Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | December 7, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers and Readers 12-07-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! After weeks of above-normal temperatures, the arrival of cold weather here in the Mid-Atlantic States makes it feel like we plunged abruptly into winter — which may make us shiver but also puts us in a holiday mood.

If you’re looking for a holiday gift for a writer, you can get lots of ideas from Jamie Gold’s ultimate gift guide for writers 2017, Sandra Beckwith’s 25 hand-picked gift ideas for authors and writers, K. M. Weiland’s Christmas gifts for writers, or Angela Ackerman’s ultimate gift list for writers. In addition, Jael McHenry has a list of gifts writers can give themselves (and they don’t cost a penny).

Pixabay image, The Author Chronicles, presents, gifts

We love hearing about newly discovered works by well-known writers. Electric Literature shares a recently discovered work by Dashiell Hammett with an introduction by Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett.

What do you do with your failed novels? Kirsten Menger-Anderson turned her discarded novel drafts into an AI.

Do you feel a book is ruined if you know the ending ahead of time? Lance Schaubert provides a defense of spoilers.


For those in need of inspiration or motivation, James Scott Bell lists 10 ways to goose the muse, and Nils Ödlund gives 6 simple tips on creating a writing habit. However, if you can’t find even a few free minutes, Lisa Tenner shares 7 ways to keep your book alive when you don’t have time to write it. Some writers face obstacles other than the lack of time. Jenna Victoria discusses writing with a chronic illness — or whatever other problems life sends your way.

James Scott Bell constructs a scene template for new writers, and Ann Griffin writes about writing fiction using family history, while Jared Reck examines the fine line between humor and tragedy.

To improve your skill at character development, Sandra Howard suggests living with your characters, while Jim Dempsey describes three ways to discover your character’s true motivation, and Kristen Lamb discusses why pain and wounds are vital for fiction.

No matter what you write, skillful revision is vital. Bob Hostetler provides ideas for fixing your worst writing pitfalls, P. J. Parrish considers finding the perfect metaphor, Angelena Boden debates oversharing … or being authentic, and Stephen Spector addresses our love-hate relationship with punctuation.

What’s your biggest problem as a writer? Victoria Landis asserts that a writer’s number one enemy is ego.


For those following the traditional publishing route, Jane Friedman shares how to find a literary agent for your book, and Janet Reid explains whether an offer in hand from a publisher might be enticing to an agent. Janet Reid also discusses the business side of writing a biography.

A book launch is an important event for an author. Deanna Cabinian lays out 5 things I’m not doing to launch my book — plus what I’m doing instead.

Self-Publishing Advice Blog has good news for Indie authors: European company PublishDrive expands into the U. S. Joel Friedlander explores creating artwork for foil, stamped, or embossed book covers for self-published hardcover books, while Melinda Clayton talks about enabling x-ray for your ebooks on Amazon.

These days, social media is a useful marketing tool for all authors. Rachel Thompson sets out how to go about a social media clean-up, while Frances Caballo advises writers to increase engagement in your marketing with visuals and shares 8 tools for writers who use Pinterest.

If you’re an author blogger, Anne R. Allen shares 10 tips for a successful author blog, Darren Rowse explores how to use lists effectively in your blog posts., and Adam Connell details how to prepare for a new year of blogging.

Corinne Moulder shows how to find the right book publicity for your book, Michael Larsen suggests creating diverse income streams that build your brand and your income, and Lynne Cantwell explains how to open a Zazzle store and why it’s a good idea.


BuzzFeed‘s Kelly Oakes wonders if you can guess these ten classic science books from just one line.

Libraries are vital for an informed society, but they are not valued everywhere: Farid Y. Farid reports on Egypt’s war on libraries.

Sarah Gailey analyzes the fear of the female voice.

Carolina Fraser relates the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the greatest natural disaster in American history.

Had any bad reviews lately? Remember, everyone gets them. Literary Hub shares a negative 1890 review of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Let’s not forget that today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago changed the course of history.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Join us next week for another gathering of blog posts.

J. Thomas Ross, The Author Chronicles, turkey buzzards on silo

If you look closely, you can see two turkey buzzards sunning themselves on the top of the old silo.


  1. Thanks for the blog love, J. Thomas!


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