Thursday, June 19, 2014

# Guest Blog # Post

Throwback Thursday with Joan Leotta

My newest feature is Throwback Thursday, where I showcase the very first book or story ever written by some talented authors.  Today I'm happy to have Joan Leotta, author of  A Bowl of Rice. She's here to share a throwback to her very first fiction.

Throwback Thursday with Joan Leotta

So, the very first piece of fiction I ever wrote, was probably the crayon scribbling I put onto a piece of construction paper, folded and then "read" to my mother. Next came the brother and sister adventure stories. Inspired by the Bobbsey Twins, these works that featured two sets of twins were just a few words on  paper but mostly they were scripts--which I forced my younger cousins to act out. No wonder my cousin Ernie would escape into the woods leaving me with just one set of twins and a spare! They all still talk about it!

Plots took us under the forsythia, on parades into neighboring yards, sent some of them up trees and in the house, under the bed , hiding behind doors, in closest and under desks. In school, I wrote the plays for holiday skits and acted in them.

Short stories and poems appeared in school publications and county-wide publications for the Pittsburgh and Allegheny county schools. But my first published work for pay was a poem--and the teacher who was promoting the submission process didn’t even ask me to submit. She told my friend to send in her work. I asked my friend for the address and I was accepted. I wrote for work, then got a start in journalism and began to act again as a story performer when I had my children. I soon began writing stories and skits for them. After working for many years at non-fiction with some poetry, I began to write short stories again when we moved to North Carolina.

A Bowl of Rice
by Joan Leotta

Anna Maria seems to have the habit of selecting men who love her as long as she is doing what they want! Breaking up with one such man to serve her country as a nurse in Vietnam, she finds another much the same over there. Fortunately her friendship with Kathy, another nurse seems to offer the good advice she needs. When Kathy is captured by the Viet Cong while on a mercy mission to a local orphanage, Anna Maria tags along as triage care for the rescuers.  George, who has been wounded by the VietCong draws a map for the rescuers--is it also a map to Anna Maria's heart? A true map by a man who will love her for herself?

About the Author

Since childhood, I've been writing and performing. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, I lived most of my life in the Washington DC suburb of Fairfax, VA and now I live in Calabash, NC with husband Joe. Our daughter, Jennie, still lives in the DC area. My award-winning poetry, short stories, books and articles and photography have been published in many journals, magazines and newspapers. My folklore shows and one-woman shows on historic figures, have been enjoyed by many at venues up and down the east coast. You can learn more about my specific work at

Creativity is an explosion of expression and a way to share my love or interest in something or someone with others, what I see and how I see it.  My best images,  in photography, poetry, or other writing, “speak” my thoughts but leave enough creative space, room for thought and to allow the viewers to interact with the photos. My hope is that from the work of my imagination, the  imaginations of my audience/readers  will flourish.

Favorite subjects are ordinary objects and people—I want to share with others the beauty that I find in the ordinary. Shy faces, rounded sides of an ordinary object, the forgotten nook or cranny of a large place—these are the subjects that draw me.

Creating on paper with pen, with light  through a camera or onstage in performance, my artistic goal is always the same—to show the beauty of the ordinary and lift up my audience—encouraging others through pen and performance.

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