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Ah, the glamorous life of a writer. When not at my desk, it's all bonbons and massages.
Actually, it's more like coveralls and bags of diatomaceous earth. Nothing like a camo hat with lights and glasses with gobs of glue on the sides to complete the look...
|Me just moments before heading into the crawl space beneath the ol' Schindler abode.|
A question, gentle readers:
WHAT THE FREAK DOES A GIRL HAVE TO DO TO GROW SOME HERBS???
I MEAN SOME DECENT HERBS THAT SHE CAN ACTUALLY PICK AND PUT IN A DISH???
I'VE BEEN TRYING FOR YEARS...YEARS! AND I HAVE YET TO GET A SINGLE STUPID HERB INTO ANY DISH. EVER!
DO I NEED A DEGREE??? DO I HAVE TO HAVE MY BLACK THUMBS SURGICALLY REMOVED???
SERIOUSLY. WHAT IS THE DEAL???
The last time I embedded a video, it was visual (I wanted to show our unusual May snow). This time, I had to share the sounds of the Ozarks...
I've noticed lately that the birds here have been singing like crazy! (Even this short clip doesn't quite do their music justice.) Maybe they're all just glad it's finally started to look like spring...
...Having problems viewing the clip? You can watch it on YouTube.
I'm in the midst of proofreading my debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Seeing my book getting so close to its final form just makes me want to burst open!
I can't wait to get this book in your hands!
May 3rd was a beautiful spring day here in the Ozarks...the birds were singing, the grass was green, the flowers were in bloom...and the snow was falling!
PS: Blogger's been acting buggy lately with embedded vids. If you have problems viewing, you can check out the vid of our spring snow on my YouTube page.
I spent the last three weeks of April hitting global rewrites for my next YA...and when I clicked "send" yesterday, I hooted and hollered for joy. (That's what we do here in the Ozarks, hoot 'n holler...)
Nothing quite like the euphoria of meeting a deadline...
While I was whipping this revision into shape, I got a new doormat for my mom (because humor trumps all in the Schindler household):
|Front porch and toenails to be painted this week...|
Yeah. We think it's hilarious. In the past few weeks, though, NO ONE HAS RUNG OUR DOORBELL. Nobody. Neighbors won't. The mailman won't. A little boy stopping by with his school fundraiser actually shouted "DING DONG!" when he stepped up to our door. I'm not kidding.
It just shows, I think, the power of the written word. Shows how seriously we all take the written word—
whether it's in a book, a Tweet, a status update...or on a doormat.
Holy Toledo, I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post! All I can say right now is that I've been working hard, my manicures chipping off in giant chunks as I plunk away at my keyboard. I'm on another deadline now...wish me luck!
|I spent a good portion of the afternoon yesterday writing under this tree in the ol' backyard...|
In honor of April being our "cruelest month," I'll admit, I've been pretty cruel to my characters in the past. I gave Aura, the MC of my debut YA, a schizophrenic mother (who is, as the book opens, in the midst of a downward spiral into the darkness of her illness), and I gave Chelsea, the MC of my second YA, a horrific injury that put a screeching halt to her basketball career.
...But in putting together a post for a blogger (Me, My Shelf, and I) who's running a 25-Things-You-Don't-Know-About-Me series, I was suddenly struck by the idea that maybe, we build our characters through unique quirks and traits as much as we build them through the events of a book.
Here's my own list of 25-Things-Few-Know-About-Me:
1. My first concert was Kiss. I’m firmly convinced this is the reason behind my deep wish that all author events could have more pyro. 2. I have a dog named Jake who likes to talk on the phone. (I’m pretty sure he gets more calls than I do.) 3. I have never pierced my ears—and thanks to the kind words of a boy I knew in high school, I never will. 4. In the hopes that I could guilt my mom into buying me contacts, I once bought the UGLIEST pair of glasses I could find (this was in the ‘80s, mind you, at the height of ugly glasses). Didn’t work—as my horrific seventh grade picture reveals…and will continue to reveal, for all eternity. 5. I change my hairdos like I change my socks. 6. I drafted my earliest manuscripts on a pre-Internet dinosaur of a computer from the Paleolithic Era. 7. Funky vintage costume jewelry? Yes, please. 8. Given the choice between writing and eating cheesecake, I’ll pick writing. (Anyone who understands my fanatical love of cheesecake understands the seriousness of this declaration.) 9. I truly wish Sally Hansen would make a manicure-friendly keyboard. 10. I swear you’ll never see skies prettier than the ones I see through my window every day in the Ozarks. 11. I “work” on manuscripts while taking walks. 12. I once got lost in a wooded area while filming a book trailer. 13. My mom is my first reader, sounding board, and official book titler. 14. I’ve been drinking coffee since my pre-preschool days. Not a typo. 15. I type really fast. Think “Flight of the Bumblebee” on a keyboard. 16. I once worked as a model. Favorite gig? Modeling fresh flowers. 17. I have double-joined elbows. 18. My debut YA novel, A BLUE SO DARK, features poetry I wrote as a teen, tweaked to fit the events of the book. 19. My handwriting is so bad, my family often calls from the store to ask me to translate my entries on the grocery list. 20. I blame the choice of many former boyfriends on my 20/700 vision. 21. I dig people who treat their pets like royalty. 22. My favorite place to write is on my back deck, barefoot, with my dog and a glass of sweet tea. 23. I love the smell of hyacinths. 24. I adored the hair bands as a teen—and still have the motorcycle jacket to prove it. 25. I believe laughing is the most important activity of every day.
I think this list starts to paint a pretty vivid picture...
What do you think? What's most important: revealing our characters through the events of the book or through their idiosyncrasies? Or do they share equal importance?
Every spring, I cut our backyard hyacinths and put them somewhere close to my current work space, mostly because I love the smell of hyacinths. It's my all-time favorite scent:
This year, I also saved our hyacinths from this:
...the snow currently falling at a blizzard-like rate.Spring
Catherine Ryan Hyde's got a new one! ALWAYS CHLOE
is her first sequel (it promises a continuation of her novel BECOMING CHLOE
), and it'll be free from the 22nd through the 24th. More info on the collection is available on her website
A new Catherine Ryan Hyde book? For free? Oooooh, yeah...
Read the rest of this post
If I could say one thing about beginnings to my teenage self, it’d be this: they’re easy. Oh, yeah, sure, they’re scary, too. But there’s a hazy spot where “scary” and “exciting” blur until you can’t really tell so much where one ends and the other starts. And I know that it feels, when you’re a teen, as though you’re constantly dealing with new beginnings: new schools, new relationships, never-before-seen hardships…But trust me. Beginnings are easy. It’s the middles that’re rough. If you don’t want to take my word for it, ask a college junior who is bone-tired and broke (probably up to their eyebrows in debt, too), and who has worked themselves to the nubs only to find out that their inevitable change of major has put them a semester (or a year) behind schedule. Or, ask the couple who have already been married twenty years, have learned virtually everything about their partners, and are only fifty years old (yeah, teen-me, I just said “only fifty”). Ask a novelist who has hit the convoluted middle of her first draft. Middles are rough. Compared to the beginnings that came before, they’re dull. We aren’t talking about the thrill of moving to a new place. We aren’t talking about the whirlwind of falling in love. We’re talking about facing days that look pretty much like the days that came before. The ah-ha! moment is in the rear-view. But the thing is, you don’t get a glorious ending if you don’t ever slog through the middle. You will never get to the sale of a book if you don’t push through that time period, years after the, “I’m going to be a writer!” announcement, when rejections are filling up your inbox. The middles—the times that require you to dig deep and get to work—are what make you who you are. And, in those middle sections, you will also be greeted with quiet moments of beauty and sweetness, too. You just have to learn where to look. I, for one, even take great pleasure in catching sight of my sweet boy sleeping by the door… Like I said, you’ve just got to know where to look…
My editor at Dial shared this book with me at Christmas: SEE A HEART SHARE A HEART
by Eric Telchin.
It's truly a lovely collection of photographs. I've found myself pulling it off the shelf repeatedly during the past few days, as the Ozarks has dealt with a horrible blast of wintry weather: sleet, snow, freezing rain.
In the midst of ugly, harsh surroundings, it's provided a much-needed ray of warmth.
Valentine's Day is just around the corner...and I'm feeling a vlog post coming on! As an author with one published romance under my belt, I'm seeking questions on the romance genre...your questions can center on my YA love story, PLAYING HURT, or can focus on the genre as a whole (either from a reading or writing perspective).
Shoot me your questions in the comments below, on Twitter (@holly_schindler) or through my author page on Facebook.
I'll choose about three or so questions to answer in my vlog. If your question is chosen, you'll win your choice of a signed bookplate or a signed bookmark.
Thanks in advance for your fabulous questions!
I just had to share: Kristin O'Donnell Tubb sent this super-cool T-shirt in thanks for featuring her book, THE 13TH SIGN, on Smack Dab in the Middle! Seriously, how fun is that?
Speaking of fun, the book itself is a blast. If you're one who always checks your horoscope each morning (like I am), you'll love this exploration into the role our signs play into our personalities. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that I think it'll snag girls who don't necessarily gravitate toward adventures. Check THE 13TH SIGN out on Goodreads
and purchase on Amazon
I can't tell you guys how much I appreciate all the Happy Birthdays you sent last week. You broke your own record! I literally received hundreds of well-wishes this year.
|Birthday Flowers - Aren't they cool? I think they look like paintbrushes.|
I've got a ton of new Birthday Goals, too, aimed at making 36 the best year ever...and many of those goals involve producing my best work yet for my fabulous, loving readers!
In the meantime, you can head over to Books a la Mode
to win a signed bookplate. (The giveaway is international.)
One of my end-of'-'12 resolutions was to shut down the computers in the evening and spend my nights reading. I think all authors struggle with balance; I know firsthand how easy it is to get lost in my own work, or to get so involved with new marketing ideas that I suddenly look up and discover that what had felt like twenty minutes was actually four hours.
I've been really enjoying my end-of'-'12 resolution...Carving out time to read's a little like making a resolution to eat more chocolate. Here's a glance at my holiday bookshelf:
My absolute favorite part of the Thanksgiving weekend is putting up the Christmas tree. Every year, I get hit with the tingly anticipation of what's soon to come as I decorate the interior of the ol' Schindler abode.
...Of course, there are no presents quite yet under our tree, but I feel it's safe to say that will be remedied soon enough...
Anybody else have their tree up? I'd love to see pics! Put your links in the comment box below.
I can't help it...I'm already in the holiday spirit. It's infecting me earlier and earlier each year. Which means I've already decorated the outside of the house, and I spent most of the day on Sunday driving across town to grab a present for my brother.
Another thing that's making my holiday spirit explode is discovering lovely posts online about my already-released books. They're honestly like little pre-Christmas gifts.
For example, I keep bumping into a quote from A BLUE SO DARK...It's the most-lifted quote from the entire book. Just yesterday, I discovered it yet again in a post on Facebook:
"Sanity is a sonnet with a strict meter and rhyme scheme—
and my mind is free verse."
I also found a lovely new review of PLAYING HURT, courtesy of Forever 17 Books
...I'm firmly convinced that having incredible readers is the best Christmas present a gal could ever ask for. Thanks for making my pre-Christmas the best, guys!
I dig Christmas. I love the smell of pine and little white lights and decorating the house and wrapping gifts. I love carols and stockings and made-for-TV holiday flicks and carving the roast beast.
|Jake and I both also love absurdly dorky Christmas sweaters...This year, I have to admit, our sweaters are awesome in their badness...|
If Thanksgiving is the holiday to pause and let yourself truly feel all that you have to be grateful for, then Christmas, I’ve always figured, is the holiday to do something to show the people in your life how important they are to you—and it never has to involve spending a ton of money. It’s a card filled with well-wishes; it’s an unexpected plate of homemade cookies; it’s taking a moment to share a cup of cocoa and a long talk at a kitchen table; it’s making plans for a new year together, while tingling with excitement.
…Since 2010, when A BLUE SO DARK released, I've always included my readers on my gratitude list. And they're right at the top of my list again this year; they've been so incredible as I made my announcements regarding my forthcoming books (a YA, FERAL, and a middle grade, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY). In all honesty, connecting with and getting to know my readers has become every bit as enjoyable to me as actually writing my books.
As I wrap up the year, my thoughts keep turning back toward my readers, and about how I can do more to show my gratitude, especially as my two books in development near publication—how I can connect with them even more in the future. For those of you who haven’t yet, please do sign up for my mailing list, to keep in touch with all these new ideas.
Here’s wishing all of you a pleasant end to ’12, and here’s hoping that ’13 brings growth, comfort, pleasant surprises, and the kind of exciting developments that makes your heart feel like it’s about to bust right out of your chest!
This girl is brilliant. Seriously.
I'm in complete awe of people who can cram an entire book into a three-minute pop song. And Kacey Musgraves does that beautifully here.
As a single girl in the Ozarks, I also have to say I relate to this one on a personal level. I adore my area of the country, but I'd be lying if I said that certain area events (remember Sarah Ockler?) and attitudes didn't just embarrass me down to my toes.
...How about you? What songs have you sworn told your own story?
I’m not a parent, but you don’t have to be in order to feel utterly crushed by what happened at Sandy Hook last week—the loss of twenty bright lights who will never get to become their adult selves. Musicians, maybe. Doctors. Teachers. Innovators. Artists. Twenty lives that never got to see the world through adult eyes. Even the adults in the massacre were painfully young; twenty-seven, I think, is barely enough time to really even take a deep breath. I’m not a fan of guns; if I’m to be honest, I hate guns. I have always respected the right of my more outdoorsy friends to hunt. But I have never fired a gun myself. I hate the look of guns. I literally feel my stomach turn over and goose bumps break out when I have to pass by the guns in Walmart to get to the exercise equipment. I do not understand why, in Missouri, I may soon be unable to buy pseudoephedrine over the counter at that same neighborhood Walmart (in an effort to curb criminal activity), but I can buy a gun. I still respect my outdoorsy friends’ right to hunt. But I also respect the right of all the bright lights in this world to grow big enough to see the world through adult eyes. And I’m sorry, but I think one of those rights trumps the other. I also can’t ignore the fact that even the perpetrators of mass shootings were once potential bright lights themselves. We really know so little about the mind. And as a society, we are still failing the mentally ill in so many ways, as this heart-wrenching firsthand accountexplains. The past few days, I’ve caught myself staring at the sparkling Christmas decorations that hang in my neighborhood, getting absolutely lost in thoughts about all the bright lights in the world that need to be protected, honored, allowed to become their very best selves.
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Hope you all had a fantastic end of '12 and are staring straight into a very promising '13!
We're kicking the new year off with a bang at my YA blog, YA Outside the Lines. You can't afford to miss our giveaway extravaganza, as this short vid explains:
To enter, click here