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

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Short Stories Wanted!

Hey, all you short story writers! Venice Magazine has a call out for stories up to 2,000 words in length. Go to this address for more info, and do it NOW!

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Venue, New Equipment

Most of the comments we have gotten regarding our new venue at the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department have been positive. It is certainly roomier than our old library digs and we have a lot more flexibility about the number of meetings and the length of our sessions. Hats off to "chief facility negotiator" Howard, and also to his staff.

We quickly decided, however, that one of the few drawbacks of this larger room was the lack of a public address system. This was an especial problem for those of us who are hearing impaired. We have now remedied that issue by purchasing a used public address system which we will now donate to the fire department. That way we can use it for our meetings and the fire department can use it for their weekly training sessions.

Before the purchase, I did some research of the local music stores and sound-related electronics shops, as well as the Internet, regarding prices. What I found was that the price for a new unit that would be appropriate for our purposes would be between $300 and $400. All of the vendors had basically the same prices and the same equipment. Those amounts were more than we as an organization could afford since we don't have membership dues or ways of generating income beyond personal donations. I did, however, find a used public address system at a Sarasota electronics repair shop for $150. After a demonstration, I decided to purchase the equipment using, in part, the additional $75 we have recently collected from most of you. The other $75 came from my own personal funds. Additional contributions for the PA system, from those who can and want to donate, will be accepted at our next two meetings, which will be on August 5th and August 19th. Sharon Baker has volunteered to be our "tax" collector so you can give your donations to her. Thanks, Sharon!

Now, a personal toot of my own horn: one of my flash fiction stories has been accepted by the online ezine LongStoryShort ( The title of my 571-word flash is War. It is scheduled to appear in the September 7th issue. Comments or criticisms are always appreciated.

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Number #1 Pet Groomer in Sarasota!!

One of our new members, Leah Carroll, has just won the #1 Pet Groomer in Sarasota's Best for 2009!
Leah has won this award, I believe, in 2007 and 2008 as well. This consecutive stretch must mean she is where to take your adored pets for a groom!

Her salon, Lucy Locks Pet Styling and Botique, is located just south of Stickney Point Road at 7119 South Tamiami Trl. The phone number is 941-929-PAWS (7297)

Congratulations, Leah!

Leah is also working on a book, yet to be titled, addressing the common sense elements of dog training, which covers a lot more than just training. Also included, are chapters on adoption decisions, attitude, nutrition, healthy grooming and much more. She sure has the perfect location to market her books!
Leah is also an advocate of putting a halt to the substandard practices of "puppy mills". As more and more information comes forth about this so called "business", we are learning that it quite possibly may be the worst way to obtain a healthy pet. Kudos, Leah!

I hope, too, that some of you were able to catch Terry Lindemann's radio interview this morning! Terry, too, has animals at the top of her priority list. For those who don't know it, she donates the proceeds from "A Cat's Tale" to the local shelters. Her website is now on the links section!

Don't forget to email me or Russ with any pertinent announcements or news! This is YOUR blog, writers.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Generous Offer

I want to thank everyone who has made a sincere effort to check the blog frequently for new communications. It will so help my email load in answering questions regarding times and dates of meetings. However, I'm still happy to hear from anyone needing to talk to me in a more private nature. I am here to help.
More news about our new meeting agendas: Russ Heitz and Sharon Baker have generously offered to chair the new meeting and allow me to be 'just a member' in the first Wednesday gathering so I can sit in with a critique group. Of course, if one of them have a need for a night off or a need for my help arises, I will re-assume my responsibility for that time.
Their help as we've grown, has been priceless to me. There is a lot more involved in facilitating this group than is often visible to the members. Record keeping and reports to the main FWA board to name a couple. I don't think I could have continued another year without their assistance. We all owe them a big 'thank you'. I'm looking forward to the extra meeting devoted to critique.
An interesting aside . . . I did hear from Bill Walker of "Skywalker" fame today. He is walking the Pacific Coast Trail to match his feat of a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on his first attempt. He wrote a most interesting and humorous book about that experience. Next, he had to conquer the Pacific Coast Trail replete with its own extreme challanges. He started in April and is now in the High Sierras near Lake Tahoe. He started down near the Mexican border and had to cross the desert. He's a bit worn for the wear, but determined to finish. The end is at least a reachable goal now and he is persevering. Congratulations Bill! Something tells me you'll make it with vigor to spare. For those of you who don't know Bill, he's 7' tall and his height is much more of a hindrance than a help. Perhaps, he will give us a recap when he returns in late fall.

Best to all,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

FWA Meeting Recap: 7/15/09

Welcome to the Sarasota FWA Blog!

Last night, we had a rather wild, but productive meeting. I think. :) To sum up, this is what was agreed upon by all as to a plan of action.

1: We will have two meetings a month on the first and third Wednesdays. Same time. The first Wednesday will be more geared to the subgroups of reading and critique and sharing experiences. Attendence is optional and subgroups will remain permanent and won't rotate.

2: The regular third Wednesday will be more general. The agenda will begin promptly at 6:30. Fifteen minutes will be allotted for announcements and getting to the group we rotate to. Rotation was suggested as a way to learn and share in all types of writing. You'll sign a small piece of paper and drop it in the suggestion box and names will be drawn at random for each group to achieve a healthy mix. Once we do this a couple of times, it should go fast.

3: At 6:45 we will devote one hour to the subgroups. How each group is run will be determined by that group. I would suggest some kind of leader being appointed to maintain fairness and order at both types of meetings.

4: At 7:45 we'll take a short five minute break (also suggested to me) and then reconvene into one group. At 7:50 we'll have two or three "Star" readers who will have five minutes to read and five to receive comments. Star readers are asked to bring five copies of what they'll read for those with any hearing difficulties. It was unanimously agreed that time will be clocked and at the 'bell' the reader can only finish the sentence they were reading. Several have agreed to bring timers. Or Sharon can be the time keeper to avoid confusing bells. Not all time keepers are precise. A 'team' will be counted as two people. We'll lead off with Bart Stamper and Joanne Phillips demonstrating how a prose excerpt can inspire a poem or vice versa. Sharon and I did that last night. It's interesting, and possibly inspiring, to see how two different genres can blend. Next, will be the Gardiner Girls. :) Karen Gardiner is an expert on holding to time limits as low as thirty seconds. She does it in her work. And has promised to keep Chellie and Margaret under control. :)

5: At 8:30 we will close the meeting with a discussion period based on questions or ideas drawn from the suggestion box as time allows.

6: This morning I received a suggestion from Peter that everyone write a 20 words or less sentence on just EXACTLY what they came to FWA hoping to find. This can be placed in the suggestion box (I'm thinking of getting two) to help me do my job in making sure all get what they came for. Any found interesting and not mentioned before could be used in discussion.

7. It was also unanimously agreed that all would make an attempt to start checking the blog for updates and announcements. The link is on your email sheet as well as in the auto-signatures of both Russ and my emails. Anyone is encouraged to add it to theirs. Many writers don't take advantage of the auto-signature feature on their email service. It, too, is a great networking and promotional tool.

I'd like to report that we have collected an additional $65 toward a microphone. Russ, with guidance from Linda, is shopping for a good mic at a reasobable price. This, too, will be a donation to the Fire Department and left for their use as well as our own. If we ever change locations, it will be left for the FD. And still some have not paid. I'd like to thank Terry and Carol for additional donations over and above their five dollars. We really have gotten a great deal on this facility. Sharon suggested that if we want to have a holiday party, we can all contribute to that separately. I'd like to thank Ed Lyman for the treats he brought last night. I'm going to check on the cost of a 20-cup percolator as well. So far, the FD has been given a check for $100.

An aside - Russ, Tuck, Terry, and I all use the same website builder. She's good and she is personal, AND she's one of the most reasonably priced techs I've ever come across in ten years in this writing business. She can do a simple three page site or she can do one like mine that is massive with music, trailers, and color photos abounding. We all pay the same hosting fee of $4.99 a month to Go Daddy! And you still have full design control as to visual, audio, frequency of updates, and features. I'll be happy to share her contact information if anyone is interested.

Email me or Russ with any news, articles of interest, or announcements for the blog.
Thanks for all of your cooperation. Things have gotten chaotic on occasion as we grow and evolve. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The link I gave below was incomplete and therefore did not light up. Let me try it again.

I will dock myself an automatic ten points for this error.

New Words = New Ideas

As writers, we have a special love for words. All sorts of words. Words that generate all sorts of meanings, colors, shadings, definitions, emotions, and images. If we didn't love words, we probably wouldn't be writers. So it is always exciting to discover new words, unusual words that we can use in our stories and articles.

Thanks to John McCafferty, one of our group's most experienced professional writers, we can now add a whole passel of new and scintillating words to our writing and speaking vocabularies. All we have to do is click on the link listed below and we'll be whisked away to a preview of some of the words that Mirriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition has added to their new collection. Words like:

Acai -- a small, dark purplish fruit from Central and South America

Fan fiction -- stories involving fictional characters that are written up by fans and posted on the Internet

Locovore -- one who eats only foods grown locally

Missalette -- a shortened form of a missal published periodically for congregational use

Webisode -- an episode of a TV show that may or may not be telecast but can be viewed at a Web site

Your homework assigment for this week is to look up the following words and work each of them into at least one conversation every day this week. Piece of cake.

Pharmacogenetics, flash mob, green-collar, reggaeton, shawarma, viog, and naproxen.

We will NOT be grading on a curve. However, all of these words and their definitions can be found on this link. So it is, in effect, an OPEN BOOK QUIZ. This site will also give you the correct audible pronunciation of every word, so you won't have to sound like an illiterate bumpkin every time you use them. The link is:

Good luck on the Quiz!

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Our FWA Blog is a great place to make announcements for the members of our group. Our FWA motto is "Writers Helping Writers". One way we can do that is follow the blog and support the signings and events of fellows. Someday it may be your turn! Imagine how it would feel without the support of your group behind you! Send announcements to me or Russ and we'll get them posted. I've just received one from Terry Lindeman and it is a good example of being concise, and to the point. As time goes by and our new group venue becomes comfortable, it's my goal to have each of us familiar with all the talent we have amongst us. That will eliminate spending too much time coming up with bios and histories to make an announcement. With so many new and enthusiastic members, it may be time to have a short indoctrination to the principles of basic networking. Many of us are living proof that it works when applied. Following is a well-written announcement.

Terry (Lindy) Lindeman will be a guest on Karen Meyer's radio show, "All About Women" on WENG 1530AM and 107.5FM (A CBS Affilliate) on Thursday, July 23 from 11:05 to 11:50 a.m.. "All About Women" showcases local women who are involved in Not For Profit activities that benefit the community.

I will add a comment to the announcements so that everyone can start to learn what each of us 'do'. Terry's adorable, beautifully illustrated Childrens Books qualify for the show as she donates all the proceeds to the animal shelters! What a thoughtful thing to do in a time when the shelters are struggling as numbers increase and donations dwindle in the precarious economy. If you have children or grandchildren, what a great way to teach them about pets with a darling reading gift, and support the shelters and Terry all in one fell swoop! There really is so much to learn from our animal friends. Terry's books excell in this mission. She's a most talented author of books for kids from 3 to 10. I can vouch for that.