WHEN GHOSTS AREN’T SCARY

Something cool happened at Amazon recently. They changed how they show the Amazon Best Sellers Rank, which I’m sure directly affects quite a few books. It also affects my latest release I REMEMBER YOU.

I REMEMBER YOU is the sequel to last year’s CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S. Like last year’s installment, I REMEMBER YOU is a non-horror ghost story.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good creepy tale. In fact, my favorite holiday is Halloween. Right now, my porch is covered in undead clowns that hang on chains. Their voices are on timers, and every two minutes or so, they wail and cackle and beg to be taken down.

But if you asked me what my favorite ghost story is, I’d tell you this:

Actually, THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR is one of my all-time favorite movies–not just ghost stories. I think it’s one of the best love stories ever told.

Is it creepy? Fit for Halloween? Ghoulish? Does it make the hairs stand up on your arms?

Nope.

My RUBY’S PLACE series follows the same romantic-ghost sentiment. And yet, when I listed the books as “ghost” stories, the Best Sellers Rank on Amazon looked something like this: #00000 in Fiction – Horror – Ghost Stories.

Which always made me sigh with disappointment.

Until recently, when I noticed my Best Seller Rank for I REMEMBER YOU:

ghost fiction

 

It’s a small thing, I suppose. But I clapped when I saw it. I’m so glad “Ghost Fiction” is no longer merely a “Horror” sub-genre.

How about you? What’s your favorite non-horror ghost story?

COVER REVEAL: I REMEMBER YOU

Okay, it’s a little more than just a cover reveal. I REMEMBER YOU (my sequel to CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S) is now available at most retailers. It’s a big part of why I haven’t posted much the past few weeks–while CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S was a short read, I REMEMBER YOU turned out to be longer (more novel than novella). I’ve been eyeball-deep in copyedits and uploads, making sure I had the book up in plenty of time for the holiday season.

ChristmasatRuby'sLast year, CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S introduced readers to a magical bar (actually, it’s not really a “bar” in the sense you usually think, not a dank and dark place of escape, but a classy supper club) in which the “spirits” aren’t just the liquors behind the bar. The “ghosts of Christmases past” are still around, showing up at happy hour, just like they once did to celebrate all their life’s accomplishments.

CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S also introduced readers to Angela, who is middle-aged and somewhat aimless, in need of an accomplishment of her own. She accidentally finds herself inside Ruby’s Place, empty by that point for decades, and learns what’s still inside…

WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR:

I don’t think it’s spoiling too much to say Angela did buy the old Ruby’s Place bar. She’s been working the entire year in anticipation of a Christmas Eve opening–and for the magic that she believes will accompany it.

This year, we learn more about Angela’s glamorous Aunt Elizabeth. We’re also introduced to a fairly wide range of characters who all live in Sullivan, Missouri–and who have all had some experience with Ruby’s Place. The central story of this year’s installment focuses on a message that had been scrawled into the sidewalk just outside of Ruby’s when the cement was still wet:

Rob & Geena 4Ever 1987

We meet Rob and Geena during the course of I REMEMBER YOU. We relive their “Jack and Diane”-style ’80s love story. As Christmas grows closer, the potential for a first-love reunion grows increasingly stronger…

Think last year’s CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S was magical and uplifting and heartwarming? I promise it’s got nothin’ on this year’s I REMEMBER YOU:

The Ultimate Christmas Wish

i remember you border2

To see that special someone once more. Tell them everything you didn’t get to say while they were alive. Right wrongs. Mend disagreements. Or simply relive special moments spent together. Fall in love for the first time all over again.

At Ruby’s Place, where “spirits” are more than the dusty liquors in bottles behind the bar, where voices from the past celebrate yet another Christmas Eve, your ultimate Christmas wish might just be granted.

AVAILABLE NOW AT:

Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Kobo

B&N

The book will also soon be available through iBooks, available for library purchase through Overdrive and Bibliotheca, and the paperback will have a wide release through Ingram.

A Superhero Back to School Special!

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Happy New Year!

Fall always feels like the start of a new year to me. The air smells like freshly-sharpened pencils, and it buzzes with the excitement of new beginnings.

To celebrate, you can snag my superhero ebooks for $0.99!

superbooks

A guide to get students excited about writing + a fun new superhero whose “power” will set a great tone for the classroom.

The INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO journal offers kids a chance to get their creative juices flowing–to come up with their own superhero and begin to understand what makes a great can’t-put-it-down story. Conflict, rising action, backstory, motivation, supporting characters are all elements addressed in INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO. (Another benefit of learning to be a great writer means you’re an even better reader! You can see what an author’s doing within a text when you understand the basics character and story construction.)

Super Susan is a character I invented when I was about eight or nine–I even incorporated my original artwork into the cover. (Susan was colored in crayon, and has glue-and-glitter letters and yarn braids.) I discovered her in some of my archives, and thought her power (super kindness!) was just really timely. The story is also short, making it a great classroom read-aloud.

THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER SUSAN recently got a nice write-up as a new release in the Petersburg Library. You can read it here.

Purchase links:

INVENT YOUR OWN SUPERHERO:
Amazon
B&N
iBooks
Kobo

THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER SUSAN:
Amazon
B&N
iBooks
Kobo

Using the Superhero journal? Feel free to use this short trailer in your classrooms to get your kids excited about writing their own superhero story. And feel free to get in touch for a Skype: click the black square in the upper right corner of the site for the contact page.

May this be the best year yet!

EPISODIC NOVELS (FOREVER FINLEY)

Haunted creek

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In November of 2015, I wrote a short story called “Come December.” I’d been a hybrid author for several months (meaning I’d released four books through traditional publishing houses, and two novels independently, through channels like Kindle Direct Publishing, iBooks, Kobo, and Nook Press). What I loved about indie publishing was that the door was literally wide open: I was free to go where my heart wanted to take me in terms of subject matter and style, and even length. The ultimate writer’s playground.

I’d been writing full-length novels solidly for years, and wanted to get back to an old love: the short story. It would be a joy to sit down and write a shorter piece—something I could draft from beginning to end in a single sitting. As busy as we all are, I thought my readers would feel the same way—happy to be able to sit down and devour a story from beginning to end all in one gulp.

“Come December” took off during the holiday season, finding its way onto the e-readers, tablets, and laptop screens of readers who were being introduced to my work for the first time. I was absolutely delighted to hear from so many of them, who were taking time from their own holiday hustle and bustle to shoot me e-mails. The response was so positive (and I’d had such a great time with it) that I was convinced I needed to continue telling the tale. I decided I’d offer a new installment once a month throughout 2016, and that each new story would be titled after the month of its release.

But in what way did I want to continue? Did I want to follow along with the adventures of Natalie, the new girl who rolled into town in “Come December?”
Well—not exactly. It was the town itself I found the most intriguing. Already, I had depicted a kind of mystical place in “Come December.” Like my readers (and Natalie), I had only just crossed the city limits. I wanted to learn more about this new place.

In “January Thaw,” I introduced two new characters (Natalie took on a supporting role), but the central focus was on the town itself. Finley had become the main character of my ongoing series. “Forget February,” the third installment, allowed me to dive into its history. To relate the legend of Amos Hargrove, the town founder. A new question arose: was Amos simply a town-wide superstition? Or were the stories about him true? Could Finley be not just a quaint town, a lovely town, but a place that was literally fueled by something—well—otherworldly? Was it enchanted? Did the spirit of Amos Hargrove have a hand in manipulating the events that took place? I couldn’t wait to return every month.

As the series progressed, I wove together historical and contemporary scenarios. In addition to the legend of Amos Hargrove, the Civil War soldier desperate to reunite with the spirit of his sweetheart (who died before Amos’s return from battle), we have stories of modern-day relationships: new loves, old loves, friendships, engagements, couples who have been together decades, couples who are still learning about each other. We see Finley through the eyes of some of the younger residents, and through the eyes of the oldest.

In the end, Forever Finley became an episodic novel. Which is just a fancy way of saying each story can stand on its own. But together, they all build toward a single ending, in the same way that chapters in a novel all build to the final conclusion.
Finley has become one of my favorite places to visit—and I hope you’ll enjoy your own journey through its borders as well.

Best wishes in reading—
Holly Schindler

Snag a copy of Forever Finley:

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Amazon

LIKE MILES LEFT YET? TRY FOREVER FINLEY

51dhmvjqm1l-_sy346_First, I have to thank you guys for grabbing copies of MILES LEFT YET. I originally released the book in ’16, and it’s always been one of my faves, but it just never managed to get in the hands of as many readers as I’d hoped. A new cover, a little advertising, and voila! It’s finally starting to get out in the world. In the last month, I moved triple the entire lifetime sales of the book.

But ads alone don’t give a book legs. I know this book is starting to move because of word-of-mouth with my readers. So I have to take a moment to thank anyone who has personally recommended the read.

 

A New Request

If you enjoyed MILES LEFT YET, I do hope you’ll take a moment to leave a review on Amazon. Just a sentence or two helps tremendously. Right now, the book’s reviews on Amazon remain fairly low. Upping the number of reviews will help me expand into a new round of advertising, getting the book into the hands of new readers, who can work their magic again with word-of-mouth.

I can’t emphasize enough how much authors appreciate reviews…

Like Norma? Keep reading!

Haunted creek

If you liked Norma (who emerges, I think, as the real star of MILES LEFT YET), please do check out FOREVER FINLEY. This one centers on the mystical small town of Finley, the town the Norma drives into at the end of MILES. FOREVER FINLEY is an “episodic novel,” meaning that it’s constructed of loosely connected, stand-alone stories. Each story works together to culminate to the book’s magical conclusion. A new cast of characters is introduced in FOREVER FINLEY, but Norma makes an appearance fairly early on (you’ll find her in the stories titled “Dearest March…” and “A Hundred Julys”).

 

I’ve also done a little repackaging of FOREVER FINLEY–new cover, etc.–and to celebrate, I’ve reduced the price of the e-book to $1.99 temporarily. It’s available as a wide release at:

Amazon

Kobo

B&N

iBooks

I’ve also got a few signed paperback editions of FOREVER FINLEY at my Etsy store!

I hope you’ll decide to spend some time in the town of Finley. It’s become one of my own favorite places to visit.

WHY I READ: WALKING AROUND IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HEAD

I remember the first time I connected with a book. The Pain and the Great One, a picture book by Judy Blume.  It’s about sibling rivalry–younger brother, older sister. And it was just so much like me and my brother, it was scary. The girl played piano (I started taking lessons when I was pretty little), and the boy was kind of a rascal, always knocking over her towers of blocks, etc. If I remember right, in my edition, the kids even had a cat (we had two). It was my life there on the pages. Judy Blume got it. She knew exactly what it was like to be me. It was like she had been in my head somehow.

That’s what initially hooked me on reading: finding those books that seemed to tell my own life experience. It’s a powerful thing to have your own thoughts spit back at you. Makes you feel like there are all sorts of people going through exactly what you’re going through.

Now, though?

I find myself gravitating more and more toward people or situations totally unlike my own. I’m developing a real thing for classic sci-fi (Invasion of the Body Snatchers). And I really love anything by Kurt Vonnegut. I just really like spending time in his head. I like looking through eyes unlike my own.

I’m not sure if that’s a result of growing older or a result of the times. A need for escapism, maybe? Then again, according to what we see on the nightly news, it’s becoming harder and harder for us all to do just that–look through each other’s eyes, see from another point of view. It’s a skill I hope we never lose.