Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | June 25, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 06-25-2015

Summer started off with a bang here in the south Jersey-southeastern Pennsylvania-Delaware region. First we had a heat wave, then a fierce line of storms that knocked out power for many. The forecast for Saturday is rain and temperatures that won’t reach 70. We’re not complaining (too much), however, because we’ve been spared the floods, drought, and fires that are ravaging other parts of the country.

One thing you can do when the power goes out is read, even if you have to use a flashlight or candle. Reading benefits adults as well as children. In fact, P J Parrish asserts that everything she ever learned she learned from potboilers. and wonders if, in our effort to stuff information into kids’ heads, we are leaving insufficient room to let kids develop their imaginations.

Readers can help writers too. Nicole Froio mentions 4 ways readers can help make publishing more equal, and Michael Kozlowski wonders why libraries must pay so much more for ebooks.

Wherever you are in your journey as a writer, Anne R. Allen gives us 6 bad reasons for writing a novel and 6 good ones, James Scott Bell urges writers to earn your writing success the old-fashioned way — that is, to work for it, and Mary Keeley lists traits of a writer on track for success.

If you’re looking for writing tips, Lee Lofland presents writing secrets of best-selling author Lee Child, and J Patrick Allen recommends 5 alternatives to the big bad writing workshop.

Sometimes genre writers feel they do not get enough credit as writers. Susabelle Kelmer urges romance writers to make no apologies for writing in the romance genre, which sells more books than any other genre.

In envy and the writer, Michelle Ule admits to and gives suggestions for dealing with envy of other writers.

And let us remember author James Salter, often called a “writer’s writer, who died June 19 at age 90.


When it’s time to sit down to write, Anthony Reese advises writers to courageously write badly — all the bad stuff can be eliminated during revision.

Writers sometimes struggle with self-doubt. Jennifer Blanchard lists 3 simple ways to boost your confidence as a writer, and Kathleen McCleary suggests using tricks from other writers to improve your own writing.

We all have them — Clare Langley-Hawthorne asks what’s your writing tic?

Do you give enough attention to the elements of your story? Claire M. Caterer gives us her thoughts on theme, K. M. Weiland clarifies what every writer ought to know about the omniscient POV, and Rob Bignel urges writers to appeal to the sense of sound when writing.

One of the key elements is, of course, characterization. Catherine Linka provides 10 tips for writing unforgettable villains. Janice Hardy asks how judgmental are your characters? and Angela Ackerman wonders what type of secret does your character keep? SueBE suggests making use of body language in your writing.

Though it may seem unusual, Kathryn Craft recommends embracing paradox as a writer.

Lee Wind offers the anatomy of a scene, a resource for writers and illustrators, and editor Christy Distler asks writers where the white space is — are you telling too much instead of showing?

Three writers offer pointers by the numbers: B. D. Schmitt lists 17 things he learned about writing from structuring his novel in 7 days, Jody Hedlund believes writers should keep growing and improving and mentions 5 ways writers get lazy, and Ellen Mulholland provides 5 reasons why you need a critique partner.


More changes in the publishing industry were announced this week. Joel Friedlander explains that Apple will now allow pre-orders for ebooks that have no more than etadata, and Smashwords has announced that it will do the same for all its distribution partners (which includes Apple). In addition, Sai Sachin R reports that now Amazon plans to pay writers based on the number of pages read, rather than by the number of times the book is borrowed.

David Kudler gives us the definition of an ebook.

Agent Janet Reid provides some enlightenment on the relationship between the length of time an agent has your submission and the likelihood of an offer of representation.

Susan Shapiro recommends 9 ways to a faster book deal, and Jane Friedman offers absolute beginners pointers on how to sell your screenplay.

Carla Douglas and Corina Koch MacLeod explain how using editing tools can improve your writing.

For Indie authors, Michele DePhilippo talks about working with a book cover designer, and Porter Anderson declares: in self-publishing, the gatekeepers are dead. Long live the gatekeepers!

In the world of social media, Nina Amir provides tips on growing your email list with a virtual blog tour, Jeff Goins interviews Elizabeth Bradley about how to guest post on a celebrity blog, and Bryan Hutchinson provides 5 tips on how to shake the haters (who hate, hate, hate).

Bill Ferris gives tips on how to blurb a book.


In a video from Book Expo America, Harper Collins’ authors and staff share the books that changed their lives. Do you have one to add to their list?

For those who feel like a little daydreaming, Chelsey Pippin presents 22 fairy tale castles you can actually visit in England, Scotland, and Wales.

We’ve come to the end of our roundup this week. Wishing you good writing, good reading, and a good week to come!



  1. Reblogged this on Anthony Reese and commented:
    Amazing list of top writing tips and craft topics curated from around the web—and not just because I’m in it (though it certainly does help)!


  2. Thanks so much for including my article in this awesome list. Very informative stuff here, Thomas. It’ll take me a while to work through all these, but I will definitely be back over the next few days to do some reading!


    • You’re welcome, Anthony. As writers, we are always learning and enjoy reading the blogs and sharing the ideas and tips from other writers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, now I’ve got a great place to go to feed my creativity and increase my learning. Great resource you guys have put together.


  3. Thank you very much for the link to my blog!


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