Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Nokomis Fire Station. Coming 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. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are 2 blocks north of Dona Bay. Turn left onto Pavonia Road at the flashing yellow caution light. At the Fire Station, drive to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room at the far end of the complex. We Gather for a meet and greet at 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten-minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Adjourns: 9:00 pm

Monday, March 22, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon, March 17th, 2021; Saint Paddy’s Day

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.


Monday, January 25, 2021



Lois W. Stern
Creator of Tales2Inspire®

Most of us love getting credible reviews, but it seems to be getting harder by the day.

I wanted to do my “Authors Helping Authors” bit to help remedy the situation, and to that end have teamed up with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a ten year veteran teacher at the UCLA extension program, who has an award winning blog called TheNewBookReview blog. Any author with a published book can submit the data about their book to me. All the info is listed at:

and I will post it according to the information each author supplies. No guarantees, but it’s a free service, and if nothing else, gives each author a bit more exposure.

The author may select as many genre as fit the theme of their book, as listed. Please select from the genre listed at:


Saturday, January 23, 2021

January 20th, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon January 20th, 2021

The group gathered again at Bay Heights Park in Englewood for our second outdoor meeting. Returning were Dennis Cathcart, Peter Frickel, Ann Moore, Scott Anderson, Jim Kelly (of Venice,) and Ernie Ovitz. Sue Haley and Bruce Haedrich joined us this time and brought our number up to eight. Rod DiGruttolo sent his regrets due to a schedule conflict.

It was a sunny day. Even at seventy degrees, the breeze off the water felt chilly, so we decided to set our chairs up under a big shade tree around a picnic table.  Getting down to a round-table discussion on our writing projects, a lot of useful information was shared. We all agree; there is no substitute for the inspiration we get from an in-person get-together.

All present agreed until COVID19 is behind us and we can, hopefully, gather again at the fire station the group will hold the first meeting of the month, the first Wednesday of the month at the usual time, on Zoom, and the second meeting, the third Wednesday of the month at 1:30 pm, at the park in Englewood.

We went into overtime as our discussion carried us to 3:00 pm, and we all agreed to stay on for the readings. After a break, we continued and wrapped it up at 4:00 pm.

Dennis Cathcart led off our discussion by sharing that he is now working on a second project writing about his adventures in Peru. He has placed his first manuscript with a professional editor and reported that he is well pleased with the progress. Dennis read from his manuscript about his experience in 1971 on the Bahamian island of Inagua. Manny, an old hermit, didn’t talk much and had little in the way of possessions, but he was one of the happiest and most at-peace men he ever met. Dennis said that he has found that COVID has given him the time and freedom to pursue his work without distraction.

Peter Frickel seconded the sentiment. COVID has created a very productive time for him. He talked about taking his yellow pad, sitting down, and thinking deeply about his work and projects. Peter is currently working on a book of poetry, a collection of short stories, and a compilation of letters. For his reading, Peter read several short pieces. His first began: “Tomorrow I will travel to Paris by train.” In Paris, he was joined by a companion of the fairer sex. We could expect no less from Peter. A lively discussion followed. As always, thank you, Peter, for setting a high standard for the group.

Bruce Haedrich has four projects going, including a book of illustrated children’s poems in conjunction with his daughter.  She is a professional illustrator. He shared two poems featuring his characters Jessie and Chris: Ants and Butterflies. Bruce is also working on his Dan Marin detective series, minus his main character Dan Marin. Marin has left the scene and sold his boat to his partner (girlfriend) Marlene, who will continue the detective adventure. Bruce writes in the first person. So he says it will be a challenge to write from her point-of-view. 

Sue Haley, our group’s founder, has had a challenging year health-wise and was glad to be with us. We were delighted she could be too. One of the events that captured her attention this past year was the western wildfires. She shared a poem written to offer appreciation to our firefighters. Her work brought to mind the Nokomis firefighters, who have our continuing gratitude. Even though we can’t meet in their training room at this time, we hope we can return when this pandemic eases. Thank you, Susan.

 Ernie Ovitz continues his work on his historical novel series on the Roman Emperor Constantine’s life. He is in the editing and rewriting stage, drafts two, three, and etc. Over the project’s life, research has brought new insights and appreciation for the period. He shared some details concerning the logistics and manpower requirements for the Roman Army. At the Battle of Hadrianoplein 324, A.D., almost three-hundred thousand men met in battle. The conditions for feeding and supply those men were staggering. Herein added challenges for the writer to portray the event’s scope while keeping the story exciting and action moving came to the fore.

 Bruce Haedrich spoke up and seconded the importance of logistics in military campaigns from his experience serving in the Air Force’s quartermaster corps.

 Ann Moore shared the news for those that were not at the last meeting of her new project, one that has been her dream for many years. Her goal: to write about the lives of seventy women from around the world in their seventieth year. She has plans to travel and hopes to meet, share, and look for those universal things they have in common. She has the support of a group that has encouraged her to proceed and promised help with the project. She has continued to gain support and encouragement for her effort.

 Scott Anderson shared more news of the pending publication of his butterfly research in Sarasota County. The leading professional journal has agreed to publish his work as an 85-page book distributed to all its subscribers. He said the editing process is rigorous, and he has been asked to provide a cover photo. He showed the group the one he selected, a pair of White Peacock butterflies, mating. The back-lighting created a fantastic image, almost like a stain-glass window. Scott read his photo blurb, which was near poetic. Something we expected from our poet, Scott. He also shares that he has been asked to provide cover photos for two other publications. Well done.

 Jim Kelly shared that he plans to continue his civil war/western expansion saga that began with his historical novel on General Hancock’s life. He traveled west over the summer and visited the sites where his current work is set. Jim read a scene from his present writings. Shadow Hawk and Lone Elk, two Sioux warriors, discuss the onward expansion of white men into native lands. We discussed the challenge of right-sizing a novel after finding that he needed to break his story of General Hancock’s life into two books. He is shooting for a book in the 80,000-word range.

 It was a most enjoyable and fulfilling experience to meet with the group again. We will search for an open-air spot closer to the firehouse for a future meeting as well. Take care to stay healthy, and we hope you can join us for the Zoom meeting on February 3rd.