Friday, January 17, 2020

Diving In—Impulsive Bravery has its Downside By Joan Leotta #CivilWar #FearlessFriday


What an amazing and talented guest I have today. Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer. She plans to relaunch her historical fiction series in June 2020 and is presently launching a new performance piece--Louisa May Alcott, Civil War Nurse.

Contact her at

Some might say the time I overcame greatest fear was when I entered the training ring with a two-year old bull in Spain. The finca (Bull farm) owner asked my friend and me if we would like to help him test his two-year old bulls to assess their willingness to fight in the ring in Madrid.
The finca owner held the cape with me. I recall the chute opening and a large horned monster rushing toward us. I heard the man whisper, “arriba” and in synch with him I pulled up my end of the cape. I felt the bull thunder under the cape between us. “Corre” the man shouted, and I ran behind a sideboard and so did he. When the bull turned around, we were gone. This bull had made the grade. Everyone congratulated me, but truthfully, I felt more stupid than brave.

My next act of impulsive bravery came with more preparation, but not enough.  I had a great idea. I could turn my 12 k short story about a young girl who worked in WWII DC into a novella—40,000 words. Research showed that romance publishers seemed best suited to this tale of espionage, assimilation into America, and young love.

I sent out my story as a sample and a query letter—to three publishers. Desert Breeze (now out of business) responded in the affirmative—very affirmative. They wanted this story, set in along with three others!  A very short deadline was set for the first book and then I was to produce a book a year after that for four years. New to the field, I had no idea how much energy I would need to spend to expand my small platform into one large enough to sell the books I was writing.
Writing that first book was easy. Editing was hard work, but I had a good editor and a fabulous cover artist assigned to me by the publisher.

By the time I felt I could handle the E-book marketing, I learned all four were going into print. I opted to focus my efforts there and formulated a marketing plan which personal circumstances shredded. As I was reformulating my plan last year, Desert Breeze (DB)closed its doors. I joined the group of authors who were working together to help market our books.
DB gave me my rights, and for a small fee, the cover art. I plan to now gather up the courage to try a new-to-me venture—self-publishing the first three in the series as an e-book trilogy.
This time, however, I am going to add proper research into formatting and into marketing to my action list. I’ve set summer 2020 as my launch. To bolster that launch I’m writing a new historical fiction performance piece, performing Louisa May Alcott as a Civil War nurse (something I have already researched and performed). Look first, then leap is now my motto. And, oh yes, I will not be stepping into the bull ring any time soon.

If you want to support my efforts, please check out my blog, “What Editors Want You to Know”, Like my Facebook page Joan Leotta, Author and Storyteller, and email me at if you are interested in inviting Louisa May to your venue to speak about her time as a civil war nurse and about her writing.


  1. Such interesting experiences to draw on for your writing!

    1. I agree. Always fun to read how authors get to creation and get inspired.