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Hurricane Ian book features Boca Beacon article about Little Gasparilla Island

Gulf Coast Writers Association Inc. (GWCA), Southwest Florida’s 28-year-old meeting ground for writers, editors and their associates, announced today that Leoma Lovegrove, internationally-known artist whose work is in the collections of the Carter and George W. Bush Presidential Libraries, has painted the artwork for the cover of “Storm Stories – Hurricane Ian,” its anthology of personal experiences during the storm as recounted by local residents and photographers. The book is planned for publication on September 1.

The Boca Beacon will be featured in the book, with a story that ran not long after the storm, called “This may be our slice of paradise, but putting it back together will be no piece of cake.”

The GCWA also announced that Robert N. Macomber, well-known author of naval historical fiction, has written the foreword to the anthology of stories, poems and photos. Macomber, a Pine Island,  resident, had to be evacuated after the hurricane exploded his home. 

Lovegrove, an impressionist-expressionist painter known for her vivid colors, has also contributed her own storm story to the anthology. It describes the destruction of her home and businesses on Matlacha,.  

In her essay in the book, Lovegrove details the storm’s destruction and her losses, including her sketchbooks accumulated over 45 years.  

“After the Ian wave hit, our home on Matlacha was a total loss,” she says. “Part of the house washed out to sea, so all of our personal belongings now reside in the Gulf of Mexico.”

But she vows to be undeterred.  “This hurricane has turned me into a category seven,” she says, “and with this new energy I will work to get back to square one.” And she notes, “What the hurricane taught me, like all of us here in Southwest Florida, is that we can’t give up. ‘Always Forward’ was my mom’s lifelong motto. They say moms are always right, and mine surely was. I’m adopting her motto as my own. Always Forward.”

The book will be available as a trade paperback and hardcover at local book stores, the gift shop at the Alliance for the Arts, and the Alliance’s popular monthly Night Market, as well as Leoma Lovegrove’s Art Gallery in downtown Fort Myers. It also will be available in other Southwest Florida outlets, including Copperfish in Punta Gorda and Annette’s Book Nook on Fort Myers Beach . It will be obtainable online from in e-book, paperback and hardcover versions by September 1.  

Prepublication orders for the e-book on Amazon are now being accepted.

Hurricane Ian – the nation’s third costliest storm and Florida’s costliest according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, hit the Gulf Coast last September before continuing on a path of destruction through the state and up the Atlantic coast. Overall, 156 deaths in the United States, including 150 in Florida, are attributed to Ian.