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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Englewood Authors Blog and change of schedule

Ed Ellis of the Englewood Authors announced a change of schedule and location for the ENGLEWOOD AUTHORS.  This DOES NOT AFFECT the meetings or location of the Sarasota Writers group, only the ENGLEWOOD AUTHORS!
Per Ed:
We have the small conference room reserved (room for 25 people) at Elsie Quirk Library for the hours of 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM on the nights listed below. (The library closes at 8 PM – we need to leave the room 15 minutes early). If anyone needs directions, please let me know. The conference room is on the second floor.
Revised Schedule of Meetings. I have attempted to schedule the meeting on the first Monday of each month. I tried for the 2nd Wednesday, however the rooms (the main room and conference room) are booked by other groups for a majority of those dates. I do hope you understand.
July 8th – The first Monday falls on the Holiday Weekend of the 4th of July - 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Aug 5th – The first Monday in August - 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Sept 9th – The first Monday falls on the Holiday Weekend of Labor Day - 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Oct 7th – The first Monday - 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Nov 4th – The first Monday - 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Dec 2nd – The first Monday - 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM 
Ed also announced a new blog for the group at:
 Ed Ellis

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

We are officially out of chairs! We had 27 attendees, two of whom were member's spouses, including my wife, Ilse, and one first time guest, Asha Anderson. Eight attendees were members of the Florida Writers Association. Surprise guest Bill Elam joined us just for the evening before heading back north once again. Bob Taylor and Pat Patterson from Punta Gorda joined us as well. With 21 people signing up to read, it would be a full night.

Rod DiGruttolo was taking care of family business, and I had an unscheduled meeting pop up that created a problem of opening the room in time for the meeting. My heartfelt thanks to Peter Frickel and Ed Ellis who both showed up early to set up the room.

After our 6:00 o'clock meet and greet, we kicked off on schedule, and after passing out my extra copies of the Florida Writer, I introduced the new guests. Joanne Phillips masterminded a plot to celebrate Ed Ellis's birthday, which explained the birthday cake, the cookies and the drinks some people – those who were in on the secret – brought to the meeting.

I introduced Kat Levato, who did a great presentation on blogging. This was a follow-up to her first presentation an basic blogging several months ago. With hand-outs for everyone, and her great question and answer session, we expect to see member's blogs popping up like flowers.

After Kat's presentation, we took an early break and devoured Ed's cake and cookies in a social gathering that got extended somewhat beyond our normal time, then kicked off the first of the readings. Reading is done in the order of the sign-in, but with 21 readers in queue, and only an hour and a half left, I juggled the schedule a little and some readers graciously decided to wait until the next meeting. Anyone who didn't get to read will be at the top of the list for the next meeting. We ask that readings be held to 5 minutes, preferably not more than 3 pages of double space writing, but even with this requirement, I wouldn't get everyone in.

We did get to hear eleven readers, beginning with Peter Frickel's great writing, Lilies of the Vlei. Having Peter read first is a humbling experience for those that follow, so any ego issues are immediately put to bed. Great writing and great reading. Peter also had copies of his audio book in CD format available, really professionally done.

We followed with another chapter of Gracie, the time traveling dwarf kangaroo from the 36th dimension as Linda Shell read yet another chapter of her YA adventure. Bruce, the headless chicken got everyone's stunned attention, but the discussions afterward were good.

Joanne Phillips entertained the group as in times of olde with her great wit and humor with “Technique,” “Scratch,” and “Dead Muse.” Joanne never fails to enthrall our normally hardened group and drew applause with her light hearted poetry.

Kerri Dieffenwierth read a reworked piece from her unnamed upcoming anthology. The feedback to Kerri's great writing showed the diversity in interpretation by different readers. Kerri encouraged everyone with her experiences in submitting writing to publishers, and handled questions from those who haven't yet stretched their wings, so to speak. Thank you, Kerri!

Newcomer Jenny Oberg read another sensitive piece that pulled everyone in. Jenny is a welcome addition to the group, and we have a feeling we've only scratched the surface of Jenny's talents. Dean Telfer, also a newcomer, read next, and once everyone got over the spell cast by his British accent, actually listened to his unique writing in “The Case of the Nibbled Thigh.” Joanne sat up immediately when she heard the title.

Jim Kelly was up next with two more poems, Cobweb, and A Curtain in the Window, both engrossing, thought provoking poems that showcase his unique command of economy of words. Jim's poetry is always a mainstay of our readings. Jack Wetherson read for the first time with an essay on self-publishing. Everyone envisioned a work of their own when he mentioned a writing “bleeding from every page from the red ink.”

Cathy Marine returned with “Looking for Rays,” the opening chapter of her upcoming book about Spotted Eagle Rays. Nice interweaving of dialog and description. Cathy's first book, No Dead Fish for Ginger! is available at as well as the bookstore at Mote Marine.

Bill Elam, who unexpectedly stopped by, read a touching story of facing your twilight years with grace and poise. Birthday-boy Ed Ellis closed out the readings with a Damon Runyonesque tale of amateurs trying to buy marijuana for the first time. Funny stuff, Ed, and we won't ask how you did the research.

We will start the next meeting on July 3rd with readings by Beth, Asha, Jung, Don, Ernie, Kat, and George. See everyone then.


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

After a dreary, wet, overcast day, I wondered about poor attendance as I opened the meeting room and prepared for another session of the Sarasota Writers Group's Wednesday night meeting. My worries were groundless as 22 people gathered for yet another session of reading prose and poetry and the diverse comments and discussions that follow.

Bob Taylor, winner of the 2012 Royal Palm Literary Award for his memoir, Hardship Post, joined us for the first time as well as Jenny Oberg, Theresa Jordan, and Dean Telfer. We welcomed back Jack Wetherson, Ron Babcock, Cathy Marine and newest FWA member, Ernie Ovitz. Bob made the long drive from Punta Gorda as does regular Pat Patterson, Jenny drove from North Port, while Ernie and Linda, as well as Ron, made the trip from Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton. We appreciate their effort and time to join us for our meetings. Kat Levato also makes the drive from North Port, and many of our members drive regularly from Englewood, so our location is proving to be centrally located.

After our meet and greet session, I opened the meeting with FWA announcements, and passed out all of my past issues of The Florida Writer, the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, as my current issues for distribution haven't arrived yet. I am trying to get more issues for those who didn't get one at the meeting. The magazine has contact information as well as giving a good overview of the FWA itself. Bob Taylor graciously addressed the group briefly about his experiences with submitting to the Royal Palm Literary awards competition.

Rod DiGruttolo opened the reading and handled the 14 readers with his usual aplomb and skill. Everyone who wanted to read material got to read, and we had another great night of original material, including Kerri Dieffenwierth's award winning poem, “Angels in my Swamp.”

"Angels in my Swamp
When the peace in me
allowed her bellow to reverberate,
to rumble past moist heated air
When apple snails clutched Sawgrass,
adrift in tannic sparkle.
While we searched for clues
Swamp offered her seasons
And mama gator
scrutinized predators
to keep her hatchlings safe.
Cypress trunks resemble aged ball gowns,
Standing in honor of Seminole, Creek, Miccosukee
…of you.
Brown hands bent pliable shoots to mark these trails
(This is the way in. This is the way out)
If you run your hand down the wood slowly, it won't leave a splinter.
Feel who treaded soaked ground.
They are still here.
End-of-summer air.
Sweat rolling down spines.
Step into Florida's shelter.
The coolness of the water will startle.
Watch shoes and shins disappear into her broth.
Kerri Dieffenwierth

Linda Schell read first with another chapter of "Come Along With Me," the adventures of Gracie, a dwarf kangaroo from the 36th dimension geared for the 8 to 12 year olds. Positive comments and good feedback in the discussion that followed. First time guest Jenny Oberg faced her fears and bravely read a poem dedicated to her mother to a room full of strangers. Her sensitive, emotion-evoking writing was well received by the group. Really well done and we look forward to Jenny becoming a regular member. We are no longer strangers.

Kerri Dieffenwierth, who doesn't consider herself a poet, read her award winning poem “Angels in My Swamp,” printed above, and announced she'll finish her Masters program in Maine next month. Congratulations, Kerri!  Yes, you are a poet.

Ed Ellis read a short story called “The Legend of Harbor Rock,” where in 2043, Gene swallows nanobots by mistake and becomes Nancy the Nympho. We may need to split the tables between Ed and Andrew. More great fun writing from Ed. Don Westerfield brought us back to earth with “Rain Barrel,” a melancholy piece that shows Don's ability to “taste eternity.” He warned Joanne to have her handkerchief ready. More great writing from Don.

Ron Babcock kept the group enthralled with his reading of “A Walk in Hell,” a memoir describing his battle with cancer that met with good feedback and positive comments. Ernie Ovitz, our newest FWA member, read from his upcoming, “The Seventh King,” a historical novel set in the Roman outposts of Bulgaria in the year 303. Great writing and incredible research, we look forward to more of Ernie's writing. Good feedback and really good comments followed the reading.

Jim Kelly continuously proves his prowess with poetry, and he did it once more with two great poems, “Heaven and Earth,” and “Just One.” (Alliteration is as close as I get to poetry) Jim has published two books of poetry, “The Place,” and “From the Embers,” and we look forward to his upcoming third volume. Heaven and Earth, is printed with Jim's permission .

Heaven and Earth

I gaze skyward;
heaven appears as an unmade bed
covers and sheets tossed
into ragged heaps.

A gaunt, haggard face emerges,
wanders off
much like the stranger in the woods
leaving his tattered tent.

Tomorrow's sky
will come and change its linens;
rain will spring through holes
in the torn, blue tarp.

I turn my head
and walk away from heaven
the sounds of raindrops
dripping on my conscience.

James O. Kelly

Rod took us to break time with his saga about “Ron” and “Betty” in a narrative called “Betty's New Hip”. A personal glimpse into the trauma of having a loved one “land on the floor.” We all wish Betsy, oops, Betty, a speedy recovery. We don't get to listen to Rod's writing as often as we like.

After a ten minute break, followed by a few more comments about the legal issues of using trademarks, we resumed with Andrew Parker reading his final chapter of “Reality Gone Wrong,” with Dr. Blake Brimstone and Roach Rhino. Andrew is pursuing publishing on either Kindle (Amazon) or on Smash Word, and we'll know shortly when to expect Andrew's writings to be available.

Joanne Phillips read an opening from her new work, “Matrix of Life.” A completely different tack for Joanne and it sounds great so far. Beth Rice read the continuation of her first chapter of her work, “Paw Prints are Forever,” to good comments and discussion.

 Kitt Crescendo, at Peter Frickel's request, read a blog about the benefits of
writing, or reading, erotic romance. The discussion and comments that
followed were entertaining, to say the least. 

Last reader of the day was once again Rod, who read the opening chapter, “Reflections at a Funeral,” of Jung Sok Yo's “Winds of Desire.” Rod started on part of the second chapter when we realized we'd gone beyond our stop time and decided to wait until next meeting to resume reading.

It isn't often I have the opportunity to present someone's impressions of meeting our diverse, eclectic group for the first time. With her gracious permission, I have included Jenny Oberg's reflections of her first meeting of the Sarasota Writers Group. As she says “I felt like writing my thoughts of it... It has sparked "the writing bug..."

Into a unpaved, disorderly, rock filled parking lot I roll,
About to step through the threshold of a new experience,
I am greeted by a man who I have never met, yet seem to know,
His eyes glimmer with passion; a passion for the written word,
As my eyes take survey of the room; that I have set forth,
I see archaic news clippings of past fires and proud plaques of honor,
Every person that I see has a story to tell,
A man who has a melodic, British accent; one where I wish I could just sit and listen to,
I picture him sitting in an upright, leather chair with a roaring fire with a glass of bourbon,
A woman who sports fiery red hair and is adorned in a sparkly sweater; which both match her personality,
I see a lady who emits spunk and has a mischievous glimmer in her eye...
Who writes about intimate moments that make my eye brows raise and my eyes enlarge,
Then, there's the man sitting next to me; a gentle soul who sounds like my Papa...
With a voice that is deep and brings my mind back to the sweet, woodsy smell of my Papa's cigars...
It is true to say our enemies make us stronger.. for the gentle soul went to war against a sinister being called Cancer and proved his tenacity and laughed it in the face!
Amongst complete strangers, I read my inner thoughts aloud...
I hear my voice projecting every word...
I feel utter disbelief and pride, that it is me who I hear...
Amongst complete strangers....who have a story, an imagination and a churning mind,
I feel like I belong, in my chair, at a firehouse, on a rainy night.

Jenny Oberg

See everyone June 19th!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Cancelled: Beach Reading

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Tonight's Beach Reading has been cancelled due to weather!