A 365-day writing challenge, a story about sacrifice in war, and 5 tricks for finding time to write

Timothy Pike, editor-in-chief

A Letter from the Editor

It’s happening again, writers!

By popular demand, the 365-Day Indie Author Challenge is back—with a start date of July 1st.

If you’re hoping to get crackin’ on your novel—and actually get it published by this time next year—this is your chance! We only do a few of these each year, so stop by to register before it’s too late.

It’s free to participate, so crack your knuckles and roll up your sleeves … this year is all about writing!

I’ll give you a minute to sign up before we go on.

Back now? Great, let’s take a peek inside the June issue:

First off, I’d like to welcome back to the cover award-winning thriller author Tosca Lee. She’s here to discuss her latest release, The Long March Home, a fictional story about a real-life historical event: the Bataan Death March that took place in the Philippines during World War II. Co-written with bestselling author Marcus Brotherton, The Long March Home is a story about friendship and sacrifice set against the backdrop of history. It also depicts, sometimes graphically, the atrocities of war. “What a sobering education researching this story has been,” Tosca says, admitting that until she partnered with Marcus and started digging into it, she didn’t know about this horrific chapter in World War II. “What an honor it is to share it with others who, like me, may not be aware of it or its heroes,” she says. In this fascinating interview, Tosca talks about how she felt while researching the era, tells us what she most wanted to know about the characters in the story, and reveals what’s true—and what’s not—in this riveting historical fiction tale.

Next, award-winning author G.S. Gerry has some encouraging words for writers. “If you have ever had a desire to write a book, or have been on the fence for some time about whether to write a book, the answer is clear,” he says. “It can be summed up with three simple words: just do it!” As Gerry explains, even though everyone has a unique story to tell, fear is a common reason many writers never get started. Because we’re all shaped by our experiences, positive and negative, a simple shift in mindset and asking the right questions of yourself—such as “What can I learn from this?”—can give you more control over the unpredictability of life, and transform you from dreamer into achiever.

Then, Randi-Lee Bowslaugh, author and mental health advocate, walks us through the steps she uses to write non-fiction books. The first step? Have a clear, solid message to convey. This lays the groundwork for the rest of the book, making it easier to complete your first draft. “Non-fiction manuscripts can force an author to think back years—even decades,” she says, “which is why the first draft is to get out whatever you can remember. As you write, more memories may surface that can be added.” When the story is personal, it may be emotionally tough to put the words on paper, but the final product will be an engaging narrative that readers will be invested in.

Finally, horror author and first-time contributor Sarah Budd comes to us with tips for squeezing more writing time out of your busy days. Spending less time on social media and waking up earlier might be obvious places to start, but what you may not have tried is honing your ability to switch on your writing mind at will. As Sarah explains, this allows you to make better use of small windows of time throughout the day, such as a lunch break. “The first step,” she says, “is to set yourself a small writing goal of what you want to achieve within a set time.” What I found most encouraging about Sarah’s piece is her advice not to despair when you don’t hit those goals. “We all have bad weeks, and that’s fine,” she writes. “The main thing is to keep going!” Find out the other tricks Sarah has up her sleeve for being more productive.

As Day 1 of the 365-Day Indie Author Challenge approaches, excitement builds, and the ideas start flowing, be sure to set aside 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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