Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | April 16, 2020

Top Picks Thursday! For writers & Readers 04-16-2020


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, Top Picks Thursday, cloudy dawn, misty spring morning

Turkey buzzard flying by on a misty spring morning.


Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Can you believe April is half over? While individual days may drag during this stay-at-home time, the month is speeding by.

Today is National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day—something many of us have been doing for the last four weeks. If you’ve been writing poetry this month to participate in National Poetry Month, you might want to try haiku tomorrow, April 17th, which is National Haiku Poetry Day.

Although it might be celebrated differently this year, April 19th through 25th is National Library Week. As part of this event, Tuesday, April 21st, is National Library Workers Day, and Wednesday, April 22nd, is National Bookmobile Day. At this time, our libraries, as well as our booksellers, need our support more than ever.

I can’t forget to mention that April 22nd is also the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Take some time to appreciate the beauty of the springtime, and remember that protecting our environment protects our health.

Language is a writer’s tool, but how much time do we spend thinking about the intricacies of its use? Vivian Giang explores how language shapes our perception of reality.

Goodreads has been touted as an author’s friend, but Angela Lashbrook thinks almost everything about Goodreads is broken.

In memoriam: Canadian children’s author Jean Little dies at age 88 [reported by Shannon Maughan at].


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, Top Picks Thursday, daffodil




Sharing inspirational words from a well-known writer, Robert Lee Brewer gives us 10 Nicholas Sparks quotes for writers and about writing. With a different perspective, John Maher shares writing tips from the editors of Poets & Writers magazine.

Melinda Copp talks about how to live your best writing life and warns about four obstacles that will keep you from becoming a great writer, while Susann Cokal recommends daring yourself to do more than you think you can instead of setting goals.

Nina Amir suggests using meditation, prayer and intention to unleash your creativity, and Kevin Larimer and Mary Gannon discuss how having a writing community stimulates creativity. On the topic of a writing community, Susan DeFreitas considers community as essential to developing your writing practice.

For writers who are finding writing hard at this time, Robin LaFevers helps us find focus in a fractured world, Janice Hardy clarifies identifying loss of momentum vs writer’s block, and Nathan Bransford believes while it’s okay to not be productive now, for some people productivity is self-care.

For those who’ve been writing a long time, Nancy J. Cohen discusses obsolete files.

Are you writing a novel? Rachael Cooper gives us 5 methods for writing a novel, and Stavros Halvatzis takes a look at the first line of your novel.

If you’re writing in a specific genre, Liz Milliron gives us five tips to writing historical fiction, and K. O. Bailey adds tips for writing thrillers.

James Scott Bell brings us storytelling lessons in 60 seconds or less, and Jami Gold delves into how asking why can improve the story.

You might be planning to write a stand-alone novel, but Laina Turner goes into why you should write a book series.

Kathryn Craft looks at delivering the ring of truth, and Nathan Bransford says you probably don’t need that dramatic pause in dialogue.

When you’ve finished that first draft, Katharine Grubb lays out 7 reasons why you should read your manuscript out loud, Harry Guinness explains how to edit your own writing, and Jancie Hardy recommends the spit shine: things to check before you submit (or publish) your novel.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, Top Picks Thursday, yellow orchid




Are you working on your author platform? Eldred “Bob” Bird advocates growing a more fertile author platform.

For writers following the traditional publishing path, Rachel Deahl shares agents’ thoughts on whether to submit projects during the pandemic, Jeanne Kisacky discusses writing a killer proposal, and Janet Reid answers the question: how do you know when it’s time to give up querying a specific book and move on?

The pandemic is having an effect on all businesses, including publishing and bookselling. John Peragine discusses the world shift in publishing, Diana Urban looks at how publishers are approaching book marketing during COVID-19, and Alex Green reveals the toll the coronavirus has taken on independent bookstores.

Jennifer Mattern looks into how a freelance writing business can survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Troy Lambert has suggestions for overcoming the 7 marketing struggles every author faces. Also, for authors unable to attend events to market their books during this pandemic, Judith Briles lists apps that enable connecting globally.

Anne R. Allen’s advice: don’t become a social media ghost: appoint a social media executor.

For those who are blogging, Cristian Mihai explains the art of writing a sensational first line and how to blog every day without burning out.

Exploring visual media? Victor Blasco sets out how to make an awesome book trailer (and why), and John Gilstrap gives the scoop on movie deals.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, Top Picks Thursday, rainbow



Jessica Leigh Hester invites you to escape into these fantastical, imaginary maps.

Jennifer Nalewicki reports that Alan Nakagawa is asking people to record COVID-19 haikus for his project.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, Top Picks Thursday, wildflowers, violets and dandelions


That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Stop back to visit us next week for another collection of writerly links.

Stay at home and stay well!


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas, Top Picks Thursday, sunset and clouds



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