Sunday, April 28, 2013


Every few months, I sit back and take an inventory of my life. I think about how I can make changes; are there things I want to do or learn, is there something I can change or need to change about myself? I feel it's a good way to make sure I am on the right path for me and my family.

For those of you who know me pretty well, you know that I love learning--heck, I went to COLLEGE for years and years and years ... and I probably will go back soon! I am also very flexible about things changing. Life's too short so when plans change or things don't turn out like you think they should have, I think about the good that came out of it, or how can I make it work better next time. Jobs also change. When I was 18 and started working at then Standard Oil (which became Amoco Oil, which is now BP) I thought I would work there F O R E V E R! Man how things changed from what seems a million years ago when I was a Secretary, yes ... I was a Secretary and then got some title change to an Administrative Assistant, which FACE IT, is really a Secretary! But as I was taking dictation and typing on typewriters and using carbon paper, I began to get the college bug and 8 years later graduated. Through those years I got many small promotions and wound up in Human Resources. I loved doing training, salary budgets and new hire paperwork. I was also now in Denver, which is where I met Steven, got married at the Stanley Hotel in Rocky Mountain National Park and also had Ashley.
What skill devoped in Human Resources over the years was crazy ... I became "good" at laying people off. This led us to moving to GA. Laying off people was something I ended up not being proud of and started bothering my conscious. I left HR and decided to take a break from corporate life--I went to an educational toy store (Zany Brainy) in Kennesaw, GA applying for a part-time seasonal worker for Christmas. I came out of that interview hired as an Assistant Manager and moved up quite quickly to a General Manager/Training Store Manager of their flagship store. This job was really a lot of fun, but took a LOT of my time away from home and my family-though at Christmastime Steven and Ashley also helped me schlep boxes and arrange displays! I did many fundraisers for schools and also started lesson planning for Summer Reading Clubs for the store. My heart began to ache because I always wanted to be a teacher and realized I had to fulfill that dream.

The opportunity presented itself when Steven took a position with his company moving us from Georgia to Massachusetts. I went back to school and also started teaching. My first position was one that could probably never be topped. I was working with pre-school children who had autism, but I also had peer students. Every little gain made me ecstatic and I had the best on-the-job training a teacher could ever have! I was with those students all year long and absolutely loved it. I then taught 3rd grade and then moved to Kindergarten both of which I also enjoyed immensely! It's wonderful to still keep in contact with some of those students, who are now a LOT older, but then again, so am I.
Even though writing has become a big part of my life, I personally love reading and story-telling to children in the classroom. As I read, I get caught up in their facial expressions and their comments or questions that come out of a reading. So writing is important--but reading what I've written for children is what makes being an author priceless!

We moved to Texas and found out that Texas was overloaded with teachers. I took a position with the YMCA and was still working with children. But my heart missed the classroom. I enjoyed doing things with the children, but I spent lots of times in the office planning things for the kids to do, or hiring people to do things with those kids. I am finally back in the classroom at a wonderful charter school in Irving, TX and am enjoying every minute of it. Each day holds new opportunities and I love learning things from the children. I love their smiles, am deeply saddened by their tears, love their funny quips and when they've drawn a picture that they have drawn just for me-my heart is overjoyed!
Never stop re-evaluating your life and never give up ... if life takes you in different directions and you feel lost maybe you need to make a U-turn, don't be afraid to make that turn. You may learn some new things about yourself and find your true passion in life!

Here is my BIO POEM. I use it to help me reflect on my life and I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about me:
Laura Wintczak Eckroat
Child of Henry and Agnes Wintczak
Who loves teaching, reading, writing, gardening, my husband, daughter, and Muffin
Who hates people who lie
Who wants to go to Italy again
Who wishes she could've met Benjamin Franklin, and Steven's father Jack
Who wishes she could meet George W. Bush, Robert Downey, Jr., and members of DA BEARS!
Who is scared of dying tragically in a car accident
Who dreams of what it would be like if my books were on the bestseller list
Who is determined to be the best mom and wife I can be and also never give up on any student in my classroom
Who values family, friends, and every student and every moment with my doggie and being a published author
Who is proud of her father
Who graduated from Regis University, Denver, CO and wishes she finished her practicum so she could have gotten her Masters from Elms College, Chicopee, MA (maybe someday soon I will finish!)
Who lives in Fort Worth, TX - but has loved living in Springfield, MA; Woodstock, GA; Denver, CO; Whiting, IN
Laura Wintczak Eckroat

 Here is the Bio Poem that you can complete yourself to reflect on your own life - ENJOY!

Your name
Child of ...
Who loves ...
Who wants to go to ...
Who wishes he / she could've met ...
Who wishes he / she could meet ...
Who is scared of ...
Who dreams of ...
Who is determined to ...
Who values ...
Who is proud of ...
Who graduated from ...
Who lives ...
Your name again

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Children's Author Show

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for The Children's Author Radio Show ... it was a lot of fun and Don McCauley is a wonderful interviewer and host. Please share this link with your friends. THANKS for listening   THIS INTERVIEW IS NO LONGER UP ON THE CHILDREN'S AUTHOR RADIO SITE ...  it will be re-posted at a later date -- THANK YOU TO ALL WHO LISTENED and please check back soon for its re-release.

Friday, April 19, 2013

GUEST POST on the Mommie...Again Blog

Thank you Kim for asking me to Guest Post today on your Mommie .... Again blog. 

Here is the link to my guest post:


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


On Friday, April 12, 2013, I was honored to attend the 2013 North Texas Book Festival (NTBF) Book Trails Dinner, held at the Center for Visual Arts in Denton, TX. Libraries in North Texas are awarded Grants for various projects they would like to undertake this year. Also, awards are given out to a few lucky authors who WOW(ed) the Judges with their words. This wonderful dinner kicks off a great networking event for authors and a perfect way for North Texans to meet up and coming authors and purchase some possible future bestsellers!

I have a special place in my heart for this event and organization--The Life of Bud won Best Children's Book for 2010 at the NTBF. This year, like in 2010, Ashley was able to stop in and sit with me during the dinner and listen to the guest speakers (she attends the University of North Texas in Denton). But, back in 2010, I was a newbie author, who had 1 book to my name, knew no one at the event, and was just trying to navigate my way in the crazy world of being an author. This year, I was introducing new authors to others at the event, trying to help others market their books, knew many of the people there, and was very comfortable talking about my books (which I now have 4!) ... which made me realize that in 5 years of being published, I have come a long way and am enjoying every minute of it!

Enjoy the following pictures taken during the 2013 North Texas Book Festival.
Ashley & I at the NTBF Book Trails Dinner

Katherine Boyer, checking in an
author at the Book Trails Dinner

Ashley's doodling at the Book Trails Dinner
They provided the crayons-GREAT IDEA!

My table ... can't believe I have four books now!

                                                         The BOOK Festival

Allen-Texas Assoc of Authors

Susan Earl-2013 Children's Book Finalist
                                       Ghost of Johanna                                         

Patty Wiseman 
                                                                         An Unlikely Arrangement

Rita Dear & her Eutopian Destiny Series

Ken Farmer & Buck Steinke
                                                                Black Eagle Force Series

If you'd like more information about the authors listed here, please email me
 If you are interested in the North Texas Book Festival visit their website at
Texas Authors can also visit for info on the TX Assoc of Authors.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Tail" of a Sick Puppy - Update

This infection is really being STUBBORN ... Anti-fungal creams just seem to sit there, the shampoo -- the doc has decided for us to give up on ... but we are still doing Sulfonated Lyme 2-3 times a week intensive and then every day using a small batch and blasting the affected areas with a cotton ball soaked in the stuff! Here is a picture of Muffin from about 5 days ago.

This was me 5 days ago - my head was red and raw.
I wanted to scratch soooooooo bad, but I have been a good
girl and not done so.
The lyme makes me feel better and after my treatment I
usually am exhausted and sleep!
I visited the vet today with Muffin and we definitely see some progress-though we still have WEEKS to go to make her completely better -- starting a new round of oral meds and since the blasting with cotton balls seems to really have been helping, I'm going to make sure to continue to do that.

Here is a picture of me today! The vet says I'm healing!
No new breakouts and the old ones seem to be going away!
The white is the lyme ... hope my fur grows back.
If you have had any luck with any treatments, please feel free to comment here or email me at  .  I have read about apple cider vinegar, vinegar, bleach, vicks vaporub, garlic, lemon juice ... so many home remedies. I wondered if trying any on the in between days would be fruitful. Good news ... We believe she is getting better ... My sick puppy "tail" is one that I am saddened to have to write!

I can't wait until I feel better and want to play with sock monkey again!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A SIMPLER TIME - A story of love ...

My 2nd book, A Simpler Time, tells the tales of A.J. (my daughter, Ashley) and her mom (me) doing things that kids and parents might not do together anymore: catching fireflies, watching the clouds, searching for 4-leaf clovers, and a few other surprises. Mom takes A.J. away from her electronics and introduces her to the world around her. A.J. started her formative years in Georgia, but was born in Colorado. Our house was situated on a half acre, at the end of a cul-de-sac, and across the street were woods and a creek. It was the perfect place to see and experience nature. I'm always amazed when I do presentations at elementary schools, many kids have not had any of these experiences. I only hope that I spark an interest in some kids to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature!

Ashley & I at Mass Reading Assoc
Conf-June, 2010
I was very lucky to debut A Simpler Time at the Massachusetts Reading Association Conference in 2010, where I was a presenter and then participated in the Author's Dessert Event. A.J. (Ashley) was able to be there with me, and I got to read the story at the Dessert Event to Ashley, other authors, and teachers ... a very special moment and memory! 

We've been lucky to have lived in many places and have seen many really interesting things! A Simpler Time could have taken place anywhere. If we had stayed in Colorado (where A.J. was born) I'm sure we would have hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park and marveled at the geological majesty that is the Rockies, examined snowflakes closely, and watched the aspens show their golden color in the Fall. If she had grown up in Texas, I'm sure we would have watched in wonder while Prickly Pear cactus begin popping out new leaves that look like they are some creature that should be living in the sea, and stare up at the BIG SKY and watch the horizon as an impending storm approaches. Experiences that kids all over the country can have each and every day!
One of our Prickly Pear Cactus
Fort Worth, TX - Spring, 2013

Ted Kerasote and I
Book People Bookstore, Austin, TX
 A Simpler Time was also endorsed by one of my favorite authors--Ted Kerasote--        
Check out Ted's books and accomplishments at his website. I was honored to meet him at an event in Austin where I presented a copy of A Simpler Time to him and he signed a copy of his new book at the time, PUKKA, for me and also signed a copy of A Simpler Time for me as a keepsake! I could not believe he took the time to read my manuscript, offer editing suggestions, and in the end, endorse it!  
A sequel to A Simpler Time is just about set to be sent to the Publisher ... You and Your Child will follow A.J. as she makes a big move from Georgia to Massachusetts. She leaves her friends behind, makes new friends, and discovers the changes of the seasons. Watch for it in 2014!
Ashley's first snowman EVER ...
Springfield, MA - Winter, 2001
If you are looking for a wonderful Mother / Child book - A Simpler Time will deliver. This book also teaches children to use nature to write creatively. Each day, you step out of your house, the world is different; the sky, the grass, the trees, the insects-everything is constantly changing-making each day new and unique-what better way to gain ideas to write stories!

Teachers--if you are looking for someone to come and present to your school or classroom, please contact me to book an event. I will talk to your students about creative writing, the book writing process, illustrations and starting a Science Journal. If you book an event, you will receive 2 free ebooks for your classroom! Contact me at
A Simpler Time Presentation
Boaz Elementary School
Boaz, AL

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"TAIL" of a sick puppy


BUT ...

About 2 weeks ago, it appeared Muffin had a "hot spot" on her hind quarters ... we kind of figured she got bit by a small spring critter and licked the area raw. But then ... a few more spots showed up ... she had her bi-yearly exam and the doc did some tests and cultures -- he said she had a skin infection -- probably from the soil or something in the backyard. She has very sensitive skin from having mange, so he wanted to get us working on healing her before the skin cultures came back. We started her on a strict regimen of spray and shampoo, while waiting for the culture skin tests to come back-it takes 10 days. Some days she looked like she was getting better, but other days we'd find a new spot. Finally, the culture came in--it's some strange form of ringworm that they have seen in the last few months in dogs around the area! YUCKY! So, we ramped up the baths, cream and spray. The vet said that he has seen a high number of cases this spring-possibly from the ground / soil not going through a prolonged hard freeze during the winter months. Ringworm is also airborne so it could have gotten on her anywhere, anyplace.
Now, Miss Muffin looks like a prize fighter or she was on the losing end of something she was going after IN THE CORNER! That grey cat perhaps? She is still on antibiotics, medicinal shampoo, and anti-fungal cream for the affected areas. She's eating, drinking, going "outside",  running to THE CORNER, and trying her best to not scratch or lick ...Most dogs see results with that medicine but Muffin's sensitive skin is giving us a run for our money ... we finally had to break down and do sulfonated lyme treatments ... YES sulfonated lyme - so Miss Muffin smells like an Easter egg and ... it also dyed Miss Muffin's WHITE WHITE paws YELLOW-so she kind of looked like a bright yellow Easter egg too! But it won't last long! The infection needs to run it's course - usually 4 - 6 weeks, without treatment LONGER. Hopefully we are close to being healed. 

I'm not feeling that great ... they keep putting cream on my face!

Those white spots are where I have sores and have lost some fur.
I hope it grows back!
 Solfonated lyme-BLAH!!!

My face is sore, but mom and dad are helping me get better


Can I please go inside soon!

I will let mom take more pictures of me as I start to heal!
Please keep me in your thoughts.
In this picture I'm loving getting petted, but I'm checking out