President’s Letter for September 17, 2022

This month’s President’s Letter is a most difficult one to write.  Our beloved web designer, Judy Loose, passed away and we are all deeply grieved.

Judy was capable of gracefully juggling many projects simultaneously; she will be greatly missed.  Be assured that Gulf Coast Writers Association will continue being the leading writing group in Southwest Florida.  We have been blessed with a new member, Dr. Kesha Dreher, who is also an IT expert.  At her first meeting, she quickly agreed to take over the website while vacationing in Maui and is in the process of putting everything together.


We ask for your patience and support during this transition.  Our September program will go forward as planned and we expect that our guest speaker, Lucy Tobias, will not disappoint you.

Lucy Tobias will give a PowerPoint presentation of undiscovered Florida (translation — drop dead beautiful photos); she presents ways to combine photos, video, and audio to your stories.  How much of Florida still remains a mystery to some of us?  Lucy will bring magic and excitement to the podium.

One additional benefit you will obtain from this presentation is a short exercise on writing the “hook” — the all-important first sentence of any book!  In journalism, it is called a “grabber.”  This was the most valuable tool I learned as a writer.

Lucy Tobias is an award-winning author and blogger who looks at life and finds humor, beauty, and reasons for hope.

Her book, The Zen of Florida Gardening, won first place in outdoor books in the excellence in crafts awards (2021) for the Florida Outdoor Writers Association.

Tobias’ Wednesday Notes, published in 2022, is her newest book..  A five-star review on Amazon said in part: “A weekly blog that started as a pandemic panacea and became a phenomenon – combination journal, travel log and memoir that looks at the profoundness of everyday life and finds humor, tragedy and reasons for hope. A good read for the jaded of heart who might have forgotten that miracles happen every day.”

Wednesday Notes invites the reader to reflect on the moments of goodness and grace that happen in life. The author’s insights and wonderful sense of humor shine through. Written during the pandemic, there is a tenderness and authenticity that shines through. Lucy Tobias is a faithful, thoughtful, fun-loving friend in the journey of life.”

If you are attending via zoom, please sign up for the program.  Honestly,  we believe you will enjoy the program more if you are physically present.  The opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of other members is extremely uplifting and encouraging during these discouraging times.

Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Note: Google maps or your GPS may direct you to the back of the building.  The entrance to the parking lot is on South Point Blvd. between Quigley Eye Specialists and Buckets Restaurant.







Irene Smith, President

2020/1 — Irene Smith


GCWAGulf Coast Writers Association, Inc

For 25 years the Gulf Coast Writers Association has set the standard for writers and aspiring writers. Our monthly meetings provide opportunities to network with people in the various stages of writing, including many well-established authors and publishers. Our guest speakers have been phenomenal.

This past year has been a financial challenge. Only 43 members paid their dues for 2020, creating a deficit of $2,056. In spite of that, until October we held on-site meetings for which we had to pay rent. October and November were conducted via Zoom. We did not charge for these meetings, but we cannot continue along this line for next year.

I expect to find a venue for holding onsite meetings and include Zoom at all of the meetings. However, there will be a charge. Annual dues for 2021 is still only $40. That equals out to $3.60 per month! Members in good standing will not be charged extra. Dues need to be paid before the end of January. You can mail your payment to P. O. Box 60771, Fort Myers, Fl., 33906, or on PayPal,

A fee for guests on Zoom will not be established until we confirm what our costs will be. There is a limit on how many people can tune in to these meetings. Members (paid for 2021) will come first. Registration will be online at

Zoom is a wonderful option for people with physical or medical conditions that limit their ability to leave home. In addition, people residing anywhere can attend the Zoom meetings.

If you didn’t tune in to either of our last two meetings this is what you missed:
October: Rebecca Seitz and her cast and crew, specialize in producing professional podcasts. One hundred million people listen to podcasts. She can review your book to see if it could become a money-producing podcast.

November: April O’Leary of O-Leary Productions, and her team provide a one-stop shop for all your book publishing requirements: editing, book design, illustrating, marketing, etc. We ran overtime on this one!

Both of these vibrant and talented professionals are local and have fabulous websites. Check our website for more information.

In my next issue we hope to have information on workshops or seminars. These services will cost extra; they always have. But the events are always worth more than you will ever have to pay for them.

Again, because we will be doing Zoom, it is well worth the cost of membership to make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunity to make you the successful author you deserve to be.

Irene Smith, President
Gulf Coast Writers Association

2017/9 — Don Cappelli

Dear members,
I hope all of you survived Hurricane Irma with little or no damage and life is getting back to normal.

I’m working with a group of volunteers from all over the country who have come to help clean up and repair homes. It’s inspiring to see all these people working together. If any of you need help recovering from the storm, please call me.

I missed seeing everyone at the meeting this month; hope to catch up with you and hear your stories in October.

Don Cappelli
GCWA President

2015/3 — Gary McLouth

By Gary McLouth

I’ve known many, many writers, who share a certain sense of ennui, and disappointment. Some rue their writing experiences in tales similar in tone to recollections of lost loves. Others fret about life’s distractions that steal time from writing. A few don’t discuss writing much, if at all. No writer I’ve come across has actually made good on threats or admonitions to “quit.”

I’ll bet William Faulkner intended to quit a few times, and he probably gave up on a number of efforts we’ll not likely hear about. Faulkner once said that 85 percent of a writer’s work goes unfinished. That leaves a tell-tale balance of 15 percent. Whether that’s believable or not, I trust his guesstimate. Imagine that a writer as talented and hard-working as William Faulkner could say such a thing. Fifteen Percent! Fifteen percent of all the work he hoped to finish at a rate of 100 percent.

All around this room, this den, this office, this… molders the Faulkner eighty-five. I hope the percentage of unfinished work is not higher, though it could be. What’s the point? Well, reading about writers reassures me that I am one, not a Faulkner, just a McLouth. When I sit at my desk, though, I think of Faulkner, hunched over a simple writing surface on his porch. He spends so much time and energy there, that it hurts mind, body and soul. He wants to finish. He wants to finish.

Like a practitioner of any art, a writer shares a range of indubitable duties with his/her peers. Knowing more about writers and writing makes us better artists, we hope, but a degree of camaraderie just high enough to keep us going is acceptable.

The primary job that a writer faces is to tell you a story out of human experience– I mean by that, universal mutual experience, the anguishes and troubles and griefs of the human heart, which is universal, without regard to race or time or condition. He wants to tell you something which has seemed to him so true, so moving, either comic or tragic, that it’s worth preserving.
~William Faulkner, 1962