Maria Savva's Blog - Posts Tagged "michael-radcliffe"

As a short story writer, I am thrilled to discover that there is such a thing as National Short Story Month! I found out today from my good friend and fellow author, Stacy Juba, who has a free short story available for download on Smashwords entitled, 'Laundry Day'. I've read some of Stacy's work and would encourage you all to download this story; it's bound to be good, she's a very talented writer.

The short story seems to be getting more popular these days because people live busy lives and often don't have the time or energy to really get into a novel. A good short story can be a really satisfying way to end the day. You can read a whole story in one sitting, without having to wonder what happens next, or worry about forgetting important facts by the time you next sit down to read it.

I am an avid reader as well as a writer, and I used to only read novels, but have recently been finding that I enjoy short stories and short story collections just as much.

I'm very happy that short stories seem to be making a come back because I love writing them as well as reading them.

To celebrate short story month, I thought I would recommend a few short stories and collections that I have read and enjoyed in recent years. I hope you will choose one or two of them to read. (I've included quotes from my reviews of the stories, you can read my full reviews on the relevant pages).

In no particular order:

Forsaken by J. Michael Radcliffe

With this short story, Michael Radcliffe is introducing the world of the Guardian's Apprentice, his fantasy novel... If you like books about witches, wizards, magic, curses etc., you will love this story. It kept me interested and I loved the little twists contained within it. Nisha wants to save her father, a powerful Wizard who is dying. Will she be able to find the stone that will cure him, and at what cost?

The First Kill by Darcia Helle

A skillfully written crime short story, taking a minor character from Darcia's Michael Sykora series of novels, and giving him the spotlight. Sean Riley is a man with a dark past and this story shows just what effect his past has had on the way he now lives his life. If you like crime fiction, you'll love the way Darcia Helle writes. This character oozes pure evil, and the dialogue-driven prose helps to give the reader the impression that they are a fly on the wall witnessing this brutal scene. Definitely not a story for the fainthearted!

Losing Addison by Marty Beaudet

More of a novelette, but still a quick read :)
A psychological thriller exploring schizophrenia and the unexplained bond between twins. It's a story that will have you glued to the page. The suspense is well constructed and made me want to continue reading until I found out what was happening. The story unravels bit by bit, slowly revealing the reasons behind the characters' behaviour. Beaudet drip feeds the information in the most effective way, with flashback scenes and high drama. A wonderfully entertaining story. I'd recommend it to everyone who likes a good suspenseful thriller.

Oblivious by Neil Schiller

(collection of short stories)
This is a book that will give you a fly on the wall look at ordinary lives and the common scars and ties that bind us. It will reveal to you the hidden side of life, the side most people will never reveal, and of which we are usually oblivious.

A Valentine for Victoria by Lainey Bancroft

Those who love a good romance story will love 'A Valentine For Victoria'. It's a sweet story about how an unlikely couple fall in love. Apart from being a story about how love can blossom in unexpected ways, this story has more depth; it looks at the feelings of insecurity that come with loneliness, that can make us reach out to someone who may or may not be ideal... An underlying theme to this story seems to be 'never judge a book by its cover', and it reminds us that sometimes what we've been looking for has been there all along, but we just don't see it for one reason or another. An entertaining read.

Mannequin A Short Story by Susan Helene Gottfried

A wonderful, well written story, about a young girl and her father, who doesn't always live up to her ideal. She has created a fantasy figure in her mind of what a real father should behave like. The mannequin in an expensive store looks just right for the part. One day, her world changes when a mystery man appears and challenges her view of the world. An insightful and interesting read.

Road Markers by Jason McIntyre

A story that many will relate to. Dean is a 40 something sales rep who is tired of his humdrum life and job, and of the things in his life, like the road markers, that keep him hemmed in. He wants to break free. In the past he has had suicidal thoughts. We follow him on a ride along a dark highway as he deliberates about the consequences that would follow if he were to cross that line and end it all. His mind meanders like the twists and turns of the highway and McIntytre keeps the reader hooked with many a diversion in this skillfully structured short story. A recommended read.

The Heroes & Other Stories by Kat Hausler
(collection of stories)

'The Heroes and Other Stories'is a well composed collection of short stories. Kat Hausler has a wonderful talent for describing and portraying the nuances of human behaviour. For me this collection included absolute gems... Two stories in particular stood out for me, in that they grabbed my attention from the first page and would not let go: 'Peripeteia' and 'La Fee Noire'... I loved the ending of the first story 'What Makes Us Happy', a study of self-imposed loneliness; the ending is very fitting and thought-provoking, and that is one of the better stories in the collection too. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of short fiction. Many of the stories are so intricately detailed that I am sure I would enjoy reading them again and again. This is a promising debut from a talented author.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

A man wakes up one day to find he has been changed into a large insect/beetle. The story follows his efforts to deal with this, and his family's reaction to the change. But it's not just a story about a man turning into a beetle, it's a clever way of writing about how a family would deal with the main breadwinner in the house becoming unable to work, and also on a wider scope, the way a family (and the world at large) reacts to someone who is disabled, or terminally ill... The once able and hard-working man, transformed into a beetle, is now rejected, and his family blame him for their financial situation and the fact that they cannot move to a smaller house, because they need to have a room to keep him in.
The descriptive quality of the writing is excellent, and although it is a sad and gruesome tale, it is also very funny in parts; I couldn't help laughing out loud a couple of times... The main thing that struck me, was that even though this story is nearly 100 years old, it is still totally relevant to today's world.

Mourning Doves and other stories. by Tom Upton

(collection of stories)

Tom Upton's talent seems to lie in being able to grab the reader's attention and draw them into the story, and most importantly to keep the reader's interest. There are many believeable and well-observed/developed characters in these tales... My personal favourites are, 'The Hanging Boy', which I felt was particularly insightful, and, 'Life Along the Okie-dokie Highway'...
I enjoyed reading this book and it's definitely a collection worth reading.

Without Feathers by Woody Allen

(collection of stories and plays)

This book is hilarious. If you like Woody Allen's humour I would highly recommend it. It's totally ridiculous, but brilliant at the same time — which sums up Woody Allen as a comedian. This is a book to make you laugh out loud. It's a collection of short essays, short plays and other strange observations... If you want a giggle you should pick up this book.

Deliveries A Collection by Richard Yee

I have to start this review with a word of warning: you have to read with an open mind, and I would not recommend this collection of stories to anyone who is of a nervous disposition or who dislikes graphic descriptions of sex and violence, or who has an aversion to the use of swearwords. With that out of the way, I have to say that on the whole, I really enjoyed reading this collection. The author is a very talented writer and has a fantastic imagination. He has created many interesting and compelling tales... The stories are written about the darker side of life and some are frightening, some shocking. All the tales will make you think. Most, if not all, are controversial... definitely a book which you will want to read to the end.

And now, of course, I have to mention my own short story collections :)
I have three collections

Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales) by Maria Savva

A diverse collection of short stories, dealing with subjects such as love, luck, loss, and other things beginning with L (LOL).

Pieces of a Rainbow by Maria Savva

A themed collection of stories. 7 stories, each one inspired by a different colour of the rainbow.

Fusion by Maria Savva

My latest collection. Contains ghost stories, love stories and even a bit of sci-fi :)

I hope you will find some short stories to enjoy, and perhaps you'll be persuaded, like I was, that short stories can be just as much fun to read as novels.

Happy National Short Story Month!!
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The BestsellerBound Anthologies, Volumes 1 & 2 are now both FREE on Amazon Kindle!

Get your copies by clicking the links below:

Volume 1 on Amazon US

Volume 2 on Amazon US

Volume 1 on Amazon UK

Volume 2 is still priced at 86p on Amazon UK, but we are hopeful it will be available free in the near future. UK readers can download a free kindle version from

Here are the list of contents:

Volume 1:
Wish Upon A Star by Lainey Bancroft
Tears For Hesh by J. Michael Radcliffe
You Can Call Me Ari by Darcia Helle
Flames by Maria Savva
Minor Details by Jaleta Clegg
Ice Cream Man by Neil Schiller
No Eyes But Mine Shall See by Sharon E. Cathcart
The First Texas Twister by Magnolia Belle
Shadow Lantern by Gareth Lewis
Stained by Amy Saunders

Volume 2:
1. What Was Lost by James Sophi
2. The Art of Breathing by Jaime McDougall
3. Soul Windows by Jaleta Clegg
4. I Didn't Know His Name by Darcia Helle
5. Red Route by James Everington
6. Make A Wish by Susan Helene Gottfried
7. The Last Chance Motel and Mausoleum by Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick
8. Isolation by Maria Savva
9. Beyond The Green Hills by Tom Gahan
10. From Joy We Come, Unto Joy We Return by Ami Blackwelder

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I've just seen an email saying that 7th-13th November 2011 is National Short Story Week in the UK. The website associated with that email has a list of recommended reads for National Short Story Week. The list is, frankly, predictable and boring (sorry). It includes 'classics' and books published by big publishing companies. In my opinion, those books have enough publicity; we don't need a Short Story Week to promote them. We do, however, need to have a Short Story Week that celebrates up and coming talent, and hard working Independent and self-published writers. Those writers DO need extra publicity because their books are often ignored.

Here's an alternative list of short stories and anthologies recommended by me. I urge you to read these authors. Many of them have now become good friends of mine, but that is NOT the only reason I am promoting them. I simply LOVE their writing, and I only got to know them AFTER reading their work. There are some seriously good stories here. Click on the book covers for more details:

The Shelter by James Everington The First Kill by Darcia Helle Quiet Fury An Anthology of Suspense by Darcia Helle BestsellerBound Short Story Anthology Volume 2 by Darcia Helle Bestseller Bound Anthology (Volume 1) by Darcia Helle Road Markers by Jason McIntyre Dark That Day, After All (Nights Gone By) by Jason McIntyre Laundry Day (Short Story Plus Stacy Juba Mystery Sampler) by Stacy Juba Mannequin A Short Story by Susan Helene Gottfried The Other Room by James Everington Figments by Julie Elizabeth Powell Oblivious by Neil Schiller To Begin Again by Jen Knox Forsaken by J. Michael Radcliffe
First Time Buyers by James Everington

The following are my own short story collections:
Fusion by Maria Savva Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales) by Maria Savva Pieces of a Rainbow by Maria Savva
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My good friend and fellow author, Darcia Helle, didn't think I had enough to do on a Monday, so she decided to tag me in a challenge called The Next Big Thing. I do actually love these challenges, so a big thanks to Darcia.

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?

So, here we go...

1. My upcoming novel is called, 'Haunted'. It's not a working title, it will be the actual title. The working title was '3 Crimes', then that changed when the book changed direction, to 'Aftermath', but then that changed to the current title, which I think fits the story well.

2. The idea came from a road rage incident. It also encapsulates something that I had wanted to write about ever since seeing a news story on TV about 8 years ago. I know I am being very vague here, but I don't want to give too much away.

3. The genre: the short answer is I don't believe in genres, it is too restrictive for a creative person to be limited to one genre. The book has elements of crime fiction, psychological thriller, literary fiction, contemporary fiction, drama, and is paranormal-esque.

4. Who would play my characters in a movie? My main character, Nigel, is British, but I would love someone like Robin Williams to play him, as he is so talented and roughly the right age. For the female lead, Emily, maybe someone like Kate Winslett.

5. A one sentence synopsis of my book is: Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

6. I am self publishing this book. Indie authors are the best!

7. I actually don't remember how long it took to write the first draft, maybe about 6 months. I started writing it in January 2011, and it was written in pen, rather than directly onto the computer. I then spent ages typing up the draft. A few months ago, I finished the first couple of edits and sent it to an editor Susan Helene Gottfried (who is also an author friend of mine).

8. I don't know which books I would compare this story to, but can say that it was partly inspired by a Stephen King short film that I saw about 20 years ago, and also by the excellent movie A Beautiful Mind.

9. Who inspired me to write this book? I would have to say that the indie writers I have read over the past few years have been a big inspiration to me. By reading so many diverse and great novels and stories, I have become more confident in experimenting with different genres. I think that when I wrote Cutting The Fat with Jason McIntyre, it made me realise that writing crime fiction was something that I might be able to do. Also, I have recently blamed Darcia Helle for causing me to lean towards writing more crime fiction as her books are so good!

10. What else about my book might pique a reader's interest? When my editor read it, her comment was 'Man, this is dark stuff'... so if you like dark fiction, you may be intrigued now :)

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

1. Michael Radcliffe

2. Julie Elizabeth Powell

3. Susan Buchanan

4. Dionne Lister

5. Quentin Bufogle

I know all of those authors have a work-in-progress which I am very much looking forward to read!
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The last two questions in my "Getting to know you" video podcast interview produced by Darcia Helle, are now up on You Tube.

In episode 4 find out what inspires my writing, and in episode 5 you can find out my favourite rainy day activities.

Here are the links:

Episode 4:

Episode 5:

You can check out the whole series as well as other author interviews, including J. Michael Radcliffe and Sylvia Massara, at the BestsellerBound You Tube Channel.

Darcia Helle also produces book trailers on the channel, featuring books by talented indie authors, so if you're looking for Christmas gifts for the book lover in your life, I would recommend you browse through some of those videos for ideas.

Bestsellerbound, You Tube Channel:
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Published on December 10, 2012 06:37 • 249 views • Tags: authors, bestsellerbound, darcia-helle, getting-to-know-you, interview, michael-radcliffe, podcast, sylvia-massara, video