Stephen D. Lalonde

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My Blogs

 My blog activity is now about writing and publishing.

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Neck News

Posted on February 8, 2023 at 12:35 AM

Yesterday I had an appointment with the PA for the neck surgeon. My X-rays look good. The healing is happening, and I am less restricted now, but cautioned to ease into my regular routine. I am still spending four hours each morning in the neck brace and bone growth stimulator (electronic collar). I won’t be completely healed for a year, but I can now begin catching up on some of the things that have been left undone. The weather will be a consideration moving forward because I can̵...

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First Draft Done

Posted on February 6, 2023 at 11:40 AM

Five months of pretty intense writing resulted in a first draft of STRYMON. I don’t usually print out the manuscript of the first draft of a book, but this one is complicated enough that I wanted to be able to work with it on paper. When I say complicated, I am referring to that as the author. I don’t think that it will be complicated for the reader (by the time I get to the final draft.) Now I will let it cure for a while before I begin the second draft. I poured it into the book...

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Posted on February 6, 2023 at 12:45 AM

Yesterday I wrote a fight scene in STRYMON. It is challenging to get the dialogue and action right. It is still the first draft of the book, so there will be time to let this scene age for a while before addressing it again. There have been other fight scenes, but they were a collective event involving the crews of two ships. There is much more room in that to keep the action moving. The one I just wrote had more dealing with the aftermath of the fight than with the fight itself. Duwana conti...

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Posted on February 5, 2023 at 12:10 AM

I have found that I have to give myself deadlines. When I first start on a book, there are no deadlines, but once the storyline becomes active, I start setting them. My deadline for STRYMON’s first draft is February 21, because on the 22nd I have surgery scheduled on my left hand, so there will be a few days where keyboarding is not going to happen. I will give the 1st draft a little time to marinate, and then I will get started on the 2nd draft. I have a soft deadline for going to the ...

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Practically Speaking

Posted on February 3, 2023 at 11:15 AM

Self-publishing is a challenge. I am fortunate in that I have the computer programs that allow me to do all of the book prep myself. I prepare the pdf files that go the printer, and that is the only time the production process involves anyone else. Of course, that doesn’t include those beta readers and critique group members that contribute to the writing process. They are most important to the quality of the content. The practical issues in producing the finished book involve the cost ...

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Posted on February 3, 2023 at 12:05 AM

I try to know and understand the motivation of my characters that would explain why they do what they do. Sometimes that requires going back and filling in missing backstory. There will be some of that to do in STRYMON. One of the challenges of ‘pantsing’ is that since I don’t always know where the story is going, there is always the need to add elements in the later drafts. I am okay with that. I also try to enhance the descriptive narrative in later drafts. I mention all o...

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Silver Lining

Posted on February 2, 2023 at 12:00 AM

My neck surgery is preventing me from doing much. I still am restricted in lifting. I have to wear the brace for four hours each morning and any time I go out of the house. The one silver lining is that I can write, and I have done that every day. Some days I am more inspired than others, but I do write every day. I have found that the storyline can be enlivened every time I bring in a new character. When I was teaching, I was very aware that any time you add a student to an existing group, t...

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Beyond Books

Posted on February 1, 2023 at 12:05 AM

Today I sent out the February issue of HISTORICALLY SPEAKING. The topic for this issue is Oracles and Prophecy. I enjoy writing the newsletter and sharing the research that I have done for my books. That newsletter is just another outlet for my desire to write. These daily blogs are another opportunity to share my writing as I use them principally to share my writing journey. I also write essays, poetry, magazine articles and web content. This is a wonderful way to enjoy my retirement (one am...

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Ancient Economics

Posted on January 31, 2023 at 12:25 AM

I have taken creative license with the timing of currency in my books. The use of coins in Greece evolved at the local level over time. Eventually universal currency among the Greek communities did exist. I have a silver tetradrachm that has the Leucid anchor stamped into it, making it generally accepted. All of this happened over time and after the period involved in my books. I also have the characters using gold as a currency. There appears to have been so much gold in Egypt that I wonder ...

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Posted on January 30, 2023 at 12:45 AM

A slight departure today. I just refilled my honey jar from the huge jar in which we buy it. I use honey in my tea and keep the small jar near the teakettle. The slow, graceful flow of honey adds to the beauty of its color. As I was waiting for the honey to gradually fill the jar, I remembered a little poem my mother had on an apron. It read: I eat my peas with honey. I’ve done it all my life. It does taste rather funny, but it keeps them on my knife. To bring this departure back to my ...

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Word Painting

Posted on January 28, 2023 at 1:55 PM

Luscious, rich, honey-sweet words dripping down the page. Sometimes I get so busy telling the story, I forget to paint it as well. I have chosen a few excerpts from my books as examples of my efforts to ‘paint’ the story.

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Posted on January 27, 2023 at 11:30 AM

I haven’t been as accurate with weather as I should be, maybe. I am not sure about this issue. I have included occasional rain, varying degrees of wind, and a few storms, but other than that, my historical novels based in ancient Greece, Egypt, Nubia and points east to the end of the Black Sea and west to Sicily have largely had warm, dry weather. I am seeing winter pictures of Greece these days that show snow. I haven’t had any snow in any of the books. Maybe it is time. It might...

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Posted on January 27, 2023 at 12:05 AM

As I am writing, I am finding that developing backstory for my main characters is critically important, and that leads me to realize something about life. The more we know about someone’s ‘backstory’, the more dimensional they become. Close friends usually know each other’s backstory. I believe the more you know about someone’s life, the more you understand them and that is what leads to strong relationships. So it is with fictional characters. I have spent much ...

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Looking Forward

Posted on January 25, 2023 at 9:40 AM

I will be doing a virtual presentation to a group of retired teachers a couple weeks from now. I look forward to these opportunities to talk about the writing process and my journey through it. I think it is the teacher part of me that enjoys these opportunities. I especially like the questions that come from these presentations, as they usually get to the deeper issues I am trying to include in my writing. I am also looking forward to the first book Ouranian Publishing is having printed righ...

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Posted on January 25, 2023 at 12:20 AM

I am beginning to understand more concerning what I like about Strymon. He represents wisdom and is a bit of a philosopher, even though he is not sure who he is or where he came from. He was meant to be a mystery from the start of his appearance in the books. As I write STRYMON, I am finding that he gives me the opportunity to go beyond the reality of common existence and dabble in the supernatural or extra-natural elements of life that we might experience ourselves; those times we know somet...

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Beyond the Books

Posted on January 23, 2023 at 11:35 AM

Yesterday I was able to finish getting STRYMON beyond the storylines of the preceding books. Now I am writing the rest of his story, which still involves some of the characters in those books. This is significant because writing the common scenes from SINON OF KIRRA, MENTU THE NUBIAN and ANISSI into STRYMON required much consideration of what should be represented from Strymon’s point of view. This whole process has been a lesson for me in point of view. I am sure that I will have to do...

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Posted on January 23, 2023 at 12:35 AM

An important element of Greek mythology is prophecy. The Delphic oracle answered the requests of individuals with seemingly less ambiguity than other oracles. It was the oracle of Apollo, the god of truth, and so was believed to be the best place to get answers. SINON OF KIRRA begins with Sinon consulting the oracle about his future. He is challenged by the Pythia to seek a specific item from the end of the Black Sea. That quest drives the storyline of that book and each book of the series.

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Posted on January 22, 2023 at 12:35 AM

Yesterday I was working on a future HISTORICALLY SPEAKING newsletter. The topic is architecture. I found it difficult to limit the text so that it could be something more than a surface discussion. I focused on the Parthenon as the Greek example and the Karnak complex and Luxor Temple as the Egyptian examples. I spoke to a few details and made some generalizations about the two civilizations. It was fun trying to make it interesting and informative yet cohesive. I will be doing a different is...

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Pushing Through

Posted on January 21, 2023 at 12:05 AM

I have been working on STRYMON for four months now almost every day. The story has expanded as I continue to write it. I am finding that it is difficult to keep up with it. I am having to refer back to the earlier parts in an effort to keep it all straight. It is also difficult as it is a parallel story to the previous books and I am not confident about how much to repeat and when to summarize instead of retelling. This is complicated by the fact that the book should be stand-alone for those ...

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Voice Technology

Posted on January 19, 2023 at 9:50 AM

I have used voice technology in a couple significant ways in my writing. Sometimes I use voice recognition to dictate text to the computer. It speeds the process, but I have to be careful to watch as I go and then to review as some interesting errors occur. Those are more likely due to inadequate enunciation. It always amazes me that the programming almost always gets the right to, too or two and the right there, their or they’re. The other and more often used technology is text to spee...

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