Schedule and Location

Our group meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Nokomis Fire Station. *If you have received your COVID vaccination, welcome, if not, PLEASE WEAR A PROPER MASK. *THANK YOU* From Sarasota or North, proceed a few blocks south of Albee Road on US 41 (past Matthews-Currie Ford) to Pavonia Road. Turn right (West, toward the bay) at the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. From the south on US 41, we are two blocks north of Dona Bay. Turn left onto Pavonia Road at the flashing yellow caution light. At the Fire Station, drive to the fire hall's far end or west side; PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK THE FIRE DEPARTMENT DOORS! We gather in the training room at the far end of the complex for a meet and greet at 6:00 pm but call the Meeting to order at 6:30 pm and take a Ten-minute break at around 7:50 pm. Meeting Adjourns: 9:00 pm

Sunday, May 21, 2023

May 17th, 2023

Nine stalwart writers attended this meeting. To start, Rod read an article by Brian Klems from Writer’s Digest, dated August 7, 2012, entitled Which vs. That. Are the words interchangeable? Not really, but a simple way of determining which word to use depends on your sentence. If your sentence doesn’t need the clause following which or that, use which. If it does require the clause, use that. For example;

Our office, which has two lunchrooms, is in Cleveland. This sentence does not need the clause without ‘which has two lunchrooms.’ Remove the clause and it states, Our office is in Cleveland.

If written ­– Our office that has two lunchrooms is in Cleveland. The phrase ‘that has two lunchrooms’ is a restrictive clause because a part of the sentence (our office) depends on it. It would indicate that we have more than one office and one of them has two lunchrooms.

Thank you, Brian Klems!

I’ve made this error multiple times. I found the mistake most of the time, but I’ll wager it made it into print on more than one occasion.

Our FWA helps us with a multitude of information in their newsletter. One such article is What an Editor Won’t Do: The Myth of the Magical Editor. How often have you heard, “My editor will fix that.” Well, guess what? Your editor won’t fix that. Editors tell you if something is wrong, but you must fix it yourself. You pay an editor to tell you what’s wrong with your writing. If they fix it, they become a co-author. There are different types of editors. Research and find out what you need to be edited. Some writers refer to themselves as “Story Doctors,” and for a fee, they will help you rewrite your story, but even these writers only give you suggestions on how to write a sentence, paragraph, or section of your work.

Remember, you are the writer. You have a distinct voice, and other writers tell the tale differently. Is that what you want?

Okay, now on to the reading portion of our meeting.

I goofed in the last issue of this blog. I had Ernie Ovitz’s story taking place in Rome when they were in Nicomedia, the eastern capital of the Roman Empire. That one’s on me. So, this time, in Chapter 57, we return to Nicomedia, and Constantine is talking with his son, one of his most trusted Generals, Crispus. As the emperor tells Crispus of Licinus’ deceit, he orders Crispus to embark on a trip to Gaul to seek out treason.

Not only does Dennis Cathcart have considerable knowledge of reptiles and exotic plants, but he is also an experienced beachcomber. He shared some of his adventures with us in which he and his father spent hours walking the near-deserted beaches of Florida’s eastern coastline. Dennis tells of the ‘special mystique’ of the thin line of where the water meets the shore. What washes up on those beaches? Everything from fish, crabs, and driftwood to bottles, bits of history in the form of flotsam and jetsam. The power of the ocean can push entire ships ashore along with parts of old wrecks from previous centuries. Thank you, Dennis, for sharing your experience.

Don Westerfield took to the podium to read his poems. In Tracks, he tells of abandoned railroad tracks crossing the fields and hills that once carried tons of commerce to the people there. Now, the iron and wooden ties lie rusting and rotting in the hot sun and cold, no longer helpful save for guiding the occasional wanderer following a long-forgotten path. In My Father’s Vagabond Life, Don tells of his Father’s adventures during the hard times of ‘The Depression.’ Boxcars and Hobo camps, back roads and highways, fright, and comfort quenched the man’s thirst for life.

In our last writing,  Gary Conkol told use of Bimbly, a skeleton that roamed across the land sampling the life of ordinary humans. As it turns out, Bimbly has toured five countries over nearly four hundred years. For the first time, our skeleton meets a group of homeless vagabonds who care for each other and accept him into their ranks. Upon seeing his reflection, Bimbly now sees a human with flesh for the first time in centuries.

“Gaia, Part II, is finished,” says Bruce Haedrich. Well, maybe, after all, there is still the editing, and we all know that will lead to some changes. But Bruce’s research is complete, and all the data is in. Gaia tells her story through Bruce’s hand. Look for Gaia on Amazon in the coming months.

James Kelly tells of a nineteen-year-old Lakota Sioux raised by the MacKenzie family who takes on the job of scouting and translating for a hunting party led by Teddy Roosevelt in Montana. Tremain meets the future leader of the ‘’Rough Riders,” and is favorably impressed.

We expected another of his great poems when Scott Anderson took the floor. However, he read the great Billy Collins poem entitled, The Lanyard. How many of us have made these simple braided items for our parents at summer camp? Look it up, and you’ll enjoy the irony.

That is my wrap of the meeting as I saw it. But then, I’m only one person. Others may see things differently. Remember that not everyone will agree with your opinions as you write, and you must respect that. We are here to write well and help others to do the same. We are not here to agree or disagree with the subject matter. So, until next time, KEEP ON WRITING!


Saturday, May 06, 2023

May 3rd, 2023


Our first meeting in May welcomed ten attendees. 

Ernie Ovitz is part of the judging procedure for the Royal Palm Literary Awards (RPLA). RPLA entries closed on April 30th, 2023. Ernie reported on the entries he read, stating, “The writing was top-notch, and most were worthy of an A grade.

After hearing from each of our writers about their current projects, we moved on to the reading portion of the meeting.


Opening the reading with Chapter 56 of the third book in his trilogy about the Roman Emperor, Constantine, Ernie Ovitz took us back to January 325 AD . After traveling for eight days to reach Rome from the Eastern Empire, the Emperor’s spy arrived with news. Foremost among the revelations was that General Senecio, who was believed to be dead, was alive and protected by Licinius. Furthermore, the general was now considered to be “A Man of Honor,” signifying Senecio had been granted membership in the Arval Brethren. All this represents a danger to Constantine’s rule. He must take action, and does by ordering close surveillance of Licinius.

Dennis Cathcart has completed his sequel to his first book, Koulev depicting his adventures collecting reptiles in the tropics. Koulev II will continue those adventures, and is now in the hands of his editors and proofreaders, being made ready for publication. Tonight he read a piece he’d written several years past. Entitled, Cycles of Life, this piece talks of changes in the lives of everything and everyone. All must endure moving from the comfortable and familiar into the unknown and sometimes even terrifying. Here, Dennis points out how “change keeps things fresh.”

Reading for the first time, Gary Conkol speaks of developing the character of his work, Bimbly Clark. Bimbly is a skeleton but doesn’t know it, or maybe he doesn't know that he isn’t, in fact, DEAD. Feedback from the group was rife with suggestions. It appears all our attendees were fascinated by Gary’s concept. How is Bimbly received? Do people understand he’s a skeleton? How do they see him? Stay tuned for more.

Poetry is a big part of our group, and our poets seldom fail to intrigue us with exciting works. Richard Cope often writes prose and poetry, but his poetry came to the fore this week. Love befalls love, and in his work entitled Auld Lang Syne, he speaks of love and how it is not our last goodbye. Traditionally, little girls love their Daddys. A young girl grows older, asking, “Daddy, When Will You Be Home?” With each stanza, the question becomes more and more demanding as the girl reaches adulthood. Then, the longing for her father evaporates as she realizes Daddy was not as she dreamed he was.

In the follow-up novel to These Sacred Lands, our author, James H. Kelly, reprises his character Tremain MacKenzie as he follows the path of Shadow Hawk's son, Tremain. The young Lakota Sioux boy  entrusted to the care of Shadow Hawk's friend and respected opponent in the wars, Joshua MacKenzie. Tremain follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in learning the ways of the Lakota, but he also loves and respects his adoptive father while learning the ways of the white soldiers. The warrior within him leads him to join Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in their quest to defeat the Spanish in Cuba. Look for this adventure to join its predecessors on Amazon soon.

What Are Friends For asks Don Westerfield in the title of his short story about two lifelong pals. Have you ever had a friend or relative who did things and blamed them on you when they went wrong? Well Don’s characters, Joel Parker and Billy Baker, were friends for thirty-five years, and Billy was prone to blame Joel for things over time. A broken window as a thrown stone went astray, missing candy in the kitchen, who started the fight in high school gym class, were just a few minor violations for which Joel received unjust punishment. After a near disaster with flooding rain and an overnight stay in a barn, Joel again must explain. I hope you get to read this story sometime.

As Donna Serio took the stage with her poems, she read the public ode to her mother, There’s Something About Butterflies. A beautiful tribute to a loving and wise mother touched us all. Then, Donna read her private poem,  Will I Feel It In Winter? This poignant work asks and answers a personal and compelling question to which only the writer knows the answer. Her third offering is an ode to her son, now an adult and living independently, entitled He Has Life.


Well, that about does it for this meeting. I hope you all enjoyed it, and for those who couldn’t attend, I hope this blog helps you stay in touch with what’s happening in our little world. Remember, whatever happens in your life, KEEP ON WRITING.