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.

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

     

  • 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.

A blog about nature, home, community, books, writing, the environment, food, and rural life.

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