Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | February 14, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 02-14-2019


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, red heart on blue

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash


Happy Valentine’s Day, and welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We love that you’re spending part of your Valentine’s Day with us and hope you find lots of goodies among the links that caught our attention in the past week.

On the topic of holidays, Sunday is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. We really shouldn’t wait till Sunday, though. When you think about it, love and kindness ought to be celebrated every day—we could use a lot more of both.

Did anybody give or get a book for Valentine’s Day? Nick Douglas suggests trying Reddit’s best tips for reading more books, while Mairead Small Staid takes a look at reading in the age of constant distraction. Carrie V. Mullins reports that the Center for Fiction’s new home reflects a change in how we read, and—good news for writers and readers—Lisa Lucas, in a Time article, asserts that books are more alive than ever.

On a sadder note, Locus reports that author Carol Emshwiller, known for her experimental and feminist fiction, died at age 97.

Congratulations are in order: Michael Schaub reports that Sandra Cisneros has won the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, folded book pages forming a heart

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash



Creativity and inspiration provide necessary nourishment for artists of all types. Debbie Burke gives us eight tricks to tap your subconscious for better writing, and Jordan Dane asks: can hypnagogia improve your fiction writing?

In addition, Gaetano DiNardi explains why you should work less and spend more time on hobbies, Bob Mayer explains how to fall in love with the writing process: 6 questions to hone your creative workflow, and Lisa Tener advises lighting a candle for your inner critic.

Once you’re inspired and writing, Roni Loren stresses finding and utilizing your strengths, while Kristen Lamb focuses on drudgery: what separates those who dream from those who DO.

Wondering about your book’s audience? Dana Silar demystifies finding your target audience, and Brian Jud give us tips on how to target your book’s audience.

For genre writers, Linda Cardillo discusses writing romance in the 21st century: not your grandmother’s Harlequin; Iain Rob Wright digs into how to be successful in writing horror; and Jami Gold considers story tropes: how do we twist a cliché? For those whose interest lies in writing nonfiction, Tracy Stanley discusses how to turn a thesis into a book that sells.

If you’re sitting down to work on a new project, Louise Tondeur reveals why you don’t have to choose between plotter or pantser, Stavros Halvatzis discusses perspective in stories and how to choose it, and Donald Maass analyzes the ordinary world of your characters: how much and how ordinary?

While we’re on the subject of characters, Becca Puglisi shares 6 ways to show emotions for non-POV characters, and Vincent H. O’Neil offers 5 tips for using voice in dialogue.

For writers in the revision process, K. M. Weiland examines how to use paragraph breaks to guide the reader’s experience, and Janice Hardy warns us about red flag telling words that often spell trouble in our writing and reminds us to get rid of our crutch words. In addition, Giacomo Giammatteo reveals where spellcheckers fall short and why you need an editor.

Sometimes the story just doesn’t work. David Rawlings addresses walking away from your baby—when you need to put your manuscript aside and move on.

If you’re finished revising and editing your manuscript, Meg LaTorre tells us why querying writers shouldn’t write sequels.

Entering writing contests can be helpful for not-yet-published writers. C. Hope Clark writes about how to find writing contests and avoid scams.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, tiny succulent

One of my writing buddies.



For those writing queries to agents, Janet Reid talks about how and where to mention if you are a ghost writer.

If you are a photographer as well as a writer, Lee Foster takes a look at making and selling your own photos, and Isaac Kaplan brings us information about art copyright.

Thinking of publishing your book soon? Stephanie Chandler lists the 6 people every author should hire, and Angela Ackerman delves into how to run a street team.

Many people are visually oriented. Frances Caballo explains why it’s important to use video marketing and shares 3 apps to try, while Steven Spatz explains how to get media coverage for your book.

The dream of every publishing author is to sell a lot of books. Kristen Lamb takes a look at how to sell more books, and Sue Canfield advocates boosting sales with pre-launch social media strategies.

Some writers use email newsletters to increase sales. Christina McDonald tells us how to grow an email newsletter from scratch.

Do you have a blog or are thinking of starting one? Roz Morris identifies what value she has found in a decade of blogging. Cristian Mihai gives us 10 questions every blogger should ask themselves and insists that blogging is not just about information, while Jordan Peters reveals the seven magic tricks of blogging.

Sometimes maintaining a social media presence can get overwhelming. Roni Loren is busy with digital decluttering before taking a 30-day social media break.

Despite the frigid weather, April will be here before we know it. Jenny Hansen provides an easy tax guide for authors.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, white tiger lying down

Photo by jamie turner on Unsplash



Electric Lit‘s Kristopher Jansma wonders what happened to Sylvia Plath’s lost novels, while Laura Kolb considers the very modern anger of Shakespeare’s women.

Devoney Looser considers Sense and Sensibility: what if Jane Austin had to choose?

Nick Ripatrazone asks: is line editing a lost art?

Aditi Natasha Kini exposes the death of a symbol: how Western writers exploit the tiger.

And finally, check out The Passive Voice‘s graphic on invisible formatting.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, heart shape in mug of cocoa

Photo by David O. Andersen on Unsplash


That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Have a great Valentine’s Day and long Presidents’ Day weekend. Join us next week for another roundup of writerly links.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, V of geese flying

Geese beneath the sunset clouds



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