Friday, March 24, 2017

Fast Friday Indie Interviews: Claire Buss

Claire Buss

Tell me about yourself, Claire.

I am a SAHM, a master of the art of doing at least three things at once whilst managing to zone out the dulcid tones of Postman Pat and/or Thomas the Tank Engine.  Apparently, I work best on minimal sleep so getting up at 5am to write/edit has become a way of life.  I read voraciously in the chair, in bed, in the bath, walking around my home town – whenever I can slot at least a page turn in.  You'd be surprised and how easy it is to cook and read at the same time.  Ideas often arrive at the most awkward moment possible but luckily I have the memory of a goldfish.  Having wasted my literary talents in an office environment for the past eighteen years I now intend to do as much as I can with what I've got for the next few decades.  I've been unhappily married, done the big house in the country, kept fish, been a biker chick, traveled a little, eaten a lot and become a firm believer in the healing power of cake.  I am now happily married with a little family of my own, currently living in Barking, Essex and wrestling with the eternal debate – dog or cat?

Tell me about your current Book:

When three sterile women become pregnant, the group of friends affected, led by Kira & Jed Jenkins, must get to the bottom of a cover up, find out who the blue lady is and discover whether it's really toxic beyond the wall, or have Corporation been lying all this time?

It's 200 years in our future, the planet has been decimated in the High Energy Radiation wars leaving what's left of a sterile humanity spread out across the globe in isolated yet high tech cities.  City 42 is protected from the toxic world outside by a force-field run by a company called Corporation who control sales, marketing and reproduction, allocating lab-grown babies to the general population as and when they see fit.  Kira, an Archivist and Jed Jenkins, a Force Detective, won the anniversary lottery and go to collect their child, choosing an unusual natural parenting route.  But all is not idyllic in City 42 – one of Kira's friend, Martha Hamble, daughter of the Marketing Director of Corporation is raped, the man responsible has no memory of the attack.  Jed's partner, Pete Barnes and his sister, Ingrid, fall in love.  Kira's friend and Anti-Corp sympathizer Ruth Maddocks has a spiritual experience outside the wall with a visiting professor.  When these women discover they are pregnant, a medical anomaly, and their young friend Dina Grey suffers a personal tragedy that should never have been possible, everyone involved reveals having been visited in some way by a blue lady.  Gaia - the goddess of the Earth, seems to have manipulated events to send the group of friends outside the city limits where they discover the planet has started to heal and needs mans help to recover fully.  Will they be able to stop the lies of Corporation and reunite man and nature before it is too late?

What are you working on now?

I am currently editing the first draft of a humorous fantasy novel called The Rose Thief.  The Emperor, may he live forever and ever, in his infinite wisdom has magically imbued his red rose with the power of love.  When the Rose Thief steals the rose and banishes their lover to the middle of nowhere, love begins to die.  It's up to Chief Thief Catcher, Ned Spinks, and his band of motley catchers to save the day.  Things go wrong, they get complicated.  Druids, vampire mermaids, magic, evil sorcerers and criminal family members all get involved in what I hope is a very entertaining read.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

The only place I have to write is my front room table.  Even then I have to fight with meal settings, paperwork from school, the latest crafty project so therefore glue & glitter, various electronic devices and about four half drunk, cold cups of tea.  I used to write in a little book cafe near the station but they have no toilet and sadly you can't sit in a cafe and not drink sold beverages – apparently it's a thing.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

No-one can tell you what to write, it's all you.  Very scary yet very liberating at the same time.  Also, it takes longer than you think and you do actually have to work really, really hard.
You can half-arse it but if you expect other people to read it then you probably shouldn't.

What is your favorite Website?

My favorite website is HAED, a cross-stitch site that offers huge, complex designs many of which are fantasy-themed.  Or it would be if I had any time to visit it.

The other sites I visit regularly are Pinterest and Goodreads which I do because I love them as websites and not just because they are useful author tools.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Images that Inspire

I like to have actual locations and images I can use to help me write scenes that take place there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Quotes of the Week

A film is never really any good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.
—Orson Welles

The historian records, but the novelist creates.
—E. M. Forster

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
—George Bernard Shaw

To find joy in work is to find the fountain of youth.
—Pearl S. Buck

There are many rules of good writing, but the best way to find them is to be a good reader.
—Stephen Ambrose

You can fix anything but a blank page.
—Nora Roberts

The notion of talent is quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application... will, will, will, desire, desire, desire.
—Gordon Lish

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.
—Leonard Cohen

I have a superstition that if I talk about a plot, it’s like letting sand out of a hole in the bottom of a bag.
—Shirley Hazzard

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Covers

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  Don't believe it. You could have the best story in the world and it your cover is crap, it won't sell. Cover problems is a common issue with Indie Authors.

The biggest tip here is that the cover should target your audience at a glance from six feet away. The art needs to be professional.

Make yourself a checklist for your covers. I have started one that includes the following:

Front Cover:

  • Is your title unique?
  • Are the Fonts easy to read?
  • Is the text too close to the edge?
  • Is the artwork engaging and professional?
  • Does the artwork represent the book?
  • Do the artwork and text work well together?
  • Can you read the cover from six feet away?
  • Can you read it as a thumbnail?

Back Cover:

  • Is the text blurb easy to read?
  • Is the text too close to the edge?
  • Does the blurb have a hook that will attract readers?
  • Does the blurb tell the reader too much?
  • Does the text include the book price?

The Spine:

  • Is the spine easy to read from six feet away?

The Finish:

  •  Is it better with glossy or mat finish? 

When Indie Authors are this close to publication they might rush the cover creation/review process. Try not to rush it. I like establishing the cover before the first draft is complete. It gives me more time for tuning.

--Covers are super important. Give them the attention they deserve.

Monday, March 20, 2017


Last week I read Fields of Fire by Marko Kloos.

Here is the description from Amazon:

The time has come to take the fight to the Lankies.

Mars has been under Lanky control for more than a year. Since then, the depleted forces of Earth’s alliances have rebuilt their fleets, staffing old warships with freshly trained troops. Torn between the need to beat the Lankies to the punch and taking enough time to put together an effective fighting force, command has decided to strike now.

Once again, seasoned veterans Andrew and Halley find themselves in charge of green troops and at the sharp tip of the spear as the combined military might of Earth goes up against the Lankies. But if there’s one constant in war, it’s that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy…and the Lankies want to hold on to Mars as badly as humanity wants to reclaim it.

--I love this series. Excellent Military Science Fiction.