It was a beautiful day in Sarasota County. Our core group of writers got to meet in person at Patriot’s Park in Venice. Nine members met there in the afternoon sunshine shaded by oak trees and bordering a pond that attracted a host of various birds. In attendance; Ernie Ovitz, James Kelly, Dennis Cathcart, Peter Frickle, Ed Ellis, Anne Moore, Bill Elam, Frank – (sorry Frank, but I missed your last name), and Rod DiGruttolo.
Getting together in person was great. Zoom meetings are okay, but they don’t compare with face-to-face meetings in the flesh. After a period of chit-chat, we got down to the agenda. Our first business item was for the members to bring us up to date on what projects they currently pursue.
Rod called on Dennis Cathcart to start us off. Dennis is in
the editing stage of his memoir highlighting his experiences while collecting
exotic plants, reptiles, and other critters in various parts of the world. Human
footprints were often nonexistent where he traveled. He followed trails of
slithering serpents and scurrying reptiles through forest and desert. His
adventures with wildlife pale in comparison to his experiences with people.
Dennis introduces us to nature, flora, fauna, and the human inhabitants of the
rural areas he explored. He also tells us of some of the invaders in these untamed places, intruders bent on not so ethical projects.
Peter Frickle followed. Explaining his activities during the pandemic isolation. An avid gardener, Peter works and meditates in the backyard garden. There, he communes with plants, birds, small mammals, and neighbors. On those times when gardening is not feasible, he turns to his trusty pen and pad. An exploration of language brings forth discoveries allowing the writer in him to break through walls of misunderstanding. Discovering a pair of words, one French in origin and the other English but inspired by the Romance Languages, showed him a key to writing from a feminine perspective. The help of his beautiful wife, Barbara, also went a long way in that arena. He read from a composition that set out to be only the scribbling of an idea but developed into a story. He wrote of an interaction with a neighbor who had become the talk of the neighborhood. Was it fiction? Or was it real?
Ed Ellis has been working on a non-fiction piece for a while. Ed’s Models for Success book expounds on proven methods of achieving goals he used in his business practices throughout his productive career. He has reached the point of allowing a team of Beta Readers to assess his work. Several ‘Proof Copies’ of the book are in the hands of his readers. As he gets suggestions, corrections, and evaluations, he looks over all the feedback, gleaning nuggets of wisdom from the avalanche of notes.
Anne Perry Moore gave us some more detail on her plans to travel throughout Europe, interviewing women who are reaching the age of seventy. Her goal is to present the viewpoint of mature women world-wide. Being able to accomplish her goal has taken years of planning and saving. As soon as the restrictions of the pandemic are lifted, she plans to take off. We know she will keep us updated throughout her travels. Until the time to leave, she plans on attending our meetings.
Bill Elam spends the warm months in Kentucky. During the months of cold weather, he migrates south to the Venice area. We are fortunate to have Bill in our fold. His experience in marketing works of art, as well as an illustrious legal career, lets him share proven ideas and methods with us. Bill is also an accomplished writer. His stories of the influence an unnamed couple has on the people around them, even during moments of tragedy, can’t help but inspire readers to look closely at how they live. With a working title of Ripples, it is not yet ready for publication. Bill claims he has to polish the work a little before it’s ready. I can hardly wait. I will be first, or at least near the front of the line, to buy it.
I must admit, I’ve been unable to attend the previous outdoor meetings our group held in Englewood the past couple of months. I was introduced to a newer member of the group whom I’d not met previously. His name is Fred. Okay, I didn’t get Fred’s last name, and for that, I’m totally to blame. Forgive me, Fred. Fred authors scripts for plays as well as short stories. The pandemic rears its ugly head again here. Fred had plans to travel to England to attend the opening of one of his plays. Travel to Great Britain was banned shortly before his departure. Today, Fred read a fun short story reminiscent of bygone days when teenage drivers cruised the downtowns of small towns seeing and being seen. A fun read.
Days of quarantine and isolation allowed Rod DiGruttolo to complete two books. One has run through the editing process and made its way to Amazon for publication. His new work is available on Amazon under the title Capitol Terror. The second book is edited but not quite ready for publication. Entered in the FWA’s Royal Palm Literary Awards contest, he looks forward to the suggestions and comments the judges will make.
A trilogy is the way Ernie Ovitz chose to tell a historically correct fictional story of Rome. The story centers around Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome. Ernie’s imagination allows a realistic look at the politics and intrigue surrounding the throne of the Emperor. The story is finished but not edited and what we’ve heard sounds good. Exciting plots of spy-craft, betrayal, and collusion allows the reader to gain insight into Rome’s politic. In many ways, it's not unlike present-day happenings in our country.
James H Kelly’s two-book historical fiction, I Am A Soldier, First and Always, tells the story of General Hancock’s illustrious career. His current project is a similar tale of life on the American frontier experienced by soldiers stationed at the forts and outposts. His yarn looks into soldiers’ lives, but it also explores the lives of Native Americans and their interaction with the white men moving into their territory.