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

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

My Sixth Novel is Out!

Can it really be true? Did my publisher just release my sixth novel? Or maybe I’m dreaming…

As I look back over the past five years I have to pinch myself. I went from self-publishing my first book to ghost writing Dean and JoJo and watching its release by Random House in Germany to sending out Artania I to agents and publishers and getting rejection after rejection.

Oh, I got close a few times. An agent here and there might be interested but eventually they’d pass. Random House even had it under consideration and one editor wanted it, but when it went to committee…Well you know.

Then in 2017, an author friend who I’d helped with a manuscript contacted me. He said that his publisher was offering finders fees for authors who found new talent and he thought of me. Was I interested? Heck yeah!

I polished my synopsis and with fingers crossed sent in sample chapters to the publisher. And the waiting began. Every day I’d check my in box for news.

Finally the email came. With a contract. And not just for Artania I either. They offered me a contract for all three Artania books I’d written. Champagne time!

Now I’m thrilled to see Portal Rift available so all of you can join the adventure too!

Get Portal Rift Here

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

 

Artania’s Prophecy: A Poem

Our world was born from the magic of two.

The smiling twins whose creations grew.

They painted walls with ideas anew.

Until the dark day we came to rue.

When one jealous hand used mud to undo.

And the life of many too soon was through.

 

But listen to this prophecy with open ears.

To know what happens ever thousand years.

The Shadow Swine will make you live in fear.

Bringing death to those whom you hold so dear.

For they will open the doorway so wide.

That none of you will find a place to hide.

 

And the Creators will stop

As their dreams are drained.

Before 12 moons wax and wane.

 

But hope will lie in the hands of twins

Born on the cusp of the second millennium.

On the eleventh year of their lives.

They will join together like single forged knives.

Their battle will be long with 7 evils to undo.

Scattered around will be 7 clues.

And many will perish before they are through.

But our world will be saved if their art is true.

             Buy Artania Here                                              artchronpic

 

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

 

2019 Year in Review

New Year’s Blessings to all of you! May 2020 be all that you dream it will be!

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

Reviews: Thank You Readers!

 

Thank you to all of you for your kind words about the Artania Chronicles. I am humbled.

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and 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

(Cover photo by David Stroup)

Kidnapped Smile: A Book Trailer

Do you ever find yourself stuck in your novel? Wondering where the heck to go next? I sure do. So, why not try taking a break from crafting your novels to create a book trailer? It is a total blast to mix different images with summarizing phrases until you get just the right sequence to tell your story.

What I do is build it little by little. I add a few scenes, before viewing the beginning of the video to get the gist of it. If the mood is right I add more. Then I repeat this process, again and again until I’m satisfied.

Here’s one about the Kidnapped Smile I had fun with over the weekend.  Enjoy!

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and 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

Kidnapped Smile: Chapter One

While the smiling Mona Lisa strolls the cobblestone paths of this art-created world, dark forces wait.

“I’m perfectly fine. Now stop being so silly.” Placing a painted hand on The Thinker’s bronze arm, Mona Lisa patted it.

“But child. The attempts.”

“Failed. And now you and Father have me tucked away in this fortress. Worry not.” Without giving him a chance to argue more, Mona Lisa turned and glided down the stone steps of the castle.

Artania’s leader leaned over the parapet of the castle gazing at the renaissance city below. Florence. Red tile roofs topped sunflower yellow or misty white walls. Crushed granite alleyways and cobblestone side streets zig-zagged from one end of the town to the other. The Arno River snaked through this muted palette as gently as dear Mona Lisa’s smile.

Mona Lisa. Ever since the attempted kidnapping, she had stayed within these castle walls. Making the sweet child restless. Today was the first time he’d agreed to let her stroll along the river. Accompanied by soldiers in striped bloomers and metal helmets of course.

“Nicolo, you must be ever vigilant.  You know what will happen if the Shadow Swine capture the Smiling One,” he had ordered the guardsman earlier.

“Yes, as do all citizens, whether they be painting, sculpture or sketch,” Nicolo said.

“Keep her close. Keep her safe.”

“I do swear,” the guardsman said, bowing with one hand across his chest.

 

Nicolo’s presence should have calmed The Thinker’s fears, but for some reason he still felt uneasy.  All around, soldiers patrolled the parapet wall or stood guard behind the notched battlements in the rectangular towers.

The iron grating of the portcullis was down leaving only doors vulnerable. And after the last kidnapper had made his way inside, The Thinker had ordered them locked at all times. Even so he knew that in these terrible times anything could happen.

His bronze gaze rested on the river and the short docks built beside the walkway. The Smiling One emerged from the doorway below and gave him a short wave before turning toward the cobblestone path skirting the river. All was as it should be.

He thought.

He had just relaxed his shoulders when a flash caught his eye. He shouldn’t be there!

A man dressed in rags leapt out of one of the rowboats tied to the dock and began running toward Mona Lisa. But with her back to him, she didn’t notice

“Lisa!” The Thinker cried.

When she turned, the snarling man grabbed her by the arm and began pulling her toward his boat.

“Let me go!” Mona Lisa screamed.

Soldiers appeared and rushed down the embankment, Guardsman Nicolo in the lead.

Mona Lisa strained against the beggar’s grip. But it was no good. He was half a head taller and probably outweighed her by fifty pounds. He dragged her ever closer to the rowboat. A few more feet and they’d be on the river.

“No!” Mona Lisa cried, clutching her veil in a milk white grasp.

“Halt,” Nicolo cried, booted feet flying toward the dock. “Halt, I say!” He sprung over the cobblestone path and drew his sword.

The ragged man dragged her closer to the water. The Smiling One’s feet skidded over wood.

“Hurry,” The Thinker whispered.

As soon as they reached the dock’s edge, the beggar shoved Mona Lisa behind him. And turned.

With a snaggle-toothed grin, he bent forward and unleashed a tremendous kick. Crying out, the painted girl hurled upwards. She shot over pilings arcing toward the river below.

The Thinker’s bronze heart froze. He gripped the coping stone tighter.

Mona Lisa splashed and disappeared beneath the murmuring waters.

All eyes turned toward the river. Every Artanian from castle keep to the guard tower and down the stony walls held a breath. Waiting in silence.

But the waters remained calm.

“Find her!” the bronze man cried.

With a desperate leap, Nicolo dove into the River Arno. The Thinker scanned east and west for a veiled head but only the guardsman surfaced.

Nicolo submerged again, his booted feet kicking deeper. Only to break the surface for quick gulp of air before diving down. Twice. Three times. Seven.

When the exhausted soldier floated up after the twenty-fifth descent, he turned to the gathered crowd with a sad shake of his head. “She is gone.”

The Thinker fell back against the wall and sunk to the ground. “All is lost.”