Book of the Week: “Hanging Girl” by Sharron Grodzinsky

Author Sharron Grodzinsky

Mystery fans!

Our Book of the Week is Hanging Girl, a mystery novel by Tier IV Newcomer Author Sharron Grodzinsky.

Here’s the intriguing premise:

A girl is found bound and nude, hanging in a mansion in Coronado. Her boyfriend is a former Navy SEAL with ties to the Middle East. Sgt. Matt Monohan and his partner, Wendy Song, work to find out what happened. Was it suicide or murder?

Chapter 1
Matt Monohan is called in to find a girl hanging

There is something about Sunday mornings in Coronado.

The sleepy southern California town is renowned for its small town charm, laid back beach attitude and lack of major crime. Most people are out walking or are riding bikes on Sunday mornings. Their agenda for the day consists mostly of where to eat breakfast and what time to go to the beach. That’s what made it seem so surreal when Sergeant Matt Monahan was called in for a possible homicide. The last murder in Coronado had been six years ago in 2012 and before that in 2007.

The call came in about seven in the morning from a by passer who thought he saw a person hanging in the foyer of one of the multi-million dollar homes on Glorietta Boulevard. The house faced the one golf course on the island. When Sergeant Monahan arrived, there were three police officers securing the scene. The homeowner was not at home and the officers had broken in through the huge wood and glass front door. She was hanging from the cut glass chandelier in the foyer. A tall ladder was toppled over, laying on the floor. Read the rest

Stop by and read—then let Sharron know what you think of her work-in-progress by leaving a feedback comment!

Enjoy your family time, but remember your writing goals

Books & Buzz Magazine, November 2019, Volume 2 Issue 3

In this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine:

A Letter from the Editor
by Timothy Pike

Here come the holidays again!

As family and friends show up from out of town, shreds of wrapping paper fly about the living room, and entire tables of food disappear before your eyes like some kind of mind-blowing (but mouth-watering) magic trick, ’tis the season for enjoying the company of those we love.

And even though we should all be taking plenty of time to get some much-needed rest—you won’t catch me anywhere near my laptop on Christmas Day—it’s easy to let the ambitious writing goals you’ve set for yourself take a back seat to the excitement and merrymaking of the holiday season.

Don’t let that happen! Says Shirley Holder Platt, award winner and Tier V Rising Star Author at ChapterBuzz, who knows how easy it is to get distracted over the holidays and fall out of your writing routine. Fortunately, she also knows how to stay disciplined through all the festivities, and this month shares her top five tips on how to spark your creativity wherever you go. For example, are you dictating ideas or passages while you’re out running errands, using only the texting features you already have on your smartphone? After reading this article, you might be.

Next, Jodé Millman, a New York–based attorney and Tier IV Newcomer Author, enlightens us on the parts of copyright law that pertain to our work as writers. It might set your mind at ease to know that your work is protected from the moment you write it, but you might also want to know under what circumstances your work wouldn’t be protected. In Q & A format, Jodé gives us a thorough rundown of the copyright options available to you as an author.

We round out our issue with a debut article from Tier II Rising Star Author Cynthia A. Jensen, who tells the tale of how she became a writer—really did it—after a series of false starts in years past. “I used to have notebooks filled with my writings,” Cynthia recounts, “until my sister spilled her Kool-Aid all over them.” But now, after participating in not just one, but two 10K Novel-Building Challenges—and with all sugary drinks safely out of the way—she’s finally making steady progress on her thriller novel, Starrbodies.

And now, our feature presentation: on the cover this month is fantasy author John Alleyn, one of the most recent award winners in the previously mentioned 10K Novel-Building Challenge. From his home in Maryland, John talks about how he taught himself to write, how the smallest detail can bring an entire story together, and how the hours evaporate whenever he starts dreaming up fantastical new worlds.

This is the perfect time to throw another log on the fire, fill your glass to the rim with egg nog, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

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

It’s time to celebrate! More books are on the way

Books & Buzz Magazine, October 2019, Volume 2 Issue 2

This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine:

A Letter from the Editor
by Timothy Pike

As I write this, the latest 10K Novel-Building Challenge is coming to an end, and we are getting ready to select award recipients. In a matter of days, three deserving writers will take home awards for the novels they are working hard to complete, and I can’t wait to share the results of their hard work in next month’s issue.

Readers have reason to rejoice, too! We’ve got some newly published books available for you to read, including The Brightest Firefly, Dacia M Arnold‘s recent literary fiction release, and Don’t Let Go, a young adult novel by Karla Martinez. As the first snow of the season starts to fall, light a crackling fire and enjoy these excellent reads. Then bookmark our Hot Off the Press section, because more published books are on their way.

Now let’s talk about this issue, which is full of expert advice and insider tips from two seasoned editors and two accomplished writers. You’re sure to learn a lot!

Author and editor Jennifer Silva Redmond is here to help you bridge the gaps between the scenes you write. Since “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…” is probably the worst possible way to move a reader into the next scene, Jennifer has some tips that can make your transitions stronger, and help you smoothly make that leap “from breakfast to break-up, or from colonial Bangladesh to modern-day Bermuda.”

Then, in her monthly column, author Shirley Holder Platt explains that your main character doesn’t automatically have to undergo a positive change by the end of your story. He or she can, of course, but there are other options to explore. You’ll learn about character arcs, and how they can help you determine whether your characters should change for the better, the worse, or not at all.

Finally, author Tiffany S. Doran is feeling optimistic after conquering our 10K Challenge, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, she’s preparing herself mentally for the challenges that lie ahead in achieving her writing goals, and encouraging you to do the same.

On the cover this month is Michael Mohr, a Manhattan-based author and editor who specializes in developmental editing. Michael, who runs his own freelance editing business—with an impressive client list—is also a frequent contributor to this magazine. When I interviewed Michael for this issue, he told me all about what it takes to start a successful editing business, gave me his best advice for writers who are just starting out, and talked about what he learned from a hitchhiking trip across the country in his twenties.

Tonight, mull the cider and spice the wine—and snuggle up with this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

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

How to write the perfect novel (with the help of feedback!)

Learn more about TimSo you’ve written the first chapter of your novel and posted it on ChapterBuzz. Way to go!

Now, what do readers think?

Wait, you say. Isn’t it a little too soon to be asking readers what they think?

Nope! In fact, this is the best time.

Knowing what’s resonating with your readers—and what could use improvement—is critical in these early stages, when your novel is just starting to take shape.

But don’t just take my word for it! I’m always hearing from ChapterBuzz authors about how valuable their feedback has been.

“It was refreshing to receive so much feedback on my work-in-progress that I can’t stop now,” says award-winning Tier IV Rising Star Author Dacia M Arnold. “Thank you for creating this amazing opportunity.”

Asking for feedback opens up a direct line between you and the minds of your readers, so you know what they’re thinking. Chances are they’ll like what you’ve written. But now, they have the chance to ask questions, point out something that didn’t make sense, or maybe even throw in a few ideas. Or just tell you how much they enjoyed reading it.

Sometimes small tweaks are all you need, and other times bigger changes are necessary. For example, maybe there’s a character that readers aren’t quite connecting with, and before long you realize the character is not even essential to the story. This gives you an opportunity to get rid of that character—and tighten up your plot.

If you’re like the rest of us, you’ll find it highly motivating to write a book while surrounded by both writers and non-writers who are eager to help!

Learn more about TimI’m Timothy Pike, creator of ChapterBuzz. Be sure to download my free guide, How to Write the Perfect Novel (With the Help of Feedback!)

“Sunnyvale” by Barry B. Wright tops this week’s book list

While our latest group of novelists are hard at work writing, critiquing, and revising during the 10K Novel-Building Challenge at ChapterBuzz, this week’s Authors of the Week have emerged.

Check out these works-in-progress…and get involved by reading and letting the writers know what you think!

by Barry B. Wright

Tonight, his approach to her bedroom window is stealthier than his previous visits. The community has been alerted to his presence. Though unintended, he had killed. He crouched and scanned his surroundings. Respected in the community, he was above suspicion. But he was driven by his sexual fetish. A branch snapped. He froze. Read it!

It Is Over: A Tribute to Dick Gregory’s Brilliance
by Marcus M. McGrew

Richard Claxton Gregory (1932–2017) was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. Read it!

Priestess of the Lost Colony: An Alternate History
by Brandon Pilcher

An alternate-history fantasy tale about ancient Egyptians colonizing Greece during the Bronze Age. The Egyptian priestess Itaweret seeks to liberate what remains of her people after a Greek warlord sacks the colony and drags them off in chains. Read it!

You’ll find these and other great novels taking shape over at ChapterBuzz. Your support and feedback are most welcome!

October is for novel building at ChapterBuzz

Books & Buzz Magazine, September 2019, Volume 2 Issue 1

This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine:

A Letter from the Editor
by Timothy Pike

During the month of October, many of our new authors will be discovering the key to writing an excellent novel.

What is the key? Feedback.

That’s right: the 10K Novel-Building Challenge kicks off October 1st, and after participants spend the first week writing 10,000 words, they’ll use the next several weeks to read each other’s chapters and share their feedback.

If you’re a writer, join us! It’s truly amazing how much better your novel can be—and how much you can learn—when you huddle up with a group of writers to share your thoughts on each other’s work.

Even if you’re not a writer, you still have a valuable role to play during the Challenge. We’ll have a slew of new novels taking shape, and this is your chance to be the ultimate insider by letting the authors know what you think of their chapters and helping them improve their works-in-progress. If you’re not a member of the ChapterBuzz community, join us today.

And now, let’s take a look at the delectable morsels we have on our plate for this issue:

Author and poet Allison Marie Conway, our Art & Soul columnist, shares a juicy piece this month with her take on what writing is all about. “It’s about the glistening tangerine light glinting down the side of a pink wine bottle,” she writes, “as it sweats from coming right out of the fridge onto the back patio in the balmy air.” Find out why she thinks writing is about much more than just writing—it’s about coming undone.

Author Tiffany S. Doran dishes out more of her signature encouragement, and talks about her recent (literal) “challenge accepted” moment. So excited was she to join our 10K Novel Building Challenge in October that she signed up right away. But then she thought about how busy her life was, and was struck with doubt—that is, until she discovered that she could make the time. Her message for the busy writer is simple: just when you think you can’t, you actually can.

Next, award-winning author Shirley Holder Platt gives us some tips for writing a novel in three acts. “After you get story structure, and the idea of the three-act story,” she writes, “you’ll see it in everything you read and watch.” You can’t go wrong, Shirley insists, when you use the three-act method to keep your readers turning pages—and in her article this month, she reveals her formula.

Speaking of story structure, on the cover of this issue is author and editor Jennifer Silva Redmond, whose expertise lies in helping writers find the weak points in their story arcs. “Anyone can tell you that you have misspelled words,” Jennifer says, “but few can tell you why your book’s ‘second act’ isn’t working.” From the sailboat she lives and works on, Jennifer tells us all about how she got started in editing, why you don’t need to be a great writer if you’ve got a great story, and why she can’t say where her adventurous editing career is heading next.

It’s going to be a busy month around here! I hope you can find a few moments of peace and quiet—and a cozy nook to curl up in—to enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

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

…and they’re off! Thousands of words are being written as we speak

Learn more about Tim

It kicked off yesterday!

Participants in the 10K Novel-Building Challenge sprinted off the starting line yesterday in a mad dash to write 10,000 words in the first week of October.

And the word counts are pouring in:

Author Steven SmithTier IV Newcomer Author Steven Smith wrote 2,306 words yesterday for his novel, Assassinato Selva: (Murder Jungle).

Bio: UK Self-published author of on-going ‘Dragon’s Reclaim’ series. Detective Thriller Edgehaven is my latest self-published work. Check out his page

Author Cynthia A. JensenTier II Rising Star Author Cynthia A. Jensen wrote 1,550 words yesterday for her work-in-progress, Starrbodies.

Bio: If I could just get past the first page, i think I might actually become an author! Check it out

Author Barry B. WrightTier III Rising Star Author Barry B. Wright has written over 2,000 words since yesterday for his novel-in-progress, Sunnyvale.

Barry is the author of several mystery, thriller, and literary fiction novels on ChapterBuzz. Check them out

Writers, it’s only Day 2 of the Challenge, care to join us?