Archive for fiction

New Release – “A Time to Tell” by Maria Savva

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2015 by Michael Radcliffe

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A talented author, Maria Savva’s newest release is now available in paperback, and is scheduled to hit Amazon’s Kindle store October 14th.  Following is the synopsis and a trailer for the story:

A family saga spanning fifty years and three generations. . . Cara fell for the tall, dark, handsome stranger, fifty years before. Now Frederick is about to return to her life. Can true love stand the test of time? When Cara’s granddaughter, Penelope, flees her home to escape a violent husband, Cara’s world is turned upside down. She returns to Huddlesea, the town she grew up in. Her estranged sister Gloria is less than happy to see her again. Can they rebuild their relationship after the tragic circumstances that tore them apart? Benjamin, Cara’s eldest son, has been missing for sixteen years. She longs to see him again. Will their reunion be everything she had hoped for? In this romantic drama, history repeats itself for a family lost in secrets. After the lies, the Time has come to Tell.

A prolific author, Maria has published numerous stories including:

Stop by Amazon and download your copy – you won’t be disappointed.  Her stories will draw you in, bringing the characters to life and allowing you to share in their joys and sorrows.

Here are the links:

Paperback:
Kindle:
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Pre-launch FB event for ‘Reflections’!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2014 by Michael Radcliffe

To celebrate the launch of our new collection of short stories & poems inspired by photography, we invite you to join us for a day of fun. We’ll be sharing short snippets from the stories by Darcia Helle, Maria Savva, Jason McIntyre, and me, as well as poems from Helle Gade and Ben Ditmars, and photographs from Helle Søe Gade and Martin David Porter.

There will be some great giveaways throughout the day!  I will be giving away two signed paperback copies of my fourth novel, ‘Touch of Darkness,’ and there will be other giveaways offered by my fellow authors/poets/photographers.  So join us if you can on Wednesday, October 15th by using this link.

I have three stories in the collection:

  • Seeds of Despair‘ – an apprentice makes an unusual discovery about what the owners of the potion shop have really been selling.
  • A Tale of Two Churches‘ – a light-hearted story about a wedding and a funeral, and what can happen when the dark coach from the underworld is behind schedule…
  • Eye of the Dragon‘ – Serina is madly in love with Damon, despite the way he treats her.  When she helps him search for a fabled jewel in the catacombs beneath the cemetery, they both get far more than what they bargained for.

Throughout the event we will be posting teasers from the stories – here is a snippet from one of my works, ‘Seeds of Despair’:

Reflections is currently available for pre-order on Amazon at just 99 cents until 1st November! http://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Minds-Eye-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00OD6DEQO/

Reflections cover

 

New Release & Giveaway – Maria Savva’s Delusions & Dreams

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 1, 2013 by Michael Radcliffe

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My dear friend, London based author Maria Savva, has a newly released collection of short stories.  I had the privilege of  reading an advance copy, and absolutely loved the stories she has woven together.  There is a wonderful mix of genre’s in this collection, ranging from the light-hearted to the emotional.

To quote the official ‘blurb’ for the book:

“Twelve stories of betrayal, greed, revenge, deception, dreams, and courage.

We all struggle to find our way. What you see isn’t necessarily all there is. This collection takes you into the grey area, because the world is never just black and white.

Life is all about perspective. One person’s delusion is another person’s dream.

Includes five bonus stories.”

At the end of this post you will see a Rafflecopter link to the giveaway – 5 different ebooks and 1 signed paperback copy of  ‘Delusions & Dreams’ are up for grabs, so don’t forget to click to enter.

You can purchase her new release here:

Amazon UK
Amazon.com 

As part of the book’s release, Maria was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, so take it away, Maria! 🙂

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1. ‘Delusions & Dreams’ is an impressive collection of seventeen short stories!  Have you been collecting these over the years, or are they all recent?  Did you write any specifically for this collection?

Delusion and Dreams is a collection of new and old stories. Some of them I found on my computer; I wrote years ago. Some I found on a floppy disk, written in the ages when people still rode donkeys to work 😉 I updated/edited the older stories. The title story, Delusion and Dreams, is a short story told in four parts. It’s new and I wrote parts II, III, and IV, specifically for this collection. Part I was written a few years ago. I found the handwritten version in a drawer at home, and decided that I liked it. When I typed it up I was inspired to continue the story. In fact, I could have probably written more parts… maybe even a whole novel. The characters in that story have lots to say, and I might revisit them sometime. A few of my beta readers commented that they’d like to read more about them. Similarly, part II of Friends and Neighbours, was written specifically for this collection, whereas the first part of the story was written at least ten years ago. The other new stories are Happy New Year, and Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. The rest of the stories are old ones that I edited for the collection. The last 5 stories are bonus stories that have been published before, but as single stories, so I wanted to include them in a collection.

2. I really enjoyed the serialization of the ‘Delusions & Dreams’ parts I-IV.  Do you think the story will continue?

As mentioned above, yes, I do think I will revisit this story at some stage. I like the characters. Jessie and Jack are close to my heart. I’d like to tell more of their story in the future. I hope I’ll find some time to maybe continue the story or write a longer book about these characters.

3. ‘Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow’ was very enjoyable – I especially liked the humor involved with the wig.  What inspired you to write that story?

Thanks, Michael. This one started off as a challenge for me because I’d been invited to write a comedy story for a short story collection by a small press publisher. They wanted a story up to about 1,500 words. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, took on a life of its own once I started writing it, and although there are comedy aspects to it, it’s a bit deeper and some people have told me, also quite sad in parts. It was far too long, at about 5,000 words to be acceptable for the short story anthology that I’d been invited to submit to, so I decided to include it in Delusion and Dreams, and I think it fits in quite well.

4. I notice the collection had a wide variety of themes, ranging from light-hearted (Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow) to darker (Happy New Year).  Is there a theme you enjoy writing more than another?

My genre/theme for a story or novel is dictated by the character that I’m writing about.  For example, Haunted is a crime thriller because Nigel has a dark secret; A Time to Tell  is a family saga, because we are looking at the lives of more than one generation of the same family; Coincidences is more of a mystery because Alice is looking for her father and finding out truths about her past; and Second Chances is more of a romance because Pamela and James are facing up to a difficult time in their relationship.

I have always been a people watcher. I am fascinated by people and why the do what they do, human behaviour. My books and stories will always be character studies more than anything else, because that is the kind of person I am. I like to dig deep below the surface and find out what is really going on underneath. There is always a reason why people do things. Many of my stories developed through my need to know why a character has done something and how they feel, how it affects others around them. I don’t only write in one genre, because I write about life, and life is full of events and characters that don’t fit in to one genre.

5. Your recent novel, ‘Haunted,’ was definitely darker than your other works.  Did you find writing a darker story more difficult?

Emotionally, for me, it was the hardest book I have ever written. I really got into Nigel’s mind and it was dark in there! It took me to some very dark places personally, but I am very happy with how it turned out and how it’s being received by readers. All the sleepless nights were worth it. I didn’t intend to write a psychological thriller, but I ended up writing the darkest kind of psychological thriller possible. Some people have said it’s too dark, but I believe it had to be that dark, anything less would not have done the story justice… It’s a book that explores the mind of a murderer… not for the faint hearted. I don’t think I will be writing such a dark book again soon.

6. Do you think your writing has been influenced by your work as solicitor?

Most definitely. I worked as a solicitor for about 15 years and met hundreds of people from different backgrounds who were all going through different problems. I listened to their stories, some heartbreaking. In my role as a solicitor, I was in a position where people trusted me with their deepest secrets. It’s all eye-opening stuff. I draw from my experiences every time I pick up a pen, I’m sure, not necessarily consciously either. I mean, I’ve never sat down and thought, “why don’t I write a novel based on that client”. I would never do that. But I do find that when I read my books over, I notice tiny character traits that remind me of people I’ve met; maybe something they’ve said that had an impact on me.

In my novels, A Time to Tell and Second Chances, in particular, readers will be able to see where I may have been influenced by my work as a solicitor, but I think that experience touches all of my writing.

Anyone with a creative mind, who works in a customer service type job can leave the office/shop every day with heaps of ideas for stories and books. Meeting different types of people is so important for a writer. We need to create believable characters in our books, so the more people we come into contact with, the better.

7. Do you have a preference between writing short stories and writing full length novels?

I enjoy both. It’s a question of how much time I have available for writing. The thing is, I have a need to write, but I don’t always have enough time to concentrate on a novel-length work of fiction. At those times, short stories are an excellent way to keep the creativity alive. It takes a long time to write a novel and it’s important to be able to devote enough time each day to write when you are writing a novel. I work full time and find that at the moment, it’s easier to write short stories because I can write a short story in one sitting. It takes me maybe an hour to write one. The editing takes twice as long. With a novel it could take me six months when I am writing at least a chapter a day, and then the editing takes about another year.

8. What is your favorite time/place to write – do you need absolute quiet or can your write in the midst of chaos?

My favourite time is at night. I need it to be relatively quiet when I’m writing. I can have the usual buzz of London sounds in the background, but anything more and I lose concentration. I can write anywhere, though. I have been known to write a short story when there is chaos going on all around me.

9. Of all the stories in this collection, do you have a favorite?

They’re all my favourites. Chosen from about twenty stories that could have possibly gone into the collection. If I had to choose a favourite from this collection, I think it would be the Delusion and Dreams series of stories.

10. Do you have any works in process at the moment?

Yes. I have written three new short stories for a new collection which will be called ‘3’. I hope to publish that very soon. It’s just a matter if finding time to edit them. They are a bit creepy, which is nice.

I am also working on my next novel, working title, ‘Illusion’, but I think that may change. It’s a fantasy, but you’ll be sad to hear there aren’t any dragons in it… well not yet, anyway… maybe there will be?? But seriously, it would probably be classed as an urban fantasy. It’s very other-worldly and strange. I’ve written about ten chapters, but haven’t worked on it for a while (since about December), so will have to read over it before I write any more!

 Thank you so much for joining us today, Maria!  

Giveaway Links:
Rafflecopter giveaway

Maria’s Bio:
Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She writes novels and short stories in different genres, including drama, psychological thriller, and family saga. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. Her most recent novel is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. You can find out more about her work at her official website: mariasavva.com

The Guardian’s Apprentice – the characters

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2011 by Michael Radcliffe

To continue the theme from last week, below are short bios of many of the characters featured in The Guardian’s Apprentice (book 1) and Bloodstone – The Guardian’s Curse (book 2).  Hope you enjoy!

Keegan Whitestone – In his early thirties, Keegan is a young man coasting through life without a purpose.  His mother long dead, he was raised by a cold, uncaring father.  With no known family, Keegan is utterly alone.  Having been estranged from his father for years, Keegan learns of the other man’s death when he receives a small box containing a strange ring and a note about his “destiny.”

Phineas Whitestone – A very powerful wizard, Phineas is the longest serving Guardian in the wizarding world’s history.  Phineas’ greatest sorrow was when his only son, Richard, attempted to seize power and control the Council.  His son was stripped of his magic by the Council and banished to the non-magical side of the Veil.  Phineas’ greatest hope is to reunite with his grandson, Keegan.

Richard Whitestone – The only son of Phineas Whitestone, Richard craved his father’s power.  A cruel, ambitious man, he tried to seize that power by force and failed.  After being stripped of his powers and banished, he unknowingly fathered Keegan with a mortal woman.  After her death, he grudgingly took the boy in to raise, but never missed an opportunity to remind his son how much of a burden he was.  Estranged from his son for years, Richard died a lonely, bitter old man.

Acamar Wycroft – Loyal assistant to the Guardian, Acamar has been in service to the Council for five hundred years.  A powerful wizard in his own right, Acamar made some poor choices in his youth when he decided to support the great dragon rebellion.  As punishment for his treason, Acamar must work in the administrative service of the Council, spending all but one hour every day in his animal form, which is a large, black tabby cat.  Through his penance, his once fiery temper has mellowed and he has developed patience, as well as a fondness for sardines.  He dislikes the castle caretaker, Mrs. Hoskins, intensely and considers her a nosy busybody.  A member of the Order of Black most of his life, his robes are shifting to the lighter side of magic.

Mrs. Hoskins – Caretaker of the Guardian’s castle at Pahret T’pur, Mrs. Hoskins has been around longer than anyone (even Phineas) can remember.  Extremely efficient, Mrs. Hoskins keeps the castle in order and stuffs those she likes with her delectable homemade scones.  She keeps a close eye on Acamar, though she typically refers to him as ‘Whiskers’ or ‘Fleabag’ even when he isn’t in his feline form.  Despite her misgivings about the older wizard, she has been known to stock the pantry with sardines on occasion.  Obviously an efficient magic-user (she’s the only staff at the castle), no one knows for certain which Order she calls her own or how powerful she may be.

Nisha – Assistant to Lord Cedric Thornback, Nisha also serves in the administrative arm of the Council.  Once a close associate of Acamar Wycroft, Nisha must spend all but one hour every day in the form of a raven.  A very powerful and crafty witch, Nisha resents having to serve such a cruel master as Cedric.  Having given up her dreams of power long ago, she longs for her freedom.

Lord Cedric Thornback – Master of the Dark Arts, Cedric is the leading member of the Order of Black.  One of the three founding families, the Thornback’s have served as Guardian only once before.  A cold and cruel taskmaster, Cedric enjoys tormenting his assistant, Nisha and has a habit of using her tail feathers as quills.

Portia Nightshade – Cedric’s hot-headed lieutenant, Portia is a very powerful witch with a temper.  Prone to conflict even with members of her own Order, she has been encased in crystal by the Oracle stone more than once for attempting to duel in the Council chambers.  Fiercely loyal to Cedric, she would do anything to see him elected as Chancellor, believing this is her path to power.

Alexander Ducat – The current leader of the Gray wizards, Ducat holds the position of Vice-Chancellor and conducts the Council meetings since the death of his mentor, Tobias Follett, in an unfortunate potions accident.  Although he has been a life-long friend of Phineas, he envies the power held by the Guardian.

Tobias Follett – Once the leader of the Gray Order, Follett schemed and cheated his way up the political ladder until he was finally elected as Chancellor.  His celebration was short lived however, when he (and a large part of his chambers) was vaporized in an unfortunate potions accident(?).

Nemwith – Assistant Council Librarian and husband of Evalsef, Nemwith is a grumpy little gnome who has little patience for wizards, especially irritating half-wit apprentices…

Evalsef – Head Council Librarian, Evalsef is a mild mannered and very wise gnome.  She is a wealth of knowledge and has far more patience than her husband, Nemwith.

Seba’an – Also known as the Alderdrache, ruler of all dragons, Seba’an is the oldest living dragon on either side of the Veil.  Alive at the time of the Ancients, he is one of the few creatures left that remembers the time of the Shadow before the Veil.  Although the old dragon is now blind, the fires of his eyes now merely embers, he is extremely powerful and wise.  He is also one of the few dragons that does not have a human name.

Skyv’tai (a.k.a. “Brimstone”) – Known most often by his human name, “Brimstone,” Skyv’tai is an ambitious young dragon with a thirst for power.  He has learned little from his species’ past wars with the wizards and considers humans to be only slightly more intelligent than cattle.  One of several dragons labeled as ‘rogue’ by the Alderdrache, Brimstone was captured and placed into servitude as a courier by the Council.  Like most of his kind, Brimstone is very patient and plans to have his revenge not only on the wizards of the Council but on the Alderdrache as well.

Nekk’ar – Once a nest-mate of Seba’an’s, Nekk’ar perished long ago but dedicated his spirit to serving the Whitestone family as a protector of the Guardian.  Fierce and powerful, the wise Nekk’ar has saved more than one Guardian, but only when he chooses to help.  It is his firm belief that a Guardian can learn valuable lessons from making mistakes, and Nekk’ar is loathe to be disturbed.

Dahk’ra (a.k.a. “Darkfire”) – Dahk’ra, known among humans as ‘Darkfire,’ is the youngest of Seba’an’s hatchlings.  She is a powerful opponent, and is highly adept at strategy.  She considers humans a curiosity to be studied, much like laboratory rats, and she follows the politics of wizards with a keen interest.

Delores – A tireless worker, Delores is serving her time in the Administrative Service of the Council, Department of Transportation.  She is a ticketing agent in the portal hub located in the village of Quai where she works twelve hours a day.  A lovely witch on the outside, her animal spirit that she is restricted to every day is that of a skunk.  Two rules to remember if you ever meet Delores at the ticketing booth:  #1 – Don’t try her patience (not that she has much) and #2 – Always, always, always leave her a decent tip.  Violate either of those rules at your own peril…

Grim – The smarter half of a two-headed giant, Grim considers himself to be the ‘older brother’ and spends most of his waking hours bickering with his other half, Grum.

Grum – Not the smartest of giants, Grum can be a bit thick sometimes.  He has a volatile temper and loves a good fight, however he is utterly terrified of Brimestone.

Kust – A dark elf of Ebonwood, Kust has known Phineas for several hundred years and considers the old wizard a true friend.  Unlike most of his ilk, who shun humans and keep to the dark recesses of their forests, Kust is intensely interested in the affairs of wizards, especially if there is profit to be made.

Hesh – A kind-hearted assistant to a wizard currently serving on the Council, Hesh is a gentle giant of sorts.  Almost seven feet tall, Hesh is as strong as an ox, but as gentle as a kitten and tends to stutter when he is excited or upset.  He serves a cruel master, that delights in forcing him to spend time in his animal form, which is a large panda bear.

Jerrick – Currently working as a clerk in Deadwood & Blights potions shop, Jerrick is a good natured young man who tries to help others whenever he can.  The closest thing to a friend that Hesh has, he feels sorry for the poor assistant.

Master Gu-Dai Ying – The most powerful (and evil) necromancer to walk the Earth.  Master Gu-Dai was the controlling power behind the now banished Order of Red.  Assumed to have been killed along with the rest of the Order, rumors persist that he has returned and is again harvesting souls to power the Bloodstone.