Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Nokomis Fire Station. Coming from Sarasota or North, proceed a few blocks south of Albee Road on US 41 (past Matthews-Currie Ford) to Pavonia Road. Turn right (West, toward the bay) at the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are 2 blocks north of Dona Bay. Turn left onto Pavonia Road at the flashing yellow caution light. At the Fire Station, drive to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room at the far end of the complex. We Gather for a meet and greet at 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten-minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Adjourned: 9:00 pm

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 19th Meeting

Our Christmas meeting was a nice mixture of socializing and enjoying the moment with our traditional readings. We had twenty-six members and spouses in attendance as we shared coffee brought by Kerri, and sparkling wine supplied by Joanne, along with a table full of cookies, cakes, even hot wings brought by all the members. A really nice get-together and a great opportunity to meet spouses who wonder what we really do on Wednesday night. Now they just wonder why. Seriously, we may see more spouses at regular meetings as everyone had a great time.

We donated $151.00 to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the remainder of the Christmas goodies, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings, and deferred any serious reading until January 2nd.

Kit will kick off our new season with a really nice presentation on blogging. Those writers who would like to start a blog to enhance their writings and books should plan on this meeting!

See everyone next year!

Have a safe and Happy New Years!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012


If your goal is to get published in the coming year, you’ll want to attend Sleuthfest on Saturday, February 16, 2013, at the Hyatt, in Sarasota, FL. The conference is sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of American and will feature intense, hands-on workshops led by bestselling authors Elaine Viets and Kristy Montee (writing as P.J.Parrish). Registration details are available at

Joanna Slan - The Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America

Sunday, December 16, 2012

FWA Collection #5—It’s A Crime

FWA Collection #5—It’s A Crime
2013 Entry Guidelines
It’s A Crime is the title and theme for the 2013 FWA Collection #5 of sixty short pieces, written by FWA members, submitted electronically, published by FWA, and marketed across the nation through national booksellers as well as on our own website.

The Collection is published annually; each year presents a new theme and Person of Renown. This year’s Person of Renown is Edna Buchannan.
It’s A Crime is a story about crime, or perhaps the idea of crime(s). Every submission must be connected in some way with crime. Any kind of crime–think about it–crime itself, breaking the law in its numerous manners, social crimes, or “criminal” behavior. It can be connected with concepts, too. Have you ever heard someone shout, “I could kill you for that!” Or have you ever heard the comment, “I think it’s a crime she’s wearing that!”

Virtually all stories as well as poems are eligible. Two entries may consist of two stories, one story and one poem or two poems. This is a blind judging. No one knows the author until the sixty winners are announced. Readers love variety and look for fiction or nonfiction subject matter with a wide interpretation. Entries may be funny, quirky, dramatic, tragic, disturbing, or heart-warming.

FWA’s judges will select their sixty favorites from the electronic submissions received between February 1 and midnight May 15, 2013. Judges score each entry independently. Each judge submits his/her scores to the Collections Coordinator who computes the total. The top sixty scoring entries will be published. 

Interested?   Check / for the submission guidelines.   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 5th, 2012

We kicked off the meeting with thirteen writers attending at 6:30 pm.  Rod DiGruttolo again skillfully wielded the gavel and ran another great meeting.  We welcomed back Susan Haley, iconic founder and spark-plug for the group. Susan spent the summer with friends and relatives and returned only two days before the meeting. We also welcomed back Robin Wise and Dianne Shedlock, and it was good to see Ben drop in once again. It was another great evening as we heard from Russ Heitz who, working on an idea from Irv Newman, collected thoughts and comments about Ed Lyman to be used in a tribute to Ed that will be distributed at the Christmas meeting.

Our Christmas get-together will be held during the next meeting, Dec 19th. Kerri is bringing the Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and every else is encouraged to bring whatever favorite holiday treats they'd like to share. Everyone is invited, including spouses and guests. Any goodies not consumed, more likely devoured, will be donated to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department. We will present the Fire Department Chief Steve Kona with the holiday donation we all made together, a total of $91.00 dollars.

A discussion about our meeting format will lead us to more presentations and guest speakers in the future. We'll kick off the New Year with a meeting January 2nd that will reduce the time available for reading, but allow for more discussions and presentations. Also decided was a new procedure for critiques. In the future, presentations for critique will be limited to 1500 words, or no more than three pages. All presentations will be printed for handout, double spaced, and will be returned to the presenter, without names, after the material has been critiqued. Discussions may follow the readings, but they will be general and not specific.

Rod solved one problem neatly by having Peter Frickel read first. That way, everyone has to follow Peter! Again, Peter's tales of youth of another time in Africa, He Looked At Me, and “Nell” held everyone's attention. Don Westerfield's The Flirt, caught everyone off guard. Not to be read outside the sanctuary, he asked. Funny stuff, great writing. Robin read “Sparky,” and had everyone convinced it was not a piece of fiction. It was, of course, although we have all had pets that have taken us to the edge. Her husband vehemently denied any part of “Walt's” heart attack. Great to have Robin back.

Ed Ellis continued with his work in progress, tentatively named Asymmetrical Wars. More great adventure writing, the post-nuclear war saga continues. We got to hear Chapter 27 of Joanne Phillips Adventures of a Sea Hag and said farewell to Sid, a character we had come to know quite well. Jim Kelly did it once again with two poems, Changes and Noise, both of which are excellent poems. We can't wait for Jim's next anthology.

Russ Heitz read Waiting, a unique short piece that started lightheartedly and turned introspective in less than one page! Great writing! Dianne Shedlock continued the spell-binding writing with her Flashback, a piece with an unexpected twist about dread and fatalism. Welcome back, Dianne, more writing, please.

We read through break, and finished early. We'll see everyone at the Christmas gathering on the 19th. See you then.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Englewood’s Dearborn Street Book Festival

Saturday, February 16, 2013
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Pioneer Park on Dearborn Street
(between Mango Bistro & Amherst Train Station)
Pioneer Park 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
10:00 - 11:00 am Children’s program
1:00 pm Writing contest winner presentations
Author tables - Information and book sales
Music, food and vendors
To reserve an author table, contact
Diana Harris at 941-474-5837
Writing contest sponsored by the Dearborn Street Book Festival
see bottom for contest entry information
Program partners: Elsie Quirk Library and the Englewood Charlotte Public Library
Program Sponsors: Friends of the Elsie Quirk Library, Friends of the Englewood Charlotte Library, Village Gifts & Gallery
Dearborn Street Book Festival
Short Story and Poetry Competition
Official 2013 Entry Instructions
“Write On Englewood
We are proud to announce our fourth annual
Book Festival and Writers Competition
Are you an aspiring author or poet? Write On Englewood could be the break you need. Neither age nor experience matter – we want to hear from you, the writer, because you have a story to tell or a poem in your heart. This year, we are leaving the topic or theme entirely up to you. Your work will be judged by professional writers, whose decisions are final. Here’s how easy it is to enter:
Entry fee is $5.00 per entry (you may submit more than one) checks only payable to:
“Village Gifts & Gallery”
Include three (3) printed copies of your work (each entry) and three (3) cover pages (for each entry) including your name, address, phone and email to:
1750 Parker Drive
Englewood, FL 34223-4825
No handwritten copies will be accepted for judging
Short stories must be from 500 to 800 words in length
Poetry must be from 50 to 250 words in length
Entries must be postmarked by January 15, 2013
Prizes: First Place - $75.00, Second Place - $50.00, Third Place - $25.00
Winners will be announced at the Dearborn Street Book Festival on Saturday, February 16, 2013 in Pioneer Park at 1:00 pm. (Need not be present to win)
Names and photos of winners will be sent to the local newspapers, posted on the
Olde Englewood Village website and announced on WENG. All winners will receive
a certificate of achievement.
For more information, please contact Diana Harris at 941-474-5837,
email or stop in at the Elsie Quirk Library.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Ed Lyman

I loved Mr Lyman and always hoped he found kind people to accompany him through life after Jane passed away. From reading this site, I feel very comforted that he found a group of friends, and that he was still fortunate to be a writer and get out some of his stories.
When I knew Ed, he was a highly respected antique dealer in Mamaroneck, NY, He also was a dedicated volunteer to the Elmsford Animal Shelter in NY. I admired the peaceful and loving way he lived his life. I grieved with Jane, Ev and Ed when his son, Danny died and hoped that he had good friends down there in FL after he lost his wife and Jane. I feel so much better knowing that right up to the end, he was functioning and had friends like the ones he made in your writers group. I hope to find something like this for my 92-year-old-dad up here in White Plains, as he also has plenty of stories to tell. 
Paula Piekos

Thursday, December 06, 2012

I'm Late, I'm Late...

Not that I'm late or anything... but, I'm late! That's what happens when you turn 70 just after the meeting and spend your birthday the following week in the Florida Keys.

Let's see if I remember what happened on the night of November 21st. Oh, yes, it was a great meeting! We decided to hold our Christmas party on December 19th, everyone is invited, spouses and whoever you'd like to bring. No, Joanne, you don't have to bring anyone if you don't feel like it! Everyone will bring something they'd like to share with the group, doughnuts, cupcakes, whatever. Anything left over will be donated to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire department. Kerri has again graciously volunteered to bring the Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

I'm cheating here, but I know Russ Heitz started with an address from Ed Lyman to the Fiction Writer's group. Joanne read chapter 26 of her saga, Memoirs of a Sea Hag, Kerri followed with a rare (for her) poem that floored everyone, followed by a Thanksgiving poem about aunt Elsie's farm by Don Westerfield. Don also read a piece about a monkey flying an airplane, which was received with just a little skepticism, but everyone found entertaining. Jim Kelly blew everyone away again with Anna Lee and Pee Wee's Nest. I'd like to post every one of Jim's poems, but you need to buy his next book!

Cathy Marine had everyone with her as she toured South America with her Pisco Sours, and Ed Ellis had everyone's attention with Asymmetrical Wars.

A discussion about what we would like to see and hear at future meetings followed. More information and insight into publishing in today's world will be on tap after the first of the year. We finished for the evening and wrapped up on schedule. 


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Ed Lyman

A message from Russ Heitz:
I had a phone call this afternoon from our newly promoted Writer Emeritus, Irv Newman. (Irv is just a few years younger than Ed Lyman was).  Irv called me mainly about Ed Lyman, asking if we as a group have in any way memorialized Ed since his passing.  When I said we hadn't done anything "official" and the Herald-Tribune's obit of him was minimal, he suggested we do something as a group.  His idea was this.
Whoever in our group wants to, should write a brief (a couple lines, or more) testimony about his/her own personal impressions or feelings about Ed.  (This would be strictly optional, of course, not mandatory since some of the newer attendees didn't know Ed very well.)  We gather the submissions at the December 5th meeting (or via email for those who won't be at the meeting--they can email them to either you or me.)  We gather them at the December 5th  meeting, give them to me, and then I'll assemble them into some sort of little "album" that we would then distribute during the Xmas party on Dec. 19.  I have a photo of Ed that I should be able to use on the "cover" of our "I Remember Ed Lyman" album.  Irv Newman already wrote a tribute to Ed and he's going to mail it to me.  I thought I'd place Irv's little tribute as the opening page of the album.
Let me know what you think of the idea.  As I said, once we have everyone's written remembrances I'll be glad to assemble them into some kind of collection that we could pass out to everyone at the Dec. 19th meeting -- a sort of Xmas present to all of us from Ed.  But we'd have to have all the submissions to me by the Dec. 5th meeting.
If you agree with Irv's idea you could post something on the blog and/or send an e mail to everyone on our list.  I will mail a copy of the published album/collection to Irv Newman since it was his idea.
What say you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jeff Parker reading

Sunday November 18, 2012 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST 

Join Jeff at Bookstore 1, 1359 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236, this Sunday, November 18, to hear Hermitage writer Jeff Parker read from his work.  Jeff's work is hip and contemporary.  His novel Ovenman was published in 2007 by the book division of the literary journal Tin House. Parker received praise from within the literary community for his hypertext story A Long Wild Smile which has appeared in numerous online journals.

Parker grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Florida. He attended the prestigious creative writing program at Syracuse University where he studied with such writers as George Saunders and Arthur Flowers. He graduated with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 1999. He currently serves as a faculty member at the University of Toronto.  Parker also runs the Low Res Writing Program at the University of Tampa.
Click on the link below to let us know you're coming.
Register Now!
Bookstore 1 - Sarasota
1359 Main St.
Sarasota, FL 34236

Thanks, Kerri 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reading: One Right Thing

I am giving a reading from my new book, One Right Thing, this Saturday, November 17th, at WineStyles, 8225 Nature’s Way, 34202, in Lakewood Ranch (just East of University Parkway at I-75), from 3 til 5 pm. There will be wine and hors d’oeurves as well. A nice wine shop too! I’ll not start reading before 3:20 for sure. Come early if SITTING is important as I’m excited to say, I think there may be quite a crowd. Well, maybe 30 people! THAT is a crowd to any unknown writer/reader.

I’d appreciate your support and maybe, if you see or speak with others in the group, invite them. I did not have emails or I would have invited them. 
Chalise Bourque

Celebration of Authors and Readers

Doug Houck, Peace River FWA Writing Group Leader, announced an Author’s Market: Celebration of Authors and Readers at Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda on Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Author’s Market: Celebration of Authors and Readers
A Festival of Lights Event at Fisherman’s Village
1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, Florida
Sponsored by Fisherman’s Village and Peace River Writing Center at Edison State College
Sunday November 25, 2012
Prices: Members of PRCW, Gulf Coast Writers, Pine Island Writers, and Florida Writer’s Association
Members with their own tables: $10.00
Members needing tables: $25.00
Non-members of any writing group (with table and chair): $25.00
Non-members needing table: $45.00
Time of Event: 12:00 noon until 6:00 p.m.
Event set-up time: 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Contact PRCW by Email at:
Or by telephone at: 941-637-3514

November Meeting

Our first meeting in November had fewer people than previous sessions, the lower turnout attributed to the late night most of us spent glued to the television sets watching election returns the night before. Still, we had eleven guests and a very good evening of reading and discussions. We welcomed back another regular attendee, sun-bird Kathleen Schwartz.

George Mindling started the evening with a wrap-up of the recent FWA conference in Orlando, and encouraged everyone to consider attending the conference in 2013. We discussed the upcoming Holiday get-together and will decide at our next meeting, November 21 (The day before Thanksgiving) whether the Christmas get-together will be on December 5th, or on December 19th.

George read a short piece from the Pepper Tree by our centenarian and faithful contributor, Ed Lyman, entitled “Looking Forward.” Ed rarely misses a meeting, so George read the piece as a part of our regular Ed Lyman readings.

We sadly learned the following day that Ed passed away in his sleep on the 6th, the details of his service, and the piece read at the meeting, have been posted on the blog under “Our Loss.”

Peter Frickel took over as moderator and chief cat-herder for the evening, and did an admirable job! He started by introducing Joanne Phillips who continued her saga Memoirs of a Sea Hag. Joanne has taken us through the Caribbean on a sailing adventure that never fails to engage the audience with her “Kinetic, not dry,” storyline.

Kathleen marked her return with a short, creative non-fiction piece, and Jim Kelly read Irv Newman's engaging story of coaxing a hospice nurse to write her memoirs. Jim then read two of his marvelous poems, one of which he has graciously allowed us to present here. The work, Like Him, is copyrighted by Jim Kelly, 2012, who retains all rights to the work. It may not be copied or distributed without his permission.

Like Him

"Take these, she says,
Dad doesn't need 'em anymore."
Hands him a pair of shoesnot new, but shiny,
as if they expect to go somewhere.
A couple trips in the rain will change all that.

Feels uneasy at first,
glances over his shoulder,
makin' sure he's draggin'
only one shadow.

Dust runs its fingers
through his furrowed brow,
reminding him of things that were . . .
the last one yet to come.

Like ties beneath his feet,
weathered and whiskered,
he wanders off, spending space
between near and far
unencumbered by directions.

Yesterday walks barefoot
through the softest grass,
down the briared paths
they often shared.

James O. Kelly
Englewood, FL

The meeting continued with Cecile Bell reading a reflective, “Milk Room” piece she wrote while waiting for the meeting to start! Cecile's mother, Paula, was a guest for the evening and got to read, rather hear, some really great writing.

Don Westerfield, who had poems also published in the recent “Pepper Tree,” read “The Runner,” and perhaps summed up why we write best of all; “I started writing one thing, and was amazed at what came out...” What came out was great writing about the service and sacrifice of American military men and women. Perfectly written for Memorial Day reminding us “that free is never free.”

Kit Crescendo read Mirror, an ingenious piece with a swirl, and then a touching account based on a personal experience that had everyone in absolute silence. Writing about personal tragedy is hard enough, but to make it a spell binding narrative is a craft.

Peter Frickel finished the evening's readings with a piece from the Herald Tribune about forty words, and then another selection from his upcoming eighteen part work named “Lilies of the Vlei.” Peter also has the talent to engage the listener with his prose and ability to describe natural beauty with the raw dangers of his South African homeland.

We wrapped up the evening with an open floor discussion about writing in general. Several suggestions were to do more presentations about the craft of writing in future meetings, and we will do just exactly that. The readings are extremely popular, but we can balance reading with presentations that everyone will enjoy.

With that, we wrapped up our meeting and said our goodbyes until our next meeting, Wednesday, November 21st.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Don Bruns Kickoff - Hot Stuff

If you know anyone in the Sarasota area, I’m launching HOT STUFF this Friday at 595 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key.  Lots of great food, New Zealand wine from my publishers vineyards and some great people.  Let them know!  Thanks.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Our Loss

On Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, at our first meeting of November, our centenarian and prolific contributor, Mr. Ed Lyman, was absent.  Ed rarely misses a meeting, so we read one of his two articles posted in the current Pepper Tree Literary Magazine for him.  We present it here with permission from Julie Ann Howell, Publisher of Pepper Tree Magazine.

Looking Forward

by:  Ed Lyman

Many people, well actually a few, have asked me what my goals are as a young writer.  When I ask myself the same question, the answer is clear and in sharp focus.  Simply stated, I look forward to that day when:

My stories will be found in the lunch boxes of every worker in America.

Likewise, they will be in the lunch boxes of every child still in school, next to their peanut butter sandwiches, with duplicate copies in their backpacks.

My stories will be in the duffel bags of every person in the Armed Forces, here and abroad, alongside their other "duffel"

And finally, I foresee major hotel chains, throughout our country, putting copies of my work in every night table for bedtime reading.

While my goals are being reached, I am more than pleased to appear in the Pepper Tree

Our friend, centenarian, and prolific contributor, Mr. Ed Lyman, passed away in his sleep November 6th, 2012.  

The service is Thursday, November 15th at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Jacaranda Trace, 3600 William Penn Way, Venice, FL.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to one of the following organizations:

1.     All Faiths Food Bank
8171 Blaikie Court
Sarasota, FL 34240

2.     St. Francis Animal Rescue of Venice
1925 South Tamiami Trail
      Sarasota, FL 34293

3.     Hospital Volunteers of Venice
540 The Rialto
            Venice, FL 34285


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

From Susan Haley

From Susan Haley:
Dr. Pirnot is a member of FWA and a most inspiring author. I was fortunate enough to edit the book she co-authored with Garrett Frey, a paraplegic who spends his life on a ventilator since age three. She is a child psychologist and does wonderful work with kids.    
I'll head toward Florida after Thanksgiving. My cousins wanted me to spend the holiday here since I've just arrived back in Georgia from Harrisburg last week.
I hear the meetings are going great and I'll be glad to see everyone.
Hi Susan,
Don't know if you are back here yet but if so, let's do a lunch soon.
Just a heads up that maybe you can get out to the FWA:  I just downloaded 11 of my books onto the Kindle Lending Library.  People who own or have access to a Kindle can go to the library and then, under Search, type in Dr. Karen Hutchins Pirnot and all the books will come up.  I'd like to have people download ALL of the books as it gives us greater exposure.  The books in the lending library are FREE to all and it would really stimulate interest in the books to have an early lending history.
Hope you are well, my friend.    
Hugs, Karen
Dr. Karen Hutchins Pirnot 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Florida Writers Association Convention - Contact

Hello George,

It was great meeting you at the FWA Conference!  Here is the link to the Florida Publishers Association which we discussed.

FPA is a wonderful organization that answers many authors marketing and publishing questions.

Below is my contact information.  Don't hesitate to contact me.  Have a great week!

Kind regards,

Mark Wayne Adams
Mark Wayne Adams, Inc.
P.O. Box 916392
Longwood, FL 32791

Saturday, October 20, 2012

We are in the back...

We are in the back of the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, actually the far west side of the building. The Sarasota Writers Group graciously uses the academic training room of the fire department on the side of the building farthest away from U.S. 41. We have our own parking area right by the door, but please don't block the fire doors or the road into the area. While it is a Florida Writers Association meeting, it is an open meeting, welcoming non-members as well. The only requirement for attendance is a desire to write.

We had another great turn out as the fall season begins, with the return of Bill Elam, Peter and Barbara Frickel, and Kerri Dieffenwierth. We welcomed Christine Burton to her first meeting and Rod's lovely wife, Betsy, as well. After the usual meet and greet, a basic semblance of order fell into place and we began our second meeting of October in earnest.

Rod opened the meeting with comments from Jim Kelly. Jim recently spoke with long time member Irv Newman who sends his warm regards to the group. Irv has been active with the hospice, and the nurses, and is keeping up with his writing.

Kerri mentioned she will be attending the upcoming Sanibel Island Writers Conference, November 8 through the 11th. The only details we have at the moment is on the Sanibel Island Writers Conference Facebook page.

George passed out flyers for the upcoming Eckerd College Writers’ Conference: Writers in Paradise, to be held this January 19-27, 2013, and reminded everyone the 11th annual Florida Writers Association Conference is to be held in Orlando this next weekend.

Rod began the readings with a humorous piece that has been selected for posting on the Swiss Army Knife web site, On The Cutting Edge: The Bloody History of the Swiss Army Knife, by our centenarian Ed Lyman. ( Ed, incidentally, has been published in every issue of the quarterly literary magazine, the Pepper Tree. His wit and humor always draws great responses after the readings which are handled masterfully by Rod.

Joanne Phillips read her next installment of Memoirs of a Sea Hag titled, Bite Me! Only Joanne could tell the story of being bitten, I'm not saying where, by her own dentures. Joanne says it was in the Bahamas...

Kitt Crescendo read from her untitled work in progress, tentatively known as Four One Night Only, and will have every scrambling to look up the ingredients of the drink, Alien Secretion. Again, Kitt shows her skill in capturing her readers (listeners) with her writing. Glad to have Kitt in the group.

George Collias had everyone's rapt attention with his fascinating Sliver of a Memory, a personal memoir of Hemingway in Key West when George was a child living in Miami, and again later in Ketcham, Idaho, where Hemingway spent his last years. Some great intertwining of professional development and coincidental meetings. A really unique seed here, we hope George develops it further.

Kerri read her latest work Swamp Angels, from her great expanding anthology on growing up in untamed Florida. The saga of the “Owls” continues, and again, Kerri snags the listener as efficiently and firmly as her personal stories touch everyone. Great discussion followed the reading, including her use of changing POV, point of view, from 1st person to 3rd person effectively in the piece. Great writing from Kerri, as usual.

As always, our poet extraordinaire, Jim Kelly again stopped the show with two, marvelous short poems. First, Picket Fence, and then the timeless, remarkable Hero. Amazingly, they were written earlier in the day. Really great poetry, we are waiting for the next compilation of Jim's works. He may not have started it yet, but we are waiting none the less.

Susan Davis caught Rod off guard as he wanted to hear more about her recent travels, but instead she read one of her marvelous, untitled poems, also written shortly before the meeting. These people must really work well under pressure! She then read a poignant piece about death and acceptance, again, great writing.

Ed Ellis was up next with his applause generating Heavy Fog of Fish. He took us all to Catalina Island as if we were there, leaving us wondering how he did that. We're still wondering about being bologna and cheese, or cheese and bologna. Or spark plugs. You had to be there. It was worth the wait.

We then took a ten minute breather, then jumped back into the wonderful pool of writers who grace our meetings with Peter Frickel, who read his poem Crocodile Baking in the Sun, and then read a passage from Langston Hughes' Raisin in the Sun. Peter never fails to enthrall our group of enthusiasts.

We then were treated to the return of Bill Elam, who introduced us to the quasi-legal term of, if I copied it correctly, of equine-anal, or something pretty close to that. Lawyer talk. Bill then read again in the vein of old men reflecting on their lives, and the painting that miraculously took the colors of a pile of rust and iron oxide brilliantly and inexplicably.  It was well received in discussion by the group.

Rod closed out the meeting reading a chapter in his Little Skeeter story, Soap Box Racer, growing up in Sarasota in far less complicated times. The tight, well written piece had the drama of a NASCAR race even though we knew they were soap box derby cars coasting down a hill. Again, well received and appreciated. It's good to hear Rod get to read his own writing.

Our group of writers is an eclectic, diverse talented group of people and I look forward to every meeting. Drop in and take a listen if you get the chance. See you next time November 7th!


Monday, October 15, 2012

L. David Marquet Book Signing!

Hi everyone! I'll be at the Venice Library tomorrow at 2pm discussing my book Turn the Ship Around! There will be a short discussion followed by Q&A and opportunity to buy and get books signed. Turn the Ship Around is the number 1 rated leadership and management book on Amazon out of 365,000 books!
hope to see you there


L. David Marquet

Tales2Inspire has opened its doors for the second year.

Tales2Inspire has opened its doors for the second year.

Did you know that four of the winners for 2012 were members of Gulf Coast writers groups - two from this wonderful Sarasota Writers Group? What talent in Fl. Let's see if we can do it again. A few changes have made it even better for winning authors, so be sure to visit to see what's new!

Warm regards, Lois

Sunday, October 07, 2012

4th Annual Dearborn Street Book Festival


We have really enjoyed putting them together and we thank you for helping make them so successful. We wanted to let you know we are in the planning stage of the
4th Annual Dearborn Street Book Festival

It will be held Saturday, February 16, 2013, 10 am to 3 pm
in Pioneer Park on W. Dearborn Street, Englewood.
The fee will be $25 for a space.

We have reorganized our writing contest and have named it “Write-On-Englewood” Short Story and Poetry Competition.

No more than 250 words for a poem, no less than 500 words for a short story, no more than 800. There is no theme and we ask for only unpublished work. There will be cash prizes and winning entries will be read at the festival not at another location. So start writing.

There is nothing for you to do now but to mark your calendar. Closer to the Festival we will send out more information. Looking forward to seeing you all in Feb.

Diana Harris          phone (941) 474-5837

Ann Favreau wins National Essay Contest

Ann Favreau of Venice, one of our most loyal FWA members and President of the Suncoast Writers Guild, Inc., has won the national essay contest sponsored by the United Ostomy Associations of America to celebrate World Ostomy Day.  Her submission may be published in the Phoenix magazine, we'll post the availability and as soon as we have the details. Ann's current book, It's Okay to Have an Ostomy, is available at Congratulations, Ann!

Friday, October 05, 2012

It's going to be a Great Season!

We have several announcements about upcoming writers events.

Heidi from Sandman Book Company in Punta Gorda  ( ) announced the Turtle Crossing Book Bazaar, a Florida book festival celebrating local authors and literature, 
November 17, 2012 from 10 am to 4pm, at 16500 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda, Florida 33955 (near Burnt Store Marina).  For details, check

Secondly, Christine Koryta, coordinator for the Eckerd College Writers’ Conference: Writers in Paradise, announced the Ninth Annual conference this January 19-27, 2013.  Details are available at: 

The 2013 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference will feature lectures on craft by National Book Critics Circle Award and PEN/Faulkner Award winning author, Ann Patchett (State of Wonder), New York Times Best-Selling authors Dennis Lehane (Live By Night), and Michael Koryta (The Prophet), as well as workshops led by Andre Dubus III – Short Story I (House of Sand and Fog), Stewart O’Nan – Short Story II (Last Night at the Lobster), Tom Franklin – Novel I (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter), Ann Hood – Novel II (The Red Thread), Laura Lippman – Novel III (And When She Was Good), Les Standiford – Nonfiction (Bringing Adam Home), Beth Ann Fennelly – Poetry (Unmentionables), David Yoo – Young Adult Writing (The Detention Club), and much more.

All events will be updated as we receive more information.

Watch closely now, things are popping up daily!


Thursday, October 04, 2012

The First Wednesday in October

The first Wednesday in October saw a really great turnout in spite of the Presidential debate scheduled for later in the evening. We welcomed four newcomers, Jim Stoner, Bob Sutherland, Chad Brockhoff, and Chalise Bourque, and we welcomed back an old friend when George Collias returned as well.

After the usual greetings and cordiality, the meeting kicked off with Rod DiGruttolo holding the gavel and allowing me to speak briefly about the upcoming Florida Writers Association Convention October 19th, 20th and 21st. Full details of the upcoming conference can be found at I was pleased to announce Don Westerfield has donated the profits of his great book of poetry, Casting Shadows, to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, our gracious hosts for our meetings. We usually collect five dollars from our members twice a year as a donation to the NVFD to show our support and thanks for the volunteer organization. Don's gracious contribution is greatly appreciated.

Rod started the readings with Roger Satowski's great piece titled How to Write Stuff Nobody Reads, or, really, what constitutes a novel? Discussions followed briefly, then the truncated meeting resumed with Don Westerfield reading his rewritten The Photograph. We thought it was excellent before, but the discreet smoothing and tuning made it really great. Don also read the excellent poem from the piece called “Secret Places.”

Joanne Phillips cautiously read the next chapter of her book, Memoirs of a Sea Hag. Joanne felt one critique of her last chapter was a little too caustic. No fear, her continuing story about sailing the Bahamas and the Glass Window Bridge on Eluthera used intertwined dialog and descriptive narrative to capture everyone's attention. Well Done!

Susan Davis again had everyone in her power as she read “Eating My Way Up the Coast”. The one passage that insured rapt attention was, “Orgasmic! No, said his wife, it was better than sex!” They were talking about swimming after a great shrimp dinner. No one missed a word of the narrative! Susan will soon be published in the Venice Gondolier with articles of local interest to the community. We look forward to her column!

Kat Levato read her poem, “Inflamed,” and showed the wordsmithing and care used to define really sensuous writing. Really, really nice work! We do hear some really nice poetry at the meetings, and Kat is another welcome addition.

Andrew Parker read Chapter Four of his Robot Story, Crash, and showed his ability to tell a griping story and hold everyone's attention. We noticed the manuscript had 327 numbered pages, so we look forward to more. What happened to Mary and Tommy after the crash? We'll have to wait to find out.

We wrapped up the shortened meeting with a reading by a welcome FWA member, Chalise Bourque. Chalise read a short piece entitled, That Kind of Guy, and immediately made fans of the entire audience. This was Chalise's first meeting with our group, and we look forward to seeing her in the future. Her book, “One Right Thing,” will be on sale at the Convention.

And with that, we took a break and everyone who wanted to watch the debate made their goodbyes. When the break was over, we basically had only a few who didn't have too far to travel, so we all said our goodbyes until the next meeting, October 17th.

See you then,


Ed Lyman is published once again

Russ Heitz sent this really nice e-mail about our friend and centenarian, Ed Lyman.

Ed Lyman called me today to tell me his story, ON THE CUTTING EDGE: The Bloody History of the Swiss Army Knife, was accepted for publication on the Swiss Army Knife website  (  I sent a short email to them with some additional info about Ed and got the following response.  I don't know when the story will appear but we'll definitely have to keep an eye out for that.

If you want to send Ed a note of congratulations his email address is


Hello Russ,
Thank you so much for your endearing email!

I'm an Ed Lyman fan and (I'm sad to say) I've never even heard of him before. Your email prompted me to do a quick Google search and I saw his 100th birthday photo. I'll dig a little deeper as time permits.

Your email has been forwarded to the proper department. Hopefully, your background information on Ed will accompany his story. It would be so nice to share Ed Lyman with the world!
Thank you,
TRG Group Customer Service

To: TRG Group Customer Service
It is my understanding that your website ( recently accepted a story for publication in your "Stories" section that was written by Ed Lyman of Venice , Florida , re: his humorous tale about the Swiss Army Knife.

I just wanted to give you some info about Ed that you might want to include with the story which he calls "On the Cutting Edge."  Most important of all, Ed Lyman celebrated his 100th birthday this past summer!  He is also very active in a writing group in the Venice , Florida , area.  I am also part of that writing group.  The group is affiliated with the Florida Writer's Association.  Ed has published nearly 100 short humorous articles like the one you accepted.  His subject matter is broad and varied but always humorous.  His stories usually with a "snapper" ending as well.

Ed Lyman is a remarkable old gentleman and I hope you can provide some extra publicity for him and his story.

I have known Ed for about 10 years and he continues to amaze me with his intelligence, wit, compassion and, most of all, his youthful enthusiasm for the written word and for Life in general.

If you need additional information about Ed please feel free to contact me at the above email address.

Russ Heitz