Presidents Letter March

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 thanks. Your annual dues keep our wheels in motion.
And for volunteering as judges of our writing contest, now under way, another thousand thanks. If you haven’t yet stepped up to do so but are willing, let us know. Also, now’s the time to polish your own literary or poetic works and enter them. The deadline for entries is the end of May.

This weekend, Saturday March 2, is the SWFL Reading Festival. Gulf Coast Writers will have a tent near the front of the festival, just off First Street near the Lee County Library entrance. In two shifts, twelve of our members will be in the GCWA tent, selling their books and encouraging visitors to join our organization. Come by and say hello to your colleagues on your way to or from the many author presentations. You’ll encounter some current literary lions inside the big tents: Jeffrey Deaver, Lisa Unger, Sarah Penner, Heather Graham and Charles Todd among others whose names you know and whose work you admire. See you there!

Our March 16 program is a departure from the literary world and an important one for authors who want to be noticed. The innovator and host of NBC2’s “Stories2Share” segments, Sean Martinelli, will be with us live and in person. Sean will help us understand how to get the attention of the media in a saturated “notice me” world. His stories appear on the 6:00 news three evenings a week on the local NBC-2 station. Come and meet Sean and learn. We meet at Word of Life Church, 6111 South Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers, at 10 AM. And like last month, we urge you to stay and chat or migrate to nearby Buckett’s Grill for a group lunch.

Here’s an assignment: to prepare for Sean Martinelli’s appearance, compose your “elevator pitch.” You know what that is, of course. It’s a tight, compelling 25-second selling script in which you persuade your listener – aka your “target” – to publish your book or poem or essay. You have not five minutes, not two minutes, not one minute: just 25 seconds. Try it. Your reward will come when your target says, “Tell me more.”

See you March 16, if not before. Please say hi to me – and give me your 25-second pitch. That is how we will connect. We also elect officers this month. Nominate yourself or someone else. All offices are open.

GCWA member Steve McGuire will be giving a talk at the Alliance for the Arts on March 8th, 5pm-7:30 p.m.

Stephen McGuire, a retired Chief Judge from the Federal Trade Commission turned author, has released three gripping political thrillers—Prior Restraint, Fractured Power, and his latest work, Secret Deceit. Now, he brings his insider’s perspective on Washington to the Fould’s Stage. While his novels fall under the category of fiction, many readers have noted the uncanny realism in their storylines. Is there a hint of truth in these tales? Join us for an insightful evening as Steve discusses his journey from judge to author, sharing anecdotes about his experiences and shedding light on his process of crafting compelling storylines and characters.

Event Schedule:
5:00pm-6:00pm: Enjoy light refreshments and a gallery reception.
6:00pm-7:00pm: Engage in a Meet the Author session with Stephen McGuire.
7:00pm-7:30pm: Participate in a Q & A session with the Author.

The event is free for Alliance members and $10 for non members.
For more information on how to attend visit

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 Dec. 31. Dues paid in the last three months of the year are applied to the next calendar year. Dues paid January 1 through September 30 apply to the calendar year in which they are paid.
For example:
Writer A pays dues in October 2023 and is in good standing throughout 2024.
Writer B pays dues in August of 2023 and is covered through the remainder of 2023.

Unfortunately, a large part of our membership is behind on their dues. Part of this problem is confusion about when dues are due. Part is the association’s reluctance to invoice.
But we need to function, and we need dues to do that. The $50 is a small amount and the rewards of membership are high. Please go to and use Paypal to pay your dues or send a check made out to Gulf Coast Writers Association, Inc., P.O. Box 60771, Fort Myers, FL 33906. Or bring a check to the February meeting. If you are not sure you have paid, email to ask. David will let you know.

We all need to support our organization. Those who do not pay dues lose the privileges that come with membership: free attendance at meetings, participation in the Reading Festival, access to important website information, and many other opportunities.

Yours toward a more robust organization of writers helping writers,
Mary Charles, Acting President,
and the Executive Board