Category Archives: Books

Steampunk in Kennebunk

On Saturday, Clif and I headed to southern Maine, to Kennebunk, to set up our wares at a Steampunk Fair sponsored by the Brick Store Museum. The weather was not with us, and it poured midmorning. Fortunately, indoor provisions at the town hall were made for the vendors, and we were dry if a little warm—there was no air conditioning in the auditorium.

But never fear! Fans were on sale and were a big hit.

And even those without fans seemed perfectly happy.

But this deep sea diver must have been oh so hot.

Along with our books, there were other nifty things for sale. Among them were sweet little pins by Miss & Niff’s Trinkets and Treasures,

as well as funky lamps by Light- Q  Creations.

What a good day we  had being with these quirky, creative people. While the rain kept some folks away, we sold enough books to make the trip worthwhile.

Next year, we will return.

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A Hot Steampunk Festival in Dexter, Maine

On Saturday, Clif and I took our awning and our books to the Steampunk Festival in Dexter, Maine. The word hot is in the title of this post, and I mean it quite literally. By mid-afternoon, the temperature was 87°F, and not to put too fine a point on it, but we were all a little on the warm side, especially as the humidity was in the same range.

No matter! We sold a good number of books, met some creative people, and even had a couple of dog buddies visit us.

Here are some scenes from the festival.

Visitors were greeted by this fellow. (Is it me, or is he just a teeny-weensy bit scary? As in, don’t get on his bad side.)

In kilt and costume is Darin Beaulieu, one of the organizers of the festival.

Then there were the pirates, an important part of any event.

But best of all were the two dog buddies, Arlo and Cedar, who belonged to the family of the vendors right next to us. When we were asked if the dogs could rest in the shade of our awning, what do you think we said?

Arlo, part Bernese Mountain Dog and part St. Bernard

 

Cedar, dressed for the event

Not surprisingly, Clif’s The Wave of Time and my Maya and the Book of Everything are a good fit for this kind of festival. While our books don’t belong in the Steampunk genre, they are fantasies that feature time travel, and people who are drawn to Steampunk are also drawn to our books.

So when we caught wind of another Steampunk Festival in Kennebunk in August, Clif said, “Let’s go!”

And so we will.

 

 

Don’t Rain on My Books

Oh, the weather! All week it was dry and sunny, simply and utterly beautiful. But then it rained on Saturday, when Clif and I were selling our books at the Windham Summerfest, an outdoor fair.  Luckily we have a very good canopy—brand new—with sides. And luckily the day started out as overcast, with the rain coming mid-afternoon. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gone, as books and water are not a good combination, and we will not set up in the rain.

Although we didn’t sell as many books as we would have liked, Clif and I still had a good time at what was a very nice event created to promote community spirit. (Boy oh boy, we could certainly use lots and lots of community spirit in this country right now.) Also, a woman bought Maya and the Book of Everything to send to her granddaughter in Texas. It always tickles me to think of Maya traveling out of Maine, to places as far away as Texas. Not bad for a little indie book.

However, one of the nicest parts of the day was being next to an artist named Erik Howell. His snappy abstract art really brightened the gray day. It fact, his work was so appealing that we bought a small piece. We were going to give it to our nephew Patrick for Christmas, but we liked it so much that we put it on our dining room. (Don’t worry! Patrick will be getting plenty of other presents from us.)

By 3:00, the overcast sky made up its mind to rain, and under wet conditions, we packed up and left early.  But it’s heartening that even at events that are literally a wash-up, there are always good bits that make up for it. I even got a tip about a big fair in South Paris, Maine, in mid-November.

However, that’s several months away.

In the meantime, this weekend—weather permitting—we will be taking Maya to a Steam Punk Festival in Dexter, Maine.

Should be fun!

Galloping Spring

Spring has galloped into Maine, and she is nearly out of sight. The leaves are full sized, and the early flowers have become a sweet memory. Gone are the tulips and the daffodils, but the irises, daisies, and lupines are in glorious bloom. We are on the edge of summer, lovely summer, so welcome after the long, frigid winter we had.

On Sunday, Clif and I went for a bike ride along Maranacook Lake. A couple of hardy souls—children, of course—were swimming in the cold water.

Whenever we go on this bike ride—our everyday route—we are thankful to live in such a pretty little town that has so much water. Maranacook is only one of several lakes and big ponds in Winthrop.

In between gardening and biking, I have been working on my YA fantasy Library Lost. My first readers—my family—have commented and have made editing suggestions, which I am now implementing. I am fortunate to have a family of such good readers. Their advice is invaluable, and without them, my books wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.

By the end of this week, Library Lost should be ready for copy editing. This is a long process, and while Library Lost is edited, I will begin the third book, Library Regained.

No rest for writers, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

Fabulous Ferns

Library Lost has been sent to various proof readers, and now I have time on my hands, so to speak, as I wait for the comments and the, ahem, opportunities for rewriting.

What to do, what to do?

Just kidding, of course. Spring, lovely though she is, brings so much work that at times it makes me positively dizzy.  Breathe, breathe, breathe, as my daughter Shannon would say.

In fact, after being cooped inside for those long winter months, it’s a great pleasure to be outside, working in the gardens and feeling the sun on my face. Birds are everywhere, tweeting, flying, coming to the feeders.

Ferns are unfurling, and what fascinating plants they are. Because we live in the woods, ferns thrive in our yard. These dinosaur plants rim the edge of our house in the back, and I have encouraged them, not raking the leaves that blow there. Along with shade, ferns love leaves.

Yesterday, I took some pictures of the baby ferns, stretching from their winter’s sleep.

As they mature, their color deepens, but this bright green sings, “Spring, spring, spring!”

Let’s take a closer look. Their little heads look as though they are composed of a ball of tiny ferns.

Let’s take a closer look still. So fuzzy and new!

With all this beauty and excitement in the yard, it’s a wonder I get anything done in my gardens.

And yet I do.

 

 

I Have Been Noted

One of the great delights of blogging is becoming friends with people you normally wouldn’t meet. Some of those friends are not that far—in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Others are actually much farther away—Canada, England, Scotland, and even Australia.

One such blogging friend is Quercus, who lives in England. (He has a blog called Quercus Community.) In response to one of my comments on a recent post, he referred to me as “a noted author of YA fiction.”  So very kind of him, but I replied that “noted” might be overstating the case. He wrote back: “I stand by what I said. If necessary I will write a post tomorrow titled ‘A Note About Laurie Graves’, and then you really will be noted!”

By gosh, Quercus did exactly as he promised, and he wrote a lovely post entitled A Note About Laurie Graves – Author, Raconteur and Eater of Ice Cream. 

I was tickled, touched, and oh so pleased that he would take the time to write about me, to, in fact, note me. Also, as an indie author with a budget as big as a minute, readers’ kind words and promotions really help.

Many, many thanks, Quercus, for noting me. And thanks to all my other blogging friends who have bought and read Maya and the Book of Everything and have been so encouraging.

It really makes a difference.

And, Quercus, thanks to you I will no longer hesitate to state that I am a noted author.

 

 

First Draft of Library Lost: Done!

Yesterday came that magical moment when I wrote the ending line of Library Lost. Somehow, it is both exciting and a let-down to finish a novel. Wonderful, after all that work, to come to the end, but I felt restless, and I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Fortunately,  plenty of gardening chores await, and I spent a couple of hours removing leaves from one of the beds out front.

I posted the Library Lost news on my Facebook page, and one of the sweetest responses I got was from an acquaintance who lived in central Maine but who has just moved to the Southwest. She wrote that Maya and the Book of Everything traveled with her across country and has just been unpacked. It is now on her bookshelf along with other favorite fantasy novels. That sure made me smile!

Although the first draft of Library Lost is finished, there is still much to do. I need to read it from front to back to see how it all comes together. Some writers work from an outline, and they know, from chapter to chapter, how things are going to turn out.

I am not one of those writers. In my head, I have a notion of where I want the story to go, but basically I just wing it from chapter to chapter, and sometimes what I write in Chapter 15 changes what happens in Chapter 8. This means I have to reread very carefully to be sure that I’ve made the appropriate changes.

Perhaps this seems like a funny way of writing. In a way, it is. But I have tried outlining a novel, and it didn’t work for me. First, it seemed like everything was already mapped out, and where’s the fun in that? For me, the adventure in writing lies with not exactly knowing what the characters are going to do at any given moment. Second, I deviated so much from the outline that it felt like a waste of time to even have one.

Anyway, now it’s time to reread carefully before sending Library Lost to my proof readers, who, with squinted eyes, will go over the story. So again, for the next week or so, I will be primarily absorbed with the book and probably won’t do much blogging.

A lot of work, but it’s good work, the work I want to be doing.

Last night, the weather was warm and lovely, and with drinks on the patio, we celebrated the completion of the first draft of Library Lost.

Cheers!