Saturday, December 26, 2009


I've got one more interview for '09, over at The Neverending Shelf...

These first few interviews have been such a blast...I've been hit up with such thoughtful questions...and A BLUE SO DARK isn't even out yet!

...I'm so anxious to get A BLUE SO DARK in your hands...

Happy New Year, everyone. Look out, 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Hey, everyone…just wanted to wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons!

See you in 2010…

I simply cannot wait!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Come on—that’s what this is, right? Okay, okay, so even my dog rolled his eyes at that quip when I first cracked it in his favorite park, which is now completely overtaken by the city of Ozark’s holiday light display.

…Ah, Christmas lights…given the opportunity, I’d probably wind up completely Griswolding my own place…

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Patty at Yay! Reads posted my latest interview today. She had such great questions about A BLUE SO DARK...My favorite?

"Aura seems to be afraid of herself in some ways and shuns her art. With many teens today expressing themselves through art, do you think that Aura made it even harder for herself?"

...It thrills me to no end to see her relating to Aura before the book is even in her hands!

Thanks to Patty—and don't forget to head to Yay! Reads to read the answer to this question and others!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Yes, oh, yes—it’s true. A BLUE SO DARK is available for pre-order on Amazon!

Now, if that doesn’t make a girl feel like a real-live author, I don’t know what would…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I can officially start showing it off: the cover of A BLUE SO DARK!

...I'm absolutely ecstatic!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So I’m putting together our yearly calendar...for 2010, I'm using pictures of me and my brother, John, when we were little. This particular black-and-white is my shot for June…I’m thinkin’ it was taken by our next-door neighbor the summer before my first-grade year.

…Makes my ears fill with a Cyndi Lauper soundtrack just looking at it. Right about this time, I was obsessed with She's So Unusual (the first record I ever bought). Later that year, I even dressed up as Cyndi Lauper for Halloween!

I think I'll reclaim "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" as my personal anthem...

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I've been interviewed by Flux intern and fellow writer Weronika Janczuk...Check out the full interview, which contains a more in-depth synopsis of my latest sale, PLAYING HURT, on Weronika's blog!


I’m ecstatic to announce that I sold my second YA novel, tentatively titled PLAYING HURT, to Flux Books!

PLAYING HURT follows the flowering of an intense summer romance between two former athletes who have both endured career-ending game-related tragedies. But by playing hurt—entering a love match with already-broken hearts—are they just setting themselves up for the kind of injury from which they could never recover?

…Stay tuned for juicy details…

Friday, October 30, 2009


Let’s see…black lipstick? Check. Blue undead serial-killing supermodel wig? Check. Outdoor “cemetery” decorations from every party, card, and hobby shop in town? Check. Window jack-o’-lanterns, plastic fangs, wads of spider webs? Check, check, check.

An oddly pumpkin-colored and—come on, admit it—demonic-looking sky, just in time for Halloween? Yeah, that’s a bonus.

Have a pus-filled, gory, ghastly Halloween, everyone! (Here, your ears fill with a wicked witch’s cackle…)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


What? That’s his name. And the love of his life, Ima Dead, currently resides just one grave over. Their love affair was the stuff that long, sprawling songs are made of: “Frankie and Johnny,” or even Cash’s “Delia’s Gone”…the kind of thing that ends in cheating and gunshots…

At least, that’s what I tell people when they see the cemetery I’ve got out front, which gets a new headstone just about every single day…and don’t even get me started on the backstory I invented for Frank N. Stein, who’s the newest addition to the graveyard, chains, bashed-in skull and all…

…I mean, you can’t expect a writer to just turn off her story-telling when she gets up from her desk, now, can you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Okay, so I’m not exactly going to be in the running for Top Chef anytime soon, but fellow ’10 YA debut novelist Holly Cupala graciously included me in her clever blog series Book Cooks (writers dishing on their forthcoming books and favorite recipes). She posted my super easy recipe for Coffee Jelly yesterday!

Check it out at Holly's blog!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We’ve enjoyed a harvest moon in the area as of late—that full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, whose light once gave farmers the opportunity to work well into the night, hauling in their crops…

All I can say is that farming isn’t the only work a harvest moon can foster. Something about the first chill of autumn makes me want to brew an extra pot of coffee and work on my new manuscript long after sunset hues like these have faded away…

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


…I mean it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Without writers with the guts to push the envelope, our literary landscape would be flat and always green…the kind of surroundings that, while pretty, could completely put you to sleep on a long drive…

Monday, September 28, 2009


...And tarnish, and yellowed sheet music. Chipped book jackets. Scuffed piano benches. Antique glass so old, it’s turned purple. Cracked celluloid mirrors. Trunks with broken hinges. Faded plastic beads in clip-on earrings. Once-upon-a-long-long-time-ago buildings like this old mill…

I’ll admit, it’s not just the rust I love, but the history that comes with it. I like to pick up an object knowing that it’s got its own story to tell…and the rust, the dust, the tarnish, the cracks? They’re like the opening sentences in a thick, juicy novel…

Monday, September 21, 2009


Poet Omar Khayyám (with his “Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough”) has got nothin’ on this picnic table carver, who is obviously the true master of turning any afternoon picnic into a romantic interlude.

Ah, the poetry of modern-day life…maybe not exactly Khayyám’s “Paradise enow,” but at least it’s good for a laugh…

Monday, September 14, 2009

WHAT THE...?????

When did kid and criminal become synonyms? People around here can tell me all they want that security like this is simply for a student’s own good (this photo was taken in the parking lot of a local middle school), but really, doesn’t this just sting of complete and total distrust?

…Makes my own junior high years look completely unrestricted by comparison.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


So I’m getting rid of the car I’ve had since college…cleaning it out was like an episode of This Is Your Life.

Sedimentary layers in the glove compartment and under the front seats contained ancient parking permits, faded receipts, a long-forgotten villanelle written for a poetry course, and a couple of notes from old friends: “Hey—I’m home from work. Come on over.” (Remember the pre-cell phone days when you stuck notes under windshield wipers??) Not to mention broken guitar picks, squeaky dog toys, hand-knitted winter hats, and paperbacks I read at lakeshores…and even a few scraps of paper I used to plot out my earliest attempts at novels, right out of grad school.

It’s just stuff—but really, it’s also the triumph of graduation, the heartbreak of friends that scatter like dandelion seeds, the thrill of new creative ideas that have to hit paper before the front wheels hit the driveway on my return home…

In a way, it really does feel like one of life’s chapters has come to an end…but it also feels like I’m standing right smack in the middle of the first paragraph of a new I’m a little girl reading past her bedtime, hunkered down under the covers with a flashlight, anxious to find out what happens next.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Just happened to snap this shot as my pup, Jake, took off for a walk with my brother this morning…Don’t we all wish we stepped out of the front door feeling so utterly free?

…Actually, I think I had this look on my face last weekend, when I wrapped up yet another revision.

On to the next project…

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Truly. According to the Springfield News-Leader, local teens hit library shelves like hammers this summer…Teenage bibliophiles recorded nearly 40,000 hours of reading time over the past nine weeks and wrote 875 book reviews on the Greene County Library’s TeenThing web page.

I love that tech-savvy teens still adore the feel of an old-fashioned book in their hands…

Friday, August 14, 2009


Bunch of area schools are back in session as of this week…No matter how much time separates me from that last commencement ceremony, I always think of late August (rather than January) as the beginning of a new year.

There’s just something about a blank composition notebook, a freshly sharpened #2, a perfect pink eraser that hasn't touched a single mistake…always makes me feel all-over tingly and a little out of breath, like a new adventure is about to unfold…

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I keep having dreams about it—complete with the crash of ocean waves in the background, mermaids on the rocks beside me. What the official cover art will look like when A BLUE SO DARK hits bookstore shelves, that is! Excitement keeps rolling in, like the tide…

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Come on, they’re not weeds. They’re beautiful metaphors. But let’s face it—I am to a manuscript what Miracle-Gro is to a patch of seed-filled ground. I get so many flowers popping open, it’s hard to tell one metaphor from another. Just a blinding sea of crazy color. (Enter sadness-tinged sigh here.) Time to cut some of the blooms from my current revision.

Picture it: freshman year on a Missouri college campus, cluster of sweaters under an oak tree, belly laughter over the results of career aptitude tests. Mine insisted I should become either 1) a florist or 2) a landscape architect. Who woulda thought that crazy test actually had some truth to it???

Thursday, July 16, 2009


The title of my debut YA novel is officially A BLUE SO DARK! I'm absolutely thrilled...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Remember those old fogies who sighed into their easy chairs after a long, hard day of work while their guitars, propped on stands in corners, grew dust as thick as winter blankets? Remember how you watched those strings turn green—literally—green from not being used, and how you wanted to cry for those poor, sad, lame, geezers? Remember how you swore you’d never be that old—even when you were a hundred and eighty?

Yeah. My guitar reminds me of that regularly. Demands that we do not drift off into fogy-land, no matter how many hours I’ve spent ripping old manuscripts to shreds. (Sometimes, doesn’t it feel more like building houses than it does writing a book???)

All I can say is, demand away…

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Uh, so, um, yeah. What did I say again? That I’d snap a few firecracker pics for the blog, like it was no big deal? Show off the great south Springfield display? Oh, sure—because everyone knows how incredibly easy digital photography is, right? No such thing as a bad photographer anymore, right?


Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Watermelon. Tank top. Potato salad. Flip-flops.

Sounds like some sort of Child’s Garden of Verses rhyme (yes, wouldn’t we all still like to go up in a swing?), but actually, it’s my plan of action for the Fourth of July…that, and sitting on the back porch, where I can view the sky-encompassing fireworks from a nearby country club. Probably while humming “Yankee Doodle Dandy” or “Born in the USA” (or, has been the case the past few days, the guitar riff / bass line of “Smooth Criminal”) while downing a cherry limeaid (my newest addiction...and as hot as it's been, the drink really is an -aid, not an -ade).


Thursday, June 18, 2009


It’s actually my pooch’s best summer trick, stealing outdoor scenery. This is the Finley River, where I was enjoying getting a good chunk of my daily writing done (very Thoreau-ian of me, huh?) while Jake got in plenty of tree sniffing and growling at geese:

Now that summer’s decided to sit her big sweaty self right on top of Missouri (and it's turned far too hot for such a heavy-coated dog to be outside), my scenery looks more like a vent. Nope—scratch that. Looks like a Pekingese lying spread eagle on top of a vent, while the air conditioning licks his tummy. He won’t peel himself off till September. Seriously. He eats on top of that vent.

Who am I to deny him such a simple pleasure? And how could I ever get any writing done at the river without him?

That dog has me wrapped around his dewclaw, I swear…

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I’m not really sure when a book can be considered worth its literary salt…I only know when I’ve personally fallen in love.

I mean, sure—some spines on my bookshelf get sold, traded, given away, like trinkets from long-lost exes. But a select group of special others get held onto long after their paperback covers, stained with sunscreen and melted lipstick, have warped, then curled in on themselves like hair taken straight out of a hot roller.

What amazes me are those books that manage to strike such a loud, vibrating chord with so many readers…as a person, we daydream about that special one who falls for us. But there are some books out there that have managed to get thousands to open their hearts and give in. It’s pretty spectacular, when you think about it…

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Seriously. What if the supposed shut-in had chronicled her life online in utterly exhaustive, meticulous detail?

What if F. Scott and Zelda had exchanged “love tsunamis” on Twitter?

What if we had all watched Poe stagger, drunk, into a gutter on YouTube?

Would any of it seem romantic anymore? Would we still troll their pages, mining each passage for clues as to who these poetic giants really were? Or would our literary heroes have been reduced to the train-wreck status of a Lindsay Lohan?

I was just wonderin’.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My brother turned the big 3-1 over the weekend; before the Schindler shindig, I found this bottom-of-the-shoebox pic of his big 0-9 at Skateland. (Brother John’s third from the left, in the striped shirt, and I’m on the far right—yes, and actual picture of moi—in that radical penguin T.)

My piano / guitar students have been informing me for years that skating parties are passé, blasé, and in no way cool. But does this photo not prove them ALL wrong? I mean, the skates with the neon orange wheels! The music—Tears for Fears practically oozes off this picture! The arcade—Tag Team Wrestling? Yes, please!

Ah, the 80’s…I swear, if I could only get my Big Wheel back (a green mode of transportation!), I’d be SOOOO happy…

Monday, May 18, 2009


I, Holly Schindler, took a weekend (GASP!!!). Okay, so I took it with a notebook. And so I had the first chapter of the current book I’m revising tucked under the cooler in the backseat. And so I worked out a plan to revamp the start of that novel.

But: the point is, I turned the computer off and drove to an actual lake far from the sound of actual car engines and spent time in the actual sun. Barbecued ribs. Laughter. Stones skipping and pe-lunking across the skin of the water.

...I also really love checking in on my own favorite authors’ blogs to see their landscapes. To find out what the sunlight’s dancing off of when they wake in the morning: seashores, city blocks, mountaintops.

This is my landscape. Or a slice of it, anyway.

Yes, actually.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So you’re thinking: Good God A’mighty, Gertrude, what’s with all this talk of revision? Revision, rewrite, rework…re, re, re…Sure, the girl’s promised to be off and running on a new draft—but has she? Hmm? Has she started a single new project lately, or is she still revising old ones? More importantly: how many old projects can the girl possibly have?

Uh, well, um, a lot. And I mean. A lot. I’ve got manuscripts crammed in my sock drawer and the breadbox. The crisper in the Frigidaire. The glove compartment in the Mercury. They fall out of the linen closet when I reach for clean pillowcases.

I have, after all, been writing full time since ’01.

And sure, those books didn’t exactly work the first time around, but hey, I lost track of exactly how long this female cardinal attempted to build her nest at my house. First she tried the sill of my office window, then the porch light, then an awning, each time getting only about halfway through before the nest toppled from the too-small sill, or slid down the awning, or, okay, got destroyed by a do-gooding writer (that porch light gets so hot, it would have hard-boiled her babies, I swear). But she kept at it…and since I haven’t seen her in a while, I feel it’s safe to assume that she finally found the perfect answer to it all.

…And eventually, the same will be said of all my old manuscripts…

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Okay, so this sunset's actually more gold than red, but the point is, I'm really pleased with the current OCEAN FLOOR rewrite I've been polishing up for Flux...

And I'm getting so close to an official title and cover art, the roots of my hair tingle!

...Stay tuned...

Friday, April 24, 2009


My Peke’s contribution to the revision process:

‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me. HEY. Are you seriously going to stare at that computer all day? When there are leaf blowers out there to attack? Wild onions to sniff?

Come on—ten minutes. Get in the car; we’ll let our ears ripple in the wind.

You don’t even have to pay me for my excellent idea. Or maybe you do. I’ll take a cookie or a belly rub.

Your choice.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The ink is barely dry on my long-coveted first contract, and already, I’ve learned that Webster got the definition of a writer (“one who writes esp. as an occupation”) totally wrong. Here’s a better description:

writ-er \׳rīt-ər\ n : a tech-guru, photographer, pitch-man, publicist, advertising specialist, short movie producer, public speaker, networking expert, and, oh, yeah, an individual who pens novels.

I’m sure I’ll only be adding to this definition as my publication date draws near…and I absolutely love hearing from fellow authors (what an ambidextrous bunch) about all the odd-ball know-how they’ve acquired during the course of their writing careers. Their stories make me so anxious and excited to find out where this (already) amazing ride will take me next...

Friday, April 10, 2009


Redbud trees (sigh—mine died in the Springfield Ice Storm of ’07) aren’t really red any more than red onions are. They’re purple—just like the march of spring across the Ozarks.

Funny place to be in, winding down one novel’s rewrite (coming closer to an end) just as Missouri’s in the midst of a new beginning, tugging open a pastel rainbow of buds—white, pink, and, yes, purple. (I love the way the blooms pictured here are clumped like waded-up balls of paper, as though a frustrated writer’s first attempts are hanging from the limbs. Hmmm. Could this be the Revision Tree?)

Soon, blue robin’s eggs will crack open like the spines of books for the first time.

…And I will be off on a new adventure, tramping through the mud of another rough draft.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I am in the process of rewriting two novels. This is not a typo. And, yes, I have read Millay and her warnings about candles with two fiery ends.

I am deep-sea diving in two separate oceans, alternating between the two, spending a whole day on one coast, then a day on another.

Actually, taking a day off one project means that, when I return to it, I find new avenues for exploration, new crevices in which to do a little literary treasure hunting.

…As long as I can keep it straight, which ocean I’m in…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Spring’s creeping, slow as a breeze up an arm. Which means that it’s time to pull out the tuning hammer and curl my back over the family Cable.

Our piano’s a real heirloom—the only item my grandfather ever purchased “on time.” Funny, that old expression for charging an item…especially since the piano is what bought me time. Teaching music lessons in the afternoons allowed me to pay those pesky bills while devoting eight hours every day to my writing.

I love the music of old pianos. Their soundboards don’t just vibrate with notes, but with history. The hopes of three generations float out from the inside of mine, every time so much as a single scale is played on the (okay, faux) ivories…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Gratitude abounds—I've received so many kind words regarding my spankin' new website!

I've also received several questions about what I look like...which surprises me, actually. Especially in this age of cover-art-sans-faces. I'm thinking of the completely headless images of young girls splashed across the covers of Mary E. Pearson's A Room on Lorelei Street, Laurie Faria Stolarz's Deadly Little Secret, Rachel Cohn's Gingerbread (hardback edition, of course), and pretty much anything by Sarah Dessen: Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Along for the Ride...

Other recent covers depict partial or obscured faces (Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak or Lisa Yee's Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time), and some avoid using any kind of portrait at all: Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, David Levithan's The Realm of Possibility, Lisa McMann's Fade, Linda Joy Singleton's Witch Ball, and pretty much anything by Ellen Hopkins: Glass, Tricks, etc.

The tactic bleeds into adult literature as well: In the romance genre, for example (picture the cover of Susan Wiggs' Just Breathe, featuring a photo of a woman taken from the back). And mystery (the faceless girls racing around a tree on the cover of Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know).

Whew—and these are all examples I just pulled from my bookshelf!

Okay, okay, so there are plenty of covers out there that break this rule...but for my book buying money, I like the headless art. The same way I like to read a book before I see the movie. The writer in me likes the chance to fashion the heroes and villains in my own imagination...and, yes, I love to imagine the writer, too...suede elbow patches and pipe, or ripped jeans and piercings. I like to picture a person who fits the persona of the to believe that maybe the voice screaming through the chapters has roots somewhere in the real world (feels less like losing a friend when I turn the final page).

But it poses an interesting question: Does a photo of an author destroy the fantasy? Or does a picture hovering over a bio on a website suddenly make him / her real?

And for those who asked about my own mug, I've got two words: Gwyneth. Paltrow. (Enter wacky emoticon of your choice here.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Aura Ambrose (the main character of my novel) has just inched the paint-splattered toes of her Chuck Taylors into cyberspace.
(Check out

Saturday, February 28, 2009


In writing THE OCEAN FLOOR, I actually became quite the expert on little known mermaid facts.

The first five things I was surprised to learn:

1). Mermaid scales are incredibly ticklish.

2). A mermaid's laughter sounds like wind chimes.

3). A mermaid's hair looks like silk ribbons up-close.

4). Mermaids dance.

5). Mermaids are especially happy to be included in novels.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Sure, I've got cold feet—it's February in Missouri, after all, a time when you could practically play music to the beat of an entire town's chattering teeth. And my left heel and right big red toenail are poking through a pair of wool socks as worn-out as an 80-year-old marathon runner.

But metaphorical cold feet? The kind that sends brides running from altars or would-be authors scrambling for 9-5 work when times get rough? Never have known that. Not in the seven and a half years I spent working toward becoming a published novelist. Not even when rejection poured like freezing rain—the kind that paralyzes cities, levels the strongest trees, yanks power lines like they're just stray threads from a blouse.

Rejection, be damned—I kept writing. Incessantly. No regular 9-5 for me (which accounts for the holey socks). Drafted my novels on a clunky, modem-less 1980's-vintage computer (seriously) and spiral notebooks.

Hoped. Believed. Screamed in frustration, but always turned the anger into work-fuel.

Eureka. A yes.

I am thrilled to announce my debut YA novel, THE OCEAN FLOOR (that's just the working title; my editor says it'll probably change) is scheduled to be released by Flux in 2010!

Let me say that again: My debut novel. Flux. 2010.

My feet might (literally) be cold, but my insides are as warm as an August heat wave...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...