Just beneath the surface, treasures await

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

Sometimes it’s right underneath your feet.

Just as archaeologists might unearth fragments of primitive pottery, stone tools from ages past, and even ruins of ancient cities, as a writer, you too can uncover buried treasure.

When you explore beneath the surface of your mind, there’s no telling what you’ll discover: a talent that has yet to be developed, perhaps, or an exciting new goal that transforms your life.

You just have to dig around a little.

Need a shovel? In a matter of weeks, we’re kicking off another 365-Day Indie Author Challenge, which starts on July 1st.

That’s when our small group of writers, eager to finish their novels—and publish them—within the next year, will sprint off the starting line. We’re hoping you’ll join us, and make this the year you become a published indie author.

In just the first thirty days, we’ll get to know each other as we discuss our goals and experience. You’ll learn valuable novel-writing tricks from experienced authors, and you’ll finish writing a heart-pounding first chapter that will leave readers craving more.

If you’re not a writer, join us on ChapterBuzz and you’ll be able to read the chapters our authors post, join their Fan Clubs, and cheer them on as they embark on one of the most important journeys of their lives.

And now for a quick tour of our latest issue! Here’s a preview of what you’ll find as you flip through our virtual pages:

On the cover this month is author and archaeologist Sarah Kades. When I asked Sarah who’s influenced her writing the most, she had her answer ready. “Momma Earth,” she replied without hesitation. “She is fierce and loving, wild and tame. Wanting to share the natural world with others hugely influences my writing.” In our interview, you’ll hear about how Sarah skillfully blends her in-depth knowledge of the natural world with elements of suspense and romance in her novels, her idea for uniting people in our polarized society, and the tense situation she experienced—in the middle of nowhere—that sparked the idea for the first book in her latest series. As you get to know this talented author and what she stands for, you’ll see for yourself how Sarah is cleverly unearthing the wild nature within us all.

Next, when author Christine Milkovic Krauss and her best friends realized that books were a frequent topic of conversation whenever they met up, they decided to officially form a book club so they could focus their discussions on one title each time. But it turned out to be much more than just a book club. “We commit to gathering once per month to meet up,” Christine says, “and have our emotional cups refilled by surrounding ourselves with supportive, positive, strong, successful women.” With Hawaiian-themed pool parties and fancy dress nights on the agenda, along with activities like axe throwing and paddleboarding, these besties keep the bonds of friendship—and their shared love of books—as strong as ever. Christine’s group is a terrific model for others who may want to organize their own book clubs.

Also joining us is Ace Antonio Hall, who writes under the pen name Nzondi. Troubled by the way depression and suicide are often portrayed in novels, this horror author implores writers to take care when approaching such topics in their own stories. He explains why some of the common misperceptions about mental illness that make their way into many popular works can be harmful, then shows us ways we as writers can do better. “Hopefully, as horror authors,” Nzondi tells us, “we can continue to scare the jeebies out of our readers, but at the same time, create a story which accurately exhibits archetypes of mentally ill characters.” His article lays out the simple changes we can make to do this.

And finally, Indian-Pakistani-American author Zaira Pirzada relates her experience as a person of three distinct national identities. “My father is from Pakistan and my mother is from India,” she says, adding that they were still able to find love even with their respective homelands in the midst of conflict. “The conflict,” she says, “couldn’t follow two young souls that felt none of it.” As she reflects on how her multicultural background—and the ugliness some people have directed toward her for it—has shaped her as a person, Zaira likes to say she has found her true identity “in the hyphen,” which she calls “that dwelling space, that island between absolute identities.” Read Zaira’s remarkable story, and hear why a small punctuation mark means so much.

As the warm arms of summer reach out to embrace us, I hope you find yourself with a few moments to soak up some sun, sip an icy drink, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

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

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