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, December 23, 2017

Holidays 2017

Another year has come, in a few days we will begin anew. The past year brought us some wonderful stories, saw remarkable improvement in our developing writers, and allowed us to enjoy the friendship and companionship of like-minded people. Thank you.

We participated in our annual Holiday Meeting by enjoying goodies furnished by our members, too many to list but delicious by any standard. Cookies abounded, meatballs in marinara, pierogis, candy, and tarts galore. I gained 5 pounds, well... at least I felt like I did. And, as part of our semi-annual tradition, we made our donation to the Nokomis Fire Department recreational fund. This year we collected and distributed $273 thanks to the generosity of our members. The firefighters expressed their thanks and appreciation.  

Peter announced the pending publication of his newest work. We're looking forward to the day it hits the market.

Another bit of good news, Kathleen and Tim announced their engagement. We wish them all the best and know they are looking forward to an enjoyable life together. See our Member's Link list on this page. Look for

Ellie, the youngest member of our group, read two short pieces. One, a delightful piece in which a sister and brother, probably not influenced by the relationship she has with her brother, engage in an interrogation to find a missing truth, the second addressed the challenge issued by Doug Sahlin at our last meeting. Good work Ellie.

Ian, accompanied by his delightful spouse, introduced us to the real Santa. Well, a Santa concocted in his mind but based on the Saint Nicholas of the East, now know as Turkey. In his story, the revered bishop dies and becomes a vampire. Goodness in his heart does not allow him to turn to evil. Instead, he enlists a corps of "undead" to spread his legacy of gift-giving across the globe. Both fun and intriguing, this story shows the talent of an exceptional story teller.

George followed that with reading a poem by Shel Silverstein. A young lad befriends a snowball and, unwilling to be separated from his new friend, he invites his new friend to spend the night. They snuggle in bed but, in the morning, the boy finds his friend has run away during the night. But, before he left, he wet the bed.

Don read a couple of wonderful pieces appropriate of the season. Beyond Christmas brings an awareness to our humanity we often avoid and it does so in a wonderful manner. Remembrances of  Christmas Eves looks back at some of the most wonderful times in our lives.

We took several breaks during the evening to visit the goody table.

In a story entitled Second Thought, written and read by Tim, a young man writes a suicide note; he calls a hotline and speaks to a young man about his age and has second thoughts. While retrieving the paper from his printer with plans to destroy the letter, a gust of wind sweeps it from his hand and carries it out the window to the ledge outside. It attaches to an abandoned bird's nest and flutters in the breeze. His attempt to retrieve it produces some unintended consequences. This is a must read, look for it in future publications.

In the spirit of the season, Kathleen shared her story A Christmas Surprise and although her talent is no surprise her story does supply what the title promises. 

Another break and, while all were enjoying the goodies, After enjoying a few moments in which I thanked the group for allowing me to host these meetings, I read a poem written by my lovely wife, Betsy, in years past. Then, I read the final piece of the evening, Ian's contribution to the wine challenge, Plonk. The story takes a look at the customs of societies worldwide toward wine and other alcoholic beverages in relation to minors. Interesting subject.

Our next meeting will be the first of 2018. Join us January 3rd at the Nokomis Fire Station. We gather at 6:00 PM to exchange pleasantries and the meeting opens at 6:30 PM. Hope to see you there.

Until then,
Keep on Writing!

Friday, December 08, 2017

December 6, 2017

We gathered on this second to the last meeting of 2017 at the Nokomis Fire Station and began at our usual 6:30 pm start time. Ernie Ovitz filled in for Rod and led the meeting. We agreed our next meeting, Wednesday, December 20th, would be our annual Christmas Party. We also agreed to take up a collection at that time and show our appreciation to the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department for the use of their facility. 

We encourage everyone to bring spouses, friends, and a treat to share. As always, we remind everyone, our firefighter friends will gladly polish off any leftover treats, please don’t hold back. The food will not go to waste, though it may go to waist. 

Our annual Christmas meeting is a light, fun affair; we encourage those so inclined to bring a “Short” humorous or seasonal piece to read. The party begins with food, fun, and good conversation. We look forward to seeing all our members and hope many of our old friends come by to join in the fun. 

Doug Sahlin has issued a new creative challenge theme for the January 3rd meeting: Obsession, Possession, ConfessionHe challenges us to write a short creative piece using one or more of the three subjects. We encourage everyone to keep the story short, no more than 500 to 700 words, so everyone has a chance to read and receive feedback from the group. Our last challenge was on the subject of wine and was well received. 

Thirteen writers joined us for the meeting and everyone brought something to read. We decided to waive discussion time and get right to the readings. We were most pleased to welcome Ellie Blackden, age 13, and her dad, age not revealed, to our group. Ellie says she's excited about writing and working on a dystopian novel with plans to self-publish using CreateSpace. She brought the first draft of Chapter One to read for us. 

We typically read in order from our sign-in sheet and, as Ed Ellis arrived first, he was first on our list. His opening poem was thoughtful and thought-provoking; Ed had several requests for copies. 

Peter Frickel shared a poem, Bananas, delivered with style, diction, and aplomb only Peter can muster. He followed the poem with a philosophical monologue entitled Truth, before giving us his take on the spirit of wine with Ubachata. It was great fun, and Peter, I hope I got the spelling right. 

Jim Jacobs was up next, his piece took us to the “Twilight Zone” of Townland, a place where every man is named Sam. His concept intrigued the group as he received many comments and, we hope, helpful suggestions to take away. 

Kathleen Kilpatrick read next. She also delved into the surreal with The Persistence of Time. A story inspired by Salvador Dali's famous painting. She tells of an inheritance which leads her protagonist on a journey of discovery, finding a family she never knew and an unexpected destiny.

Our next author surprised the group with a generous gift. Bruce Haedrich brought in several copies of the newest book in his Dan Marin Mystery Series, Finding Chloe, and passed them out to the group. We thought they looked great but Bruce was dissatisfied with the cover. His dissatisfaction was our gain. I am a Dan Marin reader and highly recommend Bruce’s books to any mystery fan. Thanks Bruce!

Our readings continued with Don Westerfield as he shared another chapter from his military memoir. He had us laughing and shaking our heads in amazement at his humorous story of the jet engine that started itself. Knowing Don's penchant for storytelling, at the conclusion of his reading several members of the group asked, “Did that really happen?” He swears it did; he's never fibbed to us before. Don's chosen title is, Echoes of Engines and Men. He says he's close to having it ready for publication, something we eagerly await . 

Kathleen, our New Englander, returned to us for the season. She kept us laughing, while making a few of us blush momentarily, as we heard her story The Mud Room. Oh my, I would not want to be that fellow. The big dummy got what was coming to him, that’s for sure. I might have gotten a little red around the cheeks as it was a juicy tale in Kathleen's unique style. 

George Milburn had a tough act to follow but was up to the challenge as he shared his work in progress Living and Dying in Osprey, Chapter 3. Set in the war torn years of the early 1940’s, murder was afoot in the Village of Osprey, Florida. His protagonist, Evelyn, discovers her friend Dorothy's parents murdered and Dorothy near death. We're eager to see where George takes us as the murder mystery unfolds. 

After our 8:00 pm break, Debbie MacAvoy read Chapter 2 of her work in progress, The Manipulator. Also set in the 1940’s, Debbie’s story takes place in New York. She has the authentic New York dialog mastered and in this chapter Teddy, a New York City boy, finds himself on a farm upstate. For Teddy and his farm hosts, John and Martha, it’s culture shock to the n'th degree. The situation tests them all. Debbie asked the group for comments and suggestions. Ed Ellis and others were eager to help. We will be interested to hear what she has for us next time.  

Doug Sahlin shared his moving piece Words of Love. The discovery of letters from a loved one lost. The writing came from the heart and we thank Doug for sharing with us. 

Ed Feldman took up the wine challenge with enthusiasm. He turned it into a longer piece with the story of a successful but lonely man cuckolded by a younger second wife. The poor guy’s life spirals down until wine snobbery becomes the driving insult and ultimate final straw. Ed is complimented on his writing style and we look forward to hearing more. 

Ellie Blackman, our final reader, sat patiently through our meeting and listened to the readers with interest. Though our time was drawing to a close, all agreed we wanted to hear Ellie’s piece. She presented us with printed copies from Chapter 1. Her words painted a dark picture of civilization’s collapse. Through it all, her protagonist and dog, Buddy, manage to survive. We wonder what will happen next. We hope Ellie and her dad return to share more of her story and let us see how she progresses. Ellie, you are most welcome anytime. 

Thanks to all of our participants, and we look forward to seeing all of our Sarasota Writers at our Christmas party, December 20th.

Keep on writing.

Saturday, December 02, 2017