Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | May 16, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For writers & Readers 05-16-2019

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, spring flowers, flowering bushes and dogwood

May flowers at dawn


Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’re half way through May, the month of flowers … and rampant weed growth. (Anyone else falling behind in the battle?)

It’s felt like winter here the past few days, but swimsuit season is just around the corner. For those who like to plan ahead, Roni Loren lists 15 tips to read more this summer.

If you enjoy nonfiction, pick up a biography today in honor of National Biographer’s Day. Since it’s also National Love a Tree Day, whatever you read, sit outside in the lovely spring weather and enjoy your book under the shade of a tree.

Writers and pets are often found together. Juliet Marillier investigates the relationship between the writer and the writer’s dog.

In memoriam: Alvin Sargent, Oscar-winning screenwriter, died May 9 at age 92 (reported by Peter Debruge in Variety).


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, bee on pink flowers

A bee visits my flowers



Having doubts about your craft? Kerry Schafer shares five steps to embracing your identity as a writer.

Creativity is a cornerstone of any art. Marc Graham shows us how to unlock creativity and end writer’s block for good, while Jess Costello sets out five simple tips for conquering creative burnout.

Seeking to improve your skills? K. M. Weiland looks at 5 ways writers (try to) fake their way to good storytelling, and Shaunta Grimes focuses on how to be a better artist (there is only one way).

Sometimes writers have too many ideas. Rose Andrews discusses choosing the right idea.

Writing comedy can be a challenge. Jess Zafarris presents Jerry Seinfeld’s 5-step comedy writing process.

For writers confused about POV, Janice Hardy clarifies the difference between a limited vs. a tight point of view.

Conflict drives plot. Vivian Otoo tells us how to create more conflict in our stories, Kathryn Craft gives us 6 tips for creating good bridging conflict, and Stavros Halvatzis asserts that conflicting story characters make for better tales.

If you’re developing characters, Kristen Lamb delves into crafting the perfect ‘unlikable’ character, while Piper Bayard discusses backstory: the more I know, the less you have to.

Suyi Davies Okungbowa looks at worldbuilding from the inside out, and Elaine Viets suggests authors do “road work,” using streets to give the story real direction.

Terry Odell shares information about writing suspense (part 2), and Laurisa White Reyes mentions five things to avoid when writing a real page-turner.

When you’re ready for revision, Stephanie Chandler lists five common editing mistakes and typos found in manuscripts, and Brian Rowe explains why your novel now needs to be aimed at an ideal reader.

For those writing chldren’s books, Darcy Pattison and Leslie Helakoski demystify how you can tell if you’ve written a picture book.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, book and notebook with pencil and phone and laptop

Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash



Is your manuscript ready for publication? Sophie Masson gives her take on big publishers, small publishers, and contract negotiations, while Meg LaTorre answers the question: how should I publish my book? Plus, Melissa Donovan gives suggestions on how to publish your poetry, and Jami Gold discusses self-publishing and entrepreneurship.

Cassie Lipp tells us what it feels like to get your first book advance.

Agent Janet Reid gives advice on writing for a packager and advises writers to always be ready to pitch. Jami Gold offers insights on pitching from movie trailers.

Tamela Hancock Murray shares book proposal basics—competitive titles.

Ready to market that book? Brian Jud creates the equation for book-marketing success, The Indie Reader staff examines how book pricing is a powerful strategy to sell more books, and Mark Cavannagh looks at marketing a book series: the power of read-through.

Tara Alemany uses the “Dear Reader” exercise to focus book writing and marketing, and David Gaughran addresses how reader targeting influences everything in writing.

Before you start marketing, check out Hayley Milliman’s how an author platform helps promote your work, and Anne R. Allen’s your author persona: how to be yourself online, only better.

James Navé and Allegra Huston detail how to plan a book reading that will delight your audience.

For those looking for help with social media, Frances Caballo reveals 4 dirty little secrets about social media marketing for authors, and Cristian Mihai shares 90 super easy tips that will turn even a novice blogger into an expert.

Nate Hoffelder lays out 9 reasons authors need newsletters, and Shelley Sturgeon offers 72 free images sources for authors.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, book and book shelves

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash



Literary Hub‘s David K. Randall writes about how the bubonic plague almost came to America.

Anne Valente wonders why it’s so hard to write about music in fiction.

Arundhati Roy asserts that literature provides shelter and that’s why we need it.

Gabrielle Bellot reveals what The Great Gatsby reveals about the Jazz Age.

In The New York Times, Ratha Tep retraces Truman Capote’s moment in the Mediterranean sun.

Electric Literature‘s Erin Barnett shares great authors’ letters to their long-suffering mothers.

Samantha Leach asks how Danielle Steele has managed to write 179 books.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, red honeysuckle



That wraps up this week’s Top Picks Thursday. See you next week!


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, noght sky and evergreen trees

Photo by Ryan Hutton on Unsplash



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