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

Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Season Begins!

After a July and August respite, a lot of our members traveling, we begin our new season on Wednesday, September 1st. I'm sure everyone will be glad to be back together and renew our trek to good writing.

I want to thank everyone who submitted comments to me for the History I attempted to write for our Sarasota County Chapter. All comments sent in are included in my submission. Now, we'll see what is used in the final product of Sunny Fader's project. I feel quite blessed with the diversity and enthusisam shown by our members. The comments received warmed my heart and I feel like we have all created something worth while. That's a rewarding feeling.

I have had news from two of our missing members. Sharon has finally surfaced and is in town. She is having knee surgery on Monday, tomorrow, and may be able to attend our second meeting in September before she heads back on the road. I do believe her reunion with her high school sweetheart has proven to be a huge success and they will be dividing their time between Venice and Pensacola. I trust we'll have her with us when she is in town.

Also, I've had a great conversation with Bart Stamper who is now working in Canada and thinks he will be there for a few more months for sure. He sends his best to all of the group and assures me is following our blog and keeping up with things. For those of you who have a Facebook page, he is posting there and has an interesting photo album. He is still writing his powerful stuff and I asked the status of his book we were all so priviledged to hear excerpts read.

Tuck has also checked in and although he's on the mend now, it has been a long haul for him with the Shingles leaving after effects of the nerve damage. He had another set back over the summer. I assured him that he could come to the meetings even if he could only sit for a half an hour to start. He was worried about lasting the three hours and I assured him he didn't have to. Just spending the social networking before 6:30 with us would make everyone happy.

The September Fox and Quill is out and and along with Russ' new workshop column we also have representation by Rod Digruttolo, myself and a debut entry by Jim Kelly. Congratulations Jim! Jack Wolf, its founder, has asked me to express his gratitude for the participation by our members. I know the members feel a sense of accomplishment at their exposure the first time they see their work published in a nationwide e-publication. Richard Ide, Bart Stamper, Peter Frickle and Irv Newman have also been featured in past editions of the Fox and Quill. I'll remind those who've yet to submit, that this is a westcoast publication that connects you to the west coast writers. In addition, to the personal reward, you are visible to a whole new market area. Russ' continuing installments on mystery writing are most informative. Also, Dahris Clair, the Pasco County Chapter's Group Leader, also takes submissions for her ever-growing Infinite Writer. In September, Russ Heitz, Linda White and Kris Palmer will be represented there. I, of course, am the Poetry Coordinator and write a monthly column for that as well. Joe and Jean Porter, and Jim Kelly have been published there. Russ' "Crosshairs" mystery won "Book Of The Year" there in 2008. Plus all members are eligible to submit to the Florida Writer, our printed publication for the FWA. Members statewide receive a copy in the mail. So be thinking about getting your writing 'out there'. Opportunities abound.

I'm looking forward to our reunion meeting on Wednesday and hope to see a large turnout. A few that are still away have contacted me that they will be returning on the 15th. I'd also like to thank all of you who've taken an interest in checking the blog. Please remember if you have anything you'd like to add or share, an event you'd like to announce, we are open for all ideas and input, Feel free to send me or Russ your comments and news. If our interest continues to grow, perhaps we can re-think member posting options. We've shunned it prior due to the possibility of outside spam. It is an option available to us although I would need help implementing it. Madeline?? A geek, I am not!

Want to briefly thank, too, those of you who used the facility to have small gatherings all summer long. Last week, Rod, Donnie Niles, Kris Palmer and I had a great meeting with four of us! Donnie has since returned up north but will be back in December hopefully with a decision to publish his book. The three of us sure did all we could to talk him into going for it! Kris especially had her first exposure to his book and she loved it and told him so. Her own book on "Dancing With The Elephant" is coming along beautifully and I think she'll have it out by the first of the year. She's a beautiful and most careful writer. Rarely an error in her manuscript and her story is powerful.

See you all very soon! Same place, same time. We'll have to gather up this year's donation to the fireman as they sure have been great in providing us a space to meet with only the Thursday restriction. Write down anything you may care to introduce to our meetings. It is YOUR group to shape and make better.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Call For Submissions

August is already over half over! I've been home almost a month. Where is time going? Does everyone have this sense of 'spinning out of control' or is it a personal problem? :)

I need submissions of only one or two sentence input from those of you who'd care to participate. I've agreed to work with Sunny Fader, an FWA member who has taken on the task of writing a history of the FWA since it's inception as requested by Chrissy Jackson, FWA President. The goal for Sunny is to have a nice presentation highlighting the activities, growth, and success of local Chapters statewide who show an interest. All group leaders were asked for information and since I'm always blowing the horn of our Sarasota Group, I felt it an opportunity. I've agreed to work closely with her as she isn't getting much response.

I'd like a comment on what you've gotten out of our Group and what role it plays in your writing goals. Doesn't have to be long at all. In fact, if it's too long some would get cut anyway.

Just email me.

We have two weeks before our regular season begins and I suppose some of you will gather informally this Wednesday as you've been doing. I'll come by the firehall just in case.
Have a great day!

Oh, and the travelers arrived home in Harrisburg, PA on Sunday. Son Bill is already chomping at the bit to get on the road again. :) Wonder what exotic trip I'll get next year if I'm breathing! :) Hudson Bay has been mentioned. Maybe I'll be able to see a polar bear up there!


Saturday, August 07, 2010

NPR: Another Market For Local Writers?

A member of our local FWA group and director of the Suncoast Writers Guild in Englewood, Ann Favreau recently shared with us an email she received from Guild member Kathy Nixon. It may open the door for some of us to yet another possible market for our
work--National Public Radio--especially if you enjoy writing personal essays. Here's Kathy's account.

"Following the advice of our guest speaker on other ways to publish, I wrote a three minute essay about taking my grandchildren to an ancestral burial ground. I contacted the local public radio station. [In our area that would be WUSF-FM in Tampa-Ed.] The editor loved it and we arranged a time to record when Randy and I were visiting the grandchildren. The [NPR editor], Martha Woodroff, was so easy-going that she made the whole experience a real high point of the vacation. You can go to, click on Civic Soapbox (My Grandchildren's Half-told Family Story) and listen to the essay or click on Civic Soapbox blog to read it."

What makes this possibility even more interesting and potentially profitable is that our local NPR station (WUSF-FM) has recently purchased a radio station here in Sarasota and will be expanding their programming in our immediate area. That means they will also be needing a lot of material to fill their new daily schedules. And, yes, they DO pay you for your work. This is not a freebie.

If you have any short personal essays that could amuse, inform, enlighten or inspire NPR listeners, contact Sheila Rue, WUSF-FM's Program Director at Sheila should be able to direct you to the proper contact within the organization.

Give it a try. It won't cost you more than a stamp-less free email. And GOOD LUCK!

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

To Jerry Haley

As Sue mentioned above, I am still regrouping from my trip to Klinkton County, PA, where strange things sometimes happen. I haven't even BEGUN to look at the 500+ photos I took but at least my "pending" folder is almost empty. Almost.

Seriously, though, most of you know Susan's beloved husband, Jerry Haley, died eleven years ago this month. You may also know she has dedicated her website to his memory.

One of the things Jerry wanted to do most of all was travel to Alaska and explore America's last frontier. He never got to do that during his short life. But now, with the help of Susan, her son Billy and his wife Karen, part of Jerry is now part of Alaska.

Near the Chugach Mountains east of Anchorage and north of Prince William Sound, Susan released some of Jerry's ashes in a quiet place in the heart of the wilderness. She also wrote a poem in Jerry's memory. Its title is THE EDGE OF CHUGACH. It can be read on Susan's website, if you scroll down below the photograph of Jerry.

Please go there, rest a moment, and feel the peace.

Posted by Russ Heitz

Karen Haley's Picture Travelogue

Since the Alaska pictures have been referred to so much, I'm adding the Haley Hiatus blog link to our link column. It's well archived and one is able to travel the country from Harrisburg, PA to Alaska via my home in Nokomis, Florida. Last I heard they were in Edmonton, Alberta enroute to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, The Tetons and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. The magnitude of their trip overwhelmes me!
They been on the road since February 1st and covered close to 25,000 miles the way they've zigzagged so as not to miss anything. Karen informed she is now a gypsy. :) Bill said he could do it for the rest of his days on this Earth.

I did meet some people who did just that! Lived in their RV's and stayed two or three months in places they enjoy returning to. Follow the seasons. You also run into a lot of 'caravans' where RV clubs travel together for weeks at a time. But yes, one has to love Nature and being on the move to do it. Some of the Class A Motorhomes are as lush as a house! Amazing. I could do it in a heartbeat if I had the funds. I guess if you don't own a home and all the expenses that go with it, it's possible. I could do a heck of a lot of moving for what I pay in property taxes and Homeowner's Insurance! Many of the State Parks only have $10 or $15 a night fees and some include full hookup sans Wi Fi. Pocket change, if compared to commercial lodging and buying all meals in a restaurant. We cooked some great meals in the RV.

Informal Meeting on Wednesday 8/4

Hi All -

I've had some questions about the meeting status for August and a note from Rod Digruttolo that a couple of you have been taking advantage of the Firehall location even while we've been on vacation. I think that is great some took advantage of our facility's access. It shows the enthusiasm of our group.

Many have been away and some still haven't returned, but I've decided that I will show up at the Firehall tomorrow night and be happy to see anyone who is moved to stop by. Irv Newman called me and since he won't see this as he continues not to give in to the electronic demands of this world, I'll call him and let him know.

It was great to return to Linda White's little poetry gathering last Thursday at the Venice Rookery and I've invited the poets to join us at the Firehall tomorrow evening at 6:30. Kris, Jim, Celise, Joe, Gaile, Joanne and Barbara attend both but some of them are still away. I do know Jim Kelly is back. And Peter, you expressed desire to attend Linda's group as well. :) Ann Favreau from Suncoast Writers has also checked back in. Russ has just returned home but I think he is still in re-group mode. Fall is upon us. Do you hear the dogs barking? Personally, I enjoy being in my Alaska fog. Don't wanna regroup. :)

Hope to see a few of you tomorrow night. No set time. Come and go as you wish. I'll be there around 6:30.