Wednesday 26 October 2022

A Slice of Cake With... Emma Robinson

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Emma Robinson. 

Emma is a USA Today Bestseller with a passion for stories which explore the power of family and friendship in the most challenging circumstances. Whilst her early novels are humorous; her recent work focuses on emotional themes and these novels are both heart-breaking and life affirming.
She currently lives in Essex, England with a husband, two children and a small black dog.

What kind of books do you write?

All of my books explore the power of family and female friendship to get us through the toughest times. My characters are usually facing a big decision and have to dig deep within themselves to find the way forward. Being dilemma-led, they also ask a question which makes the reader consider what they would do in the same situation. Most reviewers say that my books make them cry, but also smile and are always uplifting by the end. 

Can you describe your writing why?

This is a tough question! I was always an avid reader as a child and writing my own stories felt natural to me. Often, writing is a kind of therapy. My first novel (The Undercover Mother) came out of my frustrations of early motherhood when I felt as if everyone knew what they were doing except me. Even now, I will get to the end of a first draft and realise that – beneath the surface of the plot – I was working something out that had been affecting me in real life. Someone once said ‘Reading is breathing in, and writing is breathing out’. For me, this sums it up perfectly.

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

It’s tricky to select a paragraph because my favourite paragraphs are usually those with a big reveal and I don’t want to give any twists away! Instead, I’ve chose this from My Silent Daughter because I feel like it captured my own emotions about my children growing up. Sara is an artist, so she often expresses her thoughts as colours and shades.

Steps. Stages. Milestones. The books tell you what to expect, but they don’t tell you how you might feel. The creeping anxiety if they haven’t got a tooth yet, or smiled, or spoken, or taken a step. The relief when they do and then the… sadness? No, that wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t sadness. It didn’t make you feel blue. More… turquoise. Pride tinged with nostalgia. Happiness tinted with fear. Love shaded with loss.

Tell us about your latest project

To Save My Child is about single mother Anna and her six-year-old daughter Libby. Anna has recently escaped from a bad marriage and is starting to get her life back on track. When Libby is taken ill and needs a life saving transplant, she has no choice but to contact the man who nearly destroyed her: Libby’s father. Because if there’s a chance to save your daughter’s life, wouldn’t you do whatever it takes? It explores coercive control and the self-sacrificing love of a parent.

Since Emma's original interview for my blog, she has released two more books. Only For My Daugher was released in April 2022. Here's the blurb:

I look at my lovely girl. The child I always promised to keep safe, the child I know I’d love no matter what. I look at her and in that moment, my heart breaks into pieces. Because right now, I am not sure I know her at all…

Julia’s daughter Grace is her whole world. To Julia, she’ll always be the little girl who would put her tiny hand in hers, who she could heal with the smallest kiss, who would trust her mother with everything.

But Grace has changed since becoming a teenager. She’s fallen out with her childhood best friend and has become quiet and distanced. Julia wants more than anything to find a way reach her only daughter. Even if some days it seems impossible, Julia knows her lovely, sunny girl is still in there.

Until today when Grace came home after school, covered in blood, and she’s refusing to speak, except to acknowledge that her former best friend is lying in a coma in hospital.

Julia is forced to ask herself: what could Grace be hiding? She can’t believe her little girl could have done something terrible. But her instincts tell her that Grace is keeping a secret. And if it’s what Julia fears it might be, she could lose her fragile, gentle daughter forever.

And – as another mother’s daughter fights for her life – Julia will have to ask herself, how far would she go as a mother to protect the child she loves with her whole heart? 

To Be A Mother was released October 2022. Here's the blurb:

What if your only chance to be a mother was to give birth to his first wife’s child?

All I’ve ever wanted is to be a mother. And since I married David, it’s gone from being a dream of mine, to a dream of ours. And I want it for him too – it’s the happy-ever-after he deserves after the tragic loss of his first wife, Katherine.

We have tried and we’ve hoped. But today I’ve just found out it’s impossible. That I’m unable to become a mother. My heart breaking into thousands of pieces, I beg the doctor to tell me there’s another way.

But it’s David who speaks. Telling me that just before Katherine died, she had gone through fertility treatment. Now her eggs legally belong to David. To us.

It could be my only chance to be the mother I’ve always longed to be… But can I really carry his first wife’s baby?

What is your favourite cake?

Lemon Drizzle – but it has to be REALLY lemony!

You can connect with Emma here:

Twitter: @emmarobinsonuk
Instagram: @emmarobinsonuk

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Lisa Stanbridge. 

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 through Kofi and buy me virtual 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 19 October 2022

A Slice of Cake With... Jack King

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Jack King.

Born in Tennessee to a military family, Jack crisscrossed the country multiple times growing up. After obtaining graduate degrees in business and history, he began a successful career in sales and marketing working for Fortune 500, mid-sized, and start-up firms along the way. Jack is the author of two series: historical adventure-romance for 18+ readers; and fantasy adventure for middle school readers, teens, and grown-ups who love YA fiction.

What kind of books do you write?

Two types: One is gritty action/dialogue, suspense-filled plot, with short paragraphs and short sentences. The other is more ‘wordy’, easy flow, like telling a good story around a campfire.

Can you describe your writing why?

I love to entertain the reader with my stories. Give them great pleasure (and sometimes a bit of puzzlement in trying to solve the clues or follow an ever-changing plot). Keep them on the edge of their seats, wanting more.

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

Donny pulled up behind Floyd’s parked car in a middle-right section of the huge parking lot. As Floyd began to get out, Donny said, “Hey, man, looks like your back tire is flat.”


“Wait a second, dude.” Donny had Floyd stay in the car. He backed up and then drove forward again, slanting his car to shine the headlights on the rear of Floyd’s vehicle. The men could see both tires were flat.

“What the hell!” Benson got out, slamming the door in anger. Donny put the car in PARK and left the motor running and the lights on. He got out to join Floyd.

A shadow raced from between the row of cars behind them while they crouched down to examine the tires. The figure scurried like a crab around the hidden side of Donny’s car. It came upon them unawares. Because of the loud, close noise of Donny’s engine, they didn’t hear the approaching footsteps.

“Damn, son, someone slashed both your ti—”

The shadow brutally jerked Donny’s head back with a strong gloved hand over the mouth and drove a deadly knife blade into Appleton’s right eye as the man knelt, watching his buddy Floyd leaning in to get a closer look at the tires. As Benson twisted around in his squatted position to see what was going on behind his back, the killer expertly drove the long, bloody knife into his left eye socket.

Before he could yell, stand up, or defend himself, the self-proclaimed muscleman and tough guy named Floyd Benson was dead.

Without a fight.

Tell us about your latest project

False Blood a Detective Cliff Husto Thriller, book 3 was release January 2022.

It's the most baffling, seemingly unsolvable, case of Cliff Husto’s twenty-year career.

A string of perplexing crimes sends the seasoned detective in circles. The arson of a well-known saddlery and equestrian outfitters. A series of bizarre murders. Including those of a store manager, a suspected terrorist, and a famed City Counselman. The kidnapping of a young girl. The wanton slaying of her beautiful mare Cappuccino. 

And the apparent assassination of his good friend and narcotics detective, Lieutenant Nandy Perez.

Were these incidents somehow linked? If so, what did it all mean? And why was it all beginning to head in the same deadly direction?

With the clock ticking, Husto must uncover and put an end to a shadowy criminal enterprise.

Before everything blows to hell!

What is your favourite cake?

Light chocolate cake (NOT fudge) with thin layer of chocolate icing on the top only, not on the sides and not in between the layers. Preferably with ripe strawberries on top!

You can connect with Jack at the following places:

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Emma Robinson. 

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 through Kofi and buy me virtual 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 12 October 2022

A Slice of Cake With... Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall is an Australian television writer, author and actor with dozens of credits to his name. He’s appeared in some 30 TV shows, four movies, two stage musicals, and several Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows. In 2016, he was hand-picked by John Cleese to play the role of Basil Fawlty in the world premiere season of Mr Cleese's play 'Fawlty Towers Live'.

He's also written and run pub trivia nights, he's been a teacher, a postman, a barman, a cleaner, a waiter, a stand-up comedian, a removalist, and - for one torturous afternoon - a call center employee.

In 2005, he appeared on 'Temptation' (the reboot of '$ale of the Century'), and won seven consecutive nights, taking home “The Lot”. In 2006, he won the title of 'Australia's Brainiest Quizmaster', on the show of the same name.

From May 2019 - May 2020 he wrote the first draft of his debut novel, Symphony Under Siege, releasing a new chapter each week online.

He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and daughter.

What kind of books do you write?

I deliberately write across a variety of genres. Coming from writing TV comedy and light entertainment for the last 25 years, I'm comfortable jumping around from one style to another. 

My first book How To Win Game Shows is non-fiction: a mashup of anecdotes, interviews, 'How To' chapters full of tips and hints... and an autobiographical element, which recounts exactly how I did it. 

My second book Symphony Under Siege is an out-and-out swashbuckling science fiction comedy adventure, which I wrote as a serialised challenge to myself, posting a new chapter online each week for the year that it took me to write it. 

My third book is called 50 Things To Be Seriously Grateful For Today* *and 50 not-so-serious things to illustrate them, and I'm describing it as “a non-fiction book that's chock full of fiction”.

Can you describe your writing why?

I've been writing, or making up, stories and characters and gags to entertain people for as long as I can remember. I loved Creative Writing in school, and decided very early on that I wanted to be an actor and a writer. 

And I have been! For all this time, I have been! How wonderful. You know that saying “Find a way to get paid for something you love to do and you'll never work a day in your life”? 

Well, that's wrong. It's trite, it's simplistic, and it's dismissive... but there's a kernel of truth in it. 
I work really hard at writing. But I'd much rather work really hard at writing – and acting - than ANYTHING else. And, in my time, I've actually been a postman. 

I love writing, it stimulates me. And now, as I draw closer and ever closer to 'official' retirement age.... I'm looking forward to retiring INTO writing my books.

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

Hmm. Maybe this bit from Symphony Under Siege (a flashback explaining how the space pirate captain Salazar Sharp originally acquired his ship) might give you an idea of the tone I'm going for...

Later, Felicity told Salazar about her ex-husband; about his irritating habits, his infidelity, his vindictiveness…
Salazar listened but wasn’t sure why she smiled as she said this.
“… But now,” she finished, “none of that’s my problem! I’m free! Free, free, FREE!” 
Ah. That’s why.
“What did he do?” Salazar asked.
“I just told you.”
“No, I mean for a job.”
“Oh, right. He called himself an Independent Long Haul Consignment Contractor for the FrontierLine Corporation. I called him a stinkin’ freighter jockey”. 
A thought occurred.
“Hey, I don’t suppose you want to buy a beat-up old interworld cargo freighter? I got it as part of the settlement, on this weird condition that if I sell it, I give any proceeds to him.”
Salazar’s eyes lit up. A ship of his own? That would mean mobility, increased earning power… independence! It’d mean an end to schlepping around the galaxy on whatever ride he could scam his way onto. It’d mean a permanent roof over his head. If he had his own ship, everything would change for him. If he had his own ship, Salazar would be free too.
He stopped himself - what was he thinking? There would be no way he could afford an actual ship. Even a beat-up old one. With his finances, buying his own ship was only a daydream, nothing more. 
“How much do you want for it?” he asked resignedly.
“From you? One dollar.”
Salazar stared at her - was she serious? 
She smiled as she nodded.
“… And I’ll be sure to pass that entire dollar on to him!” she laughed.
“Really?” asked Salazar incredulously.
Salazar extended his hand and she shook it.
“Deal!” he said.
“Deal,” she echoed. “This is your lucky day.”
“Oh, don’t I know it!” he purred, as he scooped her up in his arms. She squealed happily, and they kissed again…

Ten days later, on landing platform #8302 of the city’s vast spaceport, Salazar introduced his new (although technically very old) ship to the nine members of his crew.
“What do you think?” he asked, as they all met in the ship’s shabby communal area for the first time. 
“Well, it’s not much to look at,” sniffed Worrell. Karlsen nodded in agreement with his friend. 
“I reckon I could do something about that…” 
“Good, AJ - good!” Salazar enthused. “See, that’s what I like to hear. Positive suggestions!”
Salazar turned his attention to the pilot. “Quinn, can you fly it?”
Quinn looked insulted. “With one arm tied behind my back, Cap’n. It’s a FrontierLine 3183 interworld freighter - they’re set-and-forget. Anyone could fly this thing. In fact, flying this thing is gonna be boring.” 
“I could do something about that, too,” offered AJ. “A few little improvements to make it a bit more interesting...”
“Thank you!” said Salazar. “See? Constructive contributions - that’s what we need.”
“I got a constructive contribution, Cap’n.” 
“Yes, Fletcher?”
“Ship’s got no weapons. I say we fit it out with plasma cannons - four should do it.”
“Good idea,” said Salazar.
“And three destroyer class energy mortars. On each side. Plus we’ve gotta have some SPR seeker missiles; three - no, four. On the port side, and then another four on the starboard side.”
“And we don’t need all that space in the Cargo Hold,” added her pal Gotmund. “We could convert it into a bomb bay.”
“Yeah!” said Fletcher. “And torpedo tubes. We need torpedo tubes. Four. No, five. No six! Six torpedo tubes! And we should also - ”
“Great, great,” said Salazar, holding up his hands. “Lots of good ideas there. Thank you.”
He looked around happily as his First Mate Jiang stepped forward.
“Cap’n,” she said. “Although it looks structurally sound, this ship is old. It’s dark, it’s dingy and dirty, and it needs updating in every area.” 
Salazar beamed. “Yeah! Perfect, isn’t it?” 
“Hello?” came a woman’s voice from somewhere outside the ship.
“Aha! She’s here!” exclaimed Salazar, pulling two bottles of Betelgeusean Firewater from somewhere inside his overcoat. “Come on!”
All hands followed him as he bounded down the gangplank, holding the bottles aloft. 
“Great! You made it!” Salazar said, striding across the landing platform and handing Felicity a bottle. 
“Of course,” she smiled.
“Everyone, this is Felicity,” Salazar announced to his crew. “Felicity, this is… everyone.”
There were polite nods all round.
“Felicity will do the honours of christening our ship with its new name… ”
He paused for effect.
“… the Cheeky Albert!”
There was an unimpressed pause. Then each crew member produced a shot glass from a pocket and held them out, eyeing their captain expectantly.
“‘Albert’? Why ‘Albert’?” asked First Mate Jiang.
“Dunno - it just came to me in a dream,” Salazar said, opening his bottle and trying to remember if he knew anyone by that name. “It just felt right.”
Felicity shrugged and walked towards the ship, as Salazar poured each crew member a shot of the potent liquor. 
Standing before the ship’s bow and brandishing her bottle above her head, Felicity proclaimed “I hereby name this ship… the Cheeky Albert!” 
She shut her eyes tightly and smashed the bottle on the hull, laughing as booze and bits of broken bottle rained down upon her.
“The Cheeky Albert!” yelled the pirates, downing their drinks. 
As the pirates all lugged their bags aboard, Salazar moved closer to Felicity.
“Hey, I just wanted to say…” his tone intimate, “these last couple of weeks we’ve spent together have really meant a lot to me.” 
Felicity smiled uncertainly. She felt faintly embarrassed on the young man’s behalf.
“I have to go now; there’s a couple more people I need to recruit, to round out my crew…” he continued. “but one day, I’ll return.” He looked earnestly into her eyes. “I promise.”
There was a polite pause.
“Why do you want to return?”
“Oh. Erm. I thought you might want - ”
“Nah, I’m good.” 
“Oh. Right. So…” Salazar squinted over his shoulder at his ship and crew, in a way that he hoped looked manly.
“I’d better go. I won’t forget you, Felicity.”
She nodded. “And I won’t forget you, Salvador.”
“ - Salazar.”
“Good. Alright then…” and he gave her a hug that was more awkward than he expected it would be.
He hoped his crew hadn’t seen that. Bounding up the gangplank with an overplayed air of raucous excitement, he boomed, “So, Quinn! Let’s see what the Cheeky Albert can do!”

Tell us about your latest project

50 Things To Be Seriously Grateful For Today* * and 50 not-so-serious things to illustrate them is a very personal book; the 50 Things are all Things that I personally am seriously grateful for (from 'This Morning's Sunrise' to 'Having My Household Rubbish Collected This Week'), and it's my hope that the reader can be grateful for (at least some of) the 50 Things too. 

Having said that, the other half of the book - in this weird hybrid format I've created - allows me to pull out all the stops and return to my gag-writing roots. After each thing to be seriously grateful for, the reader turns the page to find a random gag-filled page that looks like it's just been randomly stuffed into this book – it might be a menu, it might be a comic strip, it might be a crossword puzzle, it might be flatpack furniture assembly instructions.... I've been greatly inspired by the spinoff books by Monty Python and The Goodies and Not The Nine O'Clock News

Only my book isn't ALL 100% gags – my book goes serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly/serious/silly....

Well, you get the idea. 

What is your favourite cake?

Mm, sure. Well, it's pretty hard to go past a great big slice of a good Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest Cake. There's a lot going on in your average BFC... rich chocolate sponge, whipped cream, kirsch, sour cherries, grated chocolate, (and my favourite one has a crunchy, biscuity base).... but when it all comes together, it's nothing short of Magnificent. I'm salivating right now, just thinking about it. ˶Hurra fűr Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte!” sage ich.

You can connect with Stephen on Facebook:, Twitter: @How2WinGameShow and visit his website

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Jack King. 

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 through Kofi and help fuel the creativity by buying me tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find 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 October 2022

A Slice of Cake With... Wendy Noble

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Wendy Noble. 

Wendy writes fiction, reviews children’s literature, and has had articles, interviews, and short stories published in a number of magazines. She also edits manuscripts: fiction and memoirs.

What kind of books do you write?

I write adventure stories, with the main character having the ability to communicate with all animals and birds. Others in his world can ‘speak’ with some creatures but he is the only one, as far as he knows, who can speak with all. This is because he can speak with dragons. Although there are many instances of cruelty and some violence in my stories, there are also plenty of moments which are light-hearted. Most of the fun comes from the animals; in particular the very “Aussie” camels, some seriously depressed griven (oxen) and an egocentric raven. 

The stories are aimed at high school age and up, but I’ve discovered that my readers range from age 10 to nearly 80. When I began the Beast-Speaker series I had only intended to write two, dealing with the issue of child soldiers. However, readers seemed to enjoy the stories and I was pressured to continue the adventure. I’ve recently finished the fourth in my duo and am planning the fifth.

Can you describe your writing why?

I have always been a passionate reader and love being drawn into other lives and worlds. I believe that storytelling is part of humanity’s DNA. I used to say, “One day I’ll write a book” but never got around to it. Then, I had breast cancer and I decided it was high time I got on with it. I didn’t want to die wondering, “What if I’d written that book?” My stories reflect my love of animals, my compassion for the vulnerable and suffering people in the world, and my desire to encourage people to be strong even when the world tells them that they’re weak.

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

The wulver shrugged and walked over to a fallen log lying not far from the entrance to his cave. ‘At least, unlike so many, she doesn’t recoil in fear. Neither do you. Why is that?’

He sat down and patted the space next to him. I quickly complied. 

‘When I only had thirteen years,’ I said, ‘I was stolen from my home by a Midrashi agent. He was collecting children to serve in their army. While I was there, I soon discovered that there are monsters in this world.’

He shifted a little away from me and turned his attention to some obscure point in the surrounding hills.

I continued. ‘A lot of people think that if something is ugly, or fierce-looking, or just a different species, then they should be afraid. They call the biggest and the strangest, monsters.’ He nodded. ‘That’s what most people think of the dragons.’ 

Mac sighed. ‘And of me.’ He turned to look at me. ‘But you don’t.’

‘Midrash taught me one of the most valuable lessons in my life. I learned that the real monsters in this world aren’t dragons, or wolves, or even spiders. The real monsters are people with wicked hearts.’

Tell us about your latest project

In my latest novel, the Commander of Seddon is being slowly poisoned by an unknown assassin. An old healer, a wulver, has the secret of the cure. On their way to the healer, Seeger and his friends must deal with slave-traders who try to steal Maraed, Seeger’s girl-friend; a flash-flood; a mad archer, and the depths of an abandoned copper mine. 

I was intrigued by stories from the Shetland Islands, concerning a wulver: half man, half wolf, and a little bit of something else. Unlike most legendary monsters, the wulver is kind. He leaves gifts of fresh fish for poor families and often guides the lost back to safety. I decided I had to find a way to include him in my stories and Beast-Speaker: Dead Man’s Fingers, is the result. 

What is your favourite cake?

I’ll never refuse a slice of chocolate Bavarian cake, with a luscious layer of cherries and cream and shards of chocolate on the top.

You can connect with Wendy on her website and on Facebook: AuthorWendyNoble.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Stephen Hall. 

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 through Kofi and help fuel the creativity - 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