A new year, with new stories to be devoured

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

Happy New Year, Books & Buzz readers!

From our growing Member-Only Reads section at ChapterBuzz to our lineup of fantastic authors for the cover of this magazine, I am pumped for what lies ahead in the coming year.

2023 promises a plethora of brand-new novels, gripping stories, sudden twists, and big reveals—and if you’re a writer, plenty of tips on how to do all this.

We kick off with this month’s featured author, Edward Willett, an award-winning, U.S.-Canadian author of science fiction and fantasy who also works as a freelance editor, hosts a podcast, runs a publishing company, and performs as a professional actor and singer. Edward’s way with words showed up when he taught himself to read at an early age—and even skipped a grade in elementary school as a result—before completing his first short story at eleven. “Like most writers,” he says, “I began as a reader. I read everything under the sun, but because I had two older brothers who read science fiction and fantasy, I gravitated toward that.” I caught up with Edward to ask him why he wanted to become an author, what challenges he overcame, and how he comes up with his stories, the latest of which involves both outer space and a wisecracking cat.

Next, author Kim Lengling shows us how to engage readers with all five senses in our writing. “We’ve all read a book where we feel as if we were there, within the pages, hanging out with the characters, getting to know them, and feeling a personal connection,” she says. The secret to this level of realism in your own work, Kim tells us, is employing all the senses as you write your story. Turns out, the easiest way to dial in to this mindset is to pay close attention to everything that’s going on around you. Kim uses a trip to her local coffee shop as an example of how to connect to your surroundings and ignite your senses.

Then, Joel McKay, award-winning horror author, is happy to announce that the novella—a book that fills that sweet spot between short story and novel—is poised to make a comeback. “The industry seems to be embracing an old-school format,” Joel writes, “that just a few years ago had a reputation as a reliable money loser.” This comeback is enabled, in part, by print-on-demand technology, which turns the economics of production on its head and allows writers to easily publish novellas for an audience that is increasingly hungry for the format. Find out the other reasons for this shift in reading habits and why Joel thinks novellas are here to stay.

And finally, author and poet Belinda Betker cautions us about getting so wrapped up in “the rules” of writing that we find ourselves unable to actually write. “The proverbial blank page or blank screen staring back at you can feel intimidating, accusatory, judgemental,” she writes, adding that even the number of rules there are is unclear. “There are ten rules to know and follow,” she says. “Or eight, or sixteen, or eleven, or twenty-five, or maybe just five, depending on the source you choose to believe.” And if you still end up with writer’s block, Belinda has some excellent tips to help you move past it and get on with your creative pursuits.

Now that you’ve seen the last of your holiday guests off, tacked a brand-new calendar up on the wall, and lit a hot, crackling fire, it’s time to settle in, get cozy, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

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

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