Category Archives: Food

Birth of a Book, Blog # 1

Blog Entry Number One

March 12, 2016

Contract is Signed!

So, I mailed the contract back to the publisher this week. The contract’s basic legal language is fine. I was satisfied with the legal provisions. The important part of the contract as far as all of you other writers are concerned is the “deliverable” list. This list is my list of deadlines for each step of the way. It also outlines the deadlines for the publisher and the illustrator. I went through my calendar and marked each deliverable date on my calendar.

 

First things first! The manuscript for Summer in a Bowl is due on March 31. Before you start to think me crazy for accepting such a deadline, there is something you need to understand about picture books.  Last year, I sent Summer in A Bowl to the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators to be evaluated. I took their comments to heart when finishing the book. It has been revised at least seven times.

 

When you send any picture book manuscript to a publisher for consideration, you send the entire thing! Don’t send a draft. Send it as finished and polished as you can make it, but  be open to making changes suggested by the publisher. Conversely, don’t make major changes unless they fit into your vision. Also, most picture book publishers choose the illustrator, so don’t send illustrations along unless they are called for. Truthfully, I have seen only ONE traditional publisher that requested illustrations. One out of hundreds.

 

After I wrote WHOOSH! I searched and searched to find a publisher who shared my vision for sharing stories of families, happy families in cities.  I was so pleased with the illustrator he choose, a woman who also shared my vision for how the characters should look, well….

 

whoosh_cover_2500

Picture Book by Joan Leotta

After WHOOSH! was published by THEAQLLC, I worked furiously on my other picture book ideas and sent Summer in a Bowl to THEAQLLC as well.

We discussed the illustrations, briefly. This book will be entrusted to the same illustrator. Now, time to polish a bit more. This book’s manuscript left open the possibility of what is called “back matter.” “Back matter” is usually a bit of non-fiction prose that goes along with and hopefully adds to the reader’s experience with the story. In this case, I am thinking about adding a soup recipe. The other possibility is to hold the recipe and use it for advertising the book, as handouts when I speak on the book, and as information in a packet of teacher information for school gardens.

 

My habit is to print out a document once it has reached this stage, giving me a physical item to work with. As I review the document, I will picture scenes in my head and picture my primary target audience—a parent and child reading together. On another read through I will picture another target audience, a teacher reading to students. Oh yes, I’ve done this when making the other revisions, before I sent it to the publisher, but I shall do it again. Probably twice again before returning it to the publisher on or just before March 31.

At the same time I am doing all of this, I need to try to build my audience for WHOOSH! and for the upcoming book.

I’m waiting now to hear from my publisher about the back matter. What do you think about the back matter, dear blog readers?

 

 

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/

I’m a Guest!!! Rainy Day Party

Dear readers,

Elaine Stock is hosting me today, so please hop over to her blog

The direct link is: http://bit.ly/1wiMnL7

to find out what I have to share with you about writing.
So, despite the rain today I am having a party, “meeting” new folks over there.
There is a book giveaway on the site for those of you who want more of my work.

Where do you submit?

How do you find the sites?

Many ask me this. I spend a lot of time looking at magazines, reading, and reading newsletters that list magazines that have calls for work.

Study

I study the submission guidelines and often review the bio of the judge in contests. If the work of the judge is fabulist and I am a realist, then….. chances are slim I will be chosen.

Respect

Never submit to a journal you do not respect. Why would you want your work there? A woman in my poetry group once noted I had published a short story in a journal that had rejected her poetry. “My work is so much better than what they use,” she told me. “I was very insulted when they rejected my poems.” Aside from the fact that she managed to insult me while also “dissing” the publication, she was wrong on many levels. Her work is very traditional and very “literary”. This magazine is more of a populist in its selection of pieces to publish. Its not a matter of “good” or “bad” but of different styles.  However if you do not respect the style the editors chose to print, why would you submit. You will not win them over to your more literary approach and vice versa. I don’t expect the Literary mags to publish my genre works. So, take a breath, study, read, and submit–to journals you respect

Another poem–why republish an old poem?

A wonderful market opportunity for writers is Righter publications. They take previously published and it offers you a chance to widen your audience for that piece if they accept. Readers. That’s what it is all about.

A poem of mine will go live in Righterpublications,com on September 1
I have one in the August issue as well.

This September poem, which has appeared in print elsewhere, is about apple picking in upstate New York.
Hope you enjoy it.

Learning from Others

Thought I would share this link. I am either late or early with this blog post, depending on how you calculate it all.

http://savvyauthors.com/blog/index.php/weather-by-lourdes-venard/

Food and Food for Thought

So, this morning when I went to check for the link to the online version of my two stories in this AM’s

Sun News, I saw they had also already posted the article that will go in Friday’s kicks!

Here are the three:

Book  Review, Ancient Grains

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2014/08/05/4387461/dining-notes-for-the-myrtle-beach.html

Article on Grilled Pizza

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2014/08/05/4387467/broaden-your-grill-repertoire.html

Review of Second Cup for Friday Kicks section

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2014/08/06/4392836/coffeehouse-brings-a-taste-of.html

So, where Is the food for thought? Blabbermouth Blog. Linda, who writes that blog is running a contest on YA. I can’t enter it, no time right now for this, still pushing on Book Four of my Legacy of Honor, (held up due to illness) but I noted in her challenge there is great advice for anyone writing, YA!

Check it out! http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/22093685/

 

 

 

Hard work

Writing is hard work. The basic idea is only part of it.
A few years ago, I wrote a piece about an incident we had encountering a collards farmer.
The story is a great anecdote at dinner, but as a written piece, it kind of flopped.
Then, I saw the publication, Microfiction Monday. The piece was already short, only about 500 words, but they wanted even smaller. So…I revised it downward which forced me to analyze the story arc and simplify–eliminating parts of the actual experience and transferring only the basic idea that others might find interesting.
Voila! acceptance!
If any of you would like my recipe for Italian Collard greens, let me know in the comments

The story will run on August 4 in the online mag, Microfiction Monday.
http://microfictionmondaymagazine.com/

Keep up with my works and tips on writing at this blog and
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

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.
Sigh.
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!!!

Trifecta

Wow!

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!