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Timothy Pike, editor-in-chief
A Letter from the Editor

It’s not always easy to find good books to read, especially when they’re self-published and not propped up on a table at the entrance of Barnes & Noble. That’s why I, along with our literary community, have set out to create a spreadsheet list of the best independent books out there, which I call Tim’s Discovery List.

If you’ve been following our progress over the past few months, you’ll know we’ve dug up plenty of hidden gems.

But you’ll also know that we’ve got our hands full, because our stated goal is an ambitious one: to build a spreadsheet list of every—yes, every—self-published book worth reading.

And now, we have a brand-new Facebook discussion group devoted to building the Discovery List, and we would love for you to join us. You’ll be helping to bring terrific books into our lives. Terrific books that aren’t mainstream. That may have been overlooked. That haven’t had their moment in the spotlight yet.

Writers, readers, and book reviewers are all welcome. It’s a private group that’s only open to those in the know—like yourself—so click the “Join” button and we’ll let you right in.

As for this month’s issue, take a look at all of these delectable tidbits:

Award winner Marie Powell takes us to Wales, where a visit to a thirteenth-century castle inspired her medieval fantasy series, Last of the Gifted. Well, for the most part. “I suppose the inspiration was a lot of little things,” she says, “but it all came to a head as I walked the ruins of Dolwyddelan Castle on that first trip to Wales.” Find out what resonated so strongly with her on that trip—and why it stayed with her for so long afterwards—as you follow Marie on her journey back in time to the Middle Ages.

Next up: as a writer, are you willing to take risks with your character development? If so, the upside is a more memorable, relatable main character, says award-winning author Gregory Erich Phillips. “It takes courage to risk making your lead character unlikeable,” he writes, “but the result is almost always a better novel.” In his article, Gregory lays out the best ways to create characters that resemble real-life people—quirks, vices, and all—to give your readers the authentic main character they may not even know they want.

Finally, bestselling sci-fi author V.S. Holmes ponders what fantasy worlds would look like if they were more accessible to those with disabilities. “I think of the worlds of my novels, all the startling magical beauty in the books that made me who I am as a writer,” says V. “I couldn’t navigate those worlds anymore. Not with this body.” As it turns out, there are many ways to design worlds that anyone can see themselves in, and V gives several simple ideas for how to do this.

And now, our feature presentation: on the cover this month is Anna J Walner, international bestselling author of the Uluru Legacy series. When I interviewed Anna, I was struck by how neatly the threads of her own background wove into her writing career. “Growing up being adopted, there are always these questions you have about your heritage,” she says. When you read her interview article, you’ll find out how these questions eventually led her to write her highly praised debut novel. You’ll also learn how Anna found her voice as an author, why reading was so important to her as a child, and how she manages her time nowadays as a busy author and mother.

As gray fills the sky and evenings turn chilly, pour a steaming mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up next to the fireplace, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine

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