Sunday 30 September 2018

My Route to Publishing - The Event

On Monday 24th September 2018, I had my author event at Barking Learning Centre, as part of ReadFest 2018.

I was asked to give an hour-long presentation - so what on earth did I talk about?

Before Pen to Print

I talked about my working life before I started writing full time. I worked a series of office jobs, various roles, all involving copious amounts of administration for which I have several official qualifications. Then I did a bit of teaching, assessing, training, event management and marketing. But when I lost my job and became pregnant - not only did I have to come to terms with being unemployed but also trying to figure out how to be a mum. It's really easy to lose your identity as a parent which is exactly what I did.

Reading the advert in the library window for their creative writing workshops and subsequently getting involved with the Pen to Print writing competition were never things I'd thought I do. But I am so glad I did. Because without them, I would not be the author of The Gaia Effect. And I would never have continued writing.

My Books

So what have I written so far? It's quite a range:

The Gaia Effect - hopeful dystopia set 200 years in the future

The Gaia Project - the sequel COMING SOON!

Tales from Suburbia - a collection of humorous blog posts, plays and short stories looking at life in the suburbs and being a mum

The Rose Thief - humorous fantasy inspired by Terry Pratchett's Discworld

Tales from the Seaside - a collection of humorous short stories, plays and flash fiction inspired by moving to the seaside 

The Blue Serpent - an eclectic collection of flash fiction

Underground Scratchings - a short story included in Tales from the Underground anthology

Patient Data - a short story included in The Quantum Soul anthology

Building an Author Platform

I touched on the importance of having an online presence including how to use various social media platforms, having a website and above all being a person with real interests and personalities not just clamouring buy my book - buy my book - buy my book.

What's next?

I spoke about the upcoming projects for the rest of this year.

The Gaia Project -  sequel to The Gaia Effect. The book will be available for pre-order Friday 5th October with a release date of 10th of October which is very exciting but also fairly frightening because I need to finish polishing the manuscript!

Spooky Little Book of Verse - the next poetry book in my collection. 31 spooky poems released just in time for Halloween.

The Interspecies Poker Game - a novella from the world of The Rose Thief.  This story begins a new collection of novellas called The Roshaven File, each one will be a case Ned & Jenni have worked on. 

I am planning to get Tales from Suburbia and Tales from the Seaside ready for audio-book by Christmas.

Festive Book of Verse - a series of poems celebrating Christmas.

Q&A Session

I had some great questions from the audience which I turned into a short vlog:

It was a great event -  I'm so thankful to the Pen to Print team at Barking Library for the opportunity to speak as part of the ReadFest festival. It was great to reflect on what I've done so far and also re-focus on what I want to do in the future. Hope to see you at the next event!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Friday 28 September 2018

Flash Fiction - Journeys

Rush hour. Bodies pressed together against their own will. The air thick with pheromones and perfume, aftershave mingling with sweat. Bad breath, minty fresh, the plastic stench of McDonalds infiltrating nostrils, hedged by acrid coffee.

The tallest among the commuters unfold their papers, held at awkward angles, above a sea of multicoloured heads. The smallest burrow deep within thick and thin bodies, wedging themselves into hidden corners and hunch over kindles or small paperbacks. Ears plugged, music seeping into their souls. Oblivious to the stops, the opening and closing of doors, they instinctively emerge at the correct station.

An anomalous feature breaks the crushing press of bodies. A buggy, unapologetic in its stance. Taking up more space than anyone else would dare to. Bags bunching out on either side, a small child within. Looking, saucer-eyed at the mass of humanity looming over on either side. A small whimper becomes a shrill cry, uncertain at the unfeeling environment surrounding what is usually a safe cocoon.

The combined sigh of annoyance vibrates through the air as the harassed mother attempts to soothe her baby. Panic rising, breath shortening, her temperature skyrockets under duress bringing heat to her face and making her fingers all thumbs. She fumbles and drops the soother. It bounces and tumbles through a forest of feet, quickly disappearing from view. Wails deepen in intent and volume and the muttering begins.

One person from the multitude reaches down and finds the prize. With gentle smile and gesture of solidarity, the working mum passes a lifeline to the stay at home mum who risked a trip to the big city.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

A Slice of Cake With... E.M. Swift-Hook

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author E.M. Swift-Hook.

In the words that Robert Heinlein put so evocatively into the mouth of Lazarus Long: 'Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.' Having tried a number of different careers, before settling in the North-East of England with family, three dogs, cats and a small flock of rescued chickens, I now spend a lot of time in private and have very clean hands. 

What kind of books do you write?

I write one series and co-author a second. The books I co-author with Jane Jago, the Dai and Julia Mysteries, are detective novels set in a modern day Britain – but one where the Roman Empire still rules. These alternative history whodunits are great fun to write, especially as Jane is such an awesome co-author.

My solo series, Fortune’s Fools, is a triple trilogy spanning several decades in time and a galaxy in distance. It is a dark and gritty, set in a galaxy where humanity is divided between those who enjoy the fruits of high-tech living and security and those who must grapple against casual brutality. Although each trilogy is a complete story, the whole is a sweeping saga which follows the fortunes of a handful of characters caught up in and striving to overcome the manipulations of powermongers. Exploring different planets and cultures, from medieval-style primitive to ultra high-tech, it deals with themes of friendship, trust, justice, betrayal and retribution against a dangerous backdrop of deception.

Can you describe your writing why?

That is a very tough question. In truth I have no idea what motivates me to write. It is something I have done since early childhood and I think is as much a part of me as breathing. At school I was always filling notebooks with stories and poems – so much so that I was given an extra exercise book just to write in. I am fundamentally a storyteller and writing is the medium I use to tell stories. That said, I do enjoy the sheer delight of weaving words simply to create impressions. But I think if I dig down far enough, my true motivation is rooted somewhere deep in my love of reading, the magic of the reading experience.

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

I thoroughly enjoyed writing all my books and the one I most enjoy is always the one I am writing at the moment, so it would be rather difficult for me to do this. But this is a passage from my most recent book Mistrust and Treason:

This, he guessed, was going to be where the locals lived, preferring the idea of these homes-in-boxes to living like troglodytes in the underground heart of their settlement.
He approached them openly and saw a child sitting on the steps of one cabin, who looked to be about eight or nine, the same age as his youngest niece.  She was holding some kind of doll, with half her attention on that while the other half was on some screen she was watching. Then she saw him and stopped with both, giving him her full attention.
"You are very tall," she observed.
He took the hint and crouched beside her.
"I just kept growing," he said. "Not much I could do to stop it where I lived, even if I'd wanted."
"Did you want to?" She was scrutinising him with interest.
"Some days, yes. I got a lot of teasing from the other kids about it, things like asking me what the weather was like up so high. But some days it was useful. Like when I could reach down the storage boxes from the high shelves in the kitchen and get at the things my aunt had just baked."
She seemed to think about that for a moment, then asked.
"What's 'baked' mean?"
"It's when you hand-cook food making pies and cakes."
"We don't do hand-cooking," she said, sounding almost proud.
"I don't either," he admitted. "But my aunt did when I was your age and my twin still does."
That made her eyes go big.
"You have a twin? Like a clone? So there’s two of you?"
He laughed.
"It's a bit like that. But we’re not clones as such, just it turned out that way when we were born."
She seemed to view him with a new respect as if having a twin made him somehow more significant as a person.
"I've not even got a sib," she confided. "It's just me and Ma now."
"You've got each other so that’s got to be good. Some people don't have anyone."
She nodded, her eyes suddenly troubled as if she was thinking of something that upset her. He was wondering if he could find a way to ask her what he needed, when she asked:
"So what you doing here? You a tourist?"
"I was trying to find someone I was told might live here. I’ve got a message to deliver."
The girl surveyed him critically, as if suddenly assessing him against a whole new set of criteria in her mind.
"I know everyone who lives here. I could tell you where to find them."
It was a risk, but coming here in the first place had been a risk. He put up a remote screen and put Baldrik's face on it, watching the child not the screen as he did so. Her eyes widened involuntarily then something shut down and she shook her head. They had taught her young.
"He's not someone here," she said. But the tone carried much more than just a simple denial. He was clearly someone of real importance in her world. Poor kid, with a role model like that she was set up for the very worst possible start in life.
"What's your name?" Grim asked the question to try and break her mood a little, but it had the opposite effect. She stood up and turned away quickly, going back into the demountable and slamming its door.

Tell us about your latest project

Of course, my latest project is my new book, the seventh Fortune’s Fools book, the first of the final trilogy – Iconoclast: Mistrust and Treason. It picks up the story a couple of years after the end of the previous trilogy Haruspex and introduces some new characters.

I have also recently engaged the amazing Ian Bristow to make new covers for my Fortune’s Fools series. He has re-covered the first two trilogies with wonderful photo manipulation art and the third trilogy has covers which are his stunning original art work.  

What is your favourite cake?

I’m going to cheat here because more than cake what I really love is…… ginger biscuits! But if you pushed me against the wall and insisted, I’d have to go with lemon drizzle cake.

I can't blame you there E.M, ginger nuts are lovely biscuits! So if my bakers would like to try their hand at a biscuit, here is a recipe for Paul Hollywood's Gingernuts

Keep up to date with EM's Fortunes Fool series and her co-written Dai and Julia series on Facebook. 

You can follow her on Twitter @emswifthook

Subscribe to her writing blog, co-written with Jane Jago, at Working Title Blogspot

All her books are available on Amazon

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author David Bridger, 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 multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Tuesday Poem - New Coat

I brought you a coat today
It does not fit
The sleeves are too long
Yet the arms not wide enough
The zip goes down to your little knees
But the body sits tightly
It won't do

I'll go back to the shop tomorrow
And get the other one
The coat I said no I cannot buy that
It's too fluffy and cute
I should've listened to my inner voice
Gone with the first impression
Good job it's not at all cold

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Cover Reveal - The Interspecies Poker Tournament

Fans of The Rose Thief will know that Ned Spinks owed Pearl a favour. He went to her for help in solving the murder of a fellow mermaid which then led him to take part in a high stakes poker game.

Well folks, I've been sifting through some paperwork and I've discoverd Roshaven Case File No. 27 - The Interspecies Poker Tournament.

Yes, that's right - the wonderful Ian Bristow has done it again and created a fabulous cover for my upcoming novella. This will be the first in a new series of case files inviting you to delve deeper into the world of Ned Spinks and his sidekick Jenni. 

Here is the official blurb:

Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, and his sidekick Jenni the sprite are trying to investigate the brutal murder of a mermaid but something fishy is going on and everyone has clammed up. It turns out the mermaids already know who is responsible and they want Ned to apprehend him. The only problem is the murderer is a player in the magically sealed high stakes interspecies poker tournament and Ned isn't even sure how to play.

The novella will be available in print and e-book and is due for release November 2018. I can't wait to share this adventure with you - don't miss a thing by signing up to my newsletter here.

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Friday 21 September 2018

Flash Friday - Beaches

I love the ocean. The vastness of blue. The way the sunshine sparkles on the surf, the poetic leaping of dolphins, a shower of whale spray and flashes of shoals darting beneath the surface. But what really lies beneath? No-one has all the answers. I mean, yeah, sure, they've discovered a handful of species compared to the vast quantity of unmentionables that more than likely lurk beneath the surface. We've never gone down there in a large, expeditionary kind of way. We haven't explored oceanic inch by inch. We don't know for sure.

Don't get me wrong, I love living by the seaside. I don't however, like seaweed. In fact ,if there is any of that vegetation hanging around you can guarantee that my tootsies are not dipping in anytime soon. It'll wrap itself around your legs, all feathery and tendril-like to begin with then, before you know it, the plant tightens its grip and you've lost your balance. You're fighting for a breath. The salt is burning your throat as you gasp for air and no matter how hard you struggle, you simply cannot get your leg free. Seaweed. It's the salad of the ocean. Best avoided.

I've snorkeled. Oh yes, I've given myself sunstroke by spending an idyllic hour or so pootling around the Great Barrier Reef looking at the dead coral and the few fish that fight tenaciously to survive in the middle of ignorant tourism. I've seen those reef sharks and bottom swimming tiger sharks and those enormous Groupers who apparently don't eat people. But you just watch those eyes and that huge mouth and the way it lurks in the dark cavern beneath you as you swim ponderously by.

The most scariest thing you can do, in my opinion, is be a passenger on the back of a jet ski driven by a petrol head who can't hear you screaming in fear and thinks you just want to go faster. Did you know jet-skis bounce off waves? Especially if you come at them from a cross-direction. It's not fun or exciting, it's downright frightening. There's no seat belt. There's no door keeping you within the vehicle. You fall off that thing and you're stranded in the drink. That life vest is going to do nothing but keep you buoyant as various marine life consumes you slowly, toes up.

You know that bit in the ocean where the water suddenly changes colour? Do you know what that is? Certain death. Otherwise known as the drop-off because that's not a terrifying description - oh no. The ground beneath your feet literally drops away hundreds and hundreds of metres. What lies beneath? You're okay, you're floating, you're swimming - how can that possibly be a problem? You're not touching the floor anyway. Let me tell you, not touching the floor is not the same as not being able to see the damn thing. There's a certain comfort in knowing that you could sink down and touch solid ground so to speak. I mean, why else would we invent swimming pools with deep ends? We like to pretend to sink under the water, knowing full well that we can push off, back to the surface, anytime we like. None of that deep blue nothing, sinking away into oblivion beneath us.

I see you there, treading water, trying not to inhale too much salt water as bob like a little cork that lost its bottle. Just hanging there, in the sea. You can't even see the edges to the left or the right or behind you. The shore in front of you looks like a troupe of dancing ants came to town. If Jaws ate you right now, no-one could do anything. No-one could stop him. There could be seventeen sharks circling you and you wouldn't even know because you can't see in three hundred and sixty degrees constantly. You've taken a chance. You've put your very life on the line just so you can go have a little swim in the sea.

Now, I know, you can always paddle and paddling is wonderful provided you are wearing the correct footwear. None of this bare toes dabbling in the sea froth. Oh no. You could catch anything. There's bound to be a seawater version of the verruca. And then you've got crabs and cockles and mussels and whelks and clams and jellyfish and sea urchins. Good god man - why take the risk?

Wave jumping is all very well in theory. You stand there in a line and hop over the little waves coming into shore as the tide creeps forward. Everyone squeals and laughs. It's fun. You don't realise you're gradually moving out further and the tide is coming closer and closer. Before long those ankle grazing waves are knee height. But that's okay because you're all holding hands, all having fun. Jumping waves at knee height. Thigh height. Waist height. Okay so buoyancy is becoming a bit of an issue now and it's not so much wave jumping as body tossing and just as it starts to get seriously choppy, the person next to you lets go of your hand. Have you ever tumbled in a strong wave? Not been able to figure out which way is up? It's horrifying. You can't see, you can't scream, you can't breathe, you don't know where you are and it seems like forever before your feet scramble on solid ground and you're bursting through the surface gasping for breath but the seawater is still chest high and here comes another wave to batter you back down.

Oh yes, I love the ocean. From a sitting on the sand, far away, eating my 99 kind of way.  

The Ocean flash fiction is taken from Tales from the Seaside, a collection of humorous short stories by Claire Buss. 

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Benjamin Hope

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

Ben is the debut author of Victorian-gothic-steampunk cross-over novel, The Procurement of Souls.  He blogs regularly on the writing process and offers up recommendations in 60 words for novels within speculative and gothic fiction. He also occasionally guest lectures at universities on public speaking. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and daughter.

What kind of books do you write?

I write stories that have a darkness to them. I’m really drawn to gothic literature both in its classic style and in its content, themes and historical context. These factors have all influenced my own storytelling which, whether my full-length novel, The Procurement of Souls, or my short stories, all consider human nature, morals and boundaries within an alternate-historical world. But I’m also a sucker for thrills and spills and imagining inventions that go beyond the possible so there’s plenty of adventurous twists too and devices that defy reality, particularly so in The Procurement of Souls! Certainly, in this story, I have tried to create a dark and dangerous world inhabited by characters who all have their inner demons to battle along the way. My hope is that my work offers something for the thinking wo/man’s fantasy tastes.

Can you describe your writing why?

It’s a love for storytelling. I love it in all its forms: cinema, artwork, music, books… the list is endless really but for me, books conquer all. I think words are so powerful and that’s why I love them – I don’t think there is any other medium in which you can create a world entirely of your own invention and then have it realised in a completely unique way by everyone who comes to read it. Nothing quite invites the imagination like the reading of a book. It’s magic!

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

From Part III: Fallout in The Procurement of Souls:

It was unrecognisable as a chapter house, or what Magnus imagined such a room to look. He stood at the threshold, supporting Clementine with a firm arm as the novice went about lighting candles, and was forced to put his free hand out to steady himself against the wide oak frame of the doorway as the yellow light began to illuminate the space. A huge dome sat in the middle of the room, stripped of its brass panels, curved girders, like the ribs of an elephant carcass, the only thing maintaining its form. Other machinery lay scattered and broken across the floor, harnessed chairs with glass piping fractured and fissured in every length, creating breaches which served to render them useless. Everything had been dismantled and destroyed but Magnus saw it for what it was. This is where it had all happened. The procurement of souls.

Tell us about your latest project

Well, The Procurement of Souls, came out in July and I’m currently working on its sequel, A New Religion, which picks up where the first left off and should be set for release in 2019. The books are Victorian gothic-steampunk crossover by genre, about the exploits (and in A New Religion, the consequences) of two opposing bio-alchemists, one of whom seeks the ability to stop time; the other, mass mind-control. There’s gothic settings aplenty; malevolent scheming and mad invention; danger and mystery; and characters with complex pasts, all rolled into one! You can read the first three chapters of The Procurement of Souls on my website.

What is your favourite cake?

I would probably have to go with a dense black forest gateau with proper dark-chocolate-cream ganache and kirsch-soaked cherries. Mmmmm. Too specific?!

Thanks, Ben! This is the third time black forest gateau cake has been chosen as a favourite so I might make something different this weekend lol.

You can keep in touch with Ben in various places:
Tweet him @benjamhope
Connect with him on Goodreads
Find his books on Amazon
Follow him on Instagram

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author EM Swift-Hook, 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 multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Tuesday Poem - Sniffly Cold

A snail trail tracks across his jumper
A nose unblown or wiped all day
That peaky pale not quite right look
Large eyes and sad demeanour
A cough that rattles bones
Sneezes exploding through the air
Tis the season to catch a cold
Sharing germs here, there and everywhere
Little red cheeks and a fevered brow
Listless, restless, sleepy boy
Do my best to keep his spirits up
Plenty of fluids and plenty of rest
Bad nights sleep and early mornings
Not wanting to eat yet hungry for comfort
And once his bugs are tamed
There's that tickle at the back of your throat
That dying energy and blocked nose
Share and share alike

Claire Buss is a multi-genre 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 16 September 2018

How To Get Everything Done

At a recent author event, I took some home-baked cookies and gingerbread blobs (long story) to hand out and entice potential readers to at least come and say hi. For the most part it worked. The most asked question of the day was - how do I manage to write with small children? One lady said I should get a medal for baking cookies as well.

My initial reaction is to just laugh it off. Lots of people manage to do lots of things all the time. I only have two children and one of them is at school five days a week. My husband does the dishes most days. I give my baby pre-made baby food from jars. I am not super wife or super mum. But I do manage to get most things done most days, sort of.

I recently heard the phrase 'eat the frog'. Now that I've heard it once, I've since seen it everywhere and I can't believe I never came across it before because it literally encompasses my entire philosophy on life. Do the thing that you're dreading first - the rest of the day will be a piece of cake. Sometimes the thought of doing that one particular job you don't want to do is enough to turn you off from doing anything at all. Those are the bad days.

I make lists. I split things up into manageable chunks. I have a diary that lies flat so I can easily write things in it. I have a drawer full of pens. I don't use sticky notes or phone reminders. If it's written down, it will get done. The delivery timeframe may move. What doesn't get done on Monday, moves to Tuesday and so on and so forth. The most important things get put at the top of the list or are decorated with multiple asterisks.

I also reward myself with cake. It may sound self indulgent - rewarding yourself for doing things you should be doing anyway but seriously, housework is hard. My response to the question of how do I find the time to write is - I just do.

Writing is something I love doing and so I will find the time. And I love cake. So I will find the time to eat... I mean, bake! 

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

Friday 14 September 2018

Flash Fiction Friday - Landscapes

'Do you have anything in green?' 
The gallery assistant pressed a few buttons and a picturesque landscape appeared on the screen. Green hills rolled seductively down into a valley point whilst a variety of trees, bushes and shrubs decorated the foreground. 
'Hmm. I see a few shades but... what I really want is patchwork perfection.'
Again buttons were pressed and this time row upon row upon row of farmer fields uniformly hedged lay over the ground like a quilt of green, yellow and brown.
'Yes, this will do. Add it to my list, would you?'
The gallery assistant smiled and nodded then waited patiently. This was a very important client.
'Do you have anything in blue?'
This time a beautiful blue sky above a shimmering blue sea filled the gallery with a sense of calm and tranquility.
'Oh, it's beautiful. Just breathtaking. Now, what about yellow. Do you have yellow?'
A smile, a nod, a few buttons and now the gallery screen was full of shifting sand dunes and swirling patterns that promised to lead you to hidden treasures.
'Not bad, not bad. I bet you don't have red. No-one has red.'
This time the screen was emblazoned with a rusty red sky at dawn, it's vibrancy shouting a warning that fell on deaf ears.
'You know, you really have out done yourself this time. I'll take it.'
'Which ones, Your Excellency?' The assistant dared to speak but no mistakes could be made with such important transactions.
'Why, all of them of course. Don't bother with the gift wrap. I'll just take it as is. I do enjoy shopping in this universe. There are so many hidden gems if you just know where to look.' 
The gallery assistant hung the sold sign across the planet Earth carefully. It wouldn't do to upset the colours now that the transaction had been completed.

Wednesday 12 September 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Lyra Shanti

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

Lyra is a novelist, poet, playwright, and songwriter who currently lives in Florida with partner and spouse, Timothy, and their two insane cats. A lover of nature, animals, anime, music, theatre, movies, myths, and of course, great books, Lyra seeks inspiration from everywhere possible.

Author of the award-winning science fantasy series, Shiva XIV, Lyra is a dreamer of worlds far away. More books include The Artist, a wild tale of love, madness, and redemption, as well as The Rainbow Serpent, a re-imagining of Adam and Eve. 

What kind of books do you write?

My books are passionate, poetic, socially relevant, diverse, spiritual, and unique. 

For example, my epic series, Shiva XIV, is the story of Ayn, an intersex boy who grows up sheltered by priests on the planet Deius. The priests believe he is their prophesied messiah who will save them from disease and war, but on Ayn’s 14th birthday, everything goes wrong. Ayn soon finds himself on a surprising journey of self-discovery and survival. There are 4 books in the series, and I'm rather proud of them all. 

I also write more eclectic books, such as my re-imagined Adam and Eve story, The Rainbow Serpent... and The Artist, a romantic, poetic tale about a man trying to conquer madness in his search for true love. 

Can you describe your writing why?

I write because I'd probably go insane if I didn't. It's my therapy where I can release all my pain, passion, joy, and fear. Without writing it all out, I'd burst into a thousand pieces.

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

From The River of Time (Shiva XIV, book 4):

“I see the truth now,” said Ayn. “I think I always knew it, even when I was a child. I never thought it was possible to fix The Un, for it was never broken. It was only our perception of the universe that was skewed. It was never a paradox or something chaotic without meaning, for its duality is the essence of our own balance. Without duality, there is no push and pull – no dark and light. And like my own body, which ultimately gave me a deeper understanding of my soul, the tests and trials of duality brings the universe closer to its own depth, which helps it grow and learn, providing the balance it seeks. The truth is, to exist in the universe we live in, we must flow along with the raging river of time, not fight against it.”

Tell us about your latest project

My latest book is The Artist, a sensual tale about a man named Apollo Antonius Vidali. The story follows Apollo from childhood onward as he fights the abusive pressure of his father to become an artist of how own making. He meets various friends and lovers on the way to success, only to discover his own madness holding him back from true happiness. The Artist was a unique writing experience for me with moments of spontaneous poetry interwoven throughout this sordid tale of morality and love. Rather different from other historical romances, I doubt there is another book quite like it anywhere. 

What is your favourite cake?

I love most cake. Cake is the food of gods. But if I had to choose, chocolate always wins out. However, coconut is a close second. In fact, my birthday is coming up soon on September 14th (look for book 1 of Shiva XIV to be specially priced at .99 in celebration!) and I plan to have coconut cake and chocolate ice cream. Yum!

Thanks, Lyra! I've never had coconut cake before so I'm going to try Nigella Lawson's Coconut Cake recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook. I encourage everyone to find something suitably coconutty to try! And a Happy Birthday for the 14th!

You can keep in touch with Lyra at the following places:

Follow her on Facebook
Tweet her on Twitter
Connect with her on Goodreads
Check out her books on Amazon
Visit her website

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author Benjamin Hope, 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 multi-genre writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Tuesday Poem - Bread Week

A slice of toast in the midst of school run madness
A quick jam sandwich for hungry kids
A chip butty with melted butter and ketchup
A mop-up tool for stew - that's the greatness of bread

It comes in brown, multigrain and white
50/50, honeyed oat, gluten-free, rye
Brioche, fruit, cheesy, crusty, soft as a cloud
Practically every combination possibly

A quick breakfast, a lazy brunch
A grabbed snack, a double-decker doorstep
A melty mid-afternoon pick me up
A cheap yet tasty bean covered tea

You can't beat the humble loaf
It comes in every variety
Comforting and delicious
It's why we have an extra slice

Claire Buss is a multi-genre 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 9 September 2018

Planning for Year End

Now I know this will come as a shock to most of you but I have made a plan.

It's literally a dozen lines in a word document that cover the four months until the end of the year but I thought I would share them. I have five grand schemes. 

The first is to complete The Gaia Project and release the book before the end of the year. My beta readers have been very positive so now it's down to me to get out all my coloured pens out and attack the latest draft with vigour. 

The second is to plan a hunt the pumpkin game with my fellow indie writers - you may have enjoyed the Easter Egg hunt we did - this one should be extra scary!!

The third is the release of the Spooky Little Book of Verse - the fourth book in my poetry collection. It may or may not be themed around a certain event that happens in October. 

The fourth is the release of the Inter-Species Poker Tournament novella. This will be the start of a new series - The Roshaven Files - bringing to light some of the cases Ned Spinks and Jenni have worked on in the past. 

The fifth will be my foray into audio-books. I'm thinking of starting with Tales from Suburbia and Tales from the Seaside. If that goes well then I shall sally forth with the rest of my books. 

So there we have it, a plan. As always, I live in eternal hope that such things will unfold as they should but if they don't then I won't be too dismayed. There's always the beginning of next year!

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

Friday 7 September 2018

Flash Fiction Friday - Light and Shade

He was the light to her shade. His smile carried the both of them through social events. His warmth and likeability covered up her brittle politeness and stiff formality. People would say, have you met John? He's so nice, isn't he? Just sort of glows. Such a nice bloke. 

He was the light to her shade. So when she spiralled down into the depths of despair he brought her warm drinks and wrapped her in blankets. He tried his best to bring her trinkets and baubles that would make her smile. Even if just for a short while. When she sobbed and blubbed that the end was nigh, he would enfold her in his warm embrace and utter platitudes - everything will be alright - it will seem better tomorrow - I love you.

He was the light to her shade. She tried harder, for him. She didn't give up, for him. She started to believe, because of him. He brought her out of the shadows and she began to glow, the darkness became a memory hidden deep in the depths of her eyes. She shone brighter and brighter. Soon people were asking, have you met Jill? Isn't she a blast? So much fun to hang out with.

She became the brighter light, going out making friends, laughing. And for a while, John basked in her shared glow, congratulating himself on a job well done. Not realising the changes happening within. Things began to seem dimmer. It was just easier to stay in. He stopped going to the gym. Stopped talking so much at parties. He took up brooding.

Now, she was the light to his shade. The bright butterfly to his reluctant moth. But she didn't carry him with her. She had little time for his sulks and moods. She did not bring him warm drinks or wrap him in blankets. She would sing out a cheery goodbye and leave him alone for hours, letting him simmer in sadness and despondency.

She was the light to his shade. No-one remarked anymore when she turned up without him. People stopped asking after him, forgetting often that they were a couple. And so it was with complete shock that they heard the news. Murder then suicide. She shot him and then herself. For light cannot exist with shade. 

Claire Buss is a multi-genre 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 5 September 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Eunice Nascimento

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

Born in Mozambique, Eunice discovered and fell in love with books at the age of fifteen after settling in the UK. Twenty years on - after working as an admin team leader, a HLTA and in various customer service roles - she wrote her first short story which was shortlisted for her local town’s Arts Council Pen to Print Competition and kickstarted her writing career. Eunice’s heart-warming collection of short stories Smile Again and the first book in her Felton Ridge Firefighter novelette series – Love by Chance – are now available on Amazon. When she’s not fixing her characters’ love lives, Eunice is usually dancing salsa, watching movies or reading.

What kind of books do you write?

All my stories have a happy ending or a sense of hope, a new beginning and are always character driven. Usually, the main protagonists find love whether they are looking for it or not but a lot of the short stories I write are about friendship, family and self-discovery. 

Can you describe your writing why?

I enjoy writing my own happy endings. I love exploring how experiences we lived through in our formative and young adult years affect the way we interact with people, especially where romantic relationships are concerned. I guess I like working out why people are the way they are and writing fiction affords me an opportunity to do just that.

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

One of my favourite sections from a story I wrote is a passage from my short story Memories of Kessingland Beach published in my short story collection Smile Again:

The earliest visit I remember was as clear in my mind as a midsummer sky. It was during a hot, sweltering summer when the beach was teeming with holidaymakers. I was about six, going through my orange phase – everything from my swimming costume to my sunhat, even my spade and bucket were orange – when I first walked on this beach with Dad, Mum and Matt. I fell in love with it.
After making a sandcastle fit for a king Matt had plastered on his irresistible smile and looked up at Dad. “Can we please make you a lying statue?”
Dad had laughed. “You mean bury me in sand, don’t you?”
Mum had looked alarmed at the idea. She enjoyed looking at the sea and sitting in the sun but she wasn’t crazy about getting sand on herself. She was sitting in an old fitted sheet which she’d laid out with our cool box and bags on the corners. She’d then pulled the corners up and made a sand free area for herself.
“Why don’t you make another sandcastle?” She’d asked.
“We’ve done that Mummy.” Matt had answered with a long-suffering sigh. “Look!” He pointed to a family a few feet away from us “You lie on the floor and we cover you with sand. You’ll look just like a statue and Mummy, you can take a picture. It’ll be fun.”
“Can we do it daddy?” I’d asked excitedly, adding my voice to Matt’s. 
Dad had winked at Mum, at least he’d tried to but it came out all wrong. He’d never learned to wink properly but for some reason his silly winks always made Mum smile. 
“Okay,” Mum said, “But don’t let any sand get in Daddy’s eyes or hair.”

Tell us about your latest project

My latest publication is Love by Chance, the first eBook in a series of novelettes about the firefighters of a small fictional town. It’s a contemporary romance about finding love in the most unexpected of places. It’s available on Amazon. I’m also pulling my hairs out waiting for feedback from beta readers on my debut novel, a contemporary romance that explores the effects of bullying during childhood in adult relationships. The book is due to be published next year.   

What is your favourite cake?

I adore cake so I have a few favourites. However, if I was going to the moon for a while and was forced to take only one slice of cake, I’d take homemade chocolate sponge layered and covered with a heavy dose of chocolate buttercream. My mouth is watering just writing about it. Yum!

Yum indeed! I do love a good chocolate cake - this one from The Great British Bake Off should fit the bill. 

You can keep in touch with Eunice on her Facebook page - Eunice Nascimento Writes and follow her on Amazon to keep up to date with new releases.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author Lyra Shanti, 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 multi-genre writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.