Laurie Graves: Writer’s Notes

One Girl, One Boy, One Book Against the Forces of Evil

On her way to Maine, Maya, a not-so-ordinary girl, comes into possession of the extraordinary Book of Everything. The book is sentient and can provide facts about the past, present, and future. The book and Maya are being pursued by the man who doesn’t smile. He belongs to a group that wants to suppress facts and spread lies for its own gain.

Another group, the League of Librarians, believes that facts do matter. Its mission is to protect the book. From the league, Maya learns that the book comes from a place called the Great Library.

The book takes Maya back in time, where she meets a boy named Andy. The book whisks Maya and Andy to another planet, where they become embroiled in a civil war. Will Maya and Andy be able to save the Book of Everything? And what, exactly, is the Great Library?

Click here To order Maya and the Book of Everything or Library Lost 


Library Lost
Book Two in the Great Library Series
by Laurie Graves

Library Lost is the second book in the Great Library Series, in which two forces, Time and Chaos, battle each other for control of the Great Library, that mysterious place at the center of the universe where all information flows. When Library Lost opens, the librarians allied with Time and led by Sydda, are in charge of the Great Library. These librarians believe that facts do matter, and they created Books of Everything to share the facts with other planets. However a group of adversarial librarians, led by Cinnial, are allied with Chaos. They have their own books and want to take charge of the Great Library to create an alternative reality.

In the middle of this battle between Time and Chaos is one kid from Earth—Maya Hammond. At the end of Maya and the Book of Everything, after traveling across the universe—to the Great Library and to the Duchy of Caxton on the planet Ilyria—Maya is home safe and sound at her grandparents’ farmhouse in East Vassalboro, Maine. But not for long. Although her nemesis, Chet Addington, is imprisoned in Caxton, Maya’s worries are not over.

Click here To order Maya and the Book of Everything or Library Lost 


  • A Repost of “Buy Indie, Borrow the Big Bestsellers” by Cynthia Reyes

    Cynthia Reyes, a writer, blogger, and journalist from Canada, is someone I’ve featured in my blog several times. Most recently, she and her daughter have written the delightful Myrtle’s Game, featuring the delightful purple turtle as she deals with those who would exclude her.

    Anyway, Buy Indie, Borrow the Big Bestsellers, her latest post on her blog, exactly captures my philosophy. Cynthia writes, “The way I see it, the bigtime authors will still get my support, via the public library.  Local libraries are among my favourite places on earth and librarians are stars. I borrow the famous books there….But Indie authors and presses need my money. ” And when Cynthia purchase books, they are usually from indie authors and presses.

    Hear, hear! I, too, do my best to support indie writers, artists, and other creative types who earn money selling their creations. Readers, I know a lot of you do, too. However, Cynthia’s eloquent words remind us why it’s so important to buy from indie writers and artists.

    This post, of course, falls squarely in the department of shameless self-promotion because not only am I an indie author and publisher, but also my book, Library Lost, is featured in Cynthia’s post.

    Many thanks, Cynthia!

     

     

  • 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!

     

  • A Warm Bear of a Place

    Yesterday, we took our books and illustrations to Bear Bones Beer in Lewiston, Maine. It was part of a pop-up event sponsored by the Sunday Indie Market.

    While we didn’t sell many books—it was a fairly quiet January Sunday at Bear Bones—we had one heck of a good time. First of all, Bear Bones is such a warm, inviting place to gather, whether you’re a beer drinker or not. There are wooden tables with chairs scattered here and there as well as comfortable chairs in front of a gas fireplace. (Alas, we did not take more pictures of the charming interior. What were we thinking?) In short, Bear Bones has a great vibe, a place to come on a cold day, to meet people and talk.

    And talk we did, mostly with the other delightful vendors. We were lucky enough to be next Nate and Megan Chasse of Sweet & Savory Bakehouse. My oh my, what good bakers they are! Nate generously gave us a bag of mixed bagels, which we had with soup when we got home. Their bagels taste tangier than most bagels, and Clif and I had to be firm with ourselves and stop with just one each. We learned that Nate went to culinary school and that he and Megan are able to support themselves with the proceeds from their bakery.  Go team, Chasse!

    I also had some time to sit in a comfy chair by the fireplace. I chatted with Sheri Withers Hollenbeck, one of the organizers of the Sunday Indie Market in Lewiston, and her mother, Bonita. So lovely to get to know them.

    Food is not served at Bear Bones, but customers are allowed to bring in their own from other places. In a table not from where we were set up, a man brought in a whole cheese cake, which he shared with Nate and Megan and Clif and me. He even provided plates and spoons for us. It’s that kind of place.

    When our stint was over, Clif got a baby beer—a $3 hobbit-sized glass of the Bear Bones IPA.  A nice way to end the day.

    Readers, if you live in the Lewiston area and want a warm place to go on a cold winter’s day, head to Bear Bones Beer. They also host events such as trivia nights and open mics, so check out their events page before you go.

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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!

     

  • At Quiet City Books

    Yesterday, as part of Lewiston’s Sunday Indie Market, Clif and I went to Quiet City Books, where we had our own little table for our own little books.

    Quiet City Books is one those shops that feels like home to all nerdy, wordy folks who love books. (Yes, that would include me.)  Courtney MacMunn Schlacter, the owner, has managed to tuck in bright, funky art and sweet little gifts among an astonishing assortment of books that appeal to readers young and old.

    What a delightful way to spend a winter’s day. We sold some books and chatted with Courtney, who has a commitment to making Lewiston a better place. We talked about how too many people only hear what’s bad about Lewiston, a mill city that has seen better days, but nonetheless has a lot going for it.  Thanks to Courtney and other bright, creative people, Lewiston now has a hopeful spark.

    So readers, if you live in the area and find yourself in Lewiston, stop by Quiet City Books, look at the art and the books and support this wonderful local store.

  • 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.

     

  • I’ve Been Book Reported

    Here we are, firmly in November.

    We set back the clocks on Saturday, and now it gets dark at 4:30, which always gives me a claustrophobic, restless feeling. I have come to the conclusion that I am neither a morning person nor a night person. Instead, I am a day person, and when the dark comes, I am ready to kick back. This is fine when it stays light out until, say, 7:00 p.m. But when the dark comes at 4:30, it’s too early to relax for the evening, and in addition, it makes me fidgety to be inside so much. Therefore, as soon as I am finished with the copy editing of Library Lost, I will be spending some part of every day outside. Being outside helps with the fidgets.

    Speaking of Library Lost, I am coming down the homestretch with copy editing. Wowsah, what a job! Fortunately I have the patience to go over the book line by line. Many times. I wish I could get it right with one pass, but there you are.

    This weekend, at a craft fair, there was another first for me. A young man who was about thirteen came to my table and told me that he liked Maya and the Book of Everything so much that he did a book report about it for his English class. Readers, I have been book reported. Holy cats, I was thrilled.

    In the United States, tomorrow is Election Day, and it’s going to be a nail biter. As I have written in previous posts, I am heartbroken about the direction this country has taken—the ugliness, the racism, the threats, the lack of tolerance and compassion, the total disregard of the environment.

    There are some—a minority, I hope—who think it doesn’t make any difference as to which candidate wins. How wrong they are! And I can use the small state of Maine (population 1.3 million) as an example. Because of our current governor and his refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion money available through the  Affordable Care Act, 70,000 people  in our state have gone without health insurance. These are people who earn too much to qualify for standard Medicaid and too little to qualify for subsidies from the ACA. They are caught right in the middle.

    How many people died because of our governor’s refusal to expand Medicaid coverage? How many went to the emergency room, thus driving up the overall cost of healthcare?

    In each Maine gubernatorial election—alas, our current governor won two times—if the other candidate had won, then those 70,000 Mainers would have had health insurance. This is but one issue of many where there has been a sea of differences between the candidates, and the same is true with the current election.

    So out Clif and I will go tomorrow, to cast our votes and hope, hope, hope that we have come to the turning of tide.

  • 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!

     

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