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, December 26, 2011

Tales to Inspire

Our Long Island friend, Lois Stern, has come up with a contest that is a challenge for everyone. I wanted to give you a heads up on this announcement: A Special Authors Contest for writers and aspiring writers. Please check it out at:
Write up an inspiring tale to inspire others with the power and of your words. If you are a winner, your story will be published in an e-book along with your bio, an optional photo and the link to your website or blog.
Now, just negotiated, another special perk. Every author with a tale accepted into this contest will have the opportunity to showcase their story on Sylvia Massard's online video show, The Lit Chick Show. Sylvia will produce a bi-monthly segment exclusively for Tales2Inspire authors. She has featured some very serious authors on her program.
Even those who don't win will get some special perks. Get all the details on the website. This is a great way to build your author's program and credential list. All this for an entry fee of only $4.95 per story, per category.
You are invited to catch the spirit, flaunt your talents and meet the challenge. Wishing you all good luck as you Travel with Lois Off the Beaten Path!

Lois Stern
P.S. Lois will be down and able to attend meetings in January - March and will be able to answer any further questions you may have.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Seasons Greetings!

We wrapped up the 2011 season with a half-party, half meeting, with coffee (Thanks, Kerri), sandwiches (Thanks, Joanne), and tons of Christmas cookies and brownies. Hannah Lee, our 16 year old guest from the last meeting returned bringing a double layer of homemade brownies that didn't last long. Thanks also to Peter for several tables of fresh fruit! Thanks to everyone who made this a really nice get-together. Everyone brought something and it was all appreciated. The table was piled with cookies, cheese, and far more than we could eat. We tried, though!

We spent an hour or so catching up with old friendships and starting new ones before we started our semi-official meeting. Before we started however, Russ passed out fortune cookies and everyone got to read their fortunes for the benefit of the other members. Some were humorous, and some were right on the mark! Rod commented he would like to write the fortunes stuck inside the little, crunchy nuggets.

After a fun round of fortune telling, we heard several good readings before we all wished everyone a Merry Christmas and closed the door on 2011. We started with Ben, who read from chapter five of his Science Fiction/Fantasy Newearth. He has about 80,000 words so far, about 20 chapters. A discussion followed, as is our normal activity, and everyone is waiting to hear more of the story. Peter read two short pieces, again from personal experience, and as always, both were spellbinding. The River and The Pathway, about the exodus out of Darfur, were not only well written, but also well read by Peter. He has new CD's out soon, three stories of Lothar, and the work My Frog Sings.

Kerri read Twirling, a short story about Rato, the famous cat, (dedicated to Jim) from her work, Homemade Rodeos, Cocoanut Heads, Marshmellow Alligators, Growing Up Floridian,” work. Another great piece of writing. Also, Kerri gave me this listing from Gotham Writers Workshop:

Joanne then expanded our horizons with a reading that had much to do with “rampant hormones,” chapter two of her autobiographical “Memoirs of a Sea Hag.” Needless to say, that was followed by humorous discussion and lots of feedback. Can't unbreak an egg, so to speak.

Jim, (AKA James Kelly) read another one of his great poems, appropriately titled “Kettle of Kindness.” His new book of poetry, “From the Embers,” is available contains 100 pages of his great work.

We wrapped up and cleaned up, and donated the remainder of the goodies (we tried to eat them all but failed miserably) to the Volunteer Firemen of Nokomis, who graciously let us use their meeting room.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or just Happy Holidays, we wish everyone a happy and festive season and a wonderful and healthy new year!

George, and Susan, and Rod, and Russ, and Peter, and Jim, and Ed, and Ed Lyman, too, and Kerri, and Kathy, Ben, Lee. Joann, Barbra, Susan, Linda, and everyone who makes this such a rewarding group. Keep reading and writing!

Our Facebook page is at:

and is accessible to everyone. Stop by when you get a chance and give us a "Like"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Englewood’s Dearborn Street Book Festival - 2012

Plans are under way for Englewood’s 3th annual Book Festival. It will be held, outdoors, February 18, 10 AM to 3 PM in Pioneer Park on W. Dearborn Street. The park is located between Mango Bistro and the Amherst Train Station shop. There will be ample parking at the rear of the park.

Last year 32 authors participated talking about and selling their books. Several hundred people have turned out both years making this a most successful event.

Entry fee for authors will be $25 and they will be asked to bring their own table and chairs. Tents are acceptable.

This year the Englewood SUN will be the Book Festival sponsor and the Englewood Charlotte Library and Sarasota’s Elsie Quirk Library will be co-sponsors.

There will be a writing contest sponsored by the Sun Coast Writers Guild and cash prizes will be awarded. The deadline for the contest will be January 31, 2011.

For more information, to request contest writing rules or to be put on a mailing list please e-mail Diana Harris at <>

Passing of an Icon

George Whitman, owner of the world famous"Shakespeare and Company Bookstore," died in Paris Dec 14th. See the article at

for a complete look at his amazing story. If the link isn't highlighted, then copy the web site address and copy it into your browser.

Thanks to Susan Davis for the information about George Whitman.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Greetings

Hi Everyone!

For a couple of reasons, I don't mail out paper cards anymore. What I do is have my website master (and that she is) put up a Christmas greeting to all through pictures and music. Soon there will be a poem up by Jim Kelly called "Christmas In the Forest" so if it's not there when you visit, please go back again and again. It's a place where I share the beauty of the season through pictures, I'm not selling anything.
I wish you all a most blessed holiday season.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

December 7th, 2011

Once again we welcomed back several members who spent the summer in cooler climates, and four new guests as well. Welcome back to Joe Porter and Ellen Magnusun, and welcome first time guests Robin and Chuck Thompson, Leigh-Taylor, and special guest, 16 year old Hannah Meredith from Venice High School.

Two really great announcements: Cathy Marine's great book, “No Dead Fish For Ginger, The Story of a Sarasota Bay Dolphin” (ISBN 978-1-936172) is now for sale in the Mote Marine book store! Designed originally for Middle School Science, it is enjoyable by all ages. Being carried by the Mote Marine bookstore is an accomplishment in itself. Secondly, Ed Ellis has deservedly been named Director of the Suncoast Writers Guild for another year. Ed gave a quick run-down on the upcoming Book Fair in Englewood, with details to follow as soon as everything is formalized. We'll keep everyone posted as soon as we get the final information. For now, circle your calendars for February 18th and keep an eye on this blog for updates.

Our donation to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department came out to $105, our sincere thanks to all who contributed to our hosts. And special thanks to Susan for bringing Holiday cookies to the meeting! It was decided we will have a meeting of sorts on December 21st after all, but only people who bring unwholesome bakery goods, unhealthy candies or whatnot, will be allowed admission! Yes, it will be a holiday party more than a regular meeting, but be forewarned, readings just might take place! (Seriously, everyone is invited, cookies or not!)

We got under way with the readings after a brief “business” part of the evening. Unfortunately, Ed got caught off guard eating candy and had to pass his one and only chance to read before Peter. Returning Joe Porter got that honor and kicked things off with two original works, one about the tragedy of war and survival during World War Two, and a piece about Moonshiners and politics in Appalachia during the Second World War. Cathy Marine read the last two chapters of her aforementioned book, “No Dead Fish For Ginger, The Story of a Sarasota Bay Dolphin,” followed by Peter's reading from “Yerma,” from “Three Tragedies by Lorca” Luckily, Peter had the English translation. For us, that is. It probably wouldn't phase peter if it were in the original Spanish. He could read it in Swahili and we would still enjoy it. Joanne followed with the opening chapters of her autobiographical “Memoirs of a Sea Hag,” followed by discussion and lots and lots of feedback. Joanne's work always catches everyone's attention.

After a short break destroying Susan's cookies, Kerri enthralled everyone with an another excerpt from her intense saga about a young girl being raised in rural Florida. This was about a different viewpoint of Lexington Farms. Discussion followed as Kerri always captures everyone's imagination with her unique saga. Rod read a piece, always with the unexpected twist, from Ed Lyman, our senior writer, entitled “When the Grim Reaper Laughed.” Returning Ellen Magnusun read from her book, “S'Truth, Fear to Faith,” and reminded us to always collect our payment, no matter how distasteful the customer might be!

A special treat for us was 16 year old Hannah Meredith, a guest of Kerri Dieffenwierth, who read several original pieces, including a touching memorial for a classmate. One selection, “Life,” was written in geometry class, but we won't tell anyone! Hannah will be heard from in the future, we have no doubt. Richard read a chapter from his in-progress science fantasy, and once again we were out of time! It was a fun, fast evening, and those who wished to read but didn't get the chance will go first next time. Depending on how many goodies are served, of course, it will be the Christmas party. See everyone in two weeks!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Meeting Reminder

Just a heads up that Wednesday, Decemeber 7th will be our last meeting until January 4th. Hope to see you all there. I will be taking up the Christmas donation for the Fire Department for those who've not yet contributed.

Best, Susan

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Contest for Poems and Short Fiction!

Another contest for poems and short fiction.

Contest Rules

Submit poetry and/or flash fiction (less than 500 words) to the prompt On the Bay to Englewood's Dearborn Street Book Festival Contest, P.O. Box 5146 Englewood, Fl 34224.

All entries for judging and awarding of cash prices must be received at the P.O. Box no later than January 31, 2012.

You may enter up to three (3) submission/s per individual. Each submission requires three (3) copies of your poem or short story (typed) contained in an individual envelope (one entry per envelope).

Do not put your name on your entry. Place a 4 digit identification number on each copy of the entry and on the outside of your envelope under your return address.

Judges will base their decisions upon the following; Originality (40 Points), Theme (35 Points), and Presentation (25 Points).

Presentations will take place at the open microphone event at Elsie Quirk Library on February 18th 2012 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM main conference room. (You are not required to present your work, however you will not receive points for presentation).

First Place - $75.00
Second Place - $50.00
Third Place - $25.00

A walk in prize of $20.00 will be awarded to those who walk-in (one entry only per individual) and present a poem or short story (up to 500 words) to the prompt. Bring three copies of your work for the judges prior to your presentation.

Ed Ellis

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday George!

One huge advantage to having a friend network on Facebook is the non-ending source of information if one chooses to share in it. That is how I found out that our new Blog Designer and Administrator, George Mindling, is having a birthday today!

Here's wishing you a great birthday, George. And, sending another big thank you for all your help and contributions to our writing group.

A heads up, too, to all of you who don't have a Facebook page. It's free and it's networking at its finest. Doesn't take tons of time and it is a great source of information. I've even found it a great place to take part in my 'animal and nature' activisim. NRDC's Biogems page is a wealth of knowledge and small things we all can do to help the Planet. Plus, there are levels of privacy and security facets that you can choose.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Englewood Book Festival

Hi Everyone,
I received an e-mail from Diana Harris that led to this exchange:
Just wanted to let you know we will be having our 3th annual book festival in Feb. If you would like to be on our mailing list to receive more information please e-mail me back.
Hope you will be joining us.
So, I replied:

Hi Diana,
Yes, I'd like to be on the mailing list for the book festival. I'd like to share this with the Sarasota Chapter of the Florida Writers Association if this is OK with you. If it is OK, I'll post it on the FWA Sarasota blog.
...and she said:

George, That would be terrific. Thank you so much. We have had great response so far and will be holding the festival in a small park on Dearborn St. about a block away from where it has been. It will give us more room and authors can park near their tables, but more on that later. Thanks for your help.

Diana Harris
So, as I get more information I will post it for everyone's benefit. I attended the first fair as an "rookie" author and really enjoyed the experience. I may even have to write something just to be there.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lemon Bay Fest - 2012

Lemon Bay Fest 2012
Whimsical Stories of Old Englewood

Contest Rules: Submit poetry and/or flash fiction (less than 500 words) to the prompt Whimsical Stories of Old Englewood to Lemon Bay Fest Contest, P.O. Box 5146 Englewood, Fl 34224.

All entries for judging and awarding of cash prices must be received at the P.O. Box no later than January 31, 2012.

You may enter up to three (3) submission/s per individual. Each submission requires three (3) sheets of your poem or flash fiction contained in an individual envelope (one entry per envelope).

Do not put your name on your entry. Place a 4 digit identification number on each copy of the entry and on the outside of your envelope under your return address.

Judges will base their decisions upon the following; Originality, Theme, and Presentation.

Presentations will take place at the open microphone event at Elsie Quirk Library on February 4th 2012 from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM. (You are not required to present your work, however you will not receive points for presentation).

First Place - $75.00
Second Place - $50.00
Third Place - $25.00

A walk in prize of $20.00 will be awarded to those who walk-in (one entry only per individual) and present a poem or flash fiction (up to 500 words) to the prompt. Bring three copies of your work for the judges prior to your presentation.

Thanks to Ed Ellis for the information

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Message from Susan

As I sit and look at the beautiful job George Mindling is doing with this blog I immediately have something to be thankful for. I'm sure if we all just look around us and focus on the beauty and friends in our lives, any ugliness will go away for at least one day.

I also want to thank everyone of you reading this for all the help and support given me over this last two years of fighting health issues. You've all been like family and the group would not continue to exist had you all not stood up to share in the burden. Thank you. I'm grateful.

I wish to congratulate each and every one of you who has put ink to page or paper in our group, those who have published books and those still with a dream toward that end. I'm quite convinced that we have more talent and diversity meeting in one group than is to be found anywhere. Again, I thank you all for sharing your work. It is appreciated by all who hear your words.

However you spend your day of Thanksgiving, I wish you the best it can be!

Your humble so-called leader. I follow more around here lately than I lead. Thank you for that, too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011

Turn out was great for our latest meeting as we welcomed back long-time member Joanne Phillips. After listening to Joanne's latest poem, “Jump Start,” we realized how much we missed her this past summer. We also welcomed new guests Denise, Cathy, and Rick as well, and look forward to seeing them as regulars.

We plan on donating to the Nokomis Volunteer Firemen on our next meeting, Dec 7th, so, if you could spare $5.00 to donate, please bring it to the next meeting. We don't charge dues or membership, but we do like to contribute to our gracious hosts, especially at this time of year. Thanks in advance, everyone!

Jim, (AKA James Kelly) had his new book of poetry, “From the Embers,” available and signed copies for everyone. He'll bring more next time if you didn't get a chance to pick one up at the meeting.

After a cordial meet and greet, we got to listen to Rod read, not one, but two of Ed Lyman's short stories. Both great, humorous stories from our Nonagenarian, (Ed is probably the only one who won't have to look this one up) “The Green Bras” and “The Way It Will Be” led off what was another night of great writing. From humor to poetry, and dark humor as well, it was a fast, entertaining evening.

Ed Ellis got to go in front of Peter again, and read his “Parallel Reality,” written the night before from 11:15pm til 5:30am. The writing was inspired by Joanne who asked “What was God doing before the Big Bang?” No wonder he couldn't sleep. We benefit from his insomnia...

Kerri again kept everyone's rapt attention as she continued with “English as a Second Language,” part of her “Homemade Rodeos, Cocoanut Heads, Marshmellow Alligators, Growing Up Floridian,” work. A great discussion followed about the use of real names or identifiable people in fiction work, or even in reporting or journals. Lots of good viewpoints!

Susan read a passage from Bill Moyer's “Language of Life,” which served as a prologue to Jim Kelly's great poems, “People and Leaves,” and “Awakened.” Joanne's return was marked by her “Be Careful What You ask For,” “I'm Not The Cook,” and the aforementioned “Jump Start,” which signals the return of a great talent. Joanne's humorous work is always a treat.

Russ brought us back to the realm of outstanding descriptive writing with a reading from Bill Prozini's book, “Illusions,” followed by Patricia with another piece of her dark humor that, again, caught everyone off guard. Great work. She is waiting on the publication of three poems to become a full member of the Horror Writers of America. Congratulations, Patricia!

Peter read another elegant writing, “My Frog Sings” the last chapter his book “Something of Value,” followed by Ben's revised Chapter One of his book, “Newearth.” The discussion that followed covered everything from science fiction to definitions and we suddenly found out we were out of time. A fast, fun evening.

Cathy, we look forward to hearing your work on Dec 7th, our next meeting, and I have a feeling we'll take up where we left off.

See everyone in three weeks! Next meeting is Dec 7th!

George (

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our first get-together of November was another great meeting, with the return of both Susan Haley and long time member Linda White. We also welcomed Patricia La Barbera and look forward to her becoming a regular member of the group.

Rod's usual welcoming and introductions led to a great round of reading and interesting, often lighthearted, discussions. But first, Susan asked for volunteer assistance as our treasurer, Linda Malloy, will be unavailable until next March. The duties mainly include presenting the $5 we collect twice a year to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department where we meet. It is a donation we chip in to the Fire Department for allowing us to use their facilities. We do not collect dues, and there is no charge for being in the group. It is something we do to show our appreciation to our hosts. Anyone interested, please contact me at, or Susan Haley directly at

The readings were as varied as the members themselves, Linda starting the evening with a beautiful, well written piece about her mother. New comer Patricia read next, presenting a piece of flash fiction that caught everybody off guard with its conclusion. Great writing. Good discussion afterward that led to comments about the Writer's Digest contest for short stories (1500 words or less), and on flash fiction, flash mobs, and just plain flashing.

Barbara then read a paragraph from the book “Vincent by Himself”, his own writing proves to be as descriptive as his paintings, followed by Peter Folaris who read two of his really great poems. First, from his work “Lucille and Other Manic Tales” and then another free form poem titled “Bronx Marie.' More great work. Peter Frickel then read a great piece “Darkness between the Shadows” and a piece from “A Writer's Book of Days” where writers such as ourselves are encouraged to present their work to groups such as ours for peer-review. We were warned, however, that “someone will always try to fry your banana.”

Jim Kelly did it again with a poem called “Chipmunk,” another great poem. Jim's book is being polished and we got to see the proof copy. “From the Embers” by James O. Kelly will be available soon. We'll post the information about availability as soon as we get it. Ben wrapped up the readings with the draft of Chapter Five of his science fiction novel, OneEarth. It is progressing well and has caught everyone's interest. He must be the ultimate researcher.

Discussions included Bart Stamper, a former member of the group who still stays in contact, and John Wolf, FOX & QUILL editor, a past visitor who is involved in writing contests in California, and somehow we got into a discussion about lizards. Never discuss lizards, geckos, anoles or any other form of lizard with a writer's group! Not this one anyway. Fabius Cunctator, indeed! It was an interesting, light hearted session.

We have added a Facebook page that allows everyone quick and easy access to our group. You can click into this blog from Facebook, or to there from here by clicking on the blog in the Facebook page. Please click the “Like” button to add your name to our list!

Take a look at the Lulu Short Story Contest at:

One of the comments of the meeting was a quote from Elmore Leonard: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” I hope I haven't left out something that no one would skip...

See you Nov 16,


Friday, October 21, 2011

In Memory of Phil Dobrin

In Memory of Phil Dobrin

As writers we all celebrate the good writing of individuals who attend our writers groups on a regular basis to share their experiences and writing. Phil was exceptional, bringing quality writing and comment to both the Nokomis group and Suncoast Writers.

Phil's book, Adventures of a Surgical Resident, is a must read for anyone interested in the memoir's of a very successful medical doctor. Phil's ability to take very dry subject matter and turn it into a book full of information you should know, in a way the layman can understand. His stories are told well and bring a smile and laugh.

My life has been touched in very special ways knowing Phil. I'm sure yours as well. When I drive home from our meetings from Nokomis and look over and see the car seat empty my mind sees Phil sitting there helping me drive in the dark. I once told him if he sat in the back seat he could see better. The drive home was always interesting with Phil telling me more and more stories. We also had additional conversations about the meeting and Phil helped me see things in a different light and perspective. The secret we kept from our wives was the stop for three taco's and a senior drink.

For some strange reason, Phil stayed slim and trim and I added to my weight. Taco Bell will always remind me of Phil.

Phil left me with a treasure for my personal library, a signed copy of his book.

"With best wishes for a great friend" Phillip.

I know we all miss Phil.

Ed Ellis

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Aaah, Cooler weather!

Wednesday, Oct 19th 2011

We welcomed Barbara and Peter Frickel back from France this past Wednesday, along with the first cooler weather of the season, and we welcomed a new member as well. Peter Folares met our eclectic group, and heard some very good work read by many of the members. Rod read another of Ed Lyman's engrossing stories, which fascinated the group as usual. Ed's work never fails to send me to the closest dictionary. Irv did a piece on letter writing, followed by Ed, who actually got to go ahead of Peter for a change! Ed was inspired by Jim's poetry and read a whimsical poem written while eating at a Taco Bell. No, it was about Halloween.

Peter read another excellent passage from one of his favorite authors, followed by Kerri, who started a really good discussion after reading her piece about air-boats and alligators. What is a “Cracker” anyway? Jim again enthralled the group with his poetry and Russ read a chilling selection from Jack London, where the protagonist isn't a person. We closed with a congenial discussion about upcoming events, which include:

Peter Frickel's Web site has been added to the links section, check out his site when you can...

We are still shocked at the loss of Dr. Phil, and we will post an appropriate page shortly


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hello Everyone,

Susan is taking a break from the Blog for a while and I have volunteered to humbly try to fill her shoes while she is in Pennsylvania enjoying the cooler weather. I will post the details from Wednesday's meeting as soon as I master this page. Bear with me, I should have something intelligible, one hopes, shortly.

I can be reached at

George Mindling

Friday, September 09, 2011

Writers Are Connected . . .

One of the things that has really brought me and, I think, all of us, pleasure over the last few years is the way through circumstance three different writers groups have melded into one. Our FWA Group at the Nokomis Firehall, the Voices of Venice led by Linda White, and in recent years the addition of so many great writers and friends from the Suncoast Writers Guild.

It all started when Ann Favreau, then director of the Guild invited me to be the Reviewer for Poetry in their Annual Review. I was honored and delighted to accept. When, a couple of years later, they needed to fill the position of Reviewer for Prose, Russ Heitz was invited to fill that need. Russ and I got to know a bunch of wonderful people. Our own Joanne Phillips had originally taken me to meet the Guild at their Annual Christmas Party. There, I met Bernie and Phyllis Reading. I think Bernie and Phyllis were the special backbone of the Suncoast Writers Guild. Bernie served as Director in 2003 and 2004. Our groups have grown together since then. Now, Ed Ellis, Jim Kelly, Ann Favreau, Doc Phil Dobren attend our FWA Group regularly.

Bernie Reading has been ill the last couple of years and unable to get out and about much. I miss his presence when I go to the Poetry Reviews and Pod meetings. But, Phyllis is always there to carry on the Reading tradition.

Bernie loved writing and writers and he wrote great poetry about simple things. He grew up in Englewood when it was but a crick in the road. Bernie passed away last week and Englewood will miss him, the writers and artisits will miss him. Phyllis will miss him. But her heart is so big, she will always continue to share his memory with his friends. In Bernie's memory and to honor Phyllis and to thank the Suncoast Writers Guild for their additions to our group, and for Ed Ellis for all the help he's given me during some hard times . . . I post the following:

*A Celebration of Life for Bernie Reading*

Will be held on Sunday, October 2, 2011 from 2 - 5 p.m.
at the American Legion Hall in Rotunda
3436 Indiana Rd.
Rotunda West, Florida 33947

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Do I have a volunteer to share some blogging duties?

I was amazed when I looked at the date of my last blog! August 15th! Between Russ and I, we used to get at least two a week up. Peter Frickle has his new website up and was forced to send group emails. I will be adding it to the list to left of the entry page.

There will be a meeting this week on Wednesday. We have a few new possible attendees. Glad to announce Jim Kelly has returned from an extended time up north and Peter and Barbara are planning on leaving for France after the meeting. We'll have to give them a proper send off. I thought of Linda Malloy several times during the coverage of Irene. Her brother in law who is the governor of Connecticut made several appearances on the news.

Hope everyone enjoys the last holiday of summer tomorrow and let's all send a big welcome to Rod and Betsy and hope they can both manage getting out again. I think they should tell us their story. There are some children in the world tonight who've been blessed with some very special grandparents. There are some others who've been missing a good while . . . Cathy Marine, Dear Linda, Ann Favreau, George Colias, Steve Cholby . . . See, I'll leave someone out for sure and never mean to do that. I'm gonna quit while I'm a head . . . See ya on Wednesday!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Days 'Til Wednesday

It's almost time for the second August meeting. Seems like I just wrote that for July! I do apologize for not keeping the blog very current anymore. For some strange reason, I've developed a horrendus case of computer block! This coming from one that nearly lived on the thing for ten years. I wish I could say I was working on the next blockbuster epic novel, but I'm afraid that is not the case.

Many of us are out traveling, getting ready to, or enduring some trials and tribulations in other areas of life. I do look forward to our occasional meetings of what we all love and that is writing.

Peter has again suggested and requested that we all take part in 'working with words' by sharing the great parts that drew us to other writings and also how we would use a specific word in both a short, crisp powerful way and how we might be moved to use that same word in a long and seemingly endless grouping of words into a sentence. Authors of the "Classics" didn't always obey the set of rules and regs established by today's editors and publishers.

Conversely, the nature of the publishing business itself has lifted road blocks in place that allow pure 'crap' to end up in printed works. To wit: Self-publishing and Independent publishing which allows for the right price to rule. Many of those we consider to be the 'Great Ones' could not get published by a big New York publisher these days. Or even be inclined to turn into techies in order to do what they love most. It all depends on what an individual wants to achieve. For someone with a voice like Peter, electronic can be a gift. Not so for me. Partly why I've suddenly developed a revulsion for computers. I need an ink bottle and a quill, I think. :)

I'd like to discuss this more. What moves any of us to write? Are we open to constructive criticism or determined to introduce what WE think of as good writing? I've been pondering a word to use for an experiment of the nature Peter suggests OR to write one paragraph using the word in the way it moves you to make your attempt at definition. The word is: chaos. What is chaos?

Kerri and I communicated this week and I am publicly asking her on a date. Seems last meeting her husband beat me to the plate and suggested a Harry Potter movie. Kerri will you meet us at the Firehall on Wednesday? :) I'm teasing Kerri, but my invitation extends to everyone able to grace our group with their presence. There a few new members that I think have so much to offer and rather than risk forgetting or leaving one out, I'll say, "You know who you are." :)

See you Wednesday, August 17th at 6:30 or when you can get there.

Be safe
Be happy
Be writing


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wednesday Writers With Peter

Hi all,

Wednesday the fifteenth is behind us now. Amazing how fast the time goes. Today is Summer Solstice and my son, Bill, and me have been mourning the passing of a year all day.
A year ago today, I'd just made my arrival in Fairbanks, Alaska and was experiencing 24
hour daylight for the first time in my life. This year, I am in Pennsylvania with Bill and Karen
at their house. I plan on being home the middle of July. Give or take. It's also very warm here
but the humidity isn't quite as oppressive as Florida. The thermometer was hovering around
93 degrees today, though.

Since arriving here on the 9th of June, I have been attending some local writing events just to enjoy the role of being a guest and also to learn some new things. I am finding that most groups do follow a quite structured agenda and there is very little discussion or warmness in the room. Frankly, it made me appreciate all the more, our own writing family which I've been referring to as the Wednesday Writers because it fits. :) Kind of like Sunday's Child. I understand the name motion was tabled for now. I was under the understanding that it was already decided as I'd mentioned it twice before and no one came up with anything different. Now, you know why I retired the 'official' positition. It's called fragmented brain function. :)

Peter and Russ sent me updates and I'd like to add my own Happy Birthday wishes to Ed Lyman. He's a bit amazing, I'd say. I'd appreciate it, too, if someone would call Irv Newman and make sure he is okay. He's missed a few meetings in a row now. I forgot my list of email and phone numbers and am trying to get ahold of Tuck Tucker myself. I did hear from Kris Palmer on Sunday and all is going great with her. She is selling books and had to order more! I'm most pleased for her as I know are all of you.

I'd like to thank Peter for leading the meeting on the 15th of June and I do appreciate that he tries to request and assign projects for everyone to do to spark discussion and learning. From that point, it's up to us as a group to take part. Also, I'd like thank Ed Ellis in advance for covering the first July meeting. A little bird also told me that Ed is doing a great job as the new director of Suncoast Writers Guild and may be asked to serve two years! I'm not surprised by this news, however.

I was most happy when reading the roll call list to see that George Mindling and Ben Daughtry returned for a second meeting and also that Cecile brought her mom to visit. In addition, I'd like to welcome Paula Foster and hope to meet her upon my return. And, I hope, Andrew, you're having 'fun'! Andrew was kind enough to include me on his group email. I agree writing should be something we all enjoy doing, have a passion for even, but for me the entire process was work and still is work because I want it to be the best it can be. Most writers do. Good luck just having fun, Andrew. :) Hopefully, you'll be able to teach us all your secret when Simon & Schuster comes rapping on your door.

I do want to welcome Ann Favreau and her husband, Ray, back to Venice from their trip north to, ultimately, Connecticut, I think it was. They were welcomed home by being named the Venice "Lions" of the Year by the Venice Lion's Club. Ann, so deserving for all she does, has been properly acknowledged this past year. She has been winning so many awards I cannot keep up! You go, girl!

All of you FWA members interested in entering the annual RPLA writings should check the main FWA website for details.

You all be safe, be writing, and be happy until I wander thru here again. Have a wonderful summer and a happy 4th of July.

My best,
Susan Haley

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wednesday Already??

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone is ready to attend the meeting led by Peter on Wednesday the 15th. A reminder: Peter had suggested an exercise in sharing your favorite word and how you use it and also an excerpt from your favorite author and why you like his or her particular writing style. That always spurs some delightful and informative disscussions.

I've arrived safely in Harrisburg, Pennslyvania and am having a great time with my granpup! Son Bill and me are lamenting the fact that a year ago we celebrated Summer Stolstice in Fairbanks, Alaska. We've planned a pity party for June 21st. :)

Jim Kelly and his family have also arrived safely in Cooperstown, New York where his grandsons were to play in a National baseball tournament. Kris is doing fine in Missouri as of the day before I left. Linda White left for Michigan on Saturday. It's that time of year, folks. Let's wish all the travelers safe returns.

I hope all of you have a great rest of June, Happy Father's day to all the dads out there, and enjoy Peter this week and Ed Ellis the first Wednesday in July! I am available by email if anyone has questions or announcements to post on the blog.

I did send in my formal resignation to FWA and assured them that the FWA members will continue to enjoy the extra benefits of the statewide networking. I also told President Chrissy Jackson that I'd continue to post on this blog until they decide what to do about a Sarasota WGL. That will save our county from just being a void out here. I do believe we had concensus on being referred to as The Wednesday Writers in the Nokomis Firehall group. Many of the FWA Groups have named their individual groups and events. FWA membership is not affected!

My best,

Friday, June 03, 2011


Since we are always in to dialogues and voice inflections in our work, I deliberately left what to many might be a missed word requiring editing. It was from the sentence ' taking the laptop with.' Can anyone guess what city or area that comes from? The answer is scrambled below. Think of it as a brain twister thingy . . .


Susan :))

June 1st Meeting Was a Fun Night

It was great to see everyone! Jean and Joe Porter were back from Jean's long absence recovering from an 'off the track' knee surgery. We had our Kris update on how well she is coming along. Susan Davis returned and read much to everyone's delight and we also welcomed two new faces both of whom seemed to enjoy our antics, Ben Daughtery and George Mindling. I thank the other folks for making them both feel welcome.

We always seem to fill over two hours quickly with readings. We have such talent in varied genres, lively and helpful discussions are the norm. Rod, Peter, Ed Ellis and Russ can always be counted on to help me out and Linda Malloy serves as our treasurer for the Firehall donations which is minimal considering the access we have to their training room on all days but Thursday. But, we have never been bumped from our room on a Wednesday, which was frequent when we held our meetings in the library. Other than the occasional fire siren it's usually quiet. We don't have to listen to the PA system beginning announcements at eight-fifteen telling us we must vacate the premises by ten to nine because the employees want to go home! I expect with the shortened hours now, we'd be greeted at the door with "you must be out by ten to eight . . ." Announcedments would begin at seven-fifteen only fifteen minutes after arrival. :)

My trip to the north country was announced and Peter has agreed to take the second June meeting on the 15th and Ed Ellis volunteered to take July 6th. I will be back for the second July meeting on July 20th. I will be taking the laptop with, so email communication will be possible if anyone has a question.

Peter has requested that everyone who enjoys reading from their own favorite author to bring their book. This great idea came from Keri and has really been a hit. Peter also requests that everyone choose their own favorite word and what they use it with. I could give an example of mine and when I use it but that would not be appropriate here. Joanne would laugh. :) We've also done this in the past and great discussions erupted then, too.

If anyone has something earthshaking to report in my absense, email me. Also if treated very nicely, they may request Russ into posting it on the blog. He did such a fabulous job for so long, I don't bother him unless it's really a 'need to know' thing!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads and have a great July 4th weekend as well. I'll look forward to seeing you all upon my return.

Best, Susan
Not Edited which means you are all friends. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Honor of our Veterans

This is always a day of sadness and celebration entwined for me. Sadness for the vets no longer with us and yet celebration of what all of them, still here or gone, endured. I really don't know anyone who doesn't have a family member or a dear friend that was or is a Vet. We are fortunate to have many of them in our circle of writers. I especially send out a hello to Bart Stamper today. Bart is alive and well but not able to attend the meetings presently due to his new location. A good many of us still communicate with him, tho. His work, Memories in Ebony, written on his first trip to the Viet Nam Memorial is spectacular and holds a permanent place in the Rainy Day Room on my website. Bart's accomplishments in Viet Nam, our most forgotten veterans, are incredible. He served on a Recon team and survived many more missions than many. His service was remarkable. We all thank you, Bart.

We have, as I said, many vets in our group. Bart comes to my mind because of Viet Nam. That was the 'war' I was most affected by as an adult. But, I too, want to mention another member who devoted most of his life to the Service of his Country. Our special career soldier, Gordon 'Tuck' Tucker! Sadly, due to a horrid attack of Shingles that resulted in some nerve disorders, Tuck has missed a lot of meetings the last months, but he remains in our hearts and when he is able to come, it's a special event! Tuck's career spans 30 years and seeing action in both WWII and Korea. Tuck is a phenomenal writer and his novel, "Shadow" about Korea is chilling. My personal favorite is his latest work which is, to me, epic and Pulitzer worthy is "Sarah's Creek" which is about the Civil War. Although, dear Tuck did not serve personally in that one, his research is impeccable and his story telling spectacular.

If I could trust my memory not to leave anyone out, I'd list all of our vets! Irv Newman comes to mind from WWII and Joe Porter, also from Korea. Others I know served but I'm not sure of their tenure or duty assignments. So, I'll take no chance here. At the meeting, I'll take the time for a show of hands or something. ALL of you were important!!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with your families and your celebrations, whatever they were. I hope to see you all on Wednesday, June 1 at our monthly gathering of Wednesday Writers as I've taken to calling us.

Also, a reminder . . . Linda White's Thursday Voices of Venice poet group which many of you also attend is having their Emma Lazareth event on Thursday, June 2 at 6 p.m. at Jacaranda Library. Complete details are on her website:

See ya Wednesday!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I just heard from Kerri with the information about Funds for Writers. This is the newsletter that Linda was talking about at the last meeting. A small meeting, by the way, but we had great discussions and all learned something. There were only six of us present.

Funds for Writers is listed on Writers Digest best 101 Websites for writers. Here is the url.

I hope all the moms had a great Mother's Day yesterday. The weather was sure gorgeous! No FWA meeting this week but the poetry groups are in session.

Email me any news items. Don't count on my memory. :))


Monday, May 02, 2011

Such Talented Writers!!

I can't keep up with all the awards our writers are collecting. I've already announced about Ann Favreau, Dr. Karen Pirnot, Kerri Deiffenweirth's acceptance into Southern Maine University Creative Writing program and now, I can announce that Linda Neckel White has dominated the Fox and Quill's First Annual National Poetry Month's Poetry Throw Down. Linda was the only entrant that had votes on every one of her entries. She received the most votes to garner the Contest Winner, "Scair't Rabbit" (sp.).
Congratulations, Linda! Congratulations, also, to the other poets in our local groups who entered. I know Ann Favreau, Joe and Jean Porter, and Jim Kelly all entered. Our New York friend, Lois Stern, has a story in the May edition of Fox and Quill on her experiences in getting wireless communication accomodations in their Venice Condo. :)
I would like to thank Jack Wolf of San Diego, once again, for his interest in our Florida writers! He continues to be an excellent west coast connection for us. Thank you, Jack!

Time is flying again, too! We have a meeting this week on Wednesday at the Firehall, folks! Hope to see you there! Lots of interest in the new Critique Group. :)


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Summin' Up

We, a total of eleven, had a great meeting last Wednesday. Charles Meyer summed up his TV ME contest and how to get involved in that, we had some beautiful readings in both poetry and prose. Peter got his bi-monthly entertainment when Andrew read a portion of his rather off the wall novel.

Kerri Dieffenwierth embraced us all with an article she'd written for commemorating the tenth year since 9/11. It was absolutely beautiful, both the words and the way she read. Kerri read in such a way it lifted right off the page and floated out over rapt listeners. I talked to everyone about it on Thursday.

I wrote to Kerri and told her how much I loved her work and to please tell me about Maine in more detail. She told me a good bit, some of which we can share as she advances through the stages with additional things to share as well. I used most of her own words below so I didn't get anything wrong. :)

Kerri applied to the Stonecoast Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine in December, 2010. She never thought she'd be accepted and hardly told a soul, but she liked the program and the admissions process was a challenge. It included three letters of reference from published authors, some samples of her own work, a personal essay and three critically- acclaimed artiles by other authors in her Creative Fiction genre. She received a letter in mid-February that she'd, indeed, been accepted!! The hoorays and 'Oh, my God's' sounded, I'm sure.

This is called a 'low residency' program. I fly to Maine for two weeks twice a year in July and January for two years and for two weeks at the end of the course, a total of fifty days in Maine. The rest of the lessons will be done by old fashioned USPS delivery and the occasional email email. During the two weeks the workshops are held in a stone house by the sea near Freeport. Simply, perfect for writing!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

Best, Susan

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Great Meeting - More to Come!

Hello to everyone! Thanks to all who participated and all who attended our poetry celebration last night. And a special thank you to Jim Kelly for presenting his workshop and to Peter Frickel for doing a great job of leading the group! I'm so enjoying being able to sit and just enjoy all of you! Before I go on, I want to thank Linda White as well. She did an absolutely magnificent job of 'reading' the heartfelt work of Daniel Lyman, both a song and a poem by Ed Lyman's son. Daniel even wrote music for the work. Linda, too, unabashedly shed tears at the end! Ed was so pleased and the work was incredible. It is titled "Now Is The Time" and I have Ed's permission to type it for my website as poem of the month for May. I'll announce when it's viewable. Linda, so supportive and also a member of our group, is the esteemed leader of the Voices of Venice Poetry group as well. She gathers poets every Thursday at Jacaranda Library at 6 p.m. Many of our group attend that one, too! Linda has worked very hard organizing her Poetry Month Celebration to be held in the library's 'big' room on Thursday evening, April 14th from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. She has some pleasant surprises for us. It is open to the public and even if you don't write poetry, it would be nice to be the 'poem' and support our friend, Linda! We've had a great 'return' average this season. Bill Elam, Fred Weiss and Ellen Magnusun are showing up regularly and former attendees are returning! It was such a pleasure to welcome Cathy Marine from Mote Marine back after her experience with Taz, the rescued baby Bottled-Nose dolphin. Taz after being saved by the Mote Marine volunteers and professionals has been adopted into a new 'pod' at the Indianapolis Zoo as he is unable to be released to the wild due to the death of his mom before he could be taught how to be a dolphin. Cathy said Taz thought he was a 'kid'. I'd have been in my glory with him! I'll email the zoo's link to Russ and maybe he can help me make it active here. I can't get it to work!! ( The poetry was wonderful last night and we had reading of good prose as well. Treats were provided for everyone to enjoy. Joe Porter was able to attend because Jean is in rehab for a week or two and he shared a poem Jean wrote this week and also one of his own always great poems. Peter read from his new story. It was wonderful to 'hear' and it was decided that Peter could read the phone book and mesmerize his listeners. :) How many time have we heard that? He also shared that Russ Heitz is going to help him make it into an ebook, the wave of the future. In addition, Barbara Frickel brought her watercolors scrapbook and also some lovely colored sketches created at Myacca State Park's birdwalk accompanied by her thought meditations. What a talented couple! And for those that don't know it, Lee Heitz, Russ' wife is also an excellent sketch artist. Talk about a foursome! :) Dr. Karen Pirnot has just recieved another award for Garret Frey's story, "As I Am." She's won so many awards for her children's books and her own memoir "Just a Common Lady" is wonderful. Believe me, she is humble! She's well beyond 'common'. Lois and Ken Stern are back safe and sound in Long Island and they had a wonderful winter here. I hated to see them leave as I really didn't get to spend much time with her this visit. Oh, and don't forget to stop by John Wolf's Fox and Quill this month and vote in the Poetry Contest. "Jack" works so hard for all writers and I still marvel at his coming all the way from San Diego to meet all of us. Jack is a writer's angel and has featured many of us! Russ wrote a series on writing a mystery that is still viewable there as Jack archives his editions. Really a great 'rag sheet' as he calls it. Just type into your browser or go to our link column to your left and click on Fox and Quill. I think I will start highlighting everyone a couple at a time here. So many exceptional people and there's just not enough room to do all at once. Jeeze! I actually came up with an idea. :) Is the brain beginning to rumble again? Kerri "D" has been officially accepted to study for her Masters Degree in creative writing at Southern Maine University. What an honor for her! It's difficult to gain acceptance into this program. It is an online course but she will have to go to Maine for two week periods twice a year. That's it for this post. My washing machine hose sprung a leak last night and I'm still cleaning up water! Do you believe it!!? :) Thank the Powers that Be I was home and caught it shortly after it happened around midnight. In a few hours the entire house would have been flooded! Son Vince was able to calm me and the machine down. :) To all leaving for the north, have a safe trip and hurry back! Best, Susan

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Get Well Addresses As Promised

Hi again, everyone . . .

As promised, below are the addresses to send our get well wishes. Updates as of today: Both patients are doing well. If I understood correctly, Kris can go home for two weeks until all healing is sure and then will return as an outpatient to have the implant activated, followed by several adjustments to the 'system'. I do believe it is the same principle as a heart pacemaker only regulating nerve action in the brain to alleviate Parkinson's tremors.

Joe reported that Jean can come home Friday and will continue recovery and rehab at home. Joint replacement, I understand, requires significant recovery and rehab time. All the poets have offered to "Jean-sit" and give Joe breaks for shopping and errands. :)

Jean Porter
968 Bonaire Ave. E.
Venice, Florida 34285

Kris Palmer c/o Tim Palmer
10859 US 61
St. Genevieva, MO 63670

If anyone has questions, please email me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Great News and Great Announcements!

I wanted to make absolutely sure that everyone gets this news. Today was the
"Surgery Day." Two of our writers journied into the OR! At 7:00a.m., Kris Palmer went first in St. Louis. That was 8 o'clock our time. I do believe it was somewhere around 1:30 - 2:00p.m. our time that Joanne called me. Shortly after that, Kris's sister, Mary, called me, too. Kris came through the surgery with 'flying colors!' She was sitting up in bed eating lunch already. It will take approximately two weeks before they turn the implant on. All healing must be done first. Then, of course, the adjustments will begin. Mary said the doctors were very pleased and confident with how the surgery progressed.

A short time later, Joe Porter called me. Jean Porter, too, had a successful surgery at the Venice Hospital and now has a brand new knee! If all procedes as expected, Jean will be able to come home and begin her rehabilitation. Joe is braced to be her caregiver, which he has handled like 'pro' before when Jean had a hip replacement. Joe, too, is a trooper!

But all is great! Both of our 'girls' are doing well. I will post mailing addresses for get well cards as soon as I get them.

More news on Poetry month. In my last post, it may have not been made clear that all the poetry events and open mics in April ARE open to the public. In fact, Linda White is actively promoting the Voices of Venice event at Jacaranda Library, as is Scott Zirkleback in North Port. Check Linda's site for updates:

It's is only the Annual Review at the Suncoast Writers Guild that is closed to all but the Guild members as work is evaluated.

For our own meeting on the 6th of April we will celebrate poetry with an oncor performance of Jim Kelly's Poetry Workshop. He has promised a new box of tricks to focus upon. :) Jim's workshop, along with Jack Wolf's visit from San Diego, are arguably our most successful and enjoyed special events. People still talk to me about both events and Jim's workshop is often brought up when the subject of poetry presents itself. Also, Barbara Frickel has agreed to a request I made of her and we are in for another treat from the Frickel family.

Also have news of our dear missed writer, Bart Stamper! Bart is now working in Colorado. I had a nice letter from him when I was first home from the hospital and he hopes to visit us when he is the area. This last update came from Peter who emails with Bart regularly. Hoping, too, to see Donnie Miles soon. He usually makes an appearance late Spring or summer.

My friend, Lois Stern, has returned safely to Huntington, Long Island. She enjoyed her visits with us again and hopes to return for three months next winter. Before our meeting, I will contact Irv Newman and Tuck and update them. Hopefully, we'll see Ed Lyman soon as well.

I do believe I've got it covered which means I'll probably be posting again very soon. :))


Friday, March 25, 2011

Lots Goin' On in April!

Hello everyone!

April is National Poetry Month and our poet members have lots of events planned for everyone's enjoyment. Our own Linda White and the Voices of Venice group has a special event bringing artists and poets together. See her site: for further details and times at Jacaranda Library.

Our own Jim Kelly, along with Cheryl Baker will be reading the entries at Suncoast Writers Guild Annual Review for Poets. Ann Favreau is directing the Poet Pod this year. I'm honored to be the Reviewer for the fourth consecutive year.
Our own Russ Heitz will be Reviewer for the prose entries at Elsie Quirk Library in downtown Englewood later in the month. Ed Ellis will be directing that event. I'm just blowing horns of our members as these two events are not open to the public. It's amazing to me how our groups have grown in camaradie over the last couple of years. Everyone admittedly has grown from the diversity.

Scott Zircleback, Group leader of the North Port Poets, has announced the launch of a blogspot where anyone can comment or post poetry of their own. Scott also writes prose and often visits Linda's group, Voices of Venice. The url for the new blog is It will ask you to take a minute and sign in with a blogger ID thru Google in order to post or comment. You may have done this when you started coming here to the FWA blog. I use this ID to view other blogspots such as my daughter-in-law's Travel Photo blog, The Haley Hiatus. I often go look at the beautiful pictures of our Alaskan adventure. It is linked in the column to your left under links if you enjoy beautiful pictures.

Our own meeting is going to be held on April 6th and we'll be trying some of the ideas we discussed at the last meeting. We'll do some critiquing and Fred Weiss has already sent work to four people. If two others are interested in taking part, bring in your excerpts or email them to Kerri, Rod, Peter or me and I'll forward them. Peter is going to lead the meeting and share some more ideas that he and I have discussed. I have to talk to a couple of people before I can announce it. I do need some consent! :)

A reminder: Kris Palmer goes to surgery Monday at 7:00AM. I talked to her this morning and she is doing fine. What courage that woman has. Also, Jean Porter will be undergoing another knee surgery also on Monday! Good thoughts and wishes will abound on Monday! I'll know how Kris is doing by the time of our meeting. The programing of her implant will require some time. Joe Porter will keep us informed on Jean's progress.

Everyone have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Humbled Leader Returns

I've been wrangling with the appropriate words to encapsulate thoughts and reactions which have built up over the last couple of years. Dealing with serious health issues was a new experience for me. I knew only the role of caregiver. The support and encouragement generated toward me over these months, the help and enthusiasm of each and every one of our writers coming from FWA, Voices of Venice and The Suncoast Writers Guild has been overwhelming to me.

The level of talent and dedication, the total lack of competition, but more, support for each other's pursuits and accomplishments is refreshing. I've not found that element in all of the organizations with which I've been associated. Its absense is startling to me in a time when authors should help authors.

On Thanksgiving night, all this health business came to a head with a bad fall in my own kitchen! It resulted in six broken ribs (the final count) and culminated in the removal of some 'inner parts' infested with a 'super bug' intent on devouring my flesh. Seven weeks of what I came to call 'incarceration', an incredible team of nurses and a Pulmonary Surgeon I've since dubbed "The Second Coming", Dr. Richard Hoefer.

During this time of confinement, the cards, visits, flowers, phone calls, prayers and positive energy which poured into the hospital for me was astounding. I thank you all, and I do mean ALL, so very much. And, at home, they continue to arrive.

But all of this pales in the surprise given me last Saturday. This was the cause of total 'speechlessness'. Kris Palmer and Linda White, both of whom have gone above and beyond coming by here since my return home, came with grocery treats. Then, Linda handed me an envelope. It was addressed to me "from the writers" of the above mentioned groups. You all know what was inside; no more need be said here about that, but it was most substantial and I'm beyond gratitude and proper 'thank yous'. Even these simple words will read inadequate. I can only say that I wish each of you could feel what went through my mind and heart for each and every one of you. I'm honored and humbled to know you.

Me, the poet, the writer, the talker when frustrated, suddenly found herself void of words. I can't reiterate what each of you have done as I'd inadvertently leave someone out there've been so many, please know what is in my heart that I cannot seem to adequately say.

I adore you all. Thank you for being my "Rainbows"!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tom Smith's New Book

While we're tooting horns, here's another reason to celebrate.

Tom Smith, who has been attending our meetings for more than a year, announces the publication of his new collection of poems. The book is called "DUST AND OTHER POEMS" by Thomas Noel Smith and it is available through

Congratulations, Tom! And best of luck with the marketing.

Posted by
Russ Heitz