Wednesday 28 November 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Maria Riegger

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

Maria Riegger is based in the Washington, DC area. She is a banking/corporate attorney by day (but please don't hold that against her), and a fiction author by night.

Maria is a Gemini whose head has always been in the clouds. From a young age, her mother scolded her for not paying attention; when she was bored, she would make up stories in her head.

She has been writing since she was about thirteen years old. A lover of languages, she speaks French, Spanish, and Catalan.

She has been caught air-guitaring in public. She loves to laugh and is the "go-to" person if a friend needs someone to laugh at his lame jokes. In true Gemini fashion, she indulges both her logical personality as an attorney as well as her creative fiction-writing personality. She loved law school and even misses it, which led her friends to conclude that she is certifiable.

A native of the Washington, DC area, she is a political junkie who has respect for all views and who admires the political involvement of Americans. She loves nothing more than a solid political discussion where all views are represented.

An irreverent Gen X’er, she writes gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm.

What kind of books do you write?

Let's see. I have story arcs in mind, then I write the book or series. After I've finished, I figure out what genres fit them best for marketing purposes. I don't set out to write, e.g., a romance novel. I see where the writing takes me.

That being said, I have issues with how romances are depicted in many books, movies, and television series, in that it’s difficult to understand how the main characters connect and feel emotionally attracted to each other. The audience usually wants the couple to get together right away, but that’s typically not how it works in real life. It’s normally this process of sharing and starting to be vulnerable with each other, and then realizing that there is this emotional and intellectual attraction.

I also got tired of reading about perfect protagonists. In real life, everyone has some past trauma and other issues to work through. I'm not interested in reading about a protagonist who has no flaws. I'm interested in reading about characters that have deep flaws, and what they do about the hands that they are dealt. There are always reasons behind why people are the way they are and act the way they do. I'm fascinated by that.

Whatever genre I'm writing in, I like to put characters is difficult situations and see what they do about it.

Can you describe your writing why?

Oh man. Where to begin? I’ve been reading and writing stories since I was around six years old. Reading and daydreaming have always been escape mechanisms for me, especially when dealing with traumatic events. My daydreaming got to the point where I had so many stories in my head that I had to get them out by writing them. It’s also a creative outlet for me. I enjoy my day job (as a bank regulatory attorney), but it does not satisfy my need to create as much as fiction writing does.

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

Here's one of my favorite scenes from Miscalculated Risks, the first novel in the romance series, Law School Heretic:

   Then suddenly a soft voice cut through all the chatter.
   “Hey, Isabel.”
   I whipped my head up, looking over my open laptop.
   It was Tarek.
   Jesus. I hadn’t even heard him approach.
   I decided to take in the entire sight of him. Since he had addressed me directly, I finally had an excuse to take a good look at him. I decided afterward that it was kind of a mistake.
   He was wearing a black T-shirt with dark jeans. His T-shirt hugged his chest, which, like his entire body, was lean and muscular. His short beard and goatee were neatly trimmed. He was certainly dark enough to be what Lara and Eric called “my type,” although I usually went for Latin men. I guessed his age to be about 28, but his eyes held an experience that made him seem more mature. 
   He wasn’t super-tall. I guessed that he was between 5 feet, 9 inches and 5 feet 10 inches. I was 5’6” so I more or less did a quick comparison. His curly black hair hung in carefully groomed, tight tiny ringlets around his face and almost down to his shoulders. He was incredibly sexy. He probably had to spend a lot of time on his hair, moussing it up, and that if he let it go it would probably be frizzy. His curls reminded me of Lara and her unruly hair, although her ringlets were more tousled and larger, and always framed her beautiful face perfectly. She was forever straightening it, but I kept telling her it looked gorgeous in ringlets, like Tarek’s curls did now. I felt myself softening a little at the thought of my sister, but I steeled my reserve and plastered a semi-scowl on my face. My scowl and general surly attitude were my defense mechanisms. After enough unpleasantness, people generally left me alone. I liked it that way. Eric, Josh and Dinesh were somehow building up a tolerance for it. It was starting to piss me off. Lately, everything was pissing me off.
   I had to admit, however, that I was intrigued as well as annoyed. Few people had the nerve to come and talk to me like this, with no warning.
   I decided not to say anything at first. I just stared and raised my eyebrows.
   He waited a good three to four seconds before he spoke. The left corner of my mouth started to go up into a smirk. Invariably, there were only two reasons a guy like this, a semi-stranger no less, would deign to talk to me. If he was going to miss class and wanted to get my notes, he was shit outta luck. And if he wanted a booty call, well, I wasn’t quite sure yet how I would handle that. Little did I know, he wasn’t going to ask me either of those things.

Tell us about your latest project.

In February, I'll publish Thunderstruck, which is a standalone romance novel set during a fictionalized political campaign in the Washington, DC area. Here's the blurb:

Former lovers. Now political opponents. Will they succumb to their passion before Election Day?

Monica, a congressional candidate, who had a past affair with her now opponent, Brian, must now deal with the fallout from a public scandal while navigating a razor-thin election and resolving her recurring emotional attachment to her opponent.

As oversized egos and the desire to win an election at all costs threaten the bond slowly forming between these two political opponents, they end up discovering that they may have more in common than they originally thought.

What is your favourite cake?

I don't have a sweet tooth. I'd take salty carbs over sweets any day, but I love a flourless dark chocolate cake, especially when accompanied by strong coffee.

Thanks, Maria! For those of you baking along, here is a recipe for a flourless dark chocolate cake.

You can keep in touch with Maria at her website and follow her on Facebook & Twitter.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with writer Andrya Bailey, 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

Sunday 25 November 2018

How To Give A Kindle Book This Christmas

The dilemma - you want to support indie authors by buying their books this Christmas but the problem is, not only have you already read their amazing book BUT the paperback version is usually a little more than you want to pay for a gift and you'd rather pay the eBook price. However, once you've bought the eBook for yourself you can't then buy it again to gift it to someone else. Can you?

Of course you can!

Here's what you do if you use

  • Head over to
  • Find the eBook you want to send as a gift e.g. The Rose Thief
  • Click on the 'Give as a Gift' button
  • Choose to email the eBook gift to your recipient at a future date OR
  • Print out a voucher for them to use which you can put in a gift card
Unfortunately, it's not quite as straightforward if you live in the UK but in theory, it can still be done:
  • Head over to
  • Buy a gift card for the cost of the eBook
  • Print it out or make a note of the gift card code
  • Personalise a Christmas card with the details of your gift i.e. the name of the book, why you think they should read it and of course, the gift card information
Now, of course, you have no control over what someone does with a gift card you give them, it's only a suggestion but maybe because you've gone to the extra trouble they just might take your advice and buy the book.

So now when you finish reading a fantastic indie book and you think Oh, my brother would like that you can get a warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside because you can gift that eBook. Some indie author books are also less than a fiver - perfect for a stocking filler or Secret Santa! 

So let's not forget, books make superb Christmas presents because:

  1. You are introducing someone to a whole new world
  2. They're easy to wrap (especially if it's an eBook!)
  3. It wasn't too expensive
  4. You can introduce friends and family to something new
  5. Books are ultimate re-gifts! Paperbacks get passed around and eBooks get recommended
  6. You can personalise it by buying signed copies from the indie author, by buying the paperback yourself and writing a message or by personalising the Christmas card with the Amazon e-gift voucher inside
  7. There is a book out there for each and every one of us
  8. Reading makes you a better human #fact
  9. You don't need to buy any accessories
  10. Books last and good ones are always remembered
If you'd like to support my writing endeavours over the Christmas period feel free to buy me Ko-Fi or maybe even check out my books on Amazon - 'tis the season!

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.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Flash Friday - Supernatural Meets Mumlife

'Leo! Come on! You need to clean your teeth! We're going to be late for school.'
'In a minute, Mum. I'm busy.'
I raised my eyebrows in disbelief at being told by my five-year-old that he is too busy to come to the bathroom and clean his teeth. Hefting my baby girl onto a slightly more comfortable position on my hip, I storm back into the front room to have it out with him.
'Excuse me? Did you just say no to me?' I ask, trying really hard not to get cross as the seconds' tick by.
'Look at what?'
'The TV.'
I turn in annoyance to see what stupid cartoon program is running. A pixellated face is pushing itself out of the television screen, it's mouth open, eyes screwed tight, silently screaming.
'What the...' I pick up the nearby remote and turn the set off. The face disappears. I cautiously touch the screen to make sure it has definitely gone and it's freezing cold. Leo wanders over and his breath mists as he breathes out. I realised mine is doing the same. I glance at the clock and realise it's ten past eight.
'Shit,' I huff under my breath. 'Come on! Let's go.' I grab my son's arm and pull him into the bathroom to clean his teeth.
We eventually make it out the front door and are hurrying up the street to school when a black Impala swings around the roundabout. Huh, that looks like the Supernatural car I think then dismiss it from my mind.

Forty minutes later and I am pushing the door open into my block of flats when a tall guy dressed in a cheap suit holds the door open for me.
'Thanks,' I mutter, not really looking. The inner door also swings open, this time held by a slightly shorter man, also dressed in a cheap looking suit. I glance at his face. Holy Shit. It's Jensen Ackles, better known, to me at least, as Dean Winchester. I risk looking behind me and yep, it's Jared Padalecki aka Sam Winchester.
'Wow,' I say. 'What are doing here? Are you filming?' I look around for a camera crew but can't see anything obvious.
'Filming?' Jensen frowns at me. 'I'm Special Agent Riggs, this is Special Agent Murtaugh.' He flashes me his FBI badge. 'Have you seen anything strange lately?'
'Cold spots, things moving, strange sounds. That sort of thing.' Jared smiles his puppy dog smile at me and I think my actual knees sag.
'Are you kidding me?' I ask them. 'Okay, I'll play along. Come on in, Sam and Dean.'
I catch Jensen giving Jared his best serious stare face as I walk past them pushing the buggy. At the foot of the stairs, I get my baby girl out and swing the nappy bag onto my shoulder.
'Here, let me get that,' says Jared as he picks up the buggy and begins to follow me upstairs.
I fumble a little with the keys because Jensen Ackles and Jared Paladecki are actually stood behind me, in real life, and I think I might pass out from fandom. When I finally get the door open, Jared leaves the buggy outside and they both follow me in.
'Coffee?' I ask hopefully because then I can use my Supernatural mug and see if they decide to break the fourth wall that they're obviously trying to adhere to.
'No, thanks. How do you know who we are?' Jared asks politely while Jensen wanders through the small flat. But before I can answer, he calls out from the front room.
'Er.. we've got a live one here, Sammie.'
We both go through and the apparition I saw earlier is once more trying to push its way through the television screen.
'Oh yeah, this happened this morning as well. Weird, right?' For some reason, I am ridiculously calm.
Dean, sorry Jensen, pulls out a gun and shoots at the face. It instantly dissolves and Anabelle starts crying at the loud noise.
'Hey, little one, don't cry,' Jared begins cooing at her and she soon perks up. I'm looking at the rock salt spattering my front room.
'Is it gone?' I ask.
'My advice, put this across your windows.' Jensen hands me a bag of goofer sand.
'Yeah, and call us if you see anything else.' Jared hands me a Winchester business card. 'We'll be in the country for a little while longer.'
'Men of Letters?' I ask, innocently.
Again they exchange deep and meaningful looks.
'How do you know about the Men of Letters?' Jensen asks angrily but before I can reply Castiel appears in the already crowded front room. I know he is the real Castiel because he literally just appeared in front of my eyes.
'Sam. Dean. We need to go.'
'Kinda in the middle of something, Cas.' Jensen nods at me and Castiel turns to regard me and my daughter. He looks around the room and seems to be figuring out what has happened here.
'Everything will be fine.' He says to me. 'We have to go, now.' He looks pleadingly at Dean.
I realise this is not some kind of secret filming prank. Sam and Dean Winchester are standing in my house. For real.
'You're Sam and Dean Winchester,' I whisper.
'Yes they are,' says Castiel proudly as he puts a hand on each shoulder and the three men suddenly wink out of the room.
'Bloody hell,' I say. I should have got a selfie.

If you enjoyed my flash fiction, why not buy me a Ko-Fi and help fuel my future writing endeavours.

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 21 November 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Jane Jago

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

Jane lives in the beautiful westcountry with her large dog and her favourite husband (yes, he's large too).

She spent half her working life cooking, and the other half editing other people's manuscripts. Both these occupations seemed to take up a large proportion of her waking moments, leaving little or no time for the stories that filled her imagination.

But time moves on and it became possible to squeeze out the odd hour here and there to get some words onto 'paper'. The Long Game took nearly two years to write, principally because the characters kept doing unexpected things requiring rewrite after rewrite.

Since then, Jane has learned that the story as it begins in her head is unlikely to bear very much resemblance to the finished book.

Equally, she has learned to enjoy the journey, as her characters take her to places she never knew existed while they play out their lives on the page in front of her.

What kind of books do you write?

I’m a compulsive genre-hopper. To explain the thread that runs through my stuff I think I mostly write about relationships and about the consequences of prejudice and hate. Except of course when I’m writing rude limericks.

Can you describe your writing why?

I write for a lot of reasons. First, because I enjoy the process of writing and the exercise of my imagination. Then there’s the excitement of having people read it. And finally the relief of evicting the stories that buzz around in my head like irritated hornets.

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

This is from Aaspa’s Eyes, which is a fantasy for which I built a whole society and mythology. This made the writing great fun.

I crouched on a beam in the bat-smelling roof and worried. I knew my Mate wasn't dead, and I also knew he would die very soon without help. But I had to wait. If I got this wrong, the rogue vampire would kill both of us. Below me, the albino bloodsucker threw back his head as he enjoyed the sensation of the woman's mouth around him. I grasped the only chance I was likely to get and my dart took him in the throat. He gave a great cry before stiffening to immobility. The woman stopped what she was doing, and looked up in alarm, but she was befuddled by sex, pale and naked, and without the weapons she had stripped off to service her cold-blooded lover she stood no chance as I jumped from the cross-tree to the ground, spinning silken threads around them as I dropped.
'Be still,' I hissed, 'if you move the bonds will tighten.'
She must have moved an experimental muscle because she gave cry of pain before fixing me with an inimical glare.
'Whoever you are. You will suffer for killing a High Vampire.'
'He isn't dead. More's the pity...'
It was essential that the woman was quieted before she had time to recall her wits, so I rapped her on the side of the head with my fist, just hard enough to knock her out.

Tell us about your latest project.

The Dai and Julia mysteries are set in a Britain where the Romans never left. Being co-authored with my great friend E.M. Swift-Hook they are as much fun to write as they are to read.  In the duo’s sixth outing, Dying to be Fathers, a heavily pregnant Julia is forced to cope when Dai and his boss are kidnapped.

Jane also has another new release, the second in her Joss and Ben Stories series, Who Pulled Her Out? Here is the blurb:

School should be a place of safety, but what happens when you find out the very people tasked with the care of your children are abusers? When Ben and Joss Beckett discover their twin daughters are being victimised by their teacher, their reaction starts the unravelling of a farrago of lies and deceit. Will they and their friends triumph, or have they bitten off far more than they can chew...

What is your favourite cake?

Coffee and walnut sponge with coffee buttercream.

Thanks for dropping by, Jane! If you'd like to make a coffee and walnut cake, here is handy recipe

You can keep in touch with Jane on Facebook and Goodreads. All her books are available on Amazon.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with writer Maria Riegger, 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.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Tales from Suburbia Goes Audio

Tales from Suburbia, my collection of mostly humorous short stories, blog posts and a ten-minute play has been recorded into an audiobook thanks to the wonderful narrative talents of Helena Little.

Tales from Suburbia is a collection of short stories, plays, and blog posts that intermingle my own personal experiences as a mum, the peccadillos of suburbia, and the perils of social media! The subject matter varies from social observation to the humorous reflection of toddler life.

"Burying My Baby" is heartbreaking. "One Two, Cha Cha Cha" is hilarious. This collection is full of human foibles and folly and is both amusing and empathetic. Watch the book trailer to learn more:

Helena has a wonderful voice bringing warmth and humour to the audiobook. You can listen to a sample on the Amazon page for the audiobook. Just click Audible Sample located beneath the cover artwork.

The reviews for Tales from Suburbia have been wonderful, readers have really enjoyed the eclectic mix of stories so I really hope you enjoy listening to the audiobook version. 

Helena will also be narrating the second book in the series, Tales from the Seaside, which should be out in audiobook early next year. 

Tales from the Seaside has also been nominated for the Top 50 Indie Books of 2018. If you've read the book and enjoyed the stories, please take a moment to vote for me - just click 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 16 November 2018

Flash Fiction: Falling

'If I fall, will you catch me?' shouts the little boy to his Mum.
'Always,' she replies.
And so he falls. Into the pool, laughing with joy at splashing and being caught by safe arms that love him.

'If I fall, will you catch me?' asks the young girl, teasing her new boyfriend as she teeters on the edge of the bridge.
He looks nervously down at the rushing water and holds, her tighter, unwilling to have the theory properly tested. 
'I'll always do my best,' he says in a choked voice, horrified at the thought of losing what he only just found.
'Good enough.' She kissed him hotly, pushing him back towards the bonnet of his car and safety.

'If I fall, will you catch me?' asks the serious office manager to the brand new intern, both of them uncomfortable at being forced to take part in team building skills.
'That's the exercise, isn't it?' He mumbles under his breath, wondering whether she'll actually do it or not.
She looks behind her, assesses him critically and then looks at the floor.
'I have new trousers, I don't want to get them muddy. You fall. I'll catch you.'
And just like that, the roles are reversed. He wants to say don't be silly of course I'll catch you but she's put doubt in his mind and now he's not so sure.
Turning around he falls and stiff arms jam under his arms, stopping him hitting the ground. They repeat the exercise three more times as requested and she always catches him.

'If I fall, will you catch me?' The bride winks as the groom as she leaps off the side of the boat. He half grabs at her but misses completely and leaps in after her with a whoop and yells, 'Always!'

'If I fall, will you catch me?' The old man with a walking stick asks doubtfully of the young Scout guiding him across the icy road.
The Scout is caught in an internal anxiety attack at being touched by a stranger and having to cross a noisy road. The sensory overload is bringing on an episode so he takes deep breaths and looks for his mum to calm him down. She is standing on the other side of the road, arms open, ready to catch him. The old man sees him looking and tightens his grip.
'Come on, son. We'll do it together. Always good to have a hand.'

'If I fall, will you catch me?' whisper the old woman, lying at death's door, wanting that last comfort before crossing over.


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 14 November 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Lizzie Page

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with author Lizzie Page.

Lizzie grew up in Southend, Essex then studied politics at University. After that, she travelled and worked abroad, mostly teaching Estuary English to unsuspecting students in Paris and Tokyo. Lizzie now lives in Leigh on Sea with husband, Steve, three children and a cockapoo, Lenny. She loves reading and writing historical fiction and although she enjoys most eras, Lizzie is most interested in the First World War probably because of the massive changes women went through during those very hard years.

What kind of books do you write?

I write about interesting women in the past, especially during World War One, and their friendships, relationships and struggles to belong or be themselves.

Can you describe your writing why?

I think I write to make sense of things and to bring order to my chaotic inner world. I particularly enjoy shining a light on little-known women from the past. I do really love the whole process of writing – from the kernel of an idea to developing it, to plotting, shaping, new chapters, editing, finding a title etc, and I love the publication process from the marketing to reading the reviews - even if its excruciating at times. The whole thing is a thrill and a privilege and that is a great motivation to keep going. 

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

I love writing all my books, but ‘The War Nurses’ have a special place in my heart for me. Its based on the real lives of two incredible women, Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm. I am quite the misery-monger - the more miserable it is, the more enjoyable I find it is to write. Things are really sad for my main character at this point…

‘I didn’t stop thinking about Elsie and what I had done. I wrote to her care of Dr Munro, but my cards and letters were returned to me unopened. The pocket watch I had engraved came back and it had lost its time. Martha told me to ‘forgive myself’ and even ‘there’s nothing to forgive’, but I know I would never quite feel at peace again.
I had made a most terrible mistake.
I joined a small church with an understanding vicar who’d served in Vimy. When I prayed, the Lord forgave me, but alas the relief was only temporary. Back in the real world, the darkness never seemed to lift. The war staggered on until November 1918 when the armistice came. I stayed put in London. I was trying to work out what to do or where to go. I felt a pull to Scotland, yet I was hesitant to cut the cord with my parents. I didn’t make them happy, but the thought that I might move north made them unhappier. I gained a reputation for being a good nurse. I was not the most educated or most innovative, but I was reliable and caring. I was a good nurse but I felt like such a worthless person that it didn’t mean much to me.

Tell us about your latest project

Daughters of War is released November 12th published by Bookouture. 

In 1915, May Turner leaves her philandering husband, George and her daughters to work in a field hospital in The Somme. As the war goes on, she finds she has to make the impossible choice between duty to her family and the soldiers on the front line. Can she live with the consequences if her husband goes through with what he’s threatening to do? Daughters of War is inspired by a real war nurse, poet and writer, Mary Borden and her journey is very powerful. Ultimately, Daughters of War is about a woman who is desperate to feel loved and who is also a mother who is torn between home and career. 

What is your favourite cake?

In Daughters of War, May Turner writes a diary and lists, and on one occasion, she thinks about the things she misses the most:

Cakes. Eccles cake. Fruit cake. Victoria Sponge. Elizabeth’s macaroons. 

Will May ever get to enjoy her beloved cakes again?! You’ll have to read Daughters of War to find out. 😊

I love all the cakes but unfortunately, I have coeliac disease so I can only eat Gluten free cakes. Can you imagine! Fortunately, gluten-free cakes have massively improved over the years and my favourites include: Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate and Almond Cake, The Novel Coffee Shop’s Lemon and poppy seed cake and Stop the World’s chocolate and pistachio.

Thanks for the great gluten-free options, Lizzie! For those baking along, here is the recipe for the Chocolate & Almond cake. Sounds delicious!

You can keep in touch with Lizzie on Twitter @LizziePagewrite and on her Facebook page.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with writer Jane Jago, 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 13 November 2018

Tuesday Poem - Brain Fog

I'm looking at a screen
Words are lurking
I can't process my thoughts
A fog invades
Vision is cloudy and slow
I rub my eyes but the motion is slurred
I blink heavily
So tired
Brain is not firing
Cylinders are blocked or broken or cold
I came here to do something but...
... the memory is lost in the ether
I write but the words skitter
I try to post but get halfway before I'm lost
It's too late for yawns
A haze comes down
A mist
A fog
Unable to collect these thoughts dancing in my head
Just out of reach of my fingertips

Sunday 11 November 2018

Sparkly Badgers' Christmas Anthology

This year, a group of indie authors have come together to write a series of Christmas stories and poems - the Sparkly Badgers' Christmas Anthology. This festive anthology will be sold to raise money for the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled - providing the therapeutic benefits of horse riding to people with disabilities.

The book is available for pre-order on Kindle right now with a release date in print and eBook on the 16th November.

Meet the authors & their stories

C H Clepitt and Claire Buss - A Badger Christmas Carol
A modern retelling of a classic story, with badgers.

Ted Akin - Christmas Underwater
Ever wondered if Santa could make it to mermaids?

Amy Bethan Evans - Invisible Christmas
A poem from playwright, dramaturge and disability activist Amy.

Ann Frowd - Mrs. Claus's Holiday
Sometimes even Mrs. Claus gets overwhelmed, but how will Santa manage Christmas without her?

A.M. Leibowitz - Wishin' You Were Here By Me
Will Lindsey and Claire get their happy ever after when Lindsey runs out on their wedding?

Maria Riegger - Midnight Lasagne
Some of the best conversations happen at midnight, over lasagne!

Joanne Van Leerdam - Christmas Eve, Despondent
A poem from poet and novelist Joanne.

Lyra Shanti - Unidentified Flying Reindeer
Staying awake to meet Santa doesn't always go as planned.

Layla Pinkett - Santabot!
How on Earth can Santa get around all of the houses in just one night?

Margena Holmes - Joey the Little Christmas Tree
Discover Christmas from the viewpoint of the tree.

Sophie Kearing - Zoe Quinn and the Best Christmas Ever
Spend Christmas with Zoe Quinn, as she learns that there is a lot more to it than just presents.

Chloe Hammond - The Visit
A spine-tingler of a tale with a twist at the end that you will not see coming.

E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago - A Christmas Tail
A cute story in verse about a girl discovering the meaning of Christmas with the help of a mouse.

So don't delay - pre-order today!

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 9 November 2018

Flash Fiction - They're on their way

We interrupt this programme with an important announcement: 

'Mum! There's something wrong with the tv! Mum! MUM!'
'Jacob, I am trying to cook dinner! Stop pressing buttons on the TV remote.'
'But Mum! I didn't do anything, it just stopped playing my channel.'
There was no answer.
The woman in the kitchen did her best to ignore her son's demanding voice as she tried to get dinner thrown together. He always did this, shouted for her at the top of his voice and then when she came to see what the problem was, it was usually nothing at all.
'Jacob, for goodness sake, I am trying to get dinner sorted out. You will just have to wait!' She tried to focus on chopping the vegetables she needed but she couldn't ignore him any more. She slammed the knife down on the chopping board and stalked to the front room, a potato in her other hand.
'What? What is it that is so important I can't make dinner?'
'Look.' The boy pointed to the TV screen.
She read the announcement. The potato fell out of her hand and rolled across the carpet.


Do not adjust your radio frequency. This is an emergency message for all residents of the UK.

Chantelle huffed impatiently. All she wanted was to tune to a radio station playing some decent music but everything had someone talking. She cycled through the settings on her car stereo twice before leaving it on what should have been Radio 1. Tutting loudly she indicated to pull out of her drive and start her journey to work. Chantelle wasn't listening to the radio but, the driver of the Ford Mondeo who careered into the back of her as she braked for the junction was. The force of the collision pushed her car out into the path of an oncoming truck. He was listening to the radio as well.


Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

'Turn off your mobile phones please, you know the rules,' barked Miss Weston, irritated at being interrupted mid-flow. 'Now, if you could all turn to page ten...'

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

'That's it! All phones on the table, please.' Miss Weston stalked up and down the rows of students, making sure all the phones were turned off as she collected them into a large cardboard box which she put on the corner of her desk. 'Right. Page ten.'

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

There was a ripple of nervous laughter amongst the students as Miss Weston flared her nostrils angrily.
'Who's phone is that?'
A shaky hand rose into the air.
'Deborah? Didn't you hand yours in already?'
'Yes, Miss. It was yours, Miss. It came from your bag.'
The girl pointed a finger at the large bag hanging on the back of Miss Weston's chair. The teacher reached over and pulled her phone out. No-one ever messaged her at work. Sliding the home screen open on her phone she was amazed to see at least three notifications on every single social media app she had. That never happened. She went to her text inbox and tapped it open.

This is an emergency text message from the UK government. Please do not ignore.

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 7 November 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Jeanne Richards

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with indie author Jeanne Richards.

JB Richards is a historian and international award-winning Amazon, Goodreads, and Xlibris author. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and History. She is the founder and driving force behind the Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project (IHIBRP)—which she created and initiated in April 2017 to provide qualifying Indie authors with high-quality book reviews and free promotional services—and the Indieverse Resource Library (IRL)—an online eLibrary for Indie authors and readers who wish to obtain information and guidance on a variety of topics and services. Richards is also the founder of the Indie Fabs—a team of authors equally dedicated to offering free assistance, guidance, and support to Indie (independent) authors with the aim of building strong bonds of cooperation and fellowship within the Indie community. She has been a member of the Women Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) and The International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) since 2016.

What kind of books do you write?

I write books that bring history alive! I focus on a specific individual and the world around them, bringing a unique, first-person perspective that is provocative and compelling, but highly relatable.

Can you describe your writing why?

As an author with a degree in both History and Psychology, I enjoy delving into the mind of a specific individual to try to understand their lives—their personal beliefs, political views, familial ties, social status, and influences. I love to see how they became who they are and what their role was in the greater scheme of things. 

I guess you could say that I’m kind of nosy when it comes to larger-than-life, iconic figures in history. I want to know everything about them, and why they made the decisions they made—even when they knew it would result in their ultimate demise.

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

After more than 25-years of research on the life and times of Jesus, I’ve published two novels as a result of my work, so far: “Miriamne the Magdala – The First Chapter in the Yeshua and Miri Novel Series” and “The First Christmas: A Yeshua and Miri Novel Series Short”. Miriamne will always be the story that remains nearest and dearest in my heart. Below is one of my favourite passages explaining 12-year-old Miriamne’s infatuation with her 13-year-old cousin, Yeshua, as she spies on him from the shadows of her garden balcony. I hope you enjoy it!

It was the last night of the full moon. Small flocks of fluffy grey clouds frolicked above—alternately hiding and revealing their Shepherdess Moon. The pale kiss of light that washed over him cast an ethereal glow, causing his features to appear soft and gentle one moment, but dark and mysterious the next. Caught in the blush of the moon’s reemergence, his eyes glittered like topaz as he lifted them upward to study the stars. The radiant light reflected off his white linen tunic, illuminating my Seraph and cloaking him in heavenly garb. His magnificent crown of loose satin curls gleamed like a halo, framing his gentle face. In all the Good Lord’s creation, I could not have wished to behold a more beautiful angel!

Coo! Coo!

In the midst of Yeshua’s silent musings, the dove called out. Its song was sweet, yet haunting. For an instant, Yeshua paused. His eyes fluttered closed as he listened to the erratic cadences of evening sounds accompanied by the bird’s lilting calls. His soft lips pursed before he drew in a deep breath, and as if in awe to the majesty of Nature, he reverently bowed his head. For a while, he remained motionless—lost in a private world all his own. 

As I watched him, time was suspended. I hunkered down on the floor of the balcony and wound my arms around two of the stone balusters. As I rested my forehead between the smooth columns, I smiled to myself, satisfied that—here in the shadows—I could continue to observe him whilst I remained safely tucked away from his view. Save for my shallow breathing and the low beating of my heart, everything around us was at a standstill. It was almost too much to bear as I closed my heavy eyes and inhaled the cool languid air, savoring the perfection of the moment. 


Tell us about your latest project

Oh, my... You may be sorry you asked, lol! 

Aside from having soundly established my Indies Helping Indies Book Review project (which provides book reviews and promotional services to authors in need), and the Indieverse Resource Library (an online Elibrary geared toward Indie authors and readers) on my website, I’m actually working on a variety of novels right now since I’m hoping to broaden my range into several different genres! 

Along with two brand new fantasy series novels—“Kirin’s Vengeance: The First Chapter in the Dragon’s Heir Series” and “Sefer Raziel: The First Chapter in the Heaven’s Guard Series”—I’m also illustrating my first Children’s Book, “Angela’s Apples”, a coming-of-age generational holiday tale about family, patience, and giving. I’ve already drafted my own personal story about childhood sexual abuse. And, as if all that wasn’t enough, I’m developing a cookbook based on my Memere (That’s “Grandma” in French!) Irene’s family recipes—She was THE best cook ever and she and my Dad taught me everything I know about cooking!  

Nearing completion is “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road”, the second book in my groundbreaking saga based on the missing years of Christ. In this segment of The Yeshua and Miri Novel Series, Yeshua and Miri set out on a bold adventure as they enter the next chapter of their lives together. For a young teenage couple, the Silk Road—with its small towns, bustling cities, and colorful bazaars—provides many opportunities to learn about this world and its people. Caravan life appeals to Yeshua and Miri as they make new friends, grow closer in their love for one another, and welcome new family members. 

After a while, however, there are times when Miriamne finds herself missing her home and the close-knit family they left behind in Galilee. Yeshua, on the other hand, is smitten with life! Fascinated by the history, culture, and traditions of the local people, he takes every opportunity to learn what he can whenever he is left to his own devices. Still, even as his sponsors—Miriamne’s uncle, Joseph bar Abram, and King Ravanna of Orissa—enroll their prodigy in the finest schools, under the tutelage of the most prestigious and knowledgeable magis and lamas of their day, Yeshua feels the pressing weight of His Destiny. When he suddenly acts against the wishes of the Head Brahmin and takes his revolutionary brand of spiritualism to the common people—something he has been warned against time and time again, his life and the lives of those he loves most in this world are placed in mortal danger. 

Can Yeshua avert the assassins dispatched to destroy him and everyone he loves? Find out in “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road”!

It’s a busy and exciting life being an Indie author, isn’t it?! Lol!

What is your favourite cake?

OK, now you seriously have my mouth watering and my memory working overtime! 

The best cake my husband, Dan, and I ever had the pleasure to consume was our wedding cake! It was an absolutely heavenly confection, three tiers high, consisting of 7 layers of the moistest maple walnut spice cake with ground bits of walnut, separated by a luscious maple buttercream frosting, topped with a maple caramel crackle, and of course, my own handmade wedding cake topper—a pair of Precious Moments figurines (a bride and a groom, of course) set among an artful arrangement of silk flowers under a triple-ribbon arch. 

We only had the occasion to eat the cake only 5 times; once at the tasting, once at the wedding, and twice when we finished the top layer on our first anniversary before the 86-year-old lady who made it passed—God bless her! Otherwise, we would have had Margaret bake a lifetime of Maple Walnut Cakes for every birthday and anniversary we would be celebrating during the course of our lives—and she was nice enough to have done it, too! 

This was THE best cake I ever had... And although I’ll never be as great a baker as Margaret, I’m currently working on perfecting the recipe so we can enjoy it once again. When I do, you’ll be able to find the recipe in my cookbook under “Margaret’s Maple Walnut Cake”!


That cake sounds delicious! I am looking forward to having a go at making the maple walnut spice cake, maple buttercream and maple caramel crackle, a perfect autumnal cake. Those who are baking along can try this recipe - Maple & Walnut Cake.

You can keep in touch with Jeanne on a variety of platforms:
Check out her website
Follow her on Facebook
Tweet with her on Twitter
Connect with her on Goodreads 

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with writer Lizzie Page, 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.

Sunday 4 November 2018

Science Fiction & Fantasy Giveaway

I'm taking part in a brilliant Science Fiction & Fantasy giveaway over on My Book Cave. Find your next favourite sci-fi or fantasy title among the FREE novels. All you have to do is click on the covers of the books you want, sign up to learn a little more about the authors, and start reading. Don't forget to enter to win a gift card.

And finally...

So, don't forget to follow the link and check out this Science Fiction and Fantasy Giveaway - your Kindle will thank 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.