Having trouble update my appearancee section

Does not seem to want to update from last year!

Meantime, upcoming will include a performance on September 15 in Prince William County Library, doing my Civil War era tale of Belle Boyd as seen through the eyes of her Aunt!

Help from a Friend

Melinda Cochrane, a few years ago became a publisher of some of my poems–since then she has become someone I consider a friend. The other day she asked if I would write down my thoughts on working with her–I did and she posted that little piece on her page, giving my Author page a boost at the same time.

Thank you, Melinda. Here is what she posted on June 28–through a glitch, FB never notified me that it was online!

From Joan Leotta
Poetry is the most personal of the writing forms I use. When I send my poetry out into the world it’s like sending out a piece of my soul. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to have Melinda choose three of my pieces, Curve in the Road, Voices in the Fog and El Dia de los Muertos, into her anthology, The Inspired Heart.

The steps after acceptance were as exciting as the acceptance. Bruce Kauffman, the editor was kind and generous with his help in shaping these poems just a bit so that their impact was intensified for the reader. Then, seeing the rest of the International cast—blew my mind away with joy and humility for sharing space in a book with them!

Melinda and Bruce kept me informed on the process all the way to publication. Her sensitivity to my work and the high quality of the other included poems led me to trust her brand with another of my works –this time for her internet

She showcased A Platter of Mezze , giving it a lot of exposure, and in fact, has recently re-publicized the link, giving the work an even greater potential readership. Melinda is all about uplifting and encouraging writers and the potential readers of whatever work her brand puts out. I am proud to know her and to be a part of her efforts.

Poems by Joan Leotta in MCI works

Curve in the Road

Voices in the Fog

El Dia de los Muertos

A Platter of Mezze

Joan Leotta

Buy My Books Through Ruby!

It will not cost more, but Ruby for Women will get a boost.

The next time you are ordering books from Amazon, please visit Ruby’s Reading Corner! Every book purchased through Ruby’s Reading Corner helps support the ministry of Ruby for Women, and it costs exactly the same for you.

Ruby’s Reading Corner features books by Ruby authors, as well as a wide-variety of inspirational books, family and parenting, holidays, gardening, Christian fiction, marriage and relationship advice, financial advice, and so much more. Just click on the link below.




Summer in a Bowl,Progress Report

Right now I am in a hold pattern. I am waiting for the illustrator to do her magic, conjuring up the images that will bring my words to life for young readers.

I thought while we were waiting I would answer a question that many people ask of authors–how real is this story?

Like WHOOSH!, this story was inspired by a real afternoon in my life. Yes, there really was an Aunt Mary. Yes, I did watch her make soup from the ingredients in her garden! Yes, I did help her gather those ingredients.

Aunt Mary passed on many years ago. She was the mother of three of my wonderful cousins, John, Diane, and Ernie.

Diane sent me these photos of her Mom to share with you.

Here is the real, wonderful, lovely woman who inspired Summer in a Bowl:

aunt mary 3






Book Review-Saladin!

Saladin: The Sultan Who Vanquished the Crusaders and Built an Islamic Empire

By John Man

Da Capo Press

ISBN-10: 0306824876

ISBN-13: 978-0306824876

Retail $26.99


I received a copy of this book in the mail for my review. I did not receive any payment for this review.

That out of the way, let me tell you why I recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the forces operating in the Middle East today, especially those trying to recreate an Islamic empire.


Saladin was born  a Kurd in the city of Tikrit (modern Iraq) in 1138n(died 1171).. In  his lifetime he extended his military dominance and political control to Egypt and then Syria where he ran most of his operations against the crusades from. He was a master tactician and his very name inspired fear among the Crusaders—and respect. It is not simply an invention of the movies that he was more respected (even by the Christians ) than some of the crusading knights from Europe. In fact at some points in his career, his Christian opponents held him in higher esteem than did his co-religionists of other factions


Although he united  disparate Muslim regions and factions into a unified force to fight the crusaders, he was not a universally beloved character. He was definitely a part of the sectarian struggles that were already roiling Islam in that era. Furthermore, he was not all goodness and light and honorable intentions.   He could be as cruel and heartless as his goals necessitated (very Machiavellian.


This book took me a long time to read. It is well-written, but the biographical subject and large amount of material that was new to me on the historic front, made it slow-going.

This is a book for someone who wants a better understanding of the Middle East by learning about one of the heroes of the Islamic forces in the time of the Crusades. Hopefully by better understanding the motives of this man we can learn how to understand (and combat!) the leaders who are trying to emulate his successful hegemony.


Dedicating a book to someone requires a lot of thought. It’s like picking a maid of honor for a wedding.

You are sharing the credit for your inspiration (for the book or for keeping you on task to finish the book) with another human being! As with anything in life, these choices often are difficult. So many people are helpful, inspiring!

For my first book, WHOOSH!, it was easy to select a dedication–my parents and my dear family.

For Summer in a Bowl, the dedication choice required only thinking about whether I would include my family, who inspire and support all I do (I am blessed with a wonderful husband and daughter), or simply credit my inspiration, my Aunt Mary.

I chose to keep it simple and keep the focus on my Aunt Mary. Reason? My cousin Diane has been without her Mom, my Aunt for many years. Aunt Mary died of cancer when I was 18 and my cousin, 22

years of age. Relating Aunt Mary’s kindness to me in summers and other times and sharing the recipe for the soup featured in Summer in a Bowl was of great comfort to Diane and she has been rooting for the publication of this book for a long time.

I will soon have pictures to show you from my publisher.

In the next installment, I will show you the real Aunt Mary.











Technical Difficulties

So, before we left for Spain, I prepared a blog to keep you all apprised of progress on Summer in a Bowl, as promised. I apologize. Between the computer problems and being ill when I returned, the posting did not happen. So, now , in quick succession–updates on the progress!