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, September 30, 2013

Event Calendar - New Feature!

I'm adding a new section called Event Calendar, located on the right side of the blog page.  The listings will be the writing and book events that are of interest to not just our group, but to all writers in our area.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  If you have an event to add, send it to me via the contact link on this blog page


Sunday, September 29, 2013


We wanted to let you know we are in the planning stages of our annual book festival. We wish to thank all of you who have participated in the past for helping us make them so successful. Last year we had over 65 authors who attended and sold their books.


Will be held Saturday, February 15, 10 am to 3 pm
in Pioneer Park on W. Dearborn Street, Englewood.
The fee will be $25 per space.

We will once again be sponsoring a writing contest named
Write-On-Englewood”. It is a short story and poetry competition. No more than 250 words for a poem, no less than 500 words for a short story, no more that 800. There is no theme and we ask for unpublished work. A $5. entry fee is requested for each entry and you may submit as many entries as you like.
There will be cash prizes, so start writing.

There is nothing for you to do now but to mark your calendar. Closer to the Festival we will send out more information. Looking forward to seeing you all in February.

Diana Harris
phone (941) 474-4837

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday September 4, 2013 Meeting

Our meeting commenced promptly at 6:30. Rod DiGruttolo, our moderator for the evening, introduced Peter Frickel to the group, though he needed no introduction with us.

Author of Lotha and the Three Crosses and My Frog Sings along with his blog, iThink, his pieces are looked forward to for their imagery (never mind his gorgeous South African lilt).

As per last meeting's announcements, Peter kicked off our discussion regarding sentence, paragraph and page construction. He kicked it off by letting us imagine Pooh and Peter in conversation where Pooh says, "Tell me where the sentence lives.."

And then he laid out his challenge.
"What makes a sentence? Do you know the different kinds of sentences?"

As he spent the evening breaking down the various forms of sentences and their purposes...and how the right combination can create magic on a page, he pointed out a simple yet valuable fact.

"We talk too much, listen too little."

He encouraged us to find ways to inspire the senses. Music to inspire, Books of colors, images...senses.

We all came away enjoying the different outlooks and points of view that Peter offered into the way we hone our craft to constantly, consistently improve.

Our readings were kicked off by Susan Davis whose travelling gypsy spirit guided her to read from 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda. She chose to read #6. The pure beauty and passion made it easy to understand why she was inspired to share. Even more interesting was her story to go along with the poetry...when she told us of her tour of Neruda's home and the amazing view from his bedroom. The breathless natural beauty from his window combined with being in the great writer's home left her in awe.

Next, Ed Ellis read his very entertaining piece entitled "Awkward Encounter". It was a story of life after high school which included hanging out with Steve, his sidekick, cruising for chicks at "Bob's Big Boy" and some Mary Jane. Let's just say that after a bit of partying, one of the characters was uncertain if his trip to Disneyland was a dream or an actual occurrence. Yes, this piece had the whole group rolling with laughter at the characters' antics, the anticipation and the punch line.

Pat Patterson took on Rod's dialogue challenge. He called his piece "Two Old 1963 High School Class Buddies On The Telephone". In his piece we got the opportunity to hear two old friends wax nostalgic on the past and play catch up on life in general...and how their views of events had changed through the years.

Jeff Cochran read two pieces. The first was his dialogue challenge from Rod. He attributed his inspiration to Kitt's dialogue challenge from the prior meeting...and it didn't take any time at all to figure out why. With sentences like "Just slide it in" "Move it around a bit" and "I don't think that's going to fit", it was obvious that the dialogue included a lot of fun, tongue-in-cheek innuendo. What was it really about? A shoe sale, of course! His next piece was a poem he entitled "Seasons" that he'd written to celebrate an artist friend, Holly Lovely. His verses painted picturesque scenes and enabled the listener to feel each season...and appreciate how much he treasured his friend.

Our newcomer, Barry Mick, shared his piece called "Dragonfly". Although there was a literal dragonfly in his story, it became evident quickly that there was deep symbolism in that dragonfly. This is just the beginning of what we sense will be a very powerful story of love, loss and family. We can't wait to see where Barry takes his story.

Don Westerfield shared a short story he called "My Family Tree". He was researching a tale about his family tree and the family scandal that caused his grandpa to leave Kentucky and move to Indiana. To learn more about the roots of the tree in Kentucky, he headed back to where it all began and found his only remaining relative in town was the drunk guy he met on the corner. As he asked some former neighbors about what happened to his family, he was told..."Son, when you go digging for your roots, all you usually end up with is a can of worms." Yes, there was much laughter and applause that followed this entertaining short piece.

Ernie Ovitz continued with Chapter 2 if his WIP, "The Seventh King". In this part we're beginning to get a feel for the political savvy of Constantine, the Tribune, as he deals with General Decimus and his interview, hoping to learn more about the Emperor. In this part we also begin to get a better feel for Red Beard and why he's targeting them.

JoAnne Phillips, author of Adventures Of A Sea Hag continued with her current WIP, "The Matrix Of Life" with her next chapter entitled "Goodbye Mushy". In this chapter she talked about she and her mother living with her grandma who suffered from bipolar disorder, though it wasn't yet a diagnosis. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as she bravely shared the story about the puppy, Mushy, her mother's ex-boyfriend gave her and how she held it in her arms as she watched it die a horrible death at her grandmother's hand. The lethargy and inability to communicate and respond broke our hearts for her...and we were so relieved when she was placed back into the care of her grandparents on her father's side as she began her slow battle back toward healing. JoAnne's story has it's ups and downs, but the one constant is this... We're cheering for her!

Linda Shell was back with her YA Adventure about Gracie the dwarf kangaroo in "Come Along With Me". She had the group snorting with laughter at her clever turn of phrase, "Buster's last stand" as she told about the chicken who ran around with it's head cut off...spraying grandma's white, newly washed sheets that were hanging on the line with his blood. Guess that's what she gets for deciding to make him dinner. We're definitely looking forward to seeing where Gracie's adventure leads next.

Next came another excerpt from author of I'm Adopted, I'm Special and The Animal Tales blog, Beth Rice's newest WIP "Pawprints Are Forever". The next installment was called "Dr Anthony Vinelli". He wasn't the suave, handsome doc, but rather the smart, capable doc with the fabulous petside manner...who the techs didn't like much, but then...he made them work. He was also an avian specialist which meant he got to handle then snakes and their temperamental owners. He was also the resident "Friends" trivia guru and the favorite doctor for the protagonist. At this point, he was just introduced into the story along with a couple of patients who he's helped along the way, but we all sense that there's much more to their story and are looking forward to hearing it told.

As we closed out the night, we circled back to Peter. He shared with us a piece he'd written about a river called "There Runs A River". Although it was ultimately about the river, it was about so much more. It was symbolic of time and how, like a river, they both change everything as they move. He also shared some of his own poetry. With his permission, here's his piece.

The Pathway

The single line pathway
Moved humans
Carrying empty pails of sorrowed hunger
And despair they should never have owned.

Some brought extended bellies
Swollen lips and cleaved tongues,
Others empty eyes,
Faces cracked
Scabbed skin
Where tears had dried.

And the dogs
That came on burnt paws,
Pulled tails across stones,
Whimpered for those they left to die.

We walked
Into miles,
To the horizon,
To a town.

Some groaned
Stopped and dropped
With voices that gurgled
Between cracked lips
Before they died.

For each that crumpled
I bent down
With a prayer.
Pressed eye lids
With whites covered
Each rested
In their own dark
Our misery unwanted.

By the edge of the town
With thinned ranks
We stood still,
To feel the pain
To let it run away.
To remember friends and family
Who like fallen sign posts
Now mark our way.

Lying lost upon acarpous soil
They tell others
Who seek shelter,
"It doesn't hurt anymore."

As always, Sarasota Writers Group had a great night of eclectic reading and look forward to our next meeting on 9/18/2013.

NaNoWriMo Write-a-thon Group Critique and Open Mic

Dear Sarasota Writers Group      
I am contacting you on behalf of the Manatee County Public Library to tell you about our upcoming events that may be of interest to members of the Sarasota Writers Group. Beginning this November, the library will be hosting a series of events for National Novel Writing Month. Here at the Central Library we will be hosting a writers’ workshop seminar that we’ve called the Write-a-thon and Group Critique (if enough people stay to have their work read and critiqued, it may become a Group Critique-a-thon). We are doing this on November 4th in an effort to get people motivated to have fun writing and encourage them to try to write a novel before the end of the month. After the month wraps up and participants have hopefully realized their potential, we will have an open mic reading night. Those that care to join us on December 2nd will be able to read a selection from their NaNoWriMo masterpiece to friends and family and mostly strangers. Also, there will be refreshments.

NaNoWriMo Write-a-thon and Group Critique

Central Library, Monday, November 4, 5:30-7:30 PM

NaNoWriMo Open Mic Reading

Central Library, Monday, December 2, 6:30 PM
I would ask you to pass this on to the writers’ group (and consider it yourself). Please feel free to contact me for more information or to answer questions about these and other upcoming writers’ events.
Thank you for your time.

Danny Bradley, Librarian I - Adult Services Division
Neighborhood Services Department || Manatee County Public Library System
Central Library || 1301 Barcarrota Boulevard West || Bradenton, Florida 34205
ph: 941-748-5555 x6313 || fax: 941-749-7155

Invitation to submit to Saw Palm

Dear Florida Writer's Association,

My name is Mike Ruso and I am the managing editor for Saw Palm: Florida Literature & Art, a literary magazine published annually by the University of South Florida. I am writing to let the members of Florida Writer's Association know that Saw Palm is currently accepting submissions of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry and we would love to receive submissions from you. Would you please forward this email to all FWA members?

Saw Palm is a literary magazine devoted exclusively to creative work from and about Florida. For more information, please see our website: We are accepting submissions through Oct. 1st via our online submission manager at

We look forward to reading your work!

Most sincerely,
Mike Ruso
Managing Editor, Saw Palm

Monday, September 02, 2013

Wednesday August 21, 2013 Meeting

Our meeting started at approximately 6:30 with 20 attendees and 12 readers. Rod DiGruttolo moderated the meeting and kicked things off.

First announcement is that Peter Frickel will be teaching a course in sentence, paragraph and page construction at our next meeting on September 4th.

Kitt Crescendo had recently returned from the convention Authors After Dark. She brought back some swag to give to the group and shared her thoughts on the event. She found the event to be very interesting and the authors in the various forums she attended to be personable, open and willing to talk about anything. As time allows, she'll be adding more about the authors and events to her blog.

Jack Wetherson kicked off our readings with a football story based inside a correctional facility he humorously referred to as "a gated facility". Although there was initially some confusion as to whether the game was being played by inmates a la The Longest Yard, we found this not to be the case. In the end, this was a tongue in cheek story about bad calls and "paying your dues".

Barbara Frickel, usually leaving the reading to Peter, surprised the group by stepping front and center. She'd taken Rod up on his dialogue challenge several weeks ago and wrote a piece about a lost wallet. Her dialogue was as sweet as she was, showing that people still do the right thing. The finder contacted the owner of the wallet and returned it.

Ed Ellis also took on the dialogue challenge. It was a married couple on a trip to the driver's cousin's house. As almost always with Ed's work, there was a this case, it was all about "back seat driving". He also shared a piece he'd written called "Honeymoon Surprise" that dealt with "mixed matches". You know, big guy, tiny girl. The punch line this time left everyone laughing as the question of "who wears the pants" was answered definitively.

Jeff Cochran read another excerpt from his time travel manuscript. This chapter was titled "On The Road In Pennsylvania". In this portion the protagonist has been having a recurrent nightmare about being chased. He misses his life and the future he left behind. As he reflects on the might have beens, however, he realizes that if he hadn't gone back into the past, he might not have his love, Rebecca. Yes, the ladies in the group sighed over the romantic notion, especially from the male perspective.

Don Westerfield, never one to leave us bored, decided to change things up on us. It had been a while since he's shared poetry, so he went back to it, sharing two poems, "Spinster Mary" about a lady, a World War II bride to be that never was and "The Egotistical Poet". With his permission, here's one of his poems:
Spinster Mary
There; down a crooked road,
across a bridge; her house.
Brick, mortar and hopes
built upon un-kept promises.
Within dwelt great beauty;
not of youth, but of years.
It radiated outward; encompassing
all who entered without pity.
She moved kindly about;
sadness hidden only from a few.
Abiding alone in remembrance of
a shadow love; now gone.
In vain she waited for happiness
to unlock the portals of her desire;
leaving only kisses of memory
to treasure until end of days.
With comforting faith did she linger,
until her Sun had set. There, down
a crooked road, across a bridge;
her house, unlit and forgotten.
Asha Anderson, another of our lovely poet wordsmiths shared several poems that left everyone impressed with not only her reading style, but content. With her permission, I'll share one of her readings called "Los Viajeros". This is a poem she wrote to aid her as she was learning the Spanish language.
Los Viajeros
La ruta es larga.
El dia es corto.
La noche es
ruidosa y calor.
Estoy afuera
con la luna.
La ruta es angosta.
El cielo es ancho.
The Travelers
The road is long.
The day is short.
The night is
noisy and hot.
I am outside
with the moon.
The road is narrow.
The sky is wide.
(Guatemala, 2007)
Jenny Oberg decided to take on Rod's narration challenge. In this, two people are discussing imagination and the mind being free. The conversation starter asks the question "If you could go anywhere, where would you go?" She's speaking of fantasy but unfortunately the other party is not such a daydreamer and is tied to the "here and now", which drives the conversation into an entertaining is often the case for those of us who are dreamers when we encounter the practical people. Every person in the room was nodding as writers tend to live in that "other" world.
Kitt Crescendo also decided to go with Rod's challenge. Her dialogue was between a female employee at a cell phone store and a customer with a water damaged phone. With little bits of innuendo flying when the phone wouldn't stop vibrating and the smart alleck back and forth between the two characters, the group was entertained. She also shared her poem called "Mystique". When she was finished reading, the ladies in the room had two words for her. "Thank You." She has it on her blog if you click her name, but decided to share it here, as well.
“The Weaker Sex”
is what we’re called.
of velvet encased
iron core,
who have held
and nurtured
in body and heart-
Sons who become
daughters to
We’ve stood firm,
guardians of the castle
charged with
sacred duty
to mold, guide and nurture,
teach and love.
Dry tears,
kiss away wounds
spiritual and physical.
Healing powers-
steeped in
forgiveness and patience.
We hold on if we can,
let go when we must.
kindness, empathy
and knowledge.
Strength is required
to be
“The softer side.”
Susan Davis read an excerpt from a compilation book of women's writings written by Lucy Jane Bledsoe called "Two In The Wild". It encapsulated a woman's escape by bicycle across the Mohave desert when a mother and daughter headed out on a trip of their own encountered her. They discovered that the woman was, in fact, escaping an abusive situation...yet the protagonist to the story spoke of envy because this woman had the guts to get on her bike and blindly change her circumstances. She was ill prepared for the trip, but she had determination and a sense of purpose.
Peter Frickel, author of My Frog Sings and Lotha and the Three Crosses along with his blog "iThink" shared an article clipping from the Sarasota Herald Tribune called "Advice For A Writer In Sarasota". Besides discussing the importance of predators v. editors, it touted the importance of researching writers groups before joining and touted the importance of a facilitator with "credentials who is knowledgeable and supportive". Rod was very tongue in cheek when he "apologized". Everyone else laughed. He then read a portion of a Hemmingway book with a quote about writing and encouraged us to join him in his journey to improved writing next week.
Beth Rice, author of I'm Adopted, I'm Special and The Animal Tales blog continued reading from her manuscript called "Pawprints Are Forever" with a chapter called "Oh, Beans!" In this story, at the end of the day, a customer brings his dog, Beans in for laxatives claiming that he suffers from constipation. The owner is insistent that all Beans needs are laxatives and requires no tests as they would be costly and he's sure of the diagnosis. The protagonist approaches the doctor who is not thrilled to have this last minute walk-in. As he's ranting, he uses the term "for shits and grins" a phrase the protagonist had never heard before. As she's sidetracked with her internal dialogue surrounding the phrase, she misses the vet's order. Not only is Beth's reading coming along, but her knack for humor and the absurd are shining through.
Last, but certainly not least, was author JoAnne Phillips, author of Adventures of a Sea Hag. Continuing from her current manuscript, "Matrix Of Life", she read a chapter called "Getting Even". In this portion, the 5 year old protagonist has developed a fondness for the bats that would soar out of the loft in the evening. Determined to catch one, she asks her grandfather for advice....which included a hat and bacon. After several days of not catching the bats she discovers, thanks to an exasperated Grams that Gramps has been having fun at her expense. Determined to get even she waits till they're at a store and claims he's a stranger...which nearly causes him to be arrested for kidnapping. As fun and witty as JoAnne's excerpt was, everyone felt the need to tell her how much she's improved in her writing which made her day.
Our next meeting will be held on September 4th and begins promptly at 6:30.