Perspective and Respect–no “ive” Needed

We need to have respect for ourselves and our craft and work hard at it. We need to constantly challenge ourselves and to share our craft (as writers and performers!) with everyone, especially those not blessed with a home life that is rich in words.

There is nothing elitist about valuing quality.

Nor, however does it diminish your (and my) creative efforts to have perspective on our skills, our innate talent, the level we have achieved in our craft, our ability to transform the lives of others as speakers, our commitment to taking our craft, poems,. short stories, whatever to others. Especially to teach others, a particular skill all of its own. Even some great poets and writers of other sorts are not good teachers, despite their own excellence.

So it is with a glad hear that I welcome the resignation of the woman who was selected in a totally bizarre process, to be NC next poet laureate. Unfortunately, from her letter, I do not think she really understands, has perspective on herself and the contribution she can make in a very demanding role. I was also saddened to see the comments made on the statement sent out by the past poets. Obviously the commenters , like our current governor do not take the arts seriously nor do they understand the role of a teacher. Poetry is not an elite art form. It is the gateway writing form for those who love words–nursery rhymes, songs. If the Governor wanted to take the role of poet laureate out of university environment he could have asked the arts council to send him some song writers of note–but of note, who have proven themselves at their craft, who have proven their social commitment by more than offering proceeds of a book and who have proven that they can electrify the state’s youth, introducing them to the joy of working with words, their heritage of literacy as North Carolinians of all economic and social levels.

Inspiration–stick with it!

I was trying to decide what to blog today when I realized that the poem I just posted on Goodreads, a poem that has been published, but I did  polish it a bit, might be of inspiration to some of you out there in the writing and performing worlds. I didn’t have a photo of a Sandcastle, but thought you might like this one of balloons at the beach,





by Joan Leotta

I see the sandcastle in my mind,

a truly elegant design!


High sculpted walls,

sleek tall turrets,

 driftwood drawbridge

encircled by a moat.


My hands shove,

scoop and shape.

But when it’s done

My grand landscape,


It’s not much more

than a hill of sand

with bumps and ridges—

not so grand!


No matter that soon,

a swelling sea

will roll in to claim

the work from me, for


I see the sandcastle in my mind,

a truly elegant design!





Guest Post: When is the Best Time to Write a Query Letter?

Guest Post: When is the Best Time to Write a Query Letter?.

Challenges–A way to grow your writing–it’s how I sharpen my skills

Some people wonder why I write so many different kinds of things–I read widely as well, btw.

One of the reasons I write so many different types of literature from the journalistic article to poetry to essays to short stories to novels, to non-fiction books is the challenge. I’ve just begun to work in essays and I find I am enjoying the rigors of flash fiction as well. Seeing how flash fiction differs from poetry, even prose poetry (a contradiction in terms????) sharpens my senses and brings on a rush of productive juices.

I just discovered another challenge–the vignette. Oh, we all write them into our long poems, our novels and even our short stories–often we string together a series of vignettes to tell about our past, our college years, etc.

But I have never before considered the art of this particular form on its own. So, I’m sharing this with all of you–my next challenge–the vignette–and there is a publication outlet–alwaqys important to me (I love an audience–the performer in me.)

Our Mission

The world of literature nowadays is so diverse, open-minded and thriving in experimental works, that there doesn’t seem to be any single form of written art missing from it … you would think. But there is.

The vignette.

It’s rare for a literary magazine to accept the “vignette” as a publishable piece of literature. Why? Because it is not a “proper story.” We beg to differ.

So, what is a vignette?
from this website:

“Vignette” is a word that originally meant “something that may be written on a vine-leaf.” It’s a snapshot in words. It differs from flash fiction or a short story in that its aim doesn’t lie within the traditional realms of structure or plot. Instead, the vignette focuses on one element, mood, character, setting or object. It’s descriptive, excellent for character or theme exploration and wordplay. Through a vignette, you create an atmosphere.

Vine Leaves, will entwine you in atmosphere; wrap you in a world where literature ferments and then matures …

Happy Fourth and a question on participation

Wishing you all a happy fourth. I have been lax in posting. I try to find things that will be of use to all of you and have not succeeded recently. Now I have a question, please feel free to repost it on Facebook, wherever, if you are curious as well.
How can I “let the reader in?”

My storytelling took a huge leap forward several years ago when I breathed easily enough on stage to take advantage of the lack of a fourth wall and let my audience in through participation. Now I am struggling with that same concept for my reading audience.
How do you do it?
What exactly does this mean? In fiction? In a poem? In an essay?
I want audiences to be touched and then to have their own imaginations fired, but in the last few months I have received a critique from several folks that my poem did not
“let the reader in”.
So, this is something to think about. I want to hear what you have to say.

To Fly

My essay To Fly is featured in this month’s issue of sasee.
Read it,and leave comments if you like it, please, at


Tag, You’re it!

So, a few weeks ago that wonderful writing team of writers, known to me through their work at our publisher Desert Breeze, the Cuffie Sisters, Sadie and Sophie, tagged me on their blog. Their books are well known to lovers of romance and those who follow romance from a Christian perspective. Check them out at and you can see their answers to the questions at

The challenge with such tags is to tag two other writes and then provide the answers to four questions about the writing process. The latter was the easy part! Evidently these tags have been going on so long that may folks are tired of them. So, I reached out beyond the ranks of those known to me in desert Breeze into the Heart of Carolina Romance writers to friend, JoAnn Matthews who has written a romance and is looking for a publisher and to self published Waldron Caldwell, whose humorous novel Wild Parsely is a romance and family saga rolled into one. (You can read my review of her book In the Sunday June 15 Sun News!)

Here are the four questions:

!.What am I working on now?

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

3. Why do I write what I do?

4. How does my writing process work?


1. What am I working on now? Well, to be very specific, in addition to the fourth novel for my series for Desert Breeze, Secrets of the Heart a part of the Legacy of Honor Series, I am finishing up an article and starting another for my business client. SMG ( and two articles for the Sun News. Have several pieces of poetry I am polishing and two short stories in process. I like variety.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre–romance, I presume, since that is the main thing most of us are talking about on this blog hop. My work is different just as anyone’s is different–Each person’s work comes out of his or her own imagination and we are all made different and unique by the Creator. My work in this series shows the struggle of woman in each era, the recognition of family honor and its relationship to national honor. I love research and try to put details from each time period into the books. This latest book will cover two time periods–Civil War and First Gulf War.

3. Why do I write what I do? I write what I like to read, what I like to learn about and oh yes, for the mysteries to solve puzzles. Sometimes I see something in the news and wish it had a different outcome–as a writer, I can do that for my characters. I like happy endings.

4. How does my writing process work?

I am a person who likes to be discipline, but I combine outlines for plots with letting my characters run free. I need deadlines to keep me on track.

Now to introduce you to my guests!

I am not good technically, so I am not sure where their photos will land in this post but do look for the work of these two remarkable writers.

Here is JoAnn Matthew’s Story

Bio for Blog Tag

I’m a freelance feature writer with more than 1,000 bylines to my credit on topics from autism to zoology. My column, “Events on the North Strand,” appears in The Sun News, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. daily. I post two blogs, “Find Your Writing Niche” and “Women and Adversity,” on my Web site at

 Joliet, Ill. is my hometown. My bachelor’s degree is from College of St. Francis, Joliet, and my master’s degree from University of Notre Dame. My husband, Steve, and I live in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Our two sons are grown, and we have three grandsons.

JoAnn’s photo will be added Tuesday and she will post on her blog next Tuesday

Here is Waldron Caldwell’s Bio!


Waldron Caldwell was born and raised in southern West Virginia and  ‘adopted’ the state of South Carolina at the age of seventeen. She followed her high school career  in west Virginia by obtaining her college degree in Political Science with a minor in English in South Carolina. Still being extremely proud of her West Virginia roots, she is now a true Gamecock fan and a southern literary fanatic.

She presently lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and is happily married with one son and has the cutest Maltese ever named, “Frosty”. Waldron Caldwell is the author of “Wild Parsley”, which gives a comical point of view to medicinal marijuana and is due to release a new book, “Ollie” in July of this year. You can find her on Facebook at which is where she will post the answers to the four process questions. Like her page to see them.