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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

John Harnish book available as a free download

Greetings FWA Sarasota Writers Group

"My recent novella with all kinds of natural twists and turns is titled: “Blasting the Hell Out of Tornadoes: Pandora vs. Supercell.” This exciting ebook is available as a free Kindle Select promotion on Saturday, April 21st.

The President receives a bizarre proposal about how to snuff out tornadoes. He boldly acts to put the wheels in motion to make the creative concept a reality—without being encumbered by the blustering hot-air delays and nit-picking game playing of Congress.

The prevailing thrust is to stop talking about hazardous weather and take some daring proactive steps to do something positive to abort the horrific supercells before they can spawn deadly tornadoes. Public support of the innovative idea is overwhelming. The USAF is assigned the mission of making it happen.

The question on everybody’s mind is will this really work or will Norman, OK, be blown away!!!"

Enjoy often...John

John Harnish author of: Blasting the Hell Out of Tornadoes: Pandora vs, Supercell Available as a free download from Amazon starting on 4/21/12

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

As our sun-birds depart for cooler climes, our core group of writers continues to show up with an eclectic collection of writings to keep us active and entertained. We miss our seasonal friends and wish them a safe and speedy return. We will miss Kathleen Schwartz this summer as she joins the seasonal exodus to the north. We missed Peter and Irv, both full-time residents who should both join us again soon. We wish them both speedy recovery.

Our Wednesday meeting started with Ed Ellis doing the honors as head of the meeting. Ed obviously meant business; he brought a blue, Tampa Rays cowbell (claimed it was his wife's) so he would have a way to “get attention.” Except for the break announcement, it was unneeded. Rod DiGruttolo took advantage of the opportunity and relaxed for a change. He'll be back up front for the next meeting. Ed kicked off with a 5 word test about synonyms and meanings. Myrtle? Really? All I could come up with was Wax or Crape...

George spoke a few words about blogging and the its benefits and will put together a quick instruction sheet for the next meeting on May 2nd. Susan Davis spoke briefly about about Eye Opening Films being shown at Aurora Physical Therapy, 1037 US 41 By Pass S. on Thursday nights. Upcoming films include “Tapped,” “Trashed,” Deep Green,” and “Thrive.” A $5 donation is requested, contact Susan at 941-486-0590 for details.

Kathleen led off the reading with her work about a 69 year old woman going on her first date in 43 years! “The Gal is Going Out,” showed not only her really great writing, but her powers of observation as well. Feedback was really great! Kathleen will be back this fall.

Rod got to read, something we often miss due to his usually being the M.C., and we were rewarded with his short story based on an old hit song, "The Grandfather Clock.” Again, discussion was overwhelmingly positive. Great writing! Susan Davis read from her as yet untitled work in progress about the baby-boomers, the “Old Hippies,” who are not powerless in spite of the frustrations and obstacles all around us. More great writing! Again, the group discussion was all positive.

Don captivated the group with a narrative based on an Air Force experience from 40 years ago. In spite of the heavy use of military jargon and phrases, everyone fully understood the pathos of the story without Don overly describing or explaining in layman's terms. The great writing just keeps coming! After the discussion, Ed got to use his cowbell and we took a quick break

Susan Haley started the second half by reading a poem she had earlier judged at a “Blind” reading. She loved the poem and told the writer exactly what she loved about the poem. Only then did she find out the poem, “My Good Life,” was written by our own Don Westerfield.

Ellen Magnuson read another chapter from her book “S'Truth,” her engrossing autobiography about emigrating to the U.S. From England as a young woman. Her description of sailing the North Atlantic in a former refugee ship that ended up with a cracked hull enthralled everyone.

Ed Ellis again provided more of his work in progress, being in a non-linear mode at the time, the piece will be fitted as the story about survival in a post nuclear terror attack develops. The metamorphosis of the characters in really engrossing.

Lee Taylor Franke read a developing piece that may have been considered poetry, but is evolving into poetical prose. “Pass it On” was well received, and received quite a bit of discussion, especially about the format.
Ed closed the meeting with the announcement of another writers group in Englewood. The meetings take place the 2nd Thursday of every month at 233 Old McCall Road at 6:30 pm. If you need a landmark, it is across the street from Willie's Motorcycle Bar. 

With that, we wrapped up an said goodnight.

See everyone May 2nd!


Footnote: Among the actual answers are these tidbits:
According to, this jewel is from the Harry Potter definitions: “Myrtle - A ghost who haunts the toilet in the girl's bathroom. She moans loudly and complains that no one likes her (which is probably true).”
According to, myrtle means “Surf Ambassador Hendo slang term for an attractive female whether her attraction is physical, creative, mental, psychological, or hypothetical. Basically, a stone fox!”

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Wednesday, 4-4-12

Another evening listening to writing that covered a wide variety of styles. From a new chapter of a book in progress to several beautiful poems, the evening was fast and, as always, diverse.

Unfortunately, we started the meeting with the sad news of the passing of Dahris Clair, dear friend of Susan Haley. Dahris was a friend to many others in the Sarasota Writers Group, and the Florida Writers association as well. Dahris established the FWA writers group in New Port Richie, coordinated mini-conferences and local writing contests, and published the monthly e-zine The Infinite Writer. Dahris will be greatly missed.

Susan Haley also announced she will take things a little easier in the future and will take a different, less demanding role with the Sarasota Writers Group. Susan formed the group six years ago, but will turn the official FWA “link” to George Mindling who will be listed in the FWA information sheet as the contact for the Sarasota Chapter. Susan thanked Ed Ellis, who, among other things, has been the Internet contact for the group; Rod DiGruttolo, who faithfully and with great aplomb, runs each of the meetings; and Peter Frickel, and Russ Heitz, who have all been responsible for the success of the group. Susan will attend the meetings, of course, but she will no longer need to carry a briefcase that weighs as much as she does! George made a quick announcement, thanking Susan for her past efforts forming and maintaining the group, and that the only thing that changes is the name in the FWA data sheet.

Rod thanked the group for their contributions to the St. Judes' Bikathon that allowed his Grandchildren to donate $70 on everyone's behalf. And with that, we were under way.

Susan Davis presented an idea to the group about a project that may lead to road trips and an different approach to writing. New names for “New Age” or “Alternative lifestyles” will be welcome as she defines the Baby Boomers who may want to "clean up around us,” with inspirational messages, individual passions and personal empowerment. The old names just aren't right, nor accurate. Any suggestions?

We welcomed Susan McNeil to the group. Susan, a poet, was a guest of Cecile Bell Kennedy. Also returning was member Steve Cholby.

Rod opened with an Australian start. That's were the order is reversed and those who were last, go first, and we started with Joanne Phillips reading another chapter of her “Memoirs of a Sea Hag.” Last time we were hanging on for dear life in a tropical storm, this time we were curious about getting an octopus out of a snorkel! Joanne, of course, finished the main course with a racy poem that was all about technique! As always, the discussion that followed was interesting to say the least.

Don Westerfield read a short poem dedicated to the surprised Joanne, and then read “The Old Man.” a piece set in Appalachia that once again caught everyone off guard. Great stuff. Steve Cholby read two pieces to mark his return: “The Good Doctor” and an interesting narrative called “Philanthropy of the Mind.” Great to have Steve back, we look forward to more of his writing.

By then it was 8:00pm and time for a quick ten minute break.

We started the second half with Bill Elam's romantic prose demonstrating how our decisions affect those around us. Bill's writing will be part of a broader story. We would love to hear it in its entirety.
This was Bill's last meeting of the season and we will have to wait until fall to hear more.

Lee Taylor Frank read her rewrite of “The Colombian Experience,“ now 1914 words from the original 3200! The works is crisper and entertaining. We all held our breathe through the gunmen stopping the bus and the ensuing drama. Again, lively discussion followed, all good. The work is really turning out nicely.

George read his one page narrative “The Duel,” an exercise in describing an interaction between two unknown people over a canape, and we finished the night with Ed Ellis.

Ed read a poem written for his grandson's wedding entitled “Hearts and flowers.” A touching gift. No wonder Ed has been asked by Lemon Bay High School to address the senior class!

See everyone on Wednesday, 18th!