Wednesday 26 May 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Carollyne Lairie

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Carollyne Lairie.

Carollyne lives close to the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. She has lived in and traveled to many places in the world, allowing her to bring texture, meaning, and variety to her stories. 

She's mentored under many writing greats like John Truby, David Farland, Hal Croasmun, and more, to improve her craft over decades of study and feedback.

After graduating with a BSc Hons Psychology, she remained a lifelong learner. She's worked in social service agencies as well as other occupations.

An avid fruit and vegetable gardener, she's taught gardening classes and founded a Facebook group for local gardeners with three thousand members.

Since 1998, Carollyne has run an all-volunteer charity for the poor in western Ukraine where they've provided food, shelter, clothing, and medical needs as well as built wells and installed running water.

Carollyne ran her own holistic clinic doing alternative therapies in the early 1980s. She continues her studies in the field.

She created a doll line and wrote twenty-six songs, several poems, and an activity book. The CD was produced by famed producer Greg Hansen, and the cover was painted by internationally renowned Simon Dewey.

Carollyne is the mother of four and a grandma to thirteen who live scattered across the States and Canada.

She loves to help others find happiness in life and hopes her books provide new insights, joy, and entertainment.

What kind of books do you write?

I’m writing stories with heart, soul, science and spirituality that entertain and uplift while revealing human nature and the trials and triumphs we face. I try to use writing skills I’ve gleaned over decades of study under great teachers and mentors while going for breadth and depth in plot, character, theme and description.

Right now, those stories are published under clean/sweet contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I’m interested in writing more middle grade, and possibly cozy mysteries later.

Can you describe your writing why?

Writing allows me to share the fascinating things I’ve learned over my life. Those include travels, gurus, my psychology degree, work experiences, scriptures, diverse people, real-life antagonists, principles from science, art and nature, and inspiration that comes as I write.

I love researching to add depth to stories. It’s a win for me and the reader.

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

The orange light of the fire tinted his face, shadowing the cut of his cheekbones, his eyes, and beneath his chin, in the hollow of his Adam’s apple. It highlighted his brunette hair with streaks of fiery gold, and he became more captivating to her. He whispered in a solemn tone, as though he’d never uttered the words aloud before. “Ever wonder about the moment of creation of a human being? Imagine you had all the materials, everything you need to bring about a human life. We’re not talking about making babies. We’re barely conscious of the underlying physical processes—the chemistry, physics, biology, much less the spirituality of the life force. I mean the spirit that lives within the body and what’s believed by many to continue after death. Now, Katie, what fine materials would you need to make that spirit before it joins its mortal body?

(from The Bridesmaid’s Billionaire)

Tell us about your latest project


Canadian psychologist Katie Bondar reunites with billionaire Geovanni Calabrese in Italy, hoping to return home with a ring on her hand. 

Geovanni, the orphaned poet-prince, seeks to reveal hidden prophecies unburied from ancient cathedrals that could protect mankind.

Dangerous enemies seeking the same treasures threaten their lives, their love, and the future of humanity. 

Geovanni faces an impossible choice—saving his parents, Katie, the treasured scrolls, or the rest of the world.

The Bridesmaid’s Billionaire is a sweet, romantic suspense.

What is your favourite cake?

Black Forest cake.

You can connect with Carollyne here:


Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Barbara Evers. 

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. Never miss out on future posts by clicking here

Tuesday 25 May 2021

The Silk Thief - Chapter 1

Out on 4th June 2021, The Silk Thief is the second book in my humorous fantasy Roshaven series. Here is the first chapter for you to read and enjoy.


Chapter 1

It was Griff’s funeral. Ned Spinks, Roshaven’s Chief Thief-Catcher, watched from his elevated vantage point on the upper part of the shore as the crowd congregated by the water. He scanned the throng for any suspicious behaviour. A cool sea breeze carried some freshness his way, combating the aroma caused when you get lots of individuals gathering in one place. It gave him small comfort to see such a large turnout, his own grief was too raw.

'Yor not on the clock now, Boss,’ Jenni the sprite remarked as she nodded a greeting at the Gingerbread folk. Wary of the water, they stood as far from the damaging liquid as they could without removing themselves from the ceremony.

‘Yeah, well, you know, people,’ muttered Ned.

‘Fourteen’s over there.’ 

Jenni pointed and they both stared at the elegant Imperial gazebo erected upon the Dead Pier. This was the other reason such a great crowd had assembled, and why the air hummed with animated chatter and gossip. The Emperor of Roshaven had recently revealed she was a woman, and this was her first formal event since that announcement. Unfortunate that it was a state funeral.

‘Mhm.’ Ned’s reply was as nonchalant as he could make it. He hadn’t seen Fourteen since they returned from their quest to save love and defeat the Rose Thief. After their triumphant return to the city, Fourteen had been immediately swept up by her administrators, the High Left and High Right. Every time Ned tried to get in to see her, the Highs cited important imperial duties that couldn’t be disturbed. After several tries, Ned had resolved to leave it for a while. He wasn’t certain if it were the Highs or Fourteen that were keeping him away.

‘Sparkly dress,’ commented Jenni.

Ned knew she was trying to get a response from him and his gaze flicked over again to where Fourteen stood, slightly apart from her retinue. Her short black hair framed her face and her silver gown was shining in the sun.

It relieved him when the opportunity came to change the subject as Momma K, Queen of the Fae, glided past bestowing regal smiles upon individual members of the crowd. Ned noticed he didn’t receive one and Jenni had ignored hers.

‘Things not going smoothly at home?’ Ned inquired. Jenni was the eldest of Momma K’s children, but she stayed with him in the city more often than not.

‘S’complicated.’ She was looking over at people on the pier again. ‘Who’s that talking to Norris?’

Ned decided not to push it, families were complicated, and his was no exception. Despite himself, he glanced over again at the dignitaries assembled on the pier. Fourteen was busy greeting some bureaucrat or other. There were representatives from all of Roshaven’s trade partners and a few cities they had not yet connected with. He could make out Fat Norris, otherwise known as the Lower Circle, whose responsibility it was to maintain existing trade agreements and keep them running smoothly while working on establishing new ones. He was talking to a familiar-looking man, dressed in blue. Ned squinted and then stiffened. 

‘It’s Theo.’

‘Wot, yor bruvver? Wot the ‘ell is ‘e doing ‘ere? Murderous scumbag!’ Jenni took a couple of steps in the direction of the Dead Pier before Ned stopped her.

‘Not now. He’s probably here as a trading partner. I don’t like it any more than you do, but we’ve got a job to do. We can find out what Theo’s up to later.’ Ned tried very pointedly not to look at the people on the pier. 

They had been escaping from Theo’s clutches in Fidelia when Griff had helped them get away. That help had cost Griff his life. Both Ned and Jenni blamed Theo despite the fact the actual murderer was probably one of Theo’s henchmen. When Ned had tried to find out using his official catcher authority, he’d been told that Fidelia had dealt with and executed the individual involved. Ned wasn’t sure he believed it but he couldn’t put his own city at risk, rocking the boat. Especially when Fourteen had just revealed her gender. She was the first official female Emperor. The slow wheels of progress, hampered by the brakes of tradition had not yet sanctioned the use of Empress.

Centuries ago, Roshaven had been the epicentre of a vast empire that spanned from coast to coast. It was that imperial lineage that Fourteen’s forebears had clung to, downsizing yet keeping their Imperial Palace and fighting tooth and nail to keep their crucial trading position on the coastline of Efrana. Now Roshaven was a bustling commerce city. It might not be a centre of industry, but it facilitated the shipping of both essential and luxury items up and down the coast, in particular the fine silks that were coveted throughout Efrana. It also provided the perfect location for trading vessels to restock their supplies and gain additional crew. Many of Roshaven’s trade agreements had been meticulously negotiated and arm-twisted into place by Griff. Ned hadn’t known that about his friend before he died, but it was the reason he was being honoured with a state funeral.

Ned winced. He had been trying not to think too much about the circumstances of Griff’s death.

‘It weren’t yor fault, Boss.’

‘Stay out of my head, Jenni.’

‘I ain’t reading yor fawts, I can’t do that. It’s plastered all over yor face.’

Ned sniffed and blinked. Damn sand was in his eye.

‘If it wasn’t my fault, then whose was it?’

Jenni hawked and spat.

‘I can’t ignore that Theo is my brother, no matter how much I want to. And if I don’t take responsibility for his actions, who will? I cannot call myself innocent of any wrongdoing. It was my idea to appeal to Griff for help when we needed it on our quest. And it cost him. It cost him everything.’

‘Family ain’t blood,’ replied Jenni.

‘No, but he is my brother, and it’s a debt I will never clear.’ Ned stopped speaking as the funeral rites commenced.

Pristine white wrappings concealed Griff’s body, and it lay upon a stack of firewood. There were blossoms and offerings of food pushed in-between the sticks and branches. Various runic symbols of protection and safe travels had been painted in gold around the decoratively carved canoe that held the pyre. Fourteen placed a single red rose on the torso and bowed her head in respect. She stepped backwards and the many and various priests of Roshaven chanted a simple farewell prayer, each of them dedicating it to their own deity as well as chiming numerous bells.

Ned shivered as the chanting and chimes made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

Several druids came forward to push the canoe into the water. Ned spotted Kendra, the High-Priestess among them. Their druidic incantation danced across the breeze, and he heard snatches of their melodic prayers. A sudden swirl forced them to hasten back, allowing the canoe to be taken by a gossip of mermaids. Pearl’s distinctive golden blond head bobbed above the water and Ned half-smiled to himself.

The harpies were next. They flew over the aquatic procession, scattering petals—a tender side to them Ned would never have expected. Fred, the young palace guard, led the Imperial Band in a farewell fanfare and Momma K sent a magnificent shower of silver stars shooting out across the harbour.

Ned took a deep breath. It was his turn now. 

Dipping a pitch-tipped arrow into the bowl of flames nearby, it lit with a whoosh and, taking another steadying breath, he nocked and drew, mindful not to singe himself. He could sense all eyes on him with the heavy pressure of expectation, and his arms began quivering. Focusing on the body and canoe below, Ned shakily exhaled and released his flaming arrow. The crowd watched mesmerised as it arced high over the water before landing. The pyre had been doused with scented oils both to mask the stench of rotten flesh and also to serve as an accelerant.

For a long moment, nothing happened and Ned half stretched out his hand to pick up a second arrow, but then the fire took and ran hungrily over the body. There was a collective stillness on the shore. Then the crowd began stirring, returning to their lives. Ned remained standing, watching the flames devour his friend as the canoe drifted further and further out to sea, his thoughts bleak.

‘It was a grand send-off,’ said a gentle voice behind him.

Ned flinched in surprise as the spicy, warm perfume of Fourteen wafted to his nose. He had not expected to speak to her today.

‘Are you allowed to be here?’ The question came out harsher than he meant it to.

‘I wanted to see you. Before this, I mean. But there were so many pressing matters to attend to…’ She glanced back at her entourage before trailing off into silence.

Ned could tell Fourteen was attempting to reach out to him, to reconnect, but the fact that the Highs and other officials were so close meant she had to maintain her imperial persona. A quick check confirmed Theo was not among the retinue. He scuffed the ground with his smart boots, not caring if he dulled the patent leather. He could hear Fourteen breathing beside him, but for the life of him, he couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t come out snippy. And he didn’t want to be like that. Not with her.

‘Have you ever fired a funeral pyre before?’ asked the Emperor.

‘No, Your Eminence, I haven’t.’

‘You did a superb job, I’m very impressed.’

Ned turned to look at his Emperor but misjudged his footing and knocked over the fire bowl. He and Jenni spent several tense moments frantically stamping out the flames. Somewhat out of breath, Ned attempted to reclaim his cool.

‘Perhaps I could visit soon. If you think it would be possible?’ He smiled to soften the words. He wasn’t trying to be argumentative, and he did want to spend some time with her.

A High cleared his throat and cast his eyes meaningfully towards the imperial coach that was waiting to take Fourteen back to the palace.

Fourteen didn’t reply, but she touched one of Ned’s hands briefly before returning to her retinue.

‘That went well,’ he murmured.

‘It weren’t that bad. At least she came and said allo. S’more than you’ve ‘ad in a while,’ Jenni said as she gathered up the bow, spare arrows and the now-empty fire bowl which she handed to Ned. ‘It takes two to wotsit but you gotta keep trying I reckon.’

Ned threw her a half-smile as they headed back into the city together.

‘Thanks. Oh, and thanks for the assist by the way.’

‘For wot?’

‘The flaming arrow?’

‘Nah, Boss. That weren’t me and it weren’t Momma K neiver. All youse.’

Ned tucked his chin in, trying to suppress a grin. He’d done it, he’d given his friend the tribute he deserved. He waved a hand over the virtually empty shoreline they were leaving.

‘You don’t think all this was too much?’

‘For Griff?’ Jenni scoffed. ‘E would’ve wanted more, more, more, I reckon. You knew ‘im better than me, wot do you fink?’

‘I think you’re right. He would have wanted a bit more, more, more.’ They strolled on in silence for a few beats. ‘Good turnout though, wasn’t it?’

‘Not bad. Wot we gonna do about Theo then?’

‘We’ll keep our eyes open, check out anything suspicious that we hear of. Hopefully, he’s already on his way out of Roshaven.’ Ned hoped his brother wasn’t planning to hang around.

‘We ain’t gonna arrest him?’

‘Not today, Jenni. He hasn’t committed a crime in Roshaven. Yet.’

‘Hmm, if you say so, Boss. I reckon we could arrest ‘im for summink if we looked ‘ard enough.’

‘You’re probably right.’ They had reached a crossroads. One way led to The Noose, Thief-Catcher HQ and disreputable tavern, the other towards Ned’s home.

‘Not going to the wake, Boss?’ asked Jenni as Ned took a step away from The Noose.

‘You can if you like. I’m gonna call it a day. Not been sleeping well.’

‘Rightyoucha Boss.’

‘Here, take this back to the office first with that other stuff.’ Ned handed Jenni the fire bowl to go with the bow and arrows she was carrying. They kept their thief-catcher weaponry locked up at HQ.

‘Awright Boss. Sees you later.’ With half a wave Jenni peeled off, heading for The Noose and what would be a raucous wake.

Ned trudged on home, hoping that his nightmare would let him sleep tonight.


Get your copy of The Silk Thief here.

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. Never miss out on future posts by following me.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Laura Hatchell

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

Born and bred in Dublin, L.M. Hatchell is a fully qualified accountant, a health and fitness enthusiast, and mammy to a little girl with a big personality. In the rare minutes of the day when she has peace, you’ll find her with her head buried in a book, lost in a world of magic, intrigue, and suspense.

She started writing at a young age and could often be found passing the pages of her next story around her friends at school. Then life got in the way and she forgot the joy of writing. Until now.

What kind of books do you write?

I write fast-paced, low romance, urban fantasy books set in Ireland. As a reader, I love books that weave mythology (in various interpretations) into the modern-day, so I like to explore this in my own writing while adding a healthy dose of suspense and Irish attitude. 

My aim is to provide pure escapism to give readers a break from the stresses of day-to-day life.

Can you describe your writing why?

My mam instilled a love of reading in me from an early age, and as a kid, I loved writing stories and passing them around my friends. I even got a typewriter one Christmas since I was obviously going to be an author when I grew up. 

But somewhere along the lines, I forgot about that and moved onto my next ambition – I was going to be an actress. Roll forward another decade or so (we’ll leave the “or so” bit vague) and I was happily working away as … an accountant. I was good at my job, but I was bored and in need of a challenge. 

During a discussion over dinner, my uncle mentioned a phrase that ultimately became my very first book title. The phrase stuck with me, and somewhere in the cobwebby recesses of my mind, my imagination flared to life. I decided I needed to write a book, and miraculously, I did. That need hasn’t left me since. 

Writing offers me an endless opportunity for challenge and learning. I do it for fun now and have no desire to make it my full-time occupation, but I love learning about every aspect of publishing. It’s not just about writing, it’s also publishing and marketing. There’s a never-ending list of things I can explore.

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

“You don’t scream for me anymore.”
Il Maestro pondered this, tilting his head as he looked at the frail figures curled up on the hard, stone floor. A chain made with thick iron links swung lazily in his left hand as he licked the blood from the fingers of his right.
The smaller of the two forms tensed, no doubt waiting on the inevitable blow. The larger form remained still, unmoving, as it had for a long time now.
“It’s started already, you know,” Il Maestro continued, pacing slowly around the small, dank cell, in no hurry to make use of the heavy chain. “I felt it as soon as the clock struck midnight. The shift.
“All those years waiting patiently. It will be worth it when the prophecy is fulfilled and I take my rightful place at their side. We will hide in the shadows no more.”
He stopped pacing and stared at the torches that lined the wall, their flames flickering hungrily in the dark. 
“At least she’ll know her life meant something in the end. That must make you proud.”
Lifting his arm high, he let the chain fly and felt the satisfying crunch of bone beneath the iron. 
Again, his arm raised. 
“Let’s see if we can make you scream, shall we?”

Tell us about your latest project

Death. Destruction. Chaos.

The Horsemen are coming …

… Ireland’s supernatural world is about to be turned on its head.

I am currently working on 1 Minute to Midnight, the final book in my urban fantasy Midnight Trilogy. The trilogy focuses around a vampire-fae hybrid and a prophecy that will end humanity.

Phoenix is the only hybrid in the history of the Lore, and it’s her existence that has triggered the countdown. If the prophecy is fulfilled, the Horsemen will return. And everyone she loves will die.

She must learn to embrace her true nature and rise from the flame. Or watch as it all burns to ashes.

What is your favourite cake?

This is easy! Coffee cake without a doubt. And I’m not talking a coffee slice here, none of that whipped cream for me. I’m talking the proper sponge cake, with coffee buttercream. Excuse me while I drool on my keyboard…

Connect with Laura on Facebook.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Carollyne Lairie. 

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. Never miss out on future posts by following me here.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Judith Moffitt

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with Judith Moffitt.

Judith is a writer of essays, science fiction and fantasy. She is also a photographer and a fractal artist.

What kind of books do you write?

I write about aftermaths. The settings may be not of the world, but the human psychology and feelings are real.

Can you describe your writing why?

Now that is a hard one. I’m retired so it’s a good way to spend my time now that I have time. But mostly it is because I got so sick of all books in my genres (Can I sneak in a mention of science fiction and fantasy now that I’m past question 1?) being mostly about young people saving everything. I wanted to write about older people, invisible people, marginalized people. And as someone who has through absolute hell many times, I wanted to write about getting back on your feet after life knocks you down. 

So I write about the old woman (only a year older than I am) mage who saved the world when she was young and now is the only person who can save it again. She annoyed, cranky, in pain (arthritis and quests, not such a good thing) and ready to slap down the next sexist, ageist bastard to says a word to her.

Or the middle-aged woman who finally falls in love and marries, but she and her husband decide not to have children (after he thinks his kids from a previous marriage are dead since their location was destroyed in war) because she never felt the need to be a parent. And he is fine with that because he wants her to be happy.

Or the blind woman who runs a school for unwanted children who has to defend them against attack with her quarterstaff.

Or the trans couple who just live like ordinary people because that’s what they are.

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

Couldn’t make up my mind between two scenes from the same book, To the Bitter End. The book is about an interstellar war. But as the war rages, ordinary life goes on, such as this moment from the life of the CEO of a company involved in the war effort:

“Daddy.” A shocked scream came from his daughters’ bathroom.

Brian got up to see what the problem was. He had noticed that the closer the girls were to becoming teens, the more they overreacted to things. This was probably nothing. He hoped.

“Hurry daddy, I’m bleeding.” Brian ran up the last three stairs.

“Calm down. It’ll be OK. Where are you bleeding?”

“My tummy and my back hurt, and now I’m bleeding. You know. Down there.” Crystal pointed to her private parts.

A light came on in Brian’s head. Oh that” he thought. Why does Trista have to be off the planet?

“Now honey, I know your mom told you this would be happening.”

“She didn't tell me how much it hurt. And I thought just a few drops of blood, but I’m gushing. I’m going to bleed to death.”

Too much information, Brian thought. Then he remembered he was the dad, and this was his job to handle.

And then there was this scene about a couple (who are incidentally trans) who are separated by the war, one on a military ship, zir spouse (and children) on a merchant ship that has been converted transporting refugees. Both ships end up at the same location at the same time needing repairs and they have the chance to take their first vacation since the war started. The war is winding down and they are discussing what they want to do afterwards. And since the kids are out with a park ranger on a hike...

Keiko put zir head on Riku’s shoulder. “Then it’s a plan. I can join the colony, and you join us when the war is over. Do you want to live in a town home or a farm? We can get a pretty nice place either way. Hasn’t been much to spend money on for either of us, so we have a fairly large nest egg. And I know people who will help me find a job.” Zie ended the discussion by tickling Riku’s ribs. Riku responded in kind, and the tickle attacks escalated until they were laughing and half on the couch and half on the floor.

At the point, Yuki came running in. “Moddy…” She slid to a stop and her jaw dropped at the sight of her parents. Keiko blushed and straightened zirself up, tidying mussed clothes. Riku rolled off the couch unto the floor as it seemed the easier choice from zir current position.

Tell us about your latest project

My most recently published book is To The Bitter End. It’s the second book of a science fiction trilogy about a government coup and the war to restore the legitimate government. This is the book about the war. (Book one is the lead up to the war and book three is the aftermath.)

It has space battles, sure. Can’t have a war book without battles. But the heart of the book is how the characters are reacting to this war which has been raging for six years. There are heroes, villains who come to regret what they did (and ones that don’t), three alien races, artificial intelligence. We spend time with people with PTSD or war wounds just trying to get through the day, refugees fleeing from the wreckage of their homes, kids who make a big mistake that ends up with someone dead. And there are moments when we see that ordinary life is still going on. And so very much more. It’s modelled very much on what I’ve read about World War II and its aftermath. The book ranges across many worlds and is quite epic in scope. There are so many characters each with a separate arc as well as an overarching arc to the book as we are led to the final battle for Earth.

The book and the first book of the trilogy are available here:

I have three others that will be published before summer. The first is the final volume of the trilogy - I’m about 70% done with the first draft. The other two are fantasy novels that are both in the final polishing stage. And I’m about 60% done with a short story collection about swords which came about because a friend suggested a piece of my fractal art would make a good book cover.

What is your favourite cake?

Does Boston Cream Pie count? It’s really a cake. I love it and so do the folks who are on my spaceship, the Ian Gom.

You can connect with Judith here:

Instagram -
Facebook -
Goodreads -

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

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. Never miss out on future posts by following me.

Wednesday 5 May 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Amanda Fleet

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Amanda Fleet.

Amanda Fleet is a physiologist by training and a writer at heart. She spent 18 years teaching science and medicine undergraduates at St Andrew's University but now uses her knowledge to work out how to kill people (in her books!). She completed her first degree at St Andrew's University and her doctorate at University College, London.

She has been an inveterate stationery addict since a child, amassing a considerable stash of fountain pens, ink and notebooks during her lifetime. These have thankfully come in useful, as she tends to write rather than type, at least in the early stages of writing a book.

During her time at St Andrew's, she worked with the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. While in Malawi, she learned about the plight of the many street children there and helped to set up a Community Based Organisation that works with homeless Malawian children to support them through education and training – Chimwemwe Children’s Centre. It was this experience that helped to inspire the Malawian aspects in her novel The Wrong Kind of Clouds (briefly released as The Call), though, of course, the book is entirely fictional.

She is the author of the urban fantasy series: The Guardians of The Realm, the crime novel The Wrong Kind of Clouds, and the psychological thriller Lies That Poison.

Amanda lives in Scotland with her husband, where she can be found writing, walking and running.

What kind of books do you write?

I tend to write books where people are in the wrong place – they might be from a different world or from a different period of history from where they find themself. They have to figure out who they are/where they’re from/when they’re from in order to battle their foes.

Can you describe your writing why?

Mostly because I get an idea in my head that then develops characters and they don’t shut up or give me any peace until I figure out their story by writing it. It can start with something as simple as a rock face, but my brain starts wondering if it’s a portal to a different world. Then I start wondering what this other world would be like and who would live there and so it goes on!

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

This is from Aeron Returns. Her estranged partner – Faran – has never been to Earth before and he’s a complete fish out of water. He also loves honey – a scarce food in The Realm, where he’s from. When Aeron buys it for him, it’s the first sign to him that she loves him again, after a very rocky start to their renewed relationship.

I grinned and held a hand out to him. “Come on. Let’s teach you about shopping.”

I needed cheap, filling calories, preferably with some protein in there, but given how little cash I had and the possibility my bank card wouldn’t work, choices were limited. I put a four-pack of baked beans with sausages in the basket, along with a cheap loaf of bread, a large carton of milk and some porridge oats. As we passed the shelves of coffee, I found the cheapest jar of instant there was and added it to the meagre hoard.

“Do you know how to cook?” asked Faran, peering at the packets in the basket.

“Yeah. It’s not what I would have wanted to make for your first proper meal Outside though.”

We reached the aisle with jams and spreads, and I paused next to the honey.

Faran turned to me, eyes shining like a five-year-old on Christmas morning. “Is that what I think it is?”


He stared at the shelf. “There’s so much of it!”

I raked through the coins in my purse, adding them up. With an internal sigh, I took the coffee out of the basket and put a jar of honey in its place. The look of delight on Faran’s face made it worth it.

Tell us about your latest project

The latest book, Invasion is the fourth book in the Guardians of The Realm series, although it could probably be read as a standalone.

Five years have passed since the end of “War”, and the Guardians and the people of The Realm have reached a new, albeit tetchy, equilibrium. The threat of civil war bubbles constantly, but so far, the Guardians have kept control.

It won’t take much for that to change.

People are going missing from one of the villages, returning days later, emaciated, exhausted, and claiming to have been forced to work on a building in a strange world. Where are they being taken? And who is taking them there?

The foe threatening The Realm is far more sinister than any previous enemy. It could destroy everything the Guardians rely on. Far from being the protectors of The Realm, the Guardians could be forced to be its destroyers.

Can Aeron and Faran find a way to save The Realm without sacrificing everything they hold dear? Or will The Realm finally fall?

What is your favourite cake?

Lemon drizzle cake. Though I do make a good fruit cake, from a recipe handed down from my Nan to my Mum and thence to me. When I was little and we visited my grandparents, my Mum always took them a fruitcake. Now I do the same with her!

You can connect with Amanda here:

Book Bub: @AmandaFleet
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Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Judith Moffitt. 

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 4 May 2021

Everyone's A Serial Killer

There's a morbid fascination
We all indulge as a nation
Watching late-night crime shows
Where cops and bad guys come to blows
Mysteries and murders to figure out
Gripping when evidence is next to nowt
Who's the thief, who's the killer
Building tension, a rising thriller
Stalwart good guys working in teams
Savvy techies working on screens
The murderer looks like the bloke next door
Only he leaves all his victims on the floor
You start getting jumpy, a little bit tense
Looking nervously over the fence
Wondering if you're being tracked
If your head will be the next one whacked
Start at every shadow, jump at every noise
Stay away from groups of girls and boys
Bar all the windows, lock all the doors
Listen out for squeaks on the floors

Cos everyone's a serial killer!

(Just to be clear - this is the product of an overactive imagination watching Criminal Minds obsessively lol. I don't really think everyone is a serial killer. Although...)

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.

Monday 3 May 2021

Taking It On The Chin

I'm not a great first draft writer. I tend to be all over the place. That's partly because I have no idea what's going to happen, I'm very much a discovery writer and because I am so very time poor, I don't make particularly robust plans. 

I have to apologise to my critique group who must wade through my jumbled timeline and oftentimes random notes to myself. There are place holders, plot holes, odd ideas that will probably go nowhere and the grammar. Oh, the grammar. I am truly sorry. 

So of course the result of my shoddy first draft extracts must be picked over by my crit group, analysed and scrutinised, and then their comments are made. And let me be clear, my crit group are awesome and I value their input enormously but... it can be difficult to read the tough critique. 

It's not because of the critique per se, it's because you know there's work to be done and there's probably a serious graft ahead. Writing is hard, there are no two bones about that. Plus you must be able to take it on the chin - accept the comments and work through the pain to improve your writing. And that's what it's all about, improvement. 

Trusting in your crit group to be honest and tell you what you need to know, not necessarily what you want to hear, is a huge step in being a better writer. Self-editing is a tough gig, you need guidance and if you can't afford to pay for professional editors as an indie author then having a great crit group is a huge asset.

The Silk Thief, Roshaven Book 2 is on pre-order on Amazon, Kobo, Google Books and Smashwords and releases 4th June.

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.