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: 8:00 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Monday, March 20, 2017

April 5th

Ed Ellis will make a presentation at our next meeting.

The presentation is entitled:

ORGANIZATIONAL MODELS FOR QUALITY WRITING

Meeting Date: April 5th, 2017
Location: Nokomis Fire Station Training Room, (rear of building) Parking available behind fire station
Time: Doors open at 6 PM, presentation will be at 6:30 PM
Everyone is invited, if you have special need, such as limited driving at night, please let Ed know and suitable arrangements will be made.

We hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 15th Meeting

Wow!
Our meeting began with a report from Florida Writers Association. Several workshops are available and well worth the nominal membership fees and event charges. We urge all writers to consider joining the FWA.
Our discussion began with a look at websites and design. Many of our members have websites and maintain them, most on a less-than-daily basis; once a month is more common. Several expressed financial reasons for not hiring a professional but others say the simply want more control and feel they can "do it themselves" while keeping it simple. 
The discussion morphed in blogging and continued its transformation as we moved on to reasons for writing. Although all seemed to be interested in having their work read, it was not always for commercial reasons. Most of us seem to write for pleasure and to put forth ideas in whatever genre we've chosen. Few, if any, expressed a desire to become rich and famous from our craft but all wished to share our work with others. 
This was an interesting, if not enlightening, discussion and was well worth the time.
Russ Heitz, one of the founders of the group, joined us this evening, it’s been a while and we always enjoy his visits. I hope we’re holding up our end.

We took an early break around 7:30 and reconvened at 7:45 for readings. In Ian Schagen’s work presented for our consideration, we heard of a Flying Mermaid. This remarkable creature was based on a statue at the foot of the Pyrenees mountain range in Spain created to honor those men and women who aided refugees fleeing the persecution of the Nazis during WWII.
In that vein, Darienne Oaks offered an edited version of a previous chapter wherein a young Jewish boy is separated from his family while fleeing the Nazis and finding refuge in a Romanian Village where he plays a violin his father made for the village, including the commandant of the German garrison and his wife.
Hearing two poems written by the son of Peter Frickel, one of our regular contributors, was refreshing and proved the talent stays in the family.
Joe Giorgianni brought us a piece called The Other Side, here a man who lost his beloved wife is given a dog to help fill the void. As years pass they develop a bond that lasts until he is once again able to join his true love. Touching, it drew comments and suggestions from the audience aimed at making it even more powerful.
 Bill Elam gave us a fresh chapter and viewpoint of an emotional experience. The officer charged with delivering the news a man’s wife was the victim of a murder has a connection with the victim but must do his duty. Powerful and well written, this piece gives an outlook not normally seen in print or visual media.
Jim Kelly read two of his poems. Charley Horse had the group in stiches with its imagery and humor while Time presented a though provoking look at life. Jim’s work is always met with a desire to hear more.
The final chapter of Don Westerfield’s It’s Only Business gave us the conclusion to a fascinating look at life surrounding the finest brothel in early 20th century San Francisco.

It was a great meeting but not all members had a chance to read. Next meeting is April 5th and we will hear first from those who did not read this time. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at that meeting. I’m looking for subject(s) to research and discuss at that meeting. Please email me your suggestions and I will do my best to get a discussion ready. No matter how mundane it may seem, we always learn something with the talent represented by our group.

Hang in there,
Keep on writing!

Rod

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wednesday, 15 March, 2017

Tonight I thought we might discuss web site design and how to use it to our best advantage.
How many of us have a website?
Which company did you use to design it?
From whom did you acquire the domain name?
Does it link to social media? Is that necessary?
Has it helped you achieve some recognition?
These are but a few questions we should answer. I do have another however, how do you handle all the calls soliciting design business even after you've chosen a designer?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Wednesday, March 1 2017

As I came to the meeting, I'd drawn a blank coming up with a subject for our discussion.  As the meet and greet portion of the night was winding up, five minutes before calling the meeting to order, Bruce Haedrich approached me with a question. "What are we discussing tonight?"
I looked square in his eye and said, "I have no idea. I've been trying to come up with something but come up blank. Nobody's suggested a subject either."
He shrugged and said, "Too bad. I think I'm going to read a piece from one of my Dan Marin mysteries."
As we talked, Bruce said, "All my mystery stories are in the first person."
An epiphany, my brain slammed into gear and we had a discussion for the evening. As usual, when I broached the subject, it took on a life of its own. Numerous facets of writing in Past, Present, and Future tenses, First Person, Third Person, Narrative, or Point of View came into play and, the subject turned to dialog and how to employ it, even in the first person, to express a thought in the proper tense.
As the discussion wound down, we concluded, if you are going to break from the conventional style of writing, do it well and know what you are doing. Nothing turns a reader off faster than poor writing.

Moving into the reading portion of the evening, we heard from six of our members and enjoyed each offering. All readers were met with valuable comments and suggestions. 

A story of a Fighter Pilot engaged in a dogfight with a worthy enemy left us on the edge of our seats as, instead of concentrating on killing the enemy pilot, the victorious pilot was content to kill only the machine.

Next, the theme of mercy continued with the story of a fisherman doing battle with a huge fish. After a long and arduous struggle, the fisherman reigned victorious. But, in honor of his worthy adversary's valiant struggle, did the angler release his catch and make sure the huge sea creature was sufficiently recovered to return to his home in the deep or, did he feed an entire village with the catch?

Once again, we heard an installment in the saga of the Landis House, a luxurious house of ill repute in San Francisco following the great earthquake of 1906. We eagerly await the story's conclusion at the next meeting.

Lois Stern, creator of Tales2Inspire, brought some book cover blurbs seeking the group's opinion on the content. Such blurbs and elevator pitches are tough to write; too few words and too little time.

As the final reader, Linda read from her memoir, she's using an interesting twist. The membership made numerous suggestions and offered suggestions to streamline the piece. We can't wait for the next installment.

During the readings, Ed Ellis presented his article on dialog, or dialogue if you please. The following is a copy of that article.

Enjoy!

The Four Horsemen of Dialogue by Edwin R. Ellis
As a writer you have an obligation to the reader to study and deploy the techniques and skill of dialogue. This means as writers we need to pay special attention to this subject. It’s a structural backbone of fictional stories.
Most of the writers of our generation either have forgotten, never learned, or don’t know about the four Horsemen of dialogue (David Kantor’s Four Player System). Each horse leaves a mark when designed into dialogue. Why? In the readers mind, they know intuitively about the Horsemen, simply because they (the reader) is alive and human. We all should realize that each sentence we write is designed to communicate ideas, ideas from our heads via ink on paper and into the mind of the reader.
So what are these Horsemen and what do they do?
Horsemen #1 rides a horse named “Mover.” Moving an idea into action.
Horsemen #2 rides high in the saddle of “Opposer.” They stuff anyone’s and everyone’s ideas into a sealed wooden barrel and then walk away to see what happens?
Horsemen #3 is bareback upon the stallion “Follower.” They follow an idea as if they were sheep. They join other’s ideas without question.
Horsemen #4 rides a pony named “Bystander.” as the word implies, they stand to the side of the idea and simply observe what is taking place.
Let’s provide a simple example:
Pretend for a moment you are on a double date cruising down the boulevard being cool with another couple in the backseat of your 1957 Ford convertible. You have one hand firmly gripped upon the steering wheel, the other on your date’s leg. “Let’s head down to the Regal Cinema and watch the Rising Sun starring Clark Gable.” This character has assumed the role of the first horsemen ridding atop the horse called “Mover.”
The gentlemen from the backseat; “no way, last time we went to the Regal we got kicked out because Sam caused a problem.” This character assumed the role of the opposer throwing up roadblocks.
The gorgeous blonde in the front seat; “I really don’t care where we go, I’m along because I’m with Ed.” This character is in bed with horsemen number three, and might end up between a rock and a hard space.
The stunning brunette in the backseat; “I wish I had a tape recorder to record the three of you. You make me sick with all the syrup in the front seat. You three are something else. It was an experience just sitting here listening.” This last character has assumed the role of a bystander.
Okay, now that we have this in our minds, how can we use this valuable information as we write? If you are creating your work in a word processor, simply choose a color for each horsemen and highlight that portion in your dialogue. Who knows, you may create red, white, and blue sentences.
Here are the principles behind Kantor’s Four Player System.
“Without movers, there is no direction.”
“Without followers, there is no completion.”
“Without opposers, there is no correction”
“Without bystanders, there is no perspective”
There may be some questions brewing in the back of your minds.
Can a single character assume the roles of each horsemen or a portion of each horsemen in the same dialogue frame? Absolutely yes.
Does each character need to be attached to one or more horsemen? Absolutely yes.
Each time you focus on the power and strength of the horsemen, your character or characters will start to leave their world of flat. It’s like connecting an air hose from a hand tire pump to round out your characters.
We all know the four Horsemen from the moment we started communicating via speech. The complete stable forms from our own personal experiences. We have witnessed all of them over the years.
The difficulty is; this is so hardwired in our brains we except the behavior without thought or question. Think about this for a moment. I’m a character. I’ve stood here in a one-way dialogue frame using all four Horsemen, capturing what I believe is the immense power of the human mind to communicate clearly.
Before concluding there is one more example: this is a test. Get out your pencil and paper. After reading my concluding sentence, see if you can determine what horse or horses are at play.
Ready?
“I’m the reason the beer is always gone.”

Hang in there; keep on writing,
See you on the 15th, 
Rod


Monday, February 20, 2017

Good Stuff from Lesley Payne

The following was given to me by Darienne Oaks. It was written by Lesley Payne and contains wonderful advice for writers:

Chapters have beginnings, middles, and ends. The kicker is that it is good to end a chapter at a point of tension, with a hook, that pulls the reader forward. The beginning of the next chapter may be the resolution of something left hanging at the end of the last, proceeds through to near resolution, or to resolution with a new question raised, leaving again, a trigger that pushes the reader forward.

If you tie everything together at the end of a chapter, it leaves the reader a very handy excuse to set the book aside for a while, or forever. Compelling writing keeps the reader going. It makes a book the reader "can't put down." It makes for success. Try ending a chapter mid-scene, at a moment of crisis, with a question. However you do it, hook the reader to keep on reading.

This is, of course, most important in genres that rely the most heavily on suspense and tension, books that readers read to be held at the edge of their chairs–thrillers, action adventure, suspense. But even in romances, if you end a chapter with a strong feeling or image, a hope, a fear, a question, you can create the forward tug. Not every chapter has to end with a life-threatening cliff hanger, but strive for some sort of cliff hanger in the reader's mind–curiosity, hope, anticipation, fear.

While the specific ingredients–the pacing, the depth, the degree of emphasis on "suspense"–vary from genre to genre, the writer always aims to keep the reader hooked and reading. Look at books that have been successful in your genre and see how the chapter are structured, how hooks, or imminent danger, or just unanswered questions in the reader's mind, pull the reader onward. Ask yourself why you keep turning the pages. Or, if the book fails for you, why is it easy to stop turning, to set the book aside. Look to other successful writers for you cues here.


Create a question in the reader's mind. Don't volunteer information the reader is not curious about. Don't leave the reader feeling everything is resolved or concluded at chapter's end. Maintain tension and narrative drive. Allow the reader to participate by exercising her or his curiosity, analysis, feelings of anxiety, concern, terror, or poignancy.

Keep on writing...

Rod

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Fifteen writers gathered tonight at the Nokomis Fire House. That many writers in one room is bound to lead to an explosion of ideas and imagination. 
Broaching a subject, I’d been requested to bring before the group, led to an eruption of ideas, few of which found total agreement.
The first questions were simple: Do you use outlines? Are they good or bad? What other tools do you use?
After nearly thirty minutes of orderly and polite discussion the consensus of our group formed. Our non-fiction writers confess they use outlines and tend to adhere to them with firm tenacity. Our fiction writers seemed to find the use of outlines somewhat cumbersome. Although at least one did admit to using a modified form of outline. Employing a predetermined order in which he introduces his characters and their interaction throughout the book, he guides his stories to completion in an orderly fashion. All the writers agree outlines are useful in some cases but most of our fiction writers consider themselves “Pantser’s; they write by the seat of their pants.” It's agreed, characters drive the story and sometimes, even the author is surprised by the outcome.
When asked; “How long does it take to develop an idea and produce at least one page of manuscript,” eyes rolled and tension flooded the room. It was as if I could hear the group thinking, “Are you nuts?” However, as writers tend to do, our group rose to the challenge. Estimates ranged from years to minutes. When we narrowed it down to actual time producing the first page of manuscript after developing an idea, the range shrunk; it now was months to hours. While each of us would like to produce at least one page each day, we often struggle. But, sometimes during moments of enlightenment, when the Muse touches us, words spill onto the paper with a rush. The conclusion of the group; there is no time frame and, unless you’re on a deadline, it really doesn’t matter so long as what you produce is satisfying.
The final question addressed was as oblique as the previous ones: How long should your chapters be? We don’t make rules and even if there is a rule, it will probably be broken. In the case of fiction writers, long flowing chapters may describe pleasing experiences while action sequences might be better served using short, to the point, chapters promoting a sense of urgency and heightening tension. Breaks within a chapter often allow the writer to change point of view or give the reader a break from high tension situations. Our non-fiction writers professed the chapter length must fit the subject while sub-chapters and headings are often necessary to guide the reader. Notes and footnotes enter the equation especially when the text is designed to educate. However, not all non-fiction is geared toward education, some true stories are written to entertain and inform. In these cases, the writer may use a less stringent approach and emulate fiction writers in the presentation with the intention of preserving an air of mystery or excitement.
The discussion filled the first hour of the meeting and we spent the next ninety minutes listening to and discussing the merits of seven great pieces read by our authors. Even with only five minutes to read, our members give us great samples of their stories. We traced the path of a Dutch solider escaping the Nazi troops on his way to England where he can continue to fight. We entered the world of Black Pearls guided by the woman who became the Queen of Black Pearls. We heard a piece warning us not to be totally against things lest it force us into sacrificing that which we cherish. The transition to a story of a young man who inherited a brothel in early 20th century San Francisco drew speculation as to how the research for this piece was accomplished. Next, we met a man with two hearts, one to pump blood through his network of arteries and veins, the second, installed by a Witch Doctor in South Africa, allowed him love again. Finally, a story geared toward youthful readers introduced us to a young Jewish boy fleeing the Nazi’s in Eastern Europe. He is separated from his family and carries only sparse supplies and a violin his father made. Where will these stories go?
I encourage readers as well as writers to follow us. What do you like to read? It really doesn’t matter. Thanks for reading.

Here are a few links of interest;

A writer's conference, SLUETHFEST in Boca Raton
www.sluethfest.com

Here are two mind mapping apps. Doug Sahlin says he's used both and they're user friendly and intutive.

https://mindnode.com

http://www.simpleapps.eu/simplemind/desktop


See you soon;
Rod

Monday, February 06, 2017

READING FEST and BOOK FAIR

ATTENTION ALL WRITERS

Reading Fest and Book Fair are coming in March.

Fort Myers is having a Reading Fest on March 18th, see www.readfest.org for more information.

The Venice Book Fair is on March 24th and 25th, see venicebookfair.com for more information.

Published Authors, this is your chance to sell your work in an environment where attendees are ready to buy books.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Tales2inspire Writing Contest


From our own Lois Stern:



Have an inspiring story just begging to be told? If so, jump on the bandwagon and enter it in Tales2Inspire®, a well respected contest, but much, much more. FREE to enter. Then Tales2Inspire works hard to promote its winners. So if you want help in building your author platform, this is a great opportunity. 
Deadline Date: March 1, 2017. JUST EXTENDED TO MARCH 31st - There's still time!!!!

What should you write about? A picture is worth 1000 words, so get a FREE e-book sampler of winning stories from previous years at: www.tales2inspire.com/contest. Then scroll down the page for submission details, guidelines and “What’s In It For You” rewards..

         Lois W. Stern
Creator of Tales2Inspire 'Authors Helping Authors’ Project/Contest


         Lois W. Stern
Creator of Tales2Inspire 'Authors Helping Authors’ Project/Contest

CLICK to get the NEW Tales2Inspire E-book
                  6 Inspiring Stories - FREE 

  Your reviews are most appreciated.
                     
             Lois’ links:

Get Your Free E-book
Inspiring Stories Sampler 

Inspiring Stories blog: http://tales2inspire.com/blog
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/LoisWStern
Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/tales2inspire
Tales2Inspire YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/WinningTales

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

*** Attention ***


This information was furnished by Mr. James Abraham.

Those of you who are interested, please call the number on the flyer. Bring any information you wish to share to the next meeting, Wednesday, February 1st.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A GOOD MEETING

January 18, 2017

Our meeting was a good one. We opened with a discussion about grammar. When is good grammar needed, when can it be corrupted, and when do we simply throw the rules out the window?

Oh Boy, did that ever open the proverbial can of worms and was fun. Hard-core grammar aficionados insist the proper use of English be employed always; those who tend to write for more commercial reasons often adhere to the premise grammar can be corrupted for a less rigid style making it more appealing to less discerning readers.

Fiction Writers tended to fall into the latter group and even went as far as supporting the idea grammar could be dispensed with when writing dialog. While, Essayist, Non-Fiction Authors, and Report Writers were more supportive of using proper grammar. Concessions were made by both school and even the hard core “grammarians admitted there are times when circumstances allow some deviation from the rules.

No hard and fast methods were agreed upon but, the general consensus was, let the author do as he or she sees fit and the readers will make the decision to read or not to read, all the while remembering not to stray too far from the accepted norm of grammar’s influence.

Oh, by the way, our Poets looked at the whole thing as an exercise worth noting but said,

Matters not if you get it right
We will not change the world tonight
But if we study hard and are not Cheaters
We will soon find the proper meters

As our discussion closed we were privileged to hear some fine examples of work from our members. Each of the pieces drew comments and ideas from the listeners. As always, the comments were valuable and aimed toward helping the author better the work.

I look forward to seeing you at our next meeting, Wednesday, Feb 1st, 2017 in the Nokomis Fire House training room.

Our topic for discussion will be; DO OUR FEELINGS GUIDE WHAT WE WRITE? This comes to us inspired by an article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL published on Dec. 3rd and 4th by Robert M. Sapolski, entitled Laughter Is the Best Medicine to Gauge Social Ties; suggested by Ernie Ovitz.

It sounds like fun to me.
Write till it hurts;
Rod
  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Next Meeting

Wednesday, January 18th, our meeting begins at 6:30 PM at the Nokomis Firehouse training room, end of the building away from US 41 - and please park in parking areas - do not block firehouse doors. We are looking forward to your attendance.

This week we will have a discussion on grammar, proper usage and exceptions. Does it really matter when writing a fictional piece containing dialog? This is an open forum and if you are an expert please fell free to come prepared to instruct.

We will also have as many readings as time will allow. Let's try to limit the length to approx 5 minutes of reading time and we will have a discussion and or critique session after each reading. We do not limit the time on discussions if constructive and relevant.

See you there;
Rod

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A New Year

Welcome to 2017.


Our group has undergone some changes over the past year. George Mindling chose to step down as a leader and we miss him but Ernie Ovitz has filled his shoes and is doing a great job. 

Rod DiGruttolo, has continued as a facilitator.

Over the next few weeks we'll make an effort to post events and meeting highlights. I invite members to provide articles and notices so we can keep up-to-date with the happenings in our little writing world.

Thanks,
Rod 


Friday, November 18, 2016

2016 - 2017 Season

Hello Everyone! The Sarasota Writers Group blog will shortly have a new admin! After several years of enjoyable posting and blogging, I'm handing the reins of this great page back to the group. Hopefully I've been able to keep Susan Haley's original blog informative and entertaining. It has been fun, a really great group of writers!

Please bear with us! We hope everyone had a great summer! See you at the Writers Group!

George

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New FWA Sarasota Writers Group Leader


I'm pleased to announce Ernie Ovitz as the Florida Writers Association Group Leader for the Sarasota Writers Group.  Ernie has been a regular member of our group for several years, and recently published his first book, "The Seventh King." 


Ernie studied architecture, with a degree from Georgia Tech, and served as a Naval Officer deployed to the Mediterranean. His career has been in business and real estate. He is a published author and a member of FWA since 2013. He has had a lifelong passion for history.


I have had the pleasure of working with this great group, and with Rod DiGruttolo, co-leader and chief cat-herder, for the last several years. I will still be attending the meetings. but as a regular member. 

Welcome Ernie! You will be a great leader for our diverse, eclectic - and talented - group.

George

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Support for Local Writers

My thanks to Julie Ann James for her on-going support for our local writers in The Pepper Tree magazine.  Julie Ann, Publisher and Founder of Pepper Tree Press, has supported our writers both in the Pepper Tree magazine and helping publish their works as well, including our late Irv Newman, author of My Personal Odyssey at Tidewell Hospice of Sarasota. Thank you, Julie Ann.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rod DiGruttolo Radio Interview by Susan Klaus

Susan's Interview with Rod on Author's Network is at:
http://www.spreaker.com/user/6512762/author-rodney-digruttolo

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Marisa Mangani

Our own Marisa Mangani is part of the article at: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/why-8-chefs-quit-the-kitchen. Read down to the 8th comment. In the meantime, checkout Marisa's blog at: https://misenplacememoir.wordpress.com/


George

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dianne Ochiltree

Picture book author and FWA Member Dianne Ochiltree, will lead storytime at 11:00am, July 3 at Bookstore 1 Sarasota, 1359 Main Street, Sarasota, 941-365-7900; www.sarasotabooks.com

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Firehouse Community Theatre of LaBelle

The Firehouse Community Theatre of LaBelle is once again announcing this exciting invitation to  playwrights who seek both exposure of their  unpublished work and cash awards.  Please contact Lori M. Shula, Chair of the Competition at this email address or by phone 239-292-4458 with any questions or concerns.  Thanks for sharing this good news.

FINAL CALL! NEW PLAY SCRIPTS WANTED!


The Firehouse Community Theatre of LaBelle, Florida announces the Third Annual Clarence “Bud” Jones Playwriting Competition. The legacy of Bud Jones, a veteran Clewiston English Teacher and theatre devotee, is again being honored by his family, John and Betty Jones of LaBelle. FCT is honored to be chosen to facilitate this project designed to celebrate and showcase theatrical arts in Southwest Florida,  Full-length, previously unpublished plays, written by authors with a Southwest Florida connection are welcome.  All submissions must be accompanied by the official entry form, $25 fee , and may be  made electronically   or by mail prior to August 1, 2015. Past First Place Winners of the CBJ Playwriting Competition include Chuck Wood of Lehigh Acres and Willoughby, OH for his play “Up Close from a Distance” performed during the 2014-2015 FCT season and Clarissa Thomasson of Venice FL for her play “ Over the Bridge” . Extensive competition information and forms are found at www.firehousecommunitytheatre.com or phone 863-675-3066.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Wednesday Meeting, June 3, 2015


 FWA member Ernie Ovitz has published his first novel, The Seventh King, (available on Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/Seventh-King-E-G-Ovitz/dp/150788060X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433696570&sr=8-1&keywords=The+7th+King+ovitz) Congratulations to Ernie, and we are thrilled to hear work is already under way for a second novel! Great way to start!

\


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wednesday Meeting, May 20th 2015


The third Wednesday of May has come and gone. The Sarasota Writer’s Group met at the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department and sixteen people attended. Ten of the attendees read some of their work and it was exciting.
Rod, the chief cat-herder, pulled an old switch-a-roo; he turned the sign-in sheet upside down and instituted a bottom’s up reading order.
Last to sign in and first to read was Bruce Haedrich. Normally a writer of prose, and darn good at it, Bruce read a poem entitled Mary’s Big Imagination. It was a fun piece aimed at a youthful readership and the entire group agreed it would be a wonderful illustrated children’s book.
Chris Burton was back after a long absence. We are glad to have her back and in good health. She explained, while undergoing some unpleasantness, she had little time to write but when she did, it was limited and her mind was in a strange mode. She presented two poems, both were excellent and I may have made an error in the first title Hours are Flowing, but the second I confirmed is I Dream a Lime Sky.
When Joanne Dunlap takes the floor we never know what to expect and she did it again. Reading a poem that drew laughter from the group and a wince of pain from husband Joe, she was constantly surprised at “How much that man could eat.”
At her last meeting until next October, we’ll miss you, Kathleen Schwartz, author of Stay the Night, available on Amazon, read a touching remembrance of her Brother Jim his love of art and adventures in a world filled with temptation was a realistic and honest depiction of a fun-loving man who was loved by the author who wrote this mainly for her family and in tribute to her brother.
Wendy Dingwell read the opening of her third travel mystery. The action begins in the first sentence and promises to continue throughout. We’re looking forward to seeing Toxic Cruise soon.
Dusting off an older piece, George Collias shared his story, My Accent, Lost and Found. This launched the group into a half-hour discussion on writing with dialect and patois inserted. While most appreciated the realistic use of dialect, within limits, it was noted that its use is strictly up to the author. I have a feeling we’ll hear more on this subject as Rod challenged the group to write a few lines using dialect or accent for discussion at the next meeting. We’ll see!
Don Westerfield’s, The Demise of the Star Venture came with copies handed out and a critique requested. We hope the group responds as enthusiastically as usual. It was a fun piece.
In her usual thought provoking manner, Kerri Dieffenwerth presented a follow up to the memoir she’s been working on for four years, as she pointed out. She read some interesting definitions of things from her work, threads throughout the work the reader can follow. Her points brought some extended discussion and the group could see light bulbs coming on throughout the room.
Jim Kelly brought a Poem entitled The Big Apple to us. As usual it was full of imagery and entertained us thoroughly.
Peter Frickel closed the meeting with a group of vignettes, samples of his writing that come from extraneous thoughts jotted down while relaxing, having a glass of wine or just watching the world from his patio. As usual they were beautiful examples of literary art that are poetry in prose and with his reading prowess, a joy to hear.
Our next meeting is June 3rd, here at the Nokomis Fire House. Looking forward to seeing all of you. 
 Rod 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wordier Than Thou

From Marisa Mangani

I will be reading at Wordier than Thou http://www.wordierthanthou.com/calendar see site for featured readers. Please share for me!

Thanks,
Marisa
My latest blog post is at:
https://misenplacememoir.wordpress.com/

Friday, May 08, 2015

Write Right, Right Now!,

My name is Liz Coursen. I am the author of five books about punctuation and grammar. I blog about editing issues at EditNATION.com.
 
I will be presenting a fun and fast-paced editing workshop, Write Right, Right Now!, on Tuesday night, 6:15, at the Sarasota Authors Connection at the Fruitville Library, which is located just east of I-75 off of Fruitville Road in Sarasota.
 
I say it'll be "fun," and it will be, but my main purpose is to educate authors and aspiring authors in the niceties of our craft. Most authors—maybe I should say too many authors—don't know a comma splice from a hole in the ground and have only the vaguest notion of the collective noun rule. For workshop attendees, that's about to change.
 
The workshop uses "real world" material: real sentences from real authors, from real authors' websites, and from websites like LinkedIn and Grammarly.com. Bring your questions, bring your friends, and come prepared to sharpen your skills.
 
Best wishes, Liz Coursen
 
award-winning author, editor, and publisher.  Author of
The Complete Biography Workbook
Self-Editing for the Successful Student
Self-Editing for Content Writers

The Book Tourist: Seven Steps to a Wildly Successful Book Tour
Shade in the Sunshine State: Reflections on Segregation in Florida

Thursday, May 07, 2015

May 6th, 2015 Meeting

While we had only thirteen attendees at the Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, meeting of the Sarasota Writers Group, seven of whom were FWA members, we had a really great meeting. FWA members J. Jeff Cochran published his "Caught in a Past Reflection," and Pamela Schuneman, CPA, published an article in the professional Journal of Accountancy. Pamela also had a short story included in the 2015 Savannah Anthology called Sailboats. Long time member Kathleen McMahon Schwartz, whose new book "Stay the Night," handed out her new business cards as her new book is now available on Amazon. Congratulations to Kathleen, Jeff and Pam, hopefully the beginnings of long and prosperous writing careers.

We welcomed three new guests, Kristen Fisher, Debra Muenchow, and Bruce Heidrich, and got to hear the prologue from Debra's work in progress. It appears she is off to a really good start. Bruce is already an established author with The Fifth Generation War, Dead on the Fourth, Trump Card, Ghost, and The Locket. Bruce is the creator of the Dan Marin mystery series. Welcome to our new guests and we hope we offer the environment you are looking for.

We had nine readers, from humorous pieces about growing beards to FWA member Peter Frickel's marvelous reading from his piece, The River. We wrapped up a little after nine and turned out the lights. Next meeting: May 20th, 2015.

While we all enjoy the varied and multi-genre readings of the group, the highlight for me is always the poetry of Jim Kelly. Jim's work with the elementary students in the area is always a delight, and while we don't have the winner's poems from a recent 5th grade poetry contest he read to the group that delighted everyone, I do have one of Jim's earlier pieces, written in a metre he no longer uses, and I have his permission to use Depth of Love, written in 1996.

Depth of Love

How am I to measure love
and the tenderness we knew,
as I pace the lonely nights
you spend with someone new?

Shall I count the hidden tears
that hurt too much to fall,
while injured pride traps me inside
to face those barren walls?

How am I to measure love
in days that never end.
when all the years that meant the most
have left me "just a friend"?

I can't forget the unkind words
I know you didn't mean,
the ones that fill my empty glass
with shards of broken dreams.

How am I to measure love
when all the pain is through?
I guess I'll add the best of times
to the memories of you

©James O. Kelly
Englewood, FL
Jan 1996

As George Collias reminds us from Earnest Hemingway: "Write drunk, edit sober," Or was it Dylan Thomas? I don't remember.

George

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

...And Furthermore...


I need to update the blog Dirty Secrets of a Writers Group I posted back on November 25th, 2014. I realized I left something very important out of the blog, so, with my apologies, I will add the following update:

Don't let your speaking style detract from your writing. If you sound like you're reading the telephone book when you are reading Steinbeck out loud, get someone else to read your material to the group. We have a regular member who is in demand to read other people's work. We call her the "Voice of FM," and her interpretation and inflection when reading makes even the aforementioned telephone book a pleasure to listen to. I recently read a member's final proof and was astounded to find myself intrigued by the book that I had a hard time following during the readings. I realized then that every reader embeds their own images and emotions on the written material, quite different from having it interpreted for you by a reader who flavors it by the way they speak. So, once again, don't expect an audience to cheer your first attempt at explaining how you helped develop nuclear fission if you, like me, read out loud like Elmer Fudd. Get a good speaker, or hand out enough printed copies for everyone so your audience can read for themselves.
George

Stay the Night - Kathleen McMahon Schwartz

Spread the word, please! My new book, Stay the Night, comes out as a Kindle ebook, Smashwords ebook on April 30. Paperback book follows in a couple of weeks. It can be preordered before April 30th on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords for a reduced price.

Kathleen

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wednesday, April 15th, the Sarasota Writers Group meeting.

The Sarasota Writers Group welcomed new FWA member Wendy Dingwall, author of Celtic Curse: An Yvonne Suarez Travel Mystery. Wendy launched her own publishing company, Canterbury House Publishing, Ltd., and is also a past president of the High Country Writers Association in Boone, North Carolina. Returning for a second meeting was Simona Pipko, author of Baltic Winds, and a former attorney in the Soviet Union. While living in New York City and teaching at the New School for Social Research and New York University, Simona wrote articles for various publications including the International Lawyer and ABA, Law and National Security Intelligence Report. Simona read her first article published in eMagazine which will be included in her upcoming 4th book. Also joining us for the first time was Ty and Helen Jodouin. Ty has two science fiction books available, Voyage to Oblivion and Rogue Planet. We welcome Wendy, Simona, and Ty and his lovely wife Helen, and hope they find our eccentric group not only entertaining but constructive as well. We had 18 attendees, 7 of whom are FWA members.

We kicked off our meeting after our usual meet and greet session with comments about a very nice newspaper article in the North Port Sun by Marissa Williams about Rod DiGruttolo and myself at the recent friends of North Port Library Book Fair. Cathy Marine, Maris Soule, and Jane Ann McLachlan were also at the Book Fair, representing the Sarasota Writers group.

Our first reader was Jenny Oberg, who read a delightful piece about her recent zero-dark-thirty drive to Immokalee to watch the annual Hot Air Balloon festival, followed by Ernie Ovitz, who is on the brink of publishing his first book, The Seventh King. Ernie elected to read his upcoming Toastmasters Presentation, which incidentally, was about his book. Don Westerfield followed and warned everyone ahead of time to get the hankies ready. Joanne Dunlap was back, and is she ever back. Great to hear her great writing once again, followed by George Collias who read a short story from Faulkner, A Rose for Emily, reminding us all what a great short story sounds like.

Up next was Masrisa Mangani, who always stimulates the grey matter with phrases like "pinking tourists" while describing growing up in Hawaii. Simona then read her first article and we had to carefully disengage from a political discussion about the material to one about her writing. We do not discuss politics or religion during our meetings as all are welcome to present their writing, but we will fervently discuss how well someone writes about any subject. 

 Andrew Parker, who read the final first chapter of his rewritten Bitch Trailer Park, a unique story only Andrew could have written. Bill Elam delayed his trip home by a day just so he could attend our meeting, and read a piece called "Frozen Chosin," about the infamous U.S. Marine battle in Korea.


Another great meeting behind us, we wrapped up with a quick discussions about the simple use of commas, and said goodnight. Next meeting: May 6th, 2015

George

Friday, April 03, 2015

A to Z Challenge


From Maris Soule
Sarasota Writers Group

Every day (with the exception of Sundays) I and about 1200 other writers are blogging, using a blog that matches the letter for that day. April 1 was A, April 2 is/was B. Friday will be C. Saturday will be D. Skip Sunday. Monday will be E, and so on.
The challenge is at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com
My blogs are mainly about writing. Tomorrows will be about critiquing. Today was about borrowing. (Actually I got the idea for that one from the last Sarasota meeting I attended.)
Anyway, I'd love to have others reading the blogs or going to read the blogs written by some of these other writers. (By the way, it's International.)
Maris