Traveling Tales

Travel is a great inspiration for writing but ideas for great poems, essays, and stories do not always come immediately. Yes, I wrote the signature story for Simply a Smile (to be released this month by Cane Hollow Press) in one night after seeing the Chinese Soldier exhibit at the High Gallery. But, consider my latest published essay–Two Cups of Coffee–in Easter Iowa review’s current issue. That story is about an incident that happened forty years ago. I do have a notebook full of ideas and my trip journal to help me move the muse along about my May trip to Turkey with my daughter, but so far all I have written on that trip–for publication–is an article on food.

Sometimes a travel location becomes a site for action in a book that is not related so much to the place as to the characters and plot. My also-this month release, Secretes of the Heart features Ft Fisher in Wilmington NC (a great place to visit) and my beloved Rome. Our family spent Christmas there this past year and I double checked all of the places where my characters would walk, eat, etc while we roamed Rome.

Last book in Legacy of Honor Series

Last book in Legacy of Honor Series

Packing a suitcase has been a writing inspiration for me since childhood when I would take trips with my Grandmother and of course, every family vacation.  I keep notes, take pictures, and purchase silly little souvenirs–all become mnemonic devices for the creation of word-built works at a later date. So, don;t worry if you feel overwhelmed by the beauty and excitement of your latest trip. The writing side of the trip may not happen for a while–but if you are a lover of words, you will begin to find the source of tales in the stories you tell about the good time you had.

Travel is wonderful–for the soul and for the pen

Collection of short stories by Joan Leotta

Collection of short stories by Joan Leotta

Ally’s Kitchen

Ally's book is here!

Ally’s book is here!

If you don;t feel like an around the world ticket is in the budget this year go down to your local bookstore or order up Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates–no visas needed. This $28.99 (retail) book will fill your home with the delightful tastes of world cuisine. Phillips allows for the fact we may not ave access to international markets where we live so she offers up a chapter on how to put together some typical spice blends.

Intimidated by international cooking? Don’t be. Phillips opens the book with the mantra that each cook knows best–something she lives by– and the changes you make in her recipes to accommodate your family will make the recipe better. In fact, she herself is a home cook who has achieved international fame. She has won multiple cooking contests and her food blogging prowess has landed her a job as Dole Foods Media person.

I was fortunate enough to get to take a look at this book in its early stages–before the photographs and the wonderful tips on decor, plating, and enjoying life were added.Here is what I said

“A lot of love, Boho and otherwise went inthte making of this book–taht is evident. Ally infuses the book with her particular brand of enthusiams and knowledge–a combination that results in creations that are as delicious as they are wonderful to admire on the plate. You’re not alone when you open this cookbook. Ally’s voice and positive persona are with you on each and every page. She is a marvel and her recipes are too!

Enjoy the book. I do

Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates

By Alice Phillips

Hardback, 232 pages

Cedar Fort Publications

Retail $28.99

Available in bookstores and on line @ AllysKitchen.com

http://www.allyskitchen.com

http://apassportforadventurouspalates.com/

Sampling Oysters by Joan Leotta

Sampling Oysters by Joan Leotta.

Review- The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe

Book Review

By Joan Leotta

The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe

Pub date May 19, 2015

Gallery Books

Retail, $16

If you are searching for a great beach read—friendship, family, a touch of ecology and romance—well, then, this is the book for you. If you have read books one and two in the Low Country Summer Trilogy, you are already invested in the three young women spending the summer with their Mawmaw in her wonderful house, Sea Breeze, on Sullivan’s Island just outside of Charleston.

The three granddaughters each arrived at the house beginning of the summer(in the first book of the series)with more than standard issue suitcases. The baggage from their lives lived away from the paradise of summer with Mawmaw. The girls (now women) are half sisters, children of Mawmaw’s son and three different women. The differences and similarities that could have made them steallar friends, have instead, over the years, drawn them apart,. Mawmaw and her house are their only common touchstone.

If you haven’t read the series to this point, you can just jump in and the “water” will be as fine as warm ocean tides around the Island. Dip your toes into the story’s waves as they glide up to the beach in the first few pages of the book to catch you up on Mawmaw’s plan to let “her girls” find themselves and renew the kind of strong friendship sisters should have. Let her slowly immerse you in the magic of the relationship all of them have with a dolphin, and the budding romances that will, we hope be the right ones for the girls, enabling them to sparkle in freedom and still enjoy the closeness of true love.

Mawmaw’s plan to sell the old house and move into senior living is part of the new intrigue of this particular novel. Mentioned before, but comes to the front of this volume).Without giving away any of the delightful particulars of this book, let me say that Monroe manages to tie up the parts of the book that should be tied and leave us just enough room to imagine her characters pushing off into a happy life after the book’s sunset.

Indeed the book is called, “The Summer’s End”, in deference to its role in tying up the series. I was particularly pleased with the way the author handled Dora (oldest sister’s) autistic son Nate

One bit of warning—keep tissues by your side as you read this book.

This one should be the first one into your beach bag. Your only regret will be that there on more to come in this series.

If you want to meet Mary Alice Monroe, check out Litchfield books.

Mary Alice Monroe

Author of “The Summer’s End”

Date: May 22, 2015

Event:

Luncheon at 11:00 AM at Pawleys Plantation – 70 Tanglewood Dr, Pawleys Island, SC 29585

Book Signing at 2pm at Litchfield Books

ISBN – 9781476709024

16.0

Phone   237 8138 to reserve a place and find out the cost of the luncheon. There is no cost to attend the book signing, tho it is customary to purchase a copy of the featured book for the author to sign.

At Long Last–Imitation is more than flattery

I should be ashamed to show my face–lots of good excuses for ignoring my pledge to post once a month on a topic of interest to performers and writers alike–but really–its a lot of days since February. So, there will be a flurry of posts coming

Imitation is More Than Flattery

Near the end of my time as a Tupelo Press 30/30 poet, frantically crafting poems to be posted each day, one of the poets issued a challenge. She asked us to try writing in the style of one of the others. The young man she assigned to me is a stylish, wonderful poet–award-winning and creator of sharp staccato lines and images. Oh dear. So, I studies the poems he posted and researched more about him and his work. Then I put forth my pen (okay, keyboard) and attempted something in his style.

The exercise was more than simple fun. It was a tremendous learning exercise. That young poetry master taught this old poetry novice more than a few tricks–without even sending me an email. In order to copy him,I had to analyze his use of words, line , rhyme (if any), lyric, etc. What effect did he achieve with each poem? How did his use of poetic elements lead him to that? I chose a topic, I attempted to work within his mindset and then I wrote. And posted.

What went on creatively was that I followed an old tried and true technique–copying old masters (young in my case). By copying the masters we can then better branch out to find our own style. Some people get stuck in the copying mode, but if you have original thoughts and your own voice, then the analysis involved raises your work to a higher plane. I know it has helped me. Since that effort I have tried branching out into other forms of poetry and I am taking one of the free Stanford University courses on poetry to learn more about he masters and the old forms. (10 Premodern women)

Study the old to transform your work into something new–a mantra that is helping my work improve. Just the simple exercise of writing more each day brought my work a step higher and I have had several poetry acceptances since the Feb 3030–essays too. Since Feb I finished book four of my Desert Breeze Series and am working on the Book Club Questions and press releases for these.

Also, my collection of short stories is almost out–publishing issues–but now Cane Hollow Press personnel are well and ready to roll and that too, will soon be out–working on a class outline for teaching Ekphrastic Storytelling for that one.

More to come! I hope to have another post with useful information in it by mid-June. Meantime, expect a couple of book reviews and maybe some news on Turkey.

BOOKS ARE HERE

The UPS man just delivered the first batch of my Desert Breeze books In Print!
They are no longer e only! I am soooooooo excited.
Gwen Pfifers covers are even prettier when you can hold them!
Thank you, Gail!
I am starting small. Hope to have to reorder soon….
If you want to buy them, try this link
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=joan+leotta

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LettersFromKoreaCoverArt

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Late, so late, white rabbit cries!

I will be a bit late, still doing the poems for Tupelo, have other deadlines , but I do have my topic–inspired by my work with Tupelo Press

http://www.Tupelopress.com

then hit on the 3030 project’
My poems are on each day, listed in alphabetical order