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Laurie Graves Author Pages

Rapunzel Reads Reviews Maya

Not long ago, I was introduced to Rapunzel Reads, a fresh, charming blog dedicated to reviewing books for middle readers and young adults.

According to the blurb on the blog, here is how Rapunzel Reads was named:

Everyone knows that Rapunzel spent her early years locked up in a tower. We’d like to think she had plenty of books to while away the time, and that she’d appreciate our own favorites.

The blog is written “by & for kids.” The two young reviewers—“Piranha T.” and “Super Kitty”— are sisters who are twelve and fourteen. In the  About section, Piranha T. and Super Kitty explain why they started Rapunzel Reads:

We…love to read, and to share what we read with our friends and family. With the help of our mother (who is also happiest when curled up somewhere with a stack of great books) we’ve decided to start this blog as a way to never lose sight of our absolute favorites, and to get a conversation going with people we know (and those we don’t!), who also might want to share their favorites with us on this site….

A few weeks ago Piranha T. reviewed Maya and the Book of Everything for Rapunzel Reads. What an honor! While positive reviews are always welcome, it is especially gratifying to have a good review written by a young person. Piranha T. concluded:

Maya and the Book of Everything was an excellent fantasy. Laurie Graves wrote a well-rounded plot which kept surprising me with twists I never would have anticipated. Maya was a clever and interesting heroine who I absolutely loved. The themes on books and reading were also fun, reminding me (although slightly younger than this book) of Finding Serendipity. I would highly recommend Maya and the Book of Everything to lovers of fantasy and complex plots ages twelve and up.

Many, many thanks, Piranha T., for this wonderful review. And readers, do check out Rapunzel Reads when you have a chance. The reviews are short and snappy, and those who love children’s literature will want to add many of the featured books to their TBR pile.

Artists Need to Create…

For someone who doesn’t stray far from home, I seem to have quite the busy little life. I suppose no matter where you live there is always something going on, and observant writers, photographers, and artists try to catch as much of it as possible.

Last week, our daughter Dee came to visit, and we celebrated our birthdays. Hers is in October, and Clif and I have birthdays in September. What a time we had! We went to three movies; ate dinners at a Thai and Mexican restaurant (not the same place); had fires in our fire pit, where we made S’mores; got together with friends; and went to two terrific art exhibits at Colby College and Bates College. Have I left anything out? I don’t thinks so.

Dee left yesterday, and now it’s time to hunker down and work on my fantasy novel Out of Time. I am at 70,000 words, and I might have been a wee bit optimistic about when I would finish.  I had hoped it would be by the end of September, but now it looks like it won’t be until some time in October. (Still ahead of schedule. My original goal was to finish by December.) Therefore, I’m going to resume blogging—yes, I have missed it—albeit on a somewhat limited scale with more images than words and perhaps featuring posts from other blogs.

Anyway, here is today’s image, taken at the fabulous Colby College Museum of Art.

Created by

Yes, yes, and yes!

 

Not Quite Finished, but Here’s a Blurb for Out of Time

Coming in fall of 2020

Out of Time

Book Three in the Great Library Series

by Laurie Graves

Time, time, time. Maya is back in New York City, where she catches a glimpse of her younger self. But as usual, Maya is too busy to worry about disturbing the space-time continuum.

She must find someone called the Accumulator, who will help her defeat her adversary Cinnial. Find him she does, and with a new team—Will, Jay, and Lexie—Maya goes to a place called Elferterre, where magic rules and danger lurks…

 

 

Progress Report as Summer Slides into Fall

Although I haven’t been blogging, I have been working diligently on my YA fantasy novel, Out of Time. I am about three-quarters done. The end is in sight, and I can definitely see land now.  This galloping toward the finish line is the exciting part of writing a book, and thoughts of editing and revision are pushed firmly to the side. All that matters now is the story, and there will be time enough for the really picky work when I am finished.

While I have been feverishly working—six days a week, with Sundays off—late summer has begun its slide into early fall. A bittersweet time. Fall, with its blaze of orange, red, and yellow, is magnificent in Maine. The cool, crisp days are invigorating, and the bounty of apples, squash, and potatoes reminds us of all the good things that come from Earth. Simmering soups and fresh biscuits or muffins make this a cozy season.

But—somehow there is always a but—the days are shorter, and we no longer have long nights on the patio. The nights have become cool enough that we have begun thinking about turning on the heat, a cost that is a burden for those of us who live on a shoestring budget.

In this part of the world, fall is also hurricane season, and right now there is a brute of a storm named Dorian that is smashing the Bahamas and heading toward Florida. We mourn for the destruction in the Bahamas and wait apprehensively as Dorian approaches Florida. “Go out to sea, go out to sea,” we pray, but the storm runs by its own rules and will hit wherever it wants.

While hurricanes usually don’t make it as far north as Maine, we have nevertheless begun thinking of stocking up on canned beans, canned soup, peanut butter, and batteries. Winter is coming, and we want to be prepared. Yesterday I emptied, scrubbed, and refilled the big covered buckets we use for storing water. That way, if a storm knocks out our power, we have water. We have a well, and no power means no water. This scrubbing and refilling is a yearly fall ritual, another reminder that summer is coming to an end.

The gardens are yet another reminder. As my blogging friend Tootlepedal might put it, our gardens are no longer at their best. Their midsummer glory is a thing of the past, and now a faded, slightly regretful air hangs over everything. And the shrubs, neglected last year, are in desperate need of a trimming.

Fortunately, we have black-eyed Susans to brighten the yard.

And the promising blush of pink from the sedums.

Farewell, Summer. Sometimes, especially in July, you are too hot, but I still love you.

And now it’s back to work on Out of Time. I am hoping that my next post—probably the end of September—will have the title Finished.

 

 

The Pull of Abandoned Places

This was a weekend of selling books, and what a good weekend it was. We went to two shows—the Summer Arts Festival in our own little town of Winthrop and the Sunday Indie Market at the Baxter Brewing Company’s Pub in Lewiston. The Summer Arts Festival was fun, and we sold lots of books. Other vendors did well, too, and as I’ve noted before, it means a lot to us when people come to these events and buy what we have created.

However, a big highlight of the weekend was the setting of the Sunday Indie Market in Lewiston, a huge mill complex that is slowly being renovated, where shabby is juxtaposed with new. Clif and I are both drawn to buildings that have been abandoned. Somehow, in their neglect, these buildings acquire a dignity that they often didn’t have when they were in better repair.

For many people, Maine is a state of quaint seaside villages that caters to those who are from away, as we say here. The coast is certainly one beautiful aspect of the state. However, Clif and I were born inland—in Bangor and Waterville—two communities that do not give Maine its quaint reputation. We are old enough to remember when these cities were filled with factories and were more than a little gritty. These places feel like home to us.

Once upon a time, Lewiston was also a city of mills and factory workers.

Here is the gate at the pub, where the Sunday Indie Market was held.

We set up a booth on one side of the walkway. Behind us were shiny  new silos and old bricks.

Across from us, green growth reached up to cover neglect,

and water rushed by.

From afar, the walkway almost looks as though a mural has been painted on it. But here is one of Clif’s photo that takes a closer look and reveals peeling rather than painting.

Finally, old next to new.

While we love nature as much as the next Mainer, these half-abandoned places exert an almost gravitational pull on us, and we had mixed feelings when we heard that the rest of this mill complex was slated for renovation. I know. I know. We really don’t want these factories to fall to the ground, and we want them to be useful once more.

But gussied up, the buildings lose their striking visual appeal. Good for the community, perhaps, but not so good for photography.

 

Alas, Poor Cabbage

On Wednesday, Clif and I set up our canopy and book display at the Gardiner Farmers Market, held at the lovely, expansive common on the hill above downtown. The Gardiner Common—or Green, as it is often called in New England—is a wonderful place for children.  The Common is large enough so that parents do not have to worry about children  running into the road. There are swings and slides, and on hot days, a fountain to play in.

We were next to a vendor—Mike from Andrews Farm—with the most gorgeous array of veggies.

Here is a picture of Clif staring pensively at one of our purchases.

All in all, it was a relaxing day. There were no mosquitoes—praise be!—and the day was fine, warm but not too hot. We sold some books and prints. We listened to children play. We watched people walk their dogs. We bought a cabbage and some sugar snap peas, both of which we used in a stir-fry last night. Utterly delicious.

We have reserved another date in August to return to this farmers market, and we are looking forward to going back to the beautiful Gardiner Common.

 

 

Kind Words from Canada about Library Lost

Kind words about my books Library Lost and Maya and the Book of Everything are always appreciated, but when they come exactly at the right time, it is even better. So it was with my blogging friend Sheryl of Flowery Prose, a master gardener and writer from Calgary Alberta, Canada. Connecting with people from afar is a wonderful example of the joys of blogging. Readers, if you haven’t checked out Flowery Prose, then please do.

Sheryl recently wrote a review of Library Lost. As for the timing…this book has been published for six months, which means the flurry of its arrival has subsided. I am in the middle of writing Out of Time, the next book in my Great Library Series. While it might be an exaggeration to state this is a “dark night of the soul” phase for me, I am definitely in the Oh-my-God-how-am-I-going-to-get-to-the-end phase. I know where I went to go. I’m just not sure how I am going to get there. A good metaphor for life in general, don’t you think?

Here is some of what Sheryl wrote, used with permission.

The fate of the Great Library – the source of all of the knowledge and information in the universe – remains at stake in Library Lost. As Time and Chaos battle for such a powerful and valuable prize, other players have their own agendas. It’s up to our smart, strong teenage heroine, Maya, and her allies to stay out of danger and initiate a plan to save the Library. Unfortunately, the best-laid plans don’t always pan out the way they should, and the result is an engaging, action-packed (and magical!) adventure with brilliant pacing and and an exquisitely detailed and realized setting.

Many thanks, Sheryl! And onward, ho for me.