Friday 31 December 2021

Flash Fiction Friday - Happy New Year

 'I'll just be a minute,' called Kat as she nipped out of the flat. It was crazy in there. Packed full of people, noise and greasy snacks. New Year's Eve was trying to get into the swing of things and they were low on ice. She'd offered to go - anything to get out of the bubbling chaos. 

It was busy in the local shop. People stocking up on snacks and last-minute booze top-up options that weren't their first choice. Kat had to dodge her way through the aisles to get to the freezers at the back. The pickings were slim, there wasn't much left. But where was the ice? Ah, there, on the left-hand side. Kat reached in to grab the bag and ended up grabbing an arm instead. 

'Oh. I'm so sorry.' They both said at the same time. 'Sorry.' 

Kat blushed and let go of the person she had inadvertently picked up. 

'I was just...' 'I wanted the...' 



Kat looked into the young man's face and her heart melted a little. 

'Here, you take it.'

'Are you sure? Only... it's New Year. You kinda need ice.'

Kat smiled. 'We'll manage, I'm sure. Have a good night.'


Kat turned to go.

'Hey, Happy New Year!'

She turned back and wished it back. The warm glow she got from saying it and meaning it for the first time that year lasted for the rest of the night, despite the roasting she got for coming back without the ice. 


'And don't forget the ice!' shouted Kat's sister as she left the apartment. It wasn't New Year's Eve yet but this was definitely the last time she was headed to the shops. Her sister was in a tizzy trying to plan a party that would outdo last years.

It was surprisingly busy at the supermarket. Kat had opted to go the larger one on the edge of town, figuring it would be quiet in that weird week between Christmas and New Year. She'd been wrong. 

Pushing her trolley around, dodging other shoppers, Kat picked up the various random bits and pieces her sister had asked her for, finishing up in the frozen aisle where she picked up two bags of ice to be on the safe side.

She hauled it all onto the conveyor belt and was humming along to the tinny supermarket music while the cashier scanned through her items. 

'You got your ice then.' A male voice spoke to her.

She looked up in surprise and saw that her cashier was the young man she'd given up her ice to last year.

'Um, yeah. Hi.' She tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear.

'Hey.' His grin made her stomach swirl, in a good way. 'Having a party?'

'Yeah, at my sisters.' Kat had a crazy idea, 'Do you, er, have plans? I mean, you could come, if you want.'

'Oh, um, I'd like to but I've got plans.'

'Honey, we've all got plans,' piped up the old lady behind Kat.

She blushed.

'Sorry. I er... sorry.' She knew she was red-faced. She just wanted to pay and leave. Whatever had she been thinking, inviting a total stranger to her sister's party. She pulled out her debit card, willing the total to flash up on the card machine. Stuffing the shopping into her bags for life, she swiped the card and felt a flush of relief at the whole embarrassing moment being almost over. She gathered the bags and fled.

'Don't you want your receipt?' called the young man after her but she was already gone. 


'What do you mean you're not having a New Year's Eve party? It's the law.' Kat's sister sounded absolutely stunned. 'I invited people. I said I'd do the food. All you have to do is get the ice.'

'All I have to do...' repeated Kat with a sinking feeling. It sounded like her quiet plans were going to pot. 'Fine. I'll get the ice.' She didn't really want to spend the New Year on her own. Maybe a party would be fun.

But in the sudden panic of needing to clean her flat and finding something to wear, Kat forgot to get the ice and once more she found herself nipping out to get some ice. The local shop was busy but they had ice and she grabbed two bags to be on the safe side. She couldn't help but look for the handsome young man she'd almost met the past two years. No sign.

'I've got the ice,' she called as she let herself in. The party was in full swing, she could hear people talking and laughing in the front room, dance music blaring. 

'Here, let me help.'

Kat knew that voice. She looked up slowly putting the bag of ice on the table. It was him. Here in her kitchen.



'What are you doing here?' blurted Kat. 'Did you... did you come with someone?'

'Er, no. I was at a loose end. My mate asked me along. It's er... it's great to finally meet you.' He held out a hand. 'I'm Owen.'

She took his hand, her skin tingling as he did.

'Kat. Nice to meet you.'

They smiled, lost in each other's gaze as the ice cubes slowly began to melt, forgotten on the table.

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 29 December 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Miriam Drori

This week I had a slice of cake with author Miriam Drori.

When Miriam says she loves to perform, people don’t believe her. When she says she’s not shy, they think she’s delusional. The fact is, things ain’t what they seem. A witch called social anxiety took away her ability to be spontaneous, but it didn’t change her exhibitionist nature. You need to watch her dancing or speaking before an audience to understand that.

Fortunately, she has found an outlet for her thoughts in writing, a solitary activity with multiple recipients. She never doubted her ability to write, but only in recent years has she managed to gather her views and observations together into papier-mâché balls worth throwing far and wide.

If you ignore the witch, life has been good to Miriam, especially since she made the decision to move from the UK to Israel. She has a wonderful husband, three lovely children and a delightful house. She loves to read, travel, hike and dance. She has worked in computer programming and technical writing, and now enjoys the freedom and versatility of creative writing. And she believes passionately in raising awareness of social anxiety.

What kind of books do you write?

I’ve written several types of books. The first is a story of two people from different backgrounds who fall in love, but that’s undergoing revision and currently unavailable. The second is historical and also unavailable. The third (am I allowed to say it’s non-fiction?) explains social anxiety from multiple viewpoints. The fourth explores the life of a guy with social anxiety who is sent to represent his company in Japan. The fifth is a murder mystery set in Jerusalem. The next will be another murder mystery.

I also write short stories of various types. They generally include humour and range from light to dark.

Can you describe your writing why?

It was social anxiety and my growing passion to raise awareness that motivated me to begin writing. What pushes me to write every day is the joy of doing this thing I know I’m good at. It’s the wonderful people I’ve met through being a writer. And it’s the way writing teaches me who I am.

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

No, you’re not going to catch me out here! My books are the babies I nurtured and let out into the world. I enjoyed writing them all, equally. Here’s a section from the latest one, Style and the Solitary. In fact, it’s the opening paragraph.

Asaf Levitt pushed a hand into the almost-arctic atmosphere outside the bed and killed the music, dead. Instantly, he was up, throwing off the bedclothes and racing to complete the morning chores in record time. Washing, shaving, dressing, breakfast of cornflakes with milk, toast and cheese, apple juice. No need for a hot drink; that could wait for a break at the office. Bed-stripping and -folding to turn the bed into a sofa, washing up, because a tidy flat would welcome him back with open arms; a messy one would depress him, like a relationship gone sour – not that he knew anything about relationships. 

Tell us about your latest project

I’m plotting another murder! This one involves some of the characters from Style and the Solitary as well as some new ones. It’s also based in Jerusalem but will involve travelling to new parts of the city as well as to other towns. While the murder in Style and the Solitary takes place in an office, this one is closer to home.

What is your favourite cake?

I have several favourites, but I’m going for the cheesecake that I make at least once a year. It’s the tradition to eat a lot of cheese during the harvest festival of Shavuot (Pentecost).

Miriam can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram and elsewhere.

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

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

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Tuesday Poem - It's Not Covid

2021 came in, heralding a new beginning
A tentative step into the beyond
The year post lockdown, a shining beacon of missed chances realised
Of missed family reunited and lost opportunities regained
Of everything being not Covid

The first time I saw and hugged my mum, I cried
And that gathering of family and friends
In the park, for my 40th
The best day ever, full of laughter and love
All the fresh air made sure it was not Covid

I won the fight for my autistic son
After months of delays and complications
Now he gets the help in school he needs
Now I can move on to the next fight, and the next
A shaky breath taken in the in-between of not Covid

Two new books were released. I am a writer, you know?
Important stuff as everyone else was so productive
Everyone was doing and learning and creating in lockdown
I was just surviving, hanging on by a literal thread
Making sure none of us were taken by Covid

I’m still owed money, six months now
I ring and they say it’s a backlog
Try again in another month’s time
Another month’s worth of money owed
Another month of scraping by but at least it’s not Covid

And scraping is what my knackered knee is doing
Three years waiting so far to be told
A knee replacement is needed but
Too young and besides, there’s a three-year wait
But console yourself, at least it’s not Covid

Still, we had good weather, didn’t we?
And the crowds came out and we only flinched
For the first few weeks of so many people in one place
And the kids were fine
They didn’t get sick, just that one time, not Covid

And I gained all the weight I lost
And my back went into spasm for a few weeks
And I missed a few things
While the kids stayed in, glued to their screens again
Lock downed once more by me, not Covid

It’s hard
Hard for momentum to swing you back round
Hard to make time for family and friends
Hard to be bothered to get up and smile
Hard to breathe, but it’s not Covid

That’s the takeaway this year I feel
Through bright spots and low times
Through emptiness and maniacal laughter
Of hugs and isolation, silence and cacophony
At least we get to say, it’s not Covid

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

Monday 27 December 2021

Not My Wheel

I was so excited when they announced they were doing a TV show based on the Wheel of Time.

When I saw the trailer I was still excited. 

The first couple of episodes I liked. There were changes that made me say oh and then reason, well I guess I understand why they did that. It helps the story. And on the whole, the casting was good.

I spent most of the time explaining the back story behind things to my long-suffering hubby and promising him that it was going to be awesome.

But then, the further we got through the episodes the more things were changed. They didn't meet Min in Baerlon or even go to Baerlon. They never went to Camelyn, we never met Elayne, Galad or Gawayne. They met Loial in Tar Varlon. Mat never went through the Way Gate. They didn't all go to the Eye of the World. There was no Green Man. Aglemar dies! Nynaeve and Egwene fight at Tarwins Gap and nearly burn out. The Dark One cuts Moiraine off from the Source. Loial dies! What the fudging heck is going on? 

My love for the books means I have to say the TV show is screwing up. I can no longer say I understand why they did that. I have no idea why they did that. It doesn't work. It's ruining everything. Ugh. 

I think I'll stick with my books. The real Wheel. 

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 22 December 2021

Christmas Special: A Slice of Cake With... Ben Aaronovitch

I have a lovely festive special for you - a slice of cake with the brilliant urban fantasy author Ben Aaronovitch.

Born and raised in London Ben Aaronovitch had the sort of unrelentingly uninteresting childhood that drives a person to drink or Science Fiction. The latter proved useful in his early career when he wrote for Doctor Who (before it was fashionable), Casualty and the cheapest soap opera ever made – Jupiter Moon.

Alas, his career floundered in the late 1990s and he was forced to go out and work for a living. It was while running the Crime and Science Fiction sections at the Covent Garden branch of Waterstones that he conceived the notion of writing novels instead. Thus was the Rivers of London series born and when the first book proved to be a runaway success he waited all of five minutes to give up the day job and return to the bliss that is a full time writing career.

He still lives in the city that he modestly calls ‘the capital of the world’ and says he will leave when they prise London from his cold dead fingers. He promises that he is already hard at work on the next Peter Grant novel and not computer games – honest.

What kind of books do you write?

I write about magical cops capturing magical bad guys and bringing order out of chaos.

Can you describe your writing why?

Leaving aside the money (which is important but not the true motivation) I have daydreams and if I don’t write them down they silt up my brain.

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

Well, it depends on the mood I’m in but right now it’s Indigo’s story about how the Foxes forgot how to talk. (What Abigail Did That Summer: Chapter 27).

'In the beginning,' says Indigo, 'everything could talk.
'The trees could talk, the dog could talk, the rabbit and the cat, the sky and the river - all could talk. Now, some of the things didn't like to talk. The clouds and the rain and the rivers and the sea all felt that talking was a waste of time and distracted them from their work-'
'What was their work?' I ask.
'Not important,' says Indigo, and continues with the story. 'Some of the things, like the rocks and the mountains and the trees, were indifferent to speech. Yes, it was nice to speak to your neighbours or to hear news and gossip, but was it really important - or even necessary?
'"Our lives are quite full enough," they said.
'Some, like the cat and the raven, liked to talk but only because then they could say cruel things and make others unhappy. Dog and pig liked to talk because then they could boast about how good and clever they were.
'But, of all the things that liked to talk, there were two that loved to talk above all things - the fox and the man. These two would talk all day and all night, about the sun and the stars and the way the wind sang through the branches of the trees. They talked so much that sometimes they would forget to eat or sleep, and the other things in the world started to hide when they heard them coming. Which they could from quite a long way off. 
'You've got to understand that in the way back when, man was different - he had fur and claws and proper teeth and a real tail that was just as bushy and luxurious as anything could want.
'But, because they loved to talk to each other, the fox and the man never learnt that trouble was brewing with the other things until it was too late. You see, the problem was that if you can talk to someone, you can argue with them. And if you argue, you can get angry. And if you get angry, you can start fighting. Soon everything was fighting everything else, and nobody had time for eating or mating or cheese puffs or any of the good things in life. Then the cat, who loves to sleep above all things persuaded everyone to stop fighting and convened a grand parliament of everything to discuss a solution.'
'So talking's good for something,' I say.
'Shush,' says Indigo. 'So they discussed the problem for so long that the sun went off to sleep three times and still they were talking.
'"How can we abandon talking?" said the path through the forest. "It is the one attribute that unifies us all. The mountain is not like the sky, the dog is not like the fish, the sun is not like the moon. But we all share our thoughts."
'"But all you ever do is complain that we are walking on you," said bear.
'"I, for one," said the cow, "am tired of hearing your thoughts on the subject."
'And so everything in the world argued amongst themselves - all except the man and the fox, who were over the horizon and practising their sniggering - which they had just invented.
'Finally, as the sun rose from her fourth nap since the parliament began, the fox and the man wandered up and asked what was going on. The cat and the path through the forest told them the purpose of the parliament, and they laughed and sniggered and guffawed, another new invention of theirs, until they realised that everyone else was serious.
'"But you can't be serious," said the man.
'"But we are," said the cat. "And, what's more, we have reached a consensus - for the sake of peace we have decided to give up talking."
'"Fine," said the man. "You chaps give up talking if that's what you want, but fox and I will carry on if that is all the same to you. Right, fox?"
'But fox was troubled, because much as she liked man she also had many other friends as well. She particularly loved the soft earth and the bright moon, and she knew if she kept talking, and they did not, they would grow estranged.
'"I will give up talking," she said. "If that is the consensus."
'But the man refused. For even then man thought himself more important than all the other things of the world. And he glowered at the fox for not siding with him.
'"The parliament of everything wishes this change," said the moon, who was pro team speaker of the parliament. "And what the parliament decides applies to all things."
'"But," said the cat, who always coveted man's bushy tail, "perhaps we could come to some arrangement."
'"Yes, yes!" cried all things. "If you want to retain the gift of speech, you must renounce your other gifts."
'Man, even in those days being wise to the ways of the cat, agreed. But only if he could choose to whom he gave his gifts. The cat objected, but everything was wiser back in those days and the cat lost the subsequent motion everything else to one.
'"I give my thick fur coat to the ape and its cousins," said the man. And so he lost his fur save for patches here and there to remind him of his loss. He gave his long claws to the dog, who even now never retracts them in his honour, his teeth to the bear, and - to spite the cat - his beautiful bushy tail to the squirrel.
'"For this insult I will enslave you, you and all your children," said the cat, but those were its last words.
'Finally, man had given away all his gifts except his wisdom, which he gave to the fox.
'"Thank you," said the fox.
'"Don't thank me,' said the man. "I do this so that you and all your kind will know what a mistake you have made."
'Silence closed around the parliament like a noose. But everything hesitated because the ground, upon which everything rests, had a final demand.
'"I, for one, am sick of the sound of everyone talking," said the ground. "If you plan to continue, please raise your mouth as far from me as possible."
'"As you wish," said man, and reared up on his hind legs until he stood upright.
'All the things laughed then, because there stood man - naked and bereft of all his gifts. All the things save the fox, who looked up at the man and saw long slim fingers unencumbered by claws, fingers that could grasp and take and reshape things to suit man's own purposes. And saw eyes alive with a dreadful intelligence unencumbered by wisdom. And fox was suddenly afraid. 
'Man looked around from his new high vantage and saw that all the world was spread out about him like a neglected picnic.
'"I propose that man become the master of all things," man said. "Any objections?"
'Man waited but objections came there none.
'"Motion carried," said man.
'And that is why everything that wants to talk has to find a man to talk for them,' says Indigo. 'Can I have the crumbs?'
'So how did you get your talking back?' I ask, and hold the empty container in front of her muzzle.
'That's classified,' she says, and snaffles up all the crumbs.

Tell us about your latest project

Coming up in April 7th is the latest Peter Grant novel involving, magic, ghosts, fights, old friends and enemies, Manchester and a tremendous amount of silver. Title to be announced soon!

What is your favourite cake?

Any kind of chocolate cake providing it doesn’t have cherries in it.

You can connect with Ben here:

Instagram: @baaronovitch
Facebook: Ben-Aaronovitch


Now for the round-up of 2021 - which cake came out tops?

This past year I've interviewed 50 amazing authors and been introduced to some new cakes that I'd never heard of before - Lady Baltimore Cake, Joodse Tert, Medovik and Gullac.

Chocolate cake remains the firm favourite with carrot cake a close second. 

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to having a slice of cake with even more authors next year. But before we launch into 2022, I have one final interview of the year with Miriam Dori so be sure to check that out.

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 15 December 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Ros Rendle

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with Ros Rendle.

Ros used to work as a headteacher, writing reports, policy documents and stories to which young children would enjoy listening. Now retired, she enjoys the more challenging activity of writing for adults.

After living in France for eleven years, Ros found much inspiration in the people and places. More recently she is living in the UK again and likes to go dog walking or ballroom dancing with her husband. Although she has been caught out once or twice, it’s not usually at the same time!

Two daughters and four granddaughters also enjoy Ros’s books and support with answering questions.

What kind of books do you write?

Like cake, a good love story with all its #feelgood and flavour, adds to the sweetness of life. I also love to research and having lived in northern France for eleven years, I visited the battlefields many times and also Kew Records Office. I started to write early twentieth-century saga series fiction featuring three sisters and three times of European turbulence. I’m so gratified that these were award-winning. The third book, coming on 8th December, is also set in France but during WW2. The one after that in early 2022 features the Cold War. I’m particularly fond of this one. It’s to be called The Divided Heart.

I do like a good series, for people to get their teeth into while settling comfortably with a mug of something and a slice of well-earned cake, so another set of books have been accepted for publication by Sapere Books and they are all set around Moondreams House. These are more modern stories and feature eMotion School of Dance, Tea and Sweet Dreams, and A Cuckoo’s Counsel which is about the French gardener at the House.

Can you describe your writing why?

My mum was a published author several times over, many years ago, and she always encouraged me, but it wasn’t until we moved to France, and I had a lot more time on my hands that I decided to dig out the book I started twenty years earlier and never finished. I joined the fabulous Romantic Writers’ Association and was accepted onto their New Writer’s Scheme which gave me huge support and enabled me to secure a publishing deal for that book. This is to be reissued in 2022 by Sapere along with all the others. Unfortunately, Covid has created the backlog but it’s moving again now.

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

This is the first time Angela see this rural rough sleeper. Sometimes wisdom comes from the most surprising places, as she discovers in a time of emotional need. 

Shambling towards her through the flowers was a figure clad in a ragged duffle coat too large for him, for a man she deemed him to be by the whiskered, rugged countenance. The coat was fastened around the middle with strips of knotted polythene which Angela recognised as pieces of plastic loaf wrapping. Despite the sun, or maybe because of it, a hood, pulled well down, hid the top half of his face. His legs were encased in what looked like black dustbin liners bound crossways with reddish twine. The feet were so padded out as to look like those of the Sandman in the Spiderman 3 film that she and Ade had been to see. How they had laughed. But not seeing this. Now, she was terrified. The contrast with the scenery and the bright, shiny day was stark and over-whelming. Angela took all this in, with a blooming of panic-stricken fear like the stain of blood in water, seeping and spreading insidiously. 

From Cuckoo’s Counsel (The Moondreams House series)

Tell us about your latest project

I’m writing two books at the moment – one for each of the two series. Bee’s Beautiful Blooms and Gifts is about a young woman injured in Afghanistan, who has to forge a new career. She is to be mentored by the wayward son of Moondreams House, but he has troubles from his own childhood at the House. The other story is about the stepdaughter of Pretoria and Nathaniel in The Warring Heart which was published in September 2021 and tells of her Russian love interest who is interred by mistake in a British POW camp and the circumstances that caused this. 

What is your favourite cake?

This is the hardest question of all to answer. I can leave crisps and biscuits but cake … Mmm! Let me think. There’s a shop near us where the owner makes layered chocolate cake or sometimes caramel, with frosting that dribbles down the sides. The top usually has either chocolate shavings and Maltesers or tiny squares of millionaire shortbread. She does a takeaway service too. Very dangerous! If I had to buy something from the supermarket … well anything would do, thank you.

You can connect with Ros here:

Join me next week when I will be doing my Christmas Special round-up of the year AND having a slice of cake with Ben Aaronovitch. 

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

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Tuesday poem - Fa la la la la la la la la

It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas
Just in case you didn’t know
The lights are all twinkling
But at the moment, no snow
We’ve all bought figgy pudding
There aren’t enough mince pies
The tree is up, the cards are written
Presents hidden from prying eyes
No time for last-minute shopping
But your gifts were picked with care
All the Christmas movies lined up
Festive wotnots ready to share
Add magical sparkle to everything you do
Spread warmth and love and lots of cheer
Write the gift tags with sneaky clues
Sing Christmas carols loud and clear
For 'tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la la la la la!

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 8 December 2021

A Slice of Cake With... Amanda James

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with author Amanda James.

Amanda has written since she was a child, and as an eight-year-old, she asked her parents for a typewriter for Christmas. She never imagined her words would ever be published, however. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when she had her first short story published for a Born Free anthology. She left teaching in 2013 to pursue her dream full-time.

Originally from Sheffield, Amanda now lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the wild and beautiful coastline near her home. She has many suspense novels set there, but her last few books have been uplifting in nature with a twist of magic. She loves writing feel-good reads and has decided the world needs more joy in it right now, and her plan is to write many more novels in that genre. Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

What kind of books do you write?

I used to write suspense/domestic noir until 2019, but suddenly realised I didn’t want to write about death and destruction anymore. I think there is enough misery around nowadays without writing about it. What I needed and I’m sure what lots of people need right now are uplifting feel-good fiction. That’s what I have been writing since, and absolutely love it! So, I’d say I write uplifting fiction set in Cornwall, with a sprinkling of magic!

Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve always written, but I’ve written seriously for about twelve years. It’s something that’s always been in my blood. There are so many stories inside me just waiting to escape. What motivates me? I love to hear that my stories make people happy. There’s nothing better than hearing how much somebody has enjoyed living in my made-up world for a little while. I sometimes use writing as a counterbalance to everyday life too. I like slipping into the shoes of my various characters and finding out what they get up to as the story unfolds. Where I live motivates me too. I have lived in Cornwall for eight years and adore being by the ocean. It inspires me and lifts my spirits. 

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

It’s so hard to choose as I love all my book babies. But because I’ve just been talking about the ocean, I thought I’d share this from The Calico Cat:

On a bench with Algernon between us, we eat bananas, apples and cheese for the next while, in silent contemplation of the wondrous scenery all around us. Well, I do, I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s going on in Caleb’s head, but he looks he’s enjoying the view. The sky is blue with not a proverbial, the grass is green and has that lovely springy-spongy texture underfoot, the ocean is vast - turquoise in the shallows and sapphire blue further out - and today it has put a calming and peaceful ‘shhhh’ into its ancient song. 

I eat a sliver of apple and wonder which I like best, the ocean at its angriest, roaring at the top of its voice as it storms the beach, smashing great salt fists against harbour walls and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Or when it’s like this - serene, quiet and thoughtful. It would be silly to try and choose one over the other, wouldn’t it? Both ends of the spectrum are wonderful and all the other ocean moods in between. 

Tell us about your latest project

My latest project is A Secret Gift published by One More Chapter- Harper Collins which came out on 30th of October. 


Three years ago, Joy Pentire lost her firefighter husband and she still hasn’t returned to the woman she once was. But then she meets Hope, one of the residents at the nursing home where she’s a carer. Hope has a secret gift that she wants to pass on. And Joy’s life is forever changed. Surrounded by the community in her Cornish hometown, Joy’s unexpected inheritance soon leads to new opportunities, new friends, new love, and the part of herself she’d thought forever lost … her joy.

I can’t say too much about what the gift is, because it’s a secret! Suffice to say that it involves pebbles, auras and a little bit of magic. 😊

What is your favourite cake?

That’s so tricky! But if I had to pick just one, it would have to be chocolate cake. I don’t like really sweet cake, so it would be dark chocolate, with maybe a hint of orange. 

Thanks for having me over for a chat! 😊 

You can connect with Amanda on Twitter at @amandajames61 and on Facebook at mandy.james.33

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Ros Rendle. 

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

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Tuesday Poem - The Magic of Christmas

Originally printed in Little Book of Christmas

It’s a whisper in the air
That feeling everywhere
Of something amazing about to happen

Strangers smiling at each other
Feeling love for your fellow man
Loving life

A crispness in the air
Hopes of snow everywhere
Maybe this year

Stockings hanging on the mantle
Christmas trees twinkling in the window
Carols in the background

A hot cup of tea and a mince pie
Festive napkins
Lots of love for veggies

Rolls and rolls of paper
Sticky tape and rosettes everywhere
Cryptic clues on tags

Red and green and gold and sparkly
Silver and blue and purple and frosty
Twinkly fairy lights

A list for Santa as long as your arm
The joy of giving and receiving
Sharing the love

It’s all of us together
It’s family and home and hearth
It’s the magic of Christmas

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 1 December 2021

A Slice of Cake... Shelley Wilson

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Shelley Wilson.

Shelley is a genre-straddling English author of motivational self-help titles and young adult fantasy fiction. Her sensible side writes non-fiction books to inspire you to survive and thrive, and her cheeky and playful side writes young adult fiction for lovers of the supernatural and kick-ass heroines.

Shelley's passions include writing (obvs!), reading fantasy/horror/post-apocalyptic stories, Tudor and Viking history, visiting castles, eating pizza, and obsessing over to-do lists.

Shelley was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but raised in Solihull, West Midlands, UK, where she lives with her three grown-up children, one fifteen-year-old fat goldfish and a black cat called Luna.

What kind of books do you write?

Great question. As a multi-genre author, I get to wear two author hats.

Faeries, witches, and werewolves, oh my! My fictional novels are full of creatures, new realms, young characters, and plenty of action (and gore). They explore friendships, first loves, and confidence. Writing for a younger audience is a joy and a responsibility, but no topic is off-limits. 

When wearing my other author hat, everything is much calmer. My non-fiction titles set out to motivate, inspire, and entertain readers looking for direction in their lives.

I write about meditation and werewolves, but not in the same book - perhaps I should! ;)

Can you describe your writing why?

The dream to become an author has stayed with me since I was about eight years old. Creating stories and escaping into books made me happy. I saw my name in print in Jackie magazine (remember that!) when I was about thirteen, and I was hooked. It wasn’t until my forties that I took my writing seriously and published my first book. 

I continue to write because I love the entire process, even the editing! My fiction continues to be an escape for me and a chance to relive my youth and test myself as a writer. The non-fiction titles I write are my way of helping other people live their best lives. As a domestic abuse survivor, I’m passionate about empowering women, and I can do that through my books.

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

Drum roll please…

Here’s the Prologue from my next YA novel, due out in May 2022. The Last Princess is my first attempt at including historical fiction in my work. There are no supernatural realms in this book! I adored writing this book and doing the research, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers.

Hundreds of bodies littered the grassland as their lifeblood soaked into the earth. Warriors in mid battle cry lay face down in muddy puddles still clinging to their axe and shield, and the sound of conflict floated across the grey English sky like one of the king’s banners. 

In the eyes of the great warriors who had travelled across the sea, the king’s army was outnumbered and weak. These foreigners didn’t shy away from war, they embraced it with determination and passion.

Like a plague, they swept across all England taking what they wanted, killing, and plundering. Nobody was safe from their wrath. Kings and peasants were treated as equals as these warriors from the North defiled the land.

High up on the hilltop a man sat on his horse watching the battle unfold. His eyes scanned the valley as he witnessed soldier after soldier cut down by the vicious army that advanced on his home. He’d sent all his best men to their death. No amount of manipulation, silver, or corruption could stop this curse upon his land. 

The crown on his head weighed heavy as he glanced first left then right at the remainder of his army. Young men who stood on the brink of annihilation. The king knew all was lost, he knew the great warriors would never stop, and he knew why. 

Deep within the battlefield, at the heart of the fighting, he had seen her. A sword in her hand, blood smeared across her tunic, and warpaint decorating her face. It had been many moons, but he would have recognised her anywhere. 

The end of their story was playing out in front of them, but the king wasn’t quite ready to give up just yet. Failure had never been an option.

He sat a little straighter in his saddle and addressed the young army at his side.

‘To the death!’ he cried.

Tell us about your latest project

My latest non-fiction title will be published on 2nd December 2021 by BHC Press.

Self-Help for the Helpless is a short non-fiction book aimed at readers who have never come across the idea of self-help before. 

For seven years, I ran a ladies-only holistic spa where I worked tirelessly to raise awareness about looking after your needs. Before I left my abusive marriage, I’d never come across the terms self-help or mind, body, spirit before, and yet that section of the bookshop jumped out at me when I needed it the most.

I wanted to share the advice I discovered at the start of my own self-help journey. I think the blurb explains it perfectly:

Have you ever felt helpless? Are you struggling to understand why you feel disconnected from your friends or family? Are you mystified by the words self-help, self-care, and personal development? Are you looking for answers but really have no idea where to begin?

In this beginner’s guide to personal development and understanding self-care, Shelley Wilson will show you how looking after your own needs can be a powerful tool for your mental, physical, and emotional health so you can begin making important changes today.

Discover what self-help means, how to become more self-aware, understand core values, and have fun mapping out what your best life looks like. Shelley includes tips, tools, and techniques and shares her 31-day self-help toolkit. 

Be the person you deserve to be and join bestselling self-help author and award-winning personal development blogger Shelley Wilson on a journey of self-discovery. 

What is your favourite cake?

Victoria Sponge is the only cake I like. Even though I’ve got a sweet tooth, I rarely have cake, but if I spot a fluffy Victoria Sponge, then I dive straight in!

You can connect with Shelley here:

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Mandy James. 

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