercus had just merged with Hachette and my party was on the roof terrace overlooking the Thames. They used the location in the TV series based on JK Rowling’s Robert Galbraith books in one episode which featured – a book launch party!

That’s an unusual place for a launch party. It must have been amazing!

Yes, it was. Totally unforgettable!

I love the artwork on the three book covers. Did you have any input into the designs?

Not really. I was asked whether I liked them and when I made a comment on the colours used on the cover of Bound they did change it. To be honest I don’t think authors have much of a say, unless they’re a really big name, and to be fair publishers do know what works and what doesn’t. I guess if I had hated one we would have had a “discussion” – fortunately I was very pleased with them all.

That’s good. Now, I was told by one of my author friends that when he first got published, he lost some personal friends, which he found devastating as he never found out why (although he made a couple of guesses). Did anything like that happen to you?

That’s awful to hear. No, it didn’t. I know sometimes people can’t bear someone else to have success, but my friends were all thrilled for me. The way I see it, if a friend isn’t pleased by another friend’s success they’re not really a true friend.

I totally agree with you there.

So, let’s move on to a happier subject.  We first met at FantasyCon four or five-years ago. I know what it means to me, but what’s so special about FantasyCon for you?

I love FantasyCon. I went to my first one just for a day in 2011. I’d never been to a conference before, but at a seminar on writing I’d attended I met the lovely Stephen Jones and he said that authors really needed to network. I took him at his word. Believe it or not I am quite shy so in 2012 I volunteered to help out at FantasyCon – my reasoning being that talking to people would be a necessity, and found myself meeting up with Stephen again. I also met Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane as well as Allan Davis and Di Lewis. The following year Di and I manned Newbie Corner at World Fantasy Con in Brighton and that was lovely. I met loads of people. That was also where I had my first conversation with Jo Fletcher. I had already sent her my submission of Marked, but didn’t mention it as I didn’t think it was the time or the place. Little did I know that this first conversation would be one of many!

I never dreamed you were shy — you don’t come across that way. It just goes to show how one can overcome obstacles like that. It takes guts to do what you did. You should be proud of yourself!

I think sometimes you have to push yourself to go outside your comfort zone if you really want to ever succeed.

Yes, you’re right there. It’s something I need to do more of. Anyway, moving on…

I’ve found that the vast majority of fantasy authors prefer to read the same genre — is that also true of you? If so, do you remember which book or series got you hooked on fantasy?

I actually read lots of different genres. Lee Child, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwall, Jonathan Kellerman, which are all mystery, crime or thrillers. I love JK Rowling’s Robert Galbraith novels. In fantasy my favourites are Stephen King and the late great James Herbert, who I got to meet, which was a thrill, he was such a charming man. I am currently reading Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, which is a great novel. The books that got me hooked on fantasy were the Narnian novels by CS Lewis and actually got me reading.

I must admit I haven’t read all the Narnia books yet, although I keep promising myself that I will, but my TBR (to be read) pile is so big already, I honestly don’t know when I would have time to fit them in.

Apart from me [chuckles], do you have a favourite author or was there one who inspired you to write?

When I met James Herbert I told him, “You are the gentleman who made me want to write horror”. I have a book signed by him wishing me luck in my writing. I bet you weren’t expecting to find out I’m a horror fan/writer.

Nope, definitely not!

So, what are you working on now, Sue? Can you give the readers a bit more than a vague hint?

I have two novels with my agent. Both are totally different from my first series. One is the first of a sword and sorcery series. The second is a supernatural, ghost/psychological novel. I won’t say horror, but it is very dark.

Ooo, both sound like something I’d want on my bookcase. You’ll have to let me know when they’re published, Sue.

I certainly will!

Now, there’s a huge amount of discussion between writers on the pros and cons of self-publishing. Is this something you would consider doing? If so, why? If not, why not?

This is a difficult one. Having been published by a publishing house I would say I have learned a lot I wouldn’t have otherwise and I would still be making really obvious rookie mistakes that no one ever tells you about until you’re edited. If you can’t get a publisher interested in your novel, but are getting positive feedback, and are convinced the only way to go is to self publish then – pay for a professional editor who knows what they’re doing. If you’re self publishing properly it is expensive and there is no way around that unless you know someone who is a professional editor and will do it for free or on the cheap and the same goes for the artwork for your cover. If you really want people to read your work you have to market it. This is very time consuming. I for one haven’t the time. I want to write I don’t want to have to be a salesperson and I know nothing about marketing.

That’s great advice, Sue, and something I always tell new authors who are looking to self-publish. I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to be a salesperson and marketer — it takes so much time out of your day and if you do it properly, there’s little to no time to write. Unless you can afford to pay someone to do the marketing for you, or you have a bunch of friends who will post about your books regularly on social media, you’re basically stuffed! You could split your day between the two, but then you’re only doing half a job on both. Or you ignore the marketing and stick to writing or vice versa. Personally, I’d rather write, but at the same time I want to keep in touch with my followers and I do this by writing my blog.

Precisely my point! I think it’s lovely that you make time for your followers.

Thank you. My followers are very important to me.

So, do you have any rituals before starting to write?

No. I wrote my series while I was still working full-time and I had an hour and a half after my husband left for work and me having to get ready and during that time I wrote. I didn’t have time for rituals. The only thing I would do, and still do, is to read the previous day’s work to get me back into the swing.

I wrote my first book while I was working full-time too!

Right, we’ve spent quite some time getting to know Sue Tingey, the author. Let’s find out a little about Sue Tingey, the woman. I’ll start with an easy one. What gets you up and running in the mornings — tea or coffee?

Coffee – no doubt.

I can’t stand coffee – I’m definitely a tea person!

Do you have any pets? If so, what and how many?

I have twenty-one Koi carp and four Shubunkins. I would dearly love another German Shepherd dog or a cat, but the jury is out on that possibility for the moment. We are shortly moving back to my family home in Torquay (the Koi have already moved) and once we’re settled I guess we’ll make a decision about a dog or cat.

What do you think you’d prefer to get?

We would love another GSD (German Shepherd dog) and I keep watching out on the GSD Elite Rescue page. There are so many beautiful dogs looking for homes and I’d really like to take one off their hands.

I think it’s great that you’d go for a rescue dog. So would I, if I could persuade my other half!

Next one. Do you have any children? If so, what and how many?

No. I’d be a terrible mother.

I doubt that very much. You’re such a warm-hearted, gentle, and caring person — I think you’d make a great mum

Aww, thank you, Carlie.

Carrying on so you can get your blushing under control [laughs]. What is your favourite tipple?

White wine.

Ah! I know what to get you at FantasyCon now! [chuckles]

What’s your favourite colour?

Purple.

What a coincidence – that’s mine too!

What star sign are you?

Aries.

Ah, the same as my daughter, and the sister sign to mine!

So, where’s the best place you’ve been on holiday, and why?

Costa Rica. It is such a beautiful country with amazing wildlife. Sloths, hummingbirds, macaws. The Costa Ricans are also totally committed to the environment and are (I think) the first country to be totally energy self-sufficient.

Wow! I’d heard it was beautiful there, but I didn’t know about Costa Rica being self-sufficient energy-wise.

What car do you drive?

Ah! We are a family of petrol heads. My everyday car is a Smart, not that I drive that much now I’m not having to drive to work. My high days and holidays car is a Ford Focus RS in Ultimate Green. Our main car is my husband’s Ford Tourneo, which is a people carrier and with the seats out is great for our trips back and forth to Torquay carrying all our furniture and books; there are so many books! Then we come to our real baby, which is a blue series 3 E-Type Jaguar. Special provision is being made for the E-Type and Focus for when we move to Torquay.

A complete change of direction here. Do you believe in the ‘spirit world’?

I am slightly conflicted. My sensible head says no, but my heart and experience says yes. Psychic abilities run in my mother’s side of the family and I’ve seen and experienced too many weird things not to believe, but I am very cynical about so-called psychics and I think I’m pretty good at spotting frauds.

Okay. Just for fun, who is your favourite cartoon character and why?

Scooby Do if we’re talking about TV cartoons. If we’re talking about comic books, I used to love Superman and Supergirl.

I was actually talking about TV cartoons — sorry, I should have been clearer. So why is Scooby Do your favourite?

I suppose because it’s so ridiculously funny and it’s always the butler who’s done it! I didn’t like the films so much even though I adored Sarah Michelle Geller in Buffy. What works as silly but funny in a cartoon somehow just becomes silly when real actors are involved.

Finally, [thank goodness for that, says Sue] if you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have a superpower I would like the power of mischief making. You know – magically making something mischievous happen to people when they’re getting too serious. Like the shows when they set up jokes on people, but I could just click my fingers and make it happen.

I sensed there was a mischievous side to you and you’ve just confirmed it! [chuckles]

Anyway, thank you for an interesting and fun interview, Sue. You’ve been a fabulous guest.

Not at all, and thank you again for inviting me over for this chat.

You’re very welcome. Now what cake did you want with your coffee?

Chocolate muffin please!

You’re my kind of woman!! [laughs]

Here’s a photo of Sue and a short bio.

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey

For the buy links of the books, just click on the name:

Marked

Cursed

Bound

I really hope you’ve enjoyed the reviews and particularly this interview with the fabulous Sue Tingey. If you have any comments or questions for her, please leave them below and she’ll answer them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Bound by Sue Tingey

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I do have a good excuse. I moved house at the beginning of August, but only had a week to pack up my previous home. Prior to that, I was busy with contracts and making sure monies had been transferred. I think you get the drift.

Since moving in to my lovely new home, I’ve been surrounded by boxes, cases and bags, all of which I needed to find homes for. With the hours my fiance works, and the fact he’s recently started a new job, most of the unpacking was left to me. With my disability, it took a while as I’m sure you can imagine. However, I only have three boxes and one case left to go through, and the house looks like home.

I love it here. The house is lovely and it’s so quiet – a very conducive atmosphere for writing which I can now get back to. Anyway, that’s enough of the house stuff. Let’s get back to the review.

First, let’s take a look at the great cover:

Bound

Here’s the blurb:

Lucky de Salle was dragged into the Underlands against her will, but there she discovered a whole new world – and a whole new life. She always knew she was psychic, but discovering her ghostly best friend was in fact her daemon half-sister – and she herself is half-daemon – came as a shock. Falling in love with two men wasn’t in her plan either, but that’s working out brilliantly.

Or it was… until Jamie tries to use his powers to control her, and Lucky loses all trust in him. Then when Lucky’s enemies kidnap Jinx, intending to use his powers to destroy both human and daemon worlds, Jamie and his fellow Guardians are ordered to bring Jinx back – dead or alive.

If Lucky is to save him, and forgive Jamie, she must learn to use her own burgeoning powers – and fast!

How does that sound to you? Exciting eh? Well, here’s my review:

Bound, the third and final book in the Soulseer Chronicles, is a real page turner!

The plot is well devised and the pace is quite fast. The intrigue mounts, and each new and unexpected twist leaves you wondering what the heck is going to happen next. Sinister undertones weave through the book, adding to the reader’s captivation. The excitement ramps up throughout the novel and draws you in to such an extent that you really don’t want to stop reading.

For me, Lucky really shines in this third book. She learns to use her daemon powers to good effect and becomes a much stronger character as a result. She still has her vulnerable side though. Tingey writes Lucky’s emotions extremely well, making her even more three-dimensional than in the earlier books.

Lucky goes through a rollercoaster in Bound; as well as myriad emotions, she faces attempted kidnapping, being held prisoner, and a quest to save one of the men she loves. She finds out the hard way who she can trust, and receives support from unexpected sources. Lucky’s a great character who has you rooting for her through the entire novel.

Jinx goes to hell and back. He endures torture of the most brutal kind, suffers physical pain so extreme it would break lesser daemons, and emotional pain when he believes the woman he loves is dead. There’s a completely different side to him in this story which makes his character even more compelling.

The author has shaped Jinx so well that you reach the stage where you don’t really know how he’s going to react next. This, obviously, makes him especially intriguing and has you speculating about the end result. In my opinion, he’s a brilliantly drawn character.

Jamie is the character who I always felt was hiding something. He tells Lucky lies on a regular basis and always qualifies it by stating that he didn’t want to upset, worry, or hurt her. Some of the time, his excuses are accepted, but not until he’s plastered on the charm. Lucky is no longer the naïve girl he first met and she challenges him often. When she loses trust in him after he uses his powers to try and control her, you see a different side to him. However, he always maintains that he loves her, no matter what he does or says.

Although he shows his true self in this book, which not only makes you distrust him but dislike him too, you still see the sweet and caring side to him. This makes him something of an enigma and you’re unsure about the motives of his every action. In some ways, I found him one of the most interesting characters, and applaud Sue for the excellent portrayal.

Other characters really step up in this book; some you like/love, while others you love to hate. Each individual has their own distinct personality and voice, making them all the more interesting. Their parts in the novel are essential to the story and plot – Bound wouldn’t be as compelling without them.

One, whose part is significantly larger in this book, is Amaliel Cheriour.  He is deliciously evil, yet deluded. You could even say he’s completely bonkers!  His affection to afflict pain, brutalising his chosen subjects, comes to the fore in Bound. Why he’s like that is thought-provoking. There are a couple of twists concerning this character that you just don’t see coming, and they greatly enhance the storyline. He is extremely well-written.

Sue Tingey has a real gift for crafting characters, that’s for sure!

As with the previous books in this trilogy, the amount of description used is spot-on for my taste. The author presents enough to let your imagination picture the scene, and flesh it out if you so choose. This is an art in its own right. Some writers offer way too much description (Tolkien was one such author), whilst others don’t provide enough. How can you suspend disbelief if you are unable to immerse yourself in the world the story is based in? Personally, I love Tingey’s descriptive style. I can dive straight into her world(s) and happily stay there for hours.

In conclusion, I feel Bound finishes the trilogy perfectly. It’s exciting, compelling, sexy, and I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I enjoyed this trilogy so much, I’ve read it twice! This is a five-star read all the way, so if you haven’t got these three books yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Go get them — NOW!!!

Here is the Buy-Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bound-Soulseer-Chronicles-Book-3/

My congratulations to Sue Tingey for writing such a fantastic trilogy!

In case you’ve missed my previous reviews of Sue Tingey’s books, learn a little more about her here:

Sue Tingey pic

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Cursed by Sue Tingey

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the first book of the Soulseer Chronicles, Marked, by Sue Tingey. It was more than good enough for me to want to read and review the second. Before we get to my opinions, here is the cover:

Gorgeous, isn’t it?!

And here is the blurb:

Lucky de Salle thought she was human, then she discovered she was a daemon princess – and now it’s looking like she’s something much more…

Lucky knows she has some hard choices to make: will it be Jinx, the sexy Deathbringer, or Jamie, the gorgeous Guardian?

But before she can even start to enjoy life in the Underlands, her sister’s men are slain and Kayla herself is kidnapped by the Sicarii, assassins-for-hire members of a death-cult.

They can’t be working for Lucky’s nemesis, for Henri le Dent is being held in the court’s dungeons, at least according to court torturer, Amaliel Cheriour – but the Chambers of Rectification are empty, both Amaliel and Henri have fled and it soon becomes clear that Kayla is just bait to catch Lucky.

Lucky’s emerging powers are growing, and Amaliel intends to use her for his own nefarious purposes – though first he has to get past her Guards, not to mention Lucky herself.

Interesting, huh?

My review:

Book Review – Cursed by Sue Tingey

Cursed is the second book in the Soulseer Chronicles. Before reading it, I wondered if it was going to be one of those awkward, fill-in type books, full of waffle, bridging the gap until the exciting third and final book came along. I’m very happy to say that this wasn’t the case.

The action began early on and continued throughout the book. There were many shocks and surprises which drew me further into the story and I didn’t want to put it down. The narrative was smooth and flowed well. It captured my imagination and I found myself by Lucky’s side, like a shadow.

The plot was inventive with many twists and turns. It was set mainly in the daemon world and gave a greater insight into the machinations that existed there. It was interesting to see how Ms Tingey played the good and evil factions against each other and it made the story all the more creative.

In Cursed, you get to see a great deal more of the landscape and make-up of the world. The descriptors used brought the land of daemon kind to life, painting it gloriously like an artist would a canvas. There was a richness to it which was by no means overdone.

Lucky shone in Cursed. She grew and became a more rounded character, fulfilling her role with aplomb. As she learns what she can do, it brings a new dimension to her character which is both thought-provoking and fascinating. There were one or two areas where she didn’t tap into her emotions as well as she could have done, especially when something devastating happened. Although her feelings were portrayed reasonably well, there wasn’t as much angst as might have been expected given the situation. However, that was just a minor blip for me. Overall, she started to gain increased mental strength, making her character more interesting and relatable.

Jamie showed more of his true colours in Cursed. He was still the nice guy, protecting Lucky, even from herself, but he proved to be not quite as trustworthy. As he became secretive and began to lie to Lucky, even she wasn’t sure if she could trust him at times. However, it became clearer that his feelings for Lucky had grown and he was more protective than ever. Jamie became more fascinating to me in this second book as more of his character was revealed and I look forward to seeing how Sue takes him forward into book three.

Jinx made me laugh. He’s such a cheeky chap with a teasing and provocative side which endeared me to him. Because of how forward he is, in the beginning it’s hard to tell whether he has genuine feelings for Lucky or if he’s just being playful. The answer becomes apparent as the book progresses. The rivalry between him and Jamie is well thought out and comes across well. I also saw more depth to his character. His title of The Deathbringer is well-deserved in this book and it was good to see that side of him. On occasions, he also portrayed a softer side to his nature — a stark contrast to his title — but nonetheless, enjoyable to read.

Other characters also grew in this book, making them much more interesting. The interactions of them with the three main characters added more intrigue and depth to the novel, proving again Tingey’s mastery of character development.

This book is another triumph for Sue and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in book three: Bound.

Highly recommended — a damn good read!

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cursed-Soulseer-Chronicles-Book-2/

If you missed my last post, here’s a bit about the author:

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Marked by Sue Tingey

I came across this book at FantasyCon two or three years ago. After meeting the author, and reading the blurb, I was sufficiently intrigued to want to read it. I thought the cover was pretty interesting too, and here it is.

Here is the blurb:

Lucky de Salle can see ghosts, but it’s daemons she should be worried about.

With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.

 But Kayla is not all that she appears.

 Then again, neither is Lucky…

MARKED is the first book in the Soulseer Chronicles and the debut novel for Ms Tingey.

It’s so hard to write a review of a book like this without it containing spoilers, but I’ll do the best I can. The action starts right at the beginning of the book and rolls on from there, gaining momentum with each turn of the page. The plot was certainly original and unlike anything I’ve read before. It was well planned and overall, the pacing was good. The writing flowed seemingly effortlessly and there was no point at which I was jerked out of the story by the use of an incorrect word or the phrasing/sentence structure being off. I did notice a few small mistakes, but that was obviously down to the publisher/editor rather than the author. They were things that should have been picked up during editing or proofreading.

Many surprises appeared during the story, none of which I saw coming, and that added to my enjoyment of it.

The author crafted her characters like an artist creates a masterpiece! Whether a leading character, or a minor one, each had a different personality and it was so well done that it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. All her characters were believable and relatable – even the baddies.

Lucky de Salle – the lead protagonist: She is so realistically designed, I could relate to her immediately. Yes, she can see the dead and is psychic, but in the normal course of events, it doesn’t faze her at all. However, not all the ‘dead’ are friendly and when she comes up against her first daemon, she is petrified. She can be feisty, stubborn, vulnerable, frightened, and normal; these are all traits everyone can relate to in one way or another, and it makes Lucky more real for me. Yet there’s much more to Lucky than I’m going to reveal here as I don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of it.

Jamie – a leading protagonist: Known as ‘The Guardian’, Jamie is Lucky’s protector. He was a bit of an enigma for me. Most of the time, he appears kind and gentle, and obviously seems to have some feelings for Lucky. Yet, he can also be frightening, secretive (much to the chagrin of Lucky), and has a bit of a wicked streak. By the end of the book, very little is known about him or what it means to be ‘The Guardian’. I’m looking forward to learning more about him in book two.

Jinx – a leading protagonist: He is known as ‘The Deathbringer’, the polar opposite of ‘The Guardian’. I loved this character! Jinx is a cheeky daemon who is enrolled in Lucky’s guard. It becomes obvious early on that he fancies her. He’s generally happy, smiles a lot – Lucky often receiving mischievous or inviting ones – yet there’s a dark side to him which one might guess from his title. He’s a bit more transparent than Jamie, but I feel he has hidden depths that haven’t been revealed so far.

Kayla – is another major character and Lucky’s best friend, even though she’s a ghost. She can be nice and supportive however, Kayla can be one hell of a bitch, and callous. She cares about Lucky a great deal and tries to protect her, but does she have her own agenda? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Other notable characters – Lord Baltheza, Shenanigans, Kerfuffle, Pyrites, Amaliel Cheriour, and Vaybian.

Tingey uses description to good effect. You can easily picture a person or place in your mind and for me that adds a deeper dimension to the story. However, none of the portrayals or depictions are overdone.

In conclusion, this is a great debut novel. It’s gripping, unique, alluring, magical, and has a little romance thrown in. I loved this wonderful story and couldn’t put the book down. If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, I would highly recommend you spend some money and buy this. I’m sure that after reading it, you’ll be reaching into your wallet or purse to buy book two… I did and it’s a fantastic investment!

Look out for my forthcoming review of the second book in the Soulseer Chronicles – Cursed!

BUY THE BOOK FROM AMAZON: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marked-first-magical-Soulseer-Chronicles/

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: VIKINGS: THE TRUTH ABOUT LAGERTHA AND RAGNAR

Since the TV series hit our screens, there has been a great deal of interest generated in the Vikings. Personally, and not having seen the series, I wasn’t bothered in finding out more about them. But then I read Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar by Rachel Tsoumbakos.

Before we go any further, here’s the fantastic front cover:And now here’s the blurb:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel?

And just how long did their marriage last?

Plus, was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today?

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ will unravel all these secrets and reveal a story that is more interesting than anything you knew about them previously.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

Discover the truth today!

The ‘Viking Secrets’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and the extraordinary women who existed in the Viking era.

PLEASE NOTE: Each of the books in this series can be read as standalone books due to the nature of the sagas involved. Therefore, the book numbering indicates the order in which the stories were published and not the order in which they are required to be read.

My review:

This book has been cleverly written in two parts: the first part is what happened to both characters in story form; the second are historical facts. Both parts make for an extremely entertaining and interesting read.

In part one, Tsoumbakos brings the characters to life to such an extent that I was totally hooked and had trouble putting the book down. I became so invested in Lagertha and Ragnar’s story due to how well the characters were drawn. The emotions portrayed were relatable and not exaggerated giving additional intensity and showing the complexity of the characters. This shows the talent of the author.

The story itself was easy to follow and flowed effortlessly. The descriptions used, while not overdone, were sufficient for me to picture each scene as clearly as if I were there.

The dialogue was realistic, although we obviously don’t know for sure exactly how they spoke in the Viking era, but it gave extra depth to both the story and the characters.

Overall, I can honestly say it is one of the best stories I’ve read in the past six-months (and I’ve read quite a lot)!

With part two being more factual, I wasn’t gripped like I was with the story. However, the facts were well-presented and interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. Tsoumbakos has obviously researched the subject thoroughly and with the way this part is written, it’s easy to make correlations with part one.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book, even if you aren’t into Vikings. The story alone is exceptional enough to capture your interest and well worth investing in!

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Author Bio:

Rachel Tsoumbakos has had several articles published through mainstream magazines and currently writes extensively for The Inquisitr.

Over the years, Rachel has been interested in many aspects of history. When studying a Library Studies diploma, she discovered just how much she enjoyed researching and has since used these skills in several of her novels. However, it was her work with The Inquisitr that brought her into the world of the Vikings and she has spent several years delving into the sagas of this culture as well as the history of the Viking Era.

Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and a flock of chickens in the idyllic Yarra Ranges, Australia. When she isn’t writing, she is working on her cardio as she trains for the zombie apocalypse.

Amazon Buy Links:

hyperurl.co/LagsandRags

OMG! Where has the time gone??

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted on here! Major apologies and much grovelling to my followers for my absence.

There have been some great books released that I’ve read and I know of at least two more that are due out soon. I intend to write some reviews and also post details of the two new releases as they happen.

My work has been rolling along nicely. Lorelian, the first book in my new epic fantasy series, The Seven Doors, is now in editing and is shaping up really well. There’s a good chance it may be released before the end of the year, depending on certain pots I have bubbling away at the moment.

The second book, Kankanoor, is work in progress. I’ve written about 40,000 words so far and can’t wait to get to the next part as it’s going to be full of action. I’m going to use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated) to push this as close to the point of completion as possible.

I’ve already completed the world building for book three and have written plenty of plot notes, so as soon as Kankanoor is finished and revised, I can start on it immediately. I’ve had visions in my head of some of the other worlds too so I’ve got a special note book in which to write it all down.

For me, it’s the best way to work, as I’ve discovered over the years. Having all my notes in one book instead of spread around like I’ve done in the past is a much more efficient way of working and saves me so much time in the long run. I know this is a no-brainer, but when you’re a new writer starting out on your first series, as soon as you get an idea you tend to write it down on the first piece of paper available; you’re scared you’ll forget it, especially if it’s an important plot point.

This might seem a silly thing, but it’s all part of the steep learning curve you have as a new writer of novels. Over time, you find the best and most efficient way of working, the optimum time of day to write, and little routines you tend to adopt before you start writing. You learn better ways of phrasing and constructing sentences, how to remove extraneous words, character development, and world building, to name but a few.

I know I’ve still got much to learn; in fact, seasoned writers have said you never stop learning to hone your craft. But as time goes by, I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my books and see improvements.

Book Review: The Wayward Son by Connie J Jasperson

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything and I’m sorry if you thought I’d deserted you. In truth I’ve been busy writing a new book and am revising it before it goes to my editor. I’m hoping to get it published before Christmas, but with NaNoWriMo in November, it may be doubtful. I’ll share more about it another time. Anyway, enough about me for now. I’ve read an amazing book and wanted to tell you what I thought.

First off, here is the great cover:

the-wayward-son-front-cover

I hope you like it as much as I do! Here’s the blurb:

Deeds done in the heat of battle cast long shadows.

The most famous man in the history of the Temple, retired Commander John Farmer, has left the militia behind. War looms and John must answer the call to serve, but his terrible secret could destroy everything. A broken mage trying to rebuild his shattered life, he must somehow regain his abilities, or everyone and everything he loves will be lost.

John must face the crimes of the past to become the hero he never was.

I don’t know about you, but that really grabs me!

And here is my review:

The Wayward Son, a companion book to the fantastic Forbidden Road, part of the Tower of Bones series, follows the story of John Farmer, the father of our hero in the series, Edwin.

This book fills in some of the gaps from Forbidden Road as John remains in Aeoven while Edwin is fulfilling a task in the dangerous country of Mal Evol.

The characterisation of John is a work of art. Jasperson has crafted him to perfection so you almost feel what he does and go through the ups and downs, the happiness and sadness, the worry and the contentment with him. Having read the Tower of Bones series, I could even see some of John’s traits in his son. The supporting cast were just as realistic, especially Cane and Marya, whose emotions are every bit as powerful as John’s.

I was pleased to see how the plot revolved around John and his life in Neveyah, meeting his friends, and following his career. Of course this is what was expected, but so often companion books tend to bring in too much of the other book and I’m extremely happy Connie didn’t do this. Another good point in this book’s favour is that you see and experience events that were only alluded to in Forbidden Road. I particularly liked how a sub plot concerning one of his friends weaved its way back to John, like a spider constructing a complicated web around him without the reader knowing he was the prey.

The pacing was well timed throughout, never rushed and definitely not slow.

The world of Neveyah was expertly crafted by the author in the Tower of Bones series and she was true to it in this book. However, she does take you to different areas that hadn’t previously been mentioned and, in my opinion it gave the realm even more depth. She describes the surroundings just enough to leave the rest to the reader’s imagination.

This book was a page turner for me, as the previous books in this series have been, and I resented going to sleep as I wanted to continue reading.

The only downside I could find was that I would have liked the story to continue a bit further, up to a particular event in Forbidden Road. This is just my personal choice, but the book did finish at a satisfactory point.

I think this is Connie’s best book to date (and that’s saying something!) and if you haven’t read the Tower of Bones series, you need to get them and this. As epic fantasies go, this series is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to sink into the world of and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend all the Neveyah books.

If I could I’d give The Wayward Son more than 5 stars!

Click the title to go straight to Amazon so you can buy this for yourself.

About the author

Connie 2014

Connie J Jasperson

Connie J. Jasperson lives in Olympia, Washington. A vegan, she and her husband share five children, a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, an editor, and is a writing coach. She is an active member of the both the Northwest Independent Writers Association and Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and is a founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group.  Music and food dominate her waking moments. When not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly.

You can find Connie on her blog, Life in the Realm of Fantasy