Reading and writing are two of life’s great pleasures

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

Welcome to another issue of Books & Buzz Magazine, readers and writers!

If you’re an avid reader, I have some exciting news: in the month ahead, you can look forward to another limited-time book giveaway! Make sure to subscribe to our e-mail updates so you don’t miss the announcement.

If you’re an aspiring novelist, I have just the opportunity for you. Are you ready to finally make it happen? Join us in the 365-Day Indie Author Challenge, which starts on March 1st. That’s right, we finally have another session starting! Take the next year to write an outstanding novel, edit it, publish it on Amazon, and set up a social media strategy to build your author platform. Let’s make this March the start of your career as an independent author of novels.

When you enter the Challenge, you’ll be joining a community of dedicated writers who want to help each other achieve their goals. Of course, everyone’s goals are different, but the first step in becoming a prolific author is getting your first book out there, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on.

For now, let’s dig right in and explore this month’s issue:

On the cover is critically acclaimed author KC Grifant, whose first book, Melinda West: Monster Gunslinger, comes out this month. Even though it’s her debut novel, KC is no newcomer to the literary world, with numerous shorter works appearing in magazines and anthologies. Even at young age, KC’s mind was buzzing with imaginative story ideas. “I started writing around fourth grade,” she says. “My first stories focused on fantasy stories, including one about a girl who shrunk to pilot a paper airplane.” In our interview, KC talks about some of the biggest influences on her writing, how she squeezes every minute out of each day, and how a card game led her to discover the “weird west” genre and eventually create the two main characters that feature in her novel.

Next, Diane Bator tells the story of how she became a published author and admits it wasn’t easy. “Even when the writing path is what someone has dreamed of their entire life,” she says, “it takes a lot of work and determination just to get started, let alone keep going.” Find out how Diane went against well-meaning advice—from people close to her—that she give up writing, why she thought of her first book as a “Franken-novel,” and how she dealt with some of the bumps along the road, including the brilliant move that turned one of the lowest points in her career into one of the highest. It’s a motivating story for anyone with lofty goals—in any area of life.

Then, award-winning author Val Collins takes us into the past to explore how women have been portrayed in thriller stories since the mid-nineteenth century. “The authors of these stories were men of their time,” she explains, “and the early female detectives had very different lives from their male colleagues.” There have been ups and downs, but the situation has mostly improved over the years, and the female characters in books today are quite different. “I am particularly drawn to psychological thrillers that show what ordinary women are capable of,” Val says. “Their only weapons are their intelligence, courage, and determination to survive.” Take a journey through history and see for yourself.

And finally, author Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall) has some helpful advice for authors who are seeking a traditional publishing deal. Turns out, agents and publishers are looking for very specific things when they read your manuscript, starting with the name of your main character. “There is nothing more irritating to the agent or publisher reading your manuscript,” he says, “than not knowing who the protagonist is.” Many industry professionals are buried under piles of submissions and don’t have time to read very far, so if you wait too long to reveal certain information, you risk not grabbing their attention. Learn nine of the most important things you should include right up front in your story.

As you know, reading and writing are two of the biggest pleasures in life, so in the coming weeks, be sure to carve out some time for both. And of course, save a few minutes to enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine!

Happy reading,

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

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