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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wednesday April 17th, 2013

Wow! What happened to Spring? It should have been a comfortably mild Wednesday night, however, we had the air conditioner going full blast as Florida was having a record breaking heat wave. We had a hot time in the meeting as well with another full house of eighteen attendees and another great evening of readings.

Rod DiGruttolo once again did the honors of Master of Ceremonies as we kicked off at 6:30pm. We welcomed back Nancy O'Grady, Linda Schill, and long time member Bart Stamper. Bart spends most of his time in the Orlando area, so we are really pleased when he gets a chance to join us. We also welcomed first time guest Jung Sok Yo, a movie editor, poet, and producer. (

George Mindling opened the meeting with a brief description of the hows and whys of collecting Florida Sales Tax for retailers and book sellers. A complete tutorial can be found on-line at: George kicked off the reading portion of the meeting as well with poet Shel Silverstein's 1974 humor classic “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout.” Rod then introduced new guest Sok Yo Jung, who read dialog from his “Wind of Desire.” Great, succinct, direct dialog to introduce his style of writing. We look forward to more writing from Yo.

Jim Kelly read three letters from our inimitable Irv Newman, written to members of his high school class of years ago, and of their 73rd high school reunion attended by “transportable survivors.” Jim then treated us with two of his poems, “Options” and “Escape.” Options is presented at the end of this posting for all to enjoy.

Bart Stamper read “Premonition,” another chapter from his upcoming book about the life and trials of an Army Ranger in Vietnam. Engrossing, well written and brutally honest, Bart's stories capture the horror and inescapable fear of combat and death in a far away, foreign war. Great writing and great story telling, this is going to be a great book. There is no way to listen to Bart's writing without getting emotionally involved.

Nancy O'Grady then read two of her short works, “Thoughts from Roman Amaral Lane,” and “To My Parents and Granddad,” both touching and sensitive, well received by the group. Patricia La Barbera then read several humorous horror selections from Big Pulp, including one about stereotyping zombies. Great stuff. Another genre. Joanne Phillips read her last chapter of her Adventures of a Sea Hag, and took us to our 8:00pm break-time.

After a short break, we resumed with the further adventures of brain surgeon Blake Brimstone by Andrew Parker, and once again, he had everyone completely engrossed. Andrew's writing is fresh, unique, and definitely a favorite of the group. He even teased the group to see if anyone could pick out the one allusion to “Went with the Wind,” a satire by Carol Burnett.

New comer Linda Schill read another chapter from her "Come Along With Me" about a time-traveling kangaroo named Gracie written for 8 to 12 year olds. Some discussion followed about the level of vocabulary used and over all suitability for that age group. General consensus was that the 8 to 12 year old age group will do just fine with the story.

Rod then allowed George a second spot to read “1964,” the setup for a techno-thriller in progress about an American airman stationed in Germany and his involvement with the Baader-Meinhof Red Army Faction as they plot to hi-jack a nuclear warhead. Discussion followed again about vocabulary and technical terms.

Rod wrapped up the evenings readings with another of his Skeets and Jimmy stories, this on called the “Great Mouse Escapade.” Great writing, and everyone loved the twist ending. We need more Skeets and Jimmy, great dialog and visualization is automatic. Mouse boy is one of us.

We had a great meeting, but once again, I want to remind readers to please try to keep readings to under 5 minutes. Three pages or 1500 words is perfect, and allows us to give everyone a chance to read.

Our next meeting will be May 1st. George Mindling will do a presentation on self-publishing.

See you then.

The meter accepts his fare-
exact change only.
He sits next to a window,
peers out through his own reflection...
like he did yesterday and the day before.
On the corner, street signs hint
of contradiction-
Elm, where shade gives way to rotting stumps.
Pristine, where clutter dances with each passing car.
Ruby-eyed vagrants
drift across the pavement
practicing aborted takeoffs,
avoiding strangers' feet.
The bus lurches forward-
his options dangling on a cord
strung above the windows. 
Jim Kelly
Englewood, FL

Reprinted with permission

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday - April 3, 2013

The meeting went well. We had 18 people who signed in and my wife attended though she didn't sign in. Three new attendees were there and 13 readers included two of the new people.

Don Westerfield led off the reading as he opted to allow others to read last meeting. His story of Manuuk, (Ma-new-hook) was an intriguing tale of an old Indian who catches a magic fish; at least in his dreams.

Ed Ellis issued a challenge and asked for help with a 38 word conundrum. He wants help with the following sentence:
When reaching a conclusion and a guess is hiding behind the illusion, of a conclusion, and if it happens by chance to be correct, at the moment, it is accepted; or if it is false, it is rejected.”
How can this be reconstructed to make it more clear?

Peter Frickel read another story of South Africa. He related as to how a witch doctor helped him grow a second heart. Kathleen read more of her book about the aging widow Maureen. Pssst, Maureen finally had sex! Bill Elam read a chapter from earlier in the story of the old man. The old man reflects on the past and ponders the future. Bill is inserting some character development for each of the main characters in his story. Pat Patterson announced that he has engaged an editor for his Viking saga, The Takers. He read another chapter and is moving along.

Keri, in an unusual move, introduced a first draft for us to hear. She will refine the piece and bring it back to the next meeting so that we may see how much it can improve. It's an adventure with a dirt bike as she grows up in South Florida.

Andrew introduced us to a new view of his writing. His humor was damped as Blake Brimstone takes the shape and mentality of a seven-year-old girl who is bullied, because of physical and mental disabilities. He did a remarkable job at relating the feelings and anxieties of a child who finds her mother dead.

Joanne read another chapter of her book, "Adventures of a Sea Hag" and said it was going to go into a second printing. She would appreciate critique as she is making a few changes.
Nancy O'Grady, one of the new attendees, gave us a treat as she related the "Saga of the Corn beef;" she asks a question. Was it corn beef or was it turkey? There was some references to St Patrick and Jack Daniels.

Another newbie, Linda Schell, brought a children's story to the group. "Come Along With Me" is a fantasy for 8-12 year olds that features a tiny kangaroo named Gracie and she is bored.

We wrapped up almost on time and it seems as though all had a good time. There was lively discussion and much participation by everyone.

See you next week,

Rod DiGruttolo

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Patricia La Barbera lecture, April 13th

Patricia La Barbera will lecture on what to include in the first sentence, paragraph, and page of a manuscript. The presentation will take place at the Selby Library on April 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the conference room.