Raucous Éclair: A Poem

The mute speak in raucous voices

Spewing chocolate éclairs and ice cream

At satiated audiences.

The blind behold paper movie-set flames

Licking the walls of war-torn villages

Where no one lives.

The deaf attend to the muffled sirens

Of disgruntled men in leisure suits

Who cry “Buy!” and “Sell!” into cellular phones.

I see only darkness through my colored contact lenses

As pop bands play, “My future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”

I tap my foot, sans rhythm, to the minstrel mime blaring silent recordings on a blank tape.

Voices clamor for the sky.

Tears fall on the shadows of shoulders.

While I orate and conversate.

And emit passionate cliches and sublime euphemisms.

But only the mute hear me,

And they can’t respond.

Photos by David Stroup

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net

Artania V: Frozen in Time Excerpt

Hugging her knees, Gwen looked up at the sky where a bat suspended on silent wings defied gravity and all logic. The palm trees waited, mid-sway, their motionless fronds pointing at a distant plane hanging amidst stars.

She glanced around. Lacey Zamora’s finger was still poking Coco’s chest. Zach hung mid-air in a surprised leap. The tiki torches continued to cast icy shadows on Jose’s sexy face.

Rising, she stroked Jose’s cheek. His skin was kinda like one of those sculpted people in Artania. Of course, they moved and talked. But Jose… He just stared with eyes as cold as stone.

 Come on Gwen, try something. Anything.

She ducked under Zach’s suspended feet and looked up. The bottom of Mr. GQ’s dress shoes was stamped with a paisley pattern. “You are one stylin’ soul,” she said chuckling at her own pun.

But Zach said nothing.

Stylin’ soul. Get it, Zach?”

Shrugging, Gwen strolled over to the dance floor. Imitated a few kids’ poses. Even got a couple good Charleston kicks in. Paced back over to the pool with its unnatural ripples frozen in time.

When she bent over and saw no reflection, Gwen swallowed hard.

I don’t want to be alone here..

She backed up. A stiff hand caught her hair.

“Let go!” She jerked away but the statue kid’s fingers were still tangled. She recoiled, losing a clump of hair in the process.

Clamping a hand to her head, Gwen streaked for the French doors. She peered inside before bounding down a hallway. “Can you hear me? Someone, anyone!”

Gwen ran faster, dashing from room to room.  She poked a head inside the kitchen where the caterers were in the middle of chopping, slicing, and arranging gourmet hors d’ oeuvres. Turning on a heel, she rushed upstairs to the master bath where a motionless Mrs. Zamora faced a mirror and aimed a lipstick at her mouth.

“Sorry!” Gwen called as she exited, glad she hadn’t caught the woman in a more embarrassing situation.

She raced in one bedroom. Another. Back down the stairs. Down corridors and around corners. Nothing but frozen people everywhere. By the time she returned to the pool, she was out of breath and her red hair was sticking to the sides of her face. She wiped some of the slick sweat from her brow with the back of her hand.  

And waited, hoping for a repeat of the year before.

Last year when the world had frozen in time lightning had crackled the silence. Then, after the low rumbling of thunder and a pop, a confused Mr. Clean had appeared. She thought he was there to save the day, but he had no idea how to start time again.

The two had had tried buko things before finally getting it going. None of which she could do on her own.

“Where are you guys? I need you.”

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net

A Work of Art Dies Not

Leonardo da Vinci said, “A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not.”

I have read many quotes by this genius and others while researching my Artania Chronicles books. Many were profound and wise, but this one really spoke to me.

I believe, like da Vinci, that our artistic expression is eternal.  It never ages nor wrinkles nor swells with arthritic pain. When we are creating, we are as free as toddlers running over soft grass or swans taking to flight. Our souls soar, touch the edge of sky and the eternity of meadow. Our hands become floating clouds and our feet dandelions on the wind.

We are beauty and expression.

Living on.

Sharing the hearts of others.

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net

Surrealia Calls: Artania V Excerpt

Rubbing the dust from his eyes, Bartholomew Borax III glanced up at the crumbling arch. A few bricks overhead loosened and teetered. “Alex, watch out!” he cried shoving his best friend out of the way.

Alex fell against a wrought iron post. The mass of bricks plummeted downward as the curly-headed fifteen-year-old bounced off the gaslight. He landed on all fours panting and the bricks crashed onto the path with a tremendous boom. Choking dust swirled, darkening the afternoon sky.

Bartholomew knelt at his side. “You okay?”

Coughing, Alex gave him a thumbs-up.

The ground rumbled again, and long jagged cracks appeared. They widened and muddy heads emerged from the splintered soil.

Alex gasped. “Shadow Swine?”

Bartholomew pulled his friend to his feet and backed up. “Lions! Help us!”

With a roar, the carved lions overhead leaped off their coat of arms perch and vaulted over to the boys. They bowed their stony heads and faced the emerging army.

“It won’t be enough,” Alex said.

Bartholomew turned his head right and left. True art? True art? What can I create here?

He had only been in this unfamiliar place for scant minutes so didn’t know the lay of the land. But after multiple journeys into the mystical Artania, the blonde boy had learned that if he could work paint, clay, or wood, the Creation Magic would do the rest. He and his fellow Deliverer Alex had made amazing things these past five years. From swords to skateboards and dragons to great snakes they had wrought weapons and comrades in this long war against the Shadow Swine.

But still Sickhert’s army returned. Ever stronger. With new tricks and powers.

Like today.

The lion on the right snarled at an approaching Shadow Swine. Alex grabbed Bartholomew by the collar. “We have to do something.”

Bartholomew felt dry leaves crunch under foot and stepped back. He kicked at a pile. Then he saw them fluttering through the air and wondered. It just might work. He closed his eyes and focused on the image. Scooping up a handful, he turned to Alex.  “Remember Subterranea? They battled well.”

“Of course. I should have thought of that.” Bending down, Alex brushed away more leaves exposing the moist soil below. He plunged his hands into the clay and formed them into a mound.

Bartholomew plopped some leaves onto Alex’s s pile. Then more and more.

The two boys molded the materials into an animal shape. Without a word, they both knew where to place their hands. They scooped, pulled, and smoothed as if their minds were one. Hands tugged and pressed, sculpting faster and faster.  A leg appeared. Then another. Paws. A larger-than-life head. Soon, they were moving at the speed of light. 

One final pinch, and the sculpture shimmered. Fur sprouted all over its body. Two silvery eyes looked up at them. Bartholomew sat back on his haunches and smiled. “Glorious.”

He had but a microsecond to admire the work before the Swiney was upon them. With a long swipe of his battle axe, the pig-nosed creature tossed the first stone lion aside. He raised an arm to attack the second when the newly sculpted wolf lowered its head and butt him in the gut.

The Swiney toppled over.

“More!” Alex scooped up a fresh handful of mud and the boys repeated their sculpting performance, this time faster than the speed of light. Within seconds half a dozen wolves were growling and snapping at the jack-booted army.

For a moment all was silence. Then as if a great unmute button had just been pressed; a cacophonous roar filled the air. Wolves ripped into the hunchbacked Swineys. One stone lion leapt at a tall Shadow Swine, knocking the monster on its back. The second feline hurdled toward a dog Mudlark with red glowing eyes, one ear completely gone and the other in jagged shreds. The black lab’s contorted face was scarred and twisted as if raking claws had hollowed out great swaths of skin.

 Two snarling wolves closed in on a spike wielding Swiney. The monster swung once. Twice. Three times. The newly formed canines dodged and snapped at his heels. Then the larger wolf clamped down on the Shadow Swine’s trench coat. He stumbled.

Bartholomew had just dug up a handful of soil to form a sword when he felt the vibration. His hand began to shimmer. Shaking his head, he glanced over at Alex who appeared to be filled with sparkling glitter. He shrugged at his best friend.

And Artania faded from view.

The excerpt above is from the first chapter of my upcoming novel, Artania V: Persistence of Memory. The scene takes place at the Arc de Triumf in Barcelona in the early 1900’s. Of course, since it’s Artania all of the sculptures in and around the arch are alive.

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net

Mona Lisa Kidnapped?

Get Kidnapped Smile Here

Kidnapped Smile inspires children everywhere to find the artist within.






About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net

Review of Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Sierra Santiago, a Brooklyn teen who loves making art, wants to have a fun summer. But all of that is interrupted when a corpse crashes the first summer party. As she races to escape one macabre creature after another, Sierra discovers shadowshaping magic that blends spirits and art. She is perplexed at first but determined to unravel the family’s secrets to keep shadowshaping alive for generations to come.

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at Author Laurie Woodward — Next Chapteria.net



View all my reviews

Surreal Strings: A Poem

Bound by surrealist strings.

She is hoisted up fortress walls.

Of a Dali-esque painting

Struggling against restraints.

Both real and imagined.

Twisting and turning.

Cords dig deeper into flesh.

Mounting her over the battlements.

While melting clocks remind her of the passing of time.

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and  Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Artania: The Pharaoh’s Cry Free!

Looking for an adventure like no other? A place where all art is alive and creation a superpower? Right now my publisher is offering Pharaohs’ Cry for free. But act fast. This offer disappears on September 30th.  Get your free book here  

Enjoy!

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Performance: A Child’s Right

I believe that children have the right to

Self-expression

Acceptance

Equality

Fairness

A stimulating curriculum

And mentors who believe

In their wonder.

kidsrunhappy

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Ten Tips for Coping With Shelter in Place

As a writer, it is my job to be introspective, to observe, comment upon, and analyze. I feel it my duty to create works that act as a mirror for society, human interactions, and emotion. But Shelter-in-Place is so foreign that I’m finding it challenging to write.

Like many of you, I am fighting feelings of helplessness and depression. I long for human interaction, closeness, touch. I miss patting my friends on the back as we laugh over some silly joke, twirling on the dance floor goofily between hugs, and placing a hand on a gal pal’s arm in comfort.

As humans, we were not built for isolation. Remember that study from your reading in Psych 101? Back in the thirteenth century, the German king, Frederick II, conducted an experiment to discover what language children would grow up to speak if never spoken to. So King Frederick took babies from their mothers at birth and placed them in the care of nurses who were forbidden to speak to them. But a second rule was imposed, as well: the nurses were not allowed to touch the infants.  Frederick’s experiment was an absolute failure, because every baby died. Without touch and tender words they couldn’t thrive.

We all need connection. So what to do now when that basic human need is denied us? I have found the following things help.

1) Avoid the news. It will only depress you. Read just enough to stay informed.newsdepress

2) Limit your TV watching. toomuchtv

3) Put your favorite music on. Dance around the living room. musicnoteroad

4) Do some activities that don’t need much brainpower such as cleaning. I find toilet scrubbing a good one. happytoilet

6) Get outside. If you live in a house, weed, plant, mow, edge, blow. If you live in an apartment, sweep the walk.  gardener

7) Keep to your normal routine as closely as possible. I still shower early, do my hair and get dressed in the morning.

8) Give yourself a makeover. Try a new hair or makeup style. Get goofy and have fun with it. Laugh at your own silly antics! Bad-Hair-Crazy-Tattoos-Clown-Hair

8) Go for a walk.

9) Find a workout  video and dance along. Zumba Workout

9) Go for a drive and crank the tunes: pretend you are a rebellious teen behind the wheel. Shake it Off Video

10) Do art. Paint, color, sketch. Make a dream board.

Any more ideas out there? I’d love to hear them. Blessings for healthy minds and bodies, dear ones!

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net