Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 7, 2016

Top Pick Thursday! For Readers and Writers 04-07-2016

Red & yellow tulips in Author Chronicles writer Kerry Gans' garden

Some April flowers

It’s the first Top Picks Thursday in April! We are seeing the “April showers” in my neck of the woods—hope we get the “May flowers” next month!

Easter has just passed, which of course means BUNNIES! Julie Eccleshare discovers the best books with bunnies for your reading pleasure.

Beijing-based author Cao Wenxuan has become the first Chinese author to win the Hans Christian Andersen award for children’s literature.

As with many industries, women still fight an uphill battle in the writing game. Claire Fallon dissects the most intersectional VIDA count yet—and it’s troubling picture. In a similar vein, Meaghan O’Connell examines the patronizing questions we ask women writers.

Diversity in children’s literature encompasses race, gender, and sexuality, but also disability. Courtney Summer discusses mental illness and disability in apocalyptic novels, while Corinne Duyvis, Natasha Razi, and Kayla Whaley talk about writing about magical disabilities.

We have all been touched by the power of books. John Hutton explores how books can help close the health equity gap, Jennifer Horan shows how stories can help us deal with life, and Bronwyn Averett shares her experience at a bibliotherapist.


Writers learn a lot through reading. Tessa Emily Hall shares 10 tips for reading through the eyes of a writer. We also learn from TV and film. Charlie Jane Anders has 10 vital storytelling lessons learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Every story needs a strong plot. Janice Hardy lists the 4 classic conflict types that drive plot, Kristen Lamb discusses 3 reason to kill your little darlings, Beth Hill tells how to make your plot less episodic, and C.S. Lakin lays out the action-reaction cycle in novel scenes.

Characters drive the plot and pull the reader in. Bonnie Randall examines the wheels of character change, Janice Hardy talks about what your characters are not saying, Becca Puglisi explores the emotional wound of being raised by overprotective parents, and Yvonne Navarro shows how to make you characters come to life.

Misti Wolanski explains how copyediting’s little changes matter a lot, while Maeve Maddox gives us 7 redundant adjectives and how to properly use as and than in elliptical clauses.

We all want to be more efficient, more prolific, and bolder in our writing. Angela Quarles says we need to harness our day, Anne R. Allen shows how unexamined false beliefs hold us back, Megan McArdle has a theory on why writers struggle so much with procrastination, and Dr. John Yeoman has seven timeless tips for writing classic stories for the older writer.

Sometimes we just need someone to tell it like it is. Jami Gold admits that we are making the process up as we go along, P.J. Parrish advises letting go of bad ideas, and Roni Loren reminds us of our need for hobbies.


James Patterson has a big plan for short books: BookShots will sell short novels for under $5 to try and attract those who don’t normally read.

In spite of the success of many self-published authors, some people still believe that “real” authors don’t self-publish. Kristen Lamb explains why self-publishing is real.

To support the indie authors, Penny Sansevieri has compiled the top 50 websites for indie authors, Linda Kovic-Skow shares 4 things she’s learned as an indie author, Liz Lazarus lists 12 steps to self-publishing, and Joe Moore has a checklist to publication.

For those trying for agents through the query process: Jennifer Laughran explains agent ethics 101, Mary Kole shows how to write the perfect query, and Janet Reid says you must disclose books you’ve written under a pseudonym when you query. After the first query is sent, Jane Lebak explores when it’s okay to contact an agent (and when it isn’t), and agent Sarah E. Younger pleads for someone to write a very specific genre book.

Some business miscellany: Steven Spatz examines the right price for an ebook, Jeffrey D. Neuburger discusses the privacy lawsuit that caused self-publishing platforms to be deemed distributors rather than publishers, and Janet Reid looks at when a “re-purposed” old book becomes a completely “new” book for querying purposes.

Our marketing strategy includes all sorts of online platforms. Syed Balkhi shares 3 simple steps to create a content calendar for your blog, and Kimberly Grabas shows how to overcome the 5 biggest marketing/platform roadblocks.


The Salem Witch Trials have long been a riveting historical story. J.K. Rowling interprets this historical tragedy in her own wizarding way.

An interesting look at why Ayelet Tsbari chose to write in English, which is not her native language.

Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park turns 200, and Tara Isabella Burton defends Fanny Price, Austen’s least favorite heroine.

Robert Hughes examines how the word “nice” has evolved different meanings over time.

Interviewer Studs Terkel investigates the creative process and the working class person.

In an era of new political openness, Cuban bookworms are benefitting.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay dry and come again next week!

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