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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

GIVEAWAY - FORTHCOMING HOLIDAY NOVELLA

Last winter, I offered "Come December" as a holiday story to my readers. And I was truly surprised by the results; the story hit the e-readers, tablets, and computers of readers who had never picked up one of my books before. Readers were also taking time out of their busy holidays to shoot me emails, tell me how much they enjoyed the short tale.

The response was so positive, in fact, that I decided to continue the story--the FOREVER FINLEY SHORT STORY SERIES was born.

The series has released once a month throughout 2016; each is a stand-alone, and each takes place in the small town of Finley. Read alone, each story creates on picture; read together, the stories create a completely different portrait of the magical town.

More on the Forever Finley series:


I've been so thankful to my readers, who have followed along with the series all year. And who have reviewed and recommended the stories to other reading friends.

To show my appreciation, I'm offering a giveaway: 1 winner will receive a free e-book of this year's holiday tale (tentatively titled ONE FATEFUL CHRISTMAS EVE). This year, it's a novella, not a short story.

I'll be releasing more information on the forthcoming novella in the weeks to come. For now, all you have to do is share the review you've written for "Song for September," the latest Forever Finley story. The review can appear anywhere--a blog, Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, etc. Enter in the link to your "Song for September" review in the form below. Having trouble with the form? Just email a link to your review to hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

"Song for September" can be found on:
Amazon
iBooks, Kobo, B&N

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

MR. DOSCH'S 4TH GRADE & WORDQUAKE

Mr. Dosch is just one of those teachers--open-minded and fun and on the lookout for new projects to
stir his students' imagination.

I met Mr. Dosch last year, when his class wrote letters to Auggie, the main character of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. (Of course Auggie wrote them back!)

This year, he got his reading class off to a running start with my latest release, WORDQUAKE.

I wrote WORDQUAKE thinking of the "kinda-sorta" readers; the book features the misadventures of Izzy Ashby, a girl who'd rather be anywhere but the library.

To encourage both close and creative thinking, Mr. Dosch posed two questions to his class:

1. Izzy accidentally removes all the words from her school, making it impossible to do any bookwork. Shortly thereafter, the Izzy Ashby Fan Club is formed, and is said to have 100% membership. Dosch asked his class if they think this is a true 100%, considering the fact that Alexander Gum (a fourth grade scientist / inventor and the only person in all of Eastwood Elementary with working knowledge of wordquakes) loves his reading so much. Did Alexander join? Why would he? Or do you think that the membership of the fan club was 99.9%? Why?

2. Before reading the last chapter, Mr. Dosch asked his class to imagine how the book would end. Would Izzy save the day? How?

Mr. Dosch's class at work.
Mr. Dosch was kind enough to share the responses with me, and they were all just an utter delight! I loved getting a chance to hear how his students were interacting with the book--I especially enjoyed their predictions regarding the book's end. Some were already feeling Izzy's change of heart regarding the power of words; others had really imaginative ideas on how Izzy would put the words back in their rightful place. (Ideas involving wind or evaporation or scooping the words into a bag or even using her head flashlight to melt them back into place...)

Thanks, Mr. Dosch's 4th grade! I'm so glad I got to be a part of your new school year. Keep up the great work!

Monday, August 29, 2016

WORDQUAKE GIVEAWAY

I'm running a giveaway of one signed copy of WORDQUAKE, my illustrated short read for reluctant readers! Use the form below OR comment to enter.

More on WORDQUAKE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 27, 2016

FOREVER FINLEY #10: SONG FOR SEPTEMBER (LIVE & FREE!)


Forever Finley Short Story #10: Dreams often linger like a haunting melody.


Michael is a failed musician at heart and a coffee shop barista by day. Will the century-old legend of his hometown provide the magic he needs to finally succeed—and in so doing, will Michael have the power to assist in the long-awaited reunion of Finley's first sweethearts?

Song for September is available at:

Amazon
iBooks, B&N, and Kobo

Because August was such a crazy-busy month (back to school, etc.), and because I do think the August and September stories complement each other so well, I've decided to also leave Under the August Moon as a free read throughout the month of September:

 Under the August Moon is available at:


Amazon
iBooks, B&N, and Kobo

Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2016

FOR TEACHERS - LOCAL COLOR WRITING

I drew from my own Southwest Missouri surroundings in order to describe the Avery Theater in my latest YA, SPARK. The following video can be used in your classrooms to introduce the concept of local color to your students, and to get them revved to do a local color piece of their own:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY & FOLK ART ENVIRONMENTS

In my MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, Auggie and Gus become folk artists. But they're not content to simply make a few fun trinkets, paintings, or small sculptures. Instead, they turn their entire home into a regular folk art environment!

For teachers looking to jump-start interest in the concept of folk art--and to give young readers some idea of just how incredibly wild Auggie and Gus's house must look--consider sharing a few of these real-life folk art environments with your students:

1. The Watts Towers in California - Hundred-foot tall spiraling structures made of rebar and covered in concrete and broken glass or pottery shards.

2. Vollis Simpson's Whirligig Park - Auggie and Gus make whirligigs to put in their own front yard!

3. The Orange Show - This one defies explanation. But Houston (the city where the Orange Show is located) also hosts an Art Car Show--which would certainly spark many boys' imaginations.

4. Thunder Mountain - A Native American monument.

5. Bishop Castle - Your kids will love this one! It includes an actual fire breathing dragon.

Fair warning: Folks art environments are completely addictive. Once you get started looking at these amazing, imaginative structures, you just won't want to stop. Here's an additional list of folk art environments to feed your new addiction.

As always, I'm available for Skypes with classrooms who have read THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. You can schedule a visit at any time by shooting me a message: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Monday, August 15, 2016

WORDQUAKE - AN ILLUSTRATED SHORT BOOK FOR RELUCTANT READERS



I’m excited to share my latest release with you—a short new book for young readers called WORDQUAKE.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION?

I initially drafted WORDQUAKE last winter. I was doing a bunch of Skypes at the time. My debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, had been placed on several state reading lists, so I was regularly getting requests to talk to elementary classrooms and reading groups. Frequently, I was meeting with groups of reluctant readers—one librarian described her group as “kinda readers”—they kinda-sorta liked to read. And also, at the time, I happened to see a few tweets from teachers just observing how frequently the protagonist of MG novels were readers—or really great students. And I wondered—is that a part of the reason why kinda-sorta readers keep gravitating away from books? They’re not seeing themselves in the main characters? That’s when I started brainstorming. I knew I wanted a shorter read—I certainly felt a shorter read would be more appealing to those who weren’t natural readers themselves. And I also wanted a main character who’d rather be anywhere than the library.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Izzy Ashby is a girl who doesn’t like to read AT ALL. One day, Izzy accidentally shakes the words out of every textbook, worksheet, notebook, chalkboard, and bulletin board throughout Eastwood Elementary. For a girl like Izzy, this seems to be a dream come true! At least, until utter chaos ensues.

MY FIRST ILLUSTRATED WORK


I put the book up as an e-read last winter, and had several teachers use the book—tell me how much their students were enjoying it. And now that I’m moving my independent work into the print format, I knew that I had to get WORDQUAKE into print as well.

Those of you who have shared my books for young readers with your own kids or students or younger library visitors know that I pretty frequently gravitate toward art as a subject matter. My first novel ever was a YA that featured a teenage artist, and my MG, THE JUNCTION, also features a young girl who becomes a folk artist with her grandfather. I’ve always loved it myself, took a ton of art classes throughout school, but never really had an opportunity to incorporate it into my writing.
One of the coolest parts of going indie is that the possibilities for a writer are limitless—the only thing holding you back is you. So I took the plunge into digital art: I did a bit of research, got a Wacom drawing tablet and software and started in, illustrating WORDQUAKE.

WE’VE READ YOUR WRITING, BUT WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?

I had those not-straight-A students in my head again as I started to sketch out illustrations. Those students who were not quite seeing themselves in the pages of their books. And I knew I didn’t want the illustrations to look perfect. I wanted them to look accessible. I think, at times, things that are too polished can occasionally be discouraging to some students—especially those who aren’t straight-A students. That’s not the effect I wanted this book to have at all. I wanted students to be inspired to pick up a pen and put it to paper in some way. I’ve also long appreciated the quick, simple style of Liza Donnelly, who is a cartoonist for THE NEW YORKER. So with that in mind, I drew simple graphics and illustrations of my own to accompany WORDQUAKE. 

WHERE CAN WE FIND WORDQUAKE?

WORDQUAKE is available in paperback at Amazon, and will soon be available at Barnes and Noble as well. For those who use the book in classrooms or reading groups, I'd love to Skype with your own young readers. Feel free to get in touch at my website: hollyschindler.com or email me directly at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com. 

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