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

Creation Dreams: A Video

Artania: A fantasy series that inspires the artist within. At the same time it teaches kids about the major periods in art history with lands representing each. From the Renaissance Nation to the Land of Antiquities to the Impressionist Republic children will meet famous artists and watch their masterpiece creations have adventures. Mona Lisa comforts while The David hurls stones at monsters. Egyptian hieroglyphs battle to keep this world safe as tapestry-inspired dragons take to the skies.

My First Live Interview!

Last week I had the profound honor of being a guest on Dave Congalton’s radio program,  “Hometown Radio with Dave Congalton.”  Although I’ve known Dave for years: he’s long been one of my writing mentor’s as well as a fellow Nipomoite,  this was the first time I’d had the pleasure of joining him on the air.

Listen to Interview

What was it like? Terrifying, at first. I mean it wasn’t like other interviews I’d done that were taped and could be edited if I made a mistake. This would be LIVE and if I blew it, there was no rewind and re-record button.  My heart was pounding and I had the strongest desire to run right out of that studio and head for the safety of home when I slipped on those headphones and faced that microphone.

stagefriegh

But I fought through the fear and stayed.

Dave, ever the consummate professional, must deal with guest nerves all of the time because he seemed to know just what to say to help me with my pre-interview jitters. Before we started recording he helped me relax  with a few warm up questions. These were so easy to answer that by the time the microphone was turned on, what I thought would have been absolute torture turned into a friendly chat between friends.

And before I knew it, our thirty minutes was up.

In addition to hosting a popular radio show for the past 26 years, Dave Congalton is a screenwriter, producer,  former director of the Central Coast Writer’s Conference, and award-winning author.  His books include Three Cats, Two Dogs: One Journey Through Multiple Pet Loss, When Your Pet Outlives You: Protecting Animal Companions After You Die, with co-author Charlotte Alexander and The Talk Radio Guest Book with co-author Deborah Bayles. His screenplay, Author’s Anonymous, starring Kaley Cuoco and directed by Ellie Kanner was released as a major film in 2014.

daveposter

Thank you Dave for this amazing opportunity!

For more information about Dave see: http://davidcongalton.com/# or http://www.920kvec.com/

A teacher, Laurie Woodward is the author of  several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania ChroniclesShe also cowrote 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 and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.

Battle of the Books: Summer Reads

Are your kids bored? Saying that they have nothing to do this summer. Are you ready to pull out your hair one strand at a time waiting for school to start? I remember those long summer vacations trying to find activities to fill my munchkins’ days.  I signed them up for everything from art classes and karate to swimming and tap dancing. But a favorite activity was a trip to the local library.

At Nipomo’s one room library in our small town, Nick and Jess would stroll past the shelves looking for that special book which piqued their interest. And usually they’d find one to curl up on the bean bags with.  However, on some days there were no books that called to them.

That’s when I wished I had a list of interesting books for them to read like the lists on America’s Battle of the Books.  But back then I wasn’t a coach for my school, like I am now.

What is Battle of the Books? It is a reading incentive program for students in 3rd thru 12th grades. Students read books from a pre-selected list of highly-regarded children’s authors and come together usually in groups to test their knowledge of the books they have read. School districts then host competitions in a Family Feud/Jeopardy type contest.

 

I’ve been coaching my school’s team for 6 years now and have loved watching the students grow as they’re exposed to great children’s literature. We meet weekly to discuss the books, play games to memorize authors, and read some of the books together. All the while, each child’s confidence grows both in reading and in his/her ability to work with others and contribute to a team.

Finally, at the end of the school year we get ready to participate in the district wide battle to compete against other schools.  Every year I get choked up watching my team.  Although they come from diverse backgrounds and have challenges that range from learning disabilities to homelessness and neighborhood violence, these kids put their heads together to answer every difficult question. With pride.

Reading rocks!

If you’d like more information about this wonderful non-profit organization, how you can organize a team at your school, or simply would like to peruse their website’s book selection lists for different ages see: http://www.battleofthebooks.org/

A teacher, Laurie Woodward is the author of  several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania ChroniclesShe also cowrote 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 and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.

 

Why Do You Write?

Why do you write? Is it because you have stories struggling to the surface of your churning consciousness? Is it that you have memories you’d like to purge? Or is it that you believe, like I do, that art can be a tremendous force for good in the world?

We see so many horrors every day. The murders and cruelty. The bullying. The disdain for those who are different from ourselves leading to divisiveness. Sometimes the news of the world can be overwhelming. I, for one, need to combat these sad aspects of the human experience with joyful expression.

So I write.

Every day I go to a place in my mind and pretend to be a child of eleven, or thirteen, or seventeen. And I try to remember what I was dealing with at that time. What did I want? Which dreams excited my growing psyche? What confused me and made me wish there were mentors guiding my decisions.

Then I become that child and set off on an adventure, hoping to empower my readers. Trying to send a message that each one is absolutely unique with talents they will continually discover. Like I do as my fingers dance over the keys.

That’s why I write.

How about you?

 

True Art: An Excerpt

“Our world will be saved if their art is true!” Bartholomew shouted again.

Alex reached into his pocket and felt the brown button. Now he understood why it had lead him here and what true art was. When Bartholomew sketched Mom in class, that had been true. His paintings that came from deep inside of him, true as well.

When Mom had gotten sick he’d stopped going to that special place. Well, not any more. It ends here. He broke off a few soda straw stalagmites and swirled them in the water.

The swirling stalactites became paintbrushes as the water turned into a palette of colored streams. Alex dipped a brush into the softest of browns and made two dots on the ground beside him. Then for the peach. And the golden yellow. Her blouse had been aqua. Don’t forget white. Oh how her teeth had shone.

A tiny bit of light emanated from the gold ring. Mom’s fingers began to glisten. Alex reached out to touch her hand and it glimmered, growing brighter until the entire cavern was basking in a warm glow.

Alex embraced his mother. A single beam formed in the center of their chests. Alex took a deep breath. See it. Believe. A fiery rose bloomed between them and thousands of golden rays shot forth.

Just like Alex in Artania, we all forget our unique wonder at times.  But when we remember, man oh man, amazing things happen. 

artaniasky

I’m a Dork

I’m a dork. I’ll admit it. Always have been.

While others lounge in bed snoozing away as long as they can, what do I do? I roll out of those warm, cozy covers just to set my fingers on the keyboard. Just to pretend I’m 14, skateboarding the streets of Santa Barbara, hoping my latest crush notices me. Or that I’m a slime-covered creature bent on invading dreams. Or, sometimes, a lonely alien anthropologist seeking to understand the human’s world.

I’m a nerd.

I don’t know Gucci from garage sales or microblading from microwaves. I hate to shop and never paint my fingernails. While other women accessorize with French knotted scarves, spring purses, and bright rings, bracelets, and necklaces I leave the jewelry in the box, having no idea where to start.

I’m a poindexter.

My t.v. has 1 channel, Netflix, that I only watch when I’m too exhausted to read which culturally leaves me out of the loop. While my coworkers chat about the latest show to binge watch or which star is dating who, I smile, and nod, and think, Who the heck are they talking about? All the while wishing we could talk Latin roots and word derivations in 19th century literature.

I’m even a dork at the gym.

While other gym rats reach for the weights, their brows drawn together in consternation as they lift another twenty pounds, I tap my feet to I tunes. Some might read while spinning on the stationary bike. Not me. When I’m on the elliptical, I put on “Dancin’ With Myself” and try to sneer like Billy Idol or slide my hands over air pretending to be a rapper on stage. Fun!

billy.gif

I’m a freak for music.

While others drive the California freeways as if trying to win a race to nowhere, I crank the tunes and steering wheel dance while singing off-key to a rocking beat. Not just one type of tune either. Any genre of the last sixty years is fair game for my happy gyrations. From David Cassidy to Dion. Red Hot Chili Peppers to Rage Against the Machine. Elvis to Eminem. Bee gees to Boys to Men. I love them all.

Yep, I’m a dork.

And you know what?

I wouldn’t have it any other way.