Wednesday 27 June 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Geoff Habiger

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author Geoff Habiger.

Geoff was raised in the shadow of roaring lions and peacock calls in Manhattan...Kansas, not New York, living behind the city's zoo. Growing up Geoff loved exploring the woods around his home, sneaking into the zoo (don't tell anybody), and playing baseball and Dungeons & Dragons. He and his best friend, Coy Kissee, would spend hours reading comics, playing all sorts of role-playing games, and talking about books and movies. Geoff stayed in Manhattan for college, getting a B.S. degree in Geology at Kansas State University (Go Cats!). He then attended gradual school in Bozeman, Montana where he didn't graduate but did meet his future wife, so that worked out well. 

In 2004 Geoff began two new (though very much part-time) careers in publishing, one as a senior partner in the independent book publishing company, Artemesia Publishing, and the other in a game publishing company, Tangent Games, started with Coy. Through Tangent Games Geoff and Coy have published dozens of role-playing books and a few card games. Geoff published his first book, the Dinosaur Learning Activity Book, a children's colouring and activity book about dinosaurs, through Artemesia Publishing in 2008. His first novels, Unremarkable and Wrath of the Fury Blade, co-written with Coy, were published in 2018. 

Geoff currently resides in the wilds of the Monzano mountains, east of Albuquerque, with his wife, son, and two cats. His is currently working on sequels to both of the novels already published.

What kind of books do you write?

I write stories that turn the normal into the unexpected. This might be a normal person thrown into extraordinary situations (Unremarkable) or take a traditional genre and turn it on its side (Wrath of the Fury Blade). I loved the stories of the Twilight Zone and similar writings, so anything that can add a twist to give the reader an unexpected outcome is what I am after.

Can you describe your writing why?

To be a story-teller. I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head and I want to share them with everybody. For me, it is about sharing the worlds and the characters I am creating with others. 

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most.

Kind of a long-ish section from our novel, Wrath of the Fury Blade. This shows a lot of our main character’s (Reva Lunaria) personality.

Reva reached for the hot cacao, letting the heat from the porcelain cup warm her fingers. She breathed deeply, the aroma wafting around her silver-red hair. She was just about to take a sip, when someone stepped in front of her table, blocking the morning light. 
“Whoever the hell you are, you have two breaths to move.” Her voice was quiet and filled with implied menace, but the person didn’t move. Reva looked up in annoyance, her turquoise eyes piercing through the person who dared disturb her morning ritual. 
A young Constable—he couldn’t have been more than forty-seven or forty-eight years of age—stood before her. He had long, hickory-brown hair and rather plain, muddy brown eyes. His right hand was clenched in a fist over his heart in salute. His uniform was sharp and neat, a green leather vest over a pale green wool shirt, brown trousers, and green puttee wrapped around his ankles and calves. He wore dark blue bracers on both forearms, with red trim and a birch leaf tooled into the leather, indicating his assignment to Betula Division. They were the patrol officers, walking their rounds throughout the city to protect and assist the citizens. 
Reva continued to stare hard at the Constable over the cup of cacao still poised at her lips. The Constable was beginning to wither under her stare.  
“C…Constable Inspector Lunaria,” he finally stammered. “First Constable Aescel demands your immediate presence in his office.” 
“No.” Reva took a long sip of the cacao—now merely warm—and had the small pleasure of seeing the Constable’s eyes go wide.  
“I plan on spending today in rest and relaxation, since I damn well earned it.” She set the cup down.  
“But Constable Inspector, the First Constable sent me personally to get you. He said it was most urgent and I was to, quote, Get her ass here without fail unquote.” 
Reva sighed. So much for my day off. “Very well, proceed.” She gestured to the Constable with her hand.  
“The First Constable said ‘immediate’ and ‘urgent.’ I assume you are prepared to gate us there with your magic.” 
“Uh…no, ma’am.” The Constable’s right hand finally dropped the salute. 
“No?” Reva raised her voice slightly and glared at him. “You aren’t prepared to use your magic, or are you unwilling?” She pointed a finger at him. “I should report you for dereliction of duty.” 
“No, Inspector!” The Constable almost yelped with dread. “I’m not a magic user. I was ordered to find you and bring you to the First Constable. I tried at your home and your mother—” 
“You went to my home and bothered my mother?” She was working very hard now to hide her smile. How green was this Constable? 
“Yes, ma’am... I mean, no, ma’am.” The Constable licked his lips and looked around for help. The other patrons were all staring at him, clearly on Reva’s side. He took a breath and said, “I mean that I went to your home on the First Constable’s orders and your mother was kind enough to say that you’d be here.” 
Reva smiled inwardly; he’d recovered nicely. “So you didn’t bother my mother and you are not a magic user?” 
“Yes, ma’am.” 
“Good.” Reva picked up her cup of cacao—now barely warm—and took a drink. “I can finish my breakfast, then.” 
 “But, Inspector,” he whined slightly, starting to panic. “The First Constable told me to bring you immediately. He was most insistent and said he’d kick me out of the Constabulary if I failed.” 
Reva picked up her fork and took another bite of her sweet roll, cocking her head in thought. She desperately wanted her day off, but if Aescel had threatened this moss-behind-the-ears Constable to find her on her day off, it could only mean that something serious had happened. Damnit. 
She took a long pull on the cacao, draining the cup before setting it down. Picking up the sweet roll she stood up and motioned to the Constable. “Very well, Constable. Let’s not keep the First Constable waiting.” 

Tell us about your latest project.

I am in the middle of the first edit for Untouchable, the sequel to our first book, Unremarkable. Unremarkable is the story of Saul Imbierowicz, a postal worker who is just an ordinary guy living in 1929 Chicago. He’s got a great girlfriend, Moira, and a good job. But on the day of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre he gets caught between the gunfight and Moira is killed. Saul is suddenly thrust between Chicago’s two biggest gangsters – “Bugs” Moran and Al Capone, and the Feds. Everybody wants something from him and they are willing to threaten Saul’s parents and sister to get it. If that wasn’t bad enough Saul then learns that vampires are not just the stuff of myth and legend.

Without giving away any spoilers from Unremarkable, book two focuses on Saul as he begins working for the Treasury Department and Eliot Ness as they try to take down Al Capone. The action in Untouchable moves from Chicago to Atlantic City as Saul tries to stop the notorious gangster. And, there are more vampires involved – a lot more. 

My co-author and I hope to have Untouchable ready for release in 2019 – hopefully, in time for the major comic cons we will be attending. 

What is your favourite cake?

Oh, now you ask the hard questions. LOL I like all kinds of cake but if I had to pick I would say that my favorite is Black Forest Cake, though a quick second would be German chocolate cake. 

For the baking inclined reader, here is a recipe for the great Mary Berry's Black Forest Gateau which is a little more tricky but will be well worth the effort, I'm sure!

You can keep in touch with Geoff across social media:

Twitter: @TangentGeoff

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author B.K. Bass, grilling them gently about their writing life and of course sharing their favourite cake.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Summer Dreaming

Summer Dreaming - Little Book of Verse, Volume 2, is now available to buy in eBook and paperback on Amazon.

I took inspiration from my experience of living on the British coastline for the first time. The popularity for stripping off and baking yourself under the hot sun still astounds me but I cannot deny that living near the beach is just lovely. 

It has apparently been scientifically proven that people who live by the coast are generally happier than those who don't. And I must say, there is something about being next to tidal waters that help to bring you back to your own equilibrium. 

Having lived through the splendid autumn, bitterly cold winter and rather wet spring, it is a pleasure to be experiencing the sunshine. And yes I have been burnt, several times so far. It's that sea breeze! It's sneaky. 

I'm also running again. How can you not when the promenade is right there? The view, the tranquillity, the seagulls, the boats bobbing - it really is the best place I've lived so far. If you cannot move to the coast then I urge you to at least come and visit this summertime. Your soul will thank you for it. 

This book of poetry joins the first in the collection, Little Book of Verse, Volume 1 and Spring Fling, a series of poems written for NaPoWriMo.

As always, if you read one of mine or indeed any indie author book, please take a moment to leave a review. It really does make all the difference.

Claire Buss is a sci-fi, fantasy & humorous writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

A Slice of Cake With... C H Clepitt

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author and sparkly badger, C H Clepitt, who is also my co-host on our weekly twitter hour #sparklybadgersunite on a Monday evening at 9pm UK time.

C H Clepitt has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of the West of England. As her Bachelor’s Degree was in Drama, and her Master’s Dissertation focused on little known 18th Century playwright Susannah Centlivre, Clepitt’s novels are extremely dialogue driven, and it has often been observed that they would translate well to the screen.
Since graduating in 2007, she gained experience in community and music journalism, before establishing satirical news website, Newsnibbles in 2010. In 2011 she published her book, A Reason to Stay, which follows the adventures of disillusioned retail manager, Stephen, as he is thrust into village life and the world of AmDram. Clepitt’s feminist fantasy, The Book of Abisan not only crosses worlds, but confuses genres, and has been described as a crime drama with magic. She has often said that she doesn’t like the way that choosing a genre forces you to put your book into a specific little box, and instead she prefers to distort the readers’ expectations and keep them guessing. Her 2016 work, I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse does just that, as just like the characters, the readers won’t know what’s going on in this laugh out loud satirical sci-fi.
What kind of books do you write?

I write fast-paced character-driven stories that you won’t be able to put down.  They are funny and poignant and exciting and a bit clever, even if I do say so myself!

Can you describe your writing why?

I write because I have something to say.  Ideas keep coming, and if I didn’t write them down I’d go mad.  I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t write.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most.

That’s really tough because I’m a fickle beast, and enjoy every book as I write it!  Here’s a section from Curtain Call, which I’m very proud of. I wouldn’t say this is my favourite section, but it’s a good bit to show you what it’s about without giving too much away.

It’s my wedding anniversary, Eleanor! Of course I have to go! What the hell do you want from me?”

You know what I want, Buni!” Eleanor’s voice cracked as though she was on the verge of tears. “I want you to leave him! For Christ’s sake! You don’t love him, why do you stay when all he does is hurt you?”

I’m not going through this with you again, Eleanor! It’s complicated! I’ve built an entire life, and you want me to throw that away. For what?”

You know what? You’re right!” Eleanor’s voice became louder. “You shouldn’t throw it away.  I think you should be very happy, but without me, I deserve better!”

Grow up, Eleanor! Stop having a tantrum. If you knew what an adult relationship was…”

Buni was cut off by Jen falling through the door.

Sorry, no hands,” she offered weakly.

Never mind,” Eleanor wiped furiously at her cheeks with the palm of her hand.  Her eyes were red as she approached Jen and took the coffee from her. She was now wearing a white flannel bathrobe and her wet hair hung loosely at her shoulders. “What are we having?” She forced a smile.

Latte and flapjack.” Jen looked nervously between the two women. “The raisins make it one of your five a day, I’m reliably informed…”

Must be true, then.” Eleanor swigged her coffee and turned away from the scene as though exhausted.

Who the hell are you?” Buni broke the awkwardness, causing Jen to jump.

I’m Jen…”

Do me a favour and fuck off, Jen,” Buni snapped. She was a small woman, only about five foot five in her stiletto heels, and her tight black pinstriped suit fitted in all the right places. She did not look her age, but she presented a confidence that her commands were frequently obeyed.

Do no such thing!” Eleanor responded. “You wanted me to have a bloody P.A. - I’ve got one. Now, piss off, I have to get ready for the dress!”

You’re behaving like a child, Eleanor,” Buni’s voice softened. “Of course I’d rather be with you, you know that. He’s… difficult…  It’s… complicated…”

Maybe I’m tired of complicated, Buni…” Eleanor dropped, defeated into a chair.

Jen realised she had been clinging to the flapjack incredibly tightly, and placed the misshapen packet awkwardly onto the table, with the twenty pound note next to it.

You didn’t pay, did you?” Eleanor glanced up. “I can’t imagine Bill gives you money to throw away.”

Oh, no,” Jen had begun picking at her cuticles awkwardly. “My friend owns the coffee shop, he was so excited when I said I was working with you, he gave us free coffee.”

Fan, is he?” Buni looked up.  There was something sheepish about her expression now.  

We both are,” Jen chewed at the loose piece of skin around her index finger.

That’s nice.” Buni reached into her bag and pulled out a fifty pound note. “Here, I’m sorry I was rude to you, it’s been a stressful day.”

Oh, no, that’s alright,” Jen did not reach to take the money. “I’m paid, I don’t need tips.”

Well, perhaps your friend in the coffee shop would like it.” Buni put the money on the table next to the twenty. “I’ll call you later, Eleanor, we can talk.” She left without waiting for a reply.

Tell us about your latest project?

My latest project?  As in my WIP? Well, it’s an urban fantasy called “My Dream Woman”, about a woman who discovers her dreams are more than they appear.  I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s lots of action, and I will get in as many badger references as I can. Watch this space.

What is your favourite cake?

Can’t I have all the cake?  If you force me I’ll go with salted caramel, or red velvet, or lemon drizzle, or Victoria sponge, or...

Oooh, salted caramel is one of my favourites! For the baking inclined reader, here is a recipe for a delicious salted caramel poke cake from Good Food. 

You can keep in touch with C H Clepitt across social media:

Facebook: @chclepitt

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author Geoff Habiger, grilling them gently about their writing life and of course sharing their favourite cake.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

Claire Buss is a sci-fi, fantasy & humorous writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Sunday 17 June 2018

My Desk is a Mess

This is my desk. 

Not exactly the most inspiring thing you've ever seen, I'll bet. And yet when I first brought the desk and got my beloved to put it together, I was so excited to have my own little writers nook. I was going to get so much done. Words would happen.

But as you can see, it soon became a dumping ground for writer-esque bits and bobs. There are some very good ideas scribbled on scraps of paper in there. As well as last year's diary. And at least 15 copies of Writers Magazine. 

It has become a hotspot of dumping. A black hole of clutter, drawing into itself more and more essential pieces of paper that one day, I'll have time to look at.

I am completely tempted to sweep it all into the bin and just start afresh. The messy pile has become a source of guilt. It has also become prey for the procrastination demon who assures me that if I just spent a little bit of time sorting it all out, not only would I have a clean desk but my mind would feel decluttered. And then I'd be able to write. 

Well... be that as it may, I wrote over 5k yesterday, perched on the edge of an armchair. Bolstered by tea, cookies and Classic FM I got a lot done. But the desk remains a blot on my copybook.

So I caved in. I cleared everything off it and dusted it and am now sat at said desk, typing this blog post. It feels strange. And yes, I still have the pile of stuff to sort through but maybe that can be tomorrow's problem.

Claire Buss is a sci-fi, fantasy & humorous writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Wednesday 13 June 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Rob Edwards

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author, Rob Edwards.

Rob is a British born writer and podcaster, currently living in Finland.  His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and excerpts from longer work.  His work can also be found in the anthologies Tales from the UndergroundTales from the Universe, Tales from Alternate Earths and Tales of Wonder published by Inklings Press.

His greatest geek pride is his entry on wookieepediathe result of writing several Star Wars RPG scenarios back in the day.

What kind of books do you write?

My first is in ‘fun’ but not in ‘run’. My second is in ‘family’ but not in ‘fomily’… In fact, I’ve not really settled into a single genre yet. My published short stories are pretty varied. My two novels-in-progress… Well, I guess they are both about people finding that the world, and they themselves, are not quite what they always believed. Both have exciting action and occasional silly comedy moments, one has magic and demons, the other aliens and superheroes.

Can you describe your writing 'why'?

Crikey, these questions are tough, I was hoping for questions about cake. Um. Why do I write? Because I enjoy telling stories. Yuk. That seems a little trite, even to me.

But, when I say telling stories, I mean that in the literal, verbal sense. Everything I write is designed to be read aloud, I view writing as a performance art (hence my podcast (and why one of my toughest jobs when I edit is culling my various parenthetical asides (like this))).

I first caught the writing bug as a child reading a story I’d written to the class. I remember the reaction now, it was a story (okay, I was like six, it wasn’t much more than a paragraph) about a ghost, and I’d written a character talking with a stutter like Shaggy in Scooby Doo. “A g-g-g-ghost?” My classmates loved it. Probably. In fact, I don’t really remember how they reacted, but I remember my feeling about the way they reacted, and that feeling was awesome.

Ever since, one way or another, I like to entertain with words, preferably spoken aloud.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most.

That’s tricky, as the bits I enjoy writing the most are usually the big twists or reveals, and not only don’t I want to spoil anything, out of context they would be far less interesting. But here’s something from my current work in progress. It’s part of an advert our protagonist is watching as he begins to realise just what he’s gotten himself into:

"But maybe you're worried that you're not 'special' enough to become a superhero?” Hawk said, looking serious. “Maybe your parents weren't murdered in an alley? Perhaps you've never been bitten by a radioactive anything? Perhaps when you tried to build yourself power armour you found you couldn't move in it, let alone fly?

"Well, we say 'phooey' to that. It's a big galaxy. Somewhere in it, whatever you can do, whatever you are, is special, and here at the Justice Academy, we will help you find that place. And you don't have to be rocketed there as a baby, or even have your home planet explode.

"So... you want to be a space alien superhero? Join me, Captain Hawk, at the Justice Academy, and before you know it... you will be!"

Tell us all about your latest project.

My latest project, where you can find the most about me, generally, is my monthly podcast, StorycastRob. On it you will find readings of my stories, the first twelve chapters of my book Writ in Blood and Silver and more recently readings from other Indy authors, including a few strangely close to this interview. Writ is about demons stalking the London Underground and starts on episode 10 of the podcast. It’s all completely free, you can find it on i-tunes or straight from me at

What is your favourite cake?

At last! Cake-adjacent interrogation. My favourite cake that I make is probably my Lemon Drizzle, it’s soft, moist, sweet and sharp, yum. I live in Finland now, and their cakes are… not like the ones I grew up with. But there’s a rather nice nougat cake that a local cafĂ© does which is rather delicious. Oh! And I must remember my wife’s chocolate cake, and my mum’s walnut cake.

An excellent cake choice, thank you Rob! For those in the baking mood, here is a lovely recipe for Lemon Drizzle Cake which I guarantee will have your taste buds tingling. 

You can keep in touch with Rob across social media ~ follow him on Twitter @StorycastRob ~ like him on ~ read his blog ~ listen to his podcast StorycastRob

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author C H Clepitt, grilling them gently about their writing life and of course sharing their favourite cake.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

Claire Buss is a sci-fi, fantasy & humorous writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

A Slice of Cake With...

Welcome to my new Wednesday feature!

Every week I will be having a slice of cake with a fellow indie author, grilling them gently about their writing life and of course sharing their favourite cake.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

It wouldn't be cricket if I didn't answer my own questions so for the first instalment I give you - A Slice of Cake With Myself!

1. Describe the types of books you write.

I write a real mixture of things but I think it all boils down to a slightly amused look at people - the things they say, they things they do and how funny they can be. I don't intentionally tackle big topics but The Gaia Effect reflects my own passion for the environment and how we can still try to do more good than harm. As a writer, you write what you know and as a person, I'm more of an observer than a doer so watch out - I might put you in a book!

2. Describe your why. 

I write because I love words. I love reading. I love being imaginative and creating interesting people, seeing how they react to things. Mostly, I listen to the character voices in my head and write until they tell me to stop. The biggest compliment I can have is to know that someone has read my book and it made them laugh or cry or get really, really mad. Then I know I got it right.

3. Share your favourite paragraph/section from the book you enjoyed writing the most.

I have really enjoyed writing The Rose Thief and especially the character Jenni, a rather grubby looking yet powerful sprite. Here's a snippet:
 The smell that accompanied her was other-worldly.
'Jenni. A little space.' Ned tried not to breathe.
Jenni huffed, hurt at the not so warm welcome. 'Be like that then. I only came straight 'ere to find you and get you out of whatever mess you're in now.' She leaned in again, utterly disregarding Ned's request for personal space, and looked deep into the bloodshot yet still vibrant blue eyes of her boss. 'Joe said you was scooped.'
Ned pushed himself up from the floor, trying in vain to ignore the incredible smell infiltrating his nostrils. 'Yep. Lucky me.' He staggered a few steps before collecting his limbs and walking towards the door. Jenni capered at his side. 'You need a bath, Jenni. You stink.'
'Been under cover at the docks ain't I?' A few flies buzzed in Jenni's wake. 'Cos we fawt he might be basing 'is operations round that way, right? So I've bin looking for the rose thief ain't I?' She scratched an armpit viciously. 'Came straight 'ere tho di'n't I? When Joe said.'
'Yeah, thanks. What about the docks, what did you find out?' Ned held the third best reception room door open for Jenni and jauntily saluted the guards in the corridor as they walked through. 'Any luck?'
'Just a pile o' shite.'

4. Promote your latest project.

My latest releases were my two books of poetry - Little Book of Verse Volume 1 and Spring Fling - both of which are available in paperback and eBook on Amazon.


I am currently editing the sequel to The Gaia Effect called The Gaia Project, due for release later this year.

5. What's your favourite cake?

Victoria Sponge. Done well it truly is the queen of cakes. 

And so easy to make - try this recipe from the Good Food website. I'd love to know how you get on! Remember a cake shared has no calories.

Claire Buss is a sci-fi, fantasy & humorous writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.