Mary Charles

Dear GCWA Member,
This is my first letter to our Gulf Coast Writers Association as our new president. Irene Smith,
having served as president so energetically, has earned her emerita status. We are in Irene’s
debt for her tireless efforts on our behalf, especially in the difficult Covid years when we could
not meet in person. That we continue to exist is a testament to Irene’s tenacity.

I promise to stay connected, to foster a sense of community among writers, and to be open to
your wishes. Please do likewise: keep in touch, help us connect, and make your wishes known.

I want to hear from you. Here’s my contact info:; 718-848-4031.

A few items of business:

Item 1: We do not meet in December. Our next meeting will be Saturday January 20 at 10 AM
at Word of Life Church, 6111 South Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers. That meeting will be a webinar
with Friesen Press, a 100% employee-owned publishing house. The moderator will help us
understand the pluses and minuses of traditional versus self publishing as we try to get our
words into print. During that meeting we’ll also begin forming committees for vital functions of
our writers’ organization. Please plan to come. If you can’t make it in person, I urge you to
attend remotely via Zoom. More info will come in the “formal” January President’s Letter.

Item 2: Please pay your dues. January 1 is the official “dues date.” The $50 annual fee covers
rent of our meeting facility, development and maintenance of our website [soon to debut in its
new form], speaker honorarium, and other essentials of our organization. Pay your dues, either
by PayPal on our website, by check to Gulf Coast Writers (PO Box 60771, Fort Myers, FL 33906),
or at the January 2024 meeting.

Item 3: Please speak up, step up and sign up to help us keep our association lively and growing.
Let us know what you expect from our organization. And help us fulfill those expectations by
spearheading projects and raising your hand when help is solicited. Every GCWA position is
voluntary. There are no salaries or other compensation. A few are now doing all the jobs.
Burnout is a threat. Speak up. Step up. Initiate. We’ll be a better organization for it.

Meanwhile, I wish for you all the joys of this holiday season and a bright, productive beginning
to 2024.
Mary Charles

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My Name is Brian Devitt. I have been a ‘tech guy’ for as long as I can remember. It could be the first transistor radio my father brought home or messing around with resistors, capacitors, and power supplies in my childhood friend’s basement. I was always fascinated by things that seemed to work as if by magic. Of course, as I grew older, I became more interested in how the magic works. I entered college in 1973 with aspirations of becoming a medical doctor, so I pursued a degree in Biology as a pre-med curriculum. Along the way, I accepted an NROTC (Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps) scholarship. When I graduated in 1977, I had a degree in Biology and a job in the U.S. Navy as a newly commissioned junior officer. After serving at sea on the USS Biddle (CG-34), I accepted a shore duty assignment as an NROTC instructor at Villanova University. (What comes around goes around.) While there, I decided not to pursue medicine anymore but instead catch the technological wave of computing; I went for a Master’s in Computer Science. When my NROTC instructor assignment ended, I resigned from active duty and pursued a civilian career in Information Technology, and I never looked back. Throughout it all, I wrote some short stories and some novels. You can learn more about me by checking out my website