Monthly Archives: July 2014

Kitchen Toy

My newest obsession in the kitchen is my spiralizer.
I signed up for the Inspiralizer newsletter and churn away, inspired by that site to make my own recipes and loving the machine!
Here is the link

Be sure to check out the inspiralizer newsletter. If you liked my recipes, remember, they were inspired by her!

Opportunity. If it knocked, I missed it

Unlike the doorbell ringing by the UPS man (which for many months went unnoticed due to a broken doorbell) no packages or notes about pacakages are left when you miss an opportunity.
For instance, I just learned about the onthesamepagefestival. They had a contest–open to all, no fee, NC connections—check, check, check.
Oops . Deadline July 7.
More than 20 days ago.
Now, I subscribe to a number of feeds that offer me deadlines, but I have become complacent in using them–esp about NC opportunities. I thought I had it covered. Today I did some random exploration and found this one that I missed. You can’t publish if you don’t know the opportunity is there. SO, again I will widen my search. And I commit to sharing what I find. I’ve been wanting to make my blog of more value to writers and tellers. Karen Chace is my heroine among storytellers. Her blog is the very best for information on how and why and chock full of stories we can tell for various occasions.
I doubt I will have much more to offer there, but I will try to augment her in this area as well.
For writers, we need tips and opportunities to submit our work–contests to challenge us and more. One thing you will find little of is the “Slam”. I hate the term. Perhaps if someone convinces me that a poetry SLAM instead of a READING is a good thing, I will change, but for now…
So, if a link says its listings are proprietary, then I will simply offer that link to their list.
If I come across a listing on my own, as I did today (but before it expires!!!!)
I will share.
Writing and story have given me so much. I want to give back, to share, to help more of you become published and or perform your work. Excelsior!!!



Just goes to show, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Instead of doing puzzles, I search for markets for my work and fiddle with my poetry to relax.

This week I got two acceptance notices–from Tigershark for Shenandoah, Daughter of the starts, a poem retelling the legend of the founding of the valley, (written in honor of our son, who loved the valley)

and today an acceptance from Jellyfish whispers, an online magazine for my poem, summer storm at the grand canyon, a poem that has been bouncing around since 1990, never quite right until now

and today I am inking a contract with Cane Hollow Press for a collection of my short stories, varied genres, more OHenry than Joyce or F. O’Connor, but a book I hope will bring smiles to all who read it.

Title: Simply a Smile

I feel very blessed, but of course, I was blessed before. And every rejection was a blessing as well.

–tho those don’t feel as good!

Sick this week..but work goes on

But deadlines and life roll on!

Working hard on my deadlines, tho I am in a bad place with Book four!

Edits on the previous books in the series to prepare for paper versions have been farmed out (for pay to a professional editor) and I am praying someone to edit my newest book, a collection of my short stories! Due out in October!!!!


Trying to work hard also on the five writing assignments that bring in the dough to pay for the editors!Spending my money this way instead of going to conferences. Reading Flannery O’Connor for instruction and inspiration.



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