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, February 20, 2009

Meeting 2/18 updates and site links

Hello Group!

I'm happy to report we had a great meeting on Wednesday. Welcome to the potential new members and guests and also the returning members who'd missed a couple of meetings. Based on my feedback, everyone is enjoying the time set aside for readings and discussions and more and more are signing up to take part. I already have my first reader for March. Two places to fill, so get me your request asap. I take them in order of receipt. Patti will continue her 'novel saga' which we've all come to look forward to.
There was great interest shown in the opportunity to submit work to Julie Milton, the Executive Editor for Scene Sarasota magazine for her new Web Access Only project. She is accepting short stories up to 3000 words, essays, and poems. Names and a short bio will be included in the print magazine contents and your work featured on the website. She must receive submissions by the 20th of each month. If you'd like to take part send by document attachment with submissions in the email subject line to:

For the nature and garden lovers be sure to check out for the contest guidelines. The entry fee is unbelievably low at $10 for 3-5 poems and $10 for an essay. You can enter both categories. RAF is a non-profit organization based in Redlands, California that does great work in preserving nature and sharing its bounties with the infirm in the form of floral bouquets delivered to care centers. The contest is worth supporting for that reason alone. Check out their site:
Any further questions on either publication, feel free to email me.

Thanks to all for their interest and support of our local FWA Chapter. It is a true example of "Writers Helping Writers".


Monday, February 09, 2009

You Never Know Whose Eyes Are Watching!

For those of you who think nobody looks at our blog except a couple of us local FWA-ers, guess again. The following response came after I posted the brief blurb about the current Writer's Digest issue that focuses on self-publishing:

"Dear Russ,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the kind recommendation of our March/April issue to the FWA Sarasota Writers Group. I came across your post on, and was so happy to hear that you found it informative and that it provided the kind of overview we were aiming to deliver!"

The note was signed:
Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer's Digest
Cincinnati, Ohio

So ... a word to the wise: One never knows WHOSE eyes are watching! So send in those submissions!

Russ Heitz

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Never Give Up!!

The words Never Give Up are a bottom line message in my own novel, Rainy Day People. I'm sensitive to that quest for personal reasons. I had a great email from Russ Heitz and I felt compelled to share it with the group and all writers. Read on . . .

"Before Christmas I made a gift shop run of Venice, Sarasota, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Long Boat and Siesta Keys, trying to place my book Krazy Kritters of Florida for the Christmas shopping season. The interest was disappointingly slim. However, yesterday I got a call from the Island Bazaar Gift Shop in Holmes Beach. The owner recently found my flyer on his desk, called me on the phone, and promptly ordered 12 copies, all signed, and with the little "Autographed Copy" stickers on the front. So you never know when one of the many seeds you scatter will find a little patch of fertile ground. Never give up!"

Great news! I hope my yappin' at Russ about this 'persevere' premise all the time helped. I have great faith in his abilities and if anyone out there isn't aware of Russ' writing talents, I suggest you visit his website and look in to acquiring one of his books.


Spotlight: Self Publishing

If you still have a lot of questions about self publishing, and who doesn't, beg, borrow or buy a copy of the new March/April issue of Writer's Digest. The magazine has dedicated a good portion of its space to the many different aspects of self publishing. Some of the subjects they cover include PODs, e-books, editorial services, self publishing statistics, books made to order, POD cookbooks, self publishing awards, etc. etc. This issue provides a very good overview of the whole world of self publishing and contrasts it to traditional publishing. Check it out. You're bound to learn a thing or two.

Russ Heitz

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Now THAT'S called Perseverance

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) recently named two writers as their co-Grand Masters for 2009. Sue Grafton is one half of the winning team. The other half is James Lee Burke who has written more than 25 mystery & suspense novels. But he did NOT start out as a Grand Master. In fact, his novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over the course of 9 years! When the book was finally published it was quickly nominated for a Pulitzer Prize!

Later, Burke was the recipient of the Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and two of his titles, Heaven's Prisoners and Two for Texas were made into movies. He has also won MWA's Edgar award twice in the category of "Best Novel."

So the next time you think about shoving that Great American Novel of yours into the bottom drawer, remember James Lee Burke. Rejected. 111 times.

Russ Heitz