Category Archives: Books

Interviewed by Rapunzel Reads

In September, my YA fantasy novel Maya and the Book of Everything was featured on the delightful blog Rapunzel Reads, where books for young readers are reviewed by two sisters—Piranha T. and Super Kitty. After reviewing Maya, the sisters asked if I was willing to be interviewed for their blog.

I most certainly was, and here is a snippet of the interview:

RapunzelReads: What books inspired you when you were growing up?

Laurie Graves: The books that inspired me were Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. When I read A Wrinkle in Time, in the late 1960s, I had never encountered such a wild, thrilling story that incorporated science, time travel, and fantasy with vivid characters. It almost felt as though an electrical charge was coming to me from the book. Then there was The Lord of the Rings, which pulled me right into Middle Earth. I was there with Frodo and Sam as they made their way to Mordor, and there seemed to be no veil between me, the reader, and Tolkien’s story. Last but certainly not least is Shakespeare. I fell in love with him when I was in seventh grade, and that love continues to this day. When I first started reading Shakespeare, there was a lot I didn’t understand, but it didn’t matter. I was completely dazzled by the way he used language, and I could hardly believe that anyone could write so brilliantly. Even now, I am still in awe.

To read the whole interview, click on this link.

Rapunzel Reads, thanks yet again!

 

Don’t Mess with Time

It was an eventful weekend. We went to two craft fairs and sold lots of books. Some people were repeat customers who were eager to read my second book, Library Lost. Always a good thing for an author to hear.

It was also the weekend where we set the clocks back an hour and went from daylight savings time to eastern standard time. I always live in dread of this weekend when we mess with time, and night comes crashing down an hour earlier. I am not a fan of short days and long nights, and, to my way of thinking, it would be easier to adapt if we could approach the long dark more gradually. Simply put, I wish we could do away with daylight savings time and stick to eastern standard time year round. This would allow for more light in the morning when people are heading to work and children are going to school. We would sacrifice an hour of light in the summer, but having dusk come at 8:00 p.m. instead of 9:00 p.m. should not be a hardship for too many people. Seems unlikely to happen, but I continue to hope.

At least three weeks behind schedule, the first hard frosts of the season came this weekend. This was the temperature when I got up this morning.

The frost nipped the nasturtiums. Although the orange flower is still perky, the leaves are decidedly droopy.

Autumn is a time of subtraction. First the hummingbirds go, then the geese, and many other birds follow. Butterflies migrate. Leaves fall. The crickets’ song has been stilled, and I miss the sweet sound.

Still, there is beauty in November’s austere landscape.

Looking down in my own yard,

and across the Kennebec River, about ten miles away from where we live.

Winter subtracts even more. But that is yet to come.

 

Visit Elferterre

I am happy to announce that last Friday, I finished the first draft of Out of Time, Book Three in my Great Library Series. What a happy, joyful feeling! There are months of hard work ahead as I work at getting the book in shape, but it really is a thrill to have that first draft done.

Here is the promo poster that Clif put together for Out of Time. This illustration won’t be the cover of the book—the talented James of Bookfly Designs will be creating the cover just as he did for the first two: Maya and the Book of Everything and Library Lost.  But several blogging friends expressed interest in Elferterre, and this picture by E. Adveno Brooke captures how I envision the magical dimension where Maya and her friends go to find something that will help free the Great Library from the iron grip of the tyrant Cinnial.

Now onward, ho to getting Out of Time in shape for its 2020 publication.

Twisted Sisters

On Saturday and Sunday, Clif and I took our books and prints to a craft fair sponsored by the Friends of the Wells Public Library. Wells, Maine, is quite a distance from where we live in central Maine, but this craft fair is well worth the trip. We went last year and sold lots of books. While we didn’t sell quite as many books this year, we sold enough so that we were satisfied.

One of the pleasures of going to various craft fairs is meeting and talking to the other vendors. Last year we were across from these three charming, lively women who have dubbed themselves “Twisted Sisters.” Their business card describes them as “Three Sisters Practicing Old Crafts.” This year, we were again lucky enough to be across from the Twisted Sisters. Aren’t those aprons snappy? I heard one customer ask if the aprons were for sale. Unfortunately, they were not.

From left to right: Cynthia Hatfield, Cheryl Pomerleau, and Dianne Pomeroy -Hathorn

Here are some of the lovely items from Cynthia’s table,

Cheryl’s table,

and Dianne’s table.

During the two days of the craft fair, lots of fairgoers clustered around the three booths, and I expect many lucky people will be getting Christmas presents handcrafted by the Twisted Sisters.  (I, too, bought something for a special friend.)

The Twisted Sisters don’t have a website, but this time of year they pop up at various fairs in Maine. If you should come across the Twisted Sisters, don’t hesitate to  buy a wonderful handcrafted item from these sisters who practice the old crafts.

Sure beats anything you could find in a big box store.

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.

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.

 

 

Coming Down the Homestretch, Time for Another Break

The homestretch in the title refers to the current fantasy novel I am writing, Out of Time, Book Three in the Great Library Series. Readers, I am at the exciting point where the end is in sight, and with some hard work, I expect to finish the book by the end of September.

This also means that it is time for another break in blog writing. Right now, all I can think about is my book, and focusing on Out of Time is the thing to do. I am very pleased with the progress I’ve made. I started writing Out of Time the second week in January, and here I am, eight months later, with the book nearly finished. The publishing date is fall 2020.

Because once the book is written, there is still much editing to do, and it will take many months to get Out of Time in shape. But what a good feeling it will be to have the first draft done.

I should be back to blogging sometime the end of September, but I might post a picture from time to time. We’ll see. I will continue to read and comment on posts written by my blogging friends.

I’ll sign out with some pictures of the fading garden’s still lovely flowers. See you all in a month or so.