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 Adjourned: 9:00 pm

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big Changes in the Big Apple

For those who are not on the mailing list, Dan Poynter's latest Newsletter had a couple of very disturbing articles and links about some of the firings, transfers, downsizings, consolidatings, and goings out of business that are rocking the Big Name Publishers in NYC. Publishers like Random House, Doubleday, et. al. Like nearly every other industry, publishing has been taking some pretty brutal shocks lately. And the upshot of it all spells more trouble for writers. If you want the honest and gloomy truth about the effects of our recession on the publishing industry, check out Poynter's website: and find the "newsletter" tab. Item #4 of the current issue is where all the bad news starts. And if you don't get Poynter's newsletter, think about signing up. It really does contain a lot of worthwhile info. And better yet, IT'S FREE!

Russ Heitz

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Outsourcing Everthing

For those who may have missed it, a Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times illustrated once again the inevitable encroachment of globalization. This time it is local newspapers that are taking the plunge.

James Macpherson, publisher of a local California newspaper called PASADENA NOW, recently fired seven members of his Pasadena staff, which included five reporters, and replaced them with a handful of non-journalists who live in India. The reason? The reporters were being paid $600 to $800 a week. The non-journalists in India will do the same work for less ... for a whole LOT less.

There's no need for overhead expenses either, like health benefits, merit raises, workshop training, computer breakdowns, etc. Macpherson simply buys his articles one at a time.

"I pay per piece, just the way it was in the garment business," he says. "A thousand words pays $7.50." For those who don't have a calculator nearby, that comes out to .0075 cents a word. As a comparison, that is considerably less than science fiction magazines 50 years ago were paying for novellas about interplanetary space travel, green-skinned aliens, and a cock-eyed concept called Global Warming.

How do non-journalists in India report on local events going on in Pasadena, California? By using today's electronic gadgetry: email, cell phones, web surfing, and internet videos of local town hall meetings. Macpherson admits, however, that sometimes something is lost in multi-continent translations. One of his Indian non-journalists, for example, thought the Rose Bowl was some kind of gastronomic delight, rather than a football game. But hey, who cares about trivia, right?

It would be nice to think Macpherson's idea is just some nutty experiment by one small-time publisher. Unfortunately, it's more like a warning about the future of newpapers. A guy named Dean Singleton, who just happens to be the head of a newspaper conglomerate that includes 54 daily newspapers such as The Denver Post, The Detroit News, and The Pasadena Star-News, is also looking into the possibility of outsourcing every aspect of publishing, including possibly having one news desk for ALL of his papers, and having that desk "maybe even offshore," he says.

Shocking? Sure, but not surprising. Everything else is being globalized, why not local newspapers.

If you want to read Maureen Dowd's entire column go to

Russ Heitz

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Testing The Power of Networking!

I received the following note from Jane Sutton, an FWA member in Lee County. Let's help her out . . . Saturday, December 6th at Barnes and Noble at 3:00 pm. Great way to give a 'feedback flower' and do some gift shopping, too!

Dear Susan

I'm a member of FWA and belong to the Southwest Florida Group (I live in Fort
Myers). On Saturday, December 6 at 3pm, I will be doing a book signing at the
Barnes and Noble on 4010 South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. I'm wondering
if you would let your group know about the event? It is my first signing and I
don't know anyone in the area so I am hoping that some FWA members will be
able to drop by for a bit of moral support, if nothing else.

Thanks for your help.
Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Writer's Conference Tips

This excerpt is from $uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book.

Writers’ Conference Tips:

• When called upon to read, do not describe what you are reading. Simply stand up and begin. We cannot repeat the cardinal rule of writing enough…show, don’t tell.
• Make and practice an elevator speech about your book. That translates to giving a synopsis in 30 seconds or less.

Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill

You Could Be Right

As we get closer to November and the chance to vote for a new president of these United States, conversations between normally pleasant people can turn ugly when we let our opinions and our enthusiasm rule our basic good manners. I find myself growing more quiet when I don't agree with someone's political or religious position, not knowing what to say without attacking their point of view.

Then recently someone gave me a golden nugget of advice on how to be pleasant without sacrificing what you believe in. Just four little words you could use in those tricky situations when you need to respond to something you couldn't possibly agree with: "You could be right". You're not saying they ARE right, or that you agree with them, but you've managed to make them feel like you're listening and considering what they are saying without criticizing or trying to persuade them to change their position.

Patti Stevenson

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Cacophony of Chatter

We've lost the art of critical thinking. There canʼt be much denial of this lack if one simply uses the powers of observation. Have you peered at the world around you lately? The recent disaster on Wall Street, if you think about it, has been silently screaming at us for months. Iʼve recently had a revelation as to the possible root cause, or at least one of them, of this lost treasure. In order to employ critical thinking, one must have a stimulant of clarity, or relevant information about which to think. Without that, the most you can do is react after the fact, or blindly follow the herd.

In order to contribute a relatively informed critique of ever-changing current events in my columns, Iʼve had to become a political talk show junkie. Personal opinions and philosophies aside, I've watched overtly partisan channels to observe the ʽbig pictureʼ of event coverage and campaign rhetoric. At the risk of blindness, Iʼve poured over every major newspaper and underground publication on the ʽnetʼ, devouring the editorials and opinion columns of every well-known journalist and a few not so known. Iʼve discovered that what we as a society have truly lost is the ʽart of listeningʼ.

Susan Haley, author of Rainy Day People

Link to the article

Book Marketing Ideas

Here are some hints from “Success, Your Path to a Successful Book.”

1. Frequent bookstores and browse shelves to see what others are writing on your topic and what makes your project unique.

2. Cover design attracting attention, making you grab a book, will cause buyers to pick up your book. Be sure the size of your book and cover will fit on a shelf easily as the spine may be all that shows. Title and author should be clear.

Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sharing Your Poetry and Writing Online

I mentioned a couple months ago that I post poetry at The sister site for stories is called Sign up at either site and you can post your writings and post comments to other members there. You can mark some for Adults; I have some of my poems marked that way because of graphic imagery used. It is free to sign up, but you can pay to get extra features.

Jim Geimer

Basics for Avoiding Lawsuits

John McCafferty sent in some information about writing and lawsuits that all of us need to consider. Most of it is common sense: don't libel other people and don't plagiarize. Those are the biggies.

But within those generalizations are important details. A good place to start is by checking out the link below. There are also plenty of good books on the topic of communications law. If you're going to write for public consumption, you should buy an up-to-date one and read it.

John's link is from The Poynter Institute's web site about the legal aspects of Blogging, but it also pertains to writing in general.

Mike Durr

Link to article on legal aspects of blogging

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Googling with God

Fling your Internet far and wide
Capture all Knowledge known to Man
Then you challenge the All-seeing God
Great Gamble! - Who'll blink first?

John Clarke

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Have been reading "Impossible Possession" by Kay Harper and it is pure drivel. It is not a very thick book so I can probably plow my way through to its ending.

It is more "Bodice Ripper" than "Mystery" and not even a particularly interesting "Bodice Ripper." The heroine is
incredibly rich, incredibly gorgeous, incredibly powerful and most incredibly is a 30-year-old VIRGIN until page 188 when, thankfully, her incredibly rich, incredibly handsome, incredibly powerful Boyfriend relieves her of this burden.

Gag me with a spoon !!!

Sharon Baker

Friday, September 19, 2008

Identify Needs & Competition

Many identify goals automatically. For others, it is a chore. In “Success, Your Path to a Successful Book,” we list eight major ones. Writing your goals helps. Start with:

1. Identify your long-term vision, and determine how you are going to get there with your short-term and long-term goals.
2. What is unique about your topic so it stands out from others on the market today? Work on discovering the innovative hook.

Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


For me, mornings are the toughest. Delightful dreams subsume to screams of lawnmowers, garbage trucks. Arising alone to face workday, chores, singleness wearies.

Soon comfort comes in mews of hungry cats, the curling of three felines around ankles; the senses are treated. Sometimes simple chores turn delightful.

While gardening early today, a walking stick chose to scale my hand, an alien land, and its singular beauty reminded me all day long of what really matters.

Kathy Powers

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking Out the Wash

In his biography of Picasso, Patrick O’Brian observes that while some good painters are lost to drink and depression, that’s not the rule: “In general, painting is a healthy trade, perhaps because painters work out their conflicts in a perpetual self-analysis….”

The same seems true of writers. Serious writers inspect their frailties in public. The result is continual, cleansing catharsis. We writers may wear our emotions on our shirtsleeves, but shirtsleeves are easily washed.

Mike Durr, author of My Brain, My Future

Friday, September 12, 2008

What a Wonderful Surprise!

Hello Group!

I've just returned from a trip to California where I had little computer access. I'm so thrilled to see the participation here on the blog. Keep it coming. It's a pleasure to read and what a great way to keep in touch with the members and be up on the latest news of the group. I'd like to thank Michael Durr for putting the time in to make this possible.
Susan Haley

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Is my draft clear, concise, honest?
Spelling, grammar correct?
Does it say what I mean?
Do I use active verbs?
Employ the senses?
Create mental pictures?
Avoid cliches, useless words?
Is the language specific, definite, concrete?
Are story and characters credible?
Is the dialogue realistic?
Have I double-checked facts?
Would rewrite help?

John McCafferty

My Modest Goals as a Short Story Writer

That my stories will be found
in the lunch boxes
of every American worker,
every student in schools.
On the night tables in all hotel rooms
for bedtime readers.
Lastly, to remain a humble person
when millions of dollars
come pouring in!

Edward Lyman

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Communication Clarification

it's been said
"ask and you shall receive",
but what does that actually mean?

does one need to be specific?
or just the general gist?

it's also been said
"watch what you pray for"

what if one limits
what might be in store?

if one's never experienced
the world's endless gifts
how would one know
how grand to make the list?

so can one really say
which way one should pray?

Linda White, poet and performer on CD "Journey into a Poet's Mind"

Link to Linda's website
"this ain't your mama's poetry!"

Saturday, September 06, 2008


It is worthwhile to spend time and money promoting your book. Brenda and I believe promotional advertising is more cost-effective. Tie this with FREE publicity and you will have a combination that can create a "buzz" and demand. You pay for advertising, publicity is free.

"Publicity is to books what oxygen is to lungs. Without it, sales suffocate and die." Kent Carroll.

The more publicity you receive, the better. We cover publicity in depth in, $uccess, Your Guide to a Successful Book.

Maralyn D. Hill

Thursday, September 04, 2008

So, the club really does have some writers

I want to comment on the contributions to the blog that keep rolling in. I took on this task as semi-official blog poster with some trepidation; you know, more busywork. But the material you all are sending in is interesting, making me want to check my e-mail more often to see what’s there.

This activity even triggered a visit to one of your websites. If you want to see a beautiful and effective way to market books on the web, check out This is Brenda Hill and family’s site featuring books on food and travel and business. One of their books, which I need to read, is actually on the topic of book marketing. Brenda Hill was at our last meeting as a new and hopefully returning participant.

Administrative detail: if you want your e-mail address displayed, say so with each contribution. Because a lot of people don’t want to broadcast their e-mail addresses, I’ve only been posting websites, and then only when you include them. Also, if you have a book or published article to promote, mention that with your contribution.

Mike Durr, author of My Brain, My Future

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Some sleeves now have patches. Knees of favorite jeans, white with time, are whole again. When my being is worn thin as a turnstile token used once too often, when ego and reality undo my sense of purpose and peace, I apply a little patch. Stopping the clock and the idiocy it represents, I patch. Real laughter; a fat kitty lying next to me; great food; earned garden grime; silence; music. Patches. Good, useful things.

Kathy Powers


As 1940s white kids we fought with blacks because of color. Their hero was heavyweight champ Joe Louis. But even he couldn’t get them the same movie location that we had. Or, water fountain, pool ticket or bus seat. Even in the Army, blacks were second-class citizens. President Truman helped change that. Then came Martin Luther King and others. Now, Obama may become President. We're a mess now but have done some things right.

John McCafferty

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Informed American

I watch the news most weeknights. It keeps me informed.

From this past week, I can tell you for sure that Republicans and Democrats don’t like each other. I know the Russians don’t like anyone messing with Russia’s neighbors; that’s Russia’s job.

All the politicians agreed that gas prices are rising and house prices are sinking. They also agreed that Hurricane Gustav has their full attention.

I tell you, I sleep better because I’m informed.

Mike Durr, author of My Brain, My Future

The Road to Success

For beginning and seasoned writers, participating in writers groups, (FWA), workshops, conferences and classes is invaluable to your success.

We owe our productivity to consistent ongoing study and improvement in two ways:
. Seeking advice from those who know. Stop thinking and talking about writing an article or book. DO IT!
. Know that marketing begins at your book's conception.

"The road to success is always under construction" Anonymous

Brenda Hill
International Food, Wine & Travel Writer

The Truth

They came with magazines saying they had ‘The Truth’. I was young, a new parent, scientifically educated, arrogant and atheist, but missing something. I challenged them, intent on altering their beliefs. It went the other way. They showed consistency in their beliefs that worship of evolution didn’t. They gave a three-word Bible quote, “God Is Love!” not ‘gives’ or ‘has’ but ‘Is’. It lived, growing in my heart and mind, becoming ‘The Truth’ I sought.

Gret Pays

Citizens Still Decide the Future

I wonder how far our nation must fall before we, as citizens, begin to shape up and value our Constitution and what our forefathers set forth. It's no secret that our once Superpower Nation is no more. Sound bytes and out of context clips fill the air waves, but I question who actually reads the books, papers, editorials, and then THINKS for themselves? Itʼs easier to parrot what one's heard. Thatʼs not what responsibile citizenship is about. Nor, is it the path to re-creating a strong democracy, more the path to doom.

Susan Haley, author of Rainy Day People

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Literature is regardless of its size.
The format of the work could be in a poem or novel.
It is written from blood and/or tears of the author.
It allows the blind to see.
It becomes the pigment of the imagination.
They can be whimsical to serious.
Some become hindsight's present to the reader's future.

So many hear the rain claim its rain, but only a few look and see the rain fall to claim its raining.

James A. Geimer©28-Aug-08

Great Week For Our Group!

Our Sarasota FWA Group had a roaring end of summer boost into fall and a new season. The week launched with a full-page feature story, replete with photos, crafted by John McCafferty in the Venice Gondolier Sun. This, along with some interest in the FWA website resulted in six new people attending our meeting last night.

Mike Durr who's been working on a program to encourage active participation here on our FWA blog, presented his plan last night. It was met with interest and enthusiasm, especially by the new attendees who were immediately shown a way to become active participants. Simply put, everyone is invited to write seventy-five word thoughts, ideas, stories, news items or anything they just want to say. The object being exercising the skill of using words powerfully but succinctly. We can note whether our message is to share a concept with hope of feedback or make a powerful statement. Those requesting comment will provide the fodder for discussion at the next meeting. It's a great way to offer critique, get to know one another, and also the opportunity to learn writing skills.

Your post entries should be emailed to

Friday, August 01, 2008

You Can’t Change Course on Autopilot

Su Haley recently sent me an article on thinking. The writer commented that he’s “less concerned with what [people] think than that they think.” He’s right on.

We’re all aware that we don’t have to think. Our brains run on autopilot just fine using intuition. That’s okay unless we want to improve; that requires thinking.

Mike Durr

Link to Mike's website

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Madeline's New Jewel

Madeline Mora-Summonte just had a story published on Everyday Fiction. It's called A Quarter For Your Thoughts. This story is amazingly concise and yet filled with feel-able details, excellent dialogue, and poignant insights plus a couple full-bodied characters. How does she do it with such a small number of words?!

Congrats, Madeline, for another highly polished gem!

To read this story go to Madeline's website, and follow the link to Everyday Fiction.

Submitted by
Russ Heitz

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Elder Statesman Celebrates 96th Birthday!

Ed Lyman, our Honored Elder Statesman of the FWA-Sarasota Literati celebrated his 96th birthday (yes, 96, that is NOT a typo) on Tuesday, June 24th. At our FWA-Sarasota meeting last night, Ed gave US a gift by sharing another one of his sly, dry, witty and humorous stories, this one titled "VIAGRA FALLS". For the members who weren't there, Ed's story was about
... uh ... well ... it's kinda hard to explain. I guess you just had to be there, know what I mean?

Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ED!!! And best wishes for at least another 50 years of writing!

For anyone who wants to send a birthday wish to Ed, his email address is

Submitted by
Russ Heitz

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Copyrights

At our recent FWA meetings there have been a number of questions about Copyrights: when do you need them? Why do you need them? How do you get them? And so forth. The following website of the Copyright Office should answer all your questions, plus a lot of questions you haven't thought of yet. Check it out:

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mind-boggling Publishing Statistics

The Dan Poynter newsletter recently had a blurb about publishing statistics and referred the reader to the website: Here are just a few of the stats. There are literally dozens of amazing statistics that can generate both enthusiasm and depression, depending upon the stat and also upon your current writing/publishing situation. Here are just a few examples.

A new book is published every 30 seconds.

78% of the titles come from small/self-publishers.

80% of the book sales are controlled by five conglomerates: Bertelsmann (Random House), Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Time-Warner, Disney, and Viacom/CBS.

Lightning Source grew from 3 employees in 1997 to more than 500 today; the company digitally scans about 2,000 books a week and prints 1.2 million books a month. "It took us 7 years to print 10 million books," says Lightning Source VIP Kirby Best. "This year we published 10 million books in the first 11 months."

Contributed by Russ Heitz

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Florida Writer Magazine

To All the Sarasota Group

All of the paid up members of FWA should be receiving their copy of the The Florida Writer in the mail. The group leader no longer receives a separate copy by mail in addition to the alloted copies sent UPS so I'm not sure when they'll be arriving. If you are paid up and do not receive your magazine, you'll have to let me know so we can get the problem fixed. You are entitled to it as one of your member benefits. For those that do receive it, if you'd like to comment about the magazine or any specific article you found helpful, please email me your comment for my column by the 20th of the month. Nuther way to get your name in print! Too, it is YOUR magazine, please feel free to make submissions and showcase your work or your latest news.

Speaking of latest news, Michael Durr, "My Brain My Future" and myself are scheduled to be interviewed on Http:// next Tuesday, June 10th at 7am and again at 11am. Susan Klaus of Authors Connection has included the FWA members in this opportunity. To hear the broadcast, go to Radio Ear and click on Author Connection. If you have a book and would like to be interviewed on the air, contact Susan at I'd also like to congratulate Susan on her election to president of the Sarasota Fiction Writers. She, too, is one busy gal.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Inside News From The World of Publishing

For those of us who are still in the "outside world" of small presses and independent publishing, it is often difficult to find out what's going on inside the world of traditional publishing. One professional writing group -- Sisters In Crime -- recently published an article that at least provides a glimpse of what's in the present and also what may be in the future of publishing in general. Sisters In Crime is a group of professional writers who specialize in mystery or crime-related novels and non-fiction books, but their interviews with traditional publishing insiders can benefit all of us, regardless of what genre we specialize in. Check out the following site. You may find it interesting, helpful, and certainly informative.

Submitted by Russ Heitz

Friday, May 23, 2008

Melanie's New Video

Melanie Bowles, who spoke at our April meeting, has a new video posted on YouTube. It'll give you some idea of what her Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary family is all about. The video is also an example of why some people (including me) think a herd of horses running free is just about the most beautiful sight anyone could ask for. At least it is for those of us who love animals in general and horses in particular. Check it out at:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Haley's Work Honored Nationally

The National Indie Excellence Book Awards are dedicated to celebrating and promoting the outstanding work of independent publishers and authors. It has just been announced that one of our own FWA Group Leaders, Susan Haley of the Sarasota Chapter, was honored as runner-up Finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence competition for the Audio Book version of her novel Rainy Day People. The audio was produced by Spoken Books Publishing.

In addition to now being able to affix the 2008 Gold Award Sticker on her books, Susan will be included in a National Publicity Campaign that reaches over 700 publishers, buyers, editors and producers culminating in recognition at the 2008 Book Expo America in Los Angeles, California in July.

Congratulations, Susan!

For further information about Susan's work, experience her beautiful website at

Russ Heitz

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Amazon's "New Deal"

You've probably heard that is now jumping into the Print On Demand world with all four feet! As a result, the news and rumors are flying from one end of the publishing world to the other. And that includes traditional publishing, do-it-yourself publishing, vanity publishing, POD publishing, cooperative publishing, and just about every other kind of publishing. It could have an effect on anyone who now has a book listed for sale on Amazon.

One of the most comprehensive collections of explanations about this new development can be found at Check it out. And if you have any questions about how your OWN Amazon-listed book will be affected, check with your own publisher.

Russ Heitz

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Adult Tutors Needed

Dear Sarasota FWA Members -

I received the following email from Kristin Szafraniec, Executive Director of the Sarasota Literacy Council in response to a query I made concerning volunteering after seeing an ad in "Betty Says". Since the FWA takes an active role in Literacy, I thought this may sound interesting to our members or as a group project. I'll bring handouts of the information I receive from Kristin to the next meeting on March 26th. Look forward to seeing you then.

Dear Susan

Adult and family literacy is an extremely important need in our community and I’m hoping to join forces with area organizations like FWA to work on literacy initiatives.

We are celebrating our 30th year anniversary this year, and the need for our programs is growing. We have three programs with over 150 tutor/student pairs and need additional help. Although we do have students from other counties/areas, our organization services learners in the City of Sarasota and the northern half of Sarasota County. LCS is a not for profit 501c3 and we are supported by volunteers, members and donors/small foundations.

I will send you a sheet via email that will provide you with more information about who we are and what we do. In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to meeting you and collaborating together.

Warm Regards,
Kristin Szafraniec

Executive Director
The Literacy Council of Sarasota, Inc.
Tel: 941.955.0421

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Borders Enters POD Market

Borders announced on Valentine's Day that it is now entering the "publish it yourself" independent publishing market with their new BORDERS PERSONAL PUBLISHING imprint. They will be working with Lulu and will also offer editorial support, book design, printing, e-commerce, and other features, for a fee, either bundled or ala carte.

One of the most attractive features of this program is this. Borders Personal Publishing books can also become eligible to be carried by Borders both online and ON THE SHELVES of hundreds of Borders stores. A recent press release stated, "By using the strength of its worldwide chain of bookstores, Borders is offering writers the potential of getting their work featured on the shelves of real bookstores -- a very attractive feature, compared to services that only make books available to order online. Basic prices start at $299 to $499."

For details, go to

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Author J.A. Konrath ( has an article over at
those of you with books for sale on Amazon might be interested in. Check it out!

Madeline Mora-Summonte

Friday, February 08, 2008

Excellent Crime Writer's Book

With the publication of POLICE PROCEDURE & INVESTIGATIONS by Lee Lofland, Writer's Digest Books has a sure-fire winner on their hands. The subtitle for this book indicates that it was written primarily for the writers of crime books and crime-related short stories. But that is a much-too-narrow focus. This book is for anyone who is interested in police work, criminal investigations, and all of the aspects that fit under those two general categories. And it delves into these areas to a much greater depth than the ever-popular and every-growing list of television programs that claim to be "reality-based" crime shows.

Nearly everyone is now familiar with terms such as crime scene investigation, autopsy, the exclusionary rule, blood spatter analysis, flash-bangs, DNA evidence, and the Miranda warning. But if you want to know what kind of equipment crime scene investigators need, what kind of training goes on in police academies, how long rigor mortis effects a corpse, what a "sally port" is, what kind of chemicals are used to make meth, or the difference between ASPs and shock sticks, this is the book for you.

Author Lee Lofland is well known to writers of crime-related books mainly because of his expertise in the field, but also because of his clear, concise, and jargon-free writing style. He is a writer's writer, but he is also a reader's writer. His prose is clean and direct, his organization logical, and his coverage comprehensive.

I highly recommend this book for anyone--writer or non-writer--who wants to know what REALLY goes on during a criminal investigation, inside a courtroom, or behind prison walls.

Russ Heitz

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Writing is often a solitary endeavor, but as a member of the FWA, you are not alone. Go on over to and check out the FWA Forums. Some of the forums include topics such as Self Publishing, Traditional Publishing, Query Questions, and Goals & Process. Reach out to a fellow Floridian writer! Offer some encouragement, advice or expertise, and get some in return. We're all in this together, after all!

Madeline Mora-Summonte

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Breaking News!!

Pretend this is MSNBC! Breaking News! Breaking News!

Our own Russ Heitz is the winner of The Infinite Writer Book Of The Year Award for his novel "Crosshairs" published in June. Congratulations Russ!!

I've been priviledged to read some of Russ' early work in short stories and this award is an example of his destiny. That being the recognition he deserves for his talented writing ability.
"Crosshairs" is the first of his crime/mystery saga and I understand he's hard at work on the second installment. Time now to read the first one if you haven't already. Check it out at his website linked to the left in the link column. Keep on keepin' on, Russ!