Saturday, October 22, 2016


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


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.


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:

Available as a paperback at:

Happy reading--and giving!

Saturday, October 8, 2016


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


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:

 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


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

Sign up for my newsletter at to be notified of the official release!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


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


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


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


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:
iBooks, Kobo, B&N

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


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!
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