Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Open Letter to the Seattle Art Museum, #MeToo

#AndrewWyeth #SeattleArtMuseum #SAM

I took my mother-in-law and mother to the Seattle Art Museum yesterday to celebrate the work of Andrew Wyeth. I had always admired his dedication to realism when so few artists were creating in a similar manner. I appreciated the haunting stories within his paintings.

As always, the Seattle Art Museum has created a beautiful, honest exhibit, this time showcasing Andrew Wyeth's life work. The accompanying literature was informative and intriguing.

What I hadn't realized is that I had formerly missed Andrew's reveal of his nude paintings of thirteen year old Siri. I had missed his acknowledgement of his affair with Helga and his representations of her while he was married to Betsy. So, as I toured the exhibition, noting the intense detail, the mastery, and repeated images of death, I found myself before paintings of a nude thirteen year old girl. And then, as the museum calls them, I viewed the "erotic paintings" of Andrew's mistress. Trying to take everything in and process, I heard a nearby teen girl say, "Well, at least she was of age."

In our day, in the midst of the #MeToo revolution, should we be staring at paintings of a thirteen year old girl, painted by a man who described himself as "a secretive bastard," according to Time magazine. Yes, an adult Siri Erickson seemingly gave her consent then and now, as the article states:

"Siri, now 32 and the mother of two girls, recalls no embarrassment or awe about posing nude for Wyeth when she was 13. 'He would get totally involved in his work. It was as if you were a tree,' she says. 'He's a normal, everyday person. He does paint good, but he's just Andy.'"

But as I sat and watched the public look at the paintings, as man after man studied the images, I had to ask: how did a man, whose body of work was not known for nude imagery, suddenly find himself painting a naked girl? If a thirteen year old agrees to be photographed nude today, is that not still illegal? Can we say the paintings of Helga are "erotic" and the images of Siri are not? 

Yes, this exhibit is a retrospect of Andrew Wyeth's work, but would it be better to leave empty spaces where the nude, underage Siri paintings now hang? Why are we not applying the same #MeToo standards to art? This is not a prudish question. This is not a call for censorship. This is about honoring a teen girl. There is a reason Andrew kept the imagery a secret until Siri came of age. What gave him the right to look until then? 

Seattle Art Museum, this is a thirteen year old girl.  What are we saying by looking and saying nothing?

Lorie Ann Grover, author, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Children's Lit Fellows Open Enrollment

I love mentoring for Children's Lit Fellows of Stony Brook! If you are ready to hone your skills and have your story to tell, check out the program. Enrollment is open now. #andnowwewrite

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Happy Book Birthday, Bright Night!

It's her happy birthday!

Publishers Weekly: "It’s a simple, punchy, and jubilant retelling."
School Library Journal: "perfect for toddlers....A delightful Nativity story to show very little ones."

by Lorie Ann Grover
illustrated by Jo Perry

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bright Night

A lovely review from Publishers Weekly!

Grover effectively reduces the Nativity story to quippy rhyming phrases in this padded board book, whose cozy mood is bolstered by Parry’s soft, gauzy-looking digital artwork. “Carry Mary,” reads the opening spread as Joseph leads a donkey down a road as birds, butterflies, and a rabbit dance around the couple. From there, they land in the “safe place” of the stable, celebrate “boy joy” when Jesus is born, and enjoy a little “swaddle, coddle” before visitors arrive, having followed the “far star” in the night sky. It’s a simple, punchy, and jubilant retelling. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

Preorder is available here

by Lorie Ann Grover
illustrated by Jo Perry
Zonderkidz, Oct. 3, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part Four

Blue stain from testing

After LipiFlow Treatment, blood serum drops, and wearing bandages, I've reached a plateau. Which means, amniotic fluid eye drops. I'll post again when they arrive in their cooler, and I've used them for a period. I'm going to share average costs, so far, as it might be helpful to others considering dry eye treatment. The list is aside from the doctor visits which are covered by insurance and fitting prescription lenses to goggles. 

LipiFlow: $1,400
Measurements after LipiFlow: $140, a year
Bandages: $100, a month
Blood Serum Drops: $340, 3 times a year
Amniotic Fluid Drops: $500, a month
Oil Vitamins: $30, a month

My eyes may need LipiFlow to be repeated this year. When these treatments can be measured, repeatedly, as effective, it is wrong insurance will cover nothing. Eye sight is lost by those who can't afford these solutions.

Here's to health care that can, one day, care for all. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

From My Sketchbook

I've picked up my stylus lately in processing life, and I thought to share occasional imagery that might resonate with others.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part Three

So, I had LipiFlow! It's a 12 minute treatment, FDA approved, which uses thermal pulsating heat to open the meibomian glands. There are about 50 glands in the upper lids and 25 in the lower lids. You can read more here.  

Simply: thick, eye, cup-like contacts were inserted, which protected my eyeballs from the upcoming heat. The outer cups then heated the insides of my eyelids to 108.5 degrees. At the same time, exterior "massaging" pressure helped flush the melting meibum out of the glands. Many of mine are already dead, but the effort is to save and support those glands still working. 

Despite FDA approval, the $1,700 treatment isn't covered by insurance. 

It didn't hurt! Although toward the end it was quite warm. The "massage" feels more like pointed pokes, over and over, but I wouldn't call it pain. It's kind of a facial for your eyelids. 

80% of patients don't need it repeated. I fit the profile for the 20% who do. Some yearly.

That's a quick take for LipiFlow. Now that my glands are empty, it will be about 6 weeks of more dryness before they fill and stabilize. More soon. Back to writing! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part Two

I have entered into the second stage of the strategy to aid my dry eyes from Sjogren's, Lupus, and RA. I'm sharing in the hope it might help another in a similar predicament.

After drawing 8 vials of blood at a lab in Seattle, a compounding pharmacy then withdrew the red cells and froze the blood serum for me. At $300, not covered by insurance, the supply should last 2 months. Four times a day, I use the drops to aid my sight. Initially, it was psychologically disturbing to add blood to my eyes.

So far, the drops have reduced the amount of artificial tears I use in the day. By nine in the evening, it is difficult to function again, but I've had the day to see.

Regarding the bandage contacts, they've wonderfully removed the pain of blinking as they cover the exposed nerves of the cornea. I am experiencing double-vision in close viewing. My eyes tire from compensating and feel strained. It is better than pain, goggles, and the complete loss of sight I was having earlier though!

Autologous Eye Drop Serum report from Medscape:

Autologous serum (AS) 50% eye drops appear to be safe and effective for dry eye disease in the long term, especially in patients with severe disease refractory to conventional treatment, according to findings of a retrospective cohort study published in the December issue of Cornea.

"Standard treatments for dry eye disease include the use of artificial tears and lubricating ointments, topical cyclosporine 0.05%, topical corticosteroids, and punctal occlusion," write Munira Hussain, MS, CCRP, from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, and colleagues. "However, none of these treatments supply epithelium-promoting growth factors or other essential components present in natural tears. Similar to tears, human serum contains immunoglobulins, vitamin A, fibronectin, and growth factors that promote epithelial health."

Thanks to all the researchers and pharmacists! More soon, following the next stage.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dry Eyes: Solutions, Part One

I've found help, so I'm going to share the steps of care for others living with dry eyes, maybe from Lupus and Sjogren's like me. There's hope. Look!

I've been housebound for weeks as my dry eyes flared. My must-haves: portable humidifiers, safety goggles, preservative free eye drops, and Lacrisert eye inserts. The latter didn't work for me due to side effects. (The same for Restasis and Xidra.) There have been periods where I have no sight.


Thanks to my rheumatologist, I've found the west coast expert on dry eyes. And he wears bow ties. He's over an hour north, but treatment has begun. I'll post as we work through the stages. First are bandages for my eyes! Bandage Soft Contact Lenses protect the cornea.

These have been fantastic. I only need goggles to ride in the car, and I may be able to resume driving. My only difficulty is extracting them nightly. They adhere like decals. I'm researching techniques to make it easier than working at it for an hour each evening.

Next up will be autologous serum. They will make eye drops from my blood! More soon. But for now, I see you! Back to writing...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Travel with Lupus and Sjogrens

There is a cost to travel with autoimmune diseases. After my recent trips to Paris and Oman, I've been recovering. I thought to share part of the experience to maybe inform others on the eve of their own jaunt.

Armed with cane, compression socks, scarves, meds, eye drops, eye patch, and goggles, I set out hopeful. On vacation, I take prescription strength NSAIDs which I don't daily take at home. This reduces rheumatoid arthritis joint and lupus tendon inflammation enough to function with more consistency. However, immediately, the airplane flared my Sjogrens, which dried my eyes, despite my safety goggles.

After landing in Paris and acclimating, we were off to tour the city. Hat and scarf and sunglasses were enough to protect me from the sun and wind.  

Eventually, I needed my sun-blocking umbrella, as well.

By the fifth day, my eyes were too dry to function, and my family led me through Montmartre. Apparently, there was graffiti in Sacre Coeur and little quiet dogs in the town. How interesting to listen to the sounds of Paris. 

Thankfully, though, on day six, I had a reprieve and was able to see the Louvre, albeit with my goggles. You do what you have to do.

The next leg of my journey was to Sohar, Oman, where I thought my eyes would recover in the humid desert. They did through the day but dried by night. Thankfully, we found drops at the pharmacy as I couldn't pack enough with the liquid airplane constraint.

I toted my umbrella, swam covered wrist to ankle (there was no chlorine in the pool), and rested on the understanding patience of family and friends.

On my last leg flying home alone, I hoped to be able to see to negotiate the airport. In my goggles, I peeped my way through the Bahrain airport and found I did look like a minion.

I made my way back to Paris and Seattle, but the flight caused a lupus rash on my legs. Thigh high compression socks are now recommended by the doc to fly.

Home again, I'm waiting through the fatigue and lupus flu symptoms, the rash is fading, and I have appointments for my eyes. I'm not able to drive a greater distance, not knowing if I will be able to see when I need to return home. I'm still in goggles and cancelling appointments. There is one new possibility I hope to pursue, which is a scleral contact with refillable chambers. More info here. This will be life changing if I am a candidate.

So that's the physical cost of my last adventure. But I filled my soul and that's true treasure. Here's to your next journey. Prepare, pack, endure the cost, but see what you can when you can. Otherwise, listen. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

World Poetry Day

May It Be

Waves uncurling gifts
Words upturning from my soul
Beauty from the deep

Lorie Ann Grover, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Top Shelf: The Magic Words

The Magic Words Cover

"The thing I seek most in fiction is a new reality I can believe in: truth as polished by one particular writer's art." Cheryl B. Klein

Today, I recommend a new work on the craft of writing: The Magic Words, Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by editor/author Cheryl B. Klein. Through exercise after exercise, the book will walk you through your own work-in-progress.

A lover of lists, Cheryl pulls together and explains key principles of good writing, key themes, plot types, what contributes to talent, characteristics of characters, and even the celestial alignment that may lead to a great novel. Among several structures, you'll be exposed to Freytag's pyramid, bookmapping, the first page/chapter checklist, and the plot checklist.

"The best fiction happens when writers pair their unique worldviews and experience with a story that reaches beyond their singularity."

With helpful examples from novels Cheryl has edited and other middle grade and young adult novels, the reader is able to walk line by line through pieces and learn a myriad of principles and helpful suggestions. Here is your opportunity to peek over the editor's shoulder as she refines a story.

I found the postulate instruction particularly insightful. "The postulates are the core beliefs on which a character has built his entire theory of himself, his relationships with other people, and his place in the world." These are the beliefs driving emotions and behaviors. Love is often involved: what we love in life, and what makes us feel we are worthy of love. Her example:

If I am not _____________ or do not ______________, then no one will love me.
If I am ____________ or do _______________, then everyone will love me.

Answering these questions for your characters, and yourself, will reveal motivations, super intentions, and justifications for actions, thoughts, and emotions. Invaluable.

Treasure this gift. Read it cover to cover and return again and again to sections where your work might need editorial thought. Do the exercises and then return to your novel refreshed. You'll be ready to write your own magic words.

The Magic Words, Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults
by Cheryl B. Klein
W. W. Norton & Company, 2016



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Open Letter: It's what facebook is for, right?

I found this necessary to post on my Facebook Personal Page following the Women's March. Maybe it applies across much social media. Best to all!

Open Letter

“It’s what facebook is for, right?”

I recently posted a picture on my personal facebook page of myself in the Womxn’s March in Seattle. While I was walking, a discussion occurred on my celebratory picture about the merits and morals of the march. Many friends decided they could in no way support the act. When pointed out that I might feel shamed by their conclusions, the response was, “It’s what facebook is for, right?” In other words, you made it public with you...r picture, you opened yourself to our opinion.

When I write a novel, I open my hand and release it to the public. Across the world, it will be discussed, reviewed, ranked, praised, and disparaged. As the author, I can read the reviews or not, visit the boards or not, and choose to value or disregard the words.

On my Facebook Author Page, I post my own event news and what I find meaningful and relevant from the industry. There may be disagreement and opposing opinions, but it is regarding work I have released with the intention of discussion.

My personal page on Facebook is where I open my personal life. Here is where I share beauty I’ve seen, a hurt I’m holding, or joys in my life. I share that I marched. Friends and readers have the right to disagree. Yet, by friending me on Facebook, we are at a party together. I have just entered the room exultant, because with lupus and rheumatoid, I still was able to march. Considering the physical cost, I must have had deep reasons. At a party would you discuss among yourselves why it was wrong to march? While I’m standing there, without asking me why I did? I know these loving friends weren’t intending to hurt me. They were working out their own views. But it was on my picture.  

On a personal page, if you are able, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who mourn. If you can’t, and you want to stay at the party, don’t say anything. And if you feel compelled to speak, fair enough. Just hold the discussion on your page. Facebook is actual community. Our shoulders are touching. I hope this helps you understand. With my love, Lorie Ann