MILES LEFT YET – ONE OF MY FAVORITE INDIES

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I’ve always had a soft spot for this book.

It’s one of the first I wrote for the indie platform. And for some reason, it just never “took off” (driving pun intended). Probably because I wasn’t doing quite as much advertising (or even newsletters) when I first started indie pubbing.

One of the reasons I have such a soft spot, though, is that my first reader / main editor is a “senior”–nearly 80. And the characters in this book are seniors as well. It’s not a group we see quite as often in literature–not as main characters, anyway. Usually, they’re part of the supporting cast. But that seems so strange to me; these characters have seen and done and experienced so much. They’re rich with development possibilities!

With characters this age, I get to say things in the narration that I wouldn’t with a younger cast. Seventeen-year-olds certainly don’t have the same world view as seventy-year-olds, after all.

I loved writing this book. And it is spring, after all, the season of deep-cleaning and gardens, of opening the windows, dusting off our old favorites, getting back out in the sunshine.

Sooo…

I decided to dust off this old fave. A new cover, a new synopsis. A wide release. It’s available in e-book form for $1.99 for a limited time. The paperback is available for $9.99. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the synopsis and links below:

 

None of them really expected to wind up at the Granite Ridge Retirement Community for Active Seniors. And yet, here they are—Jim arriving after his wife’s unexpected passing, Norma after selling her home to rescue her financially strapped daughter, and Mildred after her lifelong neighborhood becomes overrun by crime. It’s an odd place to be, for sure—put out to pasture, some might phrase it. At the end of life’s road.

And yet, inside, they all still feel as young as ever.

When a figure from Mildred’s past emerges, a motley crew from the retirement community embarks on a road trip—in a vintage Mustang convertible, no less—which quickly turns into an adventure of second chances, fresh starts, and the discovery that love is never a landmark in the rearview mirror. No matter what the odometer reads, as long as there’s gas in the tank, there are always still new roads to explore…plenty of miles left yet.

**Includes book club discussion questions.**

It’s Never the End of the Road

None of them really expected to wind up at the Granite Ridge Retirement Community for Active Seniors. And yet, here they are—Jim arriving after his wife’s unexpected passing, Norma after selling her home to rescue her financially strapped daughter, and Mildred after her lifelong neighborhood becomes overrun by crime. It’s an odd place to be, for sure—put out to pasture, some might phrase it. At the end of life’s road.

And yet, inside, they all still feel as young as ever.

When a figure from Mildred’s past emerges, a motley crew from the retirement community embarks on a road trip—in a vintage Mustang convertible, no less—which quickly turns into an adventure of second chances, fresh starts, and the discovery that love is never a landmark in the rearview mirror. No matter what the odometer reads, as long as there’s gas in the tank, there are always still new roads to explore…plenty of miles left yet.

**Includes book club discussion questions.**

Links

Amazon
iBooks
B&N
Kobo

Happy spring, everyone! I hope your gardens are growing and your flowers are blooming and you get a chance to read beneath your favorite shade tree. (Come on–aren’t shade trees the perfect place to read?)

–Holly

WRITING AIN’T GARDENING

IMG_0450This week, we tackled the garden at the Schindler house. It’s always such a joy to get outside, especially after a long, cold winter. As much as I love my work, it’s also a joy to get away from the computer for a little while, get my fingers in the dirt.

 

 

I think the other thing about gardening that has a definite appeal to a writer is that it kind of just takes off on its own. Once you get it in the ground, it does most of the work for you. All you have to do is make sure it gets plenty of water and the bunnies don’t have access (hence the elaborate plastic walls around ours this year–since taking that pic, I’ve also added pinwheels to keep birds out).

It’s so much fun to go out in the morning and check on the growth. Watching what sprouts first, what takes off. The green shoots can be such a welcome sight.

Never, in all my years of writing, has a book behaved that way. I’ve never opened a file to find that the thing wrote a new chapter for me while I wasn’t looking–the same way the tomato plants sprout little yellow flowers while I’m off doing something else.

Writing is so time–and effort–intensive. If you aren’t putting fingers to keyboard, it just ain’t gettin’ done.

But one fantastic thing about writing is that it doesn’t die. No matter how long you’ve neglected to water it. No matter how long it’s been shunted into the back of your desk.

Go on. Open that ancient file.

Write a few lines. Write a few more.

It’s spring, after all.

See what grows.

EXCERPT FROM TANGLES

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As National Poetry Month winds to a close, I wanted to share an excerpt from TANGLES, my first poetry collection:

 

 

Of all the poems in the collection, I think “Blushing Crimson” might be my favorite:

“Blushing Crimson”

blush

 

 

 

 

 

summer heat

riverbank

bare feet

heart harpooned

so complete

beers we drank

whispers sweet

breeze in June

faces meet

giggles clank

kisses heat

clothing strewn

emotions piqued

bodies sank

love discreet

under a blushing crimson moon

CELEBRATE POETRY WITH YOUR YOUNG READERS

It’s National Poetry Month! As adults, we might recognize that by checking out a few readings, maybe buying a new anthology or a few collections by new-to-us poets. Kids should absolutely get in on the fun, too.

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My picture book NOBODY SANG LIKE KATY DID is a villanelle–not exactly the poetic form that many kids study in elementary school. Actually, most people don’t study vilanelles at all until they read Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

I love the form, though–basically, it’s based around two lines that repeat throughout. To me, these lines are like the “hook” or chorus of a pop song. So of course the main character of my villanelle is a rock star!

To me, poetry is alive and vibrant and emotional. It’s a whole world crammed into just a handful of lines on a page. In NOBODY SANG LIKE KATY DID, I celebrate those who forge their own paths, those who don’t take “no” for an answer, who refuse to be discouraged by critics…and those who also like a little punk with their poetry.

You can snag a copy of NOBODY SANG LIKE KATY DID here, and check out a sneak peek below:

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GET TO KNOW YOUR CHARACTER – WITH A SECRET

We’ve been discussing how to find teen voices this month over at my YA authors blog, YA Outside the Lines. As we discussed the various techniques we all used to tap back into our younger selves (and younger voices), it became apparent to me that a character’s voice can be elusive, regardless of genre or age category. It can be elusive even if you’ve written several books before.

For the most part, when the voice is hard to find, I believe it’s because you don’t quite know who your character is yet.

And often, the best way to find out who they are is to get them to tell you a secret.

What is your character hiding? It could be anything–something they’ve done in the past, something they’re afraid might happen. They might have a secret plan or agenda. Do they have a relationship they’re trying to keep secret? That relationship might be romantic, but it might also be a familial one.  For example, in my first YA, A BLUE SO DARK, Aura is trying desperately to keep her mother’s deterioration (she’s schizophrenic) from the outside world.

The secret doesn’t have to be dark. Do they have a secret dream? A wish? A crush?

Do they have a secret passion? Or hobby? Do they have a secret friend?

The reason secrets work is that they’re the most private, personal parts of ourselves. When a character shares a secret, you know them in a new way. You’re instantly closer. And often, understanding them better means you’re well on your way to finding their voice.

TANGLES: A FIRST!

ANNOUNCING MY FIRST POETRY COLLECTION

TANGLES HEADER

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

NOW AVAILABLE! THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER SUSAN

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.

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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, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo.

As always, happy reading!
–Holly