Richard Fox

WORD SONG INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD FOX

AT GEORGE AND WENDY’S , SANIBEL ISLAND, FLORIDA

BY GARY McLOUTH, January 19, 2016

Richard Fox come from Worcester, Massachusetts, the town where people are “provoked to write,” according to American poetry icon, Stanley Kunitz. I’m not really sure what that means, but when Richard tells me he’s “compelled to write,” and that Elizabeth Bishop and Frank O’Hara also hale from Worchester, I get it.

And, just to make sure I’m focused, Richard explains that Worcester is a hot-bed of poets in the blue-collar-SLAM tradition, compared to Boston where a lot of academic poets are “working hard to write obscurely.” I’m reminded of something someone said once about T.S. Eliot, but Richard brings me back. “I started as a page poet, but I’ve squarely been into performance poetry the past three years, the SLAM poets seek the page and the page poets seek the stage—we end up in a similar place.” We quickly discover our admiration of Joe Pacheco’s page to presentation ability is mutual.

I’ve read a few of Richard’s poems written about his Uncle Louie, a man Richard knew as a child knows an adult uncle. Lots of husk, little seed. Richard tells me that he likes to “smash archetypes,” and the way he does that with Uncle Louie poems is to recreate the Uncle Archetype. “Reverse Engineering,” he calls it. “You have a  chance meeting with someone. You don’t know them, so you fill in their life story with pieces of other people’s stories. That’s what I’m doing with Uncle Louie, recreating him with stories I’ve heard over the years from my family. Each one of them knew different things about Uncle Louie, or even things that would describe Uncle Louie.”

In the process, Richard finds out that his Uncle Louie and his cohorts pulled some rather outrageous pranks in their time, especially when drinking was involved. Passing off Ex-Lax as chocolate on unsuspecting relatives, was one. Pissing into the gas tank of a disliked neighbor’s car was another. He’s not sure what to do with these vignettes of cruel fun, and how Richard continues with the Uncle Louie Poems is anyone’s guess. “It’s like potato chips,” he says, “you can’t stop at one or two.”

We turn to personal writing trivia and shop talk cherished by most writers. Richard has been winning his battle with oral cancer and I’m assuming that his experience has taught him multitudes about overcoming writers block. “You know what the definition of writers block is,” he asks. I’m ready for explanations of gnomic influences on writing practices, diet supplements and their side-effects, the writer’s mother’s relationship with God…

“Lazy.”

Richard Fox began writing over 50 years ago, and he hasn’t really stopped. The only thing that can stop him from writing is himself, and that is not going to happen, certainly not as a result of writers block. “When what you are writing doesn’t seem to be working, it doesn’t mean you’ve got writers block. It means you’ve decided to quit on that piece at that point. Okay, go onto something else.”  Richard doesn’t mean to sound unsympathetic to those of us who feel stuck with a piece of writing, rather he believes that like an athlete on a long running course, the writer may have to change speeds, alter the pace, pause for breath but never give up writing.

“I’ve found that being part of writing groups is essential, being in the company of other writers, building editing skills on other writers’ work, applying those skills to your own [work]. One project may peter out, but you need to pick up another one. Writing is all kinds of things. Hemingway is said to have said that drafting is best done drunk and editing sober. Whatever works, I say.”

Richard joined GCWA recently, and claims that although he likes being in different places, SW Florida is feeling pretty good to him. “Life slows down; people listen to you here. I’m one of the younger poets, whereas up north, I’m seen as an older poet, a voice of experience.”

Mike Fuller

face-on-dark-sweaterMike Fuller Author
After writing professional documents for many years, Mike has finally devoted time to his true passion, writing fiction where the story and characters come alive in the reader’s mind. While his days were filled with authoring hundreds of detailed crime reports, arrest affidavits, search warrants and grand jury presentments, he took some of his own time and devoured books by the dozens. Reading not only was a rewarding diversion, it provided him with the added education he needed to function at a high level in his profession.
This has led to the creation of Mike’s crime/suspense/detective novels SINK RATE and the follow up, ROPE BREAK, the first two in the Sam Deland Crime Novel series. Both are expected to be published in 2015 by: http://www.roguephoenixpress.com/ More recently, CAPTAIN’S CROSS, a historical land and sea adventure novel set in colonial America has also been accepted for publication.
Mike writes with the real life experience that many years of law enforcement shaped and influenced. The stories may be fiction but are based on how things happen in the real world. His books are honest and captivating novels written with a unique voice that will both chill and charm.
Mike is a veteran police detective. He did it all from rookie patrolman to Senior Special Agent. His life has been enriched by a wonderful marriage, parenting, work, flying, sailing and good books. Mike is a lifelong outdoorsman, an experienced tactical firearms instructor, champion sailplane pilot and the captain of his own sailboat. All of these skills have made his novels vivid, exciting and real. Now retired after a career with three law enforcement agencies, Mike enjoys winters writing in Naples, Florida and summers sailing, writing and researching the next novel at his rural Pennsylvania home.

Web/Blog: http://mikefullerauthor.com
On facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mikefullerauthor
On Twitter: @mikefullerwrite

Mike Fuller’s books

Pauline Hayton

Hayton hails from England and worked as a probation officer in her hometown of Middlesbrough for 12 years before immigrating to the United States in 1991 with her husband Peter. They live in Naples, Florida, willing slaves to four bossy cats.

Hayton never wanted to be a writer, but after listening to her father’s war stories and reading his tattered wartime diaries, she felt compelled to write his WWII memoir A Corporal’s War. Several magazine articles followed.

While researching her father’s memoir, she stumbled upon Ursula Graham Bower’s story and knew instantly that her next book would be about this amazing woman. The book is Naga Queen which is based on 8 years in Ursula Graham Bower’s life during WWII.

To celebrate surviving cancer twice, Hayton traveled to Myanmar in 2006. A travelogue of her journey is available as a Kindle book. ​

Chasing Brenda and If You Love me, Kill Me are two novellas published 2012 and 2013.

Her latest book is her memoir Still Pedaling.

Pauline Hayton’s books

Michael Hebler

Author-Michael-HeblerHaving moved to Fort Myers in September 2014, Michael Hebler is a Southern California native. Michael dreamed of following his passions for entertainment and storytelling with acting. It was while studying theatre arts at Orange Coast College, in Costa Mesa, California, he realized his penchant for stories were better suited on the page rather than the stage. Creating tales with suspense, laughter, and heart is not Michael’s only love.

Hebler also enjoys films, roller coasters, video games, Star Wars, anything Disney, as well as volunteering for Meals on Wheels and aiding in animal rights programs. In addition to being an award-winning author of his dark fiction Chupacabra Series, Michael has also been a professional script reader for Davis Entertainment (Grumpy Old Men, The Blacklist) and a film publicist. Previous publicity credits include numerous titles for Walt Disney, Pixar, Lionsgate, Lakeshore Entertainment, Warner Bros., Summit Entertainment, as well as the 2013 Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Language Film, “La grande bellezza” (The Great Beauty).

To date, Michael’s publications include Night of the Chupacabra (2014 NIEA Award-Winner Best Horror), Curse of the Chupacabra, and Legend of the Chupacabra (Books I, II, & III of a six-part series), as well as his first publication, The Night After Christmas, a children’s picture book.

Visit his website at: http://michaelhebler.com

Michael Hebler’s books

Henry (Hank) Heitmann

WORD SONG Interview with Henry Heitmann

by Gary McLouth, Associate Editor

March 4, 2016

Henry Heitmann, author of Pocket Full of Tales; More Tales and Bits and Pieces; Looking Back On Life, all published by Monarch Books, Florida.

Henry (Hank) Heitmann has garnered a number of writing contest awards during the last few years from The GCWA of Mississippi, The Florida Weekly (poetry), Dreamquest Summer 2015, and the ABC 2016 Anthology of Florida Writers and Poets Competition.

Hank and I met for talk, breakfast and coffee at Marko’s Diner on San Carlos Blvd., recently. I was pleasantly surprised by Hank’s South Bronx accent, a near total contrast to the quiet voice in his poetic reflections and his poignant “Tales.” His educational experiences with Special Ed. students and teachers provided Hank with all kinds of stories. He admits that he’s been telling the stories for years, but he decided as soon as he retired that he would start writing them.

I stir more milk into my coffee and ask him how it’s going. Hank’s big brown eyes roll up at me.

“What I’ve heard and seen is what I try to get down on paper. The stories have been working my head for a long time, and retirement seemed like the time to write them out so I could share them. My wife encourages me, luckily, without her, I don’t think there’d be many stories written down.”

“I went to a GCWA meeting about five years ago and just randomly sat down next to Ken Feeley. Over a few meetings, he became my mentor. I also got valuable feedback from Ruben and Tim. I met other writers and learned about publishing and writing from them. What ended up happening… GCWA gave me the self-image of a writer, it put me in the midst of other writers, made me feel at home.”

Hank talked about his special relationship with books that began in his grandmother’s house back there in the Bronx. While other kids saved nickels for  Bazooka bubble-gum, Hank saved up to buy books. What about books, now, I ask.

“I like to hold a book in my hand. Even with all of the Kindles and Nooks and variety of ‘pads’ and screens, there’s still room for paper. Keep in mind, books are less harmful to the environment.”

Really? I thought paper books cost trees. What do you mean, exactly?

“I’d rather spend money on books than money on weapons of war,” Hank says, and I don’t have a rejoinder beyond a grunt.

Since Hank has mentioned money, I wonder aloud how he’s doing with the writing-publishing-marketing cycle. He gives me the slow, sad look I’ve seen on the faces of many writers who thought the work of writing was the be-all-and-end-all, the brass ring at their fingertips. “Marketing,” his voice trails off. Hank has worked diligently to complete all of his beginnings. Three books have pretty much left his cupboard of drafts, bare.

“I want to write a novel,” he says, “got one started called Out of Nonna’s Kitchen, It’s a sort of mystery-cookbook story.” His eyes find mine to see if I get it. I’m hoping I don’t squint a doubting glance. I know how that feels, and he does too, as he explains the plot to me, which I promise not to reveal to anyone else.

Before we go, Hank signs three books for me, and since I’ve already read a number of his stories, I’m eagerly heading home for a “Hanksta” fix. A sample: Still Dreaming – “Sitting on the dock/In the early morning sun/The tiny ripples on the lake/Beating out a gentle rhythm/A part of nature’s breathing/And giving life to ancient daydreams.”

The breakfast at Marko’s is what gives Diners their beloved place in American lore. Hank has hardly touched his abundant serving of eggs, hash browns, sausage and gravy. “There’s a sense of permanence in print,” he says, “I can pass it along to my family and friends. A new found passion in life is a good thing.”

Artis Henderson

Artis Hendersonartis-henderson

I have been a proud Gulf Coast Writers Association Member for almost a decade. Between the monthly meetings, my GCWA critique group (go Hurricanes!), and the writing friends I’ve made, it’s hard to imagine my life without Gulf Coast Writers.

My first book, Unremarried Widow, a memoir about my husband’s death in Iraq, was published by Simon & Schuster last spring. It was featured in the New York Times, Elle and People magazines, and on NPR, and it appeared on more than ten Best of the Year lists.

That book began here, with Gulf Coast Writers. I brought early pages to my monthly critique group, and their helpful advice guided me through the creative process. When they suggested that I enter GCWA’s writing contest, I felt more confident about my work. Writing a book can be a lonely business, and I was glad to have the support and encouragement of other writers.

Today, I’m working on fiction. Writing a novel feels very different than writing a memoir, and I’m always surprised at the challenge of it. I also teach classes – including one at the Alliance for the Arts in January – and do private book coaching and manuscript editing. I love teaching, and I’m constantly humbled and inspired by my students.

Madeline Henry

I am a 67 year old transplant from Dutchess County NY.  My husband and I retired to Florida last year.  I have two sons still living in NY,  one of whom is in the process of writing a book.

I became interested in the writing process because my son asked me to help him with some preliminary editing.  He plans to self-edit.

I attended a book signing by an author here in FL.  She brought her editor with her who told the group about The Gulf Coast Writers Association.  It sounded as though it would be interesting and helpful to me and my son and that is why I decided to join.  I have only been to one meeting so far.  I was also intrigued by the program the president was talking about where you get to read a synopsis of the book to a group to get their reaction.

Denise Holbrook

DeniseHDenise Holbrook began her writing career as a photojournalist and editor for a weekly newspaper chain in the Lake Okeechobee region of south central Florida, covering everything from rodeos to drug plane crashes. When her family moved to the Fort Myers area, her writing focused mostly on real estate marketing, political campaigns, and technical presentations.

Her editorial columns and character profiles were regular features in the Lehigh Acres Citizen newspaper and Gulf Coast Woman Magazine, running the gamut from political commentary to the ups and downs of raising a family.

More recently, she won the first place award for fiction in the 2012 Gulf Coast Writers Association Writing Contest.

She is a staff editor for Jacobs Writing Consultants, and served as the program chair and vice president of the Gulf Coast Writers Association for 2013 and 2014.

She enjoys writing a devotion blog for NASCAR fans. Her children’s book, Doors, is available through Amazon and other online booksellers.

Denise Holbrooks’ books

Connie Hope

Connie-PhotoI have always wanted to write. When I was 10 years old, I won first prize in a Patriotism contest at the Children of the American Revolution (CAR). I said to my mother, “I want to be a writer.” My mother said, “Find a profession that will pay some money.” I wrote articles for the school newspaper, the local newspaper and a few magazines, but it wasn’t until I came to Florida eight years ago that I decided it was now my time to write.

I spent a year and a half creating my first cookbook, “In Addition…to the Entrée”. It’s all about the important side dishes which compliments the main dishes. It is a personal guide to help the busy working person as well as anyone to decide what to serve as a side dish for the meal. The book has one hundred and sixty recipes, over two hundred color photos, and is divided into fourteen sections with an extensive index.

Then I started working on my novel, “The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts)”. Victoria Storm is facing a divorce and wants to do something different with the rest of her life. But what? She receives a cell call from someone who suggests she opens a tea room like her grandmother in her hometown of Metuchen, New Jersey. And who was that who called?

She buys an old house, renovates it into a tea room and has lots of encounters with uninvited guests or are they ghosts?

Please check out www.cookingbyconnie.com and thebonnieneuktearoom.com for more information, ordering, pricing, and photos. The cookbook is $15.00 and the novel is $10.00, plus postage if you want it mailed.

You can also purchase The Bonnie Neuk through www.Createspace.com/4775503 or on Amazon.com Or either book from the back of my car.

Visit her website at: www.thebonnieneuktearoom.com

Connie Hope’s books