Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | May 21, 2020

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 05-21-2020


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, robin on fence with insectThe Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, goldfinch on garden fence







Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! This month is going by so fast—it’s hard to believe that Monday is Memorial Day. However you decide to celebrate the holiday, have fun but take precautions to stay safe and well.

To offset adverse effects of school closures, Donalyn Miller takes a look at how communities are working to reach kids who don’t have books at home.

Business shutdowns have been hard on bookstores. André Wheeler wonders: can America’s oldest black bookstore survive the pandemic? With positive news, John Mayer reveals that HBG is launching an assistance program to aid the reopening of indie bookstores.

What type of books are you reading during this pandemic? Natalie Jenner ponders why we reread our favorite books, while Amanda Craig claims that children’s books make good companions in a crisis.

Michael Cuby reports that Dana Kennedy is one reason the Pulitzer Prize is getting more diverse.

In memoriam: Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, has died at age 71 [reported by Michael Cader on Publisher’s Lunch].


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, sunrise




How do you feel about the writing life? Barbara Linn Probst delves into why we write: artistry, identity, and legacy, while John Peragine addresses the limited limitless writing life.

For those having trouble writing during the pandemic, Julie Cantrell shares 4 productivity hacks you can use right now, and Bill Ferris lays out his top 5 writing hacks to distract you from the nightmare of your daily life, and Rachelle Gardner advises: find what you can control, and take action.

While some write for their own creative pleasure, others plan to sell their work. Kathy Meis looks at the intersection of creativity and commerce.

Ran Walker gives us 4 tips for writing short stories, and Jami Gold explains how and when to break writing rules.

Wondering how to start your story? Janet Reid weighs in on opening with action vs. opening with tension, and Kristen Lamb suggests creating a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience.

If you’re in the planning stage, September C. Fawkes looks at how plotlines add dimension to novels, Kathryn Craft shares 8 ways to unblock your scene’s potential, and Elaine Viets explores writing cliffhangers.

For those working on their crafting their characters, Stavros Halvatzis writes about sympathy versus empathy in stories, and Janice Hardy asks: why should anyone help your protagonist?

Brian Andrews presents an infographic guide to the hero’s journey, and Laurence MacNaughton offers 3 ways to make failure fascinating.

Sooner or later your characters are going to talk to each other. Nathan Bransford brings us everything authors need to know about dialogue tags, while Tamela Hancock Murray adds her take with: he said, she said.

Some stories require a large cast of characters. Ann R. Allen brings us 8 ways to unconfuse your readers when you have too many characters.

For those ready to start revision, Robert Lee Brewer clarifies semantics vs. syntx vs. pragmatics (grammar rules); Janice Hardy stresses the necessity of clarifying ambiguous pronouns; and Terry Odell suggests that, in addition to removing overused words when you edit, you eliminate the banished words of 2020.

When you’ve done all you can on your own, Chantel Hamilton sets out a comprehensive guide to finding, hiring, and working with an editor.


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, bee on flowers




Preti Taneja tells us why book prizes matter more than ever.

With good news for book publishers and authors, The Publishers Weekly staff reports that print unit sales rose nearly 5% at the end of April.

Agent Janet Reid answers the question: what does “on behalf of” mean in contract jargon?

For those considering self-publishing, the AskALLiTeam gives us the ultimate guide to hardback and premium books, and Debbie Burke speaks about the evolution of a book title and cover.

Thinking about including media with your ebook? David Kudler goes into the problem with enhanced books.

In this challenging time for launching a book, Michelle Anderstarr shows us how to throw a virtual book launch.

Authors need a social media presence. Frances Caballo shares social media tips you need to know.

For bloggers, Cristian Mihai explains why emotion is the key to great blogging and reminds us that the reader is always right.


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, bird nests, bird nest with eggs




Literary Hub‘s Bookmarks celebrates the 95th anniversary of the publication of Virginia woolf’s debut novel with the first reviews of every Virginia Woolf novel.

Tracy O’Neill gives us a peek into the home lives of literary spies.

Ed Simon explores the book that invented the world. Can you guess what it is?

For fans of the mystery genre, Olivia Rutigliano lists the 45 most iconic detective sidekicks in literature, film, and television.

David Kamp examines why Sesame Street was a revolutionary force for children’s television.

Electric Literature‘s Emily Neuberger names 8 musicals that you might not know were based on books.

Claire Kirch has created a photo essay: bookstores are opening, cautiously, across the country.


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, sparrow in river birch tree


That finishes up this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Join us again next week for another roundup of writerly links!


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, spring-flowering bush



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