H2O

H2O: The one molecule that is common to all life here on Earth.  Water. We drink it. We exhale it. Our very blood is made of it.  When it is near we are calmed. The sight of river, pool, sea, or rivulet turns furrowed brows into softened gazes. The sound of liquid water quiets the chatter of worried voices, soothing din strained ears. The taste of the cool liquid on tongues renews one’s strength. Its touch cleanses, exhilarates, and revives.

If I were a single molecule of this amazing compound where might I journey? What wonders might I behold? Who might I become a part of? What life might I sustain? Or inspire?

As I follow this path

from cloud

                                    To droplet      

                                                            To rivulet

                                                                                    To  pool

From rivers large and small. Frozen in ice and snow. Traveling from sky to mountain to valley. And finally colliding with oceans and seas in an endless cycle of constant change.

Become the nomad. Drift over the Rocky Mountains.  Roam the falls of Yosemite. Trek across the Pacific to the Hawaiian Islands. Feel the sulfuric mist of lava meeting salty sea. Or join in the warm humid breeze of a tropical night.

Then turn back. A hitchhiker on a trade wind. Blow north. Rest in the frozen tundra of Alaska. Or bob on a glacial ice floe. Bring life to the forest there. Smile at the good works you have done.

Sail across the world. Find another continent. Join in the changes of the centuries. From rings of stone to castles to the modern.  River Thames, Arno, and Tiber fueling the growth of European industry.  Stretch out your arms and touch the past.

Return home. See the small pools and fountains minds have designed. To bring peace to a park or a field. Or a home. Dip your hands in. Let the water fall between your fingers. Cleansing you. Renewing your spirit. Making you ever thankful for this wonder, this life-giving compound. H2O.

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 JoJo: The 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

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

 

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

Precipice: A Poem

When you’re standing on the precipice

Lids squeezed tightly shut

And your arms hang empty at sides

 

When your heart is as dull

As a shitty cow pond

And your lips repel like barbed wire

 

When your breath is as jagged

As a broken glass cut

And your nipples meet only air

 

Open those eyes

Search for a fathomless river

And leap into the abyss.

 

(Photo by David Stroup)

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

 

Casa El Pelaire: A Hotel for Writers

Have you ever wanted to escape from it all and just  write?  Would you like to spend time in a peaceful place that inspires creation? Well, look no further because Casa El Pelaire, in the village of Perarrúa on the Esera River of  northern Spain, is just for you!

Hotel Exterior

When I was planning my summer trip to Spain, I searched high and low for a place that would provide the best backdrop for  writing. I wanted a quiet place in a small village that also had enough artistic flair to inspire my next novel. Since my Artania series features art history,  I needed places where I’d learn about Spanish artists. And when I saw Casa El Pelairie’s website I knew that it was the one.

And I was right. Those days at this Gaudi inspired hotel in the tiny village of Perarrua were absolutely unique.  Each room is individually designed with names like Amanacer (sunrise), Spring, Sakura, and Mare Nostrum which I stayed in.

When I entered my room, it was like stepping through an artist’s doorway. With seashells covering the shower wall, beds shaped like the ocean waves, and murals of the Mediterranean coastline on the wall, wonder waited in every corner.

 

But the beauty didn’t end there. Oh no. In addition, the kind owner owner greeted me with the peacefulness of a Buddhist monk, patiently helping me to find whatever adventure interested me. Whether it’s hiking in the nearby forest, river rafting, or simply strolling through nearby towns to see Spanish architecture, Javier was there to help me out.

Every morning I would rise, grab my computer, and skip down the stairs to the breakfast room. Here the peaceful owner, Javier, greeted me with a freshly made cafe con leche and a plate of cheeses, fruits, tomatoes, and eggs. Then in the quiet of the early morning, I’d look around and dream.

 

Later, when I had run out of ideas I’d  walk upstairs to my room admiring the sculpted light fixtures, statues, and broken mirrored tile reliefs skirt the stairway.

 

Then I’d explore the surroundings areas where travelers canoed, cycled, hiked, or rode horses. I trekked to medieval churches and monasteries, strolled the lonely river, and trudged up the mountain to view the wonder Pre-Pyreneees.  And little by little I started to find the new book.

IMG_1273
Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Pena

 

How did such a gem of a hotel come to be? According to their website, Casa El Pelaire, this was brother and sister Javier and Ana Diaz Calvo’s lifelong dream. The pair wanted to create a space where the artisan ensures that the dreams of his neighbors are deepened.  That caring spirit is evidenced in every square inch of this lovely hotel.

Casa El Pelaire, a one-of-a-kind hotel.

 

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

 

 

Travel Tunnel: A Poem

Driving into darkness

The white lines blurring as

Artificial lights

In smooth stone ceilings

Glare overhead.

I grip the wheel tighter

Squinting into the opaque

Fighting against the irrational

Fear of

Something otherworldly lying

In wait at

The exit of this

Travel Tunnel.

 

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

 

Dean and JoJo: A One of a Kind Friendship

A man, a dolphin, and a friendship that spans decades. This heart-warming story has inspired millions and Kaitlin Andrews recently discovered why.  Here is her article celebrating their bond.

Click here to read article.

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.

 

Between Two Worlds: A Poem

Between two worlds

Sits the archipelago known as Hawaii

It is where east meets west

Water meets sky

Myth melds with reality

And the lush lies in contrast to the barren.

We come

From one world or another

Looking for the past and the future

Letting tides ebb and flow at our feet

Until the sun makes way for the moon.

Between two worlds

This isla grows

Where the molten lava

Battles the sea

In a creation mating ritual

And we watch

In wonder.

We come

From north and south

Floating in briny tidepools

Bowing our heads in reverence

Until the wind taps us on the shoulder

And whispers its secrets in our ears.

Between two

We stood

Hands outstretched

Embracing the moment

When we were the axis of both worlds.

(Photo by David Stroup)

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.

Artania Writing Trek: Phase II

As the miles ticked off, the heaviness of life’s stresses grew lighter. The further I drove the lighter I felt. Soon I was helium balloon  floating down Highway 166. Passing ranches and tiny towns, blips on the map I heard poetry in their names, Cuyama and New Cuyama. I stopped in at the Buckhorn Restaurant for some old time cowboy hospitality. The inside was like stepping onto a western movie  set. I could have been taping an episode of Westworld, minus the androids of course.img_0246buckhorn

A full belly later I was cruising closer to my destination: Carrizo Plain. I turned onto Soda Lake Road and immediately felt a different energy. The energy from the quiet of being alone.

And the inspiration began.