Stephen D. Lalonde

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My Blogs

 My blog activity is now about writing and publishing.

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Sequential / Random

Posted on July 25, 2022 at 12:30 AM

I have found that my writing works best for me when I get the scenes that occur to me written without concern for the placement in the sequential timeline. These scenes play in my head like scenes from a movie. If I were to wait until that scene’s time in the flow of the story, it would be lost or greatly diminished. Usually, doing it that way involves some serious rewriting and modification when I go to put the puzzle pieces together, but it also adds to the development of the timeline as I do that. Some of my best (in my opinion) foreshadowing, secondary plot elements and character development comes as a result of this random process. I see it as part of being a ‘pantser’.

 

Thanks for reading my blog.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Newsletter

Posted on July 23, 2022 at 11:50 AM

The August newsletter will be out in just over a week. I email a pdf file to those on my newsletter list. This will be changing when the new website is activated, but for now it remains a pdf. Here is an excerpt from the sidebar of the August newsletter which focuses on ancient ships and shipping:

The ancient Greeks did, most often, name their ships and a feminine name was usually chosen. I chose to follow that tradition in my historical novels based in Greece around 600 BCE. The first ship in the first book of the series was named the Amphitrite, who was the wife of Poseidon, the Greek sea god (the Romans equated him to their Neptune). 

 

Back issues of the Historically Speaking newsletter can be seen here: https://www.stephenlalonde.us/historically-speaking

 

Thanks for reading my blog.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Reviews of ANISSI

Posted on July 23, 2022 at 12:40 AM

The second review of ANISSI just posted this morning. It is gratifying to see a positive response to a year’s creative efforts. I am hoping that there will be more reviews soon. I post the reviews as part of my marketing effort. I know that I like to hear from others when I am considering where to spend my money and time, and I have heard the same from others. Those reviews also increase my motivation for the next writing project. Strymon’s story is in development at this time. I haven’t decided on the title yet, but it could be as simple as his name, as was the case with ANISSI. If you want to see the reviews, here is the link:

https://www.stephenlalonde.us/anissi-reviews

 

Thanks for reading my blog.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

World Building

Posted on July 21, 2022 at 11:15 AM

Many genres of writing require world building; that is, describing the physical, practical and operational elements of a setting usually constructed for fantasy and science fiction. As I write my historical fiction books based in ancient Greece around 600 BCE, most of my efforts around setting involve research to learn what that world was like. However, I have had to do some minor world building around elements of those times that don’t seem to have answers readily available for research. An example is the use of fire on a ship. How did the light the lamps? Did they cook their food while at sea? I found that the events in Nubia required more world building than elsewhere. I suspect that there will be more and more information available, but for now I have not found all the answers to my questions. On the other hand, I did find some thorough descriptions of some of the elements of ancient Nubian life. The brewing and use of beer is a good example. I found recipes and detailed descriptions of the brewing process. I find the research part of writing to be fascinating and rewarding.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

The Mythology

Posted on July 20, 2022 at 10:55 AM

I have often addressed my time as a teacher of classical mythology over a period of four decades. I have always been fascinated with mythology. I favor Joseph Campbell’s approach to myth, and continue to look beyond the stories to the meaning of myths as well as understanding their origin. When I started writing SINON OF KIRRA, I wanted to include mythology, but not to make the story mythological in nature. I decided to use a device that reflected the actual practice of the ancients in passing the myths and legends from generation to generation. Strymon is that device. He is a sailor/bard. He tells the myths related to the various places the ships go. Soldiers and sailors may have been the most common singers of mythology before the professional bards came to be. Strymon is meant to be an enigma, specifically around his uncanny recurring presence in the lives of Sinon, Mentu and Anissi. Sinon and Mentu are aware of Strymon’s apparently supernatural interaction with them, and comment on it at times. This will make writing Strymon’s story interesting and challenging. I still don’t know how far this will take him beyond the realm of common mortals.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Amusing Muses

Posted on July 20, 2022 at 12:35 AM

Writers and other artists (yes, I view writing as an art form), frequently call upon the muse for inspiration. There were nine muses; Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia and Urania. They were the goddesses of literature, science and the arts. Greek amousos meant "without Muses," hence "uneducated." So when an artist calls upon a muse, they are calling upon their education. That ‘education’ is a broader definition of the word, for all we learn and know is our education. It can be the formal process or that which we gain from our life experiences. Writers must draw upon their own education, so calling upon the muse should be seen as reaching within to use our formal and experiential education.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Egyptian Connection

Posted on July 19, 2022 at 12:10 AM

A past student, Scott, spent some time in Egypt and had a guide there. When I asked Scott about his time there in trying to learn what I could about Egypt and Nubia, he put me in touch with Sam, his guide. Sam has led me to a treasure trove of pictures, video and information about Egypt. I had a good working knowledge of ancient Greece from teaching classical mythology for several decades, but nothing of ancient Egypt until I began my research for the novels. Ancient Nubia was the other piece of the extensive research for these novels, and I found the historical and cultural interaction between the Nubians and the Egyptians was extensive. I was able to take advantage of that more in ANISSI than in the other books, and it will play an even more significant role in Strymon’s story I believe.

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

The Best Reward

Posted on July 18, 2022 at 12:30 AM

Yesterday I got the best reward any teacher can receive. This is the text Serenity sent to me: “I really want you to know you are still teaching the class of 87 and some of us are listening. Keep up the posts. You have educated me more on FB than you ever could have in class. I appreciate it.”

It doesn’t get any better than that, and she wasn’t even in any of my classes. I have had many texts, emails, phone calls and visits like this over the years, but this is the first from a student I didn’t have in class. I write because I believe it is the teacher in me that requires it. I have never felt that teaching was my job. A teacher is who I am. It is my identity, even in retirement. Writing in some regards, is teaching. At least that is the way this teacher sees it.

Thank you so much Serenity!

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

My Marketing

Posted on July 17, 2022 at 12:10 AM

My writing is currently regarded by the IRS as a business. I may lose that designation this year as I haven’t made a profit since beginning several years ago. As I have said frequently in these blogs, I am not in it for the money, so maybe it really is just a hobby. My marketing is restricted (because of cost) to social media and word-of-mouth. I encourage and have received many very favorable reviews, and I promote that when I can, especially on my Facebook posts. I continue to welcome reviews and will continue my writing whether it be as a business or as a hobby. I am thankful to my readers for the encouragement and support. By the way, I wouldn’t mind if my writing did become profitable as that would indicate a wider audience, and I do put my heart, tears and soul (no blood, so far) into those books.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Creative Punctuation

Posted on July 15, 2022 at 10:45 AM

I may be repeating myself (this is daily blog #345, and I am getting older), but I am fascinated with writing dialogue. I don’t always punctuate it correctly. I am a bit of a rebel that way. I imagine my books being spoken (yes, maybe even audio books at some point), so I punctuate the way I want the rhythm of the language to sound. If I want a pause bigger than a comma would indicate, I may use a dash or even an ellipse. If e.e. cummings can break the rules on capitalization, I can break the rules on punctuation. At times I view my prose more like poetry. I know the purists won’t approve and they will shudder at much of my writing, but that is okay. I can live with that.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Writing and Retirement

Posted on July 14, 2022 at 10:40 AM

Writing novels is a very isolated activity when actually doing the writing and most of the time with the research. Some of the research involves interacting with others and that is nice break from the isolation. Beyond the writing, there are some opportunities for socializing. I have done four presentations in the last few months and have another one scheduled. Today, I am supposed to meet with a reporter who is doing an article on retirement activities and wants to talk with me about writing and publishing. I truly enjoy sharing my writing journey, as is evidenced by these daily blogs and my monthly newsletter. 

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

ANISSI Comments

Posted on July 14, 2022 at 12:55 AM

I have shipped ANISSI to all the pre-orders and the comments are coming in. First, (and I heard this from the time I posted the cover) very positive reaction to the cover. Everyone who has seen the book has complimented the cover. It was done by Kristi Stalder of Stalder Books and Publishing. She has a very creative approach to everything. She also did the cover for MENTU THE NUBIAN. Beyond that, though none have indicated that they have finished the book yet, several readers have said they really like the book. That is most gratifying after months of work. Merging her story with Sinon’s and Mentu’s was a real challenge, but I think I accomplished it. I hope to receive some reviews to post on my website soon.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

So Much More

Posted on July 13, 2022 at 12:20 AM

I wanted this new website that would allow for sales on the site. It involves so much more than I had anticipated, not to mention the flood of ‘offers’ for additional support elements, each costing just a little bit more. It all adds up. I don’t know how any writer but the most well-known can handle all that goes into the activities required beyond the actual writing. I am very busy now with the business end of things and will be for a while. The writing takes a back seat for a bit. Strymon is waiting and I am anxious to get on with his story. I know that the traditional route handles SOME of this busy-ness, but the creative control loss is too great for me. I will continue on the self-publishing process where I at least understand the mechanics of it.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

The Cost of Doing Business

Posted on July 12, 2022 at 12:40 AM

The new website is presenting tough choices on costs associated with it. Automated tax compliance is attractive, but my level of sales doesn’t warrant the additional $19 a month. I continue to insist that I am not writing for a profit (although I wouldn’t refuse it), but I would like to at least break even. Those of you who are seriously in business, probably don’t understand my issue, but I am doing this as a retirement activity, not to generate a significant income. All of what I have said so far in this blog, goes out the window if I manage to write a book that is good enough it gets banned and makes it onto the best-seller list. There is no sign of that on the horizon, but I keep working at the craft of writing and hopefully getting better with each book.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

New Website Progress

Posted on July 10, 2022 at 1:45 PM

The last couple of days, Barry, my youngest son, has been setting up my new website. I have a ton of work to do to populate it, but the structure is there and it looks like I will be able to sell my books on the website. This has been a long time in development, as he has had to sandwich it in amid all of his other work. I hope to announce opening it to the internet soon. I will be keeping my old site for the time being as well. The new site is going to be limited to my writing efforts. My daily blogs will be there, there will be a button to subscribe to the monthly newsletter (Historically Speaking), and of course my books will have blurbs and reviews posted as well as purchasing options. Stay tuned for the upcoming launch.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Group Dynamics

Posted on July 9, 2022 at 9:30 AM

Our critique group has gone through very few changes over the approximately eight years we have been meeting. We are a diverse group in many ways, especially with the genres we each write. In the current group we have a graphic novelist, an historic novelist, a children’s book author, a memoirist, and a vampire novelist. Several write poetry as well. We work well together because we all feel that good writing is good writing, regardless of the genre. We don’t try to address the specifics of the genre, but focus on the verbiage and reader experience. We may be adding a new member to the group and that is exciting to me because anytime you add a person to a group, it changes the group dynamic and with this group in particular, I believe that will be a positive thing. With apologies to the vampire novelist, it will be nice having ‘fresh blood’ in the group.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

When Writing is Invisible

Posted on July 8, 2022 at 11:40 AM

When I am working on a book, like I am now with Strymon, the early phases involve more thinking and research than writing. I have done a few snippets just to prime the process, but I am still finding new pieces in research and I spend time thinking about the character of Strymon. Once I have an idea what the storyline might be, I can begin writing more intensely, but until then my ‘writing’ is invisible. It helps that Strymon is a character that has been developing through all three prior books of the series, so I am not starting from scratch. That is both a blessing and a challenge as I must make his story fit what has happened in the other books. There is a sort of mystery about Strymon. That seed has been planted on several occasions in the previous books, and he has not revealed to me the truth in that yet. I am sure he will.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Creative License

Posted on July 8, 2022 at 12:00 AM

As I write these historical novels, I have had to take some creative license with dates more than anything else. For instance, my use of coins in the books pre-dates the actual prolific use of coins by a decade or two. The dates often given for Sappho also resulted in time-shifting, although, my early research suggested no solid dates, and I placed her within reason in the events of the books. I calculated the Olympiads relative to the stories based on the solid date of 776 BCE for the first Olympic games, but that was more for the blurb than for the books. Overall, I believe that even with the license taken, I have not significantly misplaced any of the elements of the books. Once again, I would like to say that the historicity of these novels is more based in customs, practices, geographic information, with special care on site descriptions and one historic figure; Sappho.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Wishes

Posted on July 7, 2022 at 12:40 AM

It is hard to accept money from friends and family when they want the books I am writing. I wish I could afford to simply give the books to everyone who wants them. Alas, I don’t have the resources to do that. If I hit the lottery, that could change, but until then I am trying to get to break-even this year. If I don’t, this is probably the year that my writing ‘business’ will have to become a writing ‘hobby’ in the eyes of the IRS. The fact that I have a business license for Ouranian Publishing of Spokane has made the tax situation soften the cost of writing somewhat. I am taking every opportunity to promote my books, and continue to look for more opportunities. Meanwhile, I continue with my writing obsession, with the hopes of eventually writing something good enough to attract a larger audience. I have no delusions about getting rich from my efforts, but it would be nice to at least break-even.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185

Self-Published is Published

Posted on July 5, 2022 at 11:05 AM

The landscape for writers has changed. There was a time that self-publishing was seen as ‘vanity press’ and the assumption was that the books were not good enough to be published otherwise. That has changed. Quality books are regularly being self-published. Authors are finding that if they can find a way to distribute the books, they have better control of their books and can make more on each sale. Self-publishing can serve as a means to publishing with a major press, which has the primary advantage of an established distribution system. Some authors are using a hybrid approach, using self and traditional publishing. There used to be an additional advantage with the traditional publishers in the form of promotion, but that element has faded and promotion usually rests more with the writer, unless, of course, if your name is Stephen King or other best-sellers. It is another catch 22. The solution is building a large audience that demonstrates strong sales. Then you have a better chance with traditional publishing, but by that time the advantage has been reduced by the success the writer is already having.

 

Thanks for reading my blog(s).

 

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter (HISTORICALLY SPEAKING) dealing with the research I am doing for my books, send your name and email to: SteveL18@comcast.net or text that information to me at (509) 710-7185


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