Monday, November 28, 2016

FOREVER FINLEY - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

I've been working on it all year, and now the full FOREVER FINLEY collection is live--and available in both e-book and paperback form:

Forever Love in the Town of Finley

True love never dies—or so Amos Hargrove, a brave Civil War soldier who lost his beloved before they could marry, still believes. His spirit, some say, pervades the town he founded and named for his sweet fair-haired young beauty. In Finley, dreams come true, love blossoms, and second chances are unearthed. Is Amos’s spirit truly at work, granting wishes as he continues to search for his own love? Does his unfulfilled desire continue to have influence on those who call Finley home? What will it take to finally unite two souls meant to be together?

Forever Finley is a collection of stand-alone yet interconnected short stories; when read cover to cover, the stories build like chapters in a novel. As a whole, Forever Finley explores the many facets of love—whether that love takes the form of friendship, romance, or passion for one’s life calling. These warm, uplifting, often magical tales detail loss and perseverance, the strength of the human spirit, and the ability of love to endure…forever.

FOREVER FINLEY is available at:
Amazon (e-book and paperback)
B&N e-book
B&N paperback
Apple
Kobo

*Interested in the possibility of getting your hands on a copy for review? Email me at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Monday, November 14, 2016

RIPPED FROM REAL LIFE: THE SETTING OF THE FOREVER FINLEY SERIES

My readers are always curious about what parts of my books have been ripped from real life. I did borrow from my immediate surroundings when building the setting of my short story series FOREVER FINLEY. Here's a glimpse:


Monday, November 7, 2016

CHRISTMAS GIFT BOOKS FOR THE READERS IN YOUR LIFE

If you're looking for some fun reads to put under the tree this year, I've got you set -


These paperbacks are available now; each is geared toward a different kind of reader:

MILES LEFT YET - For the reader in your life who is either newly retired or thinking or retirement. In MILES, a road trip for a motley crew from the Granite Ridge Retirement Community—in a vintage Mustang convertible, no less—quickly turns into an adventure of second chances, fresh starts, and the discovery that love is never a landmark in the rearview mirror. No matter what the odometer reads, as long as there’s gas in the tank, there are always still new roads to explore...plenty of miles left yet.

Available at Amazon and B&N

WORDQUAKE - For your young reader (this one's at about the 4th grade reading level). Izzy Ashby is a girl who hates reading...one day, her hatred grows strong enough to shake all the words from her elementary school. At first, this seems like a dream come true! At least, until utter chaos breaks out...WORDQUAKE is short and includes some fun illustrations--perfect to keep your kids reading over their holiday break, or even to snag a reluctant reader.

Available at Amazon and B&N


ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE - For your fan of clean romance or women's fiction. Mallory Stewart is a young on-the-rise editor, certain she's about to land a position at one of the “Big Five” publishing houses. All she has to do to clinch the deal is attend her prospective boss’s Christmas Eve party. But Graham Kendall, the charismatic author of a bestselling book on fate, insists her plans are about to be thwarted. Mallory immediately discounts Dr. Kendall’s warnings. Though she edited his book, the industrious Mallory believes in hard work rather than luck or good fortune. When a series of devastating Christmas Eve misadventures conspire against her, Mallory is forced to reexamine everything—her beliefs, her dreams, her own definition of success. What will Mallory choose? What will she discover—about Graham, about her own destiny, even about…a man’s socks? (Yes, socks.)

Available at Amazon and B&N

Monday, October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN (+ FOREVER FINLEY FINALE)!

First, I have to thank you all for taking the FOREVER FINLEY journey with me! When I wrote "Come December" last November, I had no idea it would spiral into what has since become my favorite writing project. I've loved returning to the town of Finley once a month throughout 2016--and I've learned so much being able to rapid-fire publish throughout the year. I've appreciated both your enthusiasm and feedback.

That having been said, I'm delighted to announce that the FOREVER FINLEY FINALE is now live. I found the last two stories--"Pale November" and "December Bells" flowed one right into the next, and felt it was best to put them together in the same download:
 

THE FOREVER FINLEY FINALE


The conclusion to the
Forever Finley Short Story Series…or is it?

Named for the young woman who died tragically before her wedding day, Finley is a small town unlike any other. Founded shortly after the Civil War by Amos Hargrove, Finley Powell’s grieving fiancĂ©, Finley-ites of today still believe that Amos’s undying affection—and a million little miracles—will reunite two hearts meant to be together. Will the legend that has perpetuated the idea of their forever love finally be fulfilled? Can a happy ending actually be the beginning of a new chapter for a town called Finley?

The FOREVER FINLEY FINALE is available now at:

Amazon
B&N
iBooks
Kobo


I'm also in the midst of compiling the entire FOREVER FINLEY short story series. The collection will be available this month. News of the release--announcements regarding 2017 projects--and a chance to win a copy of FOREVER FINLEY--in the next newsletter!

Happy reading--and have an even happier Halloween!

--Holly (Cleopatra) and Jake the Hot Dog:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

THE FOREVER FINLEY FINALE

I'm deep into writing the last two stories of the FOREVER FINLEY short story series. I can't even begin to describe how excited I am about this ending. (Because the last two stories bleed one into the next, I'm releasing them both in the same download.)

Until the release date comes, though, the cover:

Now back to work!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

NEW CHRISTMAS READ / GIFT BOOK


I'm like most of you when I say I think Christmas needs to get in line. Thanksgiving is too often an overlooked holiday, and Halloween--come on! That's the best holiday OF ALL TIME. (I'm being totally serious. It's my fave. I always have my costume ready by late August. This year, I'm going as myopic Cleopatra.)

But: I'm also like most of you when I say I need to plan for and spread my Christmas gift-buying out across several months. With that in mind, I've just released my newest read--a novella titled ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE.


 
I strove to make ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE everything I want myself in a gift book: It's affordable ($7.50 for the paperback, $2.99 for the e-book), it's uplifting, it's a fun, quick read (177 pages), it's sweet, it's got just the perfect hint of romance, and it's clean--the kind of clean you can feel good about giving to any voracious reader in your life: a mother, daughter, even teacher.
 

More about ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE:

Is the magic of Christmas Eve enough to change Mallory’s mind and heart?

Mallory Stewart is an on-the-rise young editor certain she’s about to land a position at one of the “Big Five” publishing houses. All she has to do to clinch the deal is attend her prospective boss’s Christmas Eve party. But Graham Kendall, the charismatic author of a bestselling book on fate, insists her plans are about to be thwarted. Mallory immediately discounts Dr. Kendall’s warnings. Though she edited his book, the industrious Mallory believes in hard work rather than luck or good fortune. When a series of devastating Christmas Eve misadventures conspire against her, Mallory is forced to reexamine everything—her beliefs, her dreams, her own definition of success. What will Mallory choose? What will she discover—about Graham, about her own destiny, even about…a man’s socks? (Yes, socks.)

Available as an e-book at:
Amazon
B&N
iBooks
Kobo

Available as a paperback at:
Amazon
B&N

Happy reading--and giving!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

WRITING ADVICE: POSITIVE READING CHALLENGE


Some of the best writing advice I ever got as a student came from a literature professor, rather than a writing professor. In fact, he was by far my favorite professor in the entire department.

I met this particular professor when I signed up for his course in Literary Criticism. The class was a real struggle for me, in the beginning—so much so, I wound up seeking this professor out to try to gain some perspective, some insight into how to better attack the subject matter.

The advice this professor gave me was to forget “good.” It wasn’t my job to determine whether or not a book, poem, story, etc. was worth reading. Other people with far better credentials had, in fact, already determined the work was “good.” It had made its way into the literary canon. It was a classic. My job, as a literature student, was to figure out why. What separated this work from its contemporaries? Why did it survive while others produced in the same vein were forgotten?

When I graduated, I dove headfirst into becoming a full-time author. Not that it came quickly or easily (it actually took 7 1/2 years of effort to get the first yes). While I was up to my eyeballs in rejections, I returned to that prof's lesson. I checked out piles and piles of contemporary juvenile literature from my local library (I had just begun to turn toward writing MG and YA), and attacked each book in the same way I’d once attacked the works I’d read for my literature professor. I went at it thinking, “Okay, somebody—an agent, an editor, a publishing house—has already decided this book is good. Why? What does this book have that made it a work to be acquired? What are this author’s strengths?”

That lesson, more than any other, helped me move toward publication. And I’d like to encourage anyone in pursuit of publication to do the same. For one year, I challenge you to find something good in each new book you read.

It’s easy, when you’re covered in rejection, to fall into a pattern of negative thinking. That negative thinking could be projected inward (“I’m no good. I’ll never be in the company of published authors. I don’t have anything new to offer. Who would read my work when so many other great authors are already out there?”) Or, the negative thinking could be projected outward (“Published books are crap. These published authors are no good. My work is better than this. The reason my work isn’t being accepted is because editors only want crap.”)

Another negative thought pre-published authors fall into is the idea that a rejection means that the editor or agent is telling you that your work isn’t of high enough quality. That’s not it at all. Yet again, I encourage you to forget “good.” A rejection isn’t an editor telling you that you’re not good enough. In fact, I once worked with an editor who told me that she picked books that she felt she could edit in a way no one else could…she picked books she felt she could make a unique kind of editorial thumbprint on. She said she did pass on many books that were well done—it was about finding the right match.

For one year, then, I encourage any would-be authors to ditch the negative thinking—which can really hamper your writing. Let go of the idea that a rejection is a way to tell you that you’re not good enough. Let go of the idea that you don’t measure up. And while you should always, always, always have faith and pride in your abilities, let go of the notion that the published books you check out are somehow inferior. Decide, every time you pick up a book, that you’re going to learn from it.

For one year, forget good. Look at each read objectively and ask yourself, “Why did this one make it?” You may decide that it was because of the concept, or because of the writer’s ability to handle a plot twist, or because of the author’s voice. You may see value in their character development or humor. Find some positive reason for the book being acquired.

Then challenge yourself. Figure out how to incorporate other authors’ admirable qualities into your work in your own way. I contend it’s far more useful to try to emulate something positive than it is to avoid something negative.

I would bet that by the end of the year, you will have made progress in some way. You’ll have graduated from form rejections to personalized rejections—or maybe even signed with an agent. Or, you might have decided to hire an editor and brave going indie. I would, in fact, love to hear your own stories of how this “Positive Reading Challenge” helped your own publication pursuit. Take the challenge, and at the end of the year, shoot me a message. (I can always be reached through my website or social media). I’d love to know how it impacted you.

I’m grateful every day for my prof’s lesson—it helped me in ways I never could have anticipated, back when I was a literature student trying to navigate through his class. It actually turned out to be some of the best professional advice I ever received. I’m betting that it’ll help you, too. I can’t wait to hear how.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

FREE HALLOWEEN READ (FOREVER FINLEY #11)

I absolutely love, love loved getting to write the next installment of the FOREVER FINLEY series. Halloween is my favorite holiday of all time (this dates me a bit, but my favorite costume of all time was when I was Cyndi Lauper in the first grade).

"October Omen" throws a new major obstacle into the reunion of Amos and his sweetheart, Finley. It also offers up a few spine-tingling moments for Kelly, the wedding planner and dress designer we first met in "Forget February":


Forever Finley Short Story #11: Superstitions float around us constantly. We choose to believe or discount them based on where our hearts happen to be at that particular moment.

Kelly Marx, Finley’s premiere wedding planner and dress designer, is on a mission to get access to a Civil War-era shawl for Natalie, the latest bride to hire her. But Mary, the elderly owner of the shawl, isn’t the only force to come between Kelly and her goal. When the shawl goes missing, Kelly also encounters mysterious characters and a slew of bad omens—but what does it all add up to? What does it foretell? Where will Kelly’s skeptical heart lead her?

"October Omen" is available on:
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iBooks

 As a bonus, you can shoot me a link to any review you post of "October Omen"--at your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.--and you'll be entered to win a copy of ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE, my soon-to-release holiday novella.You can email your links to: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

COVER REVEAL - ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE

I'm delighted to reveal the cover for my forthcoming holiday novella ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE:


Sign up for my newsletter at tinyletter.com/hollyschindler to be notified of the official release!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

YA IN THE CLASSROOM - SPARK AND FLAWS



SPARK features two characters who have obvious "flaws": one has a birthmark, another a stutter. 

This topic lends itself to great high school class discussion...

We all have things about ourselves that we wish we could change. (If only, we all think, I were prettier, taller. Or, I wish I could make my nose smaller, get rid of the scar on my chin, not have such frizzy hair, clear up my skin…) If your fantasy could be granted, and what you perceive to be your biggest flaw was magically erased, how would it change you? Would you behave differently? Would you finally talk to your crush, go out for the lead in the play? Would you step into the spotlight? Would you finally be brave enough to make your mark?

Students can discuss the depiction of the external in SPARK--this includes costumes that appear throughout. They can also discuss the external vs. internal lives of the characters--and even of themselves. After all, sometimes, the best way to connect and interact with a book is by seeing connections between the text and the "real world." 

Children are always being told the inside of a person is the most important part--and it is! But what are the barriers to getting to view a person's interior? How do our own opinions of our exterior, our perceptions of our own "flaws" keep people from seeing our own insides?

Are you a teacher using SPARK in your classroom? Contact me at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com for a Skype.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

FOR TEACHERS: FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE (+ COLLABORATION)

My MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, is brimming with opportunities to introduce your class to figurative / descriptive language. Auggie, the main character, becomes a folk artist, making sculptures out of "upcycled" materials. In order to do that, she can't see the world in a literal way--she sees a rusted pipe and thinks, "ballerina." Her ability to see the world in a poetic way is a big part of the reason why I felt her voice ought to be filled with metaphor and simile throughout--it only made sense that her poetic vision should be apparent even in the line-by-line descriptions.

I've made a small graphic including some of my favorite descriptive / figurative phrases from the book. Feel free to grab the graphic and use it in your own classroom:


I've also begun to create some boards on Pinterest featuring ideas for using my books in the classroom--and I'd love to get teachers involved! If you've used / are using THE JUNCTION in the classroom, and would like to take part in a collaborative board where we all share ideas on how to incorporate the book into classrooms or introduce the work to young readers, email hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com. You can also leave a comment at the board, if you'd prefer.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

YA IN THE CLASSROOM - SPARK & METAPHORICAL EVENTS

Regardless of the genre or age category, my work tends to run on something of the lyrical side. I frequently use metaphor in my descriptions.

But my latest YA, SPARK, takes metaphor to a new level. Instead of using the device in order to flesh out description, I use it in the plot, as a way to drive events.

About SPARK:

Acclaimed author Holly Schindler writes a compelling contemporary tale with a dash of magic. The theater comes to life in this story of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

The local Avery Theater was just a run-down building to Quin—until her mother told her about the tragic love that played out on the theater’s stage many years ago. Quin is convinced it’s the perfect story to re-create for her drama class. And when she does, the Avery begins to magically regain its former splendor, clearly setting the stage for her classmates Dylan and Cass to relive the romance from a time before. Quin can see the spark between them, but it’s up to her to make sure her friends—and the Avery—can both be saved this time around.

~


Ultimately, SPARK also asks readers to determine for themselves what actually transpired: readers can debate, in class, whether they believe the magical events of the book are to be taken literally, or are to be read on a more metaphorical level, as the work of the protagonist’s “writerly imagination” (and have only played out in the theater of young Quin’s mind). Did the Avery Theater magically regenerate? Did Quin's friends get a chance to see themselves without their flaws? Or has everything that has transpired on the pages actually a metaphor for the power of the theater? The way the theater allows us all to escape--whether we're in the audience or onstage? 

~

Maybe the best widely-known example of using metaphor to shape the plot is FIELD OF DREAMS (one of my all-time favorite movies): Did those magical events really happen? Did Ray Kinsella actually plow up his corn, allow the spirits of historic ball players another chance to enjoy the game? 

Or is the entire storyline a metaphor for a man trying to mend the fractured relationship with his father?

~

SPARK can open your students' minds to thinking about metaphor in a new way--as something that not only fleshes out line-by-line writing, allows a reader to see a character or setting in vivid detail, but as a device that can also help shape the events of the book as a whole.
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