President’s Letter for February 2023

If you found our Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA) January meeting explosive, be assured that February’s assembly will be a continuation of the saga between David and Goliath.

Mike continues his fight with both Truist Bank and Suncoast Credit Union, both of whom deny any responsibility for the bank theft.  Since our last meeting, Mike has made eight additional calls to the banks and to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) investigator assigned to the case.  LCSO confirmed that the originating bank was Suncoast Credit Union; they issued a new subpoena for additional documents, including info about the account the money was transferred to at Suncoast.  LCSO expects to hear from Suncoast Credit Union in three to four weeks from the time the second subpoena was issued.

On Tuesday, January 1, 2023, Mike and I spent an hour speaking to someone at Suncoast Credit Union in Cape Coral.  Again, we were told, according to their records, there is no proof of the fraudulent transactions.

Mike sent a registered letter, on January 31, 2023, to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Truist Bank, William H. Rogers Jr.

Any additional info will be available at the February meeting, including the dirty tricks they pulled recently.  Someone is determined to make this go away, but it isn’t on our end!

In the meantime, most of you have platforms on which you can share your frustration with the banks and their determination to absolve themselves of this theft.  Choose your words wisely.  Do not lie or exaggerate.  You can pass along the word about the large number of complaints submitted to Truist Bank (865 as of last month) as not yet resolved.

At our meeting on February 18, 2023, we will share any updates with you.

Our Guest Speaker, Molly Jebber of Springboro, said she wanted to be a writer since age 12.  She never told anyone about it. “I had no background in writing,” Jebber said. “Then several years ago, my husband, Ed, asked me to quit my demanding job and move to Florida.”

Ed was supportive and encouraged her.  “I had no background in writing,” Jebber said.  I knew nothing whatsoever about fiction, which is what I hoped to write.”

In Florida, Jebber met an editor and asked him what he thought of her aspirations.  He was brutally honest, saying that, frankly, it would be too hard.  “He told me I had to have very thick skin and be used to rejection and a lot of criticism, and who wants that?”

Jebber knew she needed to educate herself on the craft, so she researched online and signed up for writer’s conferences.  “At my first conference, I signed up for a 10-minute agent meeting, not realizing the purpose,” she said.

That first meeting, with agent Mary Sue Seymour, changed Jebber’s life and trajectory forever.  “After she stopped laughing, Mary Sue explained the process,” Jebber said.

“I hadn’t written the first word of my first book, so I didn’t have anything for her to critique.  I was so embarrassed.”

But Seymour, the owner and founder of the Seymour Agency, based in New York, saw something special in Jebber and called her back.  Seymour then blocked another 20 minutes on her schedule.

“I had these little prayer cards and she asked if I would mind giving her one,” Jebber said. “Then she looked at me and said, ‘I need you.’”

Seymour explained that Amish romance was starting to sell because of an increased interest in the Amish way of life among the general public.

“I have always loved the Amish, Jebber said, but stories about them don’t always show who they really are.”

Jebber returned to a few of her favorite Amish communities in Ohio to do some research.  She wanted her book to be historical but wasn’t sure if the Amish would speak to her.  They not only answered her questions but gave her additional insight.

After that, the first three chapters of her first book, “Change of Heart,” seemed to flow quickly.  Jebber needed an agent, but the authors she knew and even her family and friends told her getting a big agent in New York was nearly impossible.  Jebber sent her first manuscript to her friend Mary Sue, who critiqued it and sent it back.

While out shopping, Jebber got the call she never thought she would.  Kensington Publishing Corp., in New York City, wanted to not only publish “Change of Heart,” but they also wanted a three book series and offered her a contract.

Her first book was published in June of 2015, followed up by a book nearly every year since.  Sadly, Jebber’s friend and mentor, Mary Sue Seymour, passed away in 2016, shortly after her second book, “Grace’s Forgiveness,” was published.  She is currently under contract with Kensington through 2023 when she will publish her eleventh book.

Writing stories is a search of the soul and a capture of life and experience to share with the world.

We expect you to be much encouraged by your own writing endeavors when you hear what Molly has to say.

See you on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irene Smith, President

SWFL Reading Festival

GREAT NEWS!!

Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA) is pleased to announce we will, once again, be participating in the upcoming Southwest Florida Reading Festival.  The festival will take place outdoors on the Fort Myers Regional Library campus, located in downtown Fort Myers, on Saturday, March 4, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The festival has a first-rate reputation with a diverse line-up of nationally acclaimed, bestselling authors, and consistently receives rave reviews from authors and attendees.  You can learn more about this year’s activities, authors, and other information at https://readfest.org.

GCWA is sponsoring a booth and offering our author members one of the following opportunities to sell your books at this well-attended event:

1. In Person [Half Day or Full Day]: Attend in person (with your books) either in the morning (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) OR afternoon (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm), for $20.00; or for the full day (10:00 am – 4:00 pm) for $35.00.

2. Book Sales Only – GCWA will display and sell up to 20 of your books if you cannot attend in person. You will need to bring your books to the GCWA general meeting on February 18, 2023 or drop them off at the festival no later than 9:00 am the morning of the festival.  Other arrangements can be made by contacting Christie Zarria at specialprojects@gulfwriters.org.  The cost for this service is $35.00, regardless of the number of books sold.

Based on our experience last year, display space will fill up quickly, so please contact Christie at specialprojects@gulfwriters.org to REGISTER SOON!  This is strictly on a first come, first serve basis for the benefit of GCWA members.  If you are not a member, but would like to participate, please consider joining GCWA.  PLEASE NOTE: The Reading Festival is NOT accepting individual author applications, so you must sign up with GCWA if you would like to participate.

A few guidelines:

  • The booth is 10’ x 10’ and comes with one 8’ table and 2 chairs.  We will provide another 6’ or 8’ table, a couple of smaller card tables, and some extra chairs in order to have more flexibility with our setup (#lessonslearnedlastyear).  GCWA strongly suggests bringing your own chair just in case.
  • As you can imagine, space is very limited, so we ask that you please limit participation to just yourself or one other person.
  • Again, because of space, please do not bring anything other than books and a chair for yourself; we simply don’t have space for elaborate displays, posters, etc.  Small easels and a small signage are ok.
  • This is an outdoor event, so please check the weather and dress accordingly.  There are restrooms and food and drink concessions within a reasonable walking distance, but you may also bring a small cooler with food/drink.  Please wear comfortable shoes.
  • Please refer to the Reading Festival Guidelines for other details or contact Christie with questions.
  • If you’d like to volunteer to help setup or man the booth, please contact Christie.

Hope to see you there!

February 2023

Speaker: Molly Jebber
Topic: Let’s Talk Agents, Publishing, and Marketing
February 18, 2023, 10 a.m. to Noon

In person and Zoom meeting (Chick link to register)

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

Molly will provide what to have in place before you acquire an agent and/or publish.  She’ll share what editors and agents expect and are looking for when they consider acquiring your work in today’s market.  She’ll also give us marketing tips she’s found successful.

Molly Jebber is a best-selling and award-winning author.  Her Amish Historical Romance books have made Publisher’s Weekly Best Ten List, USA Today, and have been in featured interviews on newspaper sites, and popular magazines across the U.S.  She’s a national speaker for Women’s Christian Connection.  She has served as a keynote speaker for writing conferences, and as a guest lecturer at libraries and events across the U.S. on writing, publishing, and marketing.  Molly just signed a contract with Sony Pictures/Pureflix to make a movie of LIZA’S SECOND CHANCE.  She loves God, her family, and friends.  She says yes to cupcakes, and no to coconut!

Visit http://www.mollyjebber.com for her full book list, new releases, speaking events, and her Sony/Pureflix Liza’s Second Chance movie updates!

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