July 2022

Speaker: Charley Valera
Topic: Pitch Your Writing
July 16, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
Charley Valera
Location: Map
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919

 Charley Valera has appeared on NBC/NECN, WPRI and other TV outlets. He’s been featured in magazines, newspapers and radio throughout the country. Valera writes articles and blogs for various media on topics from WWII, real estate and aviation. My Father’s War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers covers both theaters and all branches of war during WWII.  This book features more than a hundred personal photos and stories from WWII veterans. A licensed commercial pilot, Realtor, author, filmmaker, public speaker, father of two boys and husband to Cheryl, they live in southwest Florida. He can be reached through www.charleyvalera.com.

August 2022

Speaker: Mary Lou Williams
Workshop Topic: The Art and Craft of the Personal Story
August 20, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
In person and Zoom meeting

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

Handout for Workshop

Using two tried and true techniques, the Memory Map and the “StoryBox,”
participants will learn a fun, easy way to pull numerous story ideas out of their
own personal life experiences and turn any one of them into a well-rounded tale.
Participants will leave the workshop with one new piece that will contain all the
bones of a good story. Whether a story lover, a family storyteller, a performing
teller, a writer or a public speaker – this workshop will help participants build their
repertoires, enhance any presentation and transform life experiences into spellbinding narratives.

What participants will get from this workshop:

  • The Memory Map technique for finding a personal story
  • The “StoryBox” technique for crafting a personal story
  • A new tale that contains all the bones of a good story

Mary Lou Williams is a retired teacher and a professional storyteller. She holds a masters degree in education from Columbia University.  She has served on the board of the Florida Storytelling Association and has produced local storytelling workshops and concerts featuring national tellers.  She is also a member of Toastmasters and has achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster award.  She has written a book of her stories called Ten Fractured Fairy TalesShe is a member of The Storytellers of the Round Table, a quartet of storytellers that produce and perform storytelling showcases at the Sugden theatre in Naples and the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers and perform regularly at Brambles English Tea Room in Naples. She won first place in the Story Slam contest at the 2018 Florida Storytelling Festival and was a featured teller at the 2018 Stone Soup Festival, the official state storytelling festival of South Carolina.  She won first place in the District 48 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest  on May 13, 2022.

June 2022

Speaker: Susan Grunin
Topic: Hybrid Publishing
June 18, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon

Susan Grunin

The presentation will look at Using a Hybrid Publisher including:

  1. Defining a Hybrid Publishing Company
  2. The Three Models of Hybrid Publishers
  3. Key to Understanding the Differences between a Hybrid Publisher and a Vanity Press
  4. Ways to Tell is a Hybrid Publisher is Legit
  5. 8 Signs Your Publisher is a Scam
  6. The Guidelines for Recognizing a Legit Hybrid Publisher from the Independent Book Publishers Association (2018)
  7. What type of Author is Most Likely to Benefit from a Hybrid Publisher
  8. Deciding Whether to Use a Hybrid Publisher – It Isn’t for Everyone!

Susan’s sample Author Page. Make your own Author Page and bring to the next meeting.

Susan’s PowerPoint presentation

Dr. Susan K. Grunin is a retired college professor, who taught for over 2 decades for the University of Virginia (UVA) and a number of other colleges and universities. Dr. Grunin also authored a text book for the University of Virginia Graduate School. She is a retired Executive who has been an Executive Coach, a CEO, a Human Capital Consultant and who also worked for the Federal Government, where she served in various positions for the Federal Courts, including over 20 years as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer.

Susan is currently a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association of SW Florida and is writing a series of children’s books, Life Lessons and Tales of Little MisFit.

More about Susan

May Speaker — DJ Kristoff

May 2022

Speaker: DJ Kristoff
Topic: Writing with a message for young people
May 21, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
DJ Kristoff

Fiction in a Nonfiction World – The Evolution of An Author
How dinosaurs, Harry Potter, and Jack Canfield changed this writer’s course of history. It’s a major feat to write a book; it’s a whole other adventure to market it.D.J. Kristoff presents her journey from an award-winning science teacher digging dinosaurs in Montana to being inspired by the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios to writing her first book and having Jack Canfield, coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, show her how to market it.

Kristoff offers her insights on how to write for middle-grade kids based on her world travels and real-life experiences that she brought back into the classroom. “Writing my book was an adventure in itself as I followed the threads of the storyline and researched my new discoveries.”

Other topics include writing with a message, marketing, and making your story relevant in a nonfiction world to sell more than books.

Currently living in Fort Myers, Florida, DJ Kristoff began her education career teaching eighth-grade science in Tempe, Arizona. There she founded and directed the Students for Environmental Awareness Club. Kristoff guided as many as 50 adventurous eighth graders hiking and backpacking into the deserts and wildernesses of Arizona and Utah, teaching geology, biology, anthropology, paleontology, and ethnobotany. Now, as a children’s author, she inspires middle-grade students to love nature and science with her magical books.

September 2022

Speaker: Arielle Haughee
Topic: Crisp Up That Prose!
September 17, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon

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

Crisp Up That Prose! – Tight writing is a necessity for attracting agents and editors as well as keeping readers interested. In this workshop, we’ll discuss frequently used fluff words, strategies for cleaning up sentences, and bad habits that can make prose cumbersome. We’ll utilize three strategies–cut, replace, and trim down–to make your writing as efficient as possible. Bring some of your writing that needs revision for a hands-on portion of class. You’ll leave with easy strategies to use in your writing and an editing checklist to help you spot fluff.
 
Arielle Haughee (Hoy) is a six-time RPLA-winning author and the owner of Orange Blossom Publishing. She is an editor, speaker, and writing coach, and was previously the Executive Vice President and Marketing Chair for the Florida Writers Association. She was honored with the President’s Award from FWA in 2020, and in 2021 Pling’s Party was awarded Children’s Book of the Year. Her press, Orange Blossom Publishing, publishes books about love, humor, and wellness for women and children. She is currently taking submissions for romance, women’s fiction, young adult, and nonfiction of interest to the female audience. More information at orangeblossombooks.com.

Speaker: Stephen J. McGuire
Topic: Challenges of Self-publishing

January 15, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon

Zoom and in-person meeting.

stephen mcguire

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

Stephen J. McGuire, retired Chief Judge of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), wrote Prior Restraint, a political thriller.

Steve will discuss how he wrote the book, challenges of self-publishing, and his inside perspective about DC which influenced the storyline. Steve will also provide tips on how self-publishers can market their books.

Prior Restraint--America’s most famous news anchor is brutally murdered by terrorists on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC and the entire media establishment is paralyzed by the fear of who may be next. Seemingly overnight, a pernicious wave of self-censorship grips the airways and no one dares to further criticize religious fanaticism. When a leading newspaper columnist and her editor are soon thereafter kidnapped and murdered in New York, the media hysteria reaches a frenzy.

When Chief Judge of FTC,  Steve presided over well-publicized, antitrust enforcement proceedings. He was honored by President George W. Bush for his service to the nation’s judiciary and received the FTC’s Distinguished Service Award. Now a full-time resident of Naples, Steve has been coming to the area since the mid-1980s. He has traveled extensively to over 65 countries, including memorable trips to Africa, India, Vietnam and Japan. He and his wife Doris taught English to high school students in the Fujian Province of China in July 2019. His letter on the culture and lifestyle of Havana, Cuba was published by Cigar Aficionado magazine. In addition to writing, he enjoys classic cars, fine wine, and sharing life with his wife Doris, their golden retriever, Henry, and their mini goldendoodle, Alftie.

Steve’s Website

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Speaker: Angelina Assanti
Topic: Turning a Book into a Movie
February 19, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon

Angelina Assanti

Angelina’s Presentation [PDF]

Angelina Assanti is an award winning author. Her humorous non-fiction cancer book is being made into a documentary. Writers don’t realize their books can be made into film, right here in Florida. Angelina will give writers information about finding sponsors, producers, and grants to make a movie in Florida.

“My name is Angelina Assanti and I am a humor writer. My first book, The Lottery Heiress came out in 2013. My second book, Mark Taylor’s Checkered Past came out in 2014. While I was writing the third book in that series, I was diagnosed with cancer and wrote my most-successful book to date, Thank God I Got Cancer…I’m Not a Hypochondriac Anymore! which won two national awards and was a finalist in the International Readers’ Favorite contest. It’s also an Amazon Bestseller.”

Angelina’s website: https://angelinaassanti.us/

Speaker: Brenda Spalding
Topic: How to Publish Children’s Books
March 19, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon

brenda spalding

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.

Brenda Spalding will present what she has learned about creating and publishing children’s books.

Brenda is the founder and president of ABC-Books, Inc. a networking organization to help other self-published authors connect and share information. They are a 501c3 and promote literacy in the area.

Brenda is an award-winning author of many children’s and adult books. She is past president of the Sarasota Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, and a member of the Sisters in Crime, Sarasota Authors Connection, and the Florida Writers Association.
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Election of Officers will be held at March meeting.

Speaker Claudia Volkman
Topic: What Authors Can Learn from the TED Commandments
November 13, 2021, 10 AM to Noon

Claudia VolkmanLocation: 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.

The TED Commandments

When a speaker is accepted to give a TED Talk, they are given a stone tablet engraved with the “TED Commandments,” written by the founder of TED, Richard Saul Wurman, to provide a guide for the speakers. The result: TED Talks are generally exceptional. These ten commandments are geared for speakers, but with a bit of adaptation, they can easily apply to authors wanting to write an exceptional book.

Claudia Volkman has more than thirty-five years of experience in acquisitions, product development, editing, and typesetting, and has worked full-time for several trade publishing houses. Now, as the owner of Creative Editorial Solutions, she assists publishers, authors, entrepreneurs, and speakers with their editorial needs. A Chicago native, Claudia and her husband reside in Southwest Florida with their two charming Corgis.

Claudia Volkman Resume

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Speaker: Geneva Kelly
Topic: Writing Workshop

Geneva’s Prompts for Writing

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

The GCWA Writing Contest is starting soon. If you want to write something for the contest and are suffering from writer’s block, Geneva is full of ideas to get you started. She has created a fun workshop for writers of all genres and capabilities.

Note: Our original September speaker had to cancel due to Hurricane Ida’s destruction.

More about Geneva

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