Wednesday, 7 April 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Gina Dewink

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Gina Dewink. 

Born and raised in Minnesota’s heartland (unless you count a brief yet important stint in Wisconsin), Gina Dewink was raised with her five siblings to be readers, writers and admirers of film. At the time of her high school graduation speech, she had completed her first novel – a romantic comedy she still ponders editing and publishing someday. Tossing writing aside for a detour into communications in college, she graduated cum laude from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Gina’s been working in nonprofit organizations since 2001 and her career often included aspects of writing. This experience led her into the field of communications management and copywriting – a field she continues in today. In 2006, Gina completed her third novel. Still unhappy with the end result, she set aside novel writing and began freelance writing in 2009. Gina has been published in over a dozen mediums and continues to freelance.

With the birth of her children in 2013 and 2015, the humorous tone in her writing blossomed into a pithy sarcasm that can be found in most of her work. Gina finds mirth and irony that she now has to schedule writing time while working part-time, freelancing and being a part-time-stay-at-home-mom. In 2016, Gina began and completed the first draft of her fourth novel. This time, she is satisfied with her work and published her debut novel, Time in My Pocket, in September 2017. 

What kind of books do you write?

Currently, I have two titles published. My first was a time travel mystery adventure in which a sarcastic mother of two wakes up in 1947 in someone else’s body. I love pondering how current life did not exist in the past and vice versa. In Time in My Pocket, the main character is always clutching for her cell phone and bemoaning the lack of Google until she can find a way to get back to present day.


My second book is nonfiction. As a freelance investigative writer and magazine Editor being my ‘day job,’ I was curious to collect interviews from individuals from all walks of life. In Human, with a Side of Soul, I interviewed a dozen strangers about their belief in a soul and thoughts on what happens after death. Perspectives include a neurologist, psychic medium, Hindu, atheist and others. I was searching for a common thread…and, I’m happy to report, I found one. It’s a light-hearted look at the joy of being human.

Can you describe your writing why?

I would love to have a succinct answer as to what motivates me, but the truth is, my writing is more a compulsion. I have always written and I assume I always will. Though I don’t always have a book in the works, I also write freelance articles, publish a magazine and constantly churn out marketing content. The motivation for my books usually begins with an idea that excites and fascinates me—such as what if I fell into a time before technology or what if we reincarnate—and I build it out into a relatable journey that others can take with me.

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

When I wrote and published my first book, I had a 1- and 3-year-old at home. Yet, when I wrote (usually in tiny bursts at naptime), I would sometimes feel a thrill so great I’d want to rush to read it to my husband. When I wrote about the main character falling back in time was one such instance:

Time in My Pocket

I lost my breath. I was drowning…or being suffocated. Like being crushed by a weight so great I couldn’t possibly survive its heft. The feeling was horrifying! Everything was dark. The kind of palpable dark a person could feel around them. I had the fleeting memory of experiencing that kind of dark while on an underground cave tour as a child. Terrified, I attempted to cry out for help. I think I screamed to God. My scream sounded choppy, like the sound of Jakey crying on the monitor when the battery was going dead.

And then, though my eyes were still closed, I sensed the darkness being replaced by light. I felt soft hands on my arms and then on my face. I gasped in a deep breath. My lungs filled with air, thank goodness. I was still alive! But instead of the smell of the hospice room, there was an overwhelming scent of perfume. Muffled voices were talking all at once.

“I think she’s coming back!” one of the voices called to the others.

Tell us about your latest project

In Human, with a Side of Soul, I spent nine months working on the project—interviewing, writing, reading, studying. It changed my perspective on so many things. In fact, at the end of the book, I detail the ways the journey changed how I live. I compiled the interviews and wove them throughout my real life until the book emerged as a sort of personal soul journey. Some of the ideas proposed by interviewees really stuck with me—the psychic medium who believes a group of souls are preparing a party for when we arrive, the hypnotherapist who insisted it does not matter if a past life experience is real or not as long as the message is received or the neurologist who acknowledges that since energy can never be destroyed, perhaps our components go on to exist in trees or apples. I think this is a great book for anyone looking to hear first-hand interviews from specialists in all areas of the soul (or lack thereof).

What is your favourite cake?

It’s a tie between German chocolate and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum!


You can connect with Gina at her website: ginadewink.com

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with C. Billie Brunson. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Tuesday Poem - This Ham Is Grey

I have online food shopping
It works for me
Fussy children
And dietary needs
Makes it straightforward
Until
Something goes wrong
This ham is grey I exclaim
This is not the colour of ham
I wrack my brain to think
Is ham ever grey?
Check the eggs are they whole?
Did the bread get squashed?
They put loo cleaner in with the food
And gave me bags I didn't ask for
Chilled and frozen mixed with non
It's the first time it's been this wrong
I'm not knocking the service
I think it's been grand
And they've done fantastic
Through all this lockdown
But really...
The ham is grey!


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

Monday, 5 April 2021

Just Give Me Five Minutes

And no, this isn't a sales pitch. Although if you want to go buy one of my books, I'll be eternally grateful.  

It's what I say to my kids, every five minutes. Or at least that's how it feels. Juggling work and kids is always tricky and lately I feel like I'm dropping way too many plates.

I'm terrified of my kids only remembering that I never had any time for them. Or for them to stop asking me to come and play or do a puzzle or requesting playdoh or whatever their latest whim happens to be. 

I find myself getting to the end of the day and analysing over whether or not I spent enough time with them. And, more importantly, did I 'play'. Because playing is something that does not come very naturally to me. 

Take today for instance. We had snuggles in bed this morning, we read together, I helped to build a train track, we made fairy cakes and put Easter decorations on them and... that was it. The rest of the time they entertained themselves, alternatively screaming abuse at each other (they're 7 and 3) and coming in to ask me for stuff.

I know this is the daily guilt trip all working mothers have. I know that. But it doesn't stop me from worrying that I'm the boring mum who never has any time to be fun. 

How do I explain that I work so hard and spend so much time on my laptop writing because I am trying to build my author platform, sell more books and finally be able to buy a car. Or put the deposit down on a real house with a real garden and more space than we currently shoehorn ourselves into. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I have a part-time job as well as my writing career. My husband is in a steady, well-paid job. I've got two crazy little cabbages and a roof over my head not to mention heating, fresh water and food in the cupboard. There are an awful lot of families out there who are in desperate need of some or all of those things. 

But I want to give my kids a garden to play in with a shed for them to have a bike. I want them to have a little more space so they're not trying to live on top of each other all the time. I want to be able to bundle them in the car and take them on adventures. 

I keep telling myself I'll get there and I really hope that one day I do but in the meantime, I need to stop saying just give me five minutes and instead get down on the floor and start building some lego. 

Just give me five minutes. 


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

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Laura Kehoe

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with Laura Kehoe.

Avid reader, writer, and coffee enthusiast. Laura love books in any shape or form and will gladly talk about them with anyone and everyone. Royal Thief is her first published novel.

In addition to her somewhat unhealthy obsession with books, she also loves spending time outside, snuggling with her cat, and eating her weight in cheese.

What kind of books do you write?

I write books about people who just want to mind their own business and maybe have a nice snack, but life has other plans for them. Sometimes magic and the occasional dragon are involved. 

Can you describe your writing why?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved stories. Reading them, writing them, watching them…I love it all. Stories have saved my life more times than I can count and I want to share that feeling with others. Plus, I love being able to create my own world and imagine what might happen!

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

Desini stepped back into the clearing, a pile of sticks in her arms. The fire was starting to fade, so she added more fuel. She didn’t say a word the entire time, but her frustration radiated off her like a bright, burning light.

From Royal Thief 




Tell us about your latest project

My latest project is about a woman who accidentally falls through a portal to a magical world and must find her way back home.

What is your favourite cake?

I’m a sucker for red velvet cake!  

Connect with Laura here:

Author Website: https://laurakehoe.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16068177.Laura_Kehoe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraKehoe2
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurakehoeauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurathebookunicorn/

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Gina De Wink. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Tuesday Poem - Easter Magic

Where does the Easter bunny live Mummy?
Why on Easter Island of course. He’s guarded
there by the giant statues of Moai. Grim-faced
and determined not to share their secrets.
How does the Easter bunny make all the chocolate eggs, Mummy?
Careful now, tread on eggshells, consider the answer carefully.
This is cannon.
The bunny is magical my child, everything happens with magic.
You just have to believe and then the magic works.
Like the tooth fairy Mummy? And Father Christmas?
Yes! Relief floods as established lore can be used to cement reasons why.
Childhood innocence is too precious to ruin with
tired Mummy forgetfulness and failure that seems to dog every step.
Wonder must be cared for and guarded fiercely. The neighbour helps.
He is planning a secret Easter bunny doorstep drop.
The kindness of strangers a thousand-fold as he’ll buy chocolate eggs
and bunnies for my children, left in a basket with no note.
Magic confirmed. Wonder built. Innocence saved.
For one more year.
Next question. Mummy, how long was I a star before I was born.
Careful now…


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

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Farzana Hakim

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Farzana Hakim.

What kind of books do you write?

I write all sorts of books. I’m a bit messed up like that because I’m not a one genre author! I’ve written contemporary fiction, literary fiction, and my latest projects are both historical. However, all my books have one thing in common which is the love element in them. I believe no story can be a complete story if it didn’t have a ‘love’ of some sort in it. 

Can you describe your writing why?

I guess I’ve always been writing. Writing stories kept me busy when I was little and when I was big, they kept me sane. The best stress buster is writing. And I’ll be an advocate of writing as a form of therapy forever. What motivates me most these days is the need to have my voice heard. I want to write about topics that women like me want to read about like women like them. (Does this make sense?). I want to bring diversity and colour in books and because my debut novel, Sweethearts of Ilford Lane, was appreciated for its bravery in tackling ‘taboo’ for women in my community, I am all the more determined to keep going with storylines that will cause gasps and emotional roller coasters. 

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

My favourite excerpt from Sweethearts of Ilford Lane:

The next few minutes the only sounds which could be heard in Hassan’s living room were the noises of transgression and dishonour being committed by none other than us two seventeen year old, clueless teenagers, who’d forgotten everything ever taught to them.

We had lost our way. Everything about that moment was wrong. The whole night was evil and corrupt. It was stupid and if I could take back time, believe me that night I would have stayed in my own room, fast asleep. Safe and chaste.

Not only the religious rules, we bypassed our culture, the values and norms which we had grown up learning and following. We crossed all the barriers set by family, set by etiquette and set by God.

We broke them all.

By letting Hassan near me, I was breaking my promise to Habib and Uncle and Aunty. I was committing the worst sin of all.

I was dishonouring my family.

But I swear I wouldn’t have let anybody blame Hassan for any of this because it was me who went to him. It was me who allowed him to suck all the morals out of me. I allowed him to strip all the layers of dignity and modesty which I’d proudly worn until then.

That night I was allowing Hassan to rip each bit of cloth away from my guarded self, revealing only my shame, my nudity, and my obsession for him.

I regret that night. It wasn’t meant to happen.

But it did. 


Tell us about your latest project

I’m currently working on Chief of The Atlantic, a historical fiction novel about slavery. My protagonist is an African Chief who is tricked and sold into slavery. But the Chief’s ego is huge and he can’t accept this fate. Instead, he jumps overboard into the Atlantic believing he has outwitted the slavers and that the Ocean will welcome him with open arms.

The novel revolves around his past story and his relationship with the Ocean. Lots of adventure, fantasy, romance and heartbreak in this one.

What is your favourite cake?

It’s got to be coffee and walnut cake, the kick, the crunch and the crumbs… nothing can beat a slice of this cake! 


Connect with Farzana here:

Twitter @farzanahakim
Instagram @farzanahakimauthor
Facebook @farzanahakimauthor

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Laura Kehoe. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Tuesday Poem - Late Night TV

Sitting on the sofa at the end of the day
Hardly moving, lidded eyes
Too tired to press the remote
Netflix plays on and on and on and on
There's no need to move
Thought about getting an early night
Four hours ago
Should really have been working or ironing
Or reading one of the many, many books
On my nightstand waiting to be explored
But my body is sunk into the couch
And I'm just melted in place
Hardly breathing, slurping hot tea
Made by my beloved husband
Whenever I ask him to
I recoup for a few hours, gathering some energy
To gather myself and turn off the TV
Just another five minutes until the end of the show
It's a gripping cliffhanger and
Netflix plays on and on and on and on
A season a night, new shows, old reruns
Just filling up time for no reason

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


Monday, 22 March 2021

When The Words Won't Flow

Sitting down to write is such an agonising process. 

I am not one of those people who can just sit down and write. I am also not a planner. So when I sit down to write it's always empty page syndrome. Most of the time I am able to pick up the thread from the day before and carry on but when the day before was three days ago, I struggle.

I admire those writers who can force themselves to sit down and type no matter what. 

I am only slightly jealous of those writers who can write at any time of day, who don't have any other demands to deal with. An entire day in front of them with no distractions. Imagine the possibilities. 

Not being able to write fills me with such guilt and that in itself is a huge block to creativity.

It adds fuel to the self-doubt fire that I'm not good enough. I'll never earn a living selling books. No-one cares about what I'm doing. I can't write good. 

That's when I know I've hit word bottom. For me, it means taking a break. Which doesn't help the guilt machine but it is what it is. I've learnt that I'm a fits and starts writer and I guess I just have to accept that.

So what exactly is my writing advice? Find what works for you and don't worry if it's not what 'they' say you should be doing. Forcing yourself to conform to whatever the expected norm is never works and will just make you miserable. Sadly that doesn't stop you from feeling rubbish when others seem to be getting stuff done and you seem to be going nowhere BUT your journey is yours and yours alone. It may go straight from A to B, it may meander a lot, it may get a flat tyre or be diverted. I think you get the metaphor. 

At the end of the day if you're doing one thing towards your creative project every day then progress is being made. Just one thing a day soon adds up and when you take a moment to pause and look how far you've come, you'll be impressed.


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

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Kim Kimber

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with Kim Kimber, co-founder of Light Bulb Quizzes.

Light Bulb Quizzes are a group of Supernatural fans who publish a series of quiz books. 

It all started as an evening of fun, testing one another on their knowledge of Supernatural, which led to the idea of publishing a book that the SPN family worldwide could enjoy. The Supernatural Quiz Book Season 1 was the result and the positive response by fans encouraged them to keep going and produce books on all of the series.

Each cover comprises original artwork by a Supernatural fan and every book contains 500 questions on the actors, writers, cast, characters, production team, monsters and spirits, soundtrack, quotes and general trivia, as well as every episode of that series.

Light Bulb Quizzes aims to celebrate all the talent that has gone into making Supernatural so popular and enduring and provide a recap of the road so far...

Kim is also an experienced UK copy-editor, proofreader and writer who is passionate about the written word in all its forms and a stickler for getting it right, from a single blog post to a lengthy manuscript.

What kind of books do you write?

At Light Bulb Quizzes, we generate quiz content and our current focus is on the cult American TV series, Supernatural (not to be confused with the paranormal in general). Each of our books concentrates on one season of the show and contains 500 questions and answers. So far we have published 13 titles in the series and 3 bumper books (each containing 3 seasons).


Can you describe your writing why?

I have always written, in one form or another, alongside working as an editor. A few years ago, I was invited by a publisher to compile questions for quiz books on musical artists and local history, amongst other topics. That led to my researching and writing questions for the QuizUp app and creating content for various quiz-based games sold by well-known retailers. My daughters are fans of Supernatural and suggested we start our own imprint, compiling questions about the show. The first, and subsequent books, were so well received by fans, we’ve just kept going. We never imagined the series would run to so many seasons (Season 15 is the last). 

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

That is hard to do for quiz books. Our first book is, perhaps, the one we enjoyed working on the most as that is where all started, although compiling each book is a pleasure and a new challenge.  

During the pandemic, we’ve missed going to conventions and meeting fans, as they are always supportive and provide valuable feedback. Here’s a little taster from that first book. It’s a question about actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (John Winchester) one of the stars from the first series I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to about our books.

Q) In which 2005 film noir thriller did Jeffrey play the role of Detective Cole Davies?

A) Chasing Ghosts


Tell us about your latest project

We are currently combining earlier books in the series into Bumper books, the latest being The Bumper Supernatural Quiz Book Seasons 7, 8 & 9. We are also busy writing questions for Seasons 14 and 15. Now that the series has ended, we hope our books will be a lasting legacy to Supernatural.  


What is your favourite cake?


Everyone at Light Bulb Quizzes loves cake (who doesn’t?). Personally speaking, a few years ago, I had chocolate orange cake at a café in Westcliff (sadly, now closed) and it was the best thing I ever tasted, so that has to be among my favourites. My own version always falls short. I wish I had their recipe.  



You can connect with Kim at her website: kimkimber.co.uk, on Twitter @LightBulbQuiz and on Facebook

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Farzana Hakim. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Monday, 15 March 2021

When It All Goes Wrong

Life seems to enjoy going wrong. Whenever you think you've got your ducks in a row, do not get complacent! Things will start cocking up. It's almost best to not think about things going well to be honest. You don't want to jinx it. Let me give you an example.

If you've been following my author news and wotnot, you'll know that I'm currently recording - or at least attempting to record - my very first audiobook. 

First I paid for a course and took notes on what mic to buy. I got the wrong one. And an unnecessary mixing deck. I also got the wrong mic stand - twice. Fast forward a couple of months and I have rectified my costly mistake with the purchasing of an even more expensive mic. And constructed a semi-sound booth in my bedroom. All seems well at this point.

However, my laptop wouldn't recognise the mic. Then my recording program wouldn't recognise my mic. Then the recording program wouldn't work with my mic. Then there were weird knocking noises in the background. And the nine chapters I'd recorded were no good. Turns out I hadn't quite bought all the equipment I needed. Another fifty quid in the hole and I've got a fancy shock mount and am about ready to throw the whole lot in the bin. 

Recording can finally begin. Frustration levels are high. No double-glazing means external noises are a problem, hence my little recording nook in the bedroom. But noisy children means recording has to happen in the evening, pausing for supermarket vans, fast food and Amazon deliveries, cars parking and emergency sirens. 

All the recording gods seemed to have aligned and progress can be made. Then my new neighbours moved in. They're not as quiet as the old ones. We've had one or two noisy nights, a blip not a natural state I hope but it certainly felt like it had all gone wrong again. 

I push forward with caution. There's still plenty of time for calamity. 


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

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Sherry Perkins

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with Sherry Perkins.

Indie author Sherry Perkins has a natural curiosity and love for life-long learning. When not on the beach collecting shells or sea glass, she can be found in her garden avoiding the snakes or following the Dave Matthews Band to snake-free venues on the East Coast. During a once in a lifetime visit to Northern Ireland, she was inspired to write the beginning lines to what would become the Will-o’-the-Wisp Stories. The Wisp Stories are serialized tales of well-known folklore, reimagined in a contemporary form with small-town sensibility and scientific inquiry added. Books in the Wisp Stories have previously been short-listed for “best in genre” at the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards. In addition to the Wisp Stories, she has written blended genre sci-fi thriller and romance, or cozy murder mysteries. Her books invite the reader to imagine what they might do in tough situations and challenge beliefs—because as she learned in Northern Ireland, nothing is what it seems and you really should leave a saucer of milk with a slice of cake at the back gate every night if you want to keep in the good graces of the wee folk (and maybe banish the garden snakes).

What kind of stories do you write?

Once upon a time…the bulk of the stories I write are about real places, in contemporary settings with characters who have very human needs—except all of the characters are not quite human, some are killers, plus there is a sprinkling of enchantment or otherwise magical happenings and romance.



Can you describe your writing why?

I have stories to tell. They will not be quiet or stay hidden in my imagination for want of being told, shared with those who want to believe in something more than what they know or expect.

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

From These Are for Tears:

“Boy, I tell you this, if it were not for your mother, you would be dead and long gone for running that gobhole of yours. Every-fecking-thing you do concerns me. You would do best not to forget that.” 
“Because I am your loyal subject, d’ya mean?” Connor asked. 
“You watch your mouth!” The Erl leaned back in his chair. “It is more because I cared for your mother and less because you are a loyal subject.” He paused to consider his words. “And it is because of Morgan. She’s something in mind for you lads. To be sure, I truthfully can’t suss what it might be. That disturbs me a bit, it does.”
Connor snorted. “Well, that would make at least two of us.”
The Erl frowned. “Boy, you understand she continues to feel love for Tiernan, even as she is married to you. I don’t know if I like the dynamic of it. There’s more to it than what is on the surface. That is what’s of primary concern here. Morgan’s feelings for Tiernan might be what vexes me. It might be that I know you are keeping something from her. Or she is keeping something from you. Or that slowly and quite deliberately, she is teasing you away from Em—you and Tiernan, both. It creates an imbalance of power. I won’t have it. Do you hear me, boy?”
“You should have thought about that before you put the crazy twit on the throne, if you were so worried about the balance of power!” 
With a tolerant smile, the Erl pushed away from the table and stood. He leaned close to Connor. “Your wife, she is not to be trusted.”
“Not to worry,” Connor said. “Neither am I.” 



Tell us about your latest project

What started as notes I’d collected on a trip to Portrush in Northern Ireland quickly found itself a serialized telling of the adventures of an American student abroad, soon to graduate from the University of Ulster, who discovers—quite by accident—fairies do exist, and they are not the gossamer-winged, pixie-dust sprinkling beings she’d been told about as a child. No, faeries are complex beings with emotionally driven behaviour, a long memory, and an unforgiving code of conduction and behavioural expectations.

These Are for Tears is the newest release in the Will-o’-the-Wisp Stories, the third in the serialized tales about Morgan Patterson and the man of her dreams, Sgt. Tiernan Doherty. But he’s neither a man nor your typical sergeant in the PSNI; he’s a card-carrying faerie lord with a past that is catching up with him and Morgan.

And Morgan? Well, she’s not the innocent by-stander she seems to be…

What is your favourite cake?

I suppose my favourite is a Lady Baltimore cake or a good red velvet cake with pistachio cream cheese icing. 



I've never heard of that one before, looks good though. You can connect with Sherry here:


Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Kim Kimber. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Tuesday Poem - Nursery Girl

My little girl is a big girl now
With no frown across her brow
As she strode confidently up the ramp
Not so little feet going stamp stamp stamp
She had her coat and backpack too
Spare clothes in case she missed the loo
Ready to play and have lots of fun
Outside too regardless of no sun
Making new friends with other girls and boys
Sharing smiles, snacks and sometimes toys
Mum's the only nervous wreck
Pacing footsteps worn out the deck
Got there early to pick her up with glee
She was, of course, super pleased to see me
Had a good time, did really well
Already ready for tomorrow's bell
Think she'll be tired later I'm sure
Rest now before we're back out the door
Got to pick up big brother at three
Then drag 'em all home for some tea
It feels like it's gone in a sparkly whirl
Day one done for my nursery girl


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



Monday, 8 March 2021

And... they've gone

Monday 8th March - the day the schools in the UK reopened. Whether this is a good thing or not with regards to the R-number, it cannot be denied that this is a good mental health day.

I woke up in a good mood. I did my yoga, had a shower, got me and two children breakfasted, dressed and groomed and I didn't lose my cool once. That's amazing. 

Both my kids were in such a good mood. They've been great through lockdown, but they've had some grotty days when all they've wanted to do is bicker. They are both so excited to return to school. It's my little one's first day of nursery and she was so brave. She practically ran straight in, no bother. I hope she has a wonderful time.

And my boy. My crazy, wonderful, autistic boy who won't let us give him a haircut... he was buzzing at being back in school with his teacher and his friends. Less enthused about doing school work but I reminded him it was Science Week and that seemed to do the job.

I came home and for the first time in forever, I smashed my daily word count on my work-in-progress before 10am. I feel amazing. I'm also freezing cold but I've managed two hot cups of tea. An also amazing feat. Today is the kind of day when great things get done. 

Shame I've got a huge pile of ironing to tackle lol. Still getting that done later will be another load off my mind. And I will have the time and the mental energy to be a super cool mum when they get home. All I have to do now is figure out what to cook for dinner. 


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

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Rachel Ford

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with Rachel Ford.

Award-winning author Rachel Ford is a software engineer by day, and a writer most of the rest of the time. She is a Trekkie, a video-gamer, and a dog parent, owned by a Great Pyrenees named Elim Garak and a mutt of many kinds named Fox (for the inspired reason that he looks like a fox).

What kind of stories do you write?

I love creating complex worlds with deep mythologies and lots of fantasy races. I enjoy writing about worlds where jötnar, elves, dwarves, mortals and dragons co-exist – though not always well, of course. And my fantasy novels have to include a dash of magic, a bit of mischief, a sprinkling of mayhem and a touch of mystery. 

Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve dreamt up stories ever since I was a kid, and I’ve always loved telling them. Writing allows me to tell them to people all over the world. Which is basically a dream come true.

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

In a way, it looked like a typical day for the season. The area lay under a heavy blanket that, at a glance, could have been fog. Sleet beat down on the earth, and the wind howled and raged. It could have just been the first real storm of the season rolling in.

It wasn’t. It was part first storm, and part murder and mayhem. Which was a first, alright – a first for me as knight of the shire. But not the first time our shire had seen this, or even the Callaghan keep. There was a reason my ancestors had built elven magic into these walls. They’d fought dragons. They’d seen fields covered in dragon smoke so thick it looked like fog.

But I hadn’t. South and North had been at peace longer than I’d been alive. Except now we weren’t. Now, as of a few hours ago, we were at war.

Excerpt from High Protector, book three of my Knight Protector series.

Tell us about your latest project

My latest project is a GameLit series, Beta Tester. Jack Owens, the protagonist, is trapped inside a fantasy RPG. I love this series because it combines all the excitement, the high stakes, and the adventure of epic fantasy with the endearing quirks and addictiveness of a videogame. Along with the angry dragons, wicked goblins, deceitful magicians, Jack must also contend with annoying NPC’s, untimely bugs, and useless companions. It’s been a pleasure to write. 

And, of course, my “research” (playing my favorite RPG’s…) is a nice perk, too.

What is your favourite cake?

Ohh, this is tough. I suppose I would have to say pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting (although a turtle cake – rich chocolate, sweet caramel, and roasted pecans – is a very close second). Hmm…now I want cake. 


They both sound lovely! You can connect with Rachel on Facebook: facebook.com/rachelfordauthor
and all her books are on Amazon.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Sherry Perkins. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Tuesday Poem - Stayed The Same

The number has stayed the same again
This has caused me anguish and pain
I can't believe it hasn't dropped some
After all the hard work I've done

There were jelly babies and liquorice allsorts
Pringles and digestive biscuits
Chips and crisps and Haribo too
A cheeky Chinese and a Maccy D's
Several tubs of vegan Ben & Jerry's

I've worked out every day with good old Joe
Daily yoga with Adrienne too you know
I've walked more with the kids getting fresh air
And danced around the living room like I just don't care

I haven't drunk my water and I finished all the sherry
Too many cups of tea and slices of toast with butter
I can't eat dairy it's true but dark chocolate bars
Keep finding their way into my online shopping
Along with vegan goodies I must try

I've sweated and grunted and groaned
Resisted the urge to scroll on my phone
Done abs and weights and running around
Knackered my bad knee into the ground

I've ached and swapped rest days but never given in
Apart from last Sunday when enough was enough
I'm not sleeping, so tired
And grumpy too, snapping at everyone in my space
It's no surprise the scales haven't moved

I'm getting older, getting slower, taking longer to heal
But I've got to stop messing around as I feel
Unless I sort out my head and get going
I'll head into my 40th year knowing...

She could've done better. 


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

Silk Thief Sent To Betas

It is with great relief that I can say The Silk Thief has gone to beta readers. I'd love to be able to say that I won't think about the novel for the next month but we both know that's not going to be the case. I shall be wondering whether they like it or not, whether the plot worked or not, whether they got all the in jokes... or not. Hmm. Could be a long month.


The Silk Thief release on 4th June and you can pre-order your Kindle copy by clicking here.

In case you missed my earlier post revealing the blurb, here you go:

Fourteen, heir to the Empire of Roshaven, must find a new name before Theo, Lord of neighbouring Fidelia, brings his schemes to fruition.

Not only has he stolen Roshaven’s trade, but he plans to make Fourteen his own and take her empire in the bargain.

Her protector, Ned Spinks, is plagued with supernatural nightmares whilst his assistant, Jenni the sprite, has lost her magic. 

Can they figure out how to thwart Theo’s dastardly plan before it’s too late for his city and her empire? 


The Silk Thief is the second quirky magical mystery adventure set in the Roshaven series of humorous fantasy novels. If you like the wit and humour of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, then you’ll love The Silk Thief.

"But I haven't read the first book!" I hear you cry. Not to worry. The Rose Thief is available in paperback and ebook everywhere - just click the book cover below to get your copy.

Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses and if they take the magical red rose then love will be lost, to everyone, forever.

It’s up to Ned Spinks, Chief Thief Catcher, and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day.

But the thief isn’t exactly who they seem to be. Neither is the Emperor.

Ned and his team will have to go on a quest; defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?

The Rose Thief is the first quirky magical mystery adventure set in the Roshaven series of humorous fantasy novels. If you like the wit and humour of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, then you’ll love The Rose Thief.


I'll update you in April with the beta reader feedback - cross your fingers!



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

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

A Slice of Cake With... S.E. Smith

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with S.E. Smith. 

S.E. Smith, known as Sarah to her friends and ‘Miss’ to her students, was born into a naval family, and now lives on a 65-foot broadbeam boat with her husband, Steve, and her two rescue dogs – Ben and Eva. 

Crediting her Nana May for instilling in her a love of history, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the East End of London at the turn of the 20th Century, Sarah took on board the adage write about what you know and created Symington Byrd. A gentleman detective whose foray into the East End leads him into all kinds of danger.

A great fan of the West Wing, Pokemon Go, and Doctor Who, Sarah’s biggest claim to fame is the day spent with the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, chasing Daleks down The Strand.

What kind of stories do you write?

This is going to sound very bizarre, but I’m the secretary taking dictation from characters shouting the loudest and I embellish them with what I encountered in the books, films and tv programmes I adored whilst growing up. The humour of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. The golden age tales of justice penned by Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie. They stem from my almost obsessional love of Doctor Who, Blakes 7 and everything out of the Lew Grade stable – especially The Avengers and PJ Hammond’s Sapphire and Steel. Intelligent, educated heroines, who can fight their way out of most situations; Debonair, flawed heroes – who take the lead but know they’re part of a team; and villains who can become the most unlikely of allies. They’re also tales whose endings take me by surprise, probably because I’m being dictated to.

Can you describe your writing why?

I write because if I don’t I lose who I am. It’s something I’ve always done and when work takes control, I get cranky and resentful that it’s supplanting something that is so central to my existence.
 
I suppose being an only child I developed my imagination as a way of giving me friends to play with at weekends. Remember, I’m older than the mobile phone. I didn’t get a car until the second year of University. During my teenage years, we lived out in the rural idyl of North Wales. If I didn’t imagine, I didn’t feel like I lived. One of my earliest published characters has the same name as my imaginary childhood friend: Lucy. I didn’t realise until Dad pointed it out; reminding me he was forever shutting her fingers in the car door. A couple of years ago, I found a book of my writings whilst looking for something else and there on the pages was a policeman – Sir Charles Carter. Near enough the same CC lurking in my current work. A bit more rounded now but recognisable nonetheless.

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

Beddgelert 1867.

It was a lovely green afternoon, and local sheep were taking advantage of the sunshine to eat, drink and be bleaty. In the distance, the mountains – normally so menacing in their stark greyness – seemed benign presences. Turning my back to the bridge, I stared out towards The Royal Goat, trying to catch sight of the folly that is Gelert’s grave. But the sun was in my eyes, and all I could see was the dust motes twinkling their way from heaven to earth.

Tell us about your latest project

2020 was a year of change. Lockdown not only altered how I worked (teaching from home) but coincided with the end of my contract with my previous publisher, so I decided to use the time to take stock. Having a publisher was great, but I wanted to be more involved in all aspects of the process which meant taking what some might feel is a retrograde step and go in house and indie.  But the husband was coming up for retirement and he’s a darn good project manager, so why not use him.
I knew I wanted to focus on the crime fiction for a while and was at the point where there were three Byrd’s in the ‘ooh that’s an idea, I wonder if has legs?’ stage. I had a good first draft of a fourth and ready to editor fifth – to complement the two already published. It, therefore, made sense to delve more into this arena; try and master the craft because I was on a roll and seriously, I’m at home in this turn of the twentieth-century world.

Because of the dictated process – if you’ve ever watched the delightful film ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ you’ll get this – I found I knew more about my characters and their world than I did in 2015. I went back to the first two books – A Cowardice of Crows and An Unkindness of Ravens and tweaked them in light of this new knowledge. A couple of sections changed perspective. A couple of things originally only hinted at, were fleshed out and told for the first time. I honed the “I brought you all here together” sections; hopefully tightening them.

My editor put me onto a proofreader. That was an eye-opening part of the publishing process. I learned so much. She also put me onto a publicist. 

Which left one thing. The thing you should never judge, but always do…

I headed to the internet, asked some of my usual readers for their opinions. Research and their feedback indicated that every so often – book covers change. Sometimes authors have a bit of a name change. 
I decided to do the same. Get rid of the Sarah. Go more crimey with initials.

I approached a designer – famed for her rebranding abilities. She took my ideas, asked loads of questions. Went to work. Came back with six options. Narrowed down to two. 

Cover finalised, Steve got his head ‘round working with traditional printers, the publicist, and how to get books into the local indie bookshops, while I got my head around KDP. 

By January we were ready to go. A Cowardice of Crows came out on the 1st of Feb.  An Unkindness of Ravens the 15th.  A Disappointment of Owls hits the shelves on March 2nd. 


Owls is a bit of a departure from the usual linear narrative of Byrd’s investigations, taking place as it does in the middle of Ravens. But it was so much fun to write because, while I couldn’t develop Byrd’s complicated ‘will they won’t they?’ love life, I could develop his relationship with said love interest’s uncle. It’s also given me a chance to write about some intriguing and highly illegal working-class practices and bring in a nemesis, or Moriarty like figure – if you will - to complete the ensemble.
This all done means I can focus on A Terrifying of Tailorbirds, also set in the middle of Ravens. This book has more of a supernatural feel to it – based as it is on an ancient Egyptian cult who just happen to have a weapon which Byrd’s new nemesis wants to get his hands on. 

Hopefully, if I iron out the missing middle – the discovery of yet another dead archaeologist – Tailorbirds should be on the shelves end of 2021.

What is your favourite cake?

Even as a newlyish diagnosed coeliac, cake’s never been my favourite of things.  I despise fruit cake with a passion – even Christmas cake can sit festering and unloved well into the New Year. To be honest, the only decent thing about them is the icing, which I pick off, leaving the alcohol-laced fruity bit festering …and the only reason I had one at my wedding was that Mum promised there would be lashings of icing.  

Perhaps I should have had a wedding cake made of cheese.  

Now there’s a cake I do like: Cheesecake. A colleague of mine makes an amazing almond flour cheesecake, which is beyond delish. It is to be welsh for a moment tidy and lush and I’m quite partial to a Yule log – providing I make it myself, and am in sole charge of the amount of buttercream put on it. It’s my comfort food. My guilty pleasure.


You can connect with S.E. Smith at the following places:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SymingtonByrd 

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Rachel Ford. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Life After Lockdown

One of the questions I see a lot of is 'What's the first thing you're going to do when the lockdown is lifted?' and I am honestly not sure.

The problem with being told to stay away from people, isolate yourself, wear a facemask when outside and do all your shopping online is that after a year of such behaviour it becomes habitual. The loss of high street stores will further encourage reliance on online shopping. Perhaps the era of big brand stores is over. 

I have small(ish) children, one of whom is on the spectrum, so going out - as a grown-up - hasn't been part of my life for about eight years now. To the point where I find the whole concept of 'going out' a huge mental chore. And don't get me started on my reluctance to socialise with large groups of people *shudders*. This behaviour has been encouraged due to lockdown and for a naturally unsociable person, the thought of actual socialising is not a fond one. 

Don't get me wrong, I do miss my friends and I look forward to the day when I can sit in their kitchen or they can come and sit in mine and we'll drink tea and put the world to rights. They also have small(ish) children but they do a much better job on the socialising front than I do. 

And I do miss sitting in a coffee shop, either by myself ignoring the people around me and soaking up the 'nuss' in order to write several thousand words OR having actual coffee and cake with another person who is not my husband or my child. 

Then of course, there's visiting family. The guilt at not having seen family is near crippling. Like most people, I'm sure, there have been huge upheavals in the lives of my nearest and dearest and I've missed all of it. I have two nephews and a niece to meet. I have parental ill health to try and support. 

But what will be the topic of conversation. How have you been? Rubbish, I've been lockdowned for a year and done nothing except pull out my hair at homeschool and shout at my kids, igniting a massive guilt cycle that first caused me to gain weight and then lose weight. What have you been up to? Nothing, I've been lockdowned with two children (three if you count hubster) and I haven't learnt a new skill or mastered sourdough or written seven books or learnt another language or even done the three puzzles that are languishing on the top of my bookcase. I didn't even do any DIY and I stopped making cakes months ago. Any news? No, I haven't got any bloody news - I've been lockdowned!

I think the worst thing of all is the fact that after lockdown lifts, my life will barely change and it is that deep, dark hole that I fear the most. 



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

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

A Slice of Cake With... S.G. Minae

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author S.G. Minae.

S.G writes steamy love stories that just happen to involve aliens, supernatural elements, and romantic, far-away planets. Whether they take place on Earth or on another world, the emphasis is on realistic relationships and deep, fleshed-out characters. Because love is love, everywhere in the universe.

What kind of stories do you write?

I write steamy, romantic adventures that take place on Earth and on exotic planets far, far away. My new series is fun, light, and sweet (but still steamy), while the first series has more angst and drama as the characters evaluate their place in the universe (literally).

Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve always loved to write, but found little time for it. Then I started dreaming about these characters and their world, and they wouldn’t go away. They became friends in my dreams and I simply HAD to write their story. And once I got started, I couldn’t stop! Now I can’t wait to share all the ideas I have for romance and adventure in this universe.

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

From Beauty In The Beast:

“Her body sank into the intergalactic shuttle’s oversized chair of supple cream-colored leather and she laid her furry head on the fluffy pillow. She raised the feet of her recliner and snuggled into a soft blanket. Kicking off her shoes, Kaleeah rotated her ankles to release the tension from aching paws, extending and retracting sharp claws. She stretched her hands as well, looking at the short white fur on her palms, then flipping them to the slightly longer orange fur with black stripes on the back. Her fingers reflexively moved up to stroke her whiskers, something that always helped her relax.

“Kaleeah gazed at Casea, her blond curls brushing against her slight shoulders, her blue eyes sparkling as she smiled and laughed with her friends. Casea had been very sweet to Kaleeah and sometimes tried to include her, but her friends were obviously uncomfortable around her. She wished she was better at small talk, at being social, but would she even be welcomed if she tried?”

Tell us about your latest project

Fantasy Planet is a new series that I’m very excited about! Each book follows the guests of a mysterious resort run by three captivating, magical hosts. 

In Episode 1: The Beauty In The Beast, Kaleeah is a lesbian humanoid tigress who dreams that her pretty human crush will see past her beastly exterior to the beautiful heart within. Meanwhile Marni, who’s running from an abusive ex, falls in love with her sexercise instructor! The two stories seem unrelated, but through some unexpected twists, their fates become intertwined.

In Episode 2: Prince Charming, the resort creates a miniature medieval town to host a Royal Summit. Working-class reporter Skye’s dreams come true when she’s assigned to cover the summit, and she’s even invited to the ball! But as her relationship with the prince deepens, she finds herself thinking about Justin, the activist she met on the shuttle. Will she have to choose between becoming the most powerful woman on the planet…and true love?


What is your favourite cake?

Anything with lots of buttercream frosting!


You can connect with S.G. Minnae here:

Website: sgminae.com
Twitter: @SgMinae 
Instagram: @sg_minae 
Facebook: SG Minae, Author 
My Books: bit.ly/sgminae-Books 

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Sarah Smith. 

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 clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.