Writer Spotlight: Author Claire Buss
Author Claire Buss
In the Author's Words :: My love of reading led me to writing my own work
and an over active imagination drew me towards the sci-fi & fantasy genre.
I lean towards humour although not always intentionally. All my books are
available on Amazon, links available on my website
Favorite authors - Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch, Robin Hobb,
So what's it about?- Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem.
Someone is stealing the Emperor's roses. It's up to Ned and his band of
motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. What could
possibly go wrong?
With permission I have been allowed to share this copyrighted work with you on my site. Please contact the author through their website before using any of the work seen here. ©
From the book-
He, or very possibly she, was known as The Rose Thief. It was a nickname that stuck despite the
best efforts of the thief-catchers to stem public approval for a thief who only stole roses. No-one
had yet admitted to knowing who, or indeed what, the thief was. He could indeed be a woman, or a
troll, or even a malevolent spirit. What was of great significance and importance was only the
Emperor's – may he live for ever and ever - rose garden was being violated.
The thief was stealing exclusively from the Emperor – may he live for ever and ever – and no-one
but the Emperor – may he, oh you get the idea – had access to the rose gardens. Not even any of
his thousand and one wives. It made solving the theft extremely difficult. It also made the
Emperor look rather foolish and was the reason why Chief Thief-Catcher - Ned Spinks - was strung up by
his ankles, in the third best reception room of the Emperor's Palace. Ned was waiting to see what
would happen next, and in the meantime, tracing rude shapes in his imagination with the dark
stains on the floor beneath him.
'Do you know why you are here?'
The high-pitched, nasal voice came from the direction of Ned's right knee. It was the High
Right, the Honourable Lord Chamberlain. Ned tried to swing around a little so he could at least
speak to the ankles of the High Right but he had no turning circle. The blood pooling in his head
was beginning to make it hard to think coherent thoughts. He decided against his usual witty repartee.
'It's my turn?' Well, maybe just a little. To lighten the mood.
The High Right ignored Ned's response. 'The Emperor – may he live for ever
and ever – wants this so called 'Thief of Roses' caught. Now.'
'I'll see what I can do, Sir.'
The High Right did not respond and remained behind Ned, making him uneasy.
Due to the voluminous nature of his shirt, a large portion of Ned's back was on
display and he didn't think it was necessarily his best side. Feeling rather vulnerable, he was now
thoroughly convinced that love handles were not meant to sag upside down. Gravity was not doing him any
He lurched unexpectedly and crashed to the floor in an inelegant heap of somewhat
overweight thief-catcher as he was cut down. Shaking the stars from his head, Ned winced as the
blood rushed back down his body and made his ears sing. At least he still had his ears. The last time
the Emperor took a dislike to the Chief Thief-Catcher, the High Left Inquisitor carved most of his
body parts off. Ned counted his fingers and toes surreptitiously.
'You have one day Thief-Catcher.' The High Right glared at Ned who had
reached a count of at least eight digits. 'Don't let me regret not ordering the removal of
Ned heard rather than saw the High Right leave. His head was still
adjusting to being the right way up and despite the leg count, Ned wasn't entirely sure he had
active control over his limbs. Standing had yet to be attempted.
A rather loud conversation began filtering through the third best reception
room doors, which were ajar.
'I don't care what you fink. I'm going in to get 'im.'
A small, grubby looking child with a mop of straw-like hair marched into
the room wearing an air of nonchalance which soon deflated into obvious relief at seeing Ned
in one piece. Two palace guards peered in, saw that the High Right had finished and decided
to mind their own business for once. Palace guards excelled at minding yours, it was a
strenuous part of training – you couldn't be a palace guard if you didn't know what your next door
neighbour's aunt had for tea last Thursday.
The small child wasn't a child at all. She was a dirty little sprite with large, hairy ears and a
coppery coloured tail just visible from the bottom of her filthy red coat.
The sprite peered into Ned's face. The smell that accompanied her was other-worldly.
'Jenni. A little space.' Ned tried not to breathe.
The sprite huffed, hurt at the not so warm welcome. 'Be like that then. I only came straight
'ere to find you and get you out of whatever mess you're in now.' The
sprite leant in again, utterly disregarding Ned's request for personal space and looked deep into the
bloodshot yet still vibrant blue eyes of her boss. 'Joe said you was scooped.'
Ned pushed himself up from the floor, trying in vain to ignore the incredible smell
infiltrating his nostrils. 'Yep. Lucky me.' He staggered a few steps before collecting his limbs and
being able to walk towards the door. The sprite capered at his side. 'You
need a bath Jenni. You stink.'
'Been under cover at the docks ain't I?' A few flies buzzed in Jenni's wake. 'Cos we fawt he
might be basing 'is operations round that way, right? So I've bin looking for the rose thief ain't I?'
She scratched an armpit viciously. 'Came straight 'ere tho didn't I? When Joe said.'
'Yeah, thanks. What about the docks, what did you find out?' Ned held the third best
reception room door open for Jenni and jauntily saluted the guards in the corridor as they walked
'Just a pile o' shite.'
'Well I can smell that.'
'Nah – a proper pile of rose shite – that special stuff what makes them grow.' Jenni jabbed
her thumb over her shoulder at the palace corridor receding behind them as they exited through a
'And it ain't theirs.'
'Whose was it then?'
'Dunno. Didn't 'zactly speak to the owner. There weren't much left, right and it was in one of
them hire when you need a bit o' space like places. You know, the ones Two-Face Bob hires out. It'd
dried a bit and that but it was definitely shite.' She beamed up at Ned. 'So even tho I didn't find nobody I still done good, right?'
Thank you for sharing your book with us. Readers can find your books on Amazon and Kindle and your website
What's on the Horizon? :: I'm currently writing the sequel to my first novel as well as working on another short story collection and have two novellas in my fantasy world on the horizon.
Any tips for aspiring writers? :: Never give up, never surrender!
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