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

Jeannette Batko


Her books, COWPATH TO HEAVEN and SOUNDS LIKE A STORY attest that Jeannette Batko enjoys reading, hearing, telling, and writing stories. She credits and gratefully thanks Pine Island Writers for the encouragement and critique members offer. Several of her entries appear in the anthologies: PINE ISLAND TIME, THE SPIRIT OF PINE ISLAND, and STORIES FROM THE CREATIVE COAST. Other published stories have been published in The Storyteller Magazine and Peppertree Press.

Jeannette lives in Cape Coral, attends writing organizations, creative writing classes, and critique groups. She recently taught HANDS ON WRITING, creative writing for Seniors through the Lee County Memorial Hospital SHARE program. She enjoys artistic endeavors, lectures, and drama, plunks the piano keys, and participates in a myriad of social activities including cribbage and other card games.  Although she kicks up her heels to Rock and Roll, she is learning ballroom dance.  The matriarch of a multi-generational family, she is currently writing her memoirs and knows that the best expressions of all are love and laughter.

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.

Tom Brown

No biography available at this time.

Tony Caruso

Tony Caruso

No biography available at this time.

Jim Friedlander


Jim Friedlander has been writing and exploring history since elementary school. In college he majored in English/creative writing and American History. After graduating he spent a year Ryerson University in Toronto studying film. Since then he has worked as a documentary film maker, carpenter, elementary school teacher and the mate on a working schooner. His films include All In A Day's Work about a popular tavern in a old mill town where people of all strata gathered for lunch. His recently published novel Soul Passage is his first time writing historical fiction and is available on Amazon. His second book Every Thing You Need To Know is nearing completion and should be available soon. He lives in Connecticut and Florida with his wife and two beagles where he like to hike, fish, sail, and ride his antique motorcycles.


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.

Mitch Grant

mitch photo

Mitch Grant is a retired banker, race car driver, author, and an aspiring buccaneer. He is a seventh generation Floridian. He grew up in Polk County where, when not attending school, he worked in the family’s groves and on its ranches. As a boy, he spent summers and vacations at his family’s property in the wild swamps of Gulf Hammock, located on Florida’s remote northwestern gulf coast. There he learned boating, fishing, and many other important cracker skills.

After graduating from Stetson University, he served his Uncle Sam as the leader of one of the U.S. Army’s finest field artillery units. In recognition, his uncle paid to further his education at the University of South Florida, where he earned a MBA degree. He used this degree to secure employment in the commercial banking industry, and for the next thirty-five years he helped to lead banks in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama to great success. During this time he also pursued his passion for sports car racing, a fire that had been lit when he attended the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race as a child. Now, having raced for over twenty-five years, he is one of the nation’s most experienced and best-known amateur drivers.

Upon retirement from banking, he and his beautiful wife Sherry moved to St. James City, Florida, a quaint fishing village, where he began to pursue another dream- writing fiction. His writing is inspired by, and modeled after, that of his hero and Sanibel Island neighbor, Randy Wayne White. When not writing or fishing, he is helping to educate his four grandchildren in the ways of Southwest Florida’s legendary pirates.

Cut Bait Muders Front Cover 04152014


Silver Spoon Cover

Scott Gray

No biography available at this time.

Shawn Ingalsbe

No biography available at this time.

Eric Jacobs

PIW-ID Eric A Jacobs

No biography available at this time

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

No biography available at this time.

Lenny M. Loyd


After graduating High School in Florida, Lenny served five years on active duty in the Navy spending time in Viet Nam. Leaving the service, he and his wife settled in Massachusetts where he went to work for a construction company. His father died shortly thereafter and the two relocated to Florida to help his mother. He found employment he enjoyed with a national chemical corporation but, he could not adjust to the weekly changing shift work. After three years, his mother had adjusted to her life without his father, and he moved his family back to Massachusetts.

There he went to work for the Municipal Water Department. At the same time he volunteered as an Auxiliary Police Officer. Within a short time period he was appointed as a Special Police Office and began working full time in both positions. After a six month period, the head of the DPW gave him an ultimatum, either continue to work for the Water Department or resign and work for the Police Department. He chose the Police Department and never looked back.

Along the way, while working the midnight to eight AM shift, he attended Northeastern University in Boston, receiving a Bachelors’ degree in Law Enforcement. He worked his way through the ranks from a Patrolman, to a Motor Officer, a Juvenile Officer and finally a Detective. After twenty decorated years he retired as a Sergeant of Detectives.

After his retirement and with a great love of motorcycling, he joined the Blue knights, an international Police Motorcycle organization, where he served on the Board of Directors before becoming the president of a local chapter. He served in that capacity for many years.

At the same time Lenny also became a Licensed Private Investigator, working on violent crime cases as drugs, rapes and murders and sometimes involving violent street gangs such as The Big Head Boys, The Bloods, The Crips, The Geneva Ave and The Humboldt Street gangs. At times, he worked for the offense and at others for the defense.

After tiring of the violence, he worked for several municipalities and most of those cases involved workplace injury and theft. On the civil side of his workload, his cases revolved around family matter cases, such as divorce cases, child custody cases and cheating spouses. He frequently travelled the eastern seacoast and became well known for his success rate. After ten years of logging thousands of hours of intensive surveillance, with hundreds of video recordings and pictures taken and used as evidence in court trials, he once again retired.

Not happy with retirement, he re-entered the workforce and became a member of the security force at a Massachusetts University. He enjoyed his position, finally and happily retiring for the last time a few years later.

In his free time, Lenny studied and became a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with the National Guild, as well as a nondenominational minster with the Congregational Church of Practical Theology. He is also, now become a dedicated Snow Bird, living on beautiful Pine Island.

Because the dream of becoming a professional writer has been with him for many years, he has decided to make it a reality, starting with his memoir.

Patricia Loyd


Born in Boston, Massachusetts to two very Irish, Catholic parents, Patricia Coyle Loyd was the oldest of five children. After three years in parochial school, the family relocated to the small seacoast town of Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Growing up there, her winters were filled with schooling and ice skating. Her summers spent on the beaches between Ocean Bluff and Buzzard’s Bay.

Shortly after high school, she met her soul mate and convinced her very strict parents to offer their approval for her to marry. Blessed to have their wishes answered, she and her husband had two daughters and two sons, who filled her with love and purpose.

Along the way, she found her spirituality to be stronger than her religion, with what seemed like a more direct route to her desired destination. After becoming a Certified Clinical Hynotherapist with the National Guild, she continued on to become an ordained Minister with the Congregational Church of Practical Theology.

Her children grew up with meditation on a daily basis and were happy to share with their friends. The family room in her home was frequently carpeted with children, after school. They all had tests and trials to conquer and found that daily centering afforded them great personal power.

She has now embarked on a new journey - to become a published author. In addition to the poetry she has written for most of her life, she is writing a book and winters on Pine Island, in Florida for peace and inspiration.

Linda Sprigg Madl


A Kansas native, Lind Madl earned her bachelor's in English and Journalism at Baker University. During the twenty years she and her husband lived in St. Louis, Missouri, she was active in writers' organizations and wrote for marketing publications and trade journals. She has published ten historical romances, 9 novellas, and numerous short stories with New York publishers and Amazon. She has also written grants and engineering project profiles. Linda loves reading and supports libraries through book sales and leading book discussion groups.

Now dividing her time between Kansas and Florida, she writes and reads for fun with a special interest in the study of journal keeping. She also likes history and serving as a docent in historic homes. Linda lives with her husband, a retired scientist. They enjoy the company of their daughter and son-in-law who both teach in Lee County Florida Schools.


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. She has written seven mystery-dinner shows to date and four full length plays.

Through her publishing company, Lilly’s Lane Publishing, her seven mystery-dinner plays are now for sale. “My workshop is geared to school teachers and/or other nonprofit leaders who are looking for a fun way to raise money. After producing seven shows, I felt I could impart step-by-step directions from the staging and publicity to the food. I am happy to speak to any local groups interested in producing a mystery dinner or to anyone interested in purchasing the rights to one of my published scripts.”

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.

Carl Megill


Carl Megill began writing comedy sketches, while working as a deejay at a New Jersey radio station. He soon learned the craft of writing sitcoms and wrote over twenty spec scripts for shows like, Frasier, Golden Girls, and Everybody Loves Raymond. He won a national television script writing competition and a playwriting competition for his three-act play, You’re Never Too Old, which was produced on stage to favorable reviews. During this time, he started writing a humor column, The Mind of Megill. It ran for over ten years in print and on the internet. For one season, he wrote for the Seattle-based sketch comedy television show, The Night Shift.
As a performer, Megill wrote and emceed (as Bob Hope) Hollywood Canteen, a USO type variety show. He continues to write sitcom pilots, screenplays, and short stories from his home in Florida.

Carl is the founder of the
Comedy Writers and Humorists Wanted Group in Cape Coral, Florida.


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.   

Kelly O'Sullivan

No biography available at this time.

Christine Prestella


Christine Prestella was born in Pennsylvania and graduated from North Penn High School in Lansdale. She also attended Millersville University in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She migrated to Cape May County New Jersey after spending many summers there in her youth. She became a searcher of the county records of land titles. After some years, she became an examiner of titles and a State Certified Producer. Ultimately, she was appointed as Production Manager for a large title company consisting of 12 offices spread throughout Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Deciding after 40 years in the land title business with the roller coaster rides of the economy, enough was enough, she retired.

Being an avid reader, she joined the Avalon writers group. She has written her memoirs, several short stories, and is currently working on a book. For several years she and her beloved husband, Ed, vacationed in Fort Myers at their daughter and son-in-law’s condominium in Gulf Harbour. With the knowledge of the area and all there is to do year round, they became snowbirds to Cape Coral.

In October of 2014, they became pelicans. Enjoying nature and its beauty Christine has taken all the courses necessary and is a qualified Florida Master Naturalist. Christine is a member of several plein air groups and also a member of the Cape Coral Art League.

Nina Pulliam

Nina Pulliam_pp

Nina Pulliam, a retired high school English teacher, divides her time between Matlacha and Itasca, Illinois.   She writes poetry and essays for her own pleasure and as an intellectual exercise to keep her mind alert.   She enjoys participating in open mic poetry readings, and has published one poetry chapbook, On Island Time.

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

PO Box 266
Matlacha, FL 33993

Board of Directors

Gail C. Berreitter - President
Alice Melzer - Vice President
Christine Prestella- Secretary
Ed Zettle - Treasurer
Kelly O'Sullivan - Member-at-Larg

This website and its content is copyright of GBerreitter for the Pine Island Writers. All rights reserved.

Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all the contents in any form is prohibited without the prior written permission of the publisher. You may not store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system. You may print or download to a local hard disk extracts or events for your own personal use. You may not use any, or part of any, poems or writings that are included in this website without the express permission of stated author.

For permission requests, write to the publisher at