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


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

Book Signing at 2pm at Litchfield Books

ISBN – 9781476709024


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.


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




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

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

Form and Technique

Warning–this is a longish entry

Find the Right Form, Then Make it Look Easy with your Technique

That’s really what good writing and good performing are all about. Finding the right form for the expression of your ideas and then making it as if it were completed with ease.

This is how I often feel--life is like meeting waves.

This is how I often feel–life is like meeting waves.

In performance the right form can mean, using puppets, props, degree of audience involvement, length of performance, using the fourth wall, interacting with the audience, live, film, music, and more. In writing form runs the gamut from poem to flash fiction to short stories, novels, essays , creative non-fiction, standard non-fiction and then there is the whole genre thing—literary, mystery, humor, and more. Often, the creative thought chooses its own form somewhat like the Harry Potter concept of the wand choosing the wizard.

Which brings me to what I am going to share with you today. I am not sharing the work itself because it will be produced in February but has not yet been published.

The name of the work, now a ten-minute play, is “Pinpoint Wisdom” It first saw the light of page about five years ago as a short story. I wrote it as a challenge to myself, to those in the creative world who were slamming my entries to various short story contests, rejecting them out of hand because they were not “literary” fiction. I decided to try my pen in this genre. The saying/ question, “How many angels are on the head of a pin?” came to mind. I like this because it seems deep but in working out my tale

The story came into being as a dialogue heavy work in which I determine that the wrong question is being asked by th echaracters. My critique group liked it. Using their comments, I polished my story and sent it off, waiting to be embraced by the literary journal world. A few “reading fees” later, I determined that my cost was exceeding any benefit of seeing the tale published and put the story away for a while.

Various contests challenged me to remake it,–as an all-dialogue short, a poem, and more.. Still failed. Finally I saw the Ft. Point Channel contest. 10-minute play involving dance.
Hmmm, my characters dance in the story. I groaned. The discipline of play writing is not for the lazy or faint of heart. Because I ‘m a performer, I can shift focus to staging easily. But when I do it for myself, I don’t have to meet the conventions of stage formatting which is a pain in the neck to write for those not used to it.

Sigh. I researched the form, and doubled down . Hours later it was done—first draft that is. Then I polished and polished again. At last, I sent it in. Then, I forgot about it.

Amazement! My play was accepted and will now be produced! The right format for this thought was stage. But it took me five years to find the right format.

And in shaping it, each time I had to submit a program that was well crafted enough for technique to promote the tale.. Technique should never be in the way/ It should be your box of tools. The house or finished piece should be smooth and lovely. All of those times you hit your finger with the hammer, that’s all forgotten,. The crooked nails you had to pull out and replace, the changes of size, color, etc—none of that should show in the finished product. Of course you have to know what kind of house (format) you are building. Each time I switched, I had to re-think technique, so the constant reshaping of my work was a graduate course in creative writing.
Persistence, attention to craft and to the demands of each form. Now my work will live in a different way, as a play! My first. A director and actors will interpret my work for an audience. As a performer, it makes me rethink how I shape and present the words of others when I am on stage. Humbling. Exciting!

So, don’t give up on a piece that is languishing in your computer. Maybe it should be presented in another form. Don’t skimp on the craft of that other form and format. No matter what, rethinking and reshaping will give your mind a creative boost.

See below for the playbill with my name in it as playwright—Mine is one of six ten-minute plays being offered on the Valentine’s weekend in Boston.

So, I just found the playbill in my email(draft). So exciting!
I cannot thank Ft. Point Theatre Channel enough for selecting my show, Pinpoint Wisdom!.
The play is being produced on Feb 13 and 14, contact for tickets(free) is below) is the FB page to find out more about everything…

Tickets for Channel/Dance are free. You can reserve a seat below or just show up and take a seat until we are full! Half the seats will be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.

Promised Post the meantime

poets jan 13Check out these photos from the Poetry Reading by Poetry Revisited–I got to participate– at Barbee Library on Oak Island