Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

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

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