Debra Basham


Debra Basham is an author, teacher, healer, and minister, but most of all, she is a storyteller sharing from her open heart with everyone who needs to believe in or remember our healing potential.

Debra is trained in energy medicine, certified in Healing Touch™ and Reiki, and is a licensed trainer of both NLP (neurolinguistic programming) and hypnotherapy. She was mentored by Janet Mentgen, founder of Healing Touch™, and has studied extensively with Richard Bandler, co-developer of Neurolinguistic Programming. She was the founding director of a not-for-profit and tax-exempt holistic center, and has twice been to Brazil with the famous indigenous healer, John of God. Debra has had a life-long calling for "weaving together the threads of body, mind, and spirit." Her  passion for healing is not only global, but also deeply personal —having been diagnosed with (and treated for) polio when she was five years old, only to discover 33 years later that she never really had polio!

Debra has made many appearances on radio and television, and is a recognized expert in the field of integrative medicine. She, along with Joel P. Bowman, is co-author of numerous training manuals including Healing with Language: Your Key to Effective Mind-Body Medicine; Imagine Healing: Guided Imagery to Help You Heal (for patients); and Using Guided Imagery for Surgical Support: A Comprehensive Guide for Nurses, Massage Therapists, Doctors, Energy Workers, and Anyone Who Believes in Our Healing Potential (for professionals).

Debra writes a weekly Tip for Well-Being, blogs regularly, and contributes to a monthly free e-newsletter for those interested in energy medicine, linguistics, or spirituality, and is "the voice that goes with you" on many guided imagery audios, including Everlasting Peace, Freedom from Pain, and Welcome Baby!

In August, 2012 Debra self-published her first solo writing,
Falling Together in Love: Stories From My Heart for and about YOU, a book based on her intimate journey with many she has been honored to work with over the past many years. You will meet people like Jane Foster, who had 22 tumors on her liver when her surgeon closed her back up and said he could not keep cutting on her and that she needed to find a holistic healer, and Darby Fetzer, who was afraid to fly but had the incredible opportunity to see the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

Profound truths are woven among the tales of everyday heroes and heroines just like you. It is true that genuine heroism is forged from living our lives with honesty and clarity and harmony, especially amidst the rubble of pain, and fear, and uncertainty.

As you do the exercises or just read the stories, it is intended that you will remember who you really are. As you remember who you really are, it is intended that you will also see clearly you can enjoy greater well-being and better health–physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. 

Debra is married to John, and they have an adult daughter, Stacey, who is married, lives in middle Tennessee, and has three amazing children. Debra lives in St. Joseph, Michigan and winters in St. James City, on Pine Island, in Florida. Write to and visit

Gail Berreitter


Gail Berreitter was born in Trenton, NJ in 1958. Her poetry has been featured in several anthologies. She began writing poetry sparingly in high school, and it wasn’t until the 1980’s that she started writing more often as a catharsis to various emotions.

She attended Brazosport Community College in 1983 and graduated with an Associate's Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting. Gail was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for her achievements in her studies as an honor student, as well as into the Who's Who in American Community Colleges. She served as Treasurer in the honor society for her first year and then became the Vice President for her last year. Gail achieved all this success while raising two children while she attended college full time.

Gail is currently writing a manuscript of her poetry for publication, featuring Lady Gabrielle, a sensual and colorful character.

As a member of the Pine Island Writers and current President of the organization, Gail is a partner with the board members in achieving the organization’s mission. She presides over meetings, works with other officers, and plans programs and projects as needed.

Gail was a judge for the poetry genre in the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition for three years. The RPLA is a service of the Florida Writers Association established to recognize excellence in members' published and unpublished works while providing objective and constructive written assessments for all entrants.

As the owner of
Gail’s Personal Assistant and Concierge Services on Pine Island, Gail provides highly skilled organizational techniques, business as well as home services, computer hardware and software installations, and bookkeeping. She was an Office Manager for over 30 years and comes highly recommended. She will be your personal shopper, plan your party, pick up your dry cleaning, and even do your grocery shopping.

In July of 2016, Gail was asked to join the National Association of Professional Women. which she accepted.

In January, 2017, Gail had one of her poems published in a poetry book,
Sometimes Anyway: Pride in Poetry Volume II by NavWorks Press. The poem was a Tanka String, a form of Japanese poetry.
Three of her poems will be featured in the anthology,
Swimming the River. published by Peace River Press.

Cathy Brown

PIW ID Cathy Brown_pp

No biography available at this time.

Anthony (Tony) Caruso

Tony Caruso

No biography available at this time.

Helen Fox

Helen Photo for PI WRITERS

Helen Fox is a Pine Island snowbird and retired faculty member at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she taught for 22 years, first in the Writing Program, then in the Social Theory and Practice Program at the Residential College. She grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago in the 1940s and 50s, then, following family advice to go into Medicine, studied science at the University of California at Berkeley.

Fortunately, she came across a Peace Corps recruiter on campus in her senior year, which totally changed her life direction. After training in Milwaukee with about 50 other new graduates, Helen spent two years in India in the far eastern territory of Tripura, where she taught biology at Maharaja Bir Bikram College and the Teachers College in Agartala.

Returning to the States with a newfound appreciation of cultural differences and profoundly shocked by the level of rural poverty of her Indian neighbors, she worked for several years in Roxbury, Massachusetts with impoverished and disabled children, then joined a quasi-spiritual commune, which seemed to speak to both her idealism and her disappointment with the racism, materialism, and militarism of her own society. Although that chapter of her life was (fortunately) short, her sense of adventure continued to lead her for the next twenty or so years, first to the U.S. West, then to Quebec, Canada, where she raised three wonderful, accomplished daughters.

In the mid-1980s, Helen returned to the U.S. with her two younger children and enrolled in graduate school at the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 1991, with doctoral degree in hand, she was lucky enough to land at the University of Michigan, where she taught courses on writing, race and racism, international development, human rights, and nonviolence.

She has written four books: "Listening to the World: Cultural Influences in Academic Writing" (National Council of Teachers of English); "When Race Breaks Out: Conversations on Race and Racism in College Classrooms" (now in its Third Revised edition); "Their Highest Vocation: Social Justice and the Millennial Generation;" and "Fractured: Race Relations in 'Post-Racial' American Life" (the latter three published by Peter Lang, Inc.). She has also co-edited a book called "Alt-Dis: Alternative Discourses and the Academy" and written a popular training manual for Peace Corps on Nonformal Education, as well as a number of articles and book chapters.

In her early years as a writer, she struggled with several unpublished children's stories and an unfinished book manuscript, and, after papering her study with rejection slips, she finally (in the early 1970s) published several Op Ed's in the Montreal Gazette and The Washington Post, which gave her the confidence to call herself a writer. Helen and her husband Jim are delighted to be living at least part time in Bokeelia, where she is a docent at the Randell Research Center and a new member of Pine Island Writers. She remains active in social justice causes through Quaker Meetings in both Ann Arbor and Fort Myers.  She is currently working on a non-traditional memoir, perhaps a series of short pieces, some more like poetry than prose.

Lillian Genthner (Mrs Buttercup)

Mrs Buttercup

Lillian has been a storyteller all her life. She told stories in kindergarten classrooms of Ludlow, Massachusetts for 2 years and published two anthologies of these stories. Lillian also has one story made into a book. She had led writing groups at a Senior Center and participated in several of the groups. She is working on memoirs and more animal stories. You can find her "Adventures in Hobby Haven" on Amazon.

Shawn Ingalsbe

Historical Fiction and Sci Fi Writer

Elizabeth Koscher (Betsy)


Betsy has been writing since she ran out of Nancy Drew Books to read and wrote her own.  She has a trilogy of a retelling of the story of Rapunzel, a coming of age story based on her own life, and a book about two brothers trying to survive without parents. She wrote a chap book of poems about her son, some poetry about her daughter and poems about Monarch butterflies. She had a column in Science for children, reviewed new software for science teaching on a monthly basis, and has non-fiction stories for magazines.

Nancy Leake

Nancy Leak-1

Nancy Leake lives near the island of Matlacha Florida with her husband Don. Their three daughters and their families all relocated nearby, filling her home with love and laughter. Her work has appeared in the Gary Post Tribune, The Fort Myers-Cape Coral News-Press, Writers Currents, and books published by The Pine Island Writers. Nancy won first place for poetry in the first Judged and Juried Competition at Berreitter Photography and Gallery in St. James City, Florida. She writes short stories and poems about nature, the island, aging, and also children’s stories and poems. Much of her work is peppered with humor. She volunteers at local elementary and middle schools and does ministry work at an assisted living center. Along with befriending the many birds and animals on the island she also enjoys reading, sketching, painting, biking and boating.

In January of 2016, the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda asked for submissions of poetry to be written for any one of the many paintings hanging in the center for the 10th Biennial National Art Exhibition. A committee was chosen to select ten poems and Nancy was one of the winners. The winners were asked to read their poems to the audience during the Evening of Poetry reception at the Center in March. Her poem is titled “My Name is Dolores” and is accompanied by the painting below.

Her latest book
Growing Old on Island Time is currently available on line at and at many Pine Island/Matlacha Boutiques.



The years have taken their toll.
Age has faded the blue from my eyes
and the auburn of my hair.
My skin is thin and wrinkled
and my limbs have forsaken me.

My youthful spirit still resides
inside this failing body
and I shall wear bright colors
of clothing and jewelry for adornment.

Forgive my memory lapses
and slow, faltering steps.
I no longer write
with these palsied hands.

It is hard to hear what is being said.
People speak too quickly
and it sounds like mumbling
which tends to confuse me.

Sometimes I no longer recognize you
but, because of me, you exist.
You seem like someone’s sweet daughter.


Nancy Leake
142 WC

Painting title: Dolores
by Mary Rose

Leake award photo copy

Jan Lehley

PIW ID Jan Lahley_pp

Bloody Beads book picture

Women’s Army Corp Sergeant Constance Klump has found herself on an island in the Pacific, doing her part at the height of World War II. Thinking she had found paradise far from her family and friends in rural Kentucky, things quickly turned grisly. One after another, native girls on the island have disappeared. Get the book to find out what happens next.

Bonnie Boyes MacKrell

Bonnie L Mackrell

Bonnie Boyles MacKrell was born and raised in Southeast Pennsylvania. After marrying her childhood sweetheart she became the mother of two pretty special daughters. Upon completion of their college graduations, they ganged up on her. “What about you mom, when are you going to college?” At this time she was 55 years old. During college she discovered a talent for writing short stories. One of the stories was chosen by the professor for a teaching tool, another was a cherished story about a church member who kept a copy in his safe until he died. Another was chosen to be featured in the college literary magazine Pegasus. Bonnie graduated Phi Theta Kappa at the age of 60 with a degree in General Studies. Further, writing opened up opportunities to write for church bulletins, devotionals and newsletters.
Gladly, she has served as president of Women’s Fellowship at church, treasurer of the board of deacons, secretary of the Solanco Senior Center board of directors, was a Girl Scout leader/co-leader for a dozen years and taught Sunday school and bible school for many, many years. She volunteered at a V.A. hospital, Habitat for Humanity and completed mission work.
She admittedly worked for some real a**holes in her time and made a lot of incompetent superiors look pretty good, but without a degree could only go so far in life and then the door would shut. She has done well banging her head against the closed door. She had a real estate license, cosmetology manager license, worked for 16 years as a senior agent at an airfreight co. and was a C.N.A. and data entry specialist for a hospital.
She took up art classes as a hobby. The award winning artist had a serviceman come into her home and ask if the painting she had hanging on the wall was for sale. She said “no”, forgetting that she was the painter and could just paint another one just like it!
As a retiree, Bonnie now has time to reflect on her life. Having had multiple careers, heartaches and failures…tragedies and in general a fast paced-fast forward life, she is ready to share her experiences with others. She is working on her first book of short stories which will include all the times Jesus has shown up to be there with her, quietly keeping her company on this journey called life.

Betsy Martin

Betsy A. Martin

Betsy A. Martin graduated with a BFA in Education from Ohio University with a major in Theatre/Speech and English. She completed her MAE at Muskingum College. Retired from public education, and as an adjunct at both Ohio University Zanesville and Zane State, she directed plays and musicals for 35 years.

A three term board member for the Ohio Thespian Society, Martin was inducted into the Ohio Educational Theatre Hall of Fame and the New Lexington Alumni Association Teacher Hall of Fame. She has written seven mystery-dinner shows to date:
Wine and DIEne, Missing Mama, Yard Sale Queen, PrinciPALities, Sweet Sally’s Saloon, The Missing Curl, Death to Devices, Class Reunion, and Retired, Rehired.

Her four full length plays include:
Bait, Labels, I’m Calling About the Rental, and Clean Sweep Willie. Currently the president of an art’s nonprofit in New Lexington, she enjoys spending time at the Calvary Arts Center where she produces her shows. She recently wrote the Perry County bicentennial play, The Liar’s Bench. Currently living in McConnelsville, she is a member of the Dover House Writers and also, the Pine Island Writers in Florida.

Robert McGuire


Born in Ft. Lauderdale , Florida at the end of World War II, Robert McGuire was raised in a small town in southeastern Massachusetts in an area where the Pilgrims first settled, the King Phillip Wars were fought, and where Patriots responded to the call to arms as Minutemen and in the Continental Army.
Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant from ROTC, he entered active duty in the Army Transportation Corps with early service in Vietnam, then continued in the Reserves until 20 odd years later he commanded a railroad unit that was mobilized to active duty during Desert Shield/Storm. He entered the US Army retired rolls as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2005.
After thirty years employment as a professional in the Human Resources and Technical Training fields, he moved to southwest Florida where he joined the firm established by his wife, Anne, providing consulting services and equipment sales for railroad rolling stock.
As a writer of Historical Fiction, he brings to life the experiences of ancestors whose lives and times are recounted in the “Normanstone” series.

Alice Melzer

No biography available at this time.

Jeff Nilsson


Jeff grew up in suburban Chicago and received a BA from Miami of Ohio in the late sixties.  He served with the United States Army as a military advisor in Vietnam and on returning pursued an MA in Bio-psychology at the University of Connecticut.  He made his professional home in Reading, Pa where he earned an MBA from Alvernia University.  He worked as a manufacturer’s representative before starting his own firm, an agricultural commodities trading venture.  Jeff has had a lifelong interest in writing, but decided to take it more seriously at the urging of his wife and editor, Bonnie.   Home is now Pirate Harbor looking west over the water.  Their three daughters and five grandchildren remain in the Northeast, so there are frequent sojourns in that direction.  Jeff is also an inveterate traveler, particularly drawn to Asia.   

Paul Anthony Petruzzi


Paul Anthony Petruzzi was born and raised in Brooklyn long before Brooklyn was applauded as the coolest place in America. He (barely) graduated from high school, spent a tumultuous year in community college, then decided to strike out in the world with neither a particular trade nor the now-required college degree. Paul always had an interest - perhaps a modest talent - for writing, which led to a variety of interesting (if generally low paying) career moves. Paul was a buyer and catalogue copywriter for a famous New York City specialty store, advertising manager for a map company, wrote copy in praise of high-quality roofing materials, and has spent the past twenty-six years in medical communications and publications. Paul decided to return to college as an adult night student and has earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA), English from Centenary University, Hackettstown New Jersey; Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature from Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey; and Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in Humanities and Literature from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Paul is the author of the book, “How Their Medical Knowledge Shaped the Poetry of Two Physician Poets: John Keats and William Carlos Williams.”

E. J. Skarda

skarda photo

E.J. Skarda is the talented author of historical/romantic fiction adventure novels: The Bones of Odin, The Saracen’s Head, Follow the Bugle and his latest, Eruption. He has also published a self-help book for Baby Boomers called Downsizing Your Home—where he predicted the housing bubble in 2005. An active writer who makes his home in southwest Florida, he attends book signings as well as writers’ conferences around the country. Mr. Skarda is a member of Pine Island Writers and the Gulf Coast Writers Association.

Growing up in the Midwest he attended the University of Illinois then received his Masters Degree in History from NIU in DeKalb. Mr. Skarda is a military veteran and has retired from a career in international business. Having managed businesses in Europe, he credits this experience living there in helping him create exciting characters in his stories. His visits through many of the museums in Europe and Russia helped in the research for his many books.

Best of all he enjoys the company of other authors and is stimulated by their dedication to the art of writing for people’s enjoyment and entertainment. “Everyday people have experiences that they could write about in a short story or novel,” he is fond of saying.

E.J. Skarda has five completed new manuscripts waiting to be edited. All are historical/romances of the highest caliber—attractive to both male and female readers. Most of his published works are available at and other fine booksellers.

He is now writing monthly articles that are being published in multiple SW Florida magazines. He says, “It is a new experience doing interviews with remarkable and talented people in the area. The fan feedback I also get is also encouraging to me as a writer.”

Bugle Eruption Saracens head

Chai Marie Voris


Chai (pronounced Shay) Voris is a new fiction writer that made her living  as a technical, business  and training development writer. She is now blessedly retired and decided to start writing for enjoyment. She is a born storyteller or drama queen as her mother likes to put it. Chai  decided to start giving voice to the many characters that roam around in her head (did I mention crazy?) Chai lives on Pine Island with her wife Deborah Hunter, her mother-in law Marjorie Hunter, and her sister-in-law Peggy Richards. She is lucky to also  live across the street from her mother, Melanie and her father (a published author and her inspiration) James Lee Voris.

James Lee Voris


Jim was born in West Central Oho in March of 1939. He graduated from High School (class of 57) and entered the US Air Force straight out of High School and served 8 years as a photographer, the last 3 years as a Photography Instructor at the USAF Photo School, Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado. Following service he returned home to become the Photographer (3 years) and ultimately the Director of the Audio Visual Department (10 years) for Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He also attended Wittenberg but received his BA from the University of Wisconsin, Stout.

He taught AV-Television-Photography at Wittenberg U., Clark State Community College, Eau Claire District 1 Community College (Wisconsin), and the Professional Photography Program (9 years) at Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota, where he taught 43 different photography related courses covering 5 Diploma options, and from where he retired. His total teaching experience extended beyond 35 years.

Voris is relatively new to the world of publishing with six books and working on his seventh. He states, “I’ve had these stories rattling around in my head for as long as I can remember. I finally decided to let the characters ‘out’, so it was really them that told me their story. I just wrote it down.” The major attribute of all his stories is the manner in which he tickles your mind and gets you to think.

Please visit the
Author’s website for viewing sample chapters from his books.

Warren (Ed) Zettle

Warren Zettle was born on the first of December 1955 in the small community of Berkley Springs, West Virginia. His parents were married to each other since the beginning of WWII. They have since passed.

Married, divorced, widowed, single and still loves to make people laugh, he is blessed with two daughters, a son, and six wonderful Grandchildren.

Warren attended Pennsylvania State University at Berks Campus for 2 years, studying hotel and restaurant management.

In 2007, after almost 28 years, he retired from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

After selling his small construction company in Pennsylvania, he moved to Cape Coral, Florida to start writing. His goal is to write about his life experiences.

At this time, he is working on a collection of poems to commemorate his late wife's life. He is also working on a children's book about the ducks and guinea fowl he raised.

Warren has two poems published in "Best-Loved Contemporary Poems", Little Pegasus Press 1979. Also in 1979, he adapted one of his poems to music and had it copyrighted. The song has not been released at this time.

Pine Island Writers


Board of Directors

Jeff Nilsson - President
Chai Vori - Treasurer
Paul Petruzzi - Secretary/Historian
Jim Voris - Member-at-Larg


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