Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | October 11, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 10-11-2018

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Styers Orchard, orchard market, PA

Apple and pumpkin picking at the orchard


Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday. We’re glad you could take a break and  join us this second week of the busy month of October.

This is the month for pumpkins, apples, and dried cornstalks, but most of our trees are still green here in the Delaware Valley region and it feels like summer. Nice reading-in-a-comfortable-chair-outside weather (when it’s not raining). If you need an excuse for doing so, check out Global English Editing’s infographic with 9 science-backed ways reading makes you smarter. shared by Andre Calihanna.

Also, the days are counting down to National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—in November. If you’re thinking about participating, now is the time to prepare. To give you some direction, Janice Hardy offers some pointers on planning your novel’s beginning, and Jami Gold wonders: is your story idea ready? Or if you’re someone who is still debating whether or not to participate, Jenny Hansen can help you decide “To NaNo or Not to NaNo…

Time and again we have seen examples of how diversity comprises a source of strength. Promoting diversity, the Children’s Book Council announces the CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Award winners, and Avery Udagawa examines how children’s books translations by men break across languages and cultures.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, books on shelves

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash



For nonfiction writers, Melissa Donovan explores writing creative nonfiction, and Alexandra Amor delves into how to write a memoir about a difficult subject.

If you’re thinking about entering a writing contest, Writer Beware‘s Victoria Strauss cautions writers about Waldorf Publishing’s manuscript contest.

Having trouble writing? R. J. Crayton gives us tips to helps pantsers get moving again when the story stops, and Rachel Meyer explores what to do when you get stuck: about writer’s block. Also, Roni Loren advises all writers to stop being distracted by your inbox.

For writers doing research, DiAnn Mills recommends simplifying writer research, and E. R. Ramzipoor supplies tips on writing about slavery in historical fiction.

With tips on creating compelling characters, Tamar Sloan writes about capturing complex emotion, Donald Maass considers the importance of emotional weight in providing a deep level of character motivation, DiAnn Mills writes about finding your character’s blindspot, and Sacha Black considers creating killer twists: learn how to redeem your villain.

Another important element of fiction is plot. Janice Hardy sets out 6 questions to ask to find your novel’s plot.

If you’re trying to work in backstory, Margie Lawson applauds the brilliance of backstory slip-ins, and Jeanne Kisacky considers non-verbal communication and backstory.

When your first draft is finished, there are many things to consider when sitting down to revise. Kristen Lamb explains how “perfect” destroys perfectly good stories, Jordan Peters encourages writers to avoid information overload like the plague, and Janice Hardy explores writing transitions: how to move smoothly through your novel. Also, Steve Laube shares a helpful infographic of words commonly confused and adds a couple words that still get misused.

Natalia Sylvester reflects on revision as a form of reimagining. For those reimagining their novels as screenplays, Ellie Maas Davis explains how to adapt a novel to a screenplay.

What’s your writing process? Guy Bergstrom contends: writers, we are doing it backwards.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, pencil with shavings, book

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash



For writers looking for agents, Janet Reid spells out how ready your manuscript needs to be for a Twitter pitch contest, and Rachelle Gardner answers questions on queries. In addition, Lisa Tener details 7 qualities to cultivate to help you get a book deal, and Jenna Glatzer suggests getting a publishing deal by avoiding these common book proposal mistakes.

Writers often use quotations from another person’s work in their books. If you’re thinking of doing so, Stephanie Chandler shares a sample permissions letter you can use.

If you’re looking at small publishers, Anne R Allen discusses how to tell legitimate publishers from the bad guys.

For those publishing their own books, Yvonne @ Reedsy provides a book cover guide for writers: the anatomy of a book cover, and Joel Friedlander shares 110 type ornaments to use in your book design and a free download.

Concerned about book sales? Stephanie Chandler reveals the truth about book sales and the keys to generating income from publishing, and Karen Myers explains how to track sales of self-published books.

When it’s time for marketing, Emilie Rabitoy shines a light on 5 book marketing myths to explode, and Sabrina Ricci lists 128 resources for book publishing, marketing, and more.

Whether you are traditionally or self-published, if you are considering hiring a book publicist, Joan Stewart provides guidance: how to interview a book publicist before signing an agreement.

With more tips for self-publishers, Debbie Young lays out why every indie author should publish audio books, and Ray Flynt presents the indie publishers toolbox—part 2.

Here’s help for writers struggling with social media: Frances Caballo lists 25 tips for posting on social media, Laney Galligan identifies 5 blogging lessons you can learn from a small country town, and Cristian Mihai counsels keep your blog content fresh and goes over the basics of writing bullet points.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, raven in tree

Photo by Amarnath Tade on Unsplash



Author Alice Walker talks about writing, dancing, and bursting into song.

In Electric Literature‘s adaption from her keynote address, Jennifer Benka, president of the Academy of American Poets, ponders how poetry mobilizes us for change.

For all book lovers, BuzzFeed‘s Farrah Penn catalogs 11 annoyances that make book nerds swear under their breath, and Jenna Guillaume asks: how well do you really know Shakespeare? [Not as well as I thought! How about you?]

Shaun Bythell, a real-life bookseller, weighs in on 7 fictional ones.

Many writers have cats or dogs. Some have more exotic pets. Christopher Skaife introduces us to the beloved pet ravens of Charles Dickens.

In Travel & Leisure, Cailey Rizzo reveals that Oscar Wilde’s former London pied-à-terre is becoming a hotel. If you aren’t able to travel to Britain and are looking for a literary spot closer to home: Rebecca Romney shares her visit to Sherlock Holmes’ 221B Baker Street in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Literary Hub‘s Emily Temple shows the ranking by height of some favorite writers and takes us inside the rooms where 20 famous books were written.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, pumpkins and flowers, Specca farm, NJ


That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Enjoy your autumn activities and join us again next week for another roundup of blog posts for writers and readers.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, pumkins and squash, Styers Orchard, PA




  1. You know I get nervous coming over here on a busy day, right? I see your beautiful backlinks and I want to come say thank you for linking to Margie’s and my posts. Then I get here and you have all this amazing information and I have 14 tabs open.


    You all are just devilish with your wonderful list of great posts.


    • Thank you so much, Jenny! It does take time to look at all the posts, but we always enjoy doing so.

      Liked by 1 person

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