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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sue's Alaskan Adventures Abound

At this very moment, Susan Haley is somewhere in Alaska on another adventure with her son, Billy, and his wife, Karen, and their special canine family member, BB McPup. I had a long adventure-filled email from Sue and I promised I'd pass at least some of the info along to all of her friends down here in Civilization Land.

If you haven't heard, Billy and Karen have been touring the states since January in their pickup truck and pull-along trailer and they insisted that Sue join them for at least part of their Alaskan episodes. For those who are interested in Alaska, check out Karen's very interesting and beautifully photographed blog at

As for Sue's experiences in the past week or so, here's a few quotes from her email.

"Never did I fully comprehend the utter joy of experiencing my first viewing close up of a wolf in his own domain. No words can describe it."

"The wolf and the fox actually stalked right down the road along side us totally oblivious to our presence. [The wolf] was zeroed in on the herd of Dall Sheep about 50 feet off the road. The fox ... on the horseshoe hare we stopped to view. The fox just came out of a clump of bush. He was gorgeous, tri-colored with a magnificant tail that literally drug the ground!"

"We saw a herd of Dall Sheep [and] the lone wolf (later we saw his mate laying outside their den, which had been staked off and closed to all foot trafic, even the rangers left them alone. The guide said they had four pups but we didn't get to see them."

"This is the rest of the list which I will describe more fully later. All were magnificent! 2 large male grizzlies. 1 mama grizzly with two cubs. (Spectacular to see!). She was playing with them. 3 large grizzlies traveling together. ... A mama moose with two calves drinking in a stream not ten feet away! ... Our second mama grizzly this time nursing two little guys! One was blonde and one was dark chocolate. She, too, ignored us!"

She also saw "a beautiful huge golden eagle gliding over a canyon. Many birds and beautiful meadows of wildflowers. ... Saw several ground squirrels and we were lucky to see a huge beaver house and community but the beavers weren't home."

"It's like being in another world. "The Mountain" or as the Natives call it "Denallee" formerly known as Mt. McKinley is so massive that it is only fully visable 20% of the time. We were most fortunate to view both the south and the north summits at 20,849 feet but a huge hunk of the middle was cloud covered. Then we saw the glacier base."

"We learned that in total rock bulk, the "Mountain" is bigger than Everest and since it's a 'young' mountain, it may someday surpass Everest in height, too."

"The scenery is magnificent. Cool days but if the sun comes out for the whole day, one ends up in shirt sleeves. It never gets totally dark. Sunset is 1:30-ish a.m. and sunrise is 3:30-ish a.m. Really weird when trying to keep track of day and time."

All of that, I might add, happened during Sue's first few days in Alaska. Who knows what's she's done and seen since then. But have no fear. Whenever she sends an update, I'll be sure to share it with all of you. By the way, you can still send emails to Sue but don't bog her down with a lot of "writing business stuff" right now. Remember, she's on VACATION! And she can't always get back to you because WiFi service in Alaska is spotty at best. And that can be a Very Good Thing -- especially when you're on a vacation!

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Compare POD Publishers

For anyone considering using one of the popular POD Publishers for their next book please read a review of some of them in a newsletter called WritersWeekly. The newsletter is distributed FREE every Wednesday and is chock full of interesting and informative info for both published and unpublished writers, traditional or nontraditional.

The POD publishers reviewed this week are: BookLocker, iUniverse, CreateSpace, Trafford, Lulu, AuthorHouse, and Xlibris.

Check it out. You might save yourself some grief and also a lot of money. The website is

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Break

For those who weren't at the meeting this past Wednesday night, Sue and I asked for some time off and a unanimous vote said we could have it. So there will NOT be any OFFICIAL meetings at the fire station during the months of July and August. HOWEVER, the room at the fire station is still available for our group on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month. So anyone who wants to share some of their latest creations please feel free to drop in and read, just like always.

As I write this, Sue is already on her way to Alaska to meet her son, Billy, and his wife, Karen, who have been rambling around the country in their pickup and pull-along trailer, with BB McPup riding "shotgun." She left Sarasota this morning (the 21st) and will be landing in Alaska tomorrow at 1 a.m. Alaska time, 5 a.m. Sarasota time. So she's going to be one pooped-doobie by tomorrow morning. The length of her stay is uncertain at this point -- at least a couple weeks. My adventures will be a lot more modest: a 60+ mile bike trip through the Pine Creek Valley in Pennsylvania, deep in the wilderness heart of the infamous "Klinkton County." Plus I'll be doing some rambles around that whole area taking pictures for my website. But that won't happen till the end of next month. In the interim I'll be trying to catch up on some overdue stuff, re-doing my front yard, and studying some more suspense/mystery novels. Always something new to learn.

In the meantime, if anyone has anything they want to put on the blog, just send it to me and I'll be glad to post it. Sue may be out of touch for awhile but I'll be here for any emails, comments, suggestions, questions, or whatever.

So have a great summer! And keep in touch.

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Words, Congrats & Recap

Two reminders: (1)our next meeting, our General Meeting, will be Wednesday evening the 16th, same time, same place, and (2) the Magic Words, contributed by Peter Frickel, are POOR and POUR. Use both words in one sentence, or each word in a separate sentence, or whatever other combination you can come up with. Your choice. And use your imagination. Let's see if we can create some unique sentences.

The congratulations go out to Kerri Dieffenwierth. The poignant and very original story she read at the last meeting about Chupa Chup, the old man who was trapped and died in an amusement park ride, placed 4th in a contest that had 400 entries. Way-to-go, Kerri! Let us know the details about the contest at the next meeting.

The meeting recap will include just about everyone who came to the meeting because nearly everyone brought something to read.

Joe Porter read a very moving piece about his experiences in Hiroshima shortly after The Bomb destroyed the whole city. Ed Lyman brought another one of his humorous short pieces. This one was about pickles and olives. Kris Palmer read a piece about Courage and demonstrated once again that she definitely has more courage than most of us. Our resident actor Tom Smith read, presented, and acted out his version of the Snow White fable. Jean Porter shared a couple poems about swimming and the current oil spill disaster going on in the Gulf of Mexico. One of our new visitors, Micki Knowles read her story about the Demonic Delights of the Cabbage Patch dolls. Phil Dobrin took us all into the operating room again and gave us a glimpse of what goes on during a heart operation. Andrew Parker read another one of his powerful and this time heart-rending story segments, about a young man who is trying to adjust to the results of a life-changing accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. And Peter Frickel brought the evening to a close with another poignant and powerfully presented dying scene from his novel.

During the meeting we also had a very lively and informative discussion about some of the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus author initiated publishing, usually referred to with the very broad and comprehensive terms "self publishing" and/or "POD publishing"

Don't forget to use our two Magic Words poor and pour in a sentence or two. CU all on the 16th.

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Meeting Wednesday Night

Hi All,
Just a quick note to remind everyone that our "reading meeting" is tomorrow night, same time, same place. So bring your latest creation and share it with the rest of us. As Sue said, however, keep in mind that we have to keep our readings fairly brief, no more than three pages, so everyone can have a turn. Everyone who WANTS a turn, that is. Reading is not required. Just encouraged. And comments and critiques are always welcome. The primary purpose of the readings of course is to get feedback so you can improve what you've written.

And remember the two magic words for tomorrow night are MASK and AUTHENTIC. You can use both in the same sentence or a different sentence for each word. Or some combination thereof.

See you then!

Posted by
Russ Heitz