Thursday 26 November 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Matt Doyle

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Matt Doyle.

Matt is a pansexual/genderfluid author from the UK who primarily writes hybrid genre fiction with a sci-fi grounding and diverse characters. In recent years, Matt’s work has included the award-winning LGBTQ sci-fi mystery series, The Cassie Tam Files, and several anthology appearances. Ailuros will be Matt’s first adventure in experimental fiction. 

When not working on yet another story, Matt can usually be found juggling freelance scriptwriting with running the pop culture website ‘Matt Doyle Media’, building cosplay, and programming video games.

What kind of stories do you write?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Let’s see…

I write futuristic stories where the hopeful technology of today has evolved and been twisted into the corrupt technology of tomorrow.

Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve enjoyed books since I was kid. Whenever I was sick and had to stay at home form  school, I’d give my mum the pocket money I’d saved up and ask her to go and grab the next book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Books always cheered me up like that, and I started delving into so many different genres as I grew up. I write because I want to have that effect on someone else; I want to produce something that cheers someone up or inspires them when nothing else will.

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

I’m going to share a passage from Shadows of the Past. It’s the fourth book in my LGBTQ sci-fi mystery series, The Cassie Tam Files, and contains two different tales. This snippet is from the first story, A Week in New Hopeland. It was a lot of fun to work on because it’s the only story in the series to not be told from the titular protagonist’s POV. So, this is from a conversation between Cassie and her girlfriend Lori Redwood. Lori is helping Cassie with a case by working undercover in a busy office.

We sit on the couch and I continue, “Honestly, I thought there were supposed to be laws in place to stop people acting like this.” 
“There are. When you’ve done investigative stuff, you must have seen people bending the rules, though. Especially those in power. The more control you have, the more you seek. That’s what it looks like to me, anyway.” 
“Even so, this is so blatant, and everyone seems to know about it. It’s bullying, and it’s misogyny. Dad at the top or not, I really don’t know how he gets away with it.” 
“Lewis Graves is part of a dying breed. You see them once in a while when you’re a PI, usually in spousal disputes, but not as much as you would have fifty years ago. They act the way they do because, for whatever reason, they need to feel tough. They need to feel powerful. And to do that, they figure out who they think is below them and kick down. The truth is, even in the absolute cesspits of society, the holes full of cold-blooded killers and organized crime syndicates, there are so many people with much more legitimate power than them. If someone like him had to deal with someone like that, they wouldn’t last a minute, even if it never went beyond verbal sparring.
“And that’s the thing. Deep down, people like Lewis Graves know they’re weak. They know they’re nothing more than bullies, scrambling and crawling over the people they try to bury. That’s how he gets away with it. He’s desperate. And desperation makes you cling on tight and take every shortcut you can find.” 
“And do the desperate bullies always fall in the end?” 
Cassie looks at me, studying my face. Her expression is enough to give me my answer. Being who she is, she decides not to try comforting me with lies. “No, they don’t. Sometimes, the bad guys win. All any of us can do is try to make sure it doesn’t happen often.”

Tell us about your latest project

Okay, I’ve got two here. One that just came out recently, and one that isn’t out yet.

Half-Light came out in February this year. It’s the fifth and final book in The Cassie Tam Files. The series is essentially what would happen if you took a hardboiled pulp-style PI and placed them in a near-future, tech-driven setting. The twist to the genre conventions here is that the PI is an out lesbian. I’m LGBTQ myself, and tend to write stories that feature queer characters without their orientation being the focus of the story. So, in this instance, while there’s a slow-burn romance that spans the series, the focus is on the tech and the mysteries. Reviewers have compared the series to everything from Sam Spade to Blade Runner, which is really cool.

With Half-Light, I was basically tying everything up. Each book contains a complete case, but they all leave a few breadcrumbs that I picked up on here. Honestly, I’m very proud of how the series as a whole came out, and NineStar Press have been awesome as the publisher for it.

The books are available in all formats. If you head over to the book page my site you can find all the purchase links for each book. If you want to see some reviews, then there’s Goodreads. Amazon is where most people grab them, I think. 

The second one I want to talk about is Ailuros. This was one was picked up by Fractured Mirror Publishing recently, and the release date is currently set for September 2021. You see, this is a very different type of book for me. It’s a little bit sci-fi, a bit meta-fiction, and all experimental.

The current version is told through a mix of prose, audio transcripts and footnotes, and there are seven hidden passages to find that alter both endings of the book somewhat. Getting it set out for paperback, hardback and eBook is going to be a lot of hard work, but Fractured Mirror are really enthusiastic about the title. I’m glad about that because this was probably the hardest book I’ve written simply because I had to tie so many elements together.

As to what you can expect story-wise when it drops, it’s the tale of Josh Byrne and his genderfluid partner Alex Holden. Part of the story is a far-future homage to Alien set on an abandoned microgravity holiday unit. The other part is a near-future story about the negative effects of a Governmental initiative to reduce crime. The fun comes in seeing how both stories are linked, and how they impact each other.

What is your favourite cake?

It’s quite a boring one compared to some, I’m sure, but I do love a nice Battenburg Cake. It looks pretty, it has a distinct taste, and it avoids chocolate. I love chocolate, but for some reason, I don’t do well with chocolate cakes. Battenburg is a delicious alternative.

I love a Battenburg too, Matt - a great choice! You can connect with Matt at the following places:






Join me next week when I have a slice of cake with Laura Hunter.

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 out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

New Release - Little Book of Christmas

It may not quite be December yet but I know lots of us are already turning to the festive qualities of that month to brighten our days so with that in mind I am delighted to announce the release of Little Book of Christmas, the eighth and final book in the Little Book poetry collection.

The Blurb:

Deck the halls with poems about holly, fa la la la la la la la la! Tis the season to read things jolly, fa la la la la la la la la! At this time of celebration, curl up by the fire and your twinkly tree to enjoy a sprinkling of Christmas magic. From stockings on the mantle to kissing under mistletoe, unexpected presents and the joy of mince pies - Christmas truly is a special time of year. Have yourself a merry little book of festive poetry.

Little Book of Christmas is the eighth poetry collection in the Little Book Series.

The other books in the series are Little Book of VerseLittle Book of SpringLittle Book of SummerSpooky Little Book, Little Book of Winter, Little Book of Love and Little Book of Autumn. All the Little Book poetry books are available in paperback and ebook on Amazon. 

They are also available in other ebook formats at Smashwords, KoboNook (Barnes & Noble), Apple Books and Google Books.

As always, if you read one of my books - please write a review on Amazon and Goodreads (if you have it). It means so much and it helps other readers find my books. 

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

Wednesday 18 November 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Nicholas Turner

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with author Nicholas Turner.

Nicholas is an author and a poet. His debut Sci-fi novel, Bulb, has hit multiple Best Seller lists. He enjoys spending his free time gaming, backpacking, and rock climbing. 

What kind of stories do you write?

Cyberpunk, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Neo-noir.

Can you describe your writing why?

I write because of my love for storytelling and bringing people together. I believe stories make us a better person, especially when you have conflicted characters. 

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

“The walls had been covered in black and red graffiti, the carpet stained, and the wooden floors gouged. Dishes, glass bottles, and furniture broken lay broken at every turn of the head. Fox started to feel guilty about what had happened to his house. He knew the hours and all of the time it had cost him to get the house. All of the people he had to screw over in the business world to make the money. It was upsetting, but at the same time, Fox felt he shouldn’t care. Everything here was material, and therefore, it wasn’t truly important. But something rubbed at the front of his skull. The idea of time and the loss of it. Fox was proud to have purchased this house at one point in his life, and now he felt the pang of guilt for how other people had treated it.”

Tell us about your latest project

I’m currently working on a sequel to my science fiction novel, Bulb! Fuse will be coming out either late this year, or early 2021, depending on how quickly I can write as I sell everything I own and move across the country! 

What is your favourite cake?

Cheesecake, of course!

A classic choice! You can connect with Nicholas on Facebook: 

Join me next week when I have a slice of cake with Matt Doyle.

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 out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Kimberley T Hennessy

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with author Kimberley T Hennessy.

Kimberley was born on a cold January 13th with snow banks as far as the eye could see, in a small town called Île Bizard. The surname translates to weird island. She wishes she could say it was a Friday. The ominous allure is tempting, but there’s nothing grim about this gal. 

Wide-eyed and cheery, Kimberley is quirky with a side of kook, but gravitates towards dystopian stories for their world-building and character layering, and well because they’re cool! She admits her fondness for most genres has kept her entertained many nights into the early morning hours but isn’t watching movies and reading books part of an author’s job description? At least, that’s what she tells her family when she snaps back from utter exhaustion. They’re not convinced. 

It’s no wonder Kimberley majored in psychology and science at Montreal’s Concordia University. Human foibles intrigue her, the likes of which have led her to a fulfilling career in writing, screenwriting, and film. After completing her Masters at Staffordshire University in screenwriting, she embarked on a wild journey to create a world with characters that appealed to, shall we say a mature woman with an odd sensibility for impending doom?    

In between writing her debut novel, screenplays, and every other story idea she jots down on sticky notes, she's more likely plotting her next family vacation with her husband and two children, and their potbelly black cat.

The next chapter is a surprise, but she's looking forward to it, especially if that means eating her way through the fridge as she types away her story.

What kind of stories do you write?

I write dark, twisty, other world stories. I’m a sucker for grim, futuristic stories that offer alternate histories, or a glimpse of what could be, of what might be. There’s a sense of loss in my writing, but if you look deep enough, there’s also hope, and redemption. Bottom line, I enjoy killing my darlings ;)

Can you describe your writing why?

Why do I write? It’s simple because my mind is filled with half-baked story ideas that just won’t quit pestering me until they are fully developed. I will spend sleepless nights lying awake in my bed going over the same details like a movie. It’s exhausting, and I must put them to paper. If only these scenes included plot and arc, then I would be all set.

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

So far I only have one finished novel under my belt, but my favourite bit was by far when my main character Eira succumbs to her illness and falls into a deep mind-bending stasis, which is where she discovers that she is not like the others. She communicates with the dead.

I had this scene from the moment I started writing, and because I write in sequence, it took close to ¾ of the book to finally write it. Phew! Thankfully, the scene wrote itself. I was just the fingers typing it.

Tell us about your latest project

My latest project is my current novel. “She Runs With Wolves” Set in a desolate winter barren future, Eira flees her captor the Mad King Lorcan after she discovers she’s pregnant.

She hopes to offer her child a better life, but she falls into the hands of an underground sect bent on reviving their ancient religion the Grimnìr and take down Lorcan the tyrant.

Eira wants nothing to do with it, but she discovers she’s at the heart of the insurgence. Her body is growing sick and weak and she learns she could save her child and the Grimnìr religion if she relinquishes part of her soul to another Ylva the She-Wolf.

The only guidance she gets come in the shape of three wolves. They will help her determine her fate. It’s a story that mixes tribal histories and science fiction. The whole idea came from Albert Einstein’s quote: I do not know with what weapons world war III will be fought, but world war IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Combining remnants of past technology with the world’s destruction appealed to me. It’s like waking up from a coma a hundred years into the future, and not understanding the world around you.

What is your favourite cake?

My favourite cake is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and a drop of cream. Yum!

Chocolate cake is always a good choice! You can connect with Kimberley at the following places:

Twitter: @kthennessy

Join me next week when I have a slice of cake with Nicholas Turner.

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 out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Tuesday Poem - Hibernating Hedgehogs

The hedgehogs are fading
Leaving the British countryside
They are receding into memory and myth
Leave a saucer of milk out for the hedgehog
They say
But milk will make them poorly
They’re better off with worms
And slugs and snails
Make your garden hodgeheg friendly
A woodpile for the hibernate
Be wary disturbing compost and leaves
For hedgehogs like to nestle deep within
They sleep through winter
All curled up in their little spiny balls
But they’ll eat the vermin from your garden
Spring through Autumn

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

Sunday 8 November 2020

Floundering In Lockdown 2.0

I don't quite know what to say. Lockdown 2.0 is here in the UK and it's only for a month. Not much has changed for me really. My husband is still going to work, my boy is still at school and yet I am in a swirly whirly pool of quicksand.

But I'm also like a jitterbug, can't sit still, can't focus, can't get to the bottom of my to-do list. I haven't even written my to-do list down, it's so long. It's like a litany in my head that rolls around and around and around. Every day I forget a new thing that I was meant to do and every day I think back to all the things I used to be able to do. I was like a machine. I got it done. 

How can I be stuck and jittery at the same time? And why do I feel like an ice cream cake that's been left out too long on the side on the hottest day of the year? Yes, I've been watching Bake Off. 

I think I need a break. It would be nice to open a door, step through and just take a time out. Of course, as a mum, that's impossible. We can never fully escape everything. 

But I have made a decision. I will be shutting down for Christmas. Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn't it? Obviously, I won't personally be shutting down. I've got two kids so somehow I've got to find all my sparkly Christmas mojo. I'm hoping I packed it away with the tinsel. 

I feel I should be rallying more. I should be pulling out all the stops for my kids and making their Christmas as magical as possible but I just don't have the sprinkles. Maybe a little baking will help...

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

Wednesday 4 November 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Don Scoby

Donald P. Scoby is the owner of Whidbey Island Baking Company and the author of Make Your Own Darn Good Cookies, featuring the signature recipes of his company and recipes from family and friends. As a professional Highland bagpiper, he has produced and published a number of music albums along with his Celtic-rock band “Nae Regrets” and his experiential recording project entitled “Archive Of Resonance”.

His upcoming literary projects include additional recipe books, children’s books, science fiction, and sheet music books for Highland bagpipes. He is also exploring doing his own audiobook narration.

Don was born in Washington State and grew up living between Seattle and Whidbey Island. He now lives on the north end of Whidbey Island and enjoys outdoor sports, automotive restoration, and playing two types of Scottish bagpipes.

What kind of stories do you write?

Presently I am writing and self-publishing recipe books and Highland bagpipe sheet music books – and in some cases books that feature both foci. Over the past year, I started development on a thriller series based around a SCUBA diver. This followed development on a Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic series that has been kicking around in my head for the past 25-odd years. Somewhere in here, I plan to get pieces of my poetry put together in a book. There are a few backpacks and bags I designed and have started making, I intend to turn these into a sewing project book, too. Suffice it to say, I have a number of interests and would be classified as a multi-genre author.

Can you describe your writing why?

Writing and being a writer is for me the same as being a musician and making music.  Not creating and expressing in these ways might possibly drive me bonkers.  While neither of these crafts has paid my bills yet I also appreciate that I can generate income with these interests.  More enjoyable than that has been engaging people about my writing or music – opening bagpipe music to people who have not had an appreciation for it before or seeing someone take a recipe and gain confidence that they can bake or cook is the greatest payout one could hope for.

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


I will tell you this though – there were a number of unorthodox things I did with my first recipe book Make Your Own Darn Good Cookies.  Among those, I plugged a number of Easter-eggs into the text.  These were fun for me to include and I have received a good deal of positive feedback about them.  I won’t spoil what I did for folks who haven’t read my recipe book – take a look at my book yourself and have fun finding them.

I will say this, though – I give a suggestion at the end of my biscotti chapter about what to do in the event that you cannot bribe people to do things with a few well-made biscotti.

Tell us about your latest project

My aim is to complete at least two publications by the end of 2020:

One WIP – which I’m really excited to release – is a bit of a mouthful … it is a book of Scottish-American military and patriotic sheet music and tune history for Highland bagpipes – along with 15 or so traditional Scottish and Irish recipes, some with modern takes.  My plan is to use this as a fundraiser item for a Scottish-themed veteran’s organization I belong to.  The manuscript is presently in review by one of the national-level officers to make sure it meets with the organization’s stipulations.  If for some reason it fails to do so then I am going to perform a bit of a rewrite just before publishing – making it a book separate from the organization.  If that happens my plan is to still donate a percentage of the profits to the organization regardless of any official endorsement.

The other book is a permafree e-book featuring a few recipes; the goal with this is to attract more readers, both to my current and future books, along with my growing online presence as a cooking/baking guide and motivator and as a resource for new recipes.

What is your favourite cake?

Wait – I get cake for doing this interview?!?  No one told me about that beforehand – SWEET!!!  As far as I’m concerned anything chocolate with a raspberry ganache is a winner every time – but the real tell-all-story response is that I’m more of a pie guy.

… Say, this interview is still going to get published, right?

You're safe - pie counts! You can connect with Don at the following places:

Join me next week when I have a slice of cake with Kimberly T Hennessy.

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!

Monday 2 November 2020

Books Read October 2020

Changeless by Gail Carriger - 4 stars

Recap: Supernaturals are being turned human and it's nothing to do with Alexia Tarabotti, a preternatural.

Review: I enjoyed the trip up to Scotland and the murder on the dirigible storyline as well. Ivy Hisselpenny is a fabulous character. I can't say too much about the little plot twist except that I was in absolute bits by the end and had to rush to start reading the next book to find out if that was the end of the Maccons. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Blameless by Gail Carriger - 5 stars 

Recap: Shunned by her husband, pack, family and London society, Alexia flees to Italy.

Review: Absolutely tore through this one. Loved it from beginning to end. I love Monsieur Trouve, I detest Mr Lange-Wilsdorf and gasped at what happened to the dog lol. Biffy's storyline is going to be spectacular. I feel like we still don't really know what the inconvenient condition will turn out to be but I can't wait to find out. Also, Ivy is still wonderful. And dear, dear Dolly.

Heartless by Gail Carriger - 4 stars

Recap: A very pregnant Alexia must thwart an assassination attempt.

Review: Hmm this is like a 3.5 really. A slow book where not much seemed to be happening and yet when I came to write the review there were too many goods things for it to be a flat 3. Disappointing that Genevieve's role wasn't made more of. Good character development at the end with the baby's abilities and the big change for the pack didn't seem very impactful as it was told from Alexia's POV but it makes sense for the storyline. Not enough Lord Maccon. Felicity Lontwill was a surprise. Putting the ghost to rest and the way Biffy was handled was done with delicate emotion. But the whole thing was terribly slow. And the Queen plot didn't seem to have any urgency. That said - I am saving the final book because I am not ready to leave this world just yet.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata - 5 stars 

Recap: Keiko Furukura works part-time in a convenience store and has done for 18 years.

Review: Funny, a little bit terrifying and offering a glimpse into Japanese culture. Shiraha was a horrible human being and Keiko's attempts to normalise herself were, for the most part, endearing. A commentary on how misunderstood people on the spectrum can be but also happiness for them when they find their place in society. A fast read, absorbing and enjoyable.

Prize by L.V. Lane - 4 stars

Recap: Priya is the stubborn, misbehaving sister in a family of Alphas yet she believes she is only a Beta and will never reveal as an Omega.

Review: This book has more plot than Prey and gives us a bigger insight into worldbuilding. I didn't like Priya very much in the other book and I can't say I particularly like her in this one either but that said I still read the book in two nights. A naughty saucy fast read.