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Claudia Volkman at the podium.  Photo by Jeff Bogart

GCWA March Monthly Meeting Recap

March 25, 2024
GCWA March Monthly Meeting Recap Keynote Speaker: Sean Martinelli of NBC2 TV’s “Stories2Share” Sean Martinelli, journalist and host of NBC2 TVs “Stories2Share,” was the speaker at Gulf Coast Writers Association’s meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2024. Attendance hovered near 50 and 17 members gathered for lunch at Bucketts in Fort Myers, with Martinelli joining in. Childhood Dream Becomes Reality Martinelli heard his calling long before he recognized what it would mean in his lifetime. As background, Martinelli admitted to being an unusual child. He dressed as Regis Philbin for Halloween at age nine and convinced his parents to drive Continue reading ...

The Way Cancer Has Shaped Me

March 7, 2024
By Brian Sluga Looking back on my experience with testicular cancer at a young age, I realize that cancer didn’t define me — it helped shape me. Illustration of a man with blond hair and rectangular glasses wearing a black t-shirt, smiling. My personal experience brought to life the all-pervading turbulence of testicular cancer. A harrowing impact on a youth. Turns out, that there was only one question for me: how to go about living? During this time, my mind had the capacity to understand the force of cancer and the limits of humans to affect outcomes, but I Continue reading ...

Presidents Letter March 2024

February 29, 2024
  Dear Gulf Coast Writer: There’s a new energy in the air. To the dozens who attended our February meeting, thank you for your participation, your interest, your ideas, and for stepping up to participate in the activities of our organization. So far this year, ten or more new members have become part of us. We welcome Janet DeLeo, Kathy Klag, Mary Beth Leopold, Eddie Lydick, Sheryl Stillman, Geraldine McArdle, Laura Schueneman, Andrea West and Richard Allen. Whom have I missed? Let me know!   To you who have recently renewed your membership or rejoined our association, a thousand Continue reading ...
Mary Charles

President Letter February 2024

February 19, 2024
My Dear Fellow Writers: Membership in the Gulf Coast Writers Association requires annual dues of $50. Those dues allow us to pay rent for a place to meet and to cover honorariums for presenters. They allow us to participate in the Lee County Library Reading Festival, maintain our website, and sponsor a noteworthy writing contest with a discounted entry fee for Members. We must also carry liability insurance. We are a nonprofit. No member or officer receives compensation for our work. All dues go toward essentials. Annual dues, which are due in January, cover the period Jan. 1 to Continue reading ...
Mary Charles


January 8, 2024
PRESIDENT’S LETTER Revised January 8, 2024 IMPORTANT ALERT: JANUARY 20 MEETING LOCATION HAS CHANGED. JOIN US AT THE MASONIC LODGE/PEACE COMMUNITY CHURCH, 17671 PINE RIDGE ROAD, NEAR FORT MYERS BEACH, 10 AM. Dear Gulf Coast Writers, I am disinclined to make New Year resolutions because I always disappoint myself. But I’ve made one on behalf of our organization this year: to help us become more relevant and energetic and inviting. To fulfill this resolution, I’ll need help from you. For us to succeed, we need to connect.  As a first step toward connecting, we have a new program component. Continue reading ...
Mary Charles


December 26, 2023
Dear GCWA Member,This is my first letter to our Gulf Coast Writers Association as our new president. Irene Smith,having served as president so energetically, has earned her emerita status. We are in Irene’sdebt for her tireless efforts on our behalf, especially in the difficult Covid years when we couldnot meet in person. That we continue to exist is a testament to Irene’s tenacity. I promise to stay connected, to foster a sense of community among writers, and to be open toyour wishes. Please do likewise: keep in touch, help us connect, and make your wishes known. I want to Continue reading ...
GCWA monthly meeting attendees listening to Claudia Volkman.  Among them are Dakota Windancer, Ed Donlin, Claudia Geagan, John Siko, Christie Zarria.  Photo by Jeff Bogart

October Meeting

November 4, 2023
We all gathered together for our October meeting on Saturday the 18th. It was well attended and a great opportunity for members to meet and enjoy each other’s company. Speakers We were blessed to have two outstanding speakers, Claudia Volkman and April Lynne James. Claudia talked about her experiences in becoming a professional editor and presented the different types of editing recommended for every published work including Developmental Editing, Evaluation Editing, Line Editing, Content Editing, Copyediting and Proofreading. April Lynne James took us on a melodic journey that showcased her talents as a musician and renowned authority on opera Continue reading ...

Storm Stories Press Release

August 24, 2023
The ‘Storm Stories – Hurricane Ian’ continues to get attention in the local press. See a recent release from the Pine Island Eagle, below: Gulf Coast Writers Association set to publish ‘Storm Stories — Hurricane Ian’ A collaborative effort to tell “Stories of Survival, Heroism and Humanity” has come together in “Storm Stories–Hurricane Ian.” With the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ian making landfall in Southwest Florida approaching, the Gulf Coast Writers Association, in partnership with the Alliance for the Arts, will release a commemorative book complied from 83 submissions, including poetry and long narratives. The book’s cover art was done by renowned Continue reading ...
Jeff Bogart

Jeff Bogart

April 30, 2023
I’ve joined GCWA to maintain and sharpen my writing skills, while enjoying the wit and comradery of fellow writers. As a journalist, I’ve been a Staff Reporter for the Kansas City Star and a Desk Editor for United Press International.  The Washington Star Sunday Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, McGraw-Hill’s Electrical World Magazine, and The New York Times have carried my freelance writing.  I’ve also started a community newspaper and published and edited a hyper local e-newsletter. As a Strategic Communications Consultant, I’ve written, edited, and advised on everything from corporate news releases to executive speeches, web material, and Continue reading ...
Writing Contest--Florida Weekly 20230407_213046

GCWA is In The News…

April 12, 2023
GCWA In the News Florida Weekly carried a story about GCWA’s writing contest in the Arts and Entertainment section on page 3.  It appears in the Fort Myers, Bonita and Naples editions.  The three editions appear to carry the news release almost entirely verbatim.  (In the Fort Myers print version and online versions, for example, the wording is the same as that in the news release except that the last, boilerplate paragraph is omitted. The online versions, on the other hand, of the Naples and Bonita editions omit Irene’s quote about the Youth section of the contest but include Continue reading ...
Mary Charles

April Workshop – Tell Your Hurricane Story

April 11, 2023
April 2023 Workshop: Tell Your Hurricane Story Topic: Develop Your Hurricane Ian Story April 15, 2023, 10 a.m. to Noon In person Only – No Zoom Meeting Location: Map Word of Life Church 6111 South Pointe Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919 Plan to attend our meeting on Saturday April 15, 2023.  This program is a workshop to help us develop our stories about the Hurricane Ian experience.  Prose or poetry – whatever your favored writing style – the only rule is that it must be true (or mostly true). Jeanne Meeks and Mary Charles conduct memoir workshops in their Continue reading ...