And this one is sure to be unique. We are still in the midst of the Pandemic, meaning travel and family/friend gatherings will be different this year—as will shopping for gifts. I have some suggestions:

  • Pulling no punches, I hope you’ll consider gifting my story of a young girl’s search for her forever family — THE WINTERKEEPER. Heralded as a true page-turner and suitable for the teen reader in your family, this is a perfect choice for curling up with a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate on a cold winter night.
  • Books are always the perfect gift—especially when you buy them through your local independent bookseller — a small business in need of support in these hard times!
  • Consider supporting the non-profits and arts groups in your community — many offer items that are perfect for stocking stuffers. I have a mask from our state historical society that never fails to get compliments, giving me the opportunity to talk about the work the society does to preserve local history.
  • National museums such as those at the Smithsonian have online gift shops and the National Parks are offering some wonderful ‘gaiters’ (think face masks) as well as phone covers and other beautifully illustrated items. (https://national-park-gear.com/collections/)
  • Some of the national and international groups I have long supported are a terrific source of giving ideas. Women for Women International (https://www.womenforwomen.org/) has created a gorgeous cookbook called SHARE, bringing cooks everywhere a world of recipes and cooking adventures.

My gift to you is a new publication: https://annaschmidt.substack.com. Primarily aimed at those who want to write (or are already writing), it’s a fun exercise coming your way a couple of times a week to inspire and encourage your creative thinking. Have fun with it and please share your work if so inclined!

Until next time, stay safe (WEAR THAT MASK!) and may all your days be merry and bright!

All best,

Q & A with Anna - Click here

1. You are the author of over 40 novels and novellas. Is there a theme that runs through all your novels or a message you wish to communicate?

A: Empathy, unity, and power of diversity are our core strengths as human beings and these qualities are what I am constantly exploring in my novels.

2. Tell us about some of the people who have shaped your writing journey.

A: When I was a kid, my Dad managed a movie theater, so I went to the movies a lot. Even after we moved, and my dad went into another line of work, movies were our preferred entertainment. As I teenager I collected the cast recordings of every Broadway musical and then when I was a junior in college, I spent the summer in NYC at a theater program. I went on to get my masters in Theater Arts. As a result, I write as if my characters are actors on the screen or stage.

3. Can you provide us with some insight into your writing routine?

A: I am constantly writing. If there is one unique thing about my style, it is that I love doing research and for me everything is research — music, books, overheard conversations – it’s all fodder for the mill. Something else that is a bit unique to my ‘routine’ — I love chaos. I write in public places surrounded by people; I love the action and the voices and the snatches of conversation.

4. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

A: Read! Read! Read! And please, diversify your reading. Step outside your box!

5. What’s next on the horizon for you?

A: I have been writing genre fiction (romance, Westerns and inspirationals) for some time now. Recently I finished the manuscript for my first true ‘mainstream’ novel — a coming of age story about a ‘winter keeper’ in Yellowstone National Park in the 1930’s.

The author draws us into the life of a small western town and the cold of Yellowstone Park in winter, both with predators and allies in unexpected places. The storytelling and scene building are masterful and create an immediacy that keeps the reader turning pages. This is a writer who feels words as well as thinking them. Read more…

The Historical Novel Society - Editors Choice

The writing style is conversational, the tone dramatic and the characters are not only relatable but also endearing – just the right combination for a young adult novel. There is nothing I didn’t enjoy in this touching novel. Read more…

Louanne Piccolo for Readers’ Favorite

Schmidt seamlessly integrates actual events, and courageous real-life individuals… with her fictional characters and their story, to produce a strong tale of hope and love in the face of insurmountable obstacles.