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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Another good turnout with 22 in attendance, 3 of whom are FWA members. We had three new guests as Jack Wetherson, Ron Babcock, and David Lackey joined us for the first time. George Mindling opened the meeting with several FWA announcements and comments, and since no speakers were scheduled, we began with our first reader, Rod DiGruttolo. Rod doubled as first reader as well as being the Master of Ceremonies of the meeting.

Rod opened by reading an excerpt from “The Red Stain,” a novel in progress by new member Jung Sok Yo. A good discussion followed with positive feedback for Jung's writing. Next was Ed Ellis's story “Digital Technology,” about digital technology used as a diagnostic device for a prostate exam. Well written, it caught the audience off guard as intended. Be glad he didn't ask the proctologist for a second opinion.

We heard more adventures of Gracie, the dwarf kangaroo from the 36th dimension as Linda Shell read yet another chapter of her YA adventure, followed by Nancy O'Grady's Portrait of a Friend, renamed to Portrait of an Acquaintance, and after hearing the story, we know why. Don Westerfield read Matilda, a short story about a ruthless, young female corporate ladder-climber, and waited until the last sentence to set the hook.

George Collias brought his wry humor to the forefront with a “letter” written to the Czech Minister of Tourism regarding his recent trip to the Czech Republic. Of course, he also read the “rebuttal” letter as well, once again showing George's ability to make the audience laugh. Last night was a tough crowd, but he pulled it off, anyway. Great writing.

New-comer David lackey read two pieces, the first was a one page dialog, taken from “Facebook,” followed by a well received short piece called the The Drawing Session, again based on art. Tasteful nudity always catches our ears. Returning guest, and we hope new member, Ernie Ovitz read from his up coming historical novel, The Seventh King. Opening in the year 302 in the Roman frontier with Germania, the work is well written and well researched with a nice mix of narrative and dialog. We look forward to more of Ernie's writing.

We took a ten minute break and resumed with Ron Babcock's first reading, “A Letter to George Washington.” With his background in audio books, we now have two “FM” voices as Susan Davis now has a male counterpart to smooth, effective reading. Jim Kelly once again enthralled the group with his award winning poetry. (He took second place in the recent Poetry Ensemble of Orlando contest with his poem, Smoke and Ashes) and read his latest poem, “Space,” printed at the end of this blog. Congratulations to Jim on the award.

Andrew Parker read his piece, The Ugly Girl, and once again kept the group's rapt attention with his politically incorrect style that never fails to entertain and engage. Andrew will have his material e-published by Pankhearst, an independent writers collective. Good work, and great writing.

Newcomer Beth Rice read from her novel-in-progress, “Paw Prints Are Forever,” beginning with the introduction and first chapter. Good writing, and during the feed back, brought up a question about use of trademark names in a novel. The answer is generally, “no problem,” when writing fiction, but when in doubt, ask your editor. There are several references, such as
Non fiction work will probably require the trademark symbol, but generally not fiction. Again, when in doubt, ask your editor.

Kit Crescendo brought us up to speed with her latest chapter of Three For All, -after a quick poem about self-discovery- and reminded us all about having a favorite subject celebration month. You know, like National Ice Cream Month, or something along those lines. This month is apparently in full swing.

Patricia La Barbera will teach another class at Selby Library on May 18 from 2 pm to 4 pm. She's written an amusing short story that highlights what to avoid in genre writing and includes new information. She'll cover the alternatives so authors can get past a publisher's gatekeeper. Patricia encourages discussions and questions. Show up to laugh and learn.

A sign on the lawn
reads "Space for Sale."
It does not say to whom it belongs.
I cannot touch it, push it aside, or tie it to a tree.
I do not know if I am stepping on it, wading through it,
leaning against it or altering its intentions.

Does it contain sharp corners to snag one's coat
or black holes that swallow errant footsteps?
Are there lines or walls that separate intrusions?

Can I take it and return the unused portion?
Is it "one size fits all"?
Will it leak through a tear in my pocket?
Space for sale.
I wonder if it's mine.

James O. Kelly

Englewood, FL

See everyone June 5 th ,


Patricia La Barbera class at Selby

Patricia La Barbera will teach another class at Selby Library on May 18 from 2 pm to 4 pm. She's written an amusing short story that highlights what to avoid in genre writing and includes new information. She'll cover the alternatives so authors can get past a publisher's gatekeeper. Patricia encourages discussions and questions. Show up to laugh and learn.

Contact Patricia at for more details.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

We add yet another member of our Sarasota Writers Group to our list of award-winning poets. Congratulations to Kerri Dieffenwierth who won third place for "Angels in My Swamp," her entry in the inaugural Big Cypress National Preserve poetry contest. Kerri's poem may be found on:
Congratulations Kerri! The contest is run by the National Park Service and will be an annual event.

We welcomed new Florida Writers Association member Ann Lieberman and guests Beth Rice and Ernie and Linda Ovitz, to our first meeting in May. We also welcomed Anita Westerfield, Don's wife, for her first visit to our meeting. She said she is not a writer but a great listener! Every writer needs a great listener!  We had twenty attendees, four of whom are FWA members.

It was a soggy night, but everyone's spirits were in high-gear none-the-less. We started as usual with our meet-and-greet at 6:00pm, and kicked off the regular meeting at 6:30pm with crowd control specialist Rod DiGruttolo graciously handling the duties as chief cat-herder. George Mindling, FWA Sarasota Writers Group leader opened with comments about FWA benefits for editing services, general meeting comments, and then did an hour presentation on self-publishing and Print on Demand. The entire presentation text may be found on our critique page at: A question and answer session followed.  The .doc file used to make the PDF file for the book is available for download from George, only for members of the writers group. 

 [Members: Please contact George for the file which you may alter and rename for your use as a template for any 6x9 book.  The contents of the file, as is, are copy-written.]

We then had a special treat, something new for our group; an audio book presentation! Peter Frickel's great “Road” was presented using a MAC and Bose speakers, highlighting what a great job can be done with audio books! Peter's professional quality recording highlighted the already great material and we want more. He teased the early audience with a recording from Ernest Hemingway which we have asked him to repeat in a future meeting.

That took us to our 8:00pm break, and after ten minutes or so, we resumed with Don Westerfield reading, and showing photos as well, of his piece named “The Witch Doctor.” It's amazing what can be done with a little salt and coconut oil. Don's story telling had everyone wondering what was going to happen with the butcher knife. No, it was just an indicator, not an operating tool! Great writing and fun to listen to.

We continued with further adventures of Gracie, the dwarf kangaroo from the 36th universe who missed her landing spot of St. Petersburg, Russia, and ended up with us in Sarasota as we listened to Linda Schell present the next portion of her young adult/fantasy adventure. It was well received as Linda kept the reading teasingly short and drew really nice reviews. Ben Daughtrey rejoined the group with his revised Chapter 26 of his science fiction epic, no longer named “Newearth.” It will be re-named shortly. The version for critique can be found on our critique page at Please remember all entries on the critique page are the property of the respective submitter and may not be used without permission.

Kerri Dieffenwierth read what may well be the introduction to her work “Home Made Rodeos” named “Brownies,” another great transition piece from one of our regular members. “Less dysfunctional now that we're faded,” as a description of old photos had everyone nodding in agreement. More great writing from Kerri who will be forced to read her award winning poem at the next meeting or we won't let her back in.

George Collias followed with a chapter from his published work, “Myahmuh,” a murder mystery set in old Miami, as seen through the eyes of a fourteen year old. George then turned the meeting upside down with a limerick from another great published work, “Sandspurs,” this one about skunk-apes or other strange Florida creatures, maybe even a Chupacabra:
A Floridian with a lupine-like scowl,
Was hairy and smelled very foul.
He wasn't a werewolf,
Not even a near-wolf,
But at full moons had a strong urge to howl.

(Used with permission)

The meeting continued with a somber, reflective poem by Ed Ellis, dedicated to a dear friend lost to cancer. The poem, “Wild Honey,” is printed in its entirety at the end of this posting. Thank you Ed, great writing.

Kitt Crescendo, aka, Kat Levato, showed her newly approved cover for her upcoming erotic novel “Three For All,” and drew critical, in-depth review of the art work. It passed unanimously. Her book will be split into two novels at the request of her editor, more info when we get it. Great writing, no comments on the comments!

We wrapped up the evening with the final chapter of “Adventures of a Sea Hag,” Joanne Phillip's cathartic tale of sailing and eternal love found therein. Joanne's book is in its second printing. I'm sure she'll have new material in time for our next meeting!

We wrapped up a little after 9:00pm, and thanks to the volunteers from the Nokomis Fire Department who graciously and unselfishly extricated one of our member's car from a newly discovered, deep hole in our parking lot, we said goodbye until May 15th. We will have a regular meeting as no speakers are scheduled.


Wild Honey
by Ed Ellis
Dedicated to my friend, of many decades, Mr. Craig Chidester

When significance arrives
At our doorstep
Love is expressed
By all to all

Every comrade whom we know
Takes a piece
Leaves a mark
The sweetness of memories

The body alters and fails
Memories do not
A hole is opened
To space and time

Death, the dark shadow
Hangs on a hook
Over the left shoulder
Of everyone, all the time

Feelings are mixed
The reality is present
When we are born
We are destined to die

So what happens
In the gap of time?
Decades come, decades go
The world continues spinning

Life is as sweet
As, wild honey
But not as sweet
As lasting friendship

(Printed with Permission)