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

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