Sunday, 31 March 2019

How to use Canva - a writer's guide

This short video will show you how you can easily use Canva to create promotional images for your books:


Canva is a great, user-friendly programme and has the standard free and paid for versions that you seem to get with everything these days. I use the free version and I can honestly say I've never found myself unable to create the promos that I want to use.

If I can't find a free image to use, I just upload a royalty-free image from somewhere like Pixabay instead.

There are lots of other tools available in Canva including their great range of pre-made templates that you can customise for your own use.

The key thing to remember with programs like Canva is if you make a mistake you can just click undo or delete or even start again. And if you finish the design and don't like it - you don't have to use it!

Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them for 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. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

A Slice of Cake With... Jon Byrne

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

Jon is a native West Virginian, born and raised around Charleston. He spent seven years in Morgantown at West Virginia University, where he got degrees in History and Law. He lives near Charleston, along with his wife, K, and some critters.

Jon has always been a writer, in one form or another but didn’t start writing fiction with any kind of seriousness until about ten years ago.  He toyed around with a few short stories but didn’t really get into things until he discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). One of his projects involves zombies in the West Virginia hills, while another is the start of a trilogy set on a different world with very different looking people on it.

What kind of books do you write?

I write books about people (some of whom aren’t even human) who live in worlds that don’t really exist, but who readers can still connect to, nonetheless. I like to write about people who are put in situations that are hard to come to terms with, either because of the sheer oddity of them or because of what they ask of those people. I get to fill out those characters by building a world for them to walk around in.


Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve always liked playing with words. In my day job as a lawyer I’ve been writing for decades, but there’s obviously a lot of restrictions with that. I kept having ideas, things that I thought might make a good story, so I decided to try and tell a few. Once I got rolling I wasn’t able to stop. It’s so much fun to pull worlds from thin air and drop characters in the middle of them to see what happen. Things rarely go precisely as planned, so there’s an aspect to thinking on your feet that I like. When a reader likes what I’m doing, connects with the words I’ve churned out, that’s icing on the cake (so to speak).

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

I can’t say which one I enjoyed writing the most, but I’ll share a portion of Gods of the Empire that, upon rereading it when editing, I really liked. Our heroes are escaping from a group of religious fundamentalists:

Atz was crouched over the engine, but it didn’t want to fire. She cursed in some language Aton didn’t recognize.
“What’s wrong?” Aton asked as his feet hit the deck.
“She’s being stubborn,” Atz said.
“This is really bad timing.” Aton could hear loud, angry voices down the docks. “Is there some other way to get moving?”
“Untie the lines and push off with those.” Atz nodded toward a pair of long poles laying on the deck.
“So you do knots?” Aton asked Gelso. He was still holding the Scepter.
“We’ll see.” He secured the Scepter under a heavy tarp and went to the rope tethering Pathfinder to the dock.
Aton was getting out one of the poles when someone yelled, “give us back the Scepter!”
The head Militant was running toward the boat, looking like he might jump on. Aton swung the pole up and jammed it into the Militant’s gut, knocking him to the ground with a grunt.
There were two more behind him and Aton could hear the screaming voices of others. He swung the pole from side to side in a wide arc, slowing their approach.
“Are we untied?” he yelled to Gelso.
“Just a second,” Gelso said.
Behind him, Aton heard the motor rumble to life, sending shivers all through the deck. Another Militant appeared before him and, at the sound of the motor coming to life, he stepped onto the boat’s edge.
“We’re free!” Gelso called out.
Before the Militant could get his balance, Aton brought the pole around and slammed it into his shoulder. He wobbled on one foot for a moment before splashing into the freezing water. Another was about to try his luck when there was an enormous boom behind Aton. He turned.
Atz was standing at the railing of the pilot house, antique blunderbuss in her hands. A wisp of smoke swirled up from the barrel. “That’ll be enough, you repressed morons.”
Even though it would take minutes to reload, the sound so unsettled the rest of the Militants that they backed up on the docks.
“That’s better,” Atz said. “Wait five minutes then fish your buddy out of the drink. He’ll make it that long.” She disappeared into the pilot house, the motor revved, and the boat lurched away from the dock.
In five minutes, the dock and the Militants on it had disappeared into the night. Aton, finally, was able to breathe.

Tell us about your latest project

My latest release is a box set containing all three volumes of The Water Road trilogy – The Water Road, The Endless Hills, and The Bay of Sins. It’s a story about a world with a terrible secret. Once revealed, it unleashes a wave of violence that spirals out of control. The woman who started it all has to figure out how to contain it and not let her calls for justice turn into howls of revenge. I’ve been very pleased with the response – readers seem to like having the entire story in one convenient package.



Right now I’m working on the first book of a new trilogy. Gods of the Empire is set in a world with a single superpower that’s starting to come apart. One main character, Aton, is sent around the world by his mysterious employer in search of ancient artifacts. The other main character, Belwyn, widow of the heir apparent to the Empire who was killed in a bombing, is starting to ask uncomfortable questions. Big changes are afoot.

What is your favourite cake?

I’m a simple man - chocolate cake, chocolate icing. Having said that, the bûche de Noël my wife made for Christmas was really tasty - white cake, peanut butter filling, chocolate frosting & bark. Yum!


That sounds amazing, Jon! You can keep up to date with Jon's writing at his website, follow him on Facebook and tweet with him on Twitter.

Join me next week when I'll be having a slice of cake with Ellwyn Autumn. 

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.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!


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, 26 March 2019

Tuesday Poem - Decorating

Thick globules stick to slimy bristles as the brush pulls out the paint

It slides wetly across dull and lifeless wood bringing new hope to old fixings

Newness fills the air with its foreign smell and brightness is cast across the room and senses

Despite the hour, a screwdriver opens another tin as the painter becomes mired in rebirth

Like a veil being lifted the walls, skirtings, ceilings and covings now feel flat and lifeless

Dull becomes duller, pale fades further and dirt stands out like screaming graffiti no-one ever wanted

Each brushstroke brings fulfilling satisfaction, wiping away the past and heralding a bright new future


If you'd like to support my future writing endeavours, you can buy me tea and cake.


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, 20 March 2019

A Slice of Cake With... Yvette Bostic

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with Yvette Bostic.

Yvette lives in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. During the day she has a full-time career, but when she gets home and kicks off her shoes she becomes absorbed in her next novel. She enjoys the company of her ever-patient husband who believes she's lost in her computer, and three dogs who are the only ones who can drag her away from writing-mostly because she has no desire to clean up their mess.

She loves to read almost anything, but Fantasy has a special place in her heart. Her first series Light in the Darkness is available on Amazon.  

What kind of books do you write?

I strive to write books whose characters are memorable and easy to relate to. While they may all be in a fantasy world wielding magic or enchanted weapons, I want the reader to say, “I totally get that!” when the heroes are faced with everyday problems right alongside their insurmountable odds. I want my characters to feel like normal people, even if they aren’t.

Can you describe your writing why?

A horribly active imagination motivates me to write. I never dreamed I would be able to put my wild and crazy daydreams on paper and someone would actually enjoy reading them. Writing is a beautiful outlet for stifled creativity.

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

I’ve enjoyed writing all my books! Picking just one is really hard. So, this is from Sentinel’s Rise, my newest book set to be released this spring. 

Several minutes later, the gate swung open and Orin stepped out, alone. The man willingly endured the ritual to be merged with a demon, losing almost all his humanity. He stood over seven feet tall, but his scrolling horns extended another ten inches above the thick black hair covering his skull. Plain tan trousers and a white shirt hung loosely on his large frame, but didn’t completely hide the dark, scaly hide beneath. Everything about him said he was a demon, except for his eyes. Where every other demon, including the Overlords, had burning red eyes, Orin retained his own gray orbs with flecks of green.
“It’s been a long time, Mikel,” he said in a deep, harsh voice, while nodding at the others.
“Yes, it has, Orin.”
“You’ve come for Silana.” 
“I’ve come for several reasons, actually.”
“If I offer refreshments, will you accept?” The corners of Orin’s mouth twitched.
Mikel chuckled. “If you will bring it outside the gates, I would love some tea.”
“Thank you,” Orin said, his lips turning to a full smile. “I appreciate that you don’t insult my intelligence by walking blindly into my abode.” He turned and barked an order at the watchman in the Csökkent’s guttural language.
“Come,” Orin gestured towards the stream. “There are already benches arranged by the water.” He turned his back on Mikel’s party and walked away. 
Mikel looked at Adalina and Darian, both of whom shrugged their shoulders and followed. The half demon didn’t fear them even though they severely outnumbered him.
“I will not force Silana to leave,” Orin stated as they reached five metal benches arranged in a large semi-circle. “Victoria’s happiness is important to me and Silana seems to…” he paused and motioned for them to sit. “I believe Victoria is in a losing fight against her demon. Her sister brings back her humanity.” He tapped a clawed finger against the scrolling metal, watching the water cascade over the rocks in the stream at his feet. “If Victoria cannot control the demon…” He paused again and looked at Mikel.
“Why are you telling me this?” Mikel asked. “Is it an attempt to lure me into trusting you? To make me feel compassion for your situation?”
“I tell you this because I would not be fighting my own demon if it weren’t for Victoria,” Orin hissed. “I did this for her.” He thumped his hand against his wide chest. “I’ve endured this torture for two hundred years for the woman I love. And I’m losing her. My will to fight this demon is tied to her and she needs her sister.”
Mikel stared at the demon with awe and confusion. He expected Orin to be consumed by his demon, but that clearly wasn’t the case. But they had not come here to discuss Orin’s feelings for Victoria. Mikel shook his head with frustration.
“What do you know about the threats issued to the governments worldwide?” Mikel asked, steering the conversation away from Orin’s demons.
“No more than you do,” Orin replied. “Actually, probably less. I don’t have the luxury of Darian’s scouts.”
“You expect me to believe you aren’t in league with the Overlords?”
“You can believe what you wish,” Orin replied. 
The watchman approached their group carrying two trays, one on each hand, balancing the edges on his shoulders. Orin stood and took the platter with the tea pot. The watchman placed the second on the nearest bench, revealing several ceramic cups stacked together. Without waiting for any recognition, the man left. 
“Help yourself,” Orin said as he poured a cup of tea. “The Overlords have not summoned my demon, and I have not offered assistance. I’d like to think they’ve forgotten about us, but I seriously doubt it.”
“What will you do if Zar’Asur summons you?” Darian asked.
“I will have no choice but to answer,” Orin replied. “The demon cannot deny its master.”
Mikel poured a cup of tea as well and sipped the hot, dark liquid. It was strong, but not bitter.
“I appreciate your efforts to stay neutral, Orin,” Mikel said. “It’s been refreshing knowing that I did not have to fight against you all these years.”
“It’s been refreshing not looking over my shoulder in fear of attack,” Orin replied. “I don’t know what Zar’Asur’s intentions are, but they will not be good.” He sat his cup on the tray and leaned forward, lacing his clawed fingers together. “He’s already tried pitting the nations against one another and it didn’t work. I can’t see him using the same tactic twice. Lorkath and Kal’Gara stood a better chance at succeeding, but even they failed to anticipate your strength and humanity’s unwillingness to cooperate with their plans.” 
Mikel leaned back, rolling his cup between his fingers. “If you were in his place, or rather if your demon were in his place, what would you do?”
“I would not give humanity a chance to fight back,” he replied. “I would use whatever weapon of mass destruction I could get my hands on. Humans have certainly provided a wide selection to choose from.” He leaned back and the metal groaned beneath his weight. “Then I would subjugate whomever was left behind.”
A chill ran down Mikel’s spine, but before he could respond Orin continued.
“I’m grateful to see that’s difficult for you to digest. It’s why the Overlords always fail. They believe your compassion makes you weak.”
Mikel was at a loss for words. He turned and looked at Adalina and Darian, seeing the same surprised expressions. This conversation had not gone as expected.
“Thank you for your honesty, Orin,” Mikel finally said. “I wish it were possible for us to be allies.”
Orin’s chuckle sounded more like a low growl, but his smile was genuine. 
“Tell Silana she will have to choose,” Mikel continued. “While I appreciate her concern for her sister, I will not trust Victoria. I can’t allow Silana free access to Santuario if she continues to come here as well. I’m sure you have the similar concerns.”
“I do,” Orin replied. “I’ll give her your message.” He stood and extended his hand. “I hope our next meeting is as cordial as this one.”
Mikel stood as well and accepted the handshake.
“So, do I.” He turned to his companions, who rose when he did. “Let’s go home.” 
They nodded. Adalina and her warriors disappeared first. Darian raised an eyebrow at Mikel, who shook his head. Darian vanished as well. 
“Will you tell me if you’re summoned?” Mikel asked.
“I can promise nothing, Mikel, but I’ll try.” Orin looked back at the castle looming in the distance. “Zar’Asur will use us as weapons when we’re summoned.” He turned back to Mikel with an intense look. “My power alone is astounding, but Victoria and I together would be unstoppable. Without the bond of your Watcher and Sentinel, humanity will not survive.”



Tell us about your latest project

My latest project is also the excerpt above. The Watcher and the Sentinel Series is a continuation of the Light in the Darkness Series.

It’s a culmination of all the hopes, dreams and failures for the Council of Light. It’s not their ending, by any means, but they will finally face the evil behind the demonic overlords who have plagued humanity for centuries. 

Darian will be united with his Sentinel. Their strengths and weaknesses will be challenged several times and his certainty in their destiny will be shaken severely. 

A host of new allies will join the fight, while the Council once again must sacrifice their own to bring balance to their broken world.

It will be at least a two-book series, possibly three, that I hope to have published late spring or early summer.

The cover art for Sentinel’s Rise is done and my extremely talented artist is labouring tirelessly on the others.

What is your favourite cake?

Anything with chocolate! I love dessert of any kind. I’m not sure I have a favourite. I’m not particularly fond of lemon, but there are definitely exceptions to that. So, picking one that I absolutely never get tired of….cheesecake with a chocolate crust and brownie layer on the bottom, then mountains of whipped cream on top.


Thanks Yvette! You can keep in touch with Yvette on Facebook, Twitter and visit her website

Join me next week when I'll be having a slice of cake with Jon Byrne.

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.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!



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, 17 March 2019

Interspecies Goes Beta

I finally have some momentous news! The first four chapters of The Interspecies Poker Tournament have gone to beta readers and I'm not feeling nervous about it at all...


As much as I have loved writing this story, I've also really struggled to get it finished. I've really honed my procrastination down to an art form which has been both demoralising and annoying. I think it's because there is so much more riding on a second book set in a fictional world because every reader will have a favourite character or aspect. If you don't recapture that essence, they won't enjoy the book. 



Interspecies is set before The Rose Thief and was inspired by a couple of sentences from Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher, about how he owed the mermaids for what they did at the Interspecies Poker Tournament. From small seeds, great stories grow. 

Several characters are back - Ned, of course, Jenni the sprite and the rest of the catchers - Willow, Joe and Sparks. Plus firm favourites like Momma K and Fred the palace guard. But because the story is set before The Rose Thief, I've had to be so careful that I don't reference that book. It's almost like the characters have to go back a step in their development. 


Obviously, I'm hoping for positive feedback but also it feels like I have been nurturing this book for a while now. There have been lots of research and double checking plus actual poker games, with teddies!


In the past, I've sent off the entire book to my beta readers and then left them alone to read in peace but this time around I've decided to be a bit more pro-active. By parcelling the book out in chunks, I am forcing myself to stay ahead of the readers so that elusive deadline will get closer! But also I am sending out the chapters with my thoughts and questions, querying the things I am not too sure on or double checking that something works. I beta read for another author like this and I found it to be a really efficient process so fingers crossed it works for my readers as well.

As always you can support my writing endeavours with tea and cake - it makes the world go round!


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, 13 March 2019

A Slice of Cake With... Lynette Burrows

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with Lynette Burrows.

Lynette M. Burrows is a survivor. She survived moving to seventeen different schools before she graduated from high school. She contends that this makes her uniquely qualified to write a dystopian novel or two.

Lynette enjoys coffee, the pleasure of real books, and the crack of a nine-millimeter, not necessarily all at the same time—although they all appear in her stories. Spiced with a dash of intrigue, a dollop of mayhem, and a liberal dose of automatic weapons her stories aim to entertain.

The White Box stories, her collaborations with Rob Chilson, appeared in Analog. She’s also had stories published in regional and national children’s magazines.

Her five-star debut novel, My Soul to Keep, takes place in America but it’s not the nation you know. Read her blog for information on how the story developed and the history that made its way into the story. She blogs regularly about inspiration, books, story research, writing, and other subjects of interest. She loves to talk to people. 

Lynette, her artist husband and their pack of Yorkies live in Oz, otherwise known as Kansas.

What kind of books do you write?

I write suspenseful stories of empowerment and survival spanning space and time. My debut novel is an alternate history, a kind of Thelma and Louise meet the Terminator in the world of The Handmaid’s Tale. A mixture of robots, aliens, automatic weapons, humans, space ships, alternate histories, and more can be found in stories I’ve written. 

Can you describe your writing why?

Good question. My earliest memories are of consuming stories. Stories that were read to me, I read, or I viewed on television or a movie screen all became part of me. I’d live and breathe the stories. Sometimes I’d play-act them, sometimes they lived on in my heart and mind. They helped me make sense of the world, find a place where there was right and wrong, and gave me hope. 

I have a great need to pay that hope and sense of justice forward through the stories I write. I only hope that my stories will touch my readers as much as the stories I read and continue to read, touch me.

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

Only a paragraph? ACK! I write novels of 100,000 words or more in length. I’m going to cheat a little because these paragraphs are so short. This is from the beginning of Chapter 6 in My Soul To Keep

Beryl Clarke stood in the transgressor’s box of the judgment chamber. She’d endured ten years of lies. Ten years of isolation. Ten years of torture. 

She wanted to shred the white blouse and long, navy blue skirt of Redemption they forced her to wear. She wanted to break the shackles that held her hands behind her back and hobbled her legs. She wanted to kill the two guardians who flanked her. 

And when she escaped, she would annihilate the soulless men who accused her of murder.



Tell us about your latest project

Currently available is My Soul to Keep

It is 1961 and... America’s a theocracy.
Following the rules isn’t optional.

Miranda’s family, part of the ruling elite, have plans for Miranda’s life.

To escape the tyranny, Miranda makes a break for freedom.

Now she must outwit her mother’s ruthless ambitions… while avoiding the deadly Azrael. The Fellowship’s enforcers Take unbelievers.

Ian’s Trust, a novella in the world of My Soul to Keep, is about how a young man and his siblings survive when their parents are Taken by the Azrael. It will be available Mid-2019

Book two in the My Soul to Keep trilogy, If I Should Die, will be available at the beginning of 2020.

What's your favourite cake?

 I love many different cakes, but if I have to choose one it would be German Chocolate cake. Coconut flakes, nuts and chocolate cake—what’s not to love?


A truly scrummy sounding cake, Lynette! Keep in touch with Lynette at her website, follow her on Facebook and Twitter and see what she pins about.

Join me next week when I'll be having a slice of cake with Yvette Bostic.

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.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!


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, 12 March 2019

Soul Cake

Today I decided I wanted to bake something so while the teeny monster had her fruit snack, I had a browse through a recipe book my much loved and missed Nana bought for me.


I came across a recipe for a Soul Cake. The name caught my eye and I had all the ingredients so I decided to make them. As I was baking I started thinking about the name Soul Cake. Were these cakes for the soul? Mine or someone else's? And weren't they mentioned in the Discworld books? 


A little research later and it's not soul cakes but Soul Cake Tuesday and the Soul Cake Duck that are mentioned in the Discworld and he lays chocolate eggs so not quite what I was thinking of.

As I rolled out the biscuity cakey dough I had some leftovers, as you do, so I rolled them into little circles and added them to the baking tray. While I was doing that I thought about whose souls those little baby soul cakes would be for. So now the entire baking experience had become deeply thoughtful and a little bit moving.


It turns out souling was a popular tradition for poor people and children and involved going door-to-door begging for alms and soul cakes - a spicy cake that represented a soul in Purgatory. In exchange for a cake, the eater promised to pray for a soul. Eating the cake freed the soul so the more cakes you ate, the more good you were doing. I always knew that cake was good for the soul.


And there's a song! And you can listen to it sung by Sting!


So there you have it. Cake saves souls and you can help save mine by buying me tea and cake


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, 10 March 2019

March Giveaways

Oh my goodness, March madness is in full swing with all these amazing e-book giveaways!

Lucky Leprechaun Authors & Bloggers St Patrick's Giveaway


By entering this giveaway, you not only get the chance to follow over 30 fabulous indie authors across social media - you are also in the running to win a $114 cash prize, 38 book prizes, lucky charms and Amazon vouchers!

And you could win a signed copy of The Gaia Effect plus dragons - just click to enter!





Over 50 FREE sci-fi & fantasy books by a wonderful selection of indie authors. And they're all free. Yes, free. You'd be space-mad to miss this, just click here to have a browse.




Over 45 fantastic indie authors have amazing ebooks to give away in this promotion plus you have the chance to win a $25 voucher to buy even more books! You can't go wrong with this one so be sure to check it out here.


Because it's March and because it's mad we have - March Madness Fantasy Giveaway!


This is a free ebook giveaway with over 20 talented indie authors, all offering you an awesome free download. Have a browse by clicking here.


Last but by no means least is the brilliant .99 Fantasy & Paranormal Series Starters


This giveaway is made up of - you've guessed it - series starters so an intro to the world or the characters. A try before you buy if you like, well worth having a look - just click here!


Phew! March truly is mad for books so don't miss out and make sure you top your Kindle up with some fab new indie reads.

You can support my writing endeavours by buying me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!



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, 6 March 2019

A Slice of Cake... Tim Walker

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

Tim is an independent author based in Windsor, UK. His background is in marketing, journalism, editing and publications management. He began writing a historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages (set in Fifth-Century Britain), in 2015, starting with Abandoned, set at the time the Romans left Britain. This was extensively revised and re-launched as a second edition in 2018. 

Book two, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, was published in 2017 and the third instalment, Uther’s Destiny, was published in March 2018 (winner of One Stop Fiction book of the month award, April 2018). The adventure continues from March 2019 in the fourth book, Arthur, Dux Bellorum.

His creative writing journey began in July 2015 with the publication of a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. In September 2017 he published a second collection of short stories – Postcards from London. These stories combine his love of history with his experiences of living in London and various Thames Valley towns.

In 2016 he published his first novel, a dystopian political thriller, Devil Gate Dawn, following exposure through the Amazon Scout programme. In 2017 he published his first children’s book, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, co-written with his 12-year-old daughter, Cathy, followed In 2018 by a second adventure, Charly & The Superheroes.

What kind of books do you write?

I write about the past and how it connects to the present. I also encourage my daughter to make up stories that will resonate with her age group, and we write them up together.

Can you describe your writing why?

I started writing short stories because I was bored – staying at home whilst undergoing cancer treatment. I also needed a diversion from contemplating my flimsy mortality, so dreaming up and writing fiction filled many of my waking hours. Once started on my historical series, I found a fresh source of motivation in a deep desire to see my work dramatized on the television or on the big screen. Maybe one day…

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

A tough one… here’s a descriptive passage from Uther’s Destiny

Stars winked in the deep blue blanket above them as the promise of dawn seeped upwards from the distant edge of the world; a golden glow that prompted the start of the ceremony. Druids holding burning brands chanted to the steady beat of hand drums as a line of riders wrapped in bearskin cloaks breathed mist into the cold air, their rising vapour trails like souls from the departed buried beneath them making their way to the netherworld.


Tell us about your latest project

My new book is Arthur Dux Bellorum – my telling of the King Arthur story. This is where my historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages, has led me after three books. I adopted the timeline of Geoffrey of Monmouth (writing in the 1130s) for a lineage of post-Roman Kings of Britain, leading me to Arthur’s door. I fretted for months at the prospect of writing about such a well-exposed British hero, but research provided me with a way in. 

My Arthur story has been guided by a historian’s article speculating on the possible sites of the twelve battles of Arthur, as described by Nennius around the year 820. His is one of the earliest mentions of a ‘real’ Arthur – a Dark Ages warrior who predates the legendary and chivalric figure of the Middle Ages.

Although in a series, it works as a standalone novel – give it a try


What's your favourite cake?

That would be coffee and walnut cake.


I'm with you on that one, Tim - you can't beat a slice of coffee and walnut! You can find out more about Tim on his website, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. All his books are available on Amazon

Join me next week when I'll be having a slice of cake with Lynette Burrows.

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.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!


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, 5 March 2019

Tuesday Poem - Flipping Marvellous

Try not to flip out
Shrove Tuesday is here
We get to eat pancakes
For breakfast, lunch and dinner
Some might tell you of a savoury choice
But I had never been convinced
Until a Mad Hatter took me to one side
And served me meat and maple
I'd always been a lemon and sugar girl
With maybe a smidge of honey
Occasionally a berry
Who knew about these heady delights?
They're just as much fun to make
I think it will have to be the same next year


If you'd like to support my future writing endeavours, you can buy me tea and cake.


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, 3 March 2019

I've nearly finished...

Some days it seems like those three words are my daily mantra.

Me trying to do anything 
'Mum! I need a drink.'
'Just a minute. I've nearly finished...'

Me sat on the loo, having a shower, trying to get dressed
'Mum, Belle is climbing on the sofa.'
'I've nearly finished...'

Me on the phone to my mum
'Have you finished writing that book yet?'
'I've nearly finished...'


So now I start my day with the mantra I've nearly finished... and use it to construct my mental to-do list. That's mostly because 90% of the stuff that goes on my list are things that I haven't quite got to the end of yet. Writing work, mum work, housework and probably a million other little bits and bobs that I suddenly remember and then forget again almost straight away. Luckily, these are not end of the world items. Although we did forget to pick up the PE kit from the kitchen table three days in a row.

On the writing side of the world, I have, honestly, nearly finished the new first draft of The Interspecies Poker Tournament. I've got three chapters to write and a bit of filling in to do but the read through was positive. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be and this is important because it has a kick-ass cover to live up to (artwork by Ian Bristow).


So I shall pick up my well-worn mantra and attack the new week with vigour because after all, I'm nearly finished...


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, 2 March 2019

Books Read in February 2019

Death at the Priory: Love, Sex and Murder in Victorian England by James Ruddick - 5 stars

Recap: It's 1875 and the young widow Florence Ricardo marries Charles Bravo hoping for happiness second time around. His unsolved, untimely death puts her under scrutiny and ruins the rest of her life. But who did murder Charles Bravo?

Review: Wonderfully written in an easy to digest, factual yet approachable manner. Really interesting research process as well as an insight into Victorian life. A highly satisfying whodunnit.



Rose (The Sister's Secrets #1) by Katlyn Duncan - 4 stars

Recap: Rose Barros works as a waitress, visits her mum Pearl who suffers from dementia and tries to avoid the ocean after nearly drowning as a teenager. The only problem is she lives in a coastal town and she just witnessed a young girl jump to her death. Or did she?

Review: Excellent world building, the place and the characters feel real. Rose isn't a strong-willed main character but that works for the plot. She tends to have huge reactions to emotions and her love interest plotline runs parallel to trope and cliche but we don't mind because we're more interested in the mysterious girl. And secretly we all enjoy a love story!



Reen (The Sister's Secrets #2) by Katlyn Duncan - 4 stars

Recap: Reen Barros, sister to Rose, has returned to her childhood home, her memory-addled mother and her broken-hearted high school boyfriend. Will she stay?

Review: Well written from a different viewpoint this time, the more aggressive and feisty Reen. There was less mermaid mystery which was a shame, everyone smirked a lot and drank an awful lot of wine but the romance lovers will still get their kicks and we did get confirmation of our suspicions from book one. Cliff hanger ending of sorts so will definitely be reading book three. An easy, enjoyable read.




The Book of Abisan by CH Clepitt - 4 stars

Recap: Yfrey is alone in the world, tasked with looking for the Conduit who will help guide the Roghnaithe to save their world. Jacques is attacked by a mysterious priest trying to kill her and receives a magical knife in the post. Then she meets Yfrey. 

Review: A dialogue heavy, fast-paced fantasy novel with strong female leads who have no problem kicking ass and taking names.



The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M Harris - 3 stars

Recap: We hear Loki's version of Norse history from his point of view.

Review: The problem is Marvel. I was vaguely aware of Norse mythology before the marvel films happened. Then I watched them all and now Loki, Thor, Odin and Asgard have all been created in my mind a certain way. I spent half the book arguing with it on Loki's portrayal before I was finally able to dissociate myself - completely my fault not the book. I found the retold mythology interesting, some strong kick-ass female characters and at least Heimdal was still Idris Elba lol. But I'm not sure I'll read the others. 




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.