Maya at Vassalboro’s Summer Reading Festival on June 3

This Saturday—on June 3, at 2:00 p.m.—I will be the featured author at Vassalboro Public Library’s Summer Reading Festival.  There will be food, African Drumming, a book fair, crafts, and Maya and the Book of Everything.

I’m so looking forward to this. East Vassalboro and the Vassalboro Public Library are key elements in my book, and how wonderful it will be to go there with my presentation about using real life in a fantasy novel.

While I’ll be highlighting the real places I used—Waterville as well as East Vassalboro—I’ll also be reading a section where Maya has her eyes peeled by the giant Toad Queen.

Nothing like a little eye-peeling to pique interest in my book 😉

Maya and the Book of Everything at the Hartland Public Library

On Thursday, May 11 I’ll be going to the Hartland Public Library to give my presentation Threads of Realism in Fantasy: Maya, Maine, and the Franco-American Connection. It starts at 6 p.m., and I’m so looking forward to going to this library. After all, the Hartland Library is featured in Maya and the Book of Everything. So in a way, I’ll be going to one of my sources.

Please come if you can!

Book Signing and Card Sale in Lewiston, Maine, on April 8, 2017

On Saturday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., I will be at the Artisan & Craft Fair selling books and cards at the Lewiston Armory on 65 Central St. in Lewiston, Maine. Maya and the Book of Everything is featured about half-way through this little video of items that will be at the fair. If you’re in Lewiston on Saturday, stop by and say hi.

Hi, Ho! It’s Off to UMO I Go!

My presentation—Threads of Realism in Fantasy—is done. Tomorrow Clif and I head bright and early to the University of Maine at Orono, where I will be giving it for the first time to Susan Pinette’s class on Franco-American Places.

The presentation is centered on my Franco-American heritage and how I wove into my novel real places such as Waterville’s South End. While the presentation is ideally suited for this class, it will also be appropriate for a general audience, and I’m planning to present it to other libraries.

I must admit, I am a bit nervous. Public speaking is not my strong point, but I’ve worked hard on the presentation to make it visually interesting, and I’ve rehearsed it many times. In fact, I’ll be rehearsing it again today.

Something that counterbalances the nervousness is the discovery that I like talking about Maya and the Book of Everything, much the same way I enjoy talking about my children. In a way, I suppose the novel is a bit like a child. I certainly labored long and hard over it for many years.

Here is the opening slide for the presentation:

mayaprescoverWish me luck!

I’ll report back on Friday.

A Finest Kind of Day at a Great Little Craft Fair

Yesterday, Clif and I were at the Fairfield Craft Fair, and what a wonderful time we had. Although the fair was small, we got so much out of it that I’m still somewhat in a daze.

First of all, we sold quite a few books, and that is always gratifying.  So many, in fact, that people had to come to our table to see the book that everyone was carrying around the fair. (It also helped that we were the only vendor selling books.)

Eleven- and twelve-year-old children were drawn to the book’s cover like bees to honey, as the expression goes. I really can’t take credit for the cover—the praise must go to Bookfly Design, who will most certainly be doing our second book, Library Lost.  For new blog readers, here is what the cover of my current book looks like.

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One little girl was thrilled when I signed her copy of the book, and her face just beamed with pleasure. This is something I will always remember.

Next to us, a woman was selling jewelry. Her twelve-year-old son wanted a copy of the book, and she kindly bought one for him. He immediately read the first two chapters and told me what every writer longs to hear: “Those first two chapters really drew me in,” he said. “I love it when books do that. It always makes me want to read more.”

Music to my ears, that’s for sure! And the woman, who home-schools her son, gave me an excellent tip as to where I could market my book.

A Franco-American woman from Waterville’s South End—a place that is featured in my book—stopped by, and we giggled and reminisced about the South End. I told her how I had woven my own Franco-American heritage in the book, and I ended with, “Let’s face it. How many fantasies feature Franco-Americans from Waterville’s South End? Not many, that’s for sure.”

Laughing, she agreed and bought a copy of the book.

We didn’t sell many cards—I guess customers were drawn to the book—and Clif and I decided that from now on, we are going to focus solely on the book. This is just fine with me. Although I enjoy making cards, it’s not my life’s work, the way Maya and the Book of Everything is. By just focusing on our book, we’ll have the table space for a snazzy slide show of Maya, and I’m looking forward to adding that to our display. (I’ll still take pictures for this blog and continue to send cards to family and friends.)

I’m going to end this post by featuring the young woman who encouraged me to come to this fair. Her name is Sara, and I have known her since she was very young. Sara makes beautiful jewelry—among other things—and her business is called Tooth Fairy Handmade. Here are some pictures of Sara and her jewelry.

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Sara’s jewelry is very reasonably priced and would make a great present for that special someone—mother, daughter, aunt, cousin, or friend.

 

A Mid-Winter Craft Fair in Fairfield, Maine

Tomorrow, Clif and I will be taking our cards and books to a craft fair in Fairfield at their community center.  A friend recommended this craft fair, and she will be returning with her jewelry for the second time. After the flurry of the holidays, things have quieted down for us, and we are looking forward to being out and about again with our cards and books.

Even the weather is cooperating—a sunny day today and a sunny day is predicted for tomorrow.  Clif said last night, “It’s great not to have to think about clearing snow for the next day or two.”

Indeed it is. Much as we both like winter, clearing all that snow is, shall we say, a bit tiring, especially at our age. So we appreciate the break and the chance to get out on Saturday. (That’s another thing about snowstorms. They keep you pretty close to home.)

Clif even got a chance to take Liam for a walk this morning, something he hasn’t been able to do for some time.

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Onward to the craft fair in Fairfield.

Maya and the Book of Everything at the Vassalboro Public Library

Yesterday, I delivered two copies of my fantasy novel Maya and the Book of Everything to the Vassalboro Public Library. One was for the library.

And one was for the director, Donna Lambert.

The Vassalboro Library is special to me for a couple of reasons. I grew up in North Vassalboro, and this library, along with the Waterville Public Library, was one of my first libraries.

However, when I was going to the Vassalboro Library, it wasn’t in this particular building. Instead, it was in a converted lake cottage that unfortunately burned down. Out of the ashes came this new library, and although it is significantly bigger than the old one, it somehow still has the cozy, welcoming feel of the converted cottage. That spirit lives on.

The other reason this library is special to me is that it is central to the story in Maya and the Book of Everything. In the novel, Maya is staying with her grandparents for the summer in East Vassalboro, and their house is within walking distance of the Vassalboro Library. It is through this library that Maya learns about the extraordinary Book of Everything, which has recently come into her possession. Maya also learns about the League of Librarians, whose job it is to protect the Book of Everything from a shadowy organization—the Association for the Preservation of Order—that is after the book.

At the Vassalboro library, I chatted for a bit with Donna, who clearly loves this library and her job. “I always look forward to coming to work,” she told me, and it shows in her bright face that Donna is happy to be right where she is.

Then I walked around the library and looked at books. For a  small library, it has a wonderful collection, and while I was there, a steady flow of patrons came and went. A busy library is a happy library, and it did my heart good to see so many people coming on a Monday afternoon.

Yet again I gave thanks to the New England tradition of public libraries. Maine might be a poor rural state, but it is the rare town that doesn’t have a library. (Unfortunately, many small-town libraries struggle to receive adequate funding, but that is a topic for another post.)

I’ve written this before and no doubt I’ll write it again. In Maine, libraries are open to all, regardless of race, gender, income, and ethnicity. It doesn’t matter who your family is. With a library card, the world of ideas and story is open to even the poorest person, who might not be able to travel far but who can nonetheless, with the right book,  go across the universe.

I’m sure it’s obvious that my love of libraries runs deep, and I hope to take Maya and the Book of Everything across the state to libraries great and small. Because of my history with the Vassalboro Public Library, it’s oh so appropriate that this is the first library and librarian featured with Maya and the Book of Everything.

But Bailey Public Library and Waterville Public Library, I’ve got my eye on you.

Maya and Me at D. R. Struck Struck Landscape Nursery

On Saturday, I had a book signing at D.R. Struck Landscape Nursery, and what a delight it was. There is a wonderful gift shop at the nursery, and Robin, one of the owners, has terrific taste. Thus the shop is filled with all sorts of lovely things that are not available anywhere else in the area.

Tucked between three decorated Christmas trees, I felt as though I were in the middle of Christmas, a great place to be. The air smelled of mulled cider and eggnog. People came in—some especially to see me—and I sold a good number of books. I am finding I quite enjoy going out and about, talking to people and selling books. Many thanks to Robin for inviting me to sign books at her shop.

I am so gratified with the initial sales of the books and the early responses. After Christmas, I will be working to get broader exposure. In the meantime, it’s been a very jolly time at the little house in the big woods.

Maya Is Now Available Directly from Amazon

All right. My YA fantasy novel, Maya and the Book of Everything, is available directly from Amazon. And if you are an Amazon Prime member, then shipping is free. That’s what we Mainers call a wicked good deal.

Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Maya-Book-Everything-Great-Library/dp/0997845309

Because of the name of my book, when you do a search for it on Amazon, it is right next to Isabel Allende’s Maya’s Notebook. Now, how cool is that to be next to one of the giants of literature?

Very cool, indeed!

Maya and the Book of Everything Is Ready!

maya-and-the-book-of-everything-web-mediumToday is a very big day at the little house in the big woods. My YA fantasy novel, Maya and the Book of Everything, is ready to be ordered as a Kindle ebook from Amazon and as a quality paperback from the publisher, Hinterlands Press.

In a few days, the paperback will also be available through Amazon, and this will include Amazon in Canada as well as in other countries. I will let readers know when it is available through Amazon, but I do want to mention that I will receive larger royalties if the book is ordered directly from Hinterlands Press. However, in the end, it’s all good, no matter where Maya is ordered, and we hope you enjoy the book.

For anyone who would like a signed copy, use the contact form, and I’ll get back to you.

For new readers of this blog, here is Clif’s nifty little description of my novel:Maya and the Book of Everything is a contemporary fantasy/science fiction novel set in various locations, including Waterville, Maine. The main character, Maya, is a fifteen-year-old girl who is drawn into an adventure involving a shadowy organization, the enigmatic Book of Everything, and the League of Librarians. Maya travels back in time, to distant planets, and to the mysterious Great Library, home of the Book of Everything.

Anyway, what a wonderful way to start the Monday after Thanksgiving. Truly, I am so grateful for all the help I’ve received and to have this book published.