This month: a novel-writing challenge, creating fantasy worlds, and why short stories are so hot right now
A Letter from the Editor
Welcome, readers and writers, to the March issue of Books & Buzz Magazine!
The biggest news out of our community is the 365-Day Indie Author Challenge, which kicks off today. The Challenge takes writers on a year-long, guided journey through writing and publishing a novel, and it’s still open for registration as we gear up. But it won’t be for long, so if you’re an aspiring novelist, seize this opportunity before the doors slam shut!
For now, let’s flip through the virtual pages of this month’s issue:
We start with Hank Phillippi Ryan, award-winning author and Emmy-winning investigative journalist, who’s out with a brand-new thriller, The House Guest. In our interview, Hank talks about how she came up with the premise: “I started thinking about how many couples are shocked when one of them is accused of some crime and the other one says those very words: ‘Oh, I had no idea!'” Hank says, admitting that in her own marriage, she can only hear bits and pieces of her husband’s work conversations while he’s in his office at home. “My husband could be doing who knows what in the other room, and if the feds swooped down on him, I would be utterly shocked.” Read our interview with Hank to hear how this new tale of greed, gaslighting, and female empowerment—with healthy doses of betrayal and revenge—took shape from there.
Then, fantasy author Zachary Hagen gives us a crash course in building a fantasy world that really works. “These ideas are the products of hours of worldbuilding and creating a lore and system that made sense,” he says. “Let my process guide and inform, but don’t think that you can’t reinvent some things for yourself and your own process.” Zachary has some helpful suggestions on how to gather ideas, decide what happens in the world you’ve created, then fill that new realm with all manner of people and creatures.
Next, we hear from author Fern Brady, who insists that a less-than-glowing review of your novel can actually be a good thing. Since the art you produce as a writer isn’t going to please everybody, knowing that it stirred a strong reaction—positive or negative—in a reader is an achievement in itself. “Like a painting or a piece of music,” she writes, “there will always be those who connect to it and those who don’t.” Unqualified praise feels better, of course, but don’t dismiss the many upsides of a thumbs-down review.
Finally, science fiction and horror author KC Grifant explains why now is the time to be writing short stories. One big advantage compared to writing novels, she says, is that it takes much less time to go from start to published work. “Finishing a story of any length in and of itself is rewarding,” KC says, “and can get you into the published world more quickly than a novel.” In her article, you’ll learn what all short stories should include, how much you can make as a writer of short stories, and the number of words that puts you in the “sweet spot” for most markets.
Settle in, treat your literary mind to the delights we have on offer, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine
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