Lyrical writing, metaphors, and wordplay have all been part of my work from the beginning.

To a great extent, that’s because I’ve been writing poetry for years. In high school, I kept journals that were nothing but poetry–and a few of those poems were included in my first YA (which was also my first-ever published book), A BLUE SO DARK.

Tangles is an adult collection of love poetry, but it would certainly appeal to teenagers or fans of YA, as well. And it most certainly will appeal to readers of sweet romance–these are emotional rather than erotic poems

This is NOT a stuffy, boring, or hard-to-read collection of poetry.

Just the opposite. I’ve also been writing songs for years–ever since a member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils taught me basic guitar-playing and songwriting skills. The love poems in Tangles certainly run the gamut–from more formal rhyme schemes to complete free verse–but they are also heavily influenced by songwriting. My goal wasn’t to write head-scratching, obtuse poetry, but poetry that readers could understand and feel and connect with instantly…just as we all connect with the lyrics of songs.

Available now at Amazon

Tangles is available in both ebook and print formats. I strove to make the ebook clean and simple (and therefore readable on whatever device you have–tablet, e-reader, phone, etc.), but I designed the print version to be as visually enjoyable as possible. (And let’s face it–there’s just something about poetry that lends itself to print…)

Ebook: bit.ly/TanglesEbook

Print: bit.ly/TanglesPrint

Other Poetry Goodies

I started a Tumblr blog a few years ago, but didn’t really do as much with it as I would have liked. Now, I’m revamping the site in order to use it to talk specifically about all things poetry. You can follow along here: hollyschindler.tumblr.com

I’ve also started a newsletter dedicated specifically to poetry releases–both adult and juvenile. You can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/dmExEH 

As always, happy reading!
–Holly Schindler


Last year, I bumped into a real gem hidden away in the personal archives–a superhero I created (I think I was about 8 years old). The heroine, Super Susan, had a superhuman…kindness.

Susan served as the inspiration behind my writing journal, Invent Your Own Superhero. I even blogged about Susan as I announced the release. Response and interest in Susan was so strong, I decided to give Susan a book of her own! I even incorporated my original drawing of Susan into the cover.

susan printcovercorrection3

Kindness is a superpower!

Award-winning author Holly Schindler turns her attention to superheroes in this short adventure story. Using a character Schindler created when she was eight (a hero whose superpower is kindness), The Adventures of Super Susan offers a humorous, fast-paced read in which Susan is forced to face-off with a new arch-enemy, Blaze, a boy with super-jealousy who threatens to keep anyone at South Westport Elementary from outshining him…for good.

Can Super Susan melt Blaze’s heart? Or will he simply be too much for even the most powerful kindness on planet Earth?

A great read-aloud for grades 3-6, and a perfect companion piece for Schindler’s Invent Your Own Superhero.

Grab a print copy of The Adventures of Super Susan

Available at Amazon or B&N.

Also available as an ebook

Available at Amazon.

As always, happy reading!


No, I don’t mean reading your work out loud. I mean telling the story. To another person.

“Sounds weird,” you’re saying. Maybe even, “What’s the point?” Or, “Nope. What I really need is an editor.”

Here’s the thing:

There are two main components of a story – 1. The story itself. 2. How the story is told.

No matter how beautifully your story is written, no matter how many literary bells and whistles you use, if the story itself isn’t sound, the rest of it just plain doesn’t matter.

Before you worry about rewriting–reworking scenes, rearranging the order of events–you need to make sure your plot, your storyline provides a solid foundation.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to tell your story out loud, to another person, allowing them to interrupt you as you go.

Feel free to keep your manuscript in front of you to remind you of the turn of events. Tell the story simply, the same way you might tell an anecdote about something amusing that happened to you that day. But don’t feel as though you have to stick to simply the events. Tell your listener about your characters, too–who they are, what their desires or fears are, what their backstory is, etc. Whatever it takes for them to understand the story.

Let them ask you questions along the way. Things like, “Why would that character want to do that?” Or, “Why wouldn’t they just do __ at that point?” Or even make observations: “Come on! No way would that happen!”

Don’t take it personally. Bounce other ideas off of them: “Okay, so if you don’t buy that, what about…?”

It’s a much smaller job for your bouncee (you’re not asking them to read a manuscript), and it can be really fun. And of course, the best part is that you wind up with a sturdy framework where you can then begin hang all your beautiful turns of phrase!



Just a note to let readers of the blog know I’ve been listing my independent releases at Etsy. They’re all signed–just let me know in the note to seller who you’d like the book to be made out to.


So far, I’ve got six books listed, including HOW BIG IS A HEART?, which makes a lovely shower gift for a soon-to-be older sibling. (What is it about spring that just always feels like baby shower season?)



You can find the Etsy store here. Are you interested in obtaining a signed edition that isn’t yet available? Feel free to send suggestions to hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.


I still bump into indie or self publishers who are hesitant to create their own cover art. The task of creating a cover often seems far more daunting than actually writing a book. Each author has to weigh the pros and cons of farming out certain jobs when taking on self-publishing, and every author knows his or her own abilities. But I do think cover art creation can be not only a rewarding activity for indie publishers, but an informative one, too.

For those who have decided they’d like to take the cover art plunge, a few tips or ideas:

At its simplest, an e-book cover is an image with a few words on it. That’s it. To start out, a professional-looking cover can be had for a pretty small amount of money (under $50—most of my covers range around $30). All you need is an image and a font.


This is how most traditionally published covers are created, actually. (It’s also why you sometimes see the same image on multiple covers by different authors or publishers.) I usually frequent Shutterstock or iStock, where you can get a quality image for around $15.


If you’re new to image editing, try to grab a photo that needs the least amount of work done to it. Refine your search for photos composed vertically (the natural shape of a book), and look for large open areas in the photo where your title and your name can be placed.

My own covers for MILES LEFT YET and ALL ROADS are stock images I found using this method—neither required any editing on my part beyond adding text:


Don’t use the fonts already installed on your computer. Times New Roman does not convey any feelings regarding what’s in your book. I mean it—GET A FONT. You can actually find fonts that are free for commercial use (just Google it), but I’ve also found some really great, paid professional fonts on both Etsy and Creative Market. I’ve paid as little as $2 for a font, but I’d say $10 is pretty average. And it feels good to support another creative person who is independently selling their products online.


Rarely do I use a single font for a cover. (MILES LEFT YET may be the one instance I did). Think in terms of opposites for your fonts—try a script or cursive looking font combined with a sans serif. Again, fonts have personality—every bit as much as the image you choose! Be sure to reflect the content of your novel with your font. A good way to get a handle on appropriate fonts used for different genres is to either hit the shelves of your library or do a quick Amazon search. Examples: Romance novels have more calligraphy-style fonts, horror novels have drippy blood fonts, thrillers often use bold sans serif fonts, kids’ books frequently use childlike handwriting, etc.


It doesn’t have to be Photoshop, especially if all you want to do is plug in text. GIMP is a perfectly good photo editor—and it’s completely free. It’s also fairly widely used, so if you ever get stuck, you can simply search for a how-to vid on YouTube.

That’s literally all it takes. A stock photo, a couple of fonts, and a program like GIMP. Of course, as you go along, you’ll have additional needs and ideas. You’ll begin to look for different stock photos that you can then edit / splice together, etc. You might even begin to take your own photos for covers. You’ll begin using Photoshop. But this is a great, low-cost way to get started. And the good news is that because you have used a professional photo and a professional font, your cover winds up intrinsically looking, well, professional—even if you’re not a professional designer.


You learn. I’ve actually learned far more through indie publishing than I have through traditional publishing. Not just about covers, either, although that’s been part of it. Some covers will hit and others won’t—since you’re in control, and since you spent little money to begin with, switching a cover isn’t going to break the bank. Doing it yourself means you’re adding design skills and promotional skills to your résumé (and yes, covers are promotional objects).

Now, get out there and design a cover!





What a difference a page makes!

I’m actually being completely honest.

If you’ve never worked with a traditional publisher, the editorial process is something like this: you get an editorial letter from your editor telling you what’s great about your book and what needs improvement. You hit your manuscript and shoot it back to your editor. The initial global edits can be pretty extensive (I once deleted half of the book during this stage) or minor (I once changed two scenes). Depending on how many changes you make to the initial edits, you and your editor bounce your manuscript back and forth as a Word document a few times. As the changes get increasingly smaller, your editor will probably stops sending long formal letters and start adding small, trackable comments in the margins of your Word doc.

Then, when you’ve nailed the manuscript, it gets put through InDesign. Afterward, you get sent first (and sometimes second) pass pages for final copyedits. At this point, the book’s formatted. It looks like it’s going to when it’s bound and shelved in libraries and bookstores…

And it will feel completely different. I guarantee it.

I know with my own manuscripts, during the writing and (global) editorial process, I’d always been looking at a computer screen or computer paper…and no book is that size. Not one. They’re all smaller. Sometimes, a lot smaller (most of my traditionally pubbed books are 5X8). So after going through InDesign, my books’ paragraphs got longer. A lot longer. Pages featured fewer paragraphs. Chapters sometimes felt reeeeaaaally long.

In short, there was a different rhythm.

Now, after I feel I’m through with the big changes, I plug my own manuscripts into InDesign, using a common trim size for the genre. This gives me a better sense of what the final flow will feel like. I can identify and cut down long sentences and wordy phrases. I can further whittle down paragraphs and chapters. I can really see where the fat is that needs to be trimmed.

Reformatting a manuscript in this manner is also a great way to identify typos or copyedit, too. You go over your own manuscript so many times, you practically  memorize it. Reformatting makes it look different so the mistakes are easier to recognize.

Of course, you don’t have to use InDesign. You might compile into an .epub or .mobi to read on your e-reader, or you could simply adjust the margins in Word. But a smaller, more realistic trim size can do a world of good when you hit the final stages of revision.


superhero cover2

Having been involved in the craft of storytelling since my own elementary days, and having visited classes as a professional author to discuss writing techniques, I’ve developed what I believe to be the perfect guide to creating innovative characters and dynamic action that will both tweak the imaginations of advanced writers AND jumpstart or encourage the most reluctant young writer. Now available in a lower-cost e-book format (simply use your own notebook to answer the prompts listed in the e-version).

INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO: A BRAINSTORMING JOURNAL uses creating a new “superhero” as an enticement for young writers. This is more than just a fun exercise, though, as it introduces writers to the recognized elements of solid storytelling: conflict, character motivation, backstory, foreshadowing, etc.

The workbook also introduces young authors to the importance of crafting solid characters who grow and change throughout their stories. The journal also provides insight into how “heroes” and “arch-enemies” can even find common ground.


While journals and workbooks are often geared toward individual use, INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO would also make a great ongoing classroom project. After reading each prompt aloud, teachers could instruct their students to brainstorm either on their own or collectively (in small groups or as a class). Individual brainstorming allows students to rely on their own creativity, of course, but less creatively-inclined students might benefit from group brainstorming—after the group brainstorming is complete, each student can then write his or her own stories. It’s much easier to write a story once you have a roadmap (it would be a fantastic confidence-builder), and it would also be a fascinating exercise for the students to see how each one of them takes the same basic characters and / or storyline and turns it into something different from the other young writers in their class!


INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO is available as an e-book here: http://bit.ly/HeroJournalEBook and as a print book here: http://bit.ly/HeroJournal

I would also love to hear how this workbook benefits your class or young writers’ group. You can contact me at any time at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy writing!