Thursday, February 28, 2013


I'm so excited to be a part of READ ACROSS AMERICA on March 8, 2013 at my school--Manara Academy. I will get to debut my newest book at this event-I hope the kids enjoy it!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fun with Illustrations

If you've met me at an event, or have talked to me personally about any of my books, I usually mention the illustrations. They are an integral part of my books, and I take them very seriously. I write from the heart and my brain sees images, BUT I can't draw to save my life! The person who has done illustrations for my words means the absolute world to me. His name is Greg White, and he does what my hands could never do. He is able to understand me and put my feelings onto the page to mesh with my written words. If you have thumbed through The Life of Bud or A Simpler Time, you know what I mean. My two Muffin books are meant to be whimsical and fun, and Greg made that happen too. He used pictures of Muffin as a pup and then used my husband's favorite clothes (green shirt, jeans, black Converse sneaks) to make this book realistic but FUN. Also, I make a cameo in the first Muffin book, walking down the street with my favorite donut. One thing people do need to know when working with an illustrator, you do need to hand over your work to the illustrator and give them the freedom to draw how they interpret the words (with some guidance from you). It is like letting your child grow up -- you give them input, they start as pencil sketches, slowly develop into beautiful works of art, that can stand on their own, but also represent you!

When Greg and I were collaborating about The Life of Bud, he kept saying that the leaves needed to have faces. I kept saying that they definitely should not have faces. I wanted the leaves to show emotions through color and perspective so the reader would feel what Bud was feeling without facial features to guide them. Secondly, what leaves have FACES?! I told Greg that I had nightmares about leaves having faces, and one face kept popping into my head. I did not want my book to have a cartoon(y) feeling. I love sharing this story with school children. We talk about how weird it would be if the leaves on the trees had faces and were staring at them constantly! Once Greg began drawing, he too realized that the book would come to life better without faces on the leaves -- but he did have to have a little fun first! The first sketch he sent me was the one of my nightmare. Yes, a Spongebob leaf was my nightmare. Children love seeing this sketch and realize how silly a leaf with a face truly would be!

Greg then drew a cute sketch of a leaf with minimal facial features -- which definitely was cute, but just not right for the tone of the book. Greg and I both agreed that a faceless leaf did work best. I'm glad I went with my gut feeling; Greg's leaves with my words did not require faces. Below are two more sketches we discussed during the making of The Life of Bud.

I am teaching now, which doesn't leave much time for writing. I do write in my journal often and I am privy to many ideas from the children I teach each day! Kids say and do things that make me laugh and then I see pictures and words in my head that go with either what they are doing or saying and so I make sure I get those ideas down ... someday they may come to fruition. I am working on a sequel to A Simpler Time, which is, for the most part, finished. I just need to make sure that I go over each word with a fine tooth comb. I hope to send this to the publisher for consideration in June or July of this year. And I can't wait to see what Greg does with that book!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What makes me T I C K ...

Being a writer is really very different than what most people might think. Believe it or not, the writing is the easy part. There is marketing, finding events, going to events, printing out flyers, doing interviews, packing and sending out orders for books, promoting your books, promoting other authors, social networking, while continuing to write new works, and many other things that after four years I am still figuring out. One major thing that most people think is that all writers are rich!  I've even had people ask me why I still work? My answer most honestly is "because writers are like artists -- we're all STARVING!" So, I continue to work and continue to write ... but here is a little insight to what makes me tick as a writer.
Muffin looking for What's In The Corner?
I write from my heart, and personal life experiences. My most recent book titled "What's In The Corner?  A Muffin "Tail" is a musical, mystery for children. My Anatolian Shepherd, Muffin, is a wonderful inspiration! About two years ago, she started running to the corner of our backyard and barking at something lurking in the large, tree-like, bush. Anytime I would go to investigate, I saw nothing. I then started saying to Muffin, "what's in the corner?"; and she would run with wild abandon to the corner and give a quick bark. It became amusing to our family! And so, in Laura fashion, I started singing possibilities of what could be in that corner? The verses all contained things Muffin either adores or loves to chase! While one of her breed traits is protector/guard dog, I capitalized on that trait in the book as Muffin protects the backyard and me from "scary" things in the tree. You will have to read or listen to my awesome audio download (that is sure to sweep at the GRAMMY's next year) to find out what REALLY is in that CORNER! We did eventually find out and you can too!! I enjoy making kids think and try and figure out what is going on in my books. My books are interactive and I sometimes get caught up in watching children's expressions and hearing what they think is going on in the book. Each time I do a reading/singing it's a unique and wonderful experience for me and I hope for the children as well!
Commonplace Journal - Love it!
What I do find interesting about writing is that I have a beautiful office space and a super cool desk, but have a hard time writing there. My office space is better used for putting book orders together and the all-around administrative end of the book process. I hand-write, yes ... I said hand-write my books first. I carry my journal with me most everywhere, because I find that I get ideas or paragraphs or whole stories at weird times and in unusual places and any time of the day. The Life of Bud was finished in my head, in the shower! I did go to the computer to type out those thoughts, because it was quicker. But, all of my other writing has been done with pen and ink on paper. When I talk to kids about the writing process, I show them that writing starts out messy, with cross-outs, arrows, print, cursive, mis-spellings,and scribbles! It is free-flowing and creative. After I write something, I usually let it sit for a day or so and then go back to it and recopy it or chuck it. Maybe it's not that great an idea! I don't really get rid of it ... I just leave it in the journal and maybe someday it may turn into something -- it did take me ten years to finish The Life of Bud!

A glimpse inside my journal ...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The LIFE of Bud

As long as I can remember, one of my goals was to have a book published. I am now ecstatic that the release of my 4th book is weeks away! My first book, The Life of Bud, was a book in the making for many, many, many years. For over ten years, Bud had a different title; it was Bud, The Littlest Leaf, but I could never finish it, the words just were never quite there. Several times my daughter drew a few illustrations for that book, the book that seemed as if it would never be complete.

After the death of my dad, I was having a difficult time dealing with my grief. One day, while in the shower, yes, I said in the shower, the words just came. I quickly got out of the shower, threw on my robe, and went straight to my computer; and the words poured out of me. Bud, The Littlest Leaf was transformed, and The Life of Bud was born.

Bud is a story of life, a life we should all try and live. We are lucky to see amazing things, gain wonderful friendships, experience pain, treasure memories, and in the end fall from the earth; but hopefully will always be remembered. I wrote the book to help heal my heart, but over the years, its words and impactful illustrations have touched many lives and has also been used to teach children in schools all over the country about the life cycle. By this I am truly honored. From those first words I wrote in my journal all those years ago, to the hundreds of events Bud and I have been a part of, I have seen AMAZING things. I hope all of you, too, see many amazing things through your lives.    
My dad's tree, Whiting Park, Whiting, IN

My dad, Henry (Hank) Wintczak (1932-2005)

Friday, February 8, 2013

What's In The Corner?

What's in the corner, what could it be? Right now it's something only Muffin can see!

What's in the corner, what could it be? It's Laura & Muffin with the proof COPY!!

Muffin and I are very excited that book 4 will be released within the next few weeks. Ask us a question or leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of What's In The Corner - A Muffin "Tail." We'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fort Worth Texas Magazine

Went Out to Get a DONUT -- Came Home With a MUFFIN was featured and reviewed in Fort Worth Magazine. Here's the link: Fort Worth Texas Magazine to read the story in their online version.

Here's a screenshot of the review and story. It's on page 30 if you have the non-virtual version!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm on the radio! (Sort of)

Blogtalkradio interviewed me recently. I read A Simpler Time in honor of my daughter's 20th birthday.

Here's the link:
Webbweaver Books proudly presents Laura Eckroat.

Hope you enjoy hearing me!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Laura Eckroat
Welcome to my website and blog! It's my way to connect with you and share the exciting events in my writing life. 

We'll have contests and games and many good things! And I'll be sharing news about my books. 

We're going to have good time together. Thanks for dropping by and come again!

Buy my books!

A Simpler Time
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tate Publishing

The Life of BUD
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tate Publishing
Went Out To Get A DONUT- 
Came Home With A MUFFIN
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tate Publishing