Friday, December 23, 2011


I just want to take a moment at the end of 2011 to thank all my friends and followers here at the blog for such an incredible year. 2011 saw the release of my second YA, PLAYING HURT, and it was because of the support I received from bloggers during the successful PLAYING HURT Blog Tour that the book got into the right hands. (Thanks to my fabulous readers, discussion of the novel lit up the blogosphere...)

I'm so glad that I got a chance to meet so many new readers and fans throughout the year, and can't wait to find out what's just around the bend in '12...It's bound to be a fantastic year, and I'm thrilled I'll get to share it with all of you!

For now, though, I'll wish you all a very happy holiday season. (The card below is one that I drew many years ago, for my parents to send out. Now, I'm sending it to all of you!)

Season's greetings!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Hey, all! I'm happy to participate today in the big cover reveal for Tiffany Truitt's CHOSEN ONES, set to release with Entangled in April 2012. Here's the lovely cover:

And here's the jacket copy:

What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?

Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger.

But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?

...What do you guys think?

Monday, December 19, 2011


I'm so excited about this: right now, for just .99, you can grab yourselves a Kindle copy of A BLUE SO DARK! And, to accompany this fantastic offer, I will sign your Kindle copy through Kindlegraph!

Spread the word, my lovely bloggers...

Friday, December 16, 2011


Okay, so not the classiest of titles for a blog post. But that's what I've been doing lately. I'm not sick...I'm just drafting new work. And I've decided that's actually the most accurate, vivid way to depict the drafting process. I mean, a first draft isn't supposed to be pretty. It's just supposed to come out. Just like, well...

I've also discovered a fantastic new way to get through the puking drafting process. I call it Give Credit Where Credit's Due. So often, at the end of the day, a writer can look at the number of words (or pages) and feel a little rotten about how skimpy it seems. Really, though, it's so much better for a writer's mental health to take stock of what really happened during the drafting process that day. If you figured out a plotting problem or made a breakthrough with backstory, that's worth far more than the sheer number of words typed that day. Always remember to take stock of what you accomplished, not what you think you should have accomplished.

Speaking of word count, though, I've also started giving myself credit for all the words I write during the drafting process...even notes to self, scrawled down the margins of notebook paper. I find that if I give myself credit for the words written outside of the story, I allow myself to go on tangents, to explore aspects of the story that might not ever have been addressed (at least, not in the earliest stages of writing the book).

All of this makes drafting infinitely more enjoyable. And that's definitely important, for someone who far prefers revising to drafting. Drafting's now so much more enjoyable, in fact, that I'm celebrating all WIPs at my houseeven the WIP belonging to my dog, as this snazzy new sign illustrates! (More on Jake's WIP here.)

Happy puking drafting, everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011


I'm back for the Follow Friday fun, courtesy of Parajunkee...I just couldn't resist this week's question:

Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?


New followers, please leave a comment so I can check out your own blogs!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I've said it before: I’m an idea junkie. It’s a bit of a disease, actually. I get two, three chapters into a new project when I'm suddenly bowled over by the concept for yet another book.

When I first began the pursuit of publication, those new ideas would sometimes get me sidetracked. I learned I need to keep a spiral-bound notebook where I can jot down the basics of a new plot, then get back to the project at hand.

Being the idea junkie I am, I recently found myself with a backlog of projects I wanted to get out of outline form…I reorganized my office, getting all my materials in order so that I could move straight from one project to the next, throughout 2012. Ten in all. Yeah. I know. Ten new books. I’ve got the list of books (written in the order in which I'll tackle them) thumbtacked to the wall above my computer, in my office.

My true goal for 2012, though? Not to get all the way through the list.

Writers know the scenario well: you get about halfway through drafting a new book when your editor sends you the revision notes for a book you’ve already got in development. You have to put your current project aside, to work on revisions.

Right now, my agent’s shopping several new books...and I have to admit, my Christmas wish is that my agent will sell those projects, and I’ll be interrupted all through 2012, as the revision notes for those books come in from editors…

At this point, I’ve quit just crossing my fingers. I now have my toes crossed, my eyes crossed, the strands in my ponytail crossed…A little bit of praying doesn't hurt anything, either:

Until then, I’ll be plugging away at the first project on my list!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


About a year ago, Jake discovered he could dig. Yeah, I know—most dogs get hip to this discovery fairly early in life, but Jake’s funny about what touches his feet (don’t even get me started on the recent boot fiasco), so it took him a while to finally get his—ah—paws dirty.

Now, though? He’s got one hole he’s been working on for some time (kind of like the sweater I’ve been knitting since ’07)… He’s incredibly proud of it, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind a bit that I’m showing it off here:

But the thing is, even though he’s obviously proud of his creation, he actually prefers to do his digging when he thinks nobody’s looking. And then he shows up at the back door looking like this:

That nose will give you away every time, buddy…

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


This year, I'm just really into the Thanksgiving vibe. For those of you who follow my MG and YA author blogs, you know that both are featuring "gratitude" as the theme of the month.

Gratitude, it seems, is a little like these flowers I just found in my front yard—at this time of year, my yard's a giant patch of brown. But once I noticed these little spots of purple, it was suddenly all I saw. Start focusing on what you're grateful for, and all the brown, scraggly annoyances in life fade away, too.

This month, I've been rerunning the below post everywhere I can. Originally written for Tracy Barrett's Goodbye day job! blog, it turned out to be my favorite guest post of all time, because it gave me a chance to talk about all the insanely incredible support I've received while working to get my writing career off the ground.

I'm definitely lucky, as the post explains...but as I find myself saying a lot lately, we're all lucky, in our own ways. Here's to focusing on the bright spot of purple, wherever it happens to pop up in your own life!


When I got my master’s in ’01, my mom invited me to stay home and devote my full-time efforts to getting a writing career off the ground (my lifelong dream). I figured it’d take a year or so to write a novel, then it’d sell (I was lucky enough to have placed poetry, short fiction, and literary critique in journals when I was in college, and was under the grand delusion that selling a manuscript would be a breeze for me), and in oh, two years or so, I’d have money in the bank, and I’d be off and running.

Okay, seriously. You can stop laughing now.

The truth is that it took seven and a half years just to get my first acceptance. In that time, my friends from college finished up PhDs, started teaching, doing research, became professionals. I often felt like all I had was a deep gash in the drywall where I’d spent months upon months banging my head against it.

And, let’s face it: I had guilt.

I cringe at the stereotypical portrait of the kid who’s living at home: the slacker who lies on the couch, playing video games, letting Mom do laundry, mooching, no sense of direction to speak of. That certainly has never been my life. I feel that your family is your family, regardless of what it consists of: your spouse and your children, or your siblings and parents. I participated in everything going on in my home: the upkeep, the repairs, the lawn, the floor-laying, the painting, the grocery shopping, the meal-planning…My office butts up against the laundry room, and, yes, I’ve always done my fair share of the laundry, as well.

Still, though: the guilt. You aren’t a responsible adult without feeling the sting of not contributing financially (I did teach piano and guitar lessons, and everything I made went to paying off what few bills I had—I got out of college with no student loans). Still, though, no matter how much I contributed, I often felt it wasn’t enough. I butted heads with my mom about finding work out of the house (she always talked me out of it). Instead, I worked, as we’d agreed, on my manuscripts: I created a floor-to-ceiling stack of them in those seven and a half years.

During those years, I learned to balance my writing with the comings and goings of a household. I can fix a lawnmower with one hand and outline a novel with another. I also learned that my greatest first reader is also the same person who insisted I stay home to write in the first place (Mom’s a great titler, too—she was the first to suggest the titles for both my published books). And when the triumphs finally arrived—selling a book, seeing my first book on a store shelf, getting the starred review, receiving a few lit prizes—my mom and brother, who had been my support, my sounding board for project ideas, my first set of eyes, took pride in it, too. They had a hand in it.

Come on—getting started is beyond rough. Everybody has to have some sort of help when they set out to forge a writing career. Now, when I step inside a library or a bookstore, I think there’s not just one person behind each of those titles, but a whole group of them—in addition to the writer, there’s some combination of parent, sibling, partner, spouse, etc., who supported that writer as they got started. It’s pretty incredible, when you stop to think about it…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Okay, so I've said it time and time again: the skies here in SW Missouri are gorgeous. I even sing the praises of our skies on Twitter and Facebook...Last spring, one of my followers who also lives in the area tweeted about what a lovely day we were having, saying, "These are the skies Holly Schindler's always talking about!"

To prove to you just how beautiful our skies are, I've put together a short video. Just promise that when you watch you won't get too jealous!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Confession: I've had a bit of a love-cringe relationship with ARCs (advance reader copies) ever since my second book, PLAYING HURT, was in development.

My first book, A BLUE SO DARK, only saw significant changes to two scenes in-between the book’s acquisition and publication. That’s it. So the ARC was also very close to the final copy, with the exception of just a few phrases or typos. PLAYING HURT, though, was revised globally after acquisition (most of the changes were focused on Clint’s chapters), and even after the ARCs were printed, I continued to tweak passages—primarily, I was working on the steamier chapters, trying to find the perfect balance between staying true to the feelings of young love and remaining tasteful.

While PLAYING HURT was in development, I’d stumble across reviews every once in a while of others’ books (like a lot of readers, I also learn about new authors via the blogosphere) in which the reviewer would say something along the lines of, “Great premise. Really awkward writing style.” And the author in me would think, “But you had an ARC,” because I was truly learning just how much can actually change between ARC and final copy.

Also, at the time, I kept running into ARCs in a local used bookstore. I actually bought Laura Lippman and Mary E. Pearson ARCs, mostly to get them off the shelves. (Do local readers truly know what they're getting with an ARC? I wondered.) ARCs are more like ads, I thought. Something to encourage people to buy the final copy. It’s not something that should be read as though it is the final copy.

Ever since, I’ve always wondered how bloggers approach reviewing ARCs. I realize that a blogger’s at a bit of a disadvantage. The publisher (or author) has given out an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The blogger can’t suddenly become a mind reader and know exactly what’s changed. They have to review what’s in front of them.

Curious, I went straight to the source. And I have to say, yet again, bloggers showed what a smart bunch they are.

In a nutshell, here’s how bloggers told me they handle ARCs:

  • Indicate in the review that their copy is an ARC.
  • Recognize an ARC is in a “semi-raw” state (I love that phrase).
  • Make allowances for typos, grammar, misspellings.
  • Realize that larger changes can often take place—to scenes, etc.
  • Write a review based on plot, characters, and overall writing style (rather than picking apart smaller details).
  • Make sure that they post a review in a timely manner. (One blogger even stated that they purchase a final copy if they don’t get the review done before the book releases. Gold star for that one…)
  • Make sure not to put out too many spoilers.
  • Still stay true to themselves by giving an honest reaction to a book—its premise, its characters, its general writing style—no matter where the book originated. (ARCs from authors or publishers are reviewed every bit as honestly as books from bookstores.)
  • In addition, many bloggers pointed out that they're not out to slam the books they didn't personally enjoy. Instead, their goal is to make sure the books they love get the most attention possible.

Seriously. How truly cool is that? I do believe I can now say I’ve gone from a love-cringe relationship to love-love. Thank you, bloggers…

Monday, November 7, 2011


I just can't quit coming up with them—metaphors to describe the way I sound when I cough, that is. But thanks to the absolute coolness of social networking, mention that you have a chest cold, and helpful suggestions pour in. Elderberry syrup and tea with ginger have been my biggest saving graces...

While I recoup, I've been thinking quite a bit about a blog post I've wanted to write for a while now...and in order to do it, I need some feedback from bloggers. Basically, what I'd like to know is if you review an ARC any differently than you review a finished copy.

To make responding easier, I've created a handy dandy little form (below). Fill 'er out, and I'll put up the post as soon as the responses stop coming in...and as soon as I take another spoonful of elderberry syrup!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Yes, oh, yes: I'm donning my Raggedy Ann garb to get in the spirit of the best holiday going.

Never to be outdone, though, Jake decided he wanted to wear the wig, too...and of course, he looks far cuter in it...

Happy Halloween—from both of us! May you all have the goriest, ooziest, gooiest Halloween yet!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Okay, it’s official: book trailers are addictive. I’ve talked about it before on the blog—wanting to get some practice in before doing the trailer for my MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Before, I’d been a bit hesitant to do a book trailer, worrying that the images chosen might be a bit of a distraction for bloggers (in the same way that a music video can occasionally be an intrusion into a song).

But now that I’ve finished the trailers for both of my published YAs, I don’t think I’ll ever have that worry again…

Below is the trailer for my second YA, PLAYING HURT. Feel free to share online—and don’t forget to “like” my Facebook author page. Once I hit 200 fans, I’m doing swag giveaways!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've always been an enormous fan of literature...I've never quite been able to get enough of the written word. Even when I was small enough to ride inside a shopping cart, I could never allow my mom leave the grocery store without first letting me grab a Little Golden Book.

The busier I get, though, the more intrigued I get by audiobooks. There's something kind of...old-school about getting your stories told to you. Kind of makes me think of families gathered around radios, in the pre-TV era.

So I was delighted when a copy of TELL ME A SECRET arrived, straight from the author herself. (Holly Cupala and I both released our debut novels in '10, and it was a joy to share all the nervous energy and the triumphs with her as our books moved through development.)

I already knew I loved TELL ME A SECRET; I read the novel when it released in '10. But the audiobook, which I listened to this past weekend, is a pleasure in itself. Just holding the audiobook gives you the same tactile pleasure that holding a new book provides—it's packaged beautifully. And there's something just so...delicious, really, about slowing a book down. Face it—most of us bookworms have learned to read on warp speed. But when a book is read aloud, the phrases get a chance to permeate in a completely new way. And Jenna Lamia, who narrates, is especially good with dialogue; the dialogue is acted, rather than simply read.

If you get a chance to get your hands on a copy of Cupala's TELL ME A SECRET audiobook, you absolutely should...and don't forget to mark your calendars for Cupala's sophomore novel, DON'T BREATHE A WORD, due out in January!

As for me, the listening experience was so enjoyable, I'm going to gravitate toward more audiobooks in the future.

...How about you? What's your experience with audiobooks? How do you think they stack up to the printed page?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It's absolutely no secret what a fan I am of Catherine Ryan Hyde. I've loved her work for years, and was beyond-words flattered when she blurbed my debut novel, A BLUE SO DARK. She's also one of my all-time favorite authors to interact with, and I'm always inspired by the way she reaches out to and connects with her readership.

That being said, I'm sure my fellow Catherine Ryan Hyde fans will delight in knowing that she has returned to the adult market! Catherine recently put up a post on her own blog that serves as an open letter to her US adult readers, but I'm so excited about this development, I had to shout it from the rooftops, too: Catherine has just released two previously UK-only adult titles here in the US; they're available as e-books for an incredible price ($2.99). Click the links below to head straight to their Amazon pages...Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got books to order!

Second Hand Heart

When I Found You

Monday, October 17, 2011


I'm eyebrow-deep in yet another revision. And I'm so keen on getting this one whipped out, I'm not letting myself listen to my new Pistol Annies CD until I'm done (it's become the dangling carrot that absolutely makes my mouth water...)

In the midst of my self-inflicted music diet, though, new music finds me, anyway. I've recently discovered Will Hoge, and he's quickly become one of my favorite singers...I swear, his voice gives me goosebumps. And his song "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" has become one of my all-time favorite tunes, as well.

Really...doesn't this song sum up how we all feel about writing?

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've decided, with my first MG in the works, to get in on the book trailer scene...and in order to prepare for doing the trailer for THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, I've decided to get my feet wet by doing trailers for both of my published YAs: A BLUE SO DARK and PLAYING HURT.

I really love the finished product for A BLUE SO DARK...I also loved getting a chance to celebrate my debut novel. If you love the trailer as much as I do, head over to my author page on Facebook, and become a fan! And spread the word, because as soon as I hit 200 fans, I'll be doing some giveaways of quickly-dwindling author swag!

Also, if you're a blogger who would like to be on my mailing list (in order to get news and promotional opportunities sent straight to your inbox), fill out the form here!

Without further ado...A BLUE SO DARK:

Monday, October 3, 2011


As I said before on the blog, September was a crazy-busy month of revisions. We’re talking global revisions, for my forthcoming MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. For some reason, the tech world decided to conspire against me during the rewrite—first my computer completely melted down, and I wound up with a new-to-me tower which, to be honest, drives me no less crazy than Frank, my previous computer. (Yep, Frank. I spend so much time with these gadgets, talking right to them when they get cranky, I figure might as well go all the way and give each of them a name. For the new tower? Clarice.) As soon as I finally got the new tower up and running (printer installation alone took two hours with HP tech support), lightning struck a utility pole near my house—and it wasn’t even raining!

Yeah. I know.

But for every loss of electricity, there is, in fact, a bright spot. No Internet also means no distractions. I spent hours upon hours on the back porch with my pages and my NEO (so many that a “Because You’ve Been Working So Hard” bouquet made its way to my kitchen table).

I have to say that I’m really proud of the end result.

Long story short, revisions are sent—on time, despite our little difficulties. (Whew #1.)

Also, last weekend, Sarah Ockler, the author of the Republic-banned TWENTY BOY SUMMER, came to Springfield for some events during Banned Books Week. Which, let’s face it, took guts. No one knew if any naysayers or protesters were going to show up for the events, or what the overall response was going to be. Thankfully, though, Sarah got a really warm reception from the side of the Ozarks I have always known and loved. (Whew #2.)

Though I was working like the dickens (literary pun intended) trying to wrap up my revisions, I was thrilled to be able to meet Sarah at the Library Center. Sarah is every bit as lovely in person as she is on the page, and she wrote a really beautiful inscription in my own copy of TWENTY BOY SUMMER (an inscription that officially moved the book from the “Favorites” shelf in my bookcase over to the “Prized Possessions” shelf):

“For Holly, a fellow YA writer and book lover who knows the importance of telling honest, difficult stories! Keep writing your truths, and keep searching for the red piece…”

See what I mean? Just beautiful…

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Most writers would agree that conflict—or confrontation—can often be the most fun part of writing a book. On the page, conflict is where the story really takes off.

But because I’ve been hard at work, all month, on the revisions for my forthcoming debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, I’m also reminded of another type of conflict that occurs in the process of getting a book on store shelves—between a writer and him or herself.

Every writer is protective of their book. In a lot of respects, you have to be. That need to protect is what gets you through multiple rounds of submission and rejection. It’s also, I’d argue, what gets a book written in the first place.

So many writers refer to or think of our books as babies. (Online, release dates are celebrated as “book birthdays.”) Often, I’ve heard writing a book likened to giving birth. Actually, I think it’s more like being home with a newborn. When a baby comes home, your world becomes about the baby—your entire life revolves around caring for and protecting that baby. When inspiration strikes, you have to treat your book the same way. You have to say, “I couldn’t possibly go to the movies [or out to dinner or away for the weekend, etc.], I’ve got a book to write!” The same way that you’d never leave a baby home alone, in order to get some guacamole. You’re responsible for getting those ideas on paper, every bit as much as you’re responsible for the well-being of a newborn.

That might sound like hyperbole, but really, I’m not exaggerating at all. Protecting your idea, your novel, really is that important—as important as caring for a newborn. If it’s not, believe me, the world encroaches, and the book never gets written.

The conflict that I’m referring to, though, actually happens after the book is written. After the book has been accepted. After you ink the deal, and all your hard work has paid off…

And you get your editorial letter. Asking you to make global changes.

At this point, that ultra-protective writer inside you—the same protective writer who cared for your concept like a newborn—butts heads with the ultra-critical editor inside you.

And that’s where the magic happens.

I love the global revisions that take place after a book’s acquisition, because inevitably, something really beautiful always comes from that internal conflict: my protective self wanting to stay true to the initial concept, and my critical self seeing my editor’s points and wanting to implement changes. Characters are reinvented, subplots revamped, events placed in a different order. The book becomes three dimensional at this point. It has skin.

So do I ever avoid this confrontation with myself? Never. Once I get that editorial letter, I jump straight into it, heart racing with excitement…

Below: a "greatest-hit" moment, as I unveil the official title of my MG! (The book features a young artist, and nothing reminds me of the art projects of my youth quite like construction paper. All that's missing from the vid are a few pipe cleaners...)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I always compare it to meeting up with a shadowy figure at the end of an alley—reading blog reviews, that is. You never do know, when you first start to read a review, if that blogger is about to become your newest ally, or someone who just wants to tear your work to shreds. John Claude Bemis wrote a post last month (at my MG author blog, Smack Dab in the Middle) about some of the horrors of dealing with less-than-positive online reviews. Like John, I had to figure out what, exactly, to do with online reviews of my work when my first book released—a quandary for all current writers. I know some authors ultimately decide not to look—not at reviews on individual blogs, or on Amazon, or Goodreads. I decided early on to set up Google Alerts on my name and my book titles, and to read it all.

Now, with two books under my belt, I’ve got a few pointers for those about to face blog reviews for the first time:

1. Cut the umbilical cord. Your book is your baby; you raised it up from the tiniest germ of an idea into a complete, finished product. Like a proud parent, every writer does—and should—feel protective of their work, as well. This desire to be protective is often what carries you through rejection and multiple rounds of revision. But once that book hits the printer, you need to separate yourself just enough to grab a little objectivity. You should always love your book, and always feel proud of it. But a bit of distance is important when the book releases.

2. Accept that you’ll get some horrible blog reviews. It’s inevitable. Within the industry—among editors, agents, and reviewers for trade journals—there tends to be some similarity of thought. But once the book hits the public, there is absolutely no consensus. None. Somebody out there’s going to say, “Yuck.”

3. Don’t expect to glean much from negative blog reviews. When a reader doesn’t connect with a book on any level, their comments aren’t particularly constructive. But because you’ve cut the cord, and have gone into reading reviews knowing that you’ll get some negative comments, a one-star review won’t cut your heart out, either. You won’t dwell on it. You’ll be able to move on fairly gracefully to the next review.

4. Let bloggers tell you what you can do better. Even in the midst of a positive review, you’ll still hear, “The book would have been better if…” For instance, a blogger who reviewed—and loved—my first book, A BLUE SO DARK, noted that Aura, the protagonist, used figurative, poetic language throughout…and also swore quite a bit. The blogger wasn’t opposed to the swearing (which was used to help illustrate Aura’s desperation), but asked, If Aura speaks in such a unique, figurative way, shouldn’t she also swear in a unique, figurative way, too, rather than just dropping F-bombs? I found that to be an extremely insightful, thoughtful comment. But I don’t think this comment ever would have permeated if I was still being 100% protective of my work and not yet willing to listen.

I realize that, once a book is released, it’s done. There’s no changing that specific work. But as a writer, I know I’ll be writing more similar kinds of books—I’ll be releasing more YA, more literary work, etc. And as much as I write for acceptance from the industry—editors, trade reviewers, etc.—I primarily write to touch the audience: readers who buy my books. Without readers…well…

Constructive criticism goes into the back of my head, and it does, I would argue, help as I draft my next works…every bit as much as constructive criticism from my agent and editors also help.

Just a few years ago, a writer’s audience discussed books in private—in reading circles, over coffee, in living rooms—and the writer never got a chance to know what his or her audience was saying. I feel incredibly lucky to be writing at a time in which I do get to eavesdrop on the discussions of my books.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Yep, that's where I've been all week...and where I'll be for the rest of the month. Hard at work on revisions for my MG, due out in '12: THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY.

Revisions are actually my favorite part of the entire process. It's where I see the book start to take on its final form. Where I can start to picture it as a finished product.

And there's nothing quite like seeing (and holding!) that finished product for the first time. As proof, check out this greatest hit: the smile I flash as I rip into my author copies of PLAYING HURT (which arrived on my doorstep early last March...)

Friday, September 9, 2011


I'm in the midst of putting my life back together after a massive computer meltdown, and am popping in for an exciting update:

If you have been waiting to grab PLAYING HURT on the Kindle, today is your lucky day!

Click here to download....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Yup, here she is: Griselda, my muse, who has occupied my office for the past ten years. (Anytime somebody says "muse," I instantly get this picture in my head: black hair, tambourine and all...)

I'm eyebrow-deep in yet another project right now; good ol' Griselda's been working overtime this summer...

Monday, August 29, 2011


Yup, it's true...I just created my own "fan" page at Facebook!

Be sure to head on over to the page and give 'er the old thumbs up:

Holly Schindler on Facebook

Thursday, August 25, 2011


School starts here in Springfield today...and in honor of the new school year, I'd like to vote that we develop a sitcom set in a grade school that stars all of the "teachers" in the current Target ads (my fave is the music teacher).

Come on...don't these ads make you giggle every single time they air?

Friday, August 19, 2011


I'm back for another Follow Friday! Love this meme...

This week, the question is basically, "Which book would you write yourself into and what role would you play in that book?"

Weeeell...I sort of already did.

Both of my published books (A BLUE SO DARK and PLAYING HURT) are 100% fictitious. The events and characters are complete figments of my own imagination.

...But there's just something about writing in first person. Bits of myself naturally leak out. My humor, my observations, drips of my own personality become part of my characters. And it doesn't matter how unlike me my characters might seem at first. I even see bits of myself in Clint, the male protagonist from PLAYING HURT.

So in a way, I feel as though I am very much a part of both of my books. (I don't think I'm the only writer who feels this way, either. I think this is part of the reason why written work always feels so very personal to the author...)

New followers, please leave a comment so I can head on over to your blog! (Also, be sure to check out my last post...we're looking for fabulous topics at my YA group author blog, YA Outside the Lines!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I know I've mentioned this previously (the idea of sending me your topics for September blog posts for my YA group blog, YA Outside the Lines). But I also just filmed a short vid about using your topics for our posts, and I had to share...

We're getting some really great suggestions in, but I'd love to have more! Slapstick funny or deadpan's up to you! Go ahead and leave any ideas in the comments to this post.

Thanks in advance for your fabulous suggestions!

Friday, August 12, 2011


It's been so long since I participated in Parajunkee's Follow Friday! I love this week's question, which is basically, "How have your reading habits changed since you were a teen?"

To answer, I'm counting college as part of my teen years...after all, I was a lit major when I was 18-19 years old.

College taught me how to read with a pencil. To scour the books, underlining, making constant notes in the margins as I searched for potential test material or quotes for term papers. When I got out of school, finally, as a 24-year-old with a newly-minted master's degree, I still read with a pencil, looking to find out how successful, published authors got their stories on the page (I had to learn to write all over again following graduation; I sincerely believe there's a difference between academic fiction and mainstream / trade publishing fiction, but that's a post for another day).

Bloggers, though? Bloggers read with their gut. Bloggers respond to books on an emotional level, not just an intellectual level. They view characters as people they either connect with, want to befriend, or punch in the face.

I can't turn off the writer in me; I can't completely silence the margin-note-taker. But more and more, I find myself letting my emotions come into play now when I read, too...And that's definitely allowing me to continue to grow as a writer...

New followers, post comments below so I can head straight over to your own blogs!

Monday, August 8, 2011


As a writer, I spend more than my fair share of time thinking about the shades and meanings of words. This summer, it seems my old home state of MO is providing a brand-new definition of "torture," as this video explains:

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I recently took over administrative duties at my YA group blog, YA Outside the Lines. (Don't worry; the blog's previous administrator, the fabulous Jennifer Echols, is continuing to blog at YAOTL, too...)

Like my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle, everybody at YA Outside the Lines blogs about one theme per month...And for our September posts, we'd like to hear from you guys! Send us your questions: the kookier and quirkier, the better! Don't be shy! Head over to YAOTL, check out who's blogging there, follow along, and shoot some funky q's to writehollyschindler (at) yahoo (dot) com...even leave a few questions in the comments below! Nothing's off limits.

Can't wait to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Back when the story broke about Republic, Missouri resident Wesley Scroggins's attempt to ban three books from Republic schools, I wrote a post for Sarah Ockler's blog which defended my home state. Scroggins isn't representative of Missouri, I insisted. Missouri itself doesn't stand for banning. When I wrote the post, I honestly thought the whole situation was basically over. The school board wouldn't actually ban Ockler's TWENTY BOY SUMMER, or Anderson's SPEAK, or Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE. I mean, really...SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE? What decade is this?

Only...they did.

I woke up this morning to a headline in my local paper (THE NEWS-LEADER) indicating that two of Scroggins's targeted titles had been pulled: Vonnegut's and Ockler's.

And I'm completely, totally mortified by the decision. I'm even embarrassed that the headline is on page one of the paper, not shunted to some little paragraph deep inside, hanging its own head in shame.

The truth is, anybody with a book on the shelves can be banned. Anybody. And while "numerous individuals," as superintendent Vern Minor put it, claim to have read the three books in question, I wonder if they've read any other contemporary YAs. I contend that if those individuals were to start reading YA authors whose last names begin with "A" and work their way through the alphabet, the shelves would be empty.

And that's the last place on earth I want to be: a world with empty bookshelves. The slippery-slope is terrifying.

To Sarah, a YA author I so admire, all I can say is this: There are many, many important books out there that have never been banned. But I can't think of a single banned book that is not important.

Monday, July 18, 2011


It's been forever since I posted a vlog writing tip! (But only because I was so wrapped up in the super-fun vlog interviews and posts associated with my PLAYING HURT Blog Tour...)

I just recorded a new tip, which gives a few pointers on what to do with hazy, unclear bursts of inspiration! (Love doing these, so fun...)

I'm also anxious to get back into my blog series Breaking In (in which I answer any questions you might have on the business aspects of publishing, as opposed to craft), and want to remind everyone that the authors at my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle, are also open to answering any questions you might have about writing for kids!

Feel free to post any new questions you might have as a comment to this post! I look forward to hearing from you...

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I'd never read an Anne Lamott book before picking up CROOKED LITTLE HEART. Actually, if you want to get technical about it, I haven't read CROOKED LITTLE HEART, either...not completely, anyway. I'm about fifty pages in.

And I have to say it: I'm so in love with this book.

I've heard wonderful things abut Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD, and found out about this book through an interview printed in the back of another book I was enjoying; the author of that book recommended CROOKED LITTLE HEART. And as an author with a book out myself that's already over a year old, I sort of feel the need to wave the flag for backlisted titles. So I bought this book...and have found an author I so, so admire.

My admiration runs so deep, in fact, that I had to put up a post about this book before I'm even finished. But every single time I pick up CROOKED LITTLE HEART, I think, "I'm going to read everything this woman's ever written."

Now, that's a good feeling, indeed...

Also, a new guest post of my own just went live, and includes a chance to win a swag pack! Check out the details at Snowdrop Dreams of Books!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I got a chance to "meet" fellow author Tracy Barrett online, when I asked her to take part in my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle (the blog is growing in leaps and bounds; we're now offering writing tips, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways, which excites me to no end).

I soon learned Tracy's taking the (let's face it: thrilling and scary) plunge into being a full-time author...She's even blogging about the experience at Goodbye, day job!

She asked me to blog about my own experiences as a full-time author...and the post, in which I recognize my family's incredible financial support, is now officially my favorite guest post of all time. Not kidding. All time. Find out why at Goodbye, day job!
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