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, February 24, 2012

Calling All Authors!

Thanks to Susan Davis for the info!
Calling All Authors!
Exciting Events
Saturday, February 25, at the VENICE LIBRARY

Yes, You! An Entertaining Autobiography in Three Easy Steps
Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:30 AM

Have you always wanted to share your life stories, but didn’t know where to begin? Would you like to leave a wonderful legacy to your family, friends, and descendents? Join Liz Coursen, Sarasota-based author of The Complete Biography Workbook, as she discusses how to create an autobiography as fun to read as it was to write. Learn what to do, and learn how to avoid common autobiography-writing pitfalls.
Program length: 1 hour, 15 minutes, with q&a to follow.

The Seven Steps to a Wildly Successful Book Tour
Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:30 PM
You may have written a book about war. You may have written a book about peace. You may have written a book about cheese that won’t sit still. You may have written a book with your prescription for life (or love) everlasting….What do you do next? You tell the world! Three-time author Liz Coursen, veteran of two very different book tours, will describe the steps necessary to organize an old-school, boots-on-the-ground book tour. This event will provide authors—whether traditionally published or self-published—with practical marketing tools they can implement themselves.
Program length: 50 minutes, with q&a to follow.

The events are free, and everyone is welcome.

Venice Library
300 Nokomis Avenue South, Venice, FL 34285
Roland Marcotte

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Deadline Extended!

Due to a computer glitch, the Tales2Inspire website was down for about a week, but Lois (the contest organizer) wasn't aware of it until receiving messages from several confused people. To compensate for these difficulties, she has extended the deadline date to: MARCH 14, 2012, so lets buckle down and get those stories out of your heads and submitted according to guidelines posted Click on the GREEN CONTINUE button at the bottom of each screen for all the details, how to's and what if's! If you have further questions, e-mail Lois at:

Lois W. Stern
Author of:


Creator of TALES2INSPIRE contest

Featured author in 50 GREAT WRITERS YOU SHOULD BE READING by The Authors Show

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday Feb 15, 2012

A warm, beautiful sunset welcomed the latest meeting of the Sarasota chapter of the FWA, followed by another entertaining evening listening to a wide variety of writings by an eclectic group of writers.

We welcomed back Kris Palmer, author of “Dancing With An Elephant,” ( and newcomer Lori Davis of Dayton, Ohio. Lori is currently in Englewood and looking for a publisher for her first book. She has already started her second, also in the Young Adult Fantasy genre.

After the usual, congenial half hour “Catch-Up” session, Rod DiGruttolo started the meeting with announcements by Lois Stern and Bill Elam. Lois mentioned her website, ( has a problem but will be restored in the next day or two. The Tales 2 Inspire contest will be extended to compensate for the inconvenience of the web site being unavailable. Bill mentioned an article in USA Today by Jefferson Graham about ebooks. The article is available at
"" at least for the time being. And that segued perfectly into Russ Heitz's presentation about e-publishing.

Russ shared his wealth of experience and savvy about e-publishing which is fast becoming the defacto method of getting new writer's material into the marketplace. He covered the different formats and how to approach both Amazon (Kindle) at, and with Smashword at A quick list of e-publishing websites are included at the end of this blog.

George started the evening's reading with “What,” his 250 word exercise of Rod's writing challenge to use only dialogue to tell a short story, followed by Rod's reading of our soon-to-be-Centenarian Ed Lyman's work, “Amazing! Well, Not Exactly!” Barbara Frickell read her delightful interpretation of Rod's dialogue challenge titled “Tete-a-Tete,” obviously set in Paris. Lee Taylor completely engrossed the group with her gripping story “Easy Prey With Decals,” which everyone took as a factual story rather than the fiction it actually was.

Bill Elam read his great piece about pilots and airplanes too old to be useful, evoking memories about scrapbooks and memories. Cecile returned, reading her short, delightful one-act play about two baby girls wrapped in blankets in a nursery. Light hearted fun seen from a certainly different perspective. Lois Stern then read her piece for Rod's challenge, adapted from one of her inspiring tales. Amazing fluidity in compressing time using only dialogue.

Susan Davis read two great short pieces from her favorite poets. “The Silent Articulation of a Face” by the 13th century mystic poet Rumi, was followed by a poem by Pablo Neruda dedicated to his love Matilda. Susan has had the pleasure of visiting Neruda's house in Chile. Both great poems, and of course, well read as always.

Kris Palmer celebrated her return with two poems, the very beautiful “Wind,” and a limerick entitled “Lot Lizard.” Glad to have Kris back, even for a short while.

After a relaxing break, we resumed with the inimitable Joanne Phillips. Joanne came through as anticipated with “Rojo Mojo,” an ingenious poem about her last week's encounter with a red headed fireman. “I'm a Little. You're a Lot,” was followed by “Magic Moment,” a tender poem with a soft touch. Nicely done. Ed Ellis read part of a story under development, and under a cloud of secrecy, apparently, about personal confrontation between nuclear holocaust survivors, Great so far, we want to hear more.

Susan Haley was finally coerced into reading a great paragraph resulting from a challenge she received at a different writing group. Her challenge was to write a paragraph based on a single word. Her word was Karma and no one is better suited than Susan to write that paragraph. Nicely done!

We had a few minutes to go, so Kris graciously read her great piece, “My Escort,” and Bill wrapped up the evening's readings with a follow-up story about the lovers he introduced last meeting. Another enjoyable, entertaining, and informative night.

Next meeting will be on March 7th, see everyone then!


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What, When & Where:

Mr. Philip Levine
United States Poet Laureate 2011-2012
Reading and Book Signing
7 p.m., Monday, April 9, 2012
Saint Leo University
Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardroom
Student Community Center
Saint Leo, FL 33574

Come and celebrate Poetry Month with the Poet Laureate of the United States! Mr. Philip Levine is the eighteenth United States Poet Laureate. His works of poetry include the 1991 National Book Award-winning "What Work Is," the 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Simple Truth," and his most recent "News of the World (2009)."

In the August 2011 announcement, the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington remarked, "Philip Levine is one of America's great narrative poets. His plainspoken lyricism has, for half a century, championed the art of telling 'The Simple Truth'...."

The event is co-sponsored by the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library, the English, Fine Arts, and Humanities Department, and Student Services. It is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served, however, for seating requests of 10 or more, and for directions and parking information, please call Ms. Tammy Hunt, 352-588-8294.

St. Leo, FL is approximately 90 miles north of Sarasota, east of I-75

Thank you, Kerri for the information, and thank you Ms. Hunt for your kind assistance

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Southwest Florida Writers Conference

From Dona Lee
Florida Writers Association Manatee Group Leader
Sarasota Fiction Writer's editor of "Plotting Success
The Southwest Florida Writers Conference begins on February 24th. It features a meet/greet dinner on Friday and a Super Saturday filled with workshops, books signings, and the opportunity to pitch your project directly to acquiring editors/agents. The line-up is fantastic. Three bestselling authors, five acquiring editors, and two agents. The first pitch is included for free and additional pitches are $20.00. This is an amazing chance to pitch your book to Whitney Ross (TOR), Leah Hultenschmidt (Sourcebooks), Jhanteigh Kupihea (New American Library), Leslie Wainger (Harlequin), Wanda Ottewell (Harlequin), Nicole Resciniti (The Seymour Agency), and Mary Sue Seymour (The Seymour Agency).
These editors/agents are acquiring across all genres (romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, YA, MG, picture books, nonfiction)
When: Saturday, February 25th, 2012 (Optional dinner party Friday Feb. 24th; One-Day Super Event on Saturday)
Where: THE HYATT PLACE, Coconut Point Mall, Estero, FL.
23120 Villagio Way, Estero, FL 33928
Cost: $85.00 (includes one pitch; $20.00 each additional pitch). More Info:
Guest Speakers: Linnea Sinclair, Stacy Kade, and Keynote Jennifer St. Giles
Editor/Agent Panel and Open Q & A Session
Below is a listing of what each editor/agent is looking for:
Leah Hultenschmidt is a senior editor at Sourcebooks, acquiring single-title romance (paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, contemporary—and any combination thereof) for the Casablanca imprint and young adult fiction for the Fire imprint. In 2011, New York’s RWA chapter named her Editor of the Year. Leah has worked with a number of best-selling authors across multiple genres and has a particular fondness for kickbutt heroines, ice cream of any kind, and episodes of Bones.
Twitter: @LeahHulten
Wanda Ottewell has been with Harlequin Enterprises for more than eleven years. During that time she has acquired for many of the company’s series programs. Now as Senior Editor for Harlequin Superromance she focuses her attention on finding those emotional, heartwarming stories readers want.
She is looking for: Contemporary romance stories with a strong, engaging central romance; Complex and well-developed characters with their own individual journeys through the story that weaves with the romance; Layered plots with true obstacles and conflicts, executed in a realistic and believable way
Leslie Wainger joined Silhouette Books as an editorial assistant in August 1979 and was part of the editorial team that launched the company’s first series, Silhouette Romance, as well as numerous series since.
Her experience has brought her to her current position as Editor-at-Large, Single Titles. Over the years she has worked with a number of MIRA, HQN, Harlequin and Silhouette authors, including Linda Howard, Emilie Richards, Heather Graham, Maggie Shayne, Kathleen Eagle, Beverly Barton, Susan Krinard and Sharon Sala, and she continues to work with many of them today. She is also the author of “Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies” (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2004), the 2005 recipient of Romance Writers of America’s industry award and a freelance book doctor.
“I’m looking for the strongest single title fiction, including YA, across all genres: romance and all its sub-genres (contemporary and historical, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, etc.); suspense, thriller and mystery; women’s fiction with a popular bent, including “lit lite;” paranormal; fantasy (from high fantasy to urban fantasy and anywhere in between); even science fiction and horror. I’m not specifically interested in chick lit, unless there’s something above and beyond character- and story-wise. The key for me is that the book must appeal strongly to a female readership, though a crossover readership – depending on genre, of course – is always a plus. Strong characters who drive a compelling story are also a must.”
Whitney Ross is an editor at Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, publisher of Forge, Tor Books, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen. In her free time, she’s also a book collector, wannabe jet-setter, and Starbucks junkie, and enjoys competitive sports such as skiing and shopping. She is from Phoenix, Arizona, and is actively seeking science fiction & fantasy, urban fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and young adult novels.
Jhanteigh Kupihea Associate Editor, New American Library at Penguin Group USA.
Specializes in genre fiction, including historical fiction, women's fiction, romance, and urban fantasy.
Mary Sue Seymour is listed by Publishers Marketplace as one of the top deal-makers in the country. Mary Sue founded The Seymour Agency in 1992. Mary Sue is a member of the Author's Guild, the AAR, ACFW, WGA, and RWA.
Since opening her agency in 1992, Mary Sue has negotiated three-, four-, and five-book deals. She has launched the careers of many great authors, and she continues to promote the advancement of quality fiction and nonfiction material in both Christian and secular markets. Mary Sue is particularly interested in inspirational fiction and romances.
- Nicole Resciniti is an agent at The Seymour Agency. In addition to working with Mary Sue to negotiate clients’ domestic and foreign rights, Nicole divides her time between NJ and Naples, FL where she has established The Seymour Agency’s Southwest Florida Office. Nicole has launched 9 debut authors in the last six months. She loves finding new talent and making literary dreams a reality. Nicole holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. She is a member of AAR, RWA, ACFW, SWFRW, and MENSA. Nicole is currently looking for romance (all genres), mysteries/thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy, great YA/MG, and select non-fiction projects.

Nicole Resciniti, AAR
RWA, ACFW and Mensa
The Seymour Agency

Twitter: @niclitagent

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

....And One More Thing

"Does anyone in our group have a Hewlett Packard printer that uses a Tricolor cartridge #95? I have two brand new cartridges that I can't use because they don't fit the new printer I bought recently. These #95 cartridges cost around $25/$30+ at a computer store and I hate to throw them away. If you can use them I'll gladly give them to you at the next meeting. Let me know. Russ Heitz"

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


More on the newly formed Sarasota Editors Association:
Patricia La Barbera mentioned the newly formed Sarasota Editors Group at the last meeting and has now announced their new web page at:

“Networking is an important tool for staying current with the publishing industry's standards. Join us to help sharpen your editing skills and share your knowledge. We'll have monthly lunch meetings at various Sarasota restaurants. Editors, guests, and those who'd like to learn more about editing are welcome. There's no charge, and the calendar includes our next lunch meeting (March 2 at 1 pm at Shakespeare's Pub in Sarasota). Let me know if you have any questions. Patricia La Barbera,


Russ Heitz, author of Crosshairs, Dying in Deer Country, and Krazy Kritters of Florida, will do a presentation on publishing/uploading ebooks at the next meeting on Feb 15th. Several people at the last meeting seemed very interested in ebooks and Russ has graciously offered to share his expertise and experience.


The 2012 ROYAL PALM LITERARY AWARD COMPETITION is open for submissions February 15 through June 15, 2012.
The RPLA competition is a service of the Florida Writers Association established to recognize excellence in members' published and unpublished works while providing blind, objective, and constructive written assessments for all entrants. Entry fees are lowest at the beginning of the submission period, so don't delay. Download your entry package at..

See you Wednesday, the 15th

Thursday, February 02, 2012

SRO - Wednesday, Feb 1 2012

A great turnout Wednesday with many of our seasonal visitors joining our first meeting in February for a full house! Thanks to Kerri for grabbing a chair out of her SUV for the one extra chair we needed! As always, it was a fun “Greet and Meet” session before Rod used his imaginary gavel and got us underway. It must be like herding cats. He started by asking who had not had the opportunity to read at the last meeting as we had run out of time then. They would read first, going to the front of the list. Yours truly left the reading list from last meeting on his PC desk... Oh, well. Rod handled the situation with his typical grace and aplomb and after we got the announcements out of the way, we started on the list where we left off.

The brief announcements included Susan Haley, the leader and one of the founding members of the group, giving recognition and congratulations to Cecile Bell on her marriage to Douglas Kennedy, who graciously accompanied Cecile to his first meeting; Kerri Diefenwerth on completing her masters assignment in Maine (!); myself; and poet Jim Kelly.

Lois Stern presented the details and contact information about the Tales to Inspire (TALES2INSPIRE) contest. The web page is at: The details are on the blog and on our Facebook page at: (You do NOT have to be a member of Facebook to see the page!)

Lois can be reached at for more information about the contest.

Joanne started the session with an impromptu teaser about an upcoming poem featuring a handsome, red-headed fireman who met her in the dark as she searched for the soda machine. De-clawed cougar my eye! Rod gave a challenge to the group: write a 250 word piece using only dialogue. An exercise that some may have done in the past, but drew plenty of enthusiasm and we expect to see the responses in future meetings. Should be fun, especially with this eclectic group. Bill Elam had contact information about Print on Demand publishing using's service at Russ will also put together info for a presentation sometime in the future about e-publishing.

Patricia LaBarbera announced a new editor's group to meet the first time this Friday (Feb 4) in Sarasota at “Word of Mouth” Restaurant at 1:00pm. Susan Davis recommended Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird for new writers, to Kerri's enthusiastic support, and we wrapped up the discussion part of the meeting.

Susan Haley got to read first with a beautiful short story dealing with a saving two siblings in a forest fire. They happened to be wolves. Good to hear from Susan again, she has chosen to sit and listen in the recent meetings rather than read her material. A great dialogue followed, and soon afterward, Ben came to the front of the room to read his rewritten first chapter of Newearth. The polish shows as the story smoothly develops with new rewrite. Bill Elam read two pieces: First, a flashback, backstory piece about romance between young war-time lovers, then the piece called The Chosen. Well written and well received!

George Mindling read a short excerpt from his book, Sleeps Two called Metamorphosis, showing the column writing style rather than the fiction genre recently undertaken. Rod read a humorous short piece from the inimitable Ed Lyman about a one-slice piece of bread sandwich and peanut butter, among other ingredients. Lee Taylor Frank read a rather remarkable piece of poetry written in 1988 that was well received by the group. Again, discussion was spirited and enthusiastic.

After a short break, we resumed with Joanne reading the 5th chapter of her autobiographical Memoirs of a Sea Hag.” The harrowing story of being caught in 20 foot swells in a sailboat was graphically and emotionally captured by her writing. Good job, Joanne! We're lucky no one needed Dramamine. Finally, Kerry got to wrap up the evening with the prologue to her memoir “Homemade Rodeos, Cocoanut Heads, Marshmellow Alligators, Growing Up Floridian,” and read her newly written chapter Winning Opal. Again, we can hardly wait for more. We understand she may have found a new “rocking” writing office.

We wrapped up at 9:00pm, and reminded everyone we will come back in two weeks (the 15th) and do it again.



Peter Frickel recently posted his Blog. It can be found at: