Tuesday, June 28, 2016

MILES LEFT YET NOW IN PAPERBACK

This summer, I'm bringing my indie work into the world of print. I'm delighted to announce that my first print book, MILES LEFT YET, is now available!




I was surprised to find that putting a book together--I mean designing it in a visual way--is actually an artistic process. That's completely different than formatting an e-book; with an e-book, you can't account for what device your work will be read on, and have to keep it all as simple as possible. No graphics, no fancy fonts, nada. With print, though, you get to play with all of that.

As a reader, we don't actually think about little things like font choice and margins, the spacing of each line. But all those things come together to create tone--to provide a full reading experience. Having only gone through the process once, I'd already say that I now think of an adult print book as a piece of visual art--every bit as much as a young reader's illustrated book.

That's truly been the coolest part of putting together indie work, being responsible for every last detail: it makes me think of the content in a new way. I'm now imagining of the end product from the get-go, even when I'm still in the earliest drafting phase...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WRITING FLAWED CHARACTERS



SPARK, my latest YA, is full of flawed characters. In fact, the entirety of Advanced Drama is filled with students who believe themselves to be senior nobodies—the dull, neutral shades in the crayon box. To some degree, every single character you create should be flawed in some way. But what about those characters who wear their flaws outwardly, conspicuously? How do you create a flawed character who remains multi-dimensional?

Don’t JUST make them flawed. Human beings are fully rounded. We all have weaknesses and strengths. Make sure that every one of your “flawed” characters also has a special strength or talent as well. In SPARK, Cass and Dylan are arguably the most flawed of any of the characters in the book—or, at least, are the most affected by their own flaws: Cass has a prominent birthmark, and Dylan has a stutter. But they’re also incredibly talented musicians.

Don’t dwell on it. In a way, this was easy in SPARK—the book is told from Quin’s POV, so I didn’t have to worry that I was devoting too much of a character’s internal monologue grumbling about their perceived flaws. But if your flawed character does happen to also be telling the story, don’t allow their every thought to be focused on this one physical or personality quirk. It can have a stronger impact if you show how it affects their interactions with other characters, then develop other traits once you’re inside their head, listening to their thoughts.

Give your character a sense of humor about it. This can actually help you create a voice for your main character—let them be sarcastic. Or self-deprecating. Humor always helps endear your main character to your reader, and in this case, it keeps the book from seeming a bit melodramatic as well. 

Give them a scenario that forces them to face their flaw in some way. In SPARK, Cass and Dylan literally have to step into the spotlight—a place they both fear. What does your own character fear? Why? How can it hold them back? How can they address it? This all helps add drama, build to a climax. 

Let your character get over it. Or accept it. Or come to realize we all have perceived flaws. Your main character(s) should grow and change internally. There’s nothing tougher sometimes than self-acceptance. And it can make a really beautiful story, especially when it’s a story for younger readers.

Friday, June 3, 2016

CHASING JUNE - A NEW FOREVER FINLEY SHORT STORY

The next installment in the FOREVER FINLEY SHORT STORY CYCLE is live--and is currently a free read!

Those of you who have been following along with the cycle since last December know that things in Finley have been getting "curiouser and curiouser." This installment, "Chasing June," offers the most magical turn of events yet...

We've also spent the past several months meeting new characters; from now until next December (when the series will wrap), we'll be going back to those old characters, and we'll begin tying those loose threads together. As always, though, each story is a stand-alone; if you haven't read any of the previous stories, you can still jump in and read "Chasing June" now:

Chasing June


A short story that explores the frightening (and often wonderful) things that can happen after disturbing the dust that has settled across life as it’s always been.

Annie Ames returns to her childhood hometown to begin a project with her lifelong friend, Justin: a book documenting the romantic folklore surrounding the legend of Amos Hargrove, the town founder. But no one likes the fact that she’s “disturbing the dust”—rifling through old memories and a more than century-old legend. When Annie visits Mary, the town’s oldest resident, she opens an old trunk—and along with a treasured antique wedding shawl, discovers life-altering truths about her feelings for her closest friend…and about the legend of Amos Hargrove and his sweetheart, Finley.

Links:
Amazon
Kobo
B&N
iBooks

Previous releases in the cycle include: Come Decmeber, January Thaw, Forget February, Dearest March…, April’s Promise, and Mayday Mayday Mayday.

Watch the FOREVER FINLEY trailer:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW FOR SPARK

I'm delighted to share a fantastic School Library Journal review for SPARK:
Gr 6-10–Strange and powerful forces are at work in the skies over sleepy Verona, MO, a small town with a dying town square and some buried tragedies. High school senior Quin has been raised on the legend of the long-abandoned Avery Theater’s glamorous past and tragic closure. When her adoptive mother, the high school drama teacher, forces the advanced drama class to stage a production of Anything Goes to raise money to revive the Avery, all hell breaks loose and past and present intertwine in a whirlwind of memories, strange happenings, romantic sparks, and flashes of memory. This urgent yet sweetly told tale of history, small-town tragedy, and magic lacks something as a theater story—rehearsals and performances are often skipped in favor of magical denouements and dramatic flashbacks—but the fast pace and slightly eerie writing are appealing. The first-person narrative allows readers to see the world through Quin’s caring, wide-open eyes and loving perspective as she works hard to showcase her friends’ latent talents and honor her town’s history. VERDICT An innocent, hopeful, lightly magical romance, ideal for teens looking for “clean reads” and historical nostalgia.
 

Monday, May 23, 2016

COME SEE ME: CROSSROADS REVIEW LIVE!









I'll be joining Jessica at Crossroad Reviews for a live chat about all things SPARK June 15th 2 PM EST!

I hope to see you there!





Links:
Google Event
YouTube


If you'd like to shoot me a question beforehand to be asked on air, feel free to drop it into the comments here or email them to: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

ON THE SHELVES: SPARK AND THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY

I got a chance to head to my local (Springfield, Missouri) B&N yesterday to sign stock copies of SPARK (which just released May 17th) and THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY (which is a 2017 nominee for the Mark Twain Award).

It always feels incredible to see the hard work hit the shelves:



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, SPARK!

It's release day for SPARK, a piece of magical realism about star-crossed lovers, righting history, and escaping your own perceived "flaws," perfect for those who are drawn to the theater:






Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

LIKE COME DECEMBER? MAYDAY...IS LIVE, FREE, AND FEATURES NATALIE AND THE MYSTERIOUS GEORGE

 

A new story in the FOREVER FINLEY SHORT STORY CYCLE has just gone live--and is a free read!

So far, the FOREVER FINLEY SHORT STORY CYCLE has introduced you to new characters each month. Starting in May, I'm beginning to tie some threads together--which means we'll be hearing from old characters again. This month, it was a delight to catch up with Natalie and Damien:

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY 

A short story that explores how holiday magic can carry forward into the rest of the year, featuring Natalie and the mysterious George from “Come December.”

Engagement should be a happy time in a young woman’s life, but for Natalie, it’s plagued with doubts. She’d only known Damien four months when she accepted his proposal, and now, when the two are together, she hears a distinct Mayday distress call. Where is the voice coming from? Does it have anything to do with the enigmatic figure she encountered in the cemetery last winter? Or is Natalie finding a way to tell herself she thinks she’s about to go down in flames?

Mayday Mayday Mayday is part of the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle, a series of stand-alone short stories releasing once a month throughout 2016 and culminating to paint a full picture of the mystical small town of Finley.

Available now:
Amazon
iBooks
Kobo
B&N

Thursday, April 21, 2016

LOCAL COLOR AND SPARK

I love the fact that teachers have been using THE JUNCTION for classroom assignments--so much so, I wanted to get the ball rolling on some ideas for how to use SPARK in the classroom as well (the book is clean and lends itself to some great literary discussions; it's great for middle school readers on up). I put together a short local color vid in which I show young readers how I used my own surroundings as inspiration, and also challenge them to do a local color piece of their own:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

TRAILER: SPARK (YA / HARPERCOLLINS)

Yesterday, I revealed a more traditional so-what's-it-about trailer. Today, I'm revealing a more thematic trailer for my forthcoming YA, SPARK:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

SPARK - BOOKLIST REVIEW AND TRAILER

I received a really lovely review from Booklist just as I was putting together my trailer for my forthcoming YA, SPARK.

In part, Booklist said, "Rooted in magic realism, this sweet story faintly echoes Romeo and Juliet as it explores what it means to be a survivor, a bystander, and a member of a small community. Schindler's story casts a shimmering spell that links tragic historic and contemporary events in a small Missouri town."

More on the "shimmering spell" below:

Spark - Holly Schindler from Holly Schindler on Vimeo.

Friday, April 8, 2016

FREE NOVELETTE - PRINCESS LEFTOVER

Those of you who have read FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS know that it’s really two books in one—Mable, the main character, has an incredibly active imagination. And in her own mind, she’s a princess. Not a flawless princess—not even close. The princess Mable is in her fantasy life is every bit as imperfect as Mable. She bumbles along in a magical metropolitan kingdom that's a mirror image of Mable’s New York City. Readers have loved Princess Rosy (Mable’s fairy tale alter ego). So much so, I’ve taken the Princess Rosy sections and compiled them into a standalone novelette, available as a free read:
 

Princess Leftover: A Comedy of Errors, Luckless Disasters, and Fairy Tale Mishaps

A novelette that insists we grab the starring roles—become the princesses of our own fairy tales.

Princess Leftover is a bumbler, constantly screwing up despite her magical surroundings. She descends her father’s tower to make her way in the Frog District of her metropolitan kingdom, only to join forces with the Prince of Klutz and his brachycephalic dragon. Can such a hodgepodge, clumsy trio ever expect to ride happily into the sunset?

Available now:
Amazon
Kobo
Barnes and Noble

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

THREE THINGS INDIE (SELF-PUBLISHED) AUTHORS WISH STOCK PHOTOGRAPHERS WOULD DO



      Traditional and independent publishers alike often turn to stock photography when designing book covers. If you’re a stock photographer, you can increase your chances of seeing your work on the cover of a book by following a few simple suggestions: 
   
       Orient your photos vertically. A book is itself a vertical object; it needs a vertically-oriented picture for the cover. Even if it’s an e-book, an author or publisher will most likely choose an image that’s oriented in this fashion (horizontal images don’t make attractive thumbnails on Amazon pages, and stacking or blending multiple horizontal images to make a vertical cover can get clunky fast). When doing my own image searches at stock image sites, I immediately filter out any horizontal pics. 

       Don’t center your pictures. Publishers need space on the photos to insert titles and author names. Place your subject to the side, top, or bottom, leaving plenty of (sky, walls, road, etc.) to function as blank space where a publisher can insert text. Remember, too, text needs to be instantly readable—so think about what kind of texture your “blank space” has—brickwork, too many clouds, etc. can sometimes be too busy for any text to be incorporated in a legible way. 

       Add emotion or drama. When looking for stock images for my own cover, I’m not interested in perfection—I’m interested in a cover that will make a potential reader say, “What’s that all about?” The cover needs to draw them close enough to read the jacket copy. I need a picture, then, that promises my book will be an emotionally satisfying experience. Think about photographing imperfect objects (a torn wedding dress in the mud conveys far more drama than a pretty wedding dress hanging on a closet door). Think about taking photos during inclement weather. Think about photographing people when they’re not smiling. 

       (Also, as a side-note, think about taking headless photos. Headless photos on books are so prevalent, they really seem cliché. But there’s a reason they get picked: you wouldn’t believe how many times I find an image I love but can’t pick because the subject has a different hair color than my main character.)

Really, though, maybe the best thing you can do as a stock photographer is to regularly visit your local bookstore or library in order to keep up with the latest trends. Be sure to check out several different genres—they really do follow their own conventions (romance covers and mystery covers can be completely different animals). Best of luck—and on behalf of independently published authors, thanks for the hard work you do; you provide the “face” for our own body of work!
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