Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | January 28, 2021

Top Picks Thursday! For writers & Readers 01-28-2021




Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday. It’s hard to believe the first month of 2021 is almost over. Anyone else looking forward to spring?

Spelling is important for writers, and not always easy. Nicole Hill writes the history of the spelling bee.

Something to look forward to: Christopher Louis Romaguera shares 19 books coming to TV and film in 2021.




Matthew Salesses details 25 essential notes on craft, while Barbara Linn Probst concentrates on ways of seeing and ways of writing.

Nathan Bransford suggests getting in tune with your writing goals, and Cassandra Lipp delves into mistakes writers make: relying on perfect conditions to write.

Need ideas? Janice Hardy sets out 5 steps to your next novel idea.

Let’s face it—some of us are procrastinators. Rochelle Melander recommends dumping old myths and discovering a fun solution for procrastination.

Kelly Jensen brings us an A-Z guide to the parts of a book, and Rachelle Gardner gives details on how long your book should be. If your novel is too long, don’t worry—Hank Phillippi Ryan tells us how to cut twenty thousand words.

K. M. Weiland discusses story theory and the quest for meaning, while Laura Drake advises trusting your voice.

Laurence MacNaughton reveals 4 secrets to successful world building, and Greta Kelly takes a look at when cultures collide: 3 ways to create tension in worldbuilding in a novel. In addition, Ward Larsen explains how getting the facts straight will make your writing soar.

Need some ideas for keeping your readers reading? Katharine Grubb describes how to tease your reader with red herrings.

With help for creating characters that come alive on the page, Stavros Halvatzis examines characterizing details, and Eldred “Bob” Bird looks into character motivation. Janice Hardy urges writers to stop being nice to your characters, and C. S. Lakin talks about using dialogue in scenes to reveal character.

Barbara Linn Probst focuses on character time and reader time.

Tiffany Yates explains third-person point of view: omniscient, limited, and deep.

For genre writers, Dr. Caitlin O’Connell provides some tips for the travel and nature writer: keeping your mind sharp and your words insightful, and Garry Rodgers clarifies the difference between hardboiled and noir crime fiction.

If you’ve reached the revision phase, Zoe M. McCarthy shows how to write numbers right in fiction, and RJ Crayton wonders if you’re editing your work with today’s world of inclusive language in mind.

It’s something no one wants but everyone gets: John Peragine mulls over bad book reviews.




Mark Williams says Naver’s $600 million buy-out of Wattpad should be a wake-up call for western publishers who still don’t “get” online reading.

Joseph Perry urges authors to know your rights: key provisions in a publishing contract.

If you’re a freelance writer, Evan Jensen gives us 4 tips to determine your freelance success.

Diana Urban lists 6 outside-the-box book marketing ideas for writers.

Sue Coletta explains how to animate book covers.

For indie authors, Rick Lite brings us the ultimate book marketing timeline for indie authors, and Debbie Young considers whether bookstores are worth it for indie authors.

Penny Sansevieri explores how to promote a book on social media without burning out (or wasting a ton of time) and explains when and how to invest in a professional book marketing company.

Sandra Beckwith clarifies the facts vs. fiction of Amazon verified purchase reviews.

Heather Lloyd-Martin looks at SEO trends in 2021: 5 optimization myths to stop worrying about.


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

Photo by Jukka Aalho on Unsplash



Check out First Draft podcast with Mitzi Rapkin to hear Mark Wunderlich on the resurrecting powers of poetry.

On The Quarantine Tapes with Walter Mosley, Nikky Finney discusses what James Baldwin taught her about the poet’s responsibility to the living.

Jacke Wilson of the History of Literature podcast looks at the life and work of Frederick Douglass.

Peter Ho Davies talks about writing a book that hovers between fiction and fact on First Draft podcast with Mitzi Rapkin.




Jess Romeo writes about the origins of the modern regency romance.

Timothy Miller looks at why we return to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories over and over again.


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, trees in snow


That wraps up Top Picks Thursday for this week. Join us again next week for another roundup of writerly links.


The Author Chronicles, Top Picks Thursday, J. Thomas Ross, woodpecker in snow


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