Welcome our Speakers
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Past Speakers 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2015-2019 Speakers
Speaker: Angelina Assanti
Topic: Turning a Book into a Movie
February 19, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
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.
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
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919
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.
GCWA Writing Contest Winners
April 23, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
Winners of the 2022 GCWA Writers Contest will be announced and will read their winning entries.
Word of Life Church
6111 South Pointe Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919
Speaker: Stephen J. McGuire
Topic: Challenges of Self-publishing
January 15, 2022, 10 a.m. to Noon
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.
Speaker: Claudia Volkman
Topic: What Authors Can Learn from the TED Commandments
November 13, 2021, 10 a.m. to noon.
The TED Commandments from Claudia Volkman’s November meeting.
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.
Speaker: Royce Gomez King
Topic: Marketing your book before publishing
October 16, 2021, 10 a.m. to Noon
Zoom and in person meeting
Royce King has been a serial entrepreneur for more than 25 years and is an SBDC Certified Coach, Certified Direct Response Copywriter, and frequent trainer on online marketing strategies. Her education in Nonprofit Management and working with executives extends internationally through speaking and consulting. Her columns and business advice have been published in the Small Business Expert Forum, Huffington Post, Carol Roth, Charity Magazine, and more.
Speaker: Geneva Kelly
Topic: Writing Workshop
Geneva’s Prompts for Writing from September workshop.
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.
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.
Speaker: Cherie Postill
Topic : Improve Your Writing and Sell More Books with Beta Readers – What Every
Writer Needs to Know Before Publishing
PowerPoint and Zoom recording available to members. Contact Christie Zarria.
In my workshop I show you how to identify, qualify, locate, and utilize an incredible writer’s asset know as Beta Readers. They are often overlooked and frequently misunderstood. You will learn the definition of beta testing, how to identify your beta readers, and why every writer needs them. I introduce a process that results in a comprehensive manuscript critique, including actionable feedback. We discuss the techniques and tools used to beta test your manuscript for optimal results.
The methods outlined in my workshop will give you a competitive advantage and make you a better writer. In today’s crowded market, your manuscript needs to stand out more than ever. Once you have followed my process, not only will you be assured your story is perfect for your target readers, but you will also know precisely who your ideal readers are. You will learn where to find your target readers and how to utilize their talents to help you sell more books and attract a loyal fan base.
You will also get reviews, referrals, and book comps (comparable titles) from your beta readers to use in query letters, on your book cover, and in promotional material.
Cherie Postill is a writer, a marketing professional, and a speaker. She is the author of How to Train a Beta Reader and Sell More Books, a nonfiction guide for writers. Cherie presents workshops to writers across the country, teaching her unique strategy and step by step process. Her debut fiction novel for middle-grade readers, and the first in a planned series, Cory Summers and the Wrath of Naytas, is scheduled for publication in Fall 2021. Her upcoming humor/adventure novel for middle grade readers is targeted for release in early 2022. Ms. Postill is on the board of the St. Louis Writers Guild where she holds the title, VP of contests and works as the liaison for more than 21 school districts. She teaches workshops for writers in grades 4th – 12th, and is an active member of the St. Louis Publishers Assoc. When Cherie is not writing or presenting, she enjoys time with friends and family, reading, camping, hiking, cooking, and mentoring aspiring writers. You can learn more about her writing at www.clpostill.com. She loves to connect with readers and fellow writers and welcomes your emails at email@example.com. Find out what she is up to at https://twitter.com/postillc, and www.facebook.com/Cherie.Postill.
Speaker: Lucille Ponte
Topic: Copyright or Copy Wrong?
The Basics of Copyright for Authors
What are my rights to my creative works as an author? Can people use the contents of my books and stories without my permission? Are there limits on my uses of another’s creative works in my books? In this educational talk, author and former law professor Lucille Ponte will help unravel the mysteries of the basics of copyright and address issues of copyright registration and infringement of creative works. Her presentation will also consider key defenses to claims of copyright infringement, such as public domain and fair use. A great opportunity to learn more about protecting your rights to your literary works. (for educational purposes only, not intended as legal advice)
A legal educator for more than 31 years, Lucille Ponte taught a wide range of business law and intellectual property courses. She published textbooks on dispute resolution and contract law and wrote scholarly articles on copyright, trademark, and legal policy. She previously served as in-house counsel for technology firms and governmental agencies in Massachusetts. As a fiction author under the pen name Bridges DelPonte, her legal mystery, Deadly Sacrifices won a Royal Palm Literary Award (2d place – unpublished mystery) from the Florida Writers Association. She has also published an underwater fantasy novel, Bridles of Poseidon, a children’s book, The Little Dusties – The Roar of the Silver Dragon (with illustrator, Michelle Bakay), and numerous short stories in anthologies. She is represented by Kelli Martin at Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc., a literary management firm in New York. To learn more about Bridges, check out her author website: bridgesdelponte.com
Speaker: Kathleen Sweeney
Topic : How To Create Professional Looking Images to Market Your Books and More with Book Brush
May 15 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Join Kathleen Sweeney from Book Brush for a fun live walk-through of the Book Brush tools. Get ready to embrace the marketing side of writing & see why authors say Book Brush saves them both time and money! Learn how easy it is to use Book Brush to create your own eye-catching marketing images for all things social media. Plus explore video effects, create Box Set images, design your own book covers, animation and more! Kathleen will share handy tips & tricks along the way and have time for Q & A, too.
Bio: Kathleen is the Manager of Marketing and Customer Service at Book Brush. She has over 19 years of client service and business assurance experience. She thoroughly enjoys working with authors and helping them create eye-catching images. She lives in central Illinois with her husband and three busy boys. Her hobbies include reading and turning socks right side out.
April 2021 Zoom meeting
GCWA Writing Contest
April 24, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Winners of the writing contest will be announced and authors will read their winning submissions.
March 2021 Zoom Meeting
Speaker: D. L. Havlin
Topic: Building a Platform for Both Non-fiction and Fiction Authors
What’s a writing platform? It’s not built on the top of telephone poles, but it is a requisite for non-fiction authors and a valuable addition to the fiction writers marketing arsenal. This class deals with the way to build one, a legitimate one, in the field which you wish to write. Is a doctorate necessary? No, but a real, thorough, and defensible knowledge of your subject matter is critical. Ways to construct that “pulpit to preach from” are offered in this class.
DL Havlin is an unretired businessman who has traveled a large portion of the world, having visited over 100 countries. He managed offices in places like London, Singapore, Frankfort, Acala Spain and many more. He has visited the jungles on the Sepic River in New Guinea, the Buddhist temples in Bangkok and the Babi Yar Monument in Kiev. In his travels he has discovered that humans have very similar appearances but their cultures make them as distinct as visitors from another planet.
He’s been writing 30+ years. DL writes historical, literary, women’s mainstream, and suspense/mystery novels. He has ten books published. The latest is Escaping Skeletons, a mystery/suspense series.
He is represented by the Seymour LiteraryAgency and Taylor & Seale is his current publisher. His books, manuscripts and short stories have won 14 awards, including five Royal Palm Literary Awards from the Florida Writers Association.
Speaker: Eric Simmons
Subject: How to get your book into libraries
Eric’s third book, “Getting Your Book Into Libraries,” which he will be discussing today, evolved from his well-received article, “How To Get Your Book Into Libraries” The article is currently the top Google search result, excluding Ads, out of over 2 billion, on the subject of “getting your book into libraries.” In his book,which opened at #1 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” in the Library & Information Science Category, Eric breaks down his strategy and methodology for contacting Libraries. “Getting Your Book Into Libraries” is believed to be the first book ever written on how self published Authors can get their books into libraries.
Since Eric began introducing his books to Librarians two and a half years ago, 117 Libraries, including 7 of the Nation’s largest, have ordered 157 copies of his books. Using email as his primary means of communication, 114 Libraries or 97% of his customers purchased after receipt of, on average, 3.7 emails.
April’s website: www.olearypublishing.com
Decades ago aspiring authors had only two options secure a traditional publishing deal, or if you couldn’t get one, publish your work yourself for a small fortune. Fortunately, writers have many more publishing paths available to traverse today that include various levels of difficulty. In this presentation, April O’Leary, founder of O’Leary Publishing, will discuss the pros and cons of each path including the amount of time and technology skills required for the author, the upfront cost, the opportunities for distribution and ownership of your work. You’ll walk away with a clear trail guide to help you publish your book with success. See you at the top!
April O’Leary is the founder of O’Leary Publishing, a hybrid book publishing company that serves independent authors who want a book to grow their brand, share a message or build a community. She is the author of six books and the host of the I’m Booked podcast. For more information you can visit www.olearypublishing.com and download The Influencer’s Path to Successful Publishing free today.
Rebeca’s company website: justonec.com
Get your questions answered and learn about a new opportunity for your writing! Throughout her 16-year career, Rebeca’s abiding passion has been helping writers find an audience for their works. This interest led her forays into book publishing as well as film and television development. In 2019, at the behest of friend Micheal Flaherty (Walden Media), Seitz began exploring the podcast industry in depth. In 2020, she released her newly-formed company’s first scripted podcast production, MAKING THE CUT (makingthecutpodcast.com), based on the memoirs of Dr. Michael Meguid. The show – featuring 99 characters voiced by over 60 actors from studios across the world – quickly climbed into the top 30% of podcast shows worldwide. Rebeca had hit on a new way for her writers to get their stories to the public: the scripted, spoken word. Now, she’s bringing that knowledge to you. According to PodcastHosting.org, 50% of all U.S. homes are podcast fans…and the number is growing. Over 100 million people in this country listen to podcasts monthly. Studios and publishing houses alike have developed divisions specifically to acquire rights to podcast shows. Bottom line: if you aren’t considering a podcast show for your words, you could very well be missing out. Rebeca will share information about the podcast industry and the process of converting the written word into a scripted series. Drawing from her long history in multiple parts of the entertainment business, she’ll also answer your questions about publishing, film, and television paths for getting your work out there.
Jill’s blog: www.jillswriterscafe.com
Jill will provide tips on how to find markets that fit your writing style and genre, how to use social media to your advantage, and creative ways to market your work once it is published.
Jill Clark freelances prose and poetry. Among others, her writing has appeared in Lerner Publications, Pocket Change Literary Magazine, Hedge Apple Literary Magazine, Ariel Chart Literary Review, The Nature Conservancy, and The Henry David Thoreau Institute. She hosts workshops, lesson plans, and activities for children in libraries and schools around Florida-based on characters, themes, or literary techniques generated from her recent publication Loose Balloons.
Please blog Jill at www.jillswriterscafe.com if you would like her to host an event or presentation, purchase her book at a reduced rate, or if you would like the author and illustrator to personalize the book.
To preview a portion of the book from Amazon select:
Speaker: Geneva Kelly
Workshop: Writing from prompts
The Military Museum was a great venue for us
and the meeting was a success. We had some
delightful stories written on the spot from
prompts given by Geneva.
Speaker: Ronnie Walter
Topic: 5 Secrets to Make Your Self-Published Book Stand Out in a Sea of Professionals
Visit her website at:
The difference between a typical DIY self-published book cover and an eye-catching, genre appropriate sales-generator by a professional designer can be the difference between sleepy sales and exciting daily results.
That’s because people DO judge a book by it’s cover.
Author and designer Ronnie Walter will share with you how to identify the visual language of your genre, how your cover can help potential readers discover your book, and also will walk you through the “Crimes of Bad Covers.”
Whether you choose to design your own cover or hire a designer, the more you know about what works (and how to say it), the more your cover will represent the amazing writing on the inside!
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to position your book for success!
Ronnie Walter, artist, writer and business coach for creatives, knows her way around publishing. She is both a self-published author and also has books with several traditional publishers. She is the author of License to Draw—How to Monetize Your Art through Licensing and More, Gruesome Greetings—A Georgie Hardtman Mystery, several gift books, numerous journals and has illustrated and published over 20 coloring books for adults. Her newest book, Gratitude with Attitude—How Journaling Thankfulness for Five Minutes a Day can Change your Life was released in October 2019, and Start here, Start Now, Start Anywhere—A Fill-In Journal to Discover Your Best Year yet! is scheduled for release in April, 2020.
Ronnie lives in Cape Coral with her husband, writer Jim Marcotte and the best shelter dog ever, Larry. She can be reached through her website at www.ronniewalter.com
Speakers: Bob McCarthy and Judy Loose
Topic: The 3 Ps of Self-Publishing — Preparation, Publishing, and Promotion
Bob and Judy will give a presentation on self-publishing covering subjects and suggestions on preparation, publishing, and promotion of your book.
Bob is a professional writer and editor with experience in both freelance and in-house writing. His articles have appeared in regional, national, and international magazines. He writes web content, video scripts, training manuals, social media content, and collateral material. More about Bob at gulfwriters.org.
Judy worked as an IT professional installing corporate computer systems and managing IT departments for thirty years. For the last twenty-plus years she has owned her own company, Loose Links. She designs and maintains websites, edits and formats books, and creates book covers. She has self-published two novels, The Janus Code and Mangrove Madness. More about Judy at judyloose.com and gulfwriters.org.