Tag Archives: alice osborn

Red Face

I made a book club appearance in Raleigh yesterday. I put it on Facebook, I notified my book club by email–but I forgot to note it on my blog–oh dear!!!

Wonderland book club in Raleigh hosted me yesterday! Thanks to Alice Osborn and all who attended. Tho the photo is of short story book, we discussed Secrets of the Heart.
Thanks again, everyone!

Alice Osborn's photo.

Traveling Tales

Travel is a great inspiration for writing but ideas for great poems, essays, and stories do not always come immediately. Yes, I wrote the signature story for Simply a Smile (to be released this month by Cane Hollow Press) in one night after seeing the Chinese Soldier exhibit at the High Gallery. But, consider my latest published essay–Two Cups of Coffee–in Easter Iowa review’s current issue. That story is about an incident that happened forty years ago. I do have a notebook full of ideas and my trip journal to help me move the muse along about my May trip to Turkey with my daughter, but so far all I have written on that trip–for publication–is an article on food.

Sometimes a travel location becomes a site for action in a book that is not related so much to the place as to the characters and plot. My also-this month release, Secretes of the Heart features Ft Fisher in Wilmington NC (a great place to visit) and my beloved Rome. Our family spent Christmas there this past year and I double checked all of the places where my characters would walk, eat, etc while we roamed Rome.

Last book in Legacy of Honor Series

Last book in Legacy of Honor Series

Packing a suitcase has been a writing inspiration for me since childhood when I would take trips with my Grandmother and of course, every family vacation.  I keep notes, take pictures, and purchase silly little souvenirs–all become mnemonic devices for the creation of word-built works at a later date. So, don;t worry if you feel overwhelmed by the beauty and excitement of your latest trip. The writing side of the trip may not happen for a while–but if you are a lover of words, you will begin to find the source of tales in the stories you tell about the good time you had.

Travel is wonderful–for the soul and for the pen

Collection of short stories by Joan Leotta

Collection of short stories by Joan Leotta

Amazing Grace! First Play Accepted!!

This morning I received an email from Marc Miller at the Fort Point Theatre Channel in Boston. He was asking questions to a long list of recipients about music and more for production of plays. I emailed him asking why I was on the list and he quickly responded that my play, Pinpoint Wisdom had been accepted for production!!!!!!!!

I had missed the December 17 email due to an overactive spam filtering from my current email provider and subsequent loss of some emails in other dealings with them.

Yes, the December 17 email gave me the wonderful news that my play will be one of the six shorts produced for the Feb 113, 14 festival!!!!!!

Here is the “skinny” on the festival. My play listing is at the very end!

8 pm, February 13-14, 2015
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress Street, Boston, MA

Curated by Courtney Peix and Marc S. Miller


Click here to reserve a seat.

Channel/Dance, coming on Friday the Thirteenth of February and Valentine’s Day, offers endless possibilities for good luck and good feelings when ten of Boston’s adventurous choreographers collaborate with painters, photographers, playwrights, and other artists to create short movement works with imaginative and far-reaching visual and audio impact. Add the ingredients of a half-dozen of the briefest of movement-themed plays, and the result is an invigorating performance experience that surprises with its twists and turns.

Contrapose Dance and Fort Point Theatre Channel have assembled eight teams, each joining choreographers with artists from non-dance disciplines, to collaborate in inventing performance works of under six minutes each. Juxtaposed with these movement pieces, the evening features six new plays, each less than two minutes long. Selected from 80 submissions received from playwrights around the world, each has a connection to dance.

This collaboration with Contrapose Dance will be the thirteenth in Fort Point Theatre Channel’s always surprising and exciting Exclamation Point! series of short new works.

A Glimpse of What to Expect

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At Channel/Dance, Nick Thorkelson and the Wondertwins will blend animation and dance

Roll over artists name for online links where available.

Courtney Peix (Contrapose Dance) and Daniel J. van Ackere: Under a canopy of white, dancers will perform on a platform embedded with LED lighting, echoing Starry Night, a permanent Fort Point installation created by van Ackere and Lisa Greenfield.

Mariah Steele (Quicksilver Dance) and Anne Loyer: In manipulating Loyer’s wearable sculptures, Steele and dancers will explore the idea of networks, both natural and technological.

The Wondertwins (Billy & Bobby McClain) and Nick Thorkelson: The dancers moving in concert with Thorkelson’s animation will suggest robots programmed (badly) by an engineer who’s been watching too much television.

Audra Carbatta (Audra Carabatta & Dancers) and Olivia Brownlee: The theme is coming and going as the collaborators flip the traditional way of creating a movement piece, with Brownlee’s music created to match Carbatta’s choreography.

Kelley Donovan (Kelley Donovan & Dancers) and Mark Warhol: To the accompaniment of Warhol’s solo music for clarinet, Donovan and dancers will develop a dance that investigates the internal world of transformation.

Nicole Pierce (EgoArt, Inc.) and Rick Dorff: Balloons held aloft by helium create Dorff’s environment for Pierce’s dance performance.

Maggie Foster, Caitlyn Schrader, Silvia Graziano, and Douglas Urbank: The collaborators are working on the subject of social norms of feminine idealism. The performance will include an audio recording, an accompanying text, and film projection.

Annie Kloppenberg (Annie Kloppenberg & Co.) and Peter Agoos: Ideas under development

PLUS six very short plays,
directed by Jaime Carrillo, Amelia Lumpkin, and Cait Robinson. The plays are:

Cherry Pierogis, by Kelli Burton (New York) centers of the long-ago memory of a treasured evening.

Dancing the Constellations, by Greg Vovos (Ohio) joins a man who doesn’t believe he can fly with a woman who knows she can.

Expressionism, by Katelyn Beaudoin (Massachusetts) introduces two people to the joys of dancing anywhere—even the subway.

Interpretation, by Mary Driscoll and Forrest Walter (Massachusetts) pairs a middle-aged former gay disco dancer with a haughty, tired, and successful theatre director.

Lift Up Your Crazy Legs, by B.W. Shearer (Australia) asks, “Must we dance?” and answers, “Is there any choice?”

Pinpoint Wisdom, by Joan Leotta (North Carolina) imagines the encounter of a jogger with dancers on a very small stage.

Winston Salem Here I Come!

This is how I often feel--life is like meeting waves. Only by God's strength can I meet them with hope and love and strength

This is how I often feel–life is like meeting waves. Only by God’s strength can I meet them with hope and love and strength

Perhaps you haven’t heard of the Winston Salem, NC Poetry in Plain Sight Campaign. Let me tell you about it. Stores in that fine town have agreed, each month to display, on a poster, a POEM! Ordinary folks will be the audience for these poems, in an ordinary setting. To me this is the essence of poetry, sharing hearts and experiences with other people, other ordinary people like myself, elevating their day, touching their hearts. What an opportunity for a poet to have a wide audience! WOW! And this month, they accepted one of mine! (I tried four times before being accepted–or was it five?)

Needless to say, I am thrilled and humbled at the same time. For me this is quite an honor. One of my poetry heroines, Alice Osborn has had a poem in this–that I would also be considered is humbling and exciting. That so many people will see my work is also humbling and exciting. As many of you who follow this blog know, I’m also a performer, so getting to read my poem, to see reactions will be an over the top part of the experience and I hope all of you can come next week–see details of the occasion on my FB page. Because of where we live there are very few opportunities to go and hear poetry read and to read. I try to take advantage of what I can but let me tell you, I am very much looking forward to hearing the other winning poems (3 others) for this month read –as much as I am chuffed to read my own.

Thanks to the Brunswick County Poetry Group, to the North Carolina Writers Network, to the North Carolina Poetry Society, to my Writers Block Group, beloved husband, daughter and son, and to Sister Anne from Ursuline Academy and Sister Leonora at Our Lady of Mercy Academy for the encouragement and to my dearest Dad who loved to read and write poetry.


Bolg-Hop–Previewing New Work!

Ok, fellow bloggers, here is my part of the Alice Osborn Blog Hop–I’ve tagge fellow blogger and writer JoAnn Matthews and will be hosting her on this site next week as a guest blogger.
1) What is the working title of your next book?

Letters from Korea

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s a continuation of the series, Legacy of Honor. Book One came out in July 2012 (Giulia Goes to War)

Letters from Korea deals with the love and adventures of Giulia’s little sister, Gina and her love interest, Sal who is off to Korea

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Historical, Sweet, Romance–also suitable as YA

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm, hard to think of modern actors for this one–I am going old school for the woman–Maureen O’Hara or Rosalind Russsell for Gina and new school for the man David Boreanz

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Girl wonders if boy loves her or thinks of her as a sister, while they are separated by war, her work and his injuries.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s already under contract to Desert Breeze Publishing an ebook publisher

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

6 months and it is taking  longer to work the kinks out with my editor–a wonderful, helpful woman.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

More like a Hallmark Channel story–I see things in action sequences. Consequence of being a performer.


9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?My own family.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Set in Pittsburgh during the 1950s, discusses the development of Salk vaccine.

Two real Korean vets provided information that is used to develop the storyline in Korea, complete with Red Chinese “raiders”.

11) When you find yourself feeling lazy or ‘blocked’, how do you force yourself to get past it?
Settle down and work, give myself a deadline
12) Where do you find your inspiration? How do you overcome writer’s block?
Get up and walk
13) What’s the one piece of advice you would give a new writer?
Write and don’t stop. Challenge yourself. Work for excellence.
14) 1. Which author inspired you to become a writer? 2. How do you choose the subjects of your books? Varied interests. I write non-fiction, poetry, crime, short stories and memoir as well

15) Here’s one: What is your daily writing schedule? 2-3 hours daily

16) How did you find the courage to let people see your personal inner thoughts?

Poetry is that and performing personal tales. Need to share, hoping to make their lives better by doing so–a desire to serve and well, I just don’t worry about being foolish

17) How frequently do you write (hours per day or whatever)? How many drafts do you work through before you are satisfied?  Number of drafts differs with each item

What is most difficult to write about, and why?  Our son who died

Do women writers face any different challenges than men writers?

I don’t think so any more–sometimes we are not accepted in certain genres

Be sure to check out Alice’s blog –now. I’ll give you the link to JoAnn’s blog next week! blog:

Sunday is for Poets!!!

Sunday afternoon is the day the Brunswick County Poetry group meets. How fitting that the review of Alice Osborn’s book “After the Steaming Stops” ran in the Sun News.

Check it out–she is great!

Get to the Heart of It! NC Poet, Alice Osborn shares why she writes

In the course of a review of Alice’s latest poetry collection, After the Steaming Stops, I asked her a few questions about why she writes. She was kind enough to talk freely about her creative process. I could only use a sentence or two in my review, so I asked her if I could share the entire review with my blog readers. (Check upcoming issues of Readers’ Corner in the Myrtle Beach Sun News for the review.) Here it is:
Joan: When did you start writing poetry?

Alice: I officially started in 8th grade in English class—we made a collection of our poems about nature and I watercolored many of the pages. My favorite poem was entitled, “Why the Wild Geese Fly” and I created a poem about the expanding universe after modeling from another poem. In 10th grade I won 2nd place in my school’s poetry contest—I still have the trophy! It was a three-page epic poem about the death of King Arthur. After high school I stopped writing poetry until I was in my mid-twenties, then started up again in my early thirties when I remembered the violent death of a high school friend of mine. I wrote a poem about her and it was named Honorable Mention in NC State’s annual poetry contest. Nothing took stop me after this! Later that same year I self-published my first book of poems, Right Lane Ends, with Catawba Publishing Company in 2006. I wrote all of the poems in Right Lane Ends over the course of just four months from April to August 2006. Talk about a real burst of creativity! My poems emerged from auditing a summer poetry class at NC State and taking a one-week intensive women’s poetry workshop. After I wrote these twenty or so poems, I had them edited and reviewed by my wonderful weekly poetry group. Then I consulted with my boss at the time who was a self-published author herself, and she gave me the confidence to call up Catawba and work up the contract. At the time I had also scheduled my book’s book launch for October 13th at our favorite local coffee shop so I knew that I had to get order my books by Labor Day so I could get my books delivered a few days before the launch—and it happened!
Joan: You write and teach several genres (pls name) –what do you especially like about writing and reading poetry?

Alice: I teach memoir all the way from beginning to advanced as well as memoir editing

Fiction and fiction editing

Comedy writing

Marketing and publicity for writers

are some of my offerings in 2013. I also write book reviews for Pedestal Magazine and have written nonfiction articles and personal essays.

I like reading and writing poetry for the challenge—it’s not easy and it’s not for everyone. I especially like when I discover what the poet’s trying to say in as few words as possible. I also love studying song lyrics for the cool phrases I can pinch out—one of my favorite lines is from Matchbox Twenty’s debut album, Yourself Or Someone Like You on the song “Girl Like That.” Rob Thomas sings “I’m same old trailer trash in new shoes.” Wow! Rob is saying a whole lot about himself and his past in 7 words.
Joan: Who are your fave poets?

Alice: I love male poets!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Walt Whitman

Robert Frost

Yusef Komunyakaa

Ai (OK, the exception)
Joan: Over what time period did you write the poems in this book?
Alice:Over four years. The youngest poems were from the fall of 2011 and the oldest from the summer of 2007 when I ventured to the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa in Iowa City to study poetry with Juliet Patterson. Juliet still leads me and several other poets in a monthly correspondence class. I still had several “extra” poems from Unfinished Projects, which came out a year before After Steaming that didn’t fit—the poems in Unfinished revolve around the theme of houses and home. So I threw them into After Steaming. All of my poems in my book are narrative poems about love’s flare-ups and endings. They are mostly true stories of what happened to me as a three-, eight -or ten-year old and how inappropriate my parents acted with me. As a kid, I remembered these incidents, locked them into my head so one day I could write about them. All of the quotations from my folks are real. Some poems weigh more on the father than the mother to give them equal time and I’m sympathetic with both. As I mentioned before I also love to write about death! I also have two historical poems about a near death and a death and how they affected me. My poem “Early” is about a train engineer who kills someone on the tracks just because he was doing his job. I got the idea from that poem by reading the paper. The article said that over the course of a train operator’s career they will kill three people, on average.


Joan: How long did it take you to find a publisher?

Alice: I got lucky! I had known M. Scott Douglass, the publisher/editor of Main Street Rag since 2005 because he was a regular vendor at the all of the NC Writers’ Network (NCWN) conferences. In the spring of 2008 he published “Carport Carpenter” in his quarterly magazine and he knew who I was because I regularly submitted to his chapbook contest every May. I saw him at the Spring NCWN Conference and told him I would submit again to his contest. He gave me a few tips on how to pick a theme and a title. Then later that summer, while I was on vacation, I got an email from Scott asking me to send him my manuscript because the judges hadn’t selected me for a top spot. I happened to have my flash drive and the rest is history! Unfinished Projects, which contains “Carport Carpenter,” was published December 2010.



Joan: What does the title phrase mean–is it after the partying as in military terms or is there another meaning?

Alice: I got the title of my book, After the Steaming Stops from an Aunt Jemima waffle box—if you check out the instructions on the back you’ll see some of the boxes say, “Bake until the steaming stops” after you’ve poured the batter into a hot waffle iron.  I love to make waffles on Sunday mornings and came across this phrase—and thought, “how intriguing.” I changed it to “After the Steaming Stops,” to reveal what happens after the anger and after the love is gone. Many of my poems use domestic imagery and I also wanted the title to have an element of danger—which is steaming. Steam will burn you and it can also melt your love. Love is represented by the frozen popsicle heart that’s being lowered via a ladle into the pressure cooker. In this case steam, one of the three states of water, is a metaphor for love in my book. Some love is solid (you know it’s unconditional), some liquid (it flows all around you and you know it’s there), some is steam (it’s in the vapors and you don’t know if it really even exists).
Joan: Why should ordinary people read poetry–what does it do for us

Alice: Poet Betty Adcock says, “Literature teaches us how to live,” and I want to add that so does poetry. We learn that people who lived hundreds of years before us loved, laughed, feared and suffered. We learn that they were human beings too and not the stiff folks from history books. Poetry provokes us and makes us look inward so we see the world differently. Many adults are afraid of poetry, mostly because they think they’re too dumb to get it and don’t want to read something that’s hard. This isn’t true, of course. They need to set aside their fears and go to a poetry reading with a friend and open up their minds. That’s why I host so many events and poetry readings in non-threatening venues where there’s lots of wine and chocolate! Non poets can experience the poetry of me and my friends and feel comfortable that poetry is of this world—it’s not separate and formal.

More about Alice:

Alice Osborn, M.A. is the author of three books of poetry, After the Steaming Stops (Main Street Rag, 2012), Unfinished Projects (Main Street Rag, 2010) and Right Lane Ends (Catawba, 2006) and is the editor of the anthology, Tattoos (Main Street Rag, 2012); her past educational and work experience is unusually varied and now it feeds her strengths as an editor who makes good writers great authors. Alice teaches creative writing all over the country where she uses sensory images and road-tested prompts to stimulate her students’ best work. Her pieces have appeared in the News and Observer, The Broad River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review and in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two children and three parakeets: Woodbird, Birdstein and Perry. Visit her website at http://www.aliceosborn.com.


AFTER THE STEAMING STOPS is her most recent collection of poetry; previous collections are Right Lane Ends, and Unfinished Projects. The latter prompted these remarks from author Homer Hickam: “I love Alice’s poetry.  She gives me thoughts I’ve never thought, and dreams I’ve never dreamed.  She uses words like a master potter—molding the clay of the mind into vessels that hold not things, but life, place, and time.”  AFTER THE STEAMING STOPS seems a book more of broken dreams than of new or unexpected ones.  There is no sentimentality in the face of death, departures, endings: “Loss reminds you about change, / and what you are willing to throw away.” The funeral of a princess becomes backdrop for a more intimate loss, and tears betray determination more than grief: “… I cry for another death coming. / It’s time for me to move out of his place, / tell him what he’s afraid to say, / and take his fat cat and a few towels in the parting.”

Order Alice’s AFTER THE STEAMING STOPS at www.aliceosborn.com

A Little Help from My Friends

Today I would like to celebrate the role of Facebook in my work and recommend it to you.

My FB friends include family and folks I have known for a long time. My list also includes professional contacts, some of whom have become real friends as well as contacts.

Two among these and whose websites, posts and FB friending I highly recommend, are Alice Osborn and Karen Chace.

Alice is a poet, speaker, and marketing maven based here in NC. She has inspired me to send my poetry out. Her poetry has provided me with enjoyable reading and lessons in writing. Her marketing tips are superb. Today her post sent me to a songwriting website that gave tips on arranging a tour and things to avoid when writing.

Songwriters/poets/short stories/ plays/ novels–all benefit from these tips.

Karen Chace is a superb story performer and gives to the art and her fellow performers through a wonderful blog on telling–her most recent super helpful piece—a list of gingerbreadman  crafts/poems/fingerplays.

She is a model of giving to other performers in one’s own profession.

Thank you both!

Do you have any FB friends who inspire, inform your art?

Share! Post their names in comments, here.

Do you share your experiences, knowledge, thoughts with others on these topics? Share here.