Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HEIDI TRETHEWAY'S BETTER AMAZON PAGE

Over the weekend, I discovered Heidi Tretheway's fantastic post on building a better product page on Amazon. I took her advice to heart, and shortened my description of FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (I actually cut it in half), and used some html tags to revamp the appearance of the book description. 

I'm really happy with the end result, which can be viewed here.

You can also find Tretheway's step-by-step guide here.

The minute you read it, you'll be heading over to KDP to revamp your own books' pages!


Monday, April 13, 2015

TOO MUCH FUN: THE INCREDIBLE THREE AND A HALF

Frank Schmeisser's THE INCREDIBLE THREE AND A HALF SUPERHEROES is, as we would say in the Ozarks, a real hoot.

The book description promises a good time:

The top secret, totally true adventures of the child superhero team, the Incredible Three and a Half. Most superheroes hide behind masks as they battle against injustice in the world and, for their own protection, their true identities are kept top secret. But for reasons beyond his control, incorrigible sixth grader Sebastian Appleby-Krumble is forced to write down his exploits as part of the superhero team the Incredible Three and a Half. The Incredible Three and a Half Superheroes is a humorous, behind-the-scenes tale of the action-packed adventures of Sebastian, otherwise known as the Brain, and his friends Barbara "Action Barbie" Bakewell, Martin "The Chameleon" Koslowski, and Martin's imaginary friend Dickie, "The Chicken." Young readers will find out why Aunt Hilda's birthday ended in disaster; why Dolittle, the class hamster, wound up wearing camouflage; and how Sebastian was almost arrested while wearing a giraffe costume. Most importantly, they will discover why everyone must protect the secret identities of the Incredible Three and a Half to save the world from danger!

...And the book itself delivers everything that copy promises. Laugh-out-loud humor, and utterly delightful drawings throughout  by Jorge Muhle. Some language makes the book a better fit for upper middle grade or young adult. But it's a great choice for reluctant readers, boys, comic or graphic novel enthusiasts, or the young comedian in your life. Plenty of humor will also appeal to adult readers who appreciate books for young readers. And kudos for featuring both a female superhero AND giving the imaginary friend superhero status as well. An incredibly fun book that sucks you in from the start and keeps you chuckling until the last page.

Order at Amazon.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

IF YOU LIKE BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, YOU'LL LOVE FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS

I've been delighted by the initial response to my contemporary comedic women's fiction novel, FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS! Readers are calling the book "deceptively simple," "thought-provoking," and "full of laugh-out-loud moments."





Author Jennifer Salvato Doktorski described FIDOS as a "fun and funny read with adorable, quirky characters of both the human and four-legged variety. Readers who love dogs, romance, and fairytale endings will be charmed by this book."


 As a fan of vintage movies, some of my favorite comments compare FIDOS to an Audrey Hepburn flick (I've heard that from multiple readers). If you like BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S as much as I do, it's safe to say you'll dig FIDOS too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WHY SPRINGFIELD'S SOGI MAKES ME SAD

My hometown voted to remove sexual orientation / gender identity in the city's nondiscrimination ordinance yesterday. What might just upset me the most about this turn of events is the fact that this morning, all our local newscasters are indicating that "the LGBT community is no longer protected under the ordinance."

No, no, no. We're ALL no longer protected.

What I have never understood about the discussion is why it has not been presented as protection for the entire community, gay or straight. Doesn't adding SO / GI to the ordinance also mean that a homosexual landlord or employer cannot use sexual orientation as a reason to deny a heterosexual individual housing or employment? Why do we always place the LGBT individuals in the subordinate role in the discussion?

As far as I'm concerned, protection for one is always protection for all.

Monday, April 6, 2015

FORMATTING YOUR INDEPENDENT (SELF-PUBLISHED) E-BOOK

Formatting FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (my first independent release) proved to be far simpler than I'd
initially anticipated. Literally as easy as the old 1-2-3.


1. Download Scrivener

Scrivener can be a bit mind-blowing at first. But the beauty of it is that you don't have to learn the entirety of the program all at once--you only need to learn the parts that pertain to your current project. You can import a project from Word, or--this is Scrivener's real strength--you can draft in it. I'm in the midst of writing my first novel start-to-finish in the program now. Nothing has ever helped me break a book down into manageable chunks quite like Scrivener. (It's kind of win-win; the "Compile" button does make quick work of saving your novel as an e-book ready for publication. But even if you decide you like other formatting software later on, Scrivener will still be useful for writing new projects. And it's cheap; if you belong to writing associations like SCBWI, you'll likely also have access to discount codes.)

2. Get Ed Ditto's Book

Ed Ditto's formatting book takes you step-by-step through the process of using Scrivener to format your e-book. It's written for Mac users, but I've got Windows devices, and found it to still be incredibly helpful.





3. Seriously. Get the Dummies Book

I did. I'll admit it. It's actually coming in handier for learning what's available to me as I draft new work. (Ed Ditto's book was more useful for formatting.)





That's it. I mean it. It's that easy. Get to it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY - SCHOLASTIC EDITION

The paperback edition of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY is out!

...Auggie Jones is coming to a Scholastic Book Fair near you...

Monday, March 30, 2015

BRAND SPANKIN' NEW NEWSLETTER + KINDLE PROGRAMS


Super-cool announcement #1: The updated FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS is now available through both the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner Lending Libraries programs.  
Super-cool announcement #2: Anyone who's been a regular reader of this blog knows how much I love the fact that I'm a writer during an age when I can easily be in direct contact with my readers. To better stay in touch with my readers in a way that also allows me plenty of time to write the next book, I've revamped my method of email contact.

To get updates like the Kindle announcement straight to your inbox (and to get sneak peeks into what I'm working on next), be sure to sign up for my newsletter:





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Friday, March 27, 2015

UPDATED FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS

I'm delighted to reveal that FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS has a new cover and jacket copy!


Once upon a time, in a magical metropolitan kingdom…OR: When a mutt from Queens meets a purebred Upper East Side New Yorker, it takes man’s—and woman’s—best friend to convince them what they feel is more than puppy love.

Mable Barker, a hilarious, good-natured sweetheart who is always the pal but never the girlfriend, endures nine horrendous months of bouncing between lackluster jobs in Manhattan (and suffering unrequited love) in her unsuccessful attempt to find her one true talent. So when she meets Innis, the ill-tempered Fifth Avenue Pekingese, she assumes her dog-walking days are numbered, too; soon, she’ll be heading back to Queens brokenhearted, tail tucked between her legs. But Innis belongs to the adorable yet painfully shy young veterinarian, Jason Mead, a man whose awkward ways around women have him dreaming not of finding love for himself but of playing canine matchmaker—breeding Westminster champions.

When Mable and Jason meet, romance is officially unleashed: they find an instant connection and shared goal, as it appears that Mable could very well have what it takes to be a professional handler, soon to be seen holding Innis under a banner labeled, “Best in Show.” As Jason and Mable get closer to putting a new twist on the term “dog lovers,” outside forces—Mable’s overprotective brothers, a successful wedding planner with her eye on Jason, even the theft of purebred pups from Jason’s Fifth Avenue apartment building—all threaten to come between them. Will Mable and Jason simply let their burgeoning love roll over and play dead? Or will they rally to make sure Innis emerges as the leader of the pack?

Brimming with humor and endearing characters, Fifth Avenue Fidos offers more than a simple, sweet romance. Conventions of love stories and fairy tales merge to illustrate that each modern-day princess has her own happily ever after—with a prince, another princess, a four-legged furball, or a brachycephalic dragon…Schindler weaves a heartwarming story about the loves that help us realize our dreams, and, vice versa, about the dreams that bring us to our lives’ most powerful loves.

Friday, March 20, 2015

FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS RELEASE DAY!

Jake (my own Peke) and I are celebrating: FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS: A NEW ADULT ROM-COM WITH "BITE" releases today!















Fifth Avenue Fidos
A New Adult Rom-Com with “Bite”
Holly Schindler

When a mutt from Queens meets a purebred New Yorker, it takes man’s—and woman’s—best friend to convince them what they feel is more than puppy love.

Mable Barker, a hilarious, good-natured sweetheart who is always the pal but never the girlfriend, endures nine horrendous months of bouncing between lackluster New York City jobs (and suffering unrequited love) in her unsuccessful attempt to find her one true talent. So when she meets Innis, the ill-tempered Upper East Side Pekingese, she assumes her dog-walking days are numbered, too; soon, she’ll be heading back to Queens brokenhearted, tail tucked between her legs. But Innis belongs to the adorable yet painfully shy young veterinarian, Jason Mead, a man whose awkward ways around women have him dreaming not of finding love for himself but of playing canine matchmaker—breeding Westminster champions.

When Mable and Jason meet, romance is officially unleashed: they find an instant connection and shared goal, as it appears that Mable could very well have what it takes to be a professional handler, soon to be seen holding Innis under a banner labeled, “Best in Show.” As Jason and Mable get closer to putting a new twist on the term “dog lovers,” outside forces—Mable’s overprotective brothers, a successful wedding planner with her eye on Jason, even the theft of purebred pups from Jason’s Fifth Avenue apartment building—all threaten to come between them. Will Mable and Jason simply let their burgeoning love roll over and play dead? Or will they rally to make sure Innis emerges as the leader of the pack?

Brimming with humor and endearing characters, Holly Schindler’s Fifth Avenue Fidos offers a sweet romance and modern-day fairy tale in which dogs, not dragons, rule the land…a story about the loves that help us realize our dreams.

~

Purchase through Amazon or Kobo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS - A COVER THAT BREAKS THE RULES

FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS breaks cover rules. It's a romance, but Mable and Jason aren't embracing. The picture is oriented horizontally rather than vertically.

Were these choices made intentionally? Yes. Why? In part, because, as an indie author, I've got room to play. And, in part, because FIDOS as a novel breaks so many rules, too. I felt it deserved a cover that breaks the rules...


I drafted this book before New Adult was a category. FAF was on sub a few times; initially, editors said that the book was well done—a couple flat-out said, “This needs to be published,” but also indicated they didn’t know what to do with it. Wasn’t YA, wasn’t adult. One editor used the phrase “neither fish nor fowl.” But even after New Adult became a well-read age category, FAF was continuing to break the mold: This is a sweet comedy—not overtly sexy, no graphic erotica, not about college life…Editors were hanging onto it, trying to find a place for it, and were unsuccessful. But that’s what makes FAF perfect for the indie platform. There are just books that don’t fit the traditional publishing agenda—and that’s where indie comes into play. Independently published no longer means “inferior.” There are just certain works that are better suited for the independent world. FAF is one of those books.

FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS officially releases March 20. You can place your order through Amazon and Kobo (the B&N link will go live on the 20th).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

WHAT'S YOUR HAPPILY EVER AFTER? (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS)

Like many kid lit enthusiasts, I've long loved THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS. For years, I've considered it one of the absolute best (if not the best) picture book written. Strong female character? Check. Adventure? Check. Important message? Double-check.

Here, young readers are introduced to the idea that happy endings are in no way one-size-fits all. Happy endings involve a prince--or not. A gal can ride off (or in the case of the princess here, skip off) into the sunset all on her own...


FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (which releases Friday) addresses some of these issues on the adult level.
The book plays with the conventions of both romantic comedies and fairy tales (the book actually includes a princess) in order to ask readers what they think their own happy ending entails: a prince, another princess, or--ahem--a brachycephalic dragon (yep, the book includes one of those, too).

What about you? Does the sunset (your own happy ending) seem a million miles away? Have you already ridden off into your sunset? Is your happy ending different than what you'd originally imagined? It certainly is for Mable, the main character in FIDOS.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

PLAYING HURT--THE SEQUEL!

I'm thrilled to announce that I've officially begun work on my next independent novel: the NA sequel to my YA romance PLAYING HURT!

With no further ado, the cover (and title):


Friday, March 13, 2015

SNEAK PEEK: FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS

FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS, my first NA rom-com, releases March 20--just one week from today! To gear up for the release, I'm sharing a sneak peek.

About FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS:



When Mable Barker, a “mutt from Queens,” accidentally snags a job walking a snarly Pekingese belonging to the “purebred” but awkwardly shy New Yorker, Jason Mead, she expects to spend her days dealing with yet another creature’s crap—literally…Only to find, to her surprise, that love is unleashed, as she and Jason both fall completely for the Peke—and for each other. But can three imperfect beings come together to create utter perfection at the Westminster Dog Show? A modern-day, humorous fairy tale in which dogs, not dragons, rule the land.

~
In this scene, Mable and Jason meet for the first time. Both are having a rough go of it: Mable's just lost yet another Manhattan job in her attempt to find her true talent, and has come to the HEADLINES newsstand for the Classifieds. Jason's come to HEADLINES to see his dog Innis (his first attempt at breeding) featured in The Orient Express--a magazine devoted to Pekingeses...only to find that the picture of Innis depicts him in a very un-show-dog manner. The both reach for a pair of foo dog statuettes for sale at HEADLINES at the same time; this is what happens...



“I got a hit out right now on anybody in uniform. You guys are bringin’ me down.” It was true—losing her job made Mable hate the look of a uniform or a briefcase or a business suit with the intensity of ten thousand suns. And, as she had walked toward HEADLINES, she had imagined hanging new posters on all NYC utility poles: posters that showed Mable pointing a water submachine gun at various uniformed pros beneath the phrase, “They got in her way and now they’re dead.—A warning from Ma Barker.”
But somehow, standing there, saying it out loud—a hit on anybody in uniform—and watching this stranger’s eyes light up had also suddenly made her stop feeling desperate. Instead, it all just seemed laughable. “I would love to give one ‘a you my creepin’ crud,” she added, because somehow, it had also become overwhelmingly important to get a full-on laugh from this man—whoever he was. The kind of laugh that Mable had always interpreted, throughout her nineteen years, to mean I approve or I like you or that Mable—she’s something.
She grinned happily when it came—the full-on guffaw.
But Jason quickly recovered, slathered on a serious expression, and explained, “This doesn’t exactly help my cause, since you’re apparently against all professionals, but I’m not a nurse. I’m a vet.”
“Like from Afghanistan?”
“Like rabies shots. Dogs, see?” He pointed at the figures with his free hand, still refusing to let go of the foo dog.
“That’s as tough gig. I mean, I had a pet rock when I was little, and boy, was that work.”
“The anatomy of pet rocks happens to be incredibly complex,” Jason informed her, fighting another grin.
“Really.”
“Yeah, really. Now, hands off my sculpture.”
“Hands off my sculpture.”
They lingered there a moment, his hand on hers, their fingers tangled. Somehow, though, it didn’t have the feel of accidentally bumping a stranger’s hands while reaching for the “down” arrow on an elevator. It felt familiar; it was sitting next to the one person who didn’t give a damn that you were in your holey Friday night sweats. It was babbling about anything, without the worried pressure of having to impress anyone. It was neither one of them finding it strange that Jason’s face was hovering now nearly as close to Mable’s as Gavin’s had the last time she’d seen him—when he’d thought he might be able to free her from the parking meter.
“That’s a single set,” Carl interrupted, making them both jump. He pointed at the foo dogs. “I could, though, be persuaded to break the pair.”
“I need a little good luck,” Mable admitted. “Some kind of protective guardian. Somebody to snarl at the world on my behalf. I only need one. I can share with the vet-slash-President of the Pet Rock Society over here.”
“Done,” Jason said, reaching for his wallet.
“It’s a male and a female,” Carl said, sliding each dog closer to its proper recipient. “Perfect way to divvy them up, eh?”
Money was forked over; Mable disappeared around the corner before Jason could think to ask for her name. Or before Mable could think to ask Jason’s.
But names didn’t matter. It wasn’t like they were going to see each other again.
Right?

~

To read more of FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS, order at Amazon or Kobo.


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