Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 22, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 05-22-2014

Enjoy this week’s round-up before celebrating Memorial Day this weekend!

In author news, John Green and the Nerdfighters are upending the summer blockbuster model, novelist Chan Koonchung is banned yet popular in China, and romantic-suspense novelist Mary Stewart dies at 97.

The US’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia, is set to close Saturday. However, a possible last-minute buyer might allow Giovanni’s Room to stay open.

Technology has changed publishing in many ways, and it changes how we read. Laura Miller examines how your iPhone is saving classic literature, and a Philadelphia high school gets a vending machine for books.

Joanne Harris claims that the “women’s fiction” label is a sign of a sexist book industry. Mariko Tamaki asks, “Where are all the fat girls in literature?” Jim Dean responds to an author who claims there are no strong female contemporary YA protagonists with this list of 2014 contemporary YA releases.


Have you ever thought about writing franchise novels? Damien Walter looks at the shameful joys of the franchise novel, and why they are so strong.

Many of us write action scenes in our books, and Joe Craig has some gems of advice on writing action thrillers.

When it comes to shaping our story, F.C. Malby shows us how to shape a narrative arc to carry the reader along. Clever Girl Helps lays out the rules for using epilogues to tie up our stories, while K.M. Weiland shares the only sure way to write an emotionally resonant climax.

Character is the heart of most stories. Q. Lindsay Barrett tells us how to craft memorable characters, Jami Gold explains how we can show a character’s internal journey, and Mary Kole shows how subtle interiority can help both character and voice. Debby Mayne has 4 tips for writing compelling dialogue, and Fiona Quinn examines the other side of communication with body language that reveals your character is lying.

The Writing Sisters share 7 rewriting tips, while the Write Divas have a writing exercise to practice show, don’t tell.

Writers are constantly refining their writing process. Tracey Baptiste shares her ever-changing writing process, Daphne Gray-Grant lists 5 ways to write faster–and have more fun, Bryan Hutchinson reminds us to always respect our writing–even our first drafts, and George R.R. Martin’s writing method is old school.

How do you deal with writer’s block? Julie Williams suggests thinking with your hands, while Joe Bunting shares his best method for breaking writer’s block.

Every writer has faced the fear and doubt that comes with writing. Yvette Ward-Horner talks about writing and fear, while Bryan Hutchinson lists 5 tips to gain confidence and overcome writer’s doubt.

Louise Fury has gathered advice for aspiring writers from published authors, C. Robert Cargill traces the long career path of a writer, and Deborah Underwood writes a smart post on the upside of rejection.


In publishing, Amazon’s delayed shipping of Hachette books has allowed independent booksellers to step in and fulfill customer demand. Also, Simon & Schuster has added 10,000+ titles to subscription services Oyster and Scribd.

Author Julie Johnston looks at submitting to literary agents from the writer’s side.

In self-publishing, Smashwords announces faster delivery of its ebooks to the iBook store, and Jason Matthews explores selling ebooks on Google Play.

Self-marketing is essential for authors today. Susan Gloss gives us 3 survival tips for book events, Magdalena Ball has 3 reasons why you can’t afford NOT to go to writer’s conferences, Laura Drake lays out a no-stress way to create your story’s logline, and Patrick Samphire gives the ultimate guide to what an author website needs.

We have to be very careful when using images from the internet. Courtney Seiter has 53+ free image sources, and Dustin Senos lists sites with good stock photos.


Do you have nightmares about losing your manuscripts? Check out these 17 authors who lost their manuscripts.

Author Ian McEwan’s archives were acquired by the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

You think dentists are scary now? Check out this history of dental care.

Wouldn’t you love to relax with a book in one of these 10 home libraries?

That’s it for us this week! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day, and be sure to thank a veteran.


  1. Cool roundup! And thanks for including my post about writing process 🙂


    • Thanks! And loved your post–we’re all always looking for the way that works best for us, it’s great to hear how others do it. It’s also great to know there’s not ONE “right” way!


  2. Thank you for recommending the Write Divas writing exercise. I love your site!


    • Thanks, Janine! Your writing exercise made my brain hurt–in a good way! 🙂


      • Good to know! I hope our next one can live up to the last one. 😉


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