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Laurie Graves Author Pages

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.

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Windy

On Saturday, we went to Steep Falls Farmers Market with our books and display. As the title indicates, it was an up and down kind of day.

Being a person who likes to look on the bright side of life, I’ll start with the good.

First, it was a gloriously sunny day—it had rained the day before— and the Steep Falls Farmers Market is on a pretty green complete with a gazebo.

Here we are all set up.

Here’s a longer view of the green.

And our books and prints started out looking pretty.

Now comes the bad. I am going to borrow from another crafter by noting that we had to get up at God-awful-o’clock in the morning to get to Steep Falls—over an hour from where we live—and set up by 8:30.  (The market opens at 9:00.) To put it mildly, I am not a morning person. By the time we were set up and I had the first sip of tea from my thermos, I felt as though I had been whacked between the eyes with a 2 x 4. In short, not exactly my usual perky self. (Go ahead, morning folks. Yuck it up.)

Then came the windy. Apparently, the green is in a breezy spot in town, and because it had rained the day before, the wind was even worse than usual. A particularly strong gust knocked over our canopy and bent one of the legs. It swept our books and prints and most everything else off the table. Fortunately, none of our items are breakable, and aside from the canopy’s leg, nothing was damaged.

However, no longer did we have a pretty display where our books and prints were neatly arranged. Instead, everything was higgedly-piggedly, set out for easy protection from the wind rather than for any kind of order. (No, I did not get pictures of the brouhaha.)

By the time the end of the fair rolled around, we were just plain tuckered out.

But I don’t want to finish on that note because something very good happened to perk up what was an extremely trying day. Across the green from us, Feathers and Scale Farm had a booth, and as their business card proclaims, they sell “soap, milk, cheese, and all things goat.”

Just before the market ended, Wes Woodman—who owns the farm with his wife, Carissa Larsen—brought over two puddings for us. One was a luscious chocolate, and the other was an even more luscious vanilla. What a cool, delicious treat! I can taste it still, and I could have some right now.

Here is a picture of Wes Woodman by his booth.

Readers, if you are ever come across some of Feathers and Scale Farm’s delectable products, do not hesitate to buy them.

Thanks, Wes. for the scrummy treats.

 

 

 

Of Superheroes, Pizza, and Cocktails

The pine pollen is flying, and the mosquitoes are out in force. June has come to Maine, and it’s time to finish the spring gardening chores. Fortunately, today is a bright and beautiful day, and this afternoon Clif and I will be outside.

The last week of May, when our daughter Dee came to visit, was cool and rainy. Still, we had a good time. We are all movie buffs, and the rainy week was a perfect time to go to the cinema as well as watch films on Netflix. Our favorite was Avengers: Endgame. I know. Avengers is a blockbuster movie about comic-book heroes ranging from Spider Man to Thor. But it also addresses one of the most serious issues of our times—overpopulation—in a way that smaller movies seldom do. While Avengers has the usual mega fight at the end of the movie, it also gives the characters plenty of breathing room, allowing them to mourn the terrible loss of having half of Earth’s population wiped out by the supervillain Thanos. (For an economic discussion about Thanos and his plan, check out NPR’s Planet Money.)

I realize I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems to me that nowadays, comic books, fantasy, and science fiction are doing the best at addressing the major issues we face. On the surface, these stories seem to have a lot of folderol and fighting, but underneath they have a moral seriousness and scope missing in most mainstream or literary fiction. I’ve had this discussion in book group and on Facebook. Naturally, I’ve received push back, all of it thoughtful and respectful. The push back hasn’t exactly changed my mind—I continue to think that fantasy, comic books, and science fiction should be taken seriously. However, perhaps not all mainstream stories are entirely vapid, and I was too quick to dismiss an entire genre. Anyway, readers, if you have thoughts about this, please chime in.

Back to last week…

We went to the Kennebec River on a misty, cool day, and Clif took these pictures of the moody river and the bright chairs.

We also went to Cushnoc in Augusta, one of our favorite places to go for pizza.

We had cocktails and beer.

And, of course, pizza.

All in all, a good rainy week.

 

 

A Short Break to Focus on Writing and Gardening

Every once in a while, I have a time crunch in my life, where it becomes necessary for me to pare things down to basics. Right now is such a time.

I am working on the appropriately titled Out of Time, the third book in my Great Library series. For Out of Time to be published in 2020, the first draft must be finished in 2019. After the first draft, there is still a lot to do—editing, revising, and more editing. When the book is written, the work is far from over, and I have to allow for that when I plan the publishing schedule.

Anyway, we are nearly halfway through the year, which means that if I’m going to stay on track, I need to be halfway done writing my book by the beginning of June. With 39,500 words written, I’m nearly there.

But—isn’t there always a but?—it is also gardening season. Because I live in Maine, there isn’t a big window of opportunity for spring chores. Spring comes to this northern state at a mad gallop, and I only have the month of May to get things done.

Therefore, until June, I’m going to take a break from writing for this blog so that I can concentrate on my book and on my gardens. I’ll continue to read other blogs and comment when I can. Sometimes, I might only be able to “like” a piece.

I’m sorry to have to pare down like this, but it is necessary.

See  you in June!

 

To the Bar Harbor Comic Con

Clif and I are two homebodies who don’t travel much. We work from home, and if we rove too much, the work doesn’t get done. Also, we are acutely concerned about our carbon emissions, which means that nowadays, the car is primarily used for necessities, with an occasional trip for pleasure thrown in.

Going to events to sell books falls under the category of a necessity, as we have found that personal appearances work best. Fortunately, our little red Honda Fit—a.k.a Sparky—gets great gas mileage, and the hatchback allows us to bring books, tables, chairs, banners, and lunch. With careful packing, there is even room for our canopy for outdoor events. (Tootlepedal, this green bean is green with envy over your new electric car. Someday, we hope to follow your example.)

On Saturday, we took our traveling road show to the Bar Harbor Comic Con, about 120 miles from Winthrop. Tucked by the ocean and surrounded by mountains, Bar Harbor is surely one of the loveliest towns in Maine.

Here is a shot from the pier in downtown Bar Harbor. The day was overcast, but the picture gives some idea of the beauty of the town.

The Comic Con was a few miles from Bar Harbor Village. Like all Comic Cons, there was a lot of fun and folderol.

Here is a nearby vendor, Cheryl Rathbun of Myth’s N’ Monsters, with one of her marvelous creations. What would you call it? A merhorse? A seahorse? Whatever the name, she was kind enough to pose with her delightful creature. (How my daughters would have loved this blue beauty when they were young. I can picture them prancing around the house with them. Yes, there would have been two.)

And where else do you see a race between two BB-8s? And with  Batman at one of the controls?

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a crowd at this event. I suspect the day was good enough for yard work. I spoke with another vendor who had been to this Comic Con two years ago. Then, the event  was held in April  when the ground was still slushy and being outside was really not a good option. That year, the Comic Con was packed.

Still, we had a good time. Several people mentioned that they had heard of me and my books. When you are an indie author and publisher with a budget as big as a minute, this is always a great thing to hear.

Finally, because we live inland and stay close to home, we don’t often see the ocean. And that is always a treat.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle Goes To Chapel Hill Public Library

Awhile back, I suggested that an easy way for readers to support indie writers would be to ask local libraries to purchase their books. My daughter Shannon, who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, took this advice to heart and asked her library to purchase Myrtle the Purple Turtle, written by my blogging friend Cynthia Reyes.

And Chapel Hill Public Library complied! Here Shannon is, posing with Myrtle the Purple Turtle in front of the library’s sign.

Thank you Shannon and thank you Chapel Hill Public Library for supporting a fantastic indie writer.

 

Another Way to Support Writers: Ask Your Library to Purchase Their Books

Recently, courtesy of my daughter Shannon, my book Library Lost traveled south to the public library in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Shannon asked the Chapel Hill Public Library to purchase Library Lost to add to its collection.  And voilà! They honored her request, and Library Lost is now in the library’s young adult section. (Two years ago, Shannon did the same thing with Maya and the Book of Everything.)

Readers, this is such a wonderful way to support writers—not just me—and it only costs a little bit of time. Now I know very well that not all libraries have big book budgets, but it never hurts to request the purchase of a book. And if the library does honor the request, checking out the book, even if you’ve already read it, gives the book a good start.

Finally, when returning the book, take a few minutes to tell the librarian how much you liked the book and provide a brief synopsis. By calling it to a librarian’s attention, you will have given the book a little leg up, something that cannot be overemphasized, especially for indie writers. Librarians’ recommendations go a long way toward promoting a book.

In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I’m going to ask my own Bailey Library to purchase Myrtle the Purple Turtle written by the fabulous Cynthia Reyes

In addition, I will request Myrtle’s Game, again by Cynthia and also with her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange. Both books would make for a terrific and timely program on bullying and inclusion, and I will be sure to mention this when I ask my library to purchase these books.

Finally, if you do ask your library to purchase my books, and Maya and the Book of Everything or Library Lost are added to your library’s collection, I have a favor to ask. If you have time, take a picture similar to the one of Library Lost in front of the Chapel Hill Public Library.  Send the picture to me, and I will feature it on my blog.

What fun it would be to see either Maya or Library Lost or both in front of different libraries.