Category Archives: stage

Girl Scout Presentation!

On Saturday, Aug 19, I read my book, Rosa and the Red Apron to a group of Girl Scouts at the Lowe’s Food in Monkey Junction in Wilmington, NC (Lowe’s obtained permission to use photo on FB) . Thank you, Alexandra , for inviting me!
It was a fun way to spend a morning.
We had such a good time! The girls enjoyed acting out the book with me as I read it. We did not have time to talk much about writing–Lowe’s had arranged a wonderful cookie decorating session for them–yummy!
I am available to speak to scout groups on writing, on cooking, on story performance and speaking! I have some dates left before the end of the year. More open in January and February!
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Teachers Can and Do

I always hated, and never believed,  that old chestnut that teachers are people who cannot actually do what they teach–nonsense! Teachers are those who share with us the technology (so to speak) of the art or craft  they have fallen in love with. They want to share with us what they love, share the how-to and the mystery of it.

They become educators when they draw out of us our desires to pursue a field to the limit of our ability, usually thanks to their support, inspiration, and ministrations of technique and method.

As a working journalist, story performer and more I want to share with others what I have learned and to inspire others to follow their dreams in whatever field they desire–esp in

writing and story performance. Yep, I talk and write for audiences. It’s that simple!

This month I have had the opportunity to be a teacher and to share my love of these two modes of communication on Donna Washington’s Blog, in Ruby for Women Magazine (writing only in that one. March starts a three-part series for those who want to get started in writing) and here, on this blog by reminding you that I have two new publications out this month–My children’s book, Rosa’s Shell and my book of poems, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon.

PS Today the literative.com site has one of my writings up as the prose winner of their winter contest!

https://literative.com/writing-contest-winners/cold-snap-creative-writing-contest-winner/

Do check it out!

I’m happy to come and and talk to your school or group about writing (for adults, for children, poetry) story performance (or to give a story performance!)

Please do contact me and let me know if you would like me to come! Those who do, if they are fortunate enough also share what they know by teaching!

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Good Things Worth Waiting For

Finishing Line Press has informed me that my book will be at least 8 weeks late–today is the day it was supposed to come out.

I just got my galleys on Monday and am sending them back on Tuesday the 17th, checking  and rechecking.

Please be patient!

 

 

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What a Day!

It’s not even ten am yet and already I have been hard at work on the computer, but am not yet dressed!

First thing–saw that Silver Birch has posted my poem What we took with us when we moved, as a part of their moving day series–warning, this one is sad.

Then, I opened my gmail account and there were the page proofs for Summer in a Bowl!!!!
Amazing work by the artist Rebecca Zeissler.
Countdown to publication day of September 30!!!!!!
You can order the book now , pre-order on THEAQLLC, Amazon and BN
Those who pre-order before the launch date of September 30 can email me a copy of the receipt and be in a drawing to win a copy (signed) of the first book in the series, WHOOSH!
There is a recipe in the back of this one and gardening tips
Excitement!!!!!!!

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?

 

 

Counting My Blessings

A few days ago, a wonderful storyteller, Antonio Sacre, posted on his FB page that he had performed in a number of different countries this year, etc, listing it all in a summary form. It was impressive.  And instructive. Sometimes when we think about individual accomplishments we forget that all of this comes from God and to Him belongs the glory. As it says on the emblem I wore on my school uniform, Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.

So, I listed all of the writing of mine that had been published this year, including my non-fiction writing (which I rarely talk about on this site).

Publications in 2015 with a brief look back at 2014 at the end

 

 January 2015

Newspaper These are listed right from my invoice–all in this block were printed in Sun News during the year

Review of food sub bible
Review of  raw energy in a glass
Review of Caffe Diem and Kudzu joint venture for kicks
Restaurant article (small on Villa Romana) for coasting
Cooking with Honey (will turn in by 28th)

 

Carmen (the entire year right here in reverse order) These are for profiles in excellence on http://www.disability-marketing.co0m

Makies coming before the end of the year—

 

Poems (and play) (wherever you see the words HAts OFFm this means that North Carolina Writers Netowrk ran a small feature celebrating the accomplishment

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose ten-minute play, “Pinpoint Wisdom,” will be produced by Fort Point Theatre Channel of Boston as part of Channel/Dance: An Evening of Movement, Art, and Theater, February 13-14, 2015.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem, “The Cardinal’s Mirror,” was accepted for the Poeming Pigeon Anthology (The Poetry Box).

Also, she is 30/30 poet for Tupelo Press. For the month of February,

 

New Year Morning at the Beach published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

The Penny Dreadful accepted At the Farmstand, atwenty-one-word stories for its next issue.

February

Play Produced! Pinpoint Wisdom by Ft Point Theatre in Boston

Newspaper

Review of taste of home cookbook
 
Review of which wich for kicks
Travel article, Rome for March
Goffinet chirping birds
Chef huckabee article
Review of DOUBT

Carmen—see January

Poems

(Published: 13 February 2015, ncwn)

poem “Ora Pro Nobis” is forthcoming in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing (March).

In Righter Puiblication Monthly,

How Long Will Winter Be? By Joan Leotta

February Joy by Joan Leotta

Essay

Fiction

March

Newspaper

Feature for food on zeppole and soda bread
Kicks café old vienna
Article on Chef Joeseph Bonaparte and HGTC
Indian food for diabetesw
Spring green tonics
Bonjour y’all book review

Carmen-see January

Poems

Published: 05 March 2015Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who in Knot Magazine for their spring issue on women in art, Dorotea, my tribute to Dorothy Lange, the photographer

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Morning Comes” is forthcoming in the “Insomnia Issue” of the journalThe Art of Being Human /An Anthology of International Poetry, compiled and edited by Daniela Voicu and Brian Wrixon (Volume 14).

www.mciwritershouse.com/authors-spotlight ran Mar 21, 2015 – A Platter of Mezze By Joan Leotta …

March 15 sent the poem Forbes field to the Hobart contest–accepted

Righter Publications published Path, Big Dog andRobin Crossing

Essay ==east iowa review http://www.portyonderpress.com/eastern-iowa-review.html–two cups of coffee–accepted on march 1!

Fiction

FISH OR CUT BAIT STORY Published  (accepted in 2014—Egidio Learns to Fish)

March 12 sent a cup of compfort to omdb.com ,accepted on march 18

(see May also! Same item)March 28 sent a flash fiction to spelkfiction@gmx.com Also, the online journal Spelk Fiction has accepted one of Joan’s flash fiction pieces, “The Magician’s Trick,” which will appear May 27.accepted on Mar 30—it will go up on the site ma

April

AWARDS FROM PRESSWOMEN< NC CHAPTER

Congratulations! You won several awards in the contest:

Too Hot to Cook won 2nd place, published in 2014 in newspaper

Carousel Ride won 3rd place essay, , published in 2014

Summer Storm in the Canyon got an Honorable Mention-poem

Newspaper

Feature for food  Passover meal
Kicks Play Review Atlantic Stage
Peter warren book review
Book review foods that make you say mmmmm
Book review  looking around
Book review  let the beauty inside you become……
Kicks Restaurant Review–CIAO

Carmen-see January

Poems

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who had three poems—”The Autistic Boy,” “Backporch morning,” and “Blooming Bush”—published by A Quiet Courage. Her poem “Sampling Oysters” is forthcoming in Postcards, Poems,and Prose,

Righter publications published April Excitement and

April Birthday and

April 

Essay

Fiction

her prose piece “The Lion Tamer” has won an Honorable Mention in The Maine Review’s annual short fiction contest.

 

May

Book accepted Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who inked a contract to publish her first children’s picture book, Whoosh, withTHEAQ, LLC, a Minnesota-based publisher. The release date is scheduled for August, 2015

Newspaper

Feature for food  Mothers Day
Chefs of the Coast—cookbook review
Readers corner review (see Vicki)
Lombardo’s Bistro for Kicks
Bob’s Red Mill cookbook review
 
Kicks Restaurant Review—Le Bon Café
Ally’s Kitchen—cookbook review

Carmen—see January

Poems

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who has three poems forthcoming in The Art of Being Human (Volume 15): “The Autistic Boy,(reprint)” “A Secret Mermaid,” and “Waiting (on a train platform).”

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Morning Comes” (reprint)is forthcoming in Anthology: The State of Open Mic in NC, edited by Melissa Hassard, book canceled later in the year

Farm Market Opening Day and Merry Merry Month of May published in Righter monthly

Al Dente poem accepted by Poeming pigeons (came out in fall in anthology)

Essay

Fiction

 June

Books  Came out  Desert Breeze, Secrets of the Heart and the collections of shorts, Simply a Smile

Newspaper

Chefs of the Coast—cookbook review
Ice cream cookbook storey press)
Vegan frozen things cookbook review storey press

Carmen see january

Poems

Published: 26 June 2015poems accepted for an international, English-language anthology:Gust of Wits. ( those what would henry do, cameras, ocean, faye’s daisies, and can I live here—word on that on june 4

Red Hawk” will appear in the August issue of the Indiana Voice Journal.

Reunion was published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose short story “A Glass of Water” received an honorable mention in the Pikes Peak Pen Women’s Flash Fiction Contest. The story will be included on their website.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose 21-word short story, “At the Farm Stand,” is forthcoming in Penny Dreadful.  came out this month

July

Newspaper

Turkish food ran July  15
Mystery writers of america—cookbook review
40 Fun Fables
Everyday vegan
Southern made fresh
Watermelon Savory
Kicks article on theatre, atlantic stage move and new season

Carmen see January

Poem

08 July 2015Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “The Moth” was accepted for the new Janes Boy Press publicationIshka Bibble. It will appear in the October issue.(postphoned to later in the year)

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Joan Gabrielle—A Handy Name appears as part of the “All About My Name” Poetry Series from Silver Birch Press.

Picnic—Fourth of July and

Shell Tree Edisto Island published in Righter

Essay

Fiction

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose flash fiction piece “A Glimpse of Glory” is forthcoming in September’sIndiana Voice Journal.

 

August

Interview in paper/online, Various articles about me and my work on the project Poetry Opens Doors published in Brunswick Beacon this year, and Star News

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, who was featured on The National Federation of Press Women website. Her career advice? Be persistent, be honest.

Book came out WHOOSH, Auugst 12

Newspaper

Barbecue Lovers The Carolinas—cookbook review
Hummus
Food gifts
Kids with diabetes

Carmen—see January

Poems

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Al Dente” is forthcoming in the Poeming Pigeons’ food-themed anthology to be published later this year is this double counted?(see earlier on acceptance of this poem)

August 13 sent languid lusciousness with lemons as revised to silver birch—accepted ! aug 30

Marking August Days published in righter Monthly

Essay Review of poetry book

From my heart to yours—review of a poetry book

Fiction

September

Newspaper

Vegetarian Thai (ran in August)
175 essential slow cooker
Thyroid health and diet

Carmen

Poem

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem “Leaves”(redo) will appear as part of the Winston-Salem Writers Poetry in Plain Sight Bus Project in the fourth quarter this year.

Also, her poems “Languid, Luscious Lemons” and

Happy Together” are forthcoming from Silver Birch Press as part of their Sweet Word and Songs projects, respectively.

September Brings Pears and

September published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

October

Newspaper

Preservation Society book review
A real southern cook in her savannah kitchen review
Article on Italian regional foods
Trim healthy mama–review
A dairy good cookbook–review
Pure pork awesomeness
Fuzzy mud

Carmen  see jan

Poems

Sea glass was accepted by postcard poems and poetry to run later in the year—ran in October

“The Queen of Long Division” has been accepted by Silver Birch Press to be a part of their  Sweet Words for Halloween Series

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who won two prizes in the Mid-South Poetry Festival: First Place in the Doty Katz Memorial for “Spotting  Carolina Jessamine and Gahzal on the beach won a second prize in the ghazal contest

Carving out the Moon and Travel on Faith published in Righter Monthly

Essay

Fiction

Midnight Plumber ran again on my blog –first published by KRL in October 2014

 November

Newspaper

·         Joint review Ebenezer scrooge and State of the Heart-non food
Real and slow article ran first week nov
Oz cookbook
Joint review of two Robert rose books
Maple mania  running nov 18
Maple 100 recipes, book review
South Carolina blues—review non food

 

The Southerners Cookbook

 

Carmen—see January

 Poems

Sitting Down and Pumpkin Festival Dinner – Circleville, Ohio  both published in November’s Righter MOnthly

Nov 29 received acceptance for Indian Ice Cream Treat from the work the World Enough Writers Ice Cream Anthology.

Sent sleeping on a pile of coats to silver birch and it was accepted

Essay

Fiction

JOAN LEOTTA: Perspective | 50-Word Stories  accepted and ran

fiftywordstories.com/2015/11/16/joanleotta-perspective/

Nov 16, 2015 – Arachne’s skill still amazes me. In the early morning sunlight, I have often watched dew shimmering in rainbow-drenched glory along silken …

November 25, 2015 | Rachel Richey of Literative Newsletter, https://literative.com/
has just informed me that my entry into their last contest is the winner and will go up on the site on Friday–so, in between shopping and leftover turkey sandwiches, take a look!   TIGER is the name of the piece

 

December

Newspaper

·         Spiralizer cookbook–ran in early month
Atlantic Stage review of Scrooge for Kicks
Twelve Days of Cookies ran on Dec 9
Complete wild game cookbook book review ran on Dec 23
Good cheap eats dinner in 30 min or less
Georgialina review of book
probiotics book review
Healthy eating for the new year -article, gturned in

Carmen

Poems

the perfect tree published in righter monthly

received a note from poetry in plain sight that my poem,blue jay day will be their January poster

Essay—profile of Joseph Bathanti out now in the January issue of NIAF magazine,

reprint of the Big Box ran in grannysublogspot Dec 20

Fiction

Short story the surprise ball published in Righter monthly
Shaun Levin\!”The Fish Knife”. Accepted and will be coming out in February in A3 next year.England

2014 Notes(not all)

 (2014

Five Little Bears Came to My House today won  Third Place in the Caldwell Nixon, Jr. Award sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society.)

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, whose short story “Voice of an Angel” has won First Place in the 2013 Charlotte Writers’ Club Contest!

May 2014 Hats Off! Joan Leotta, , Second, in the “Short Story” category of t

he 2014 Anthology Contest sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. in theWinston-Salem Writers 2014 Anthology  Leotta (“The World Turned Upside Down”) (May) poem “Falling Shells” is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly/Prolific Press. Also, her short story “Cottonwood Grove” will be published in an anthology of Westerns from Cane Hollow Press. “Cottonwood Grove” is also available as a Kindle Single.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem, “Leaving Sunset Beach,” and one of her sunset photos will be on the cover of the July issue of Righter Monthly Review. Also, her essay “To Fly,” about her first car, is forthcoming in the July issue of Sasee magazine.  December 2014 they published a Big Box as well)

 

Then I prayed for each person who read my articles, poems, essays, short stories, books, and who saw my play (produced for the first time in Boston in February). I also prayed  for the editors and artists who dealt with bringing them to production. I prayed that my work would be a blessing to them and continue to be so in 2016. Then I prayed for all of the editors who read and turned down my poetry and stories in 2015. Their rejections in many case caused me to strengthen the work before it found the right home(I don;t send non-fiction out on spec any more–only write it when assigned). And believe me, those of you who only see my acceptances–when you send out poetry and fiction,m the rejection pile is high.

As I make my plan for 2016, I pray that my work may be a blessing to many and honor God in every way.

 

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.

Form
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.

Technique
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)
https://www.facebook.com/events/328361430684525/ is the FB page to find out more about everything…

Tickets
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.
FORTPOINTTHEATRECHANNEL.ORG