Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Thursday, March 08, 2018

March 7th, 2018

Our first meeting in March was well attended. 

Check the FWA website, 
Also for those who may be interested in writing events, we received a link to this website;

Congratulations to our own Don Westerfield on publishing his entitled Echoes of Engines and Men Memoirs of an Air Guardsman. Available on Amazon and from Don at our next meeting. Good stuff!

Three new writers came to this meeting and it was a pleasure to meet them. Welcome to Phyliss, George, and Mike.

A discussion of the events at our last meeting gave us insight into how our writers enjoyed Elizabeth Sims' presentation last meeting. The consensus was positive and most said they learned a lot from what she had to say.

The reading portion of our meeting began with Bill reading the beginning of a new project. He's sketching some ideas with a writing blast. He presented the ideas in the rough form. 
1. The Orca's Leg, explores the mind of an old Orca in captivity for many years. An interesting and provocative idea with a plethora of potential.
2. The Motorcycle Wreck, a young couple take a ride on his motorcycle after spending the week at Daytona Beach during Bike Week. Disaster strikes when a truck and the motorcycle try to occupy the same space.
3. The Old Marine Park, an aging marine park, in financial difficulty, finds itself in even deeper trouble when a young woman's leg turns up in the Orca's show-pool.
What happens next? We’ll have to wait and see what he does developing the story.

Don reveals the source of his book title when he shares these two poems, Up There and Echoes of Engines and Men. Great poems.

After rewriting the opening chapter of The Manipulator, Debbie read the latest version. Great dialog and a subtle hook. She received a lot of feedback we hope helps her move forward.

Having received the proof copy of this latest book, A Gathering of Demons, Bruce shared the cover art with us as well as the snippets of prose inspiring the burning angel on the cover. He also gave us a preview of his newest project and it looks to be a winner. Good luck!

A true experience prompted Linda to write what she does best, Life Experiences. Exercise class is not her favorite pastime. Upon arriving, with hubby, at the gym she discovers her ID card will not work. She makes a trip to the administration office and finds out the card is out of date, they changed the system about 6 or 7 months back. Has it been that long? Oh well, after getting her new card and working out, she discovers the picture on the ID is not her. Or is it? Let's look for this story in a publication in the future, it's title; Saving Face.

Peter continued with the theme Bill began with, a Simple Assembly of Ideas. 1. A physical exam involving complicated machinery and much noise prompted an idea he uses in a story he is developing. 
2. A remembrance, not of the past but of the present, leaves the reader with and eerie feeling. 
3. A dead lizard in the house provokes thoughts of life and the way we as humans rank its importance. 
4. Encounters with nature in Africa spawn thoughts of many things, how do you feel when coming on a Croc in your path while strolling beside the river? What do you think about while walking in a forest which feel the effects of first frost? A dog, his master, do you meet them on your journey?

No Such Word as Can't, is a story Lois wrote about a young girl without legs who becomes an accomplished gymnast because she idolizes an Olympic gymnast. Several years later, she discovers, her idol is also her sister.

How the Spoonbill Became Pink, is an improbable story wrenched from the warped imagination of Ian. Using a sparsely recognized religion, Pastafarian, He tells the tale of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. After imbibing in an enormous amount of intoxicant, The FSM creates a new world. Upon sobering up, he sends his nephew, Hiram, to see how the world is doing. Hiram disobeys and makes changes. Look for this story to find out what happens, it's worth it.

George, a first-time reader, shared his version of free verse poems similar to The Spoon River Anthology fare. A Vietnam Vet’s eulogy and his Grandpa’s story showed real promise and were worthy of the original publication.

We ran out of time as the meeting drew to a close and Doug did not get to read, he will lead off the next meeting’s reading segment.

Until next time, 
Keep on Writing!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February 21st, 2018

It was a full house tonight. We came to hear our esteemed speaker, Elizabeth Sims and were almost SRO, but fortunately, we found a few extra chairs sitting around the firehouse, and the audience was seated.

Elizabeth fired up the projector, hooked up the computer, and put up with a stumbling introduction from yours truly before bringing up a poignant fact; "Writing a Book is Easy and Fun." As that statement filled the packed room, I heard the sharp intake of a collective breath. I could almost hear the thoughts in the room, What the devil are you saying, woman? Writing is hard work! Well, guess what, it’s not. Writing is the easy part, it’s what comes after the writing that’s hard.

As Elizabeth worked her magic, she introduced methods of simplifying the writing process. Get comfortable to write, enter into garret mode, and, for this exercise, Eliminate Perfection. It doesn’t matter if what you’re writing is a properly grammatic document or a page full of disjointed thoughts, get the words on paper, or a computer screen if that’s your bag. As she progressed, Elizabeth introduced some unique words to describe a few of the actions and methods she uses to get going. Writers have the ability to coin words and use them as they see fit, Elizabeth is a master at it.

Your brain is invaluable when writing, but even more valuable is your heartbrain. What the devil is a heartbrain? Well, it’s a made-up word courtesy of Elizabeth Sims and I read it to mean, it’s simply writing what you feel instead of what you know. Put emotion into your writing, let it flow. Now, how do you do that? It’s simple, don’t try. Let the words fall where they may, look for patterns in what you’re writing. How often do you find yourself repeating a theme and thinking, is this redundant? Maybe it is at this point, but there’s a story in you fighting to come out. Follow your heart, capitalize on those recurring themes.

Stormwriting is another of Elizabeth’s words. Look, it’s simple; you write up a storm. Getting started is easy, start with a thought, we all have them occasionally. Write it down and say, YES, AND or WHAT IF. Now, write, don’t try to make it grammatically correct or even necessarily coherent at this point. Have fun with it, write until you’ve exhausted the idea maker. Then take a break and relax, treat yourself to a cool drink or a nap before coming back to see what you’ve written. You’ll be surprised.

Okay, I’ve just scratched the surface of wisdom imparted in a two-and-a-half-hour presentation, I wish we could have had more time. Most of us came away with more of a bargain than we realize. It might take a few days, as we rehash in our minds much of what we heard, to capture even a small percentage of what was presented. 

Elizabeth’s book, You’ve Got a Book in You, a stress-free guide to writing the book of your dreams, is all that’s advertised. What it says on the cover promises to let the book inside of you make its way to paper. It’s not a how-to book, it’s a you-can-do book and Elizabeth knows it can be done, she’s written a shelf full of great mysteries, short stories galore, and hundreds of articles aimed at making writers better at their craft.

We thank Elizabeth Sims for sharing her knowledge and taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to visit her website,, and if you didn’t have a chance to pick up a copy of her book tonight, it’s available on Amazon or    


I know these things and write with them in mind:

Writing is Fun. I write for fun and the thrill of seeing my ideas on paper. Maybe I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up a few dollars from book sales in the process, but that is not as important as the thrill and fun of creation.

My Imagination Can Go Anywhere. Pick a location, it doesn’t have to be a real place. I can explore the working of a killer's mind as they kill with abandon, I can be a hero, a sinner, a saint, capture the bad guys, visit an undiscovered planet, or dive to the depths of a fictional ocean, all the while not moving from my desk. 

If I Don’t Like It, I Can Change It. I’ve written it but when I’m finished, it doesn’t seem real, it’s plastic, fake, unimaginative. That’s okay, another piece of paper or another few bytes on my computer is all it takes to redirect, add emotion, make it real, change the sex of a character, change the origin of the story, do anything I want, it’s my story and I have the power.

Well, that's about all my old brain can find to say right now. Our next meeting is March 7th, same time, same place. We will discuss what we’ve learned tonight as well as hear and discuss our own writings. 

Until then,
Keep on Writing

Thursday, February 08, 2018

February 7th

It’s season, we had a total of nineteen attendees at the meeting including two first-timers. We welcome Tanya and Ed, hoping you enjoyed the meeting and see your way clear to return.

We opened the meeting on time and Lois Stern announced the new 2018 Tales2Inspire subject line. It will be High Impact Kids. True stories of kids working to improve the world and way of life for those around them. A great storyline.

Bruce reminds us, the Venice Book Fair is March 23 – 24th, the 24th being the sale day and he has a table. If you wish to share it contact him or see him at the next meeting. It will cost you $75 for half the table. Visit the website,

Ed pointed out the Fort Myers Book Fair is coming March 3rd. He says it’s worth going to see what’s happening even if you don’t buy a table.

Darrian announced her story, Two Violins, has been purchased by Cricket Magazine and will be in an upcoming issue.

And finally, Ian’s new book, A Wartime Journey Revisited, is proofed and ready for print. Hopefully, he will have copies before his departure this spring.

We embarked on Stage 2 of our writing exercise. At our last meeting, we wrote a short piece in fifteen minutes including the words, screwdriver, forty-two, and purple. We had quite a wide spectrum of genres and approaches. This meeting we were asked to take those stories and pass them to the person on our left; each story was to be written again with changes designed to make it different, comedy becomes tragedy; bizarre becomes plausible; etc. Again, it was interesting to see what happened.

We had murder becoming a fashion show, si-fi becoming comedy, mundane becoming mystery, and ridiculous become even more ridiculous as a deceased woman is buried in a pilfered cemetery plot.

It’s remarkable when writers have but a few short minutes to come up with a story plot. Some stumble, some soar but, all respond.

As we moved on to the reading/critique portion of the meeting we were running a little short of time and only about half our readers could present. Next meeting, we have a guest speaker, Elizabeth Sims, noted author and friend of our group. Don’t miss her.

Doug opened the reading with a rewrite of the second chapter of his latest Yale Larson mystery. In the first chapter Yale was called upon to identify the remains of his father, a man whom he’d not seen in many years. Chapter two introduces Yale’s half-brother and leaves us wondering why he’s in the picture after not being around for years.

A Galactic traveler, along with an army of helpers bring life to suffering worlds in Ian’s latest work. However, when the traveler feels his life ending he instructs his helpers to deposit his body on a nearby small, but welcoming, planet. They bury him in a beautiful area surrounded by towering red rocks as they excavate the area and put him to rest. The local inhabitants are moved from the are lest they recall the interment. This is the “true” story of how Bryce Canyon came to be. Well, according to Ian, anyway.

With his usual aplomb, Ed brought us a poem entitled Dynamic Existence. It’s deep meaning and unusual premise makes the reader think. 

While in the poetry vein, Peter shared a group of short works, each a gem. Slow to Go, compares life with a flickering candle; Silent Like a Soldier, a requiem for small plants unable to mature; Life Widens, who I might be. In all ten poems were shared, though it took only ten minutes a lifetime passed through our minds.

Darienne debuted her new work Pleasant, about a young slave boy in 1841. A difficult subject but she does it justice. In this story, the boy must choose between friendship and freedom. A tough choice and she handles it well.

We ran out of time, so, Bill, Don, Debbie, Bruce, Linda, and Rene will have to wait until the next reading session to share their work, we know it'll be worth the wait.

Until next time, Keep on Writing,

Monday, February 05, 2018


Hello again y'all,

February is going to be a fun month. Our meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7th, is a regular meeting and I'm looking forward to hearing some great stories. We will be doing the Second Stage of the Creative Writing Exercise. Be prepared.

At our second meeting of the month, Feb. 21st, we are honored to have as a guest speaker, internationally recognized author, Elizabeth Sims, Barring any unforeseen complications, like the flu or virus sweeping the nation.

Elizabeth is the author of the Rita Farmer Mysteries and the winner of the 2003 Lambda and Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) Goldie Award for Lillian Byrd Crime Series books. She is also a contributing editor for Writer's Digest magazine.

She is represented by the Donald Maass agency, belongs to several literary societies, and is a member of American Mensa.

I understand she will be speaking on her book, You've Got a Book in You and passing along tips and tricks for getting the best out yourself where it comes to writing.

I hope you will join us at our regular meeting time, 6:30 PM and bring notepad.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

January 17th 2018

Another meeting and, as usual, we had fun. 

Lois is back from New York, this is her 8th year visiting us. Debbie returns after an extended northern visit. Linda B, back from the frozen north brought her friend Linda S with her. Welcome back y'all. 

Mary joins us for the first time, we hope she enjoys the meeting making it the first of many she attends. 

After opening the meeting, we turned the proceeding over to Ian. Using techniques suggested by his son, the headmaster at an exclusive school in Great Britain, he presented each of us with a paper entitled, Creative Writing Exercise (Stage 1). We had 15 minutes to write a story including three items, a screwdriver, the number 42, and the color purple. With 15 writers in attendance, you might imagine the subject matter. Writers tend to write about things they know and understand. Subjects broached in these offerings ranged from a simple “junk drawer” in an average home, to a futuristic sci-fi offering. The exercise was fun and challenging; Part 2 is scheduled for the next meeting.

After hearing all the stories from the challenge, we moved on to readings our members brought to share. 

Peter presented a mystical piece entitled Umbachara. A young man, an unlabeled bottle of wine, and a beautiful gypsy girl without clothing, combine in a story set in a vineyard under a warm sun buffered by the shade of the vines. The first wine of the season, the most potent and flavorful, bears the name Umbachara. As the young man imbibes in the new wine and... Look for the story in an upcoming publication.

Returning to his novel following the Roman Emperor Constantine and his family, Ernie gives us a glimpse into the life of  Constantine’s wife, Fausta, as she's held captive by her father in his attempt to usurp the throne. 

Our first-time attendee, Mary, brought us a story aimed at the Young Adult market. Entitled Journey to Cape Canaveral, 2020, a young girl writes an essay of 500 words in hopes of winning a trip to watch the launch of Apollo 8 in 1968. What happens? Does she win? Does she get to Canaveral?

The Second Hand, Ed's poem, elicited a ton of comment. Questions of existence, beliefs, and the future make for an insightful moving piece.

Bill revisited the first chapter, edited to provide a canvas for his portrait of a retrospective look at a life lived to the fullest. His untitled novel shows us an Old Man and his Wife who have an impact on multiple lives throughout their history. Mystery, beautiful prose, and an intriguing plot blend to give us a story to melt the hardest hearts.

We ran a little long, not having time to hear from all our readers, we were forced to ask Ian and Doug to wait until next meeting. They will be first on the reading list. We thank all of our members for their patience as we try to give each piece time and attention befitting the effort put forth by our authors.

Well, that wraps it up for this session. Check back with us often as we will post entries when we have news.

We hope to see you on February 7th. 
Until then, keep on writing.

Monday, January 08, 2018

January 3rd, 2018

Welcome Back!

It’s a new year and our writers are as eager as ever to share their work. This meeting brought us one new face and a couple we haven’t seen in a while. Having been under the weather for a couple of months, we welcomed Darienne back and are glad to see her up and about once again. Also, welcome back Bill. He’s back in town, hopefully for more than a few weeks, we understand it gets cold in Kentucky, we’re glad he’s joined us again this year. As for the first-timer in our midst, Rene, an artist, joins us wanting to use her talents for writing. We welcome her aboard and will do our best to help her feel comfortable here.

At our last meeting Bruce Haedrich suggested a wrinkle for this meeting. So, we decided to give a try. At future selected meetings, a member will set forth a writing exercise prompt, a simple item or idea, and the group will spend 10 minutes scribbling away, coming up with something about the prompt. This week’s prompt being “a crumpled cup.” After the ten minutes it’s pencils down and we read what we came up with. I think it will be interesting, to say the least, the variety of this week’s musings was astounding.

A couple of meeting back, Doug challenged us to write a short, approximately 500 words, using one, or all, of the following words, Obsession, Possession, and Confession. Several of us accepted and read the vignettes. The results were varying and showed a range of ideas.

First up in reading items we would like some ideas on, we heard from Bill. Citing a busy summer schedule, he said finding time to write this summer was nearly impossible and he got more done in the few days he’s been back than all summer. He read a short piece of his story in which a nameless old man, equally nameless wife, and his airplane are the protagonists. Good work as usual. His work is entering the rewrite and edit stage now and it’s going to be good, a short novel which all can enjoy not just flying enthusiasts.

Ernie veered from his work on the Emperor Constantine and brought us a parable from the New Testament with a modern spin. Guests were amazed as a young man came to the aid of a woman at her son’s wedding. It seems she underestimated the amount of wine needed to fill all the glasses for the final toast. While knowing the outcome, it was intriguing to learn how Ernie found a way to set the story in this modern era.

Stepping back from his soon to be published memoir, Don shared a tale of two college friends traveling on a dark and dreary road. Once, in their college days, one of the boys, when romancing the daughter of an influential donor, told the girl his name was his best friend’s name instead. Poor judgement and the lack of proper precautions resulted in fingers being pointed at the wrong man. However, things worked out when the girl said she’d never seen the man in her life who’d been called to the Dean’s office. When a similar incident occurred some years later, a trip in foul weather ended with the pair being stranded at a remote farmhouse owned by an attractive older woman. The devious friend got his comeuppance, although not in a manner you might expect.

Reading from his book, A Gathering of Demons, Bruce tells of a young gypsy girl who sees the future and predicts chaos will reign. She has difficulty convincing others her vision is real. Who among us would be receptive to her predictions?

Wounded but Not Conquered from Ed’s “creative memoir,” depicts the experiences of an underage theater usher. His introduction to less than upstanding individuals unleashes a flood of exciting new adventures and lights the fuse of adolescent curiosity. Lord help us, we look forward to upcoming chapters.

A futuristic look at the fate of certain politicos, as seen by Ian in his piece entitled, Trump in Hell. Analyses the circles of hell while attempting to choose the appropriate castigation for the sins committed. Fantastic humor precedes a conclusion which is completely off the wall and unexpected. Enthusiastically entertaining.

We wish you all the best in the new year. Join us the first and third Wednesday of the month for entertaining interaction with fellow writers designed to help your writing as you help other writers as well.

Until then, 
Keep on Writing.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Holidays 2017

Another year has come, in a few days we will begin anew. The past year brought us some wonderful stories, saw remarkable improvement in our developing writers, and allowed us to enjoy the friendship and companionship of like-minded people. Thank you.

We participated in our annual Holiday Meeting by enjoying goodies furnished by our members, too many to list but delicious by any standard. Cookies abounded, meatballs in marinara, pierogis, candy, and tarts galore. I gained 5 pounds, well... at least I felt like I did. And, as part of our semi-annual tradition, we made our donation to the Nokomis Fire Department recreational fund. This year we collected and distributed $273 thanks to the generosity of our members. The firefighters expressed their thanks and appreciation.  

Peter announced the pending publication of his newest work. We're looking forward to the day it hits the market.

Another bit of good news, Kathleen and Tim announced their engagement. We wish them all the best and know they are looking forward to an enjoyable life together. See our Member's Link list on this page. Look for

Ellie, the youngest member of our group, read two short pieces. One, a delightful piece in which a sister and brother, probably not influenced by the relationship she has with her brother, engage in an interrogation to find a missing truth, the second addressed the challenge issued by Doug Sahlin at our last meeting. Good work Ellie.

Ian, accompanied by his delightful spouse, introduced us to the real Santa. Well, a Santa concocted in his mind but based on the Saint Nicholas of the East, now know as Turkey. In his story, the revered bishop dies and becomes a vampire. Goodness in his heart does not allow him to turn to evil. Instead, he enlists a corps of "undead" to spread his legacy of gift-giving across the globe. Both fun and intriguing, this story shows the talent of an exceptional story teller.

George followed that with reading a poem by Shel Silverstein. A young lad befriends a snowball and, unwilling to be separated from his new friend, he invites his new friend to spend the night. They snuggle in bed but, in the morning, the boy finds his friend has run away during the night. But, before he left, he wet the bed.

Don read a couple of wonderful pieces appropriate of the season. Beyond Christmas brings an awareness to our humanity we often avoid and it does so in a wonderful manner. Remembrances of  Christmas Eves looks back at some of the most wonderful times in our lives.

We took several breaks during the evening to visit the goody table.

In a story entitled Second Thought, written and read by Tim, a young man writes a suicide note; he calls a hotline and speaks to a young man about his age and has second thoughts. While retrieving the paper from his printer with plans to destroy the letter, a gust of wind sweeps it from his hand and carries it out the window to the ledge outside. It attaches to an abandoned bird's nest and flutters in the breeze. His attempt to retrieve it produces some unintended consequences. This is a must read, look for it in future publications.

In the spirit of the season, Kathleen shared her story A Christmas Surprise and although her talent is no surprise her story does supply what the title promises. 

Another break and, while all were enjoying the goodies, After enjoying a few moments in which I thanked the group for allowing me to host these meetings, I read a poem written by my lovely wife, Betsy, in years past. Then, I read the final piece of the evening, Ian's contribution to the wine challenge, Plonk. The story takes a look at the customs of societies worldwide toward wine and other alcoholic beverages in relation to minors. Interesting subject.

Our next meeting will be the first of 2018. Join us January 3rd at the Nokomis Fire Station. We gather at 6:00 PM to exchange pleasantries and the meeting opens at 6:30 PM. Hope to see you there.

Until then,
Keep on Writing!

Friday, December 08, 2017

December 6, 2017

We gathered on this second to the last meeting of 2017 at the Nokomis Fire Station and began at our usual 6:30 pm start time. Ernie Ovitz filled in for Rod and led the meeting. We agreed our next meeting, Wednesday, December 20th, would be our annual Christmas Party. We also agreed to take up a collection at that time and show our appreciation to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department for the use of their facility. 

We encourage everyone to bring spouses, friends, and a treat to share. As always, we remind everyone, our firefighter friends will gladly polish off any leftover treats, please don’t hold back. The food will not go to waste, though it may go to waist. 

Our annual Christmas meeting is a light, fun affair; we encourage those so inclined to bring a “Short” humorous or seasonal piece to read. The party begins with food, fun, and good conversation. We look forward to seeing all our members and hope many of our old friends come by to join in the fun. 

Doug Sahlin has issued a new creative challenge theme for the January 3rd meeting: Obsession, Possession, ConfessionHe challenges us to write a short creative piece using one or more of the three subjects. We encourage everyone to keep the story short, no more than 500 to 700 words, so everyone has a chance to read and receive feedback from the group. Our last challenge was on the subject of wine and was well received. 

Thirteen writers joined us for the meeting and everyone brought something to read. We decided to waive discussion time and get right to the readings. We were most pleased to welcome Ellie Blackden, age 13, and her dad, age not revealed, to our group. Ellie says she's excited about writing and working on a dystopian novel with plans to self-publish using CreateSpace. She brought the first draft of Chapter One to read for us. 

We typically read in order from our sign-in sheet and, as Ed Ellis arrived first, he was first on our list. His opening poem was thoughtful and thought-provoking; Ed had several requests for copies. 

Peter Frickel shared a poem, Bananas, delivered with style, diction, and aplomb only Peter can muster. He followed the poem with a philosophical monologue entitled Truth, before giving us his take on the spirit of wine with Ubachata. It was great fun, and Peter, I hope I got the spelling right. 

Jim Jacobs was up next, his piece took us to the “Twilight Zone” of Townland, a place where every man is named Sam. His concept intrigued the group as he received many comments and, we hope, helpful suggestions to take away. 

Kathleen Kilpatrick read next. She also delved into the surreal with The Persistence of Time. A story inspired by Salvador Dali's famous painting. She tells of an inheritance which leads her protagonist on a journey of discovery, finding a family she never knew and an unexpected destiny.

Our next author surprised the group with a generous gift. Bruce Haedrich brought in several copies of the newest book in his Dan Marin Mystery Series, Finding Chloe, and passed them out to the group. We thought they looked great but Bruce was dissatisfied with the cover. His dissatisfaction was our gain. I am a Dan Marin reader and highly recommend Bruce’s books to any mystery fan. Thanks Bruce!

Our readings continued with Don Westerfield as he shared another chapter from his military memoir. He had us laughing and shaking our heads in amazement at his humorous story of the jet engine that started itself. Knowing Don's penchant for storytelling, at the conclusion of his reading several members of the group asked, “Did that really happen?” He swears it did; he's never fibbed to us before. Don's chosen title is, Echoes of Engines and Men. He says he's close to having it ready for publication, something we eagerly await . 

Kathleen, our New Englander, returned to us for the season. She kept us laughing, while making a few of us blush momentarily, as we heard her story The Mud Room. Oh my, I would not want to be that fellow. The big dummy got what was coming to him, that’s for sure. I might have gotten a little red around the cheeks as it was a juicy tale in Kathleen's unique style. 

George Milburn had a tough act to follow but was up to the challenge as he shared his work in progress Living and Dying in Osprey, Chapter 3. Set in the war torn years of the early 1940’s, murder was afoot in the Village of Osprey, Florida. His protagonist, Evelyn, discovers her friend Dorothy's parents murdered and Dorothy near death. We're eager to see where George takes us as the murder mystery unfolds. 

After our 8:00 pm break, Debbie MacAvoy read Chapter 2 of her work in progress, The Manipulator. Also set in the 1940’s, Debbie’s story takes place in New York. She has the authentic New York dialog mastered and in this chapter Teddy, a New York City boy, finds himself on a farm upstate. For Teddy and his farm hosts, John and Martha, it’s culture shock to the n'th degree. The situation tests them all. Debbie asked the group for comments and suggestions. Ed Ellis and others were eager to help. We will be interested to hear what she has for us next time.  

Doug Sahlin shared his moving piece Words of Love. The discovery of letters from a loved one lost. The writing came from the heart and we thank Doug for sharing with us. 

Ed Feldman took up the wine challenge with enthusiasm. He turned it into a longer piece with the story of a successful but lonely man cuckolded by a younger second wife. The poor guy’s life spirals down until wine snobbery becomes the driving insult and ultimate final straw. Ed is complimented on his writing style and we look forward to hearing more. 

Ellie Blackman, our final reader, sat patiently through our meeting and listened to the readers with interest. Though our time was drawing to a close, all agreed we wanted to hear Ellie’s piece. She presented us with printed copies from Chapter 1. Her words painted a dark picture of civilization’s collapse. Through it all, her protagonist and dog, Buddy, manage to survive. We wonder what will happen next. We hope Ellie and her dad return to share more of her story and let us see how she progresses. Ellie, you are most welcome anytime. 

Thanks to all of our participants, and we look forward to seeing all of our Sarasota Writers at our Christmas party, December 20th.

Keep on writing.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wednesday, November 15th. 2017

Welcome back. 

This week we have news, our own Bruce Haedrich published the 8th book in his Dan Marin mystery series, it's entitled Finding Chloe. He tells us it's three stories in one book, imagine, three Dan Marin mysteries in one book, a real bargain. Look for it on Amazon. 

At our last meeting I challenged our group to write a little piece about wine. Easy right, 500 words or less, first draft stuff, quick and simple. Well, five of us responded, I had to, it was my challenge. 

Doug responded with an enticing tale of a French femme fatale serving her wine/food critic lover a romantic meal in her apartment. The twist at the end was typical Doug.

Kathleen gave us another twist on wine when she rolled out a rollicking verse wherein Tinker Bell meets… well you have to hear her read it to truly enjoy the piece.

Tim captured the essence of a twisted classic with his Twas the Night Before Christmas in Nokomis. Who knew Santa enjoyed more than milk and cookies.

Debbie brought us a suspenseful tale of Wine Girl. A mysterious visitor leaves a bottle of wine on the kitchen counter as a welcoming gift. She also brings terror to summer visitors in a lonely cabin with a history and a reputation for the gruesome. If you find a welcoming bottle of vino at your next rental…

My entry was much less exciting as it explored the use of wine among today’s society and throughout history.

We entered the reading portion of the evening with a tale written by Bruce. It was read by Peter who gave it a most tantalizing tone. In Tribute to Robert Guest, a music instructor who had a profound influence on Bruce’s life, the piece chronicled a young man’s performance in a piano competition in university. While his friends watched, he enraptured the audience with a performance of a short piece by Franz Liszt. The thunderous applause gave proof he’d won the competition. However, the encore brought a reaction beyond any received for any previous performance. Look for Bruce’s book in the future.

Peter read a short excerpt of his work and explained his thought processes in producing such a stimulating piece. Getting to peer into a creative mind leaves us in awe. Understanding the premise and following another’s train of thought is, at best, confounding. Especially as he delves into a character’s inner struggle as to abort or bear a child.

In Guts, Ed’s depiction of a teen, a remembrance of his youth, participating in a cross-country race and, due to the heckling of his friends, resolves to not finish last for once in his life. His descriptions of elation in passing other runners, the surge of power, the feeling of speed, and the devastation of will experienced when a slow-moving train interrupts the race leaves the reader with a palpitating heart while gasping for air.

With Ian’s return from his summer hiatus, he brought a beautiful piece of mystery and wonder from a visit to Utah’s Arches National Park. An old Indian presents a hiker with a small stone disc engraved with symbols of unknown origin. The hiker discounts the talisman but continues his hike. Soon, he slips away from the crowd of tourists and finds himself in a secluded part of The Devil’s Garden. There, in his isolation, he discovers an arch not marked on the map he carries. As he gazes in wonder through the arch, he witnesses the dance of a solitary shaman and watches in awe as the moon falls, growing larger with each passing moment. Upon reporting his vision to the park rangers, they return with him to the site and find a solid rock wall where he'd encountered an arch only moments earlier. "It will be an arch someday, thousands of years from now," the ranger explains, "but only after the wind and rain wear it away over the centuries." The talisman, is gone, lost to the ages and only he…

We look forward to seeing you soon at a meeting. The first and third Wednesday of each month, barring a holiday falling on these days, we meet and chat at 6:00 PM. We begin the meeting at 6:30 PM. Please come, join us if you enjoy writing, reading, or listening to talented people discuss a myriad of subjects.

Until then, keep writing!


Friday, November 10, 2017

Thank You, Kerri

I'm passing this on for all our readers. Thank you, Kerri.

Rod - this is the literary journal at St. Leo - near Tampa. 
Might be a nice challenge for someone in the group since the entry fee is only $10.00.


Lightning Key Review in conjunction with Green Rabbit Press is seeking submissions for an inaugural chapbook prize for creative nonfiction, in memory of the magazine’s co-founder, Kurt Wilt.  Harrison Scott Key, author of the Thurber Prize winning memoir, The World’s Largest Man, will judge the contest.

The winner will receive a $500 prize along with 50 copies of the chapbook and a free entry to the Sandhill Writers Retreat at Saint Leo University, May 19, 2018, where Harrison Scott Key will be the keynote reader.
Entries must be creative nonfiction essays or memoir, 30-50 pages in length, either as one long essay or a series of essays.  Previously published work in magazine and journals is fine.  There is a $10 entry fee.  One submission per person.  Former students and colleagues of the judge are not eligible.

All entries will be due by January 1, 2018.  Announcements will be made in late winter, early spring of 2018.

For questions, please visit the website:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

November 1st,

We had a great meeting this week and welcomed a first-time attendee. Ed Feldmann joined us for his first meeting. Welcome!

Ed Ellis shared his experience of giving a presentation at the Women's Resource Center in Sarasota. He says he's looking forward to a second class and was impressed by his students.

I heard from Ken Boring, the author who spoke with us a couple of months ago about his book Remembering What I Forgot, a story of Alzheimer Patients and their caregivers. He also gave a presentation at the Women's Resource Center. It feels good giving back to the community.

On Wednesday November 15th, Tim Jacobs and Kathleen Kilpatrick will present a program at the Selby Library where a writer's group meets on the second floor. Their presentation is slated to begin at 1:00 PM and last about an hour.

During our discussion we touched on how to instill emotion in our writing. Choosing the proper words makes or breaks how the piece comes across. Darianne suggests a resource she found online, The Emotional Thesaurus

While on the subject of emotion, Doug shared a story about wine which sparked a stray brain cell in this writer. I issued a challenge for the group, write a short story of 500 words of less with the main topic being wine, the drinking of, results of, or making of. Have fun with it.

We moved on to the reading portion of our evening and Darienne was first up as she gave up her turn last meeting for this writer. She brought a piece read previously entintled, Blue Max. The story follows a Grandmother, Granddaughter, and Blue Max, their dog, as a storm approaches. Her changes were appropriate and made the story better but she received additional feedback aimed at making the story more fluid and understandable.

Bruce writes mysteries and, for each, he looks for and chooses a quote appropriate to the subject. With the quote in place, he finds a way to reference, or paraphrase, the quote within the story; a clever and interesting ploy. He shared three instances from his works, Finding Chloe, Metropolis, and Vendetta. 

Don shared an excerpt from his memoir of a career in the military. With morale low and the squadron in poor readiness, our fearless hero points out to the Colonel how the entire mess is the Colonel's fault. That might not have been a great idea. As it turns out, nearly 18 years pass before Don's next promotion. But don't dismay, the promotion made him the highest ranking Non-Com in the Indiana Air National Guard.

Resurrecting a poem entitled A Beacon of Reality, as requested by Barbara, Ed gave the group chills with poignant verse. It made us feel our mortality.

Tim shared a piece he calls, A Failed Clown. Finishing a gig at a youth's birthday party, a man returns home and finds a letter in his mailbox informing him he's failed Clown School. He turns to alcohol and... you need to read this story.

Kathleen brought us a children's book, Mr. Silhouette, or Mr. Sign Guy, (title soon to be chosen.) The hero lives in Sign Town where he must confront a Sign Lion as it terrorizes the residents.

Debbie's first chapter of The Manipulator takes place in 1948 Staten Island. A trio of young lads, good friends for as long as they can remember, have a conversation about one of their number having to leave Staten Island and move to a farm. Their thoughts make the reader want to continue. Will he go or will he stay, wait until it's published and read it for yourself.

UR Ryde, by Doug, plays off the rise of ride-sharing companies. The driver thinks, "Who is my passenger?" But, maybe the passenger should think, "Who is my driver?" Doug's imagination was unfettered in this twisting plot. 

Our next meeting is November 15 and we welcome all interested in writing. We want to help others improve their skills. 

Until then, keep on writing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Website Help


Note: this blog does not recommend nor receive compensation for any business mentioned here. This is simply a resource available to our writers.

Pssst... This is from Peter Frickel

If you are in need of exploring/ finding where to look for a website developer, my son Mark Frickel offers the following opportunity.
Please communicate directly with him.

My website was created by him–have a look. 

From Mark:

Simple and jokey, but memorable I hope. If anyone needs a site done, please send them here:

Mark Frickel
Floatation International

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Thanks to Doug Sahlin

A link to a free video mentioned during the meeting on October 18th; 

The thired link on the upload page is a free course.

Here's an example of a book trailer Doug recently created:

Notice the pop-ups in the upper right-hand corner of the video and the links at the end of the video; they were added by YouTube.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 18th, 2017

Welcome Back;

We had some good fun at this meeting, not the least of which was welcoming a couple of first time attendees, Kathleen and Tim, who as Tim said, "are partners in business and life." Co-owners of Jacobs Writing and Publishing Consultants, LLC, we paid heed to the thoughtful comments each made throughout the evening. If you wish to know more about this couple or their business I suggest you check out their website, or call 239-464-9730.

Our meeting started with a brief discussion featuring a blog entry written by Jennie Haskamp in The Daily Muse entitiled 15 words to eliminate from your vocabulary to sound smarter. I came across this article some time ago and felt it worth sharing with our group. I'd no sooner finished my presentation, when several attendees presented statements using most, if not all, of the 15 words. Good fun.

Of the 12 attendees, 11 prepared work to read and wanted critique from the group. All but one accomplished their reading and each received useful comments from the group.

Kathleen was asked to lead off and read a piece she is working on with a target audience of 8 to 12 year-old's, I think she might well expand her target as we heard good work that might well apply to teens as well. The opening chapter of the piece found a ghoulish hag under a bridge where she's just finished off feasting on the brains of a pair of trolls. Unsatisfied and still hungry, she longed to find other victims and, using the sharpened bones of her victims, she knitted some clothing before setting out to hunt.

Next up was Tim. Revisiting his early love for writing he presented an essay which gave credit to his High School teachers who encouraged his love for the written word. A stirring piece, it gives credit to teachers often a forgotten part of our successes.

Peter shared a selection of readings two poems, each poignant and revealing, and a selection from his collection of letters. His short verse expresses his vision of sky and clouds above the majestic Ruwenzori mountain range of South Africa and its view of what transpires within its purview. A bit longer verse explored visions in a mirror when one lets the mind's eye see beyond the obvious. Finally, the letter reveals the passion a writer has for his craft as he imparts his feelings to a longtime friend with whom he's shared past memories.

Letitia, compiling her notes and memories for presentation in a memoir which will be powerful, shared a brief segment of the mental and physical anguish an addict mother feels. She writes from experience seeking to help others with a focus on women in crisis. She hopes to help them avoid the pitfalls of recovering addicts, alcoholics, and victims of abuse locked in a life filled with what may seem insurmountable issues. Good stuff.

Our local Irish Dame, Noreen, enthralled us with a fantasy as she listened to a group of seagulls, (in the Gallic, faoilleans pronounced free'lanns), watching people on a beach. In her story, the birds chatter away and she can understand every word. As she read we laughed aloud, often and with gusto.

When Don read his tale of attending college 40 or more years ago at an age of 40+ years, we again had a good belly laugh. The story entitled, Humanities 101, showed how a person born in the 1930's handled 1970's culture in a classroom. When a professor invited a poet to read his latest popular work, the title, Looking At Life Through A Glass Asshole, was a shock to the older students. When the contents contained a number of words considered profane by their generation... Well, you have to hear the story, or read it yourself, to enjoy it's intricate details.

Lewis Carroll's The Jabberwoky is difficult to read under the best circumstances. When Bruce read it using the techniques of an evening newscaster, it was even better. We may request a repeat performance.

George brought the opening chapters of his latest work. It's a mystery and takes place in the community of Osprey, Florida during World War II. His characters come to life and his chapter end leaves us wanting more. Can't wait!

A few week ago Doug presented a piece called, And Justice for All. This week he brought it back with changes made considering the comments he received at the last reading. Well done.

Darienne deferred her time so that Rod could read a chapter he's read before and is having trouble making it work. The changes were well received and additional suggestions made. That is the purpose of this group, Writers helping Writers. Darienne will be first on the reading list next meeting.  

We hope to see you at the upcoming meeting, November 1st. In the meantime, keep on writing.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Concerning October 18th Meeting

Three Quick Items

1. Thanks to Darienne for reminding me:

"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White are almost required for all writers.
A quote from Professor Strunk: "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."

2. Our fearless leader, Ernie Ovitz, will be unable to attend tonight or the next meeting. We'll miss him.

3. Our thanks to Peter. Here is the information for an on-air radio program that features local writers and their work.

97.5 FM
North Port Community Radio

Check out Face Book-
Dobie Pasco is the show host
12735 Tamiami Trail [US 41] North Port FL 34287

Phone: 941-564-8739

Join us Wednesday night. I hope to see a number of writers there and hear some really good stories.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Oct 4th Meeting

Welcome to our Fall meeting:

Although attendance was better, we still did not have a full house and that’s okay. All who attended came through the recent storm with little or no damage. Hang in there, only another month to go.

Marisa attended this meeting, we haven’t seen her in a while and it’s always good to have her in the group. She’s an excellent essayist and writes about very interesting subjects. She also hosts an open mike program at the Sarasota Brewing Company, 6607 Gateway Ave, in Sarasota’s Gulf Gate Neighborhood the third Wednesday of each month. If you’re not busy attending our meeting, stop by and say hello one evening; take time to enjoy great food and Fantastic Beers while listening to some interesting writers. As might be expected, her presence elicited inquiries about open mike venues in the area. 

Peter mentioned an open mike show aired in North Port, he thinks it's prerecorded and airs Sundays at 3:00 PM. He could not remember the local station so, if anybody has further information, please send me an email at

Our own Ed Ellis is scheduled to present a mini-course on Creative Writing at the
Women’s Resource Center.
340 S. Tuttle Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: 941-256-WRC1

Dates and Times.

Class #1 – 1 PM to 3 PM Friday October 20th.
Class #2 – 1 PM to 3 PM Friday October 27th.

Call the WRC for more information and who is eligible to attend.

A discussion about character names and how authors determine those names brought forth many thoughts and questions from our attendees.

One question evoked curiosity more than others; "How do you handle names from long ago in different locals? ie. Roman or Greek names from antiquity or Old English names." The consensus was “Research,” do your research and use names from the period.

For names in the modern era, the Social Security Administration’s popular names list provides the most popular names for each year. Remember, many readers have lived for decades and are familiar with names used in past years.

It's probably not a good idea to use multiple names for a single character. William Hartford may be known by more than one name in life; his friends may call him Willie, to acquaintances he's Bill, to his staff and coworkers Mr. Hartford is appropriate, a few old army buddies call him H-man, and there’s always Billy, Billy-Bob, or Hartford. Numerous other nicknames might apply. However, once you’ve introduced the character a single name within the context of your story would be less confusing to your reader. Sure, a derivations are acceptable if a special relationship is clear and consistent.

What do you think?

 As we moved on to the reading portion of our evening, Ed shared a piece which made us laugh as only his twisted, maybe only slightly bent, mind can. We were introduced to Mr. Bacharacharockus whose story takes place at Walt Disney World. Separated from his wife because he wishes only to rest and write a bit while she explores Fantasyland, Ed finds himself at his favorite restaurant. He requests a seat in the bar and a sweet tea. Three young hostesses concur, he must tell them his name before they can seat him. Not wanting to be bothered, and unwilling to use his pen name as he often does, he blurts out the first name that comes to  mind, Peter Bacharacharockus. After spelling it out for the hostesses, he's escorted to a seat where, while sipping on his sweet tea, he writes page after page of prose. All goes well until his wife arrives to retrieve him...

Ernie, challenged by a previous comment requesting more feminine presence in his work, read a chapter describing a bit of female influence in his latest tome. In this chapter, A Town Under Siege, two comely young women, princesses of Roman royalty if you will, bring bread to hungry soldiers on the walls of the city. Having endured an arduous day repelling repeated assaults by the Franks, the men are hungry for more than bread but even the youngest of the pair sloughs off the bawdy invitations of battle-weary troops. Only the presence of Constantine's son, Christmas brings the pair some uneasiness...

Peter enthralled us with the latest in a series of letters purportedly written to a friend. The letter remembers the recently deceased mother of the writer. The vivid memories of his mother and father’s relationship brings a hint of moisture to several eyes as words form descriptions of a mother waiting for a father to return from the hunt and in the final paragraph...  

After an absence of several months, Marisa returned and brought an essay entitled The Storm. Written in the second person, her rendition of an evacuation during the recent storm gave insight as how she and "the one she loved" left their new dream house against his wishes, spent the hours of the storm in another home, and the morning after the storm, their return provides a unique view of a  relationship...

Chapter 15 of Don’s memoir gives us a glimpse of what it was like when a young President, John F. Kennedy, called up military reserve troops, including the Air National Guard, in response to Russia's saber rattling. While making ready to report for duty in France, the Indiana Airmen faced with inept administrators and questionable deployment orders, end up returning home without deployment...

A piece we heard once before came back with many remarkable enhancements as Darienne read Take the Dotted Route for the second time. She and hubby embarked on a road trip this past summer. They wandered west using routes less traveled. Through the high plains of Colorado we enjoyed wonders of National Parks in several states concluding our journey at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Each locale was brought to life with great writing giving us the sense of the land with visual, sensual, and emotional prose. Not only did we see the sights of this glorious country but we met wonderful people with dreams fulfilled as they live in the paradise of their choosing...

Join us on October 18th at 6:30 for the next meeting. I don’t know what we’ll discuss but I can promise it will be interesting.

Till then, Keep On Writing!
I’ll see you there.