critique panel

Panel: Hunter Leake, Christie Zarria, Bob McCarthy, and Jen Yontz-Orlando
The Features and Benefits of Being in a Critique Group

August 21, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Zoom  & In Person meeting

Location: Fairfield Inn
7090 Cypress Terrace
Fort Myers, FL 33907

August’s meeting features four members of the Gulf Coast Writers Association who have developed and refined their critique group experience. They will share what they have learned about being a member of a critique group.

The panel will be composed of Hunter Leake, Christie Zarria, Bob McCarthy, and Jen Yontz-Orlando. Their presentation will highlight the features and benefits of belonging to a critique group, including the importance of group diversity, trust and rapport, and the “Do’s and Don’ts” of analyzing a member’s written work. They will also provide personal anecdotes on how their participation in a critique group has affected their writing.

More Speakers

Interested in joining a critique group? Fill out the Critique Group Request Form and we’lll get back to you. Visit our Critique Group page.


Topic: Using Psychology to Create Memorable Characters

September 18, 2021

Farrah Rochon

A native of south Louisiana, USA Today Bestselling author Farrah Rochon officially began her writing career while waiting in between classes in the student lounge at Xavier University of Louisiana. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Xavier and a Masters of Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University, Farrah decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a published novelist. She was named Shades of Romance Magazine’s Best New Author of 2007. Her debut novel, Deliver Me, the first in her Holmes Brothers series, garnered rave reviews, earning Farrah several SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards.

Farrah is a two-time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and has been a Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award nominee. In 2015, Farrah won the Emma Award for Author of the Year.

When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, traveling the world, hanging around on Twitter, visiting Disney World, and trying to attend as many Broadway shows as her budget will allow. An admitted sports fanatic, Farrah feeds her addiction to football by watching New Orleans Saints games on Sunday afternoons.

Visit Farrah’s website at:

More Speakers


Brooke Anderson


I started my writing career in journalism as a reporter, producer, and news anchor at KQ2 News. I worked there for three years before joining the WBTW news team in Myrtle Beach, SC, as a digital reporter and producer. My portfolio includes several published features, investigative, and breaking news stories for multiple online news channels. I now work as a copywriter for a digital marketing agency in Fort Myers. However, I’m also in the beginning stages of writing a first manuscript for my sci-fi/fantasy novel.

The 2021 Paris Book Festival has issued a call for entries to its annual competition honoring the best of international publishing.

The 2021 Paris Book Festival will consider major publisher, independent publisher and self-published works in the following categories: non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children’s books, cookbooks, compilations/anthologies; young adult, how-to, photography/art, unpublished stories, business, poetry, spiritual/religious, travel and the wild card (anything goes!).

Entry fee $50. Deadline August 25, 2021.

More information at

Jen Yontz-Orlando

Jen Yontz-Orlando

Jen Yontz-Orlando, MBA, MLIS

Since birth Jen was constantly switched back and forth between farms in rural Ohio and living with her wealthy grandparents in Cali, Colombia.

After many years in the corporate world and a severe health scare, Jen now dedicates her time and energy to writing. She credits the GCWA Critique Group with helping her and says, “Bob, Hunter, and Christie are fantastic writers as well as supportive and knowledge editors. Their support has been invaluable.”

Today she writes memoir about how living in these two extremes forged her identity and values.

Jen’s themes include culture, class, language, family dynamics, education, religion, mental illness, alcoholism, and the transformational power of love.

Currently Jen is working on a podcast series about her life with OneC Productions called Heal Me. That podcast comes out in early September.


Meeting Location

Our general meeting is the 3rd Saturday of each month except December. Below is the current location where we meet for executive committee meetings and general meetings. You can click the map or the link to be taken to Google Maps.

Mariott Fairfield Inn
7090 Cypress Terrace
Fort Myers, FL 33907

Click here to go to Google Map

Claudia Geagan

Claudia Geagan


Claudia has been writing personal essays and other short pieces since 2010.  Her work has appeared in The Lindenwood Review, The Louisiana Review, River Teeth’s Beautiful Things, Hippocampus Magazine, Adelaide Literary Review and others.  She has a BA in English and an MS in Finance.  She moved to SW Florida from NW South Carolina in February 2021.


call for entries
Call for Entries: New Talent
Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2021
Deadline: August 31, 2021
The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is an exciting opportunity for writers achieve publication and reach new readers. The Award also some with a Prize package of memberships, mentoring and total prize money of £5,000 (£2,500 for Poetry and £2,500 for Fiction.)
The Award is hosted by the international art and culture publication Aesthetica Magazine. It celebrates excellence in Poetry and Short Fiction, supporting new writing talent and is a way for writers to further their involvement in the literary world.
Publication is awarded within an inspiring anthology to a shortlist of 60 writers, as well as a £5,000 cash prize, a consultation with literary agency Redhammer Management, Full Membership to The Poetry Society, a subscription to Granta and books courtesy of Vintage.


Williams, ML — Silly Sally

Silly Sally
Illustrated by Mary Lou Williams

silly sallySilly Sally loves her beautiful tail.
It is indeed a gorgeous tail.
She thinks more about her tail more than she does about anything else, even her friends.
Then something happens that teaches Sally what’s really important.
But is it too late for her to win back her friends?


To Purchase a copy please contact Mary Lou Williams [Click Here]

Ten Fractured Fairy Tales
By Mary Lou Williams

10 fractured fairytalesTable of Contents
The Story of Ugly Cindy and the Magical Glass Slippers

Kermit, the Frog Prince

The Princess and the Pea That Felt Like a Bowling Ball

The Fisherman and His Wife—Updated

Sleeping Beauty and the Rude Awakening

Rapunzel and the Helicopter Witch

The Rumpelstiltskin Rap Beauty and the Beast:
A Tale of Transmogrification

Hansel and Gretel and the Witch Who Was on a High Protein Diet

Snow White and the Seven Vertically Challenged Persons

Purchase at Amazon