Stephen D. Lalonde

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My Blogs

 My blog activity is shifting from education to writing and publishing.

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Good Time In Washtucna

Posted on October 21, 2021 at 10:45 AM

Four of us from our critique group went to Washtucna, Washington (my home town) to do a book-signing event in conjunction with a fund-raiser auction and dinner for the local community center and museum. We sold a few books and got to visit with several people. Turnout was a little light, but with the current state of the economy and health concerns, that isn't surprising. None-the-less, the others from the group seemed to agree with me that it was fun and worth the time. It was special for me...

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Book-signing Event

Posted on October 16, 2021 at 11:50 AM

In a few hours, I will pick up a couple other members of our critique group and head to Washtucna, my home town. We are scheduled to do a book-signing as part of a fund-raising event for the community center/ museum. I don't expect to sell many books, but it will be great to meet and greet friends, and share this rewarding activity with fellow writers from the critique group. Some who may be there have already read one or more of my books, and I hope they will be willing to share their though...

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Character Motivation

Posted on October 15, 2021 at 1:15 PM

I have been considering the motivation for Anissi, the protagonist for the novel I am working on now. The issue that has been bothering me is motivation. Her only child was ripped from her arms, her husband killed, and she was stabbed and left to die in the hut that the invaders set aflame. As a mother, I know that her first reaction would be to seek her child. The problem with that is she has no idea where to even begin that quest. In addition, she knows that she needs to be better prepared ...

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Transitions

Posted on October 15, 2021 at 12:20 AM

I probably overuse certain transitions in my storytelling, but I actually do have a reason for choosing certain transitions. One of my favorites to move from one chapter to the next is sleep.

I often have my characters dealing with some issue as they try to go to sleep. This is reflective of my own life experience. Most of the time I am asleep by the time my head hits the pillow, but there are nights when I can't shut off my mind and I lay there processing some issue. This happens much ...

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Sensitive Scenes

Posted on October 13, 2021 at 9:15 AM

There are scenes in my books that require so much more care in how they are finally written than other scenes. One such scene was Sinon's visit to the sacred prostitute for his initiation into adulthood. I rewrote that scene and fine tuned it so many times before I considered it done. It was a matter of balancing the physical and the emotional elements. The scene was important for establishing his later relationship with Femi and for maintaining the historical reality of that time.

Ther...

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Imagining The Past

Posted on October 13, 2021 at 12:30 AM

One of the most fascinating things to me as I write these novels based around 600 BCE, is how hard it is to disassociate the daily life of the present in order to imagine what daily life in acient times must have been like. With the exception of academics like historians, it is difficult for most of the rest of us to understand the daily issues of that time. I find that many of the more mundane issues have little or no information on the internet. For example; as I was writing MENTU THE NUBIA...

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Male Dominance Challenged In My Books

Posted on October 12, 2021 at 12:05 AM

When I began writing MENTU THE NUBIAN, I did not intend to continue with these characters beyond that book. That changed when Anissi came into the story. As I developed the revelation that Mentu's mother was alive and looking for him, she grew in my mind as a strong woman who exacts revenge on the men who destroyed her village and left her for dead. I introduced Amaros and Duwana in MENTU THE NUBIAN, as simply younger companions. The idea blossomed into the three of them being warrior women, ...

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Critique Group Transitioning to Support Group

Posted on October 10, 2021 at 11:40 AM

The covid pandemic has caused so much disruption of all of our daily lives and how we function in work and play. This is true for our critique group as well. What I am about to say is my own opinion as the group has not taken the time to fully discuss the nature of our activity.

Early on, as was the case for most people, we moved from in-person meetings to online meetings. That did not substantially change the mechanics of sharing our work for critique, because we have been using an onl...

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For Whom Am I Writing?

Posted on October 9, 2021 at 1:15 PM

I have been thinking about who I am actually writing for. This may sound self-centered, but first I am writing for me. I enjoy the process from considering a storyline and characters, to researching, to drafting, to final editing and then even the process of preparing the book pdf files for the printer.

Beyond that, I write for friends and relatives who might enjoy my efforts (even if it is not their favorite subject matter.) At a deeper and more honest level, I have always sought appro...

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New Website Coming Soon

Posted on October 8, 2021 at 11:10 AM

I have had my current website (stephenlalonde.us) for many years. I haven't made many changes except to add content and new pages for books and reviews and such. I will be launching a fresh new website (thanks to Barry Lalonde) soon. I hope that it will still be www.stephenlalonde.us, but it will have a very different look. Most of the current content will still be there, but it will allow purchasing my books and related materials as well as woodworking items right from the site. I am working...

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First Draft

Posted on October 7, 2021 at 11:30 AM

One of the reasons writing the first draft of a book (for me) is difficult, is the desire to wordsmith as I go. I have to force myself to smear words on the page (computer screen), so I have something to develop. Too often I find myself doing the work that should come later, in the first draft. The time spent on that is sometimes completely negated when I decide that the scene or chapter or whatever needs to be cut. I know and understand this and yet...

So, I have to self-monitor and wh...

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Anissi's Revenge

Posted on October 6, 2021 at 9:20 AM

Today's blog is another short excerpt from ANISSI's rough draft. This or something like it will be in the book, but not all of the first draft of a book makes it through to the final draft. Whole scenes are frequently cut (or added.) So this is the rough draft of the scene showing the first act of Anissi's revenge.

Scene – First Revenge

The three women walked quickly along the road toward a clearing. Ahead, one man sat on a bench outside of a single small hut, with barren gr...

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Getting Into The Character's Mind

Posted on October 5, 2021 at 10:45 AM

I have written before about how the characters come alive to me. I have talked with other writers who agree that characters take on a very real life of their own. That life is, no doubt, the consequence of the writers imagination and intention, but that makes it no less real. Maxwell Maltz in Psycho-Cybernetics, made the point, with substantial anecdotal evidence, that our minds do not differentiate between that which is real and that which is vividly imagined. When writers are working on the...

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The First Step

Posted on October 5, 2021 at 12:35 AM

The saying is that the longest journey begins with the first step. I have taken the first step. Chapter 1 of ANISSI is begun. I have spent so much time examining pictures and video of the Nile, ancient sites along the Nile and looking into the archaelogical information, that I must begin writing the novel before I become completely inundated with information overload.

I have also been considering the character of Anissi and her two companions, Amaros and Duwana. One of the toughest...

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Finding The Balance

Posted on October 4, 2021 at 12:25 AM

One of my favorite movies is Karate Kid. Daniel struggles with the lessons Mr. Miyagi gives, and through the struggle begins to trust and understand his mentor. One repeated theme is learning to find balance.

There is a challenge to find balance in writing. Too much description stalls the action. Too much action limits the imagery that can be developed. Too much action, description and imagery limits the character development. I am trying to find the balance in all of these things. Dial...

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Let Me Know

Posted on October 3, 2021 at 12:30 AM

I have been blogging almost daily now for more than a couple months. I would like to invite comments from those who might be reading my blogs. It would be nice to know that there is an audience for these rambling subjects. But even if there isn't, it is a great exercise for me. It helps to actually think about the process and define the elements of that on a regular basis. It also provides a break from the intensity of the research and writing on the next book. Also, I would love to receive s...

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Challenge Of Research On Nubia

Posted on October 1, 2021 at 11:15 AM

I have spent many hours lately trying to research Nubia / Kush / Ta-Seti / Aethiopia (four dominant names for the culture and area south of Egypt.) That area is home to one of the earliest civilizations of human existence. I am finding that my research is complicated by the fact that the early academics on Egypt and Nubia was tainted by the fact that the Nubians were very black-skinned, and until recently researchers tended to attribute the accomplishments of Nubians to the lighter-skinned pe...

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My Literary Influences

Posted on September 30, 2021 at 11:30 AM

When I first got around to reading J.R.R. Tolkien, I was a first year teacher. That is a very time intensive year for any teacher. Fresh lesson plans, being in full charge of teaching students and establishing professional relationships with peers takes time and energy. Yet, at that crucial time I first picked up the Hobbit. At Eastern Washington State College (later Eastern Washington University) I was a literature major with an emphasis on Beowult through Chaucer. Tolkien was new to me. I w...

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Inspiration Versus Perspiration

Posted on September 30, 2021 at 12:10 AM

I have blogged about how inspiration plays a part in my writing. Now I want to address perspiration (AKA work). Writing for me is a labor of love, but it is still a labor. Taking the various "scenes" that come from inspired writing and stitching them together requires a good deal of mental energy. Those inspired elements are easy to write, but they are only snippets of a larger story that needs consistency and flow. I used to start with an outline, but evey time, without fail, the outline was...

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About Poetry

Posted on September 29, 2021 at 12:10 AM

I have not been too active in writing poetry of late. My book, A PALETTE OF VERSE, was the first book I published and I did it as an exercise in learning the publishing side of writing. The poetry in the book comes from my efforts across at least four decades, so it represents a cross-section of my experimentation with words. The thing about poetry that appeals to me is that it enriches the use of language in prose as well. Imagery, phrasing, and even rythym found in poetry can enhance prose,...

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