Archive for writing

Cover Reveal & New Release: “Lost and Found” by Maria Savva

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 20, 2016 by Michael Radcliffe

Lost and Found_eCover_Final

Exceptionally talented author, Maria Savva, is releasing a new collection of short stories!  Her newest work, “Lost and Found,” will be released on March 18th and is available for pre-order now on Amazon via this link:  http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Found-Maria-Savva-ebook/dp/B01BX7Q6HE

Maria’s stories bring the characters to life; you will share in their triumphs and sorrows, and you will easily lose yourself in every story.

“Human nature is not neat and predictable.  What makes us betray a loved one?
  Can isolation lead to irrational behaviour?
  Why do other people’s lives always look more appealing?

Ordinary people living ordinary lives, torn apart by regret, remorse, and deceit. We’re all stumbling through life together. This collection of stories shows you the Lost and Found among us.”

If you would like to learn more about Maria and her writing, check out her website, her Facebook author page, or follow her on Twitter:

Coming Soon – Triptychs – a unique anthology

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by Michael Radcliffe

I’m pleased to announce I have been invited to participate in a unique writing project with several very talented writers, whose work I admire.

Triptychs cover - front

Triptychs is the third book in the Mind’s Eye Series.  The book combines visual art and the written word, in the form of short stories and poetry.  In Triptychs, the same photograph was given to three different writers, and each had to interpret the image and write either a story or a poem.  A unique take on a collaborative writing project, it is fascinating to see how one picture can inspire three completely different tales.

Triptychs cover - back

I’ve posted a teaser below, in the form of the photographs I was given and some notes about the stories I was inspired to write.  Once it is released, I’ll post the links.

*****

A Storm is Coming

This first photograph inspired me to write the story A Storm is Coming, the tale of two very different sisters and what can happen when jealousy rears its ugly head.  I’ll admit I must have been in a strange mood when I wrote the story, as I began with haiku’s to set the scene.

????????This beautiful photo of a carnival at sunset had me stumped for the longest time.  I stared at it repeatedly for almost two weeks before finally coming up with an idea, prompted by a suggestion from my wife.  I was finally inspired to write the story A Kiss at Sunset, about a young man who finally finds the love of his life – in a manner of speaking.

To learn more about the Mind’s Eye series, visit Darcia Helle’s website:

Book 1: Persepctives

Book 2: Reflections

Book 3: Triptychs – To be released shortly

“Meet My Main Character” Blog Tour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2014 by Michael Radcliffe

I’ve been tagged by the very talented author Maria Savva to take part in a blog challenge.

Here are the rules:

I have to write a post answering seven questions about a main character from one of my novels, then I nominate five other authors to answer the same questions about their main characters.

Here’s a link to Maria’s blog where she introduces Nigel Price, the main character from her chilling story, Haunted.

The main character I’ve chosen is Rami, from my novel Touch of Darkness.

Touch of Darkness

1. Tell us a little about this main character. Is he fictional or a historic person?
Rami (pronounced RAHmee) is a fictional Egyptian boy of fifteen.  He serves as an acolyte in the temple of one of the old gods, Set.  He was given to the temple by his parents when he was about five, in exchange for Set’s blessing.  Driven by the memory of his parents abandoning him, he works hard and strives to please Master Ammon, the High Priest.  Highly intelligent and studious, his best friend is Fer’al.

2. When and where is the story set?

The story is set about 4,000 years ago and begins in Sakkara, Egypt, and ends in the country of Ariaca, which is where India is today.

3. What should we know about him?
Rami is tormented by the events he witnessed in my other novel, Rise of the Shadow.  Having been abandoned by his parents, the sense of loss consumes him.  He is furious with those in his past who he believes have placed him in this position.

 

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
Everything he cared about has been taken from him by others. Having tasted the power of dark magic, he becomes desperate to learn more when he finds a scroll that he believes will lead him to the Libro Mortis, or Book of the Dead.

When he meets Amirah (ahMEERah), the beautiful and cunning daughter of a caravan leader, the two form an unlikely partnership and he finds himself falling in love with her.  As they get to know each other, he is torn between his growing love for Amirah and the temptations of power whispered in his thoughts by the evil wraith trapped in the spirit stone he carries.

 

5. What is his personal goal?
Alone and on the run, Rami seeks revenge against those who have wronged him. He is determined to become a powerful magic user, no matter the cost. These plans become complicated, however, when he falls in love – an emotion he has not experienced since his parents sold him to the temple.

 

6. What are the titles of your novels, and where can we read more about them?

Touch of Darkness is my latest novel, and definitely the darkest.  Although it is a stand-alone book, it draws on the events that took place in Rise of the Shadow, which was book three in my Beyond the Veil series.

The Beyond the Veil novels are:
The Guardian’s Apprentice (2010)

Bloodstone – The Guardian’s Curse (2011)

Rise of the Shadow (2013)

 

I have also written a number of short stories, which include:

 

Tears for Hesh

Scale of a Dragon

Forsaken

The Amaranthine Flask

Legend of the Pumpkin King

Frostbite – The Dragon that Saved Christmas

 

You can read more about them on my website: http://www.michaelradcliffe.com or http://www.theguardiansapprentice.com.  My website also includes a glossary of characters, creatures, places, and magic from the world I have created.

7. When can we expect your next book to be published?

Well, the next book is a collaboration with photographers and other writers.  It is part of the Mind’s Eye Series started by Maria Savva and Darcia Helle – two exceptional authors who I am fortunate to call my friends.  In this series, Darcia and Maria wrote short stories inspired by photographs taken by Martin David Porter, and published Perspectives in April.

They decided to make it into a series of books and invite other authors and photographers.  Book 2 will be called Reflections and will hopefully be published by the end of the year.  It features more stories from Maria and Darcia, as well as poems from Ben Ditmars and Helle Gade, and short stories from Jason McIntyre and me.  The photos in Reflections are by Helle and Martin.

I am very excited to take part in this project, and have provided three stories for the collection, based on the three photographs I received.

 

As to the five authors I am tagging, I will have to upload that later, as I am waiting to hear back to see if they wish to participate.

My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 3, 2014 by Michael Radcliffe

I would like to thank fellow author Maria Savva for inviting me to take part in the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour.  Maria is an exceptional author, and I would encourage you to check out her works available on Amazon here.

If you have a chance, stop by Maria’s blog here.  Or her website at www.mariasavva.com.

Now, as part of the blog tour, I have been asked to answer the following questions about my writing process (such as it is…) 🙂

1  What am I working on?

Touch of DarknessI have just released my fourth novel, ‘Touch of Darkness’ – the last book in the ‘Beyond the Veil’ series (or at least I think it is…).  ‘Touch of Darkness’ is the story of Rami, a teenage boy who is on the run from his past.  Having been possessed by a shadowwraith, he murdered two innocent people, one of whom was his best friend.  Now, with the spirit of the wraith trapped in a spiritstone, Rami struggles to come to terms with what happened.  He is desperate to find a way to control the spirit and unlock its secrets.  Travelling to the Orient, fate throws him into an unlikely partnership with Amirah, the alluring daughter of a caravan leader.  Fascinated by his dark and mysterious past, she is drawn to Rami like a moth to a flame, and fears for his soul as he slips further into darkness.

2  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most of my stories are shorter than contemporary fantasy novels, with my most recent work being about 42,000 words.  My longest novel, ‘The Guardian’s Apprentice’ is about 70,000.  My stories are character driven, and I always strive to create scenes in which the reader can become completely absorbed.

3  Why do I write what I do?

Simple.  I love fantasy.  Fantasy novels were my lifeline – they provided me with an escape from an abusive and unhappy childhood.  On those dark days, I could escape reality and join my friends, like Bilbo Baggins, and John Carter of Mars, who took me to a happier place.  I also love being able to create worlds of my own, where magic rules instead of science, and where anything is possible.

4  How does my writing process work?

I wish I knew.  No, really, I wish I could figure it out!  My muse is fickle, and I may go for weeks at a time without writing a single word.  Then, when I least expect it, inspiration will strike and I will struggle to write everything down before it vanishes from my mind.  Most of my short stories happened that way – an idea hit, and I would write the story in a single setting.  With my novels, I almost always write the last chapter first – or at least shortly after starting the book.  Finally, I do not use outlines very often.  Occasionally, if I have a complicated sub-plot, I will use an outline for the main points, but usually I write by the seat of my pants.  I simply sit at the computer, fire up the music, and let the characters tell their story.

tenderistheknight_02*snort* Dear readers, I can assure you that is NOT how he typically writes his stories.  He will sit and stare at the blank screen for days on end, whining about writer’s block.  If it were not for me, he would never have finished a single story.  While I will concede the man does have an active imagination, even for a human, he knows little about wizards and magic.  And I shudder to think what he would write about dragons if I were not here to guide his hand!

That’s enough, Idris.  You will have to pardon that small outburst – Idris is both my writing partner and muse.  He sits in a place of honor next to my computer, where he oversees my writing and criticizes my dialogue.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a story to write.

Never Argue with a Dragon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by Michael Radcliffe

I really thought I had ended the ‘Beyond the Veil’ series when I wrote book three, ‘Rise of the Shadow.’ 
Book Cover 2

Little did I know, however, that one of the characters in that book would demand to have his story told.  I resisted the idea at first, as I thought I had wrapped up the series – all loose ends nicely wrapped up, thank you very much.  But Rami, the fifteen year-old Egyptian boy serving as an acolyte in the Temple of Set had other plans.

You see, when I refused to listen to him rattling around in my head, he went behind my back.  That’s right, he started talking to Idris.  If you have visited my blog or website, you know that Idris is my writing partner.  I freed him from captivity at the Medieval Times gift shop and he now sits perched on my desk, overseeing my writing.

Tender is the KnightIdris, like most dragons, is extremely well-read and believes himself to be an authority on most topics – especially writing fantasy novels.  He frequently criticizes my dialogue, and when I try to ignore him I am rewarded with singed fingertips.  Mercurial on his best days, he is not always helpful.  One recent discussion went something like this:

“What do you think I should write next?” I asked.

“What do you want to write next?” was his caustic reply.

“You’re not helping, Idris,” I responded testily.  “I need an idea for a new story.

“Hmph,” he snorted, blowing smoke rings in my face.  “Think of your own ideas, human.

Realizing he was in a *mood* I dropped the subject and decided to await inspiration.  That is when Rami started whispering inside my imagination.  He thought the world should hear his story – about what happened after the events in ‘Rise of the Shadow.’

I wasn’t so sure.  So, I did what any good writer would do, and ignored him, hoping my rather fickle muse would find inspiration elsewhere.  The next time I sat down at the computer however, Idris decided to chime in.

“Your next story shall be about Rami,” he said in a matter of fact tone.

“What?”  I replied incredulously.  “No, absolutely not.  I want to write something… different.”

“His story needs to be told,” he responded icily.  “You have started him down a dark path, and it needs resolution.”

“But…”

“You heard me.”

*sigh*  “Fine.”

And so, not one to argue with one as wise as Idris [he made me write that…], I am now about 7,000 words into what is becoming a new novel focused on Rami.

Several new characters have been introduced, including Amirah, the sixteen year-old daughter of a caravan leader.  She is a fierce warrior with a head for business, having been raised by her father on the trade routes to the east.  She is accompanied by her bodyguard, a burly, foul-tempered hobgoblin named Halvar.  Readers will also get to see more of the dragon Shai’tan, or ‘Firestorm’ as he is known among humans, who was first introduced in the short story ‘The Amaranthine Flask.’

I’ve no idea how long it will be, or even how it will end.  I’m just letting the story take me along.

Michael

The Next Big Thing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 3, 2012 by Michael Radcliffe

My friend and fellow author, Maria Savva, was kind enough to tag me in a challenge called The Next Big Thing.  As this gives me an excuse to write, I owe her a ‘thank you’ for extending the invitation. 🙂

The rules of the challenge are:

  1. Answer 10 questions about my current WIP (Work-In-Progress)
  2.  Tag five other writers and link their blogs so we can all hop over and read their answers.

The questions are:

  1. What is the working title of your book?
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This is going to be fun!  So here are my answers:

1.  My upcoming novel is called, ‘Rise of the Shadow’.  I won’t say that is a ‘working title’ as I am 99% certain about it.  Previously it was going to be called ‘Blackstone’ after a character that was going to be in it, however my story has completely changed now – for the better, I hope.

2.  Oddly enough, the idea for this book came from my previous two books.  There were simply too many loose ends that I felt needed to be explained – plus I knew I could have some fun exploring a couple of minor characters from the first two books.

3.  Genre:  Unfortunately, since dragons have not decided to show themselves in real life, this book would be categorized as ‘fantasy’.

4.  Who would play my characters in a movie?  Sadly, I have given this a LOT of thought – as I find that when I am writing, I actually picture the characters in my mind’s eye.  As a result, I draw from television and movies to ‘cast’ my novels as it where so they can take place in my imagination while I am striving to get the words on the page.  So here they are, in no particular order:

Dame Judi Dench, would play Ms. Hoskins

John Rhys-Davies would be perfect as Acamar Wycroft

 

Alfred Molina would excel as Alexander Ducat

Catherine Zeta Jones would be cast as Nisha Black

Ian McShane would voice Nekk’ar, the dragon spirit

Benedict Cumberbatch would play Keegan Whitestone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  A one sentence synopsis of my book is:  How do you stop a murder, five-thousand years in the past?

6.  To quote my friend, Maria Savva, “I am self publishing this book.  Indie authors are the best!”  Besides, I’m just not sure the mainstream publishers are quite up to my standards. 😉

7.  How long did it take?  Well, I’m not done yet, if that tells you anything.  I started writing in earnest about April, and it is now August and I’m done with eight chapters.  My hope is to have it finished, edited and polished by January 2013. (fingers crossed)

8.  I would compare this to ‘The Ring of Solomon’ by Jonathan Stroud, I think.  Although with the dragons and other magical elements, they could probably be compared with the ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Eragon’ series as well.

9.  Although I thought I wanted to continue the series with a third book, I must credit my friend, Maria Savva, for helping push me over the proverbial edge, as it were.  In her review and comments on book two ‘Bloodstone – The Guardian’s Curse’, she commented that she felt the ending left open the possibility for a third book.  When I read her review, that comment reaffirmed to me that a third book was needed to wrap everything up.

10.  In this novel, you will learn much more about the mild mannered caretaker, Ms. Hoskins.  You will also learn the origins of the most feared necromancer to ever walk the Earth.

Okay, here are the 5 authors who I would like to challenge:

1.  Joel Kirkpatrick

2.  Lindsay Buroker

3.  Maeve Greyson

4.  R J McDonnell

5.  Al Boudreau

Rise of the Shadow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 23, 2012 by Michael Radcliffe

In my research for Book Three of the ‘Beyond the Veil’ series, I stumbled across an ancient, tattered scroll.  It was difficult to read, and it appears to have been written in dragon’s blood.  I’m not certain, but I believe it may be an excerpt from the diary of Oriannus, the very first necromancer to darken our world.

…In the time of the great pharaohs, the gods first came to our world.  The light and the dark – each trying to best the other – had named our world as neutral territory.  It was decided they would live in peace among us, teaching us their ways, until we were ready to choose a path – and a side.

Arriving through a great disk of light in the sky, they settled amid the drifting sands of Sakkara.  Their arrival unleashed the power of the universe on our planet, the energy that is all around us and is known by man as ‘magic’.  They have taught mankind how to recognize magic, to see beyond the mere physical senses, and to shape and use the energy.  It was with this knowledge that man first became aware of the magical creatures living amongst us all this time.  No longer were imps, pixies, haggles and mongers hidden from our sight.  No longer were the dragons a shadowy mystery.  Many men fear this new power, but they are merely ignorant fools.  I have embraced it, and the universe has opened before my eyes!

The new gods have smiled upon our pharaohs, helping them become even more rich and powerful.  One of the gods, Horus, has even become the royal sorcerer to his highness,  Semerkhet the First.  I have learned much from this strange visitor, this traveler from beyond.  Yet I shall learn even more through his death, for I have discovered how to kill a god.  His rival, Set, the great god of chaos, has taught me many secrets, among them how to conquer death – and therefore mankind.  Dominion over the darkness is my destiny, and with it I shall destroy them all.  So it is written, so shall it be.

Mirrikh Oriannus
Master of Shadow