Answers to the Eleven Big ‘I’m Quitting Teaching’ Questions

Think of this as the "I'm Quitting Teaching" FAQ
Think of this as the "I'm Quitting Teaching" FAQ

I was overwhelmed by the number of responses to my 51st birthday post and the announcement I made about quitting teaching. In those responses, I ran across ten questions that needed a response everyone could read, and I realized there was one question no one had asked, but that desperately needed an answer.

So I’ve answered these BIG questions below.


What can I do as a student or graduate of one of your big courses (HTTS, HTRYN, HTWAS) do to make sure I don’t get left behind during the upcoming transitions?

Log into your account for EACH course in which you’re a student, go into your Profile on your student page, and do the following:

  • Make sure your e-mail address is correct and that it’s an address you check regularly,
  • Make sure it is exactly the same e-mail address in each course you’re taking (so you don’t get locked out of the forum)
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of your profile, and make SURE you have checked the box beside Receive Critical Updates.

If you are not getting critical updates, you stand a HUGE chance of missing the announcements that will move you from the existing course platform to the new one, and if you miss the move, you’ll lose your downloads and access to the forum.  I’ll give plenty of warning, but there are a huge number of students who are NOT subscribed to critical updates, who don’t visit the forum regularly, and who, having graduated, don’t visit their student pages often.

So if you’re a grad or an existing student, do this now, before you forget.

(These links are for existing students only.  They are not registration pages for new students.)

If you don’t remember your login information, please create a support ticket at and ask me to help you.


I’m a graduate or a current student in one or more of the following courses:

  • How to Think Sideways
  • How To Revise Your Novel
  • How to Write a Series (stand-alone version)

Will my lessons and extras continue to be available when you lock the course to new students, or do I need to download everything now?

All your materials will remain available, AND you’ll continue to be a full, permanent member of the Boot Camp Writers’ Community on all your course boards.


I’ve purchased one or more courses from  Will those continue to be available for re-download after you close the shop permanently?

No.  If you have all your copies intact, burn them to a backup disk now.  If your hard drive has eaten courses you’ve purchased and you need to get backups before I close the shop, log into your account at (the login is in the top left corner) and re-download whatever you’re missing.  Burn your copies to a backup disk.

When I close the shop, ALL my smaller courses will be available on Kindle, Nook and iTunes, or as print books on and elsewhere.  However, if you lose your existing copies, you will have to re-buy them, because my old database will not have any connection with the big platforms, and I won’t be able to issue free copies.

If you have lost your account login information, create a support ticket at: and ask me to help you get back into your HollyShop account.


J.A. Konrath is just now opening his writing shop.  Why are you closing yours?

Because everything that involves the exchange of money on my site ALSO involves doing customer service.  I do my own because I want it done the way I want it done, I’m a perfectionist and a big pain in the ass in making sure my people (customers AND employees) are treated right, and it was my horrified experience that when I hired someone to cover some of my customer service for me, people knew they weren’t dealing with me, and regularly treated my helper like shit.

When people treat ME like shit, I politely help them get their problem solved, then request that they don’t buy anything else from me.  My helper couldn’t do that.  I refuse to subject anyone else to the sort of abuse my helper took on my behalf, however.

I ALSO refuse to use a third-party customer service option, though, because my own experiences as a customer with those options have been awful.  So I handle all problems myself.  And even though I rarely receive abusive treatment from a customer, when I do, it screws up my day.

And doing customer service, even when working with the kind and understanding folks I usually deal with, is exhausting, time-consuming, and it draws focus from my ability to create.

So I’m moving EVERYTHING that involves the exchange of money to sites that will not only collect the money for the courses I create and then send it to me, but that will do customer service on what they sell.

It’s worth it to me to have my students get my courses from platforms that are dedicated to making everything work right on every sale, every time—and I’m willing to pay the 30-ish% fee to sell on those sites to have that happen.

If J.A. Konrath is doing his own customer service, I wish him luck—it’s going to bite his writing time.  If he’s hired a friend or fan to do it for him, I wish his helper luck—many customers will not treat his helper with the kindness or respect they’d use in dealing with him personally.  If he’s farming customer service out to some third-party customer service solution, I wish his customers luck.  I have found NO happy solution to customer service, but third-party is the worst solution.


(The four-week version of) How to Write a Series is the bonus gift for How To Revise Your Novel.  Will Revise Your Novel students be able to get the upgrades to the full, stand-alone version of How to Write A Series?  Or is there a discount for HTRYN students to move to the full version?

The four-week version is a solid course in its own right, and a good freebie for How To Revise Your Novel.  But ONLY students of the full stand-alone version will receive the updates and the extended version.

There’s a discount for both HTRYN and HTTS students and grads.  I’m not sure if I have it posted in the HTRYN course yet (I thought I did), but if I don’t, I’ll make sure to make the discount for upgrading to the stand-alone version available in the next couple of weeks.


I’ve been saving money for one of your big courses, but I haven’t saved up enough yet.

If I can’t join the course before you close the doors, is that course just gone forever?

NO! ALL of my courses will continue to be available somewhere and in some form.

(When I said I’m not abandoning my students, I include FUTURE students in that statement.)

A LOT of folks missed this.

How To Think Sideways, How To Revise Your Novel, and How To Write A Series are going to be available for Kindle, Nook, iPad (if I can work out some problematic linking issues) and where possible, as print versions.

Let me go into a bit more detail on this:

  • If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get the free Kindle app for your computer and get your lessons that way.
  • If you don’t have a computer, you can get the Kindle app for your iPhone or Android phone, and get the lessons THAT way.
  • If you just hate Amazon, you can get the NOOK app, and get your lessons THAT way.
  • And at least for How to Think Sideways and How to Revise Your Novel, you’ll be able to buy lessons in print, though because of paper and printing, these will be more expensive than the e-versions.  (And because the courses run about 250,000 words, and 150,000 words respectively, not including handouts, you’re committing to some serious shelf space.)
  • How to Write A Series, because of its format, may only be available as individual lesson DVDs.

Each lesson will be available separately, (meaning that students can buy them as you can afford them and take them at your own pace) and will include both:

  • A link for free worksheet and handout downloads, and…
  • A sign-up link for the Boot Camp Writers’ Community for either a small monthly fee, or a one-time permanent membership.


Will you be finishing any of the other courses you’ve discussed or surveyed for or said you’d like to create?

No. I’ve had hundreds of course ideas.  They’re scattered across my hard drive like a giant guilty conscience, and I’ll be deleting the ideas as I trip over them.

I want my fiction.  I want clarity, and breathing room, and to pursue the stories that are scattered in bits and pieces across my hard drive like a garden full of flowers waiting to bloom.

I’ll refine my existing courses and transfer them to the big platforms.  I’ll finish Create A World Clinic because only about seven zillion people have asked me to, and it really is SUCH a cool series of techniques.

And that’s it.

Me.  Novels.  Short story collections.  A couple of truly weird fiction ideas agents and editors kept shooting down that I’ll now do.  That’s my future.


Has Cadence [Drake] ever done anything like this [complete priority shift]?

I laughed when I read this…but then realization slammed me across the nose.

In what is currently Chapter Four of the first draft of Cadence Drake 2: Warpaint, written a few days BEFORE I made this decision, Cady does exactly this.


And now I’m giving my Muse, my subconscious mind, a fishy eye and muttering, “Okay, so when did you know I was going to make this change, you sneaky bastid?”


When is How to Write a Series available?  And is it really that much different from How to Think Sideways?

Okay.  Let me just do the existing course rundown here.

All three courses, How to Think Sideways, How to Revise Your Novel, and How to Write a Series, are stand-alone courses.

Each covers its own subject matter, its own techniques, and its own objectives.

How to Think Sideways is my course on how to have the ideas, use them, and create the stories from them that will allow you to write novels (or screenplays, or short stories, or whatever form of fiction floats your boat) for the rest of your life.

How to Revise Your Novel is my course on how to get the book you want from whatever wreck your first draft turned into in ONE revision, and make it the book you dreamed it would be, so you can move on to writing your next book.

And How to Write A Series is how to create the characters and the stories that will allow you to write exactly the series you envision, in exactly the number of books you desire, and have each book be stronger and more compelling than the one before it—and how to end it how you want it and still thrill your readers.

There’s some unavoidable crossover in a couple of very basic writing techniques, but the main course subject matter does not overlap.

My rule on courses has always been that no one will ever by a course from me, buy another course, and find that he or she has just paid for the same damn information, written in different words.  I’ve bought those recycled crap courses from other people, they pissed me off, and I swore I would never treat people that way.

That goes for my little courses as well as my big ones.  If you want the details on how to create a character, for example, the ONLY place you’ll find those details is in Create A Character Clinic.

And finally, ALL my courses except for the upcoming Create A World Clinic are already available.


Will all the writing stuff on your website still be available?

Of course!  Do you know how many years I’ve been adding to that stuff?  There are articles in the writing section that were actually print articles I did for the little writers’ group newsletter I used to send out back when I was still in Schrodinger’s Petshop, before anyone but scientists had even heard of the internet.  1989-1990…somewhere around there.

I’ll still add the occasional writing article to the site as I feel like it.  I know me, and sooner or later I’ll have something new to say about writing, and I won’t be able to keep it to myself.

The writing newsletter now has 52 articles in it.  One full year of once-a-week tips.  It will remain a free resource on the site, and again, if I get froggy, I may add to it.  Even if I don’t add new tips, if you stay on it, I’ll make sure to send you links to any new articles I write.


You’re not still using Word, are you?!?!

Oh, God, no!  Not for years.  I use Scrivener and Pages, and I have Open Office on my computers but have to confess OO is really only there so when I’m talking to the Windows crowd, I can offer something that I know works.

I just checked, and discovered that I don’t actually have any Microsoft stuff on my computers anymore.  Lot of Adobe, lot of indie stuff.

Not sure when the last of Microsoft went away, but I think it’s kind of telling that I didn’t notice is was gone until today.


These were the ten big questions I found, plus the one nobody asked.  But over the next few days, I’ll check in here as I can and answer as much of what I missed as I can.

And thank you, thank you, thank you.

I had tears in my eyes reading your responses to my 51st birthday post.  I have always maintained that it has been my privilege to hang out with the best people on the internet, and that was proven again with your replies to my post.

But now, ONWARD!

We’re going to have some fun, and we’re going to create wonderful things.  Today, tomorrow, for the rest of our lives.


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96 responses to “Answers to the Eleven Big ‘I’m Quitting Teaching’ Questions”

  1. Olivia Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    I’m usually very silent with little to say but I felt the need to say something.

    I just wanted you to know that I would personally miss knowing you are “on call”. I have been trying to save money to do the full length courses and regret that I never found my feet quick enough. In a way it did inspire me to join at least one of the lessons a.s.a.p regardless of my “readiness”. I take heart in the fact that the other lessons will still be available for me to access when I am ready. I would have preferred to know that I had the personal touch of having you there should I ever need it, however, this is my loss not yours.

    You have been a great mentor to me. I’ve never regarded anyone as a mentor before. I enjoy your wit and vivid use of the English language. I have loved reading since a very young age and usually frown upon novels that use basic English, poor grammar and show a general lack of understanding with regards to the written word. To find a writer that creates realistic, engaging and entertaining images in my mind as well as being an easy read (as in enjoyable to read like words that roll of tongue and you find any excuse to use them) is a rare and wonderful thing. (i.e.: I read the Harry Potter Novels after watching the films to see what the films had left out. I found the first novel to be a not so easy read and was irritated on several occasions. I pushed through the novel though but felt the film portrayed the story best. However the author did improve her skill as the novels progressed and by the 7th book she had found her see legs). Practice does make perfect after all. My disappointment in your retirement from teaching is balanced by the thrill of knowing a new good read is on the horizon.

    I believe that everyone must follow their dreams and pursue their passions. It is what brings joy and harmony to the world and being stuck in a place that drains us of our passions and keeps us from moving forward only serves to create miserable grumpy people who’ve lost their lustre. Inertia is a good thing, sometimes it lets us know when we are on a roll, however, as you have learned sometimes we need to take the steering wheel and make a few turns here and there. Flying forward with no particular direction in mind is good at times even fun and gives us pleasure. However, we cannot go directionless forever and we need a little direction.

    You teach writing with passion because writing is your passion. It is a joy and privilege to us all that you shared that passion with us. Not many would have done the same and not many have an aptitude for teaching either. It is bonus on our part that you are. It is only fitting that you return to what you love even if we don’t want you to. You cannot be “on call” forever. Change is inevitable and necessary. We would all stagnate and wither away without it. I wish you the best of luck for the future and eagerly await to read you future writings.

    Back to the topic on hand, the reason I wanted to leave a response before I ran away with myself, and I apologise beforehand if it was asked and answered elsewhere, My time is rather limited and reading through everybody blog topic written and other peoples responses isn’t always possible. The question is: “Would you still be sending weekly e-mails to your mailing list with your little hints and tips”. I enjoy receiving them very much and even though you will be writing full time I was wondering if you would still be sending them out? Some serve as useful reminders. We sometimes get so stuck in a certain way of thinking that we forget even the most basic things. It would be nice. It’s not really a request or anything just… it would be nice.

    Thank you for sharing and I look forward to you new novel.

  2. Ruth Avatar

    I have nothing but support and admiration for your difficult decision, and I respect your integrity in continuing to complete your existing commitments. But am I reading this correctly? Have you committed to a further two years of migraines, working insane hours and not doing the writing you love, just so as not to let down a whole load of people you haven’t even met?
    If so, then there’s one more question you haven’t answered – what can we do to help? Two years is a long time – I’m sure I’m not the only one who would leap at the opportunity to show my appreciation of all you’ve done by helping when it’s needed.

  3. Nina Avatar

    First, happy belated birthday.

    Second, am I the only one missing the one question no one asked? Or am I just think or blind from not sleeping? I think I can only see the ten most asked questions.

    Third, Thank you so much for ever teaching at all. All your courses have been a big help for me wrapping my head around especially editing.

  4. Felicia Fredlund Avatar
    Felicia Fredlund

    Hi Holly, and happy birthday!

    We all make changes in our lives. (I’m making tons at the moment too.) I’m glad you’re doing what YOU want to do, and not what you think everyone else wants.

    I’m also really happy that you will still make Create a World Clinic, because…well I don’t know where to begin but my muse insist we need great, big worlds. 🙂

    I was wondering something. If you buy the clinics through the student store, will we still reach them after the move and you close down your shop? Since we don’t download them from the shop page, I though I should ask. Basically I want to know if I can buy them from the student store and keep downloading them forever (I’m in all three of your Legacy courses).

    *hands out glasses with people’s favorite drink* Here’s to Holly and a brighter future! (Because we’ll get more fiction from Holly! Yay!)

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Felicia,

      The detailed answer for this is in Question Two above, but the short answer is, No, for the shop courses, you need to back up everything to CD or DVD.

      1. Felicia Fredlund Avatar
        Felicia Fredlund

        I meant courses you buy through HTTS/HTRYN/HTWAS. The discount store you can get to via the course. Maybe you meant that one too, then I apologize, I just want to be sure.

  5. Cat (from HtTS) Avatar

    Will you put “Mugging the Muse” up for free again?

    1. Holly Avatar

      Mugging the Muse is still up for free.

      Either log into or create an account in (Top left corner of the page)

      When you’re logged in, click “Downloads” in the same login box.

      Download Mugging the Muse and any of the other freebies I have in there. 😀

  6. Kirsten Avatar

    I just wanted to say, thank you so much Holly! You’ve taught me so much about how to write over the years and I know you’re helping make my dream a reality. Your words have reassured me, reminding me that I CAN do this, and to always Write with Joy. You’ve help me to see things in new ways, and I’m forever grateful.

    You are such a blessing Holly. Write On.

  7. Jessica Alvarado Avatar

    thank you for everything, honestly i can’t wait to read more of your writing.

    i do just have one question. I’m a htts grad and would love to take the series course but can’t find the link for the discount….

    1. Holly Avatar

      In HTTS, it’s in one of the Walkthroughs. Offhand, I don’t remember which one. Can a current student who does remember point Jessica to the correct Walkthrough and page?

  8. Linda Sturgill Avatar
    Linda Sturgill

    Moving on is a part of life, and I wish you all happiness in your’s. Okay, I know that sounds like a sappy greeting card, but really, I’ve learned more from your studies than from any creative writing course I’ve ever taken and I will miss your wisdom and wit. Happy Birthday and good luck.

  9. Jessic@ Avatar

    So many beautiful comments on here. I’d like to add another Happy Birthday and to say, as many have already, that you’re an inspiration Holly.

    Following your lead and going the self-pub route. Seems like a lot of work but so worth the effort to get the stories out there that you’re passionate about and not have to change things because of whatever fad is hot right now in fiction.

    Can’t wait to read your new work. Happy writing!

  10. Donna Avatar

    I just want to say Happy Birthday – and I am soooo happy for you that you are following your heart and doing what you know you need to be doing! Thank you so much for your generosity and all the help you give us who dream of writing, too.

  11. Thea Avatar

    Happy birthday, Holly!

    Gosh, now I’m curious as to what those weird fiction ideas you have are. I love weird things! 🙂

  12. Deborah Robson Avatar

    1. Happy birthday!
    2. Bravo.
    3. Thank you for your past, present, and future generosity, in all its forms.
    4. Happy increased writing time!

  13. Michael Avatar

    Happy birthday! Sounds like you gave yourself (and your readers, truth be told) the best present possible. When my 18yo son was telling my middle daughter you were quitting teaching, she said, “Hunh. Guess she wanted to spend more time actually writing.” From the mouths of babes…

    I don’t know whether your indirect admonition of (loosely) “quit screwing around and WRITE!” got to me or what, but I started writing one of “those scenes” (in romance, even – NOT my normal genre!) at midnight, thinking I’d dash it out of my head in a few minutes. Yeah, well, 2701 words and FOUR HOURS later, I crawled into bed. I reread it twice today. I still like it. Maybe I’ll even do something with it one of these days.

    Thanks for everything you’ve given us so far, thanks for keeping us in the loop, and thanks for everything you are *going* to do!

  14. Madrynea Avatar

    Dear Holly,

    I am so glad to hear about your decision, and relieved to see you made it in time. Those migraines you were talking about, I think, were a symtom of changes to come. I haven’t been around your community for very long, but I have benefited from HTTS in so many ways. Within half a year, I went from being stuck on the same project for over 10 years to not only finishing it, but also writing a new novel which I love, and to having ideas for upcoming projects – all this when I thought I had only one story to tell and that was it.

    The passion for writing is what binds all of us here together. We have all gained a lot from the fact that you put that passion aside to teach us how to find it. But you’d be mad to give it up forever.

    I for one am looking forward to see a relaxed, happy Holly just bursting with creativity and writing passion.

    All the best to you!

  15. jess Avatar

    forgot to say happy birthday holly 🙂

  16. Immsnoonan Avatar

    I think it’s great that you are getting back to your true passion. I am also SO relieved to see that the courses are still going to be available. You have both taught and inspired me greatly. Thank you!

  17. Stephanie Avatar

    Congratulations on this huge and amazing decision Holly. I have to admit I was worried about whether Create a World Clinic would happen when I read your email, and I’m so thrilled you’ll still be writing it. Those clinics have been amazing idea generators for me, and I can’t wait to see what sort of techniques you’ll create for World.

    I’m also insanely excited about Cadence Drake 2. Having recently purchased and read 1, I’m dying to know what happens next. And I hope Tangerine is still part of the story, because I loved him.

    1. Holly Avatar

      If you loved Tangerine, you’ll love Cadence Drake 2. Tangerine is the second-story protagonist. 😀

  18. jess Avatar

    hi holly, thanks for all your knowledge and wisdom that you have shared with us all, you are fantastic. i will be trying to purchase your courses when i have the money.
    Have fun writing your new Cadence Drake and anything else you can come up with 🙂

  19. Sharon Brookls Avatar
    Sharon Brookls

    Dear Holly,
    We sure do put our own personalities into our writing,oh…I know we call it our Muse…good luck on “retirement” but somehow I think you’ll be back teaching…in one form or another. I have taken your free courses, mainly because I didn’t have the time to take your paid courses and I have learned a LOT! The first book of my triogy Free Hire will be on Amazon soon( for Kindle), thanks to your lessions.

    Sharon L. Brooks

  20. Elmi Avatar

    I never commented on the original announcement post because, compulsive reader that I am, I couldn’t get past all the comments without reading each one & by #50 I was so teared up I never made it to the comment box…

    I also wish you the best of luck, the biggest THANK YOU I can manage in a text editor, and know that I echo all that love & positive energy shining from all the beautiful people you always seem to be surrounded by.

    HtTS was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I was planning to do HTRYN once I had a finished draft, but I guess I’m taking the plunge sooner than I thought.

    You’re an inspiration on so many levels. I wish you joy, peace & fortune, always!

    1. Holly Avatar

      I know the feeling. I got very teared up, too. I have been fortunate—I’ve met the best people on the internet throughout my time here, starting with my earliest SFF-net website and the multiple versions of what finally became Forward Motion, through all my courses and the Boot Camp community, and here on my weblog.

      When I go other places on the internet, I see how bad the company can get. But the people who have chosen to spend time with me are amazing. I’m privileged to share your company.

      And thank you for the good wishes. I’m incredibly excited.

  21. KittyB78 Avatar

    Happy Birthday Holly. I’m glad the courses will still be available. One of these days I will have enough saved up to get them 🙂

  22. smpayne2 Avatar

    When do affiliate links stop working? Will you be posting on Smashwords as well? (it also offers affiliate links)

    1. Holly Avatar

      Affiliate links won’t stop working until I move all of my courses to, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. When EVERYTHING is available on those sites, I’ll close the shop, and the links will stop working.

      (I am NOT, however, accepting any new affiliates.)

      Depending on how focused I get about getting the courses reformatted and moved, this could happen as soon as six months, or as late as two years.

      This goes for the big courses, too. Affiliate links and monthly affiliate payments for those courses will continue until 1) I have locked the courses to new members, and 2) the last student has completed his last payment for the course.

      As for Smashwords, no, I won’t be using it. I have several reasons. First, all the Smashwords-produced ebooks I’ve purchased are ugly and unprofessionally formatted—my biggest complaint is that they don’t have page breaks at chapters, but I have other issues with the quality of the formatting, too.

      Second, Smashwords distributes books to Kobo. I won’t use Kobo for the following reason (or any other site that does what it does).

      What does Kobo do?

      Kobo unilaterally discounts the author’s set price.

      This may seem like a small thing, but Amazon price-matches to whatever lower price it finds.

      When Amazon price-matches, Kobo discounts again.

      And Amazon price-matches again.

      I prefer to get paid for my work. I’m already publishing all my fiction at the absolute lowest possible price point that allows me to make a decent royalty, $2.99. (If you find an ebook by me at a higher price, I’m not the one who published it, and I had no control over the price.)

      I choose not to have my carefully selected price undercut by someone who has contributed nothing to the effort of creating my books, but who is willing to destroy my ability to make a living from them by undercutting me and dropping my royalties into the “can’t make a living on this” category.

      1. smpayne2 Avatar

        Something I did not know that I wish I had. But you can uncheck Kobo so it does not distribute there and I’m off to go do that right now with what I have up!

  23. NancyD Avatar

    Happy Birthday, sister Libra!

    Thanks so much for How to Revise Your Novel. I’m not done yet, but I’m bringing my novel to life because of your teaching skills.

    Congratulations on making such a wonderful decision for yourself. I’ll be looking forward to your new novels!

  24. Lee Avatar

    Hi, again, Holly 🙂

    Just for the record, I saw the writing on the wall, as it were, and knew you were due a change when I kept reading about all those migraines you were having. It was a message and I was hearing it loud and clear, as I’m sure you did, too. Even if you resisted it for as absolutely long as you could. Your hard head is one of the things I love so much about you. One of the many things. 😉

    I think I forgot to wish you a happy birthday yesterday, and I didn’t get you a gift. But, Holly — as Xena said to Gabby in A Solstice Carol — “you are a gift.” To all of us. To the world.

    Now go write some more great frakkin’ stories! Woohoo! I can hardly to read ’em! 😀

    1. Lee Avatar

      Darn it, I meant to say, I can hardly wait to read ’em. When are they gonna put the edit button on comments for those of us who are proof-reading challenged, huh? 😉

      1. Holly Avatar

        You’d think someone would offer that, wouldn’t you. I haven’t found anything yet that makes it possible.

        1. Lee Avatar

          I was kidding. I just need to learn to proof-read my comments before I hit submit. You, the blog host, have more than enough to do without worrying about us wanting to edit our comments. I don’t see how you manage to do it all. And still have time to write anything. Well…I guess that’s why you’re making the Big Change!

          Go for it, Holly! Woohoo! My stack of books by Holly Lisle is getting big but there will always be room for more. 😀

  25. Rebecca Johnson Avatar
    Rebecca Johnson

    Happy Birthday, Holly!

    Thank you for all you have done to share your knowledge as well as for all you will do so those of us who recently found you won’t be left out. You are such an awesomely amazing, kind, thoughful, and considerate person! All worlds need more Holly Lisles!

    I’m happy you’ve decided what you really want to be and do now that you’ve reached your second grown-up status! (I hit mine a few years back.) May every day be full of time and energy for you to accomplish all the goals you’ve set for that day – and may all the crisis-creating cacodemons take up permanant residence in a cave on another planet!

  26. Dyre Avatar

    A bit late to say this, but; Happy Birthday!

    Also, congratulations on the self-publishing and decision to focus on your fiction again. Although many will likely miss your personal lessons and getting the chance to learn directly from you, no one would would want you to go against your passions.

    I look forward to reading more of your fiction. I also look forward to buying all of your lessons as they come to the other outlets. I may have to get a Kindle just for them. I have not been able to afford the larger courses. To hear they will be available in another medium, instead of disappearing entirely, makes me very happy.

    Thank you, for everything you’ve done and again; I can’t wait to read more of your stories. =)

  27. Lewinna Avatar

    Oh my I did not even make the connection that it was your birthday yesterday! 🙂 Mine was the day before. Happy birthday!

    I was excited to hear your news, though. Those kinds of moments are priceless… congratulations on having the awareness, guts, and resources to live your dream.

  28. Laraine Anne Barker Avatar

    I forgot the most important thing too, Holly. Happy birthday, and may you have many more just as happy.

    In many ways it feels like lifetime since I was 51. In others it feels like yesterday. Seems hardly any time since the world was celebrating the arrival of 2000, yet it’s over 11 years ago!

  29. Ivye Avatar

    I had somehow managed to miss the previous post, and now I catch up with the big changes…
    First thing, happy birthday, Holly.
    Second thing, thank you: HTTS dragged me out of a major case of block, major enough that it was threatening to become permanent. Your courses helped me enormously, and so I can’t say I’m not sad there won’t be more of them…
    But I see your point. I wish you every happiness with you writing, and I can’t wait to read the new Cady books.

    One last question, though: will the Walkthrough remain available?

    1. Holly Avatar

      The Walkthrough will remain available to all HTTS grads and Legacy Course students.

      I’m trying to figure out how I might make it available as an additional purchase for the Big Platforms versions…but it’s multi-multi-media, and it simply may not be possible.

  30. Laura Avatar

    Thanks for the extra information! I missed responding on the previous post, but I chime in with Happy Birthday and best wishes for lots more birthdays. You have to do what’s right for you and you’re doing that. So few people do.

  31. Bruce Avatar

    First, happy birthday. Fifty-one, huh? Great time to conduct a reappraisal of your life. I speak from experience. Fifty-six, here.

    Second, I’m conflicted. I’ve loved working through HTTS. The other material that you’ve posted on your website over the years has been a great help. When my 14-year-old, home schooled daughter decided she wanted to take a writing course that she was keen on, one aimed specifically at young teens, I used you to grade the course. I gave it (and its creator, who showed up at a home school convention) a close going-over, looking to see whether this guy was tracking on the same concepts that you teach so well. So, I’m deeply disappointed that you’re moving your focus.

    But, I’m delighted to hear that you are…well, er, what’s the best way to put it? You’ve never left writing fiction, so it’s not like you’re returning to it. Let’s just say that the news that you’re going to give your fiction much more attention is great news for one who first found you through your fiction and only came to your writing instruction later.

    So, cheers to you, Holly Lisle. May you live (and write) another 51 years.

    1. Holly Avatar

      😀 Home-schooling is wonderful, isn’t it?

      My youngest is almost ready to turn 14, and he’s in his second year of Japanese (after a year of Spanish), doing Algebra (did Geometry last year), is taking Jeff Walker for business, doing History (currently memorizing and explaining the meaning of the second half of the Bill of Rights, the first half of which he learned last year, Geography (Europe this year), Biology, English, and reading (a continuation of the works of Sir Terry Pratchett, because with the kid’s heavy course load, he really does need some pure fun in there, and Pratchett includes philosophy, logic, superb plotting, and wonderful writing in with his delightful humor).

  32. che Avatar

    A belated happy birthday to you. Thank you for everything you have done over the years to help us reach for our dreams. You have paid it forward and then some! You will continue to teach us the craft of creating the stories that live within our hearts and minds. You’ll just be doing it by creating and sharing your own. I’m not alone, I’m sure, when I say I can hardly wait. Thank you so very much!

  33. Anika Avatar

    Personally speaking I don’t have a kindle or a smart phone or any kind of aps and I live outside the US so I can’t use the Nook. I really don’t want another program that I have to strip out all the drm from the files to future proof myself(too many problems with ebook proprietary software). I wish you the best of luck but I won’t be able to buy anything else.

    1. Elmi Avatar

      The great news is that you can download the Kindle and Nook apps for your computer for free, which means you don’t need the reader. I have installed & used both successfully on my Mac & PC, and although I haven’t bought anything from the Nook store yet, I have successfully bought lots of Kindle books, & I live in Africa! So don’t worry on missing out, as long as Holly’s work has an international distribution license (which I’m sure it will have), you WILL be able to get it 🙂

      1. Holly Avatar

        Yes. EVERYTHING has and will have an international distribution license. 😀

  34. LindaJeanne Avatar


    I want to thank you so much for all the writing courses and information that you’ve made available. I’ve found it all to be insanely helpful; it *has* saved me from years of floundering around. You’ve done a really valuable thing for a lot of people.

    Enjoy your career shift back to writing full-time. =^).

  35. Susan Russell Avatar
    Susan Russell

    Happy birthday Holly! And so glad you got to spend time with your Air Force son. I was lucky to see my nephew on his short break from Afghanistan a few weeks ago.

    I am really glad that you are doing what you need to do. But there is a bad side. I was talking to my daughter (the one you may remember as a baby bump and then a baby in Schroedinger’s Petshop) the other day — she is at college now — and she told me that getting her lab report done was really tough because she was at an exciting part of Diplomacy of Wolves. If you become more prolific, just think how many lab reports may be in danger! Shame on you!

    Okay, I do actually have a couple of questions regarding HTTS: What exactly is this “Walkthrough” that I’ve seen mentioned in several emails? And will you be adding to the Q&A sections at the end of each lesson?

    HTTS has been a great learning tool and helped me reach the end of my rough draft. I do hope you’ll teach again some day — it’s so rare to find a teacher in ANY field who really knows their shit AND knows how to teach others.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Susan! Tell your daughter I remember her in her baby-bump form. I’m delighted to see you. And as for lab reports, HA! I hope to menace their completion with many, MANY more novels.

      (Susan was a Schrodinger’s Petshop member 😀 )

      The Walkthrough is the enormous expansion of the HTTS course I’m doing as I work my way through writing Cadence Drake 2: Warpaint. I’m demonstrating, with audio, screen shots, new work sheets, videos, and other technologies exactly how and why I’m writing the book the way I am—massive screw-ups, desperate fixes, and all.

      As a grad, you have full access to it. Just log into your account, click into lesson one, and click Walkthrough link in the new, big yellow box at the top of the lesson page.

      The Q&As for the course are now fixed in amber—there won’t be any changes or additions to them. The Walkthrough is the last work I’ll do on HTTS before I declare it finished.

      1. Susan Russell Avatar
        Susan Russell

        Thanks Holly!

  36. Jan Avatar

    First of all, happy birthday!

    I’ve only been a student of yours for a few months, but I’ve been grateful for all your teaching. At the same time, I’ve left careers and routes behind in similar moments, and I’ve never regretted it. It’s wonderful to see you so happy. Epiphanies are marvellous things.

    One quick question, and forgive me if it’s been addressed: Having just done the HTTS course, if I sign up for HTRYN now, can I still get it in the old format?

    1. Holly Avatar

      You can sign up for HTRYN and get it in the old format. Be sure to log into your HTTS account and use the HTRYN sign-up link at the top of the page with your lessons to get your student discount.

  37. Meg Avatar

    I just signed up for your free Professional Plot Outline course. Will this be affected by your proper reorganization of your priorities? [g]

    1. Holly Avatar

      Yep. I’ll be closing the doors on it as a sign-up membership course, though only after Margaret and I get all the members moved to the Boot Camp Writers’ Community as Self-Pub Resource access members. As of this minute, there are 6560 of you guys, so moving THAT database is going to take a bit of time.

      I’m not sure whether to make How To Create A Professional Plot Outline available as a .99 e-book course on Kindle/ Nook/ iPad/ apps, or to just let it disappear. I do know that the course with its existing signup/login/download format generates a huge number of customer service requests, so it definitely will not continue in its current form once we get you folks hooked up to the community.

  38. Lorraine Avatar


    Not sure how to say this without it sounding corny, but thank you. You’ve paved the way for so many writers, given us the tools to decide if writing is right for us and saved those who weren’t in love with it from wasting their time on something that didn’t excite them.

    You’ve taught me how to organize my time. How to use it most efficiently between family time, work, and writing so I can do the things I love and do it well.

    You’ve taught me how to tell stories that matter to me.

    Thank you. I’m only one person among thousands who have benefitted from your work. By sharing your time with us, you’ve given thousands of people more time to create. That’s such an awesome gift, and I’ll never be able to fully express how much of a difference it has made in my life and for my family.

    Now I’m excited to see what you create next. The world needs more stories from Holly Lisle.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, both for your kind words, and for allowing me to share what I’ve learned over the years with you.

      I’m excited to see what you’ll create, too.

      I’ll see you on the shelves.

  39. Cheryel Hutton Avatar

    Happy birthday!

    I’m so sorry things got so bad for you/your helper. Take care of yourself, and do what you need to do. I am glad you will be better able to write your fiction, and that your courses will still be available in whatever form you choose to make them.

    Take care!

  40. penny Avatar

    You really answered my questions, Holly (I was one of those that harrassed you about world building–those books are awesome! I’ll never get that kind of information anywhere! They are gold. Thank you so much.) And I’m glad we don’t completely lose touch with you. And again–happy belated birthday.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’ll always be available here on the weblog, though I may from time to time take breaks away to focus on the current novel.

  41. Ruth Ellen Parlour Avatar

    Happy Birthday! I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, thank you for all the things you’ve done for writers. You’ve been a Godsend.

    Onwards and upwards!
    Ruth Ellen Parlour

  42. Amber J. Gardner Avatar
    Amber J. Gardner

    How much difference is HTWAS stand alone than from the free gift version that comes with HTRYN?

    Also, how do I get this extended version? I want it lol.

    1. Holly Avatar

      At the moment, there’s no difference at all.

      As soon as I finish the Walkthrough, however, the stand-alone version of How To Write A Series gets the “Cadence Drake expansion,” where I go into detail about setting up the complete ten-book Cadence Drake series, and demo my way through the characterization, plotting, writing, and continuity issues with a couple of the books.

      The full version of the course is available here:

      HTRYN and HTTS students and grads are eligible for the student discount, though, so if you’re in those courses, DON’T buy through the link above. Since I think I have that information inconveniently tucked away in BOTH student areas, I’ll look at fixing it tomorrow to make it easy for HTRYN and HTTS students to sign up.

      (Can’t do it today because my father-in-law is coming over in a couple hours and we’re getting ready to publish the print version of his first book, Basic Biology: Homeschooling Week by Week. (Not an affiliate link. I’m just really proud of him… and I did the cover design. 😀 )

  43. Lola Avatar

    Hey- what’s the last day to buy one of your writing courses, or did I already miss it? I’m a huuuuuge fan and I don’t want to miss out. ^^

  44. Sara Latta Avatar

    Happy Birthday, Holly! All of that writing time you’ll be gaining is a wonderful birthday gift to yourself.

  45. Carradee Avatar

    Oh, my! I forgot to say “Happy birthday!” too, I think. Sorry.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the e-books. Will you be on Smashwords? I know it’s a preferred vendor for some people (like me *cough*), particularly for international buyers. They don’t add those nasty surcharges to international buyers that Amazon does, and they let you control the excerpt size and such.

  46. Carmen Rane Hudson Avatar

    Whew!! I have been meaning to jump on the revision and series courses but haven’t had the resources just yet and was still slowly working my way through HTTS (usually by jumping to the lesson I needed when I needed it, I’m terrible at being linear)–I’m glad I won’t have to miss out.

  47. Angel Avatar

    OMG, in reading this, I realized I had forgotten the biggest thing I meant to put in my post.


  48. Kathleen Gabriel Avatar

    Happy birthday, Holly! i hope you have a great day and week and–oh, heck. Just declare it a happy birthday month.
    I will try not to be sad about the How to Think Sideways for Self-Publishers.

    1. Holly Avatar

      There’s no REASON to be sad.

      How to Think Sideways will INCLUDE the Self-Publisher lessons. The course will run 29 lessons on Kindle, Nook, and so on.

      Students of what I’m already thinking of as the Legacy Version (the version available now on the How To Think Sideways site) will get the self-pub stuff included in with their existing course material for free.

  49. Hanna Avatar

    Write a Book With Me? Will that live again with Cadence?

    1. Holly Avatar

      Probably in some form here. Not anything I’m going to nail myself to, though.

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