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, March 25, 2013


As promised:  Jim Kelly's "Diner"

Stools swivel through breakfast traffic--
doers and procrastinators
poised for the ride.

Hazel darts between cups, filled with idle time,
and counter tops
rubbed raw by friendly service

Sunny-side-ups lisp atop a stainless stage;
bacon strips sizzle
like lines in a gossip column.

Oohs and ahs emanate from a corner booth; 
an old man lifts his shirt,
assigns numbers to stitches in his scar.

At a table for two, a widower stares into the past, 
blurry eyes fumbling with words--
"A Kiss to Build a Dream On."

Businessmen jostle into slots at the big table,
a sacred place reserved for self-indulgence, 
where subtle glances measure all the women.

Morning disappears
among toast crumbs and gratuities
scattered in the wake of satisfaction.

A chickadee fidgets on the porch railing, 
tips his black cap to diners
dragging bacon scent down the street. 

Thank You! to Jim Kelly for permission to print Diner

James O. Kelly Englewood, FL 02/14/13 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013: Attack of the Colons!

A very special night for us as regular member Irv Newman and his lovely wife, Beatrice, stopped by with their son, Len, and his lovely wife Marie. The unsinkable Irv and his marvelous family were special guests of the evening, we hope to see them more often.

New FWA member Meredith Rutter joined us for the first time as well as guests Judy Rousseau and Nancy Cannell. We welcomed back Nancy Lucas and Becky Freed, along with several regular members who have been traveling around the world, from middle Europe to Mexico, for a turnout of 28 attendees. Once again our hosts, the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department came through and found extra needed chairs. It was a busy night as almost everyone had something to read! Under the gavel of maestro Rod DiGruttolo, everyone got to read and we even finished with time to spare.

George Mindling opened the meeting by asking about interest in presentations on self publishing and collecting state sales tax on book sales. He will develop a presentation for the first Wednesday meeting on May 1st .
Irv's son, Len, then read his dad's piece about devotion to classmates and friendship from high-school days in New Jersey. Irv then briefly spoke to the group. His book, “Living on House Money,” is in its third printing. Even though he's sold quite a few books, he claims he has donated more to doctors and nurses!

Susan Haley, one of the original founders of our writers group, read her excellent poem “Sleep,” followed by Pat Patterson, who makes the trip all the way from Punta Gorda. Pat read part of chapter one of “The Takers,” his period piece set in Scandinavia at the end of the 10th Century. Bill Elam, who is in the art publishing world, briefly discussed art and literature similarities, then read more from his upcoming work where the protagonist is a subject from one of his pieces or art. His current selection from his “old man anthology” had the phrase “the spirit has no infirmities,” which, of course, has everyone waiting for more.

Kathleen Schwartz read from her “Jazz at at 69,” a stark, almost brutal phase that is a nice expansion of her work. Great writing. Jim Kelly followed with the reading of two more of his outstanding poems, “Diner,” and “Priceless Penny.” If Jim agrees, I'll print “The Diner” in this blog so everyone will know what I mean when I say Jim introduced me to poetry. His economy of words to evoke images is phenomenal. Jim proves prose is literature written to the rules of grammar while poetry is literature written to the rules of rhythm.

Joanne Phillips read again from her now-published “Adventures of a Sea Hag,” which is already in its second printing. Ed Ellis followed with a really nice Thanksgiving poem written for his three grandchildren. Kerri – Wow! Nice twist on “Home Made Rodeos,” the story hooked nicely and everyone was misty eyed at the unexpected twist. 

Chris Burton – Mesmerized the audience, as always, with her spot-on delivery of her crisp, seemingly effortless writing, and Patricia La Barbera read from her published thriller, “The Wolf's Daughter,” the first book in the Tala Chronicles. Susan Davis read the prologue to her new book aimed specifically at Baby Boomers looking for answers, followed by Kat who read from her upcoming book, which we'll be thrilled to announce when it hits the bookstores (or the Internet). George Collias finished the meeting with his perfectly timed humorous “Attack of the Colons: Wild and Dangerous Punctuation Marks!”

Once again the meeting was showcased by the diverse and eclectic talents who make up this marvelous group of talented writers. We'll see everyone at the next meeting, Wednesday, April 3rd!

George Mindling

Thursday, March 07, 2013

“It was a cold and dreary day...”

No, it wasn't, but it was quite a bit colder than normal as we kicked off the Sarasota Writers Group meeting on Wednesday, March 6th. Inside the meeting room was nice and comfortable as always. We had a good turnout and a really great meeting. We were pleased to have Julie Ann Howell, President and Publisher of Peppertree Press and Peppertree Magazine, as our guest speaker.

Julie Ann's presentation on Peppertree Press and the evolving world of publishing was enthusiastically received. The comments and questions that followed added to her in-depth explanation of what new writers can expect, and should look for, when searching for a publisher. Peppertree Press's support of the Florida Writers Association (Peppertree Press is a Platinum Sponsor of the FWA Writers Conference) is greatly appreciated, and we certainly appreciate Julie Ann's great presentation. Julie Ann also awarded a beautiful coffee table photo book about Sarasota to Kat Levato for having the right ticket stub, and a coffee mug to first time guest Larry Burnett, who uniquely drew his own number. Amid the cries of “foul” and “fixed” (Do you really believe everything I write?”) Don Westerfield drew the last prize of the evening, a signed, hardback copy of Julie's book "Haunted Echoes." The Peppertree was the first to publish Don's poems in 2009 and gave him the confidence to go on writing. We are so glad he did.

New writer Rachel Fritsch returned, and we greeted first time guest, and coffee mug winner, Larry Barnett. A brief discussion about the new Critique and Comment blog ( where members can post writing they want critiqued, anonymously if they so choose, shows the idea has merit, but needs to be simplified. So, the procedure for posting on the “critandcom” page has been revised. Simply e-mail your writing to George Mindling at the special e-mail address on the blog page, and it will be posted exactly as it is received. Critiques can be posted as comment at the bottom of each blog. The restriction on keying in “special” codes has been removed, but that also means spam may appear on the page. Please let me know if anything out of order pops up in the comments section that needs to be removed.

After general comments about upcoming writing contests mentioned in earlier blogs, the meeting was turned over to Julie Ann.

Following Julie Ann's presentation, we took a ten minute break, then gavel-master Rod DiGruttolo resumed our regular meeting with a reading from Laura Heath. Laura's transition from a non-fiction writer to narrative non-fiction story telling is underway with a marvelous first attempt called The Bus, set in the jungles of Guatemala. Written as a short story, her first reading drew both applause and comments. We will hear more from Laura in the future.

George Mindling followed with two whimsical poems, not his specialty, but apparently the humor was well received as there was no booing. Peter Frickel then read his delightful “Country Cottage,” from his “Shoebox Anthology,” as always, his reading embellishing his already great writing.

Don Westerfield read two of his wonderful poems, “When a House, a Home,” and “The Human Race,” and Mary Byrnes followed with the second part of her non-fiction fiction called “Embellishments, Section II.” Mary's writing again held everyone's attention to the “embellished, true tale,” enhanced by showing photos of her beautiful mother in comparison to another beauty of her time, Amelia Earhart. Kat Levato read her short Love at Sunrise, followed by Joanne Phillips who read “Computer Conversations,” which told explicitly why she loves talking computers, as we wrapped up another great meeting. 

Patricia LaBarbera announced her two of her books will be available for free Kindle downloading this weekend from Amazon.  The Celtic Crow Murders, a cozy mystery will be available for free download from Amazon March 8 through March 10. World Castle Publishing will be releasing The Wolf's Daughter, her paranormal romance, on March 15. She plans to have the book available for free Amazon download on that day. See both book trailers at Patricia is also asking if anyone has a booth at the Venice Book Fair and is looking for someone to share space. Contact e-mail is You don't want to miss the opportunity to read any of Patricia's work.

 We said goodbye to Lois Stern who is returning to New York for the summer, and eventually turned off the lights.

We'll see everyone on March 20th, spring should be here by then.

George Mindling