This just in: NYT bestseller Tosca Lee reveals her #1 rule for writing

Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of A Single Light and The Line Between, wants to take you on a thrill ride with her books.

And I want to take you behind the scenes—in the December 2021 issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

I interviewed Tosca for our upcoming issue, and learned a lot I didn’t know about this award-winning thriller author, including how she’s adapting to life on a farm as a former city dweller, her background in ballet, and much more that I’m excited to share with you.

I also asked if she had any advice for novelists who are just starting out.

“Keep reading,” was her answer. “Keep learning from the books you love.”

And after that?

“When it comes to the actual writing,” she said, “my #1 rule is…”

Find out what she said next! Subscribe (for free) to Books & Buzz Magazine, and I’ll deliver the December issue directly to your e-mail inbox when it comes out.

In the same interview, you’ll also learn about the process she uses to bring her exciting stories to the page—and you might be surprised at how simple it is.

This is your chance to get to know the author behind the books you’ve been enjoying. Subscribe now!

See you there,

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

Goals, goals, goals! Writers, have you set any for 2022?

Learn more about TimGet ready to publish a novel in 2022!

Obviously, being the author of a novel is something you’ve dreamed about.

But it’s not enough to dream about it—you’ve got to set goals and deadlines for yourself if you truly want to get it done.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be laying out what we intend to do over the next year. There’s something about declaring your goals—and letting others see them—that makes you much more likely to achieve them.

This is the can-do attitude we bring to our writing at ChapterBuzz, our platform that helps you write a book while building your audience. (We’d love for you to join us if you’re serious about your upcoming—or ongoing—writing adventure.)

As for your goals:

What would you like to achieve in 2022?

I asked this question yesterday, and here are few of the responses:

“I’m now working on my next book for 2022, which will be a compilation of poetry, as well, along with fiction short stories.”
Baydreamer

“I am in the process of writing one novel and editing another, so in 2022 I would like to complete both of these …”
Tina’s writing

“My goal for 2022 is to start really pulling together my novel ideas and begin researching!”
Deanna Parenti

How about you? Comment below with your biggest writing goal for 2022. Are there any obstacles that stand in your way?

Writers! What are your goals for 2022?

Learn more about TimAs the end of 2021 approaches (I know … what?!), it’s time to declare our writing goals for 2022.

Are you in? Please comment below with what you’d like to achieve in the coming year.

At ChapterBuzz, our writing & publishing platform, I work with a lot of novelists who are all at different stages of writing their novels. Some are still getting their ideas together, others are halfway through, others have already published.

But no matter where you are now, the whole idea is to keep moving forward every day.

This means it’s time to start planning for 2022 … by making a quick list of what you’d like to get done.

So please leave your comment below, telling us:

  • What are your writing goals for 2022?
  • And for extra credit: what is the biggest obstacle that stands in your way? How can you overcome this?

Leave your comment (and feel free to reply to others). We can all help each other out!

Our new secret book society, how author Anna J Walner’s childhood inspired her stories, and the big risk you SHOULD take when writing

Books & Buzz Magazine, November 2021, Volume 4 Issue 2A Letter from the Editor

It’s not always easy to find good books to read, especially when they’re self-published and not propped up on a table at the entrance of Barnes & Noble. That’s why I, along with our literary community, have set out to create a spreadsheet list of the best independent books out there, which I call Tim’s Discovery List.


This article is from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine. Not a subscriber? Start getting all of our great articles by subscribing for free!


If you’ve been following our progress over the past few months, you’ll know we’ve dug up plenty of hidden gems.

But you’ll also know that we’ve got our hands full, because our stated goal is an ambitious one: to build a spreadsheet list of every—yes, every—self-published book worth reading.

And now, we have a brand-new Facebook discussion group devoted to building the Discovery List, and we would love for you to join us. You’ll be helping to bring terrific books into our lives. Terrific books that aren’t mainstream. That may have been overlooked. That haven’t had their moment in the spotlight yet.

Writers, readers, and book reviewers are all welcome. It’s a private group that’s only open to those in the know—like yourself—so click the “Join” button and we’ll let you right in.

As for this month’s issue, take a look at all of these delectable tidbits:

Marie PowellAward winner Marie Powell takes us to Wales, where a visit to a thirteenth-century castle inspired her medieval fantasy series, Last of the Gifted. Well, for the most part. “I suppose the inspiration was a lot of little things,” she says, “but it all came to a head as I walked the ruins of Dolwyddelan Castle on that first trip to Wales.” Find out what resonated so strongly with her on that trip—and why it stayed with her for so long afterwards—as you follow Marie on her journey back in time to the Middle Ages.

Gregory Erich PhillipsNext up: as a writer, are you willing to take risks with your character development? If so, the upside is a more memorable, relatable main character, says award-winning author Gregory Erich Phillips. “It takes courage to risk making your lead character unlikeable,” he writes, “but the result is almost always a better novel.” In his article, Gregory lays out the best ways to create characters that resemble real-life people—quirks, vices, and all—to give your readers the authentic main character they may not even know they want.

V.S. HolmesFinally, bestselling sci-fi author V.S. Holmes ponders what fantasy worlds would look like if they were more accessible to those with disabilities. “I think of the worlds of my novels, all the startling magical beauty in the books that made me who I am as a writer,” says V. “I couldn’t navigate those worlds anymore. Not with this body.” As it turns out, there are many ways to design worlds that anyone can see themselves in, and V gives several simple ideas for how to do this.

Anna J WalnerAnd now, our feature presentation: on the cover this month is Anna J Walner, international bestselling author of the Uluru Legacy series. When I interviewed Anna, I was struck by how neatly the threads of her own background wove into her writing career. “Growing up being adopted, there are always these questions you have about your heritage,” she says. When you read her interview article, you’ll find out how these questions eventually led her to write her highly praised debut novel. You’ll also learn how Anna found her voice as an author, why reading was so important to her as a child, and how she manages her time nowadays as a busy author and mother.

As gray fills the sky and evenings turn chilly, pour a steaming mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up next to the fireplace, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz MagazineSubscribe now for free!

Today’s book discovery: “The Alpha’s Hunted” by Melissa Hankins

Learn more about TimThe Discovery List is growing!

I recently set out on a quest to find every self-published book worth reading, and asked our community to submit their discoveries for this project, which I call Tim’s Discovery List. And you’ve delivered!

As we continue to build this spreadsheet full of excellent self-published books, I’d like to call your attention to one that really stands out: The Alpha’s Hunted (formerly Belonging to the Alpha) by Melissa Hankins, a mother of four who hails from Cornwall, UK.

Book cover for The Alpha's Hunted by Mel HankinsHere’s the exciting premise:

Leah is a teenage girl who also happens to be a werewolf. Her Dad is a high-ranking Warrior in the most dominant Pack that Silvermoor City has ever seen, and she is destined to be the Luna of the Alpha there. She, however, bonds with an unworthy Omega. To complicate things, the Alpha chooses Leah. After being brutally attacked by her Omega boyfriend, Leah must decide which path to follow. Her wolf or her destiny?

Readers love it:

This is the first book I read from this author and let me tell you that I loved it! Such a good book with great characters that keeps you obsessed with every page since the first one.

—Jennifer Shepard on Goodreads

See for yourself! Be sure to pick up a copy of The Alpha’s Hunted today.

Get involved by sharing your review!

If you wish to review this book on your blog, please share the review with us. It will help this book stand out even more!

Inspiration Corner: How author Jennifer Anne Gordon got the idea for her latest novel

by Timothy Pike

Sometimes inspiration can strike in the most unexpected places, and in the most roundabout ways.

Jennifer Anne Gordon

Jennifer Anne Gordon

When I interview authors, I always like to find out where they get their ideas.

For Jennifer Anne Gordon, award-winning author of Pretty/Ugly, it happened at one of her local shops, where the woman working there was afflicted with a severe skin condition. “It caused a lot of swelling,” Jennifer says, “and it was obvious her skin was cracked open and it looked very painful.”

As a teen, Jennifer had dealt with this condition herself, and knew it wasn’t contagious. But that’s when her imagination kicked in. “I started wondering about what if something like that would be contagious,” she tells me. “How would that affect the world, our world where people rely so much on their outward appearances for everything?”

Cover for Pretty/Ugly by Jennifer Anne GordonInspiration had struck. “So that was when the original idea popped into my head,” she says. “My characters Omelia, the damaged and heartbroken Instagram influencer who spends her life hoping for clicks and likes. And Sam, my failed politician who may or may not be haunted by the ghost of his twin sister.”

And then—in a pre-pandemic world, mind you—she imagined a scenario that would have seemed far fetched at the time. “I wondered what would happen to people like that if the world was ending due to a ‘flesh eating’ type of virus,” she says. “A virus that even if you live, you are left physically scarred.”

This inspiration led to her latest novel, Pretty/Ugly—and it’s yours to discover!

Be sure to read the full article about my interview with Jennifer. You can also connect with Jennifer on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

This month’s cover: award-winning horror author Jennifer Anne Gordon

Books & Buzz Magazine, October 2021, Volume 4 Issue 1What would you like this month, Books & Buzz readers? Trick? Or treat?

Fortunately, you won’t have to choose, because we’ve got plenty of both in this issue!

It’s around this time of year that you might find yourself craving an exciting book to curl up with. Well, you’re in luck! Check out our Hot Off the Press section at ChapterBuzz, where you’ll find this month’s selection of published books that you can read in their entirety, including the award-winning Apparent Power by Dacia M Arnold.


This article is from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine. Not a subscriber? Start getting all of our great articles by subscribing for free!


As for treats, we’ve got all sorts of goodies for you:

JP McLeanFirst, do you dream when you sleep? This is the question that award-winning author JP McLean, who is also a certified scuba diver and avid gardener, asks readers. Jo-Anne then explains how her dreams have inspired the stories she writes. “Some nights my dreams are jumbled nonsense,” she says, “an endless parade of oddball events that goes on for what feels like the entire night.” Yet those dreams have given rise to entire series of books, including Secret Sky, about a secret society of people who can fly.

Mark LeslieNext, author and professional speaker Mark Leslie treats us to a healthy dose of humor in his article about how the pandemic caused him to pivot from his usual horror genre to the humor space—creating a body of work that includes a suite of song parody videos to keep you laughing. So why, then, did this writer of all things macabre—including a post-apocalyptic–themed short story—suddenly find he couldn’t write a single word as a near-apocalyptic plague swept across the globe? When you hear the reason, you’ll understand. Come for the article, stay for the links to his hilarious videos.

Stephanie LaVigneFinally, can watching TV help you beat writer’s block? Bestselling mystery and romance author Stephanie LaVigne says yes, and explains exactly how as one of her five best tips on getting through a writing dry spell. She lays out the easy steps you can take to visualize your story, goes into detail about the best ways to dictate your chapters, and as a bonus, wraps up with a list of thought-provoking questions to ponder if you find yourself stuck and not sure how to move forward with your manuscript. Her advice is sure to get you out of a jam.

Whew! That’s a lot of treats. But what about the tricks?

Jennifer Anne GordonMaybe I’ll leave those to Jennifer Anne Gordon, this month’s award-winning cover author, who used to be a magician’s assistant. Don’t worry, she never had to deal with being sawed in half on stage—and you’ll read why in our wide-ranging interview with this accomplished writer. Jennifer, who also co-hosts the top-rated podcast Vox Vomitus, talks about one of her greatest creative losses in the pandemic era, reveals what kept her from writing her first novel, and explains how she overcame a bad case of writer’s block.

As the weather cools off—at least in this part of the world—and orange leaves flutter in the crisp air, get cozy in your go-to oversized hoodie, grab a mug of your favorite pumpkin-themed beverage, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz MagazineSubscribe now for free!

Last chance, writers! Write a novel in September & kick off your indie author career

Learn more about TimThe Great Big Indie Author Launchpad Challenge blasts off tomorrow, and we’re just waiting for you to join us!

Get to know your fellow writers as you crank out 1,000 words a day for 21 days, share feedback with each other, and start building your author platform.

We’ve got a very creative & imaginative group of writers who want to help you succeed, so take all of those ideas you have and start telling your story and sharing the chapters you write.

I want to put you on the road to becoming a published indie author within the year.

Join the Launchpad Challenge here!

Happy writing,
Tim | About me

Hurry, writers! This rocket blasts off soon … with or without you

Learn more about TimIf you’ve been thinking about writing a novel, now’s the time to do it.

Get a taste of what it’s like to be an independent (“indie”) author as you spend the first 21 days of September getting your novel off the ground!

Writing every day is just one of the habits you’ll develop during the Great Big Indie Author Launchpad Challenge, which blasts off this Wednesday.

Each morning, you’ll check in with the group, browse some of the new chapters others have shared, get some of your own ideas together, then write 1,000 words.

It’s a fun, productive way to spend September, so join us!

Starting this Wednesday, let’s get those chapters written, share some feedback with each other, and put you on the road to becoming a published indie author within the year.

See you there!

Happy writing,
Tim | About me

If you don’t write it, who will?

Learn more about TimHere’s a thought that should send shivers down your spine:

What if I never write my novel?

Many more stories have never seen the light of day than ones that have. This is because everyone (or so it seems) has an idea for a great novel, but very few follow through on it—or even get started.

If you don’t write it, then who will?

There’s no time like the present, as they say. Our writing challenge—the Great Big Indie Author Launchpad Challenge—is just around the corner, and all that’s missing is you!

This is your chance to write that novel, and make sure the world doesn’t miss out on it forever.