Tag Archives: Marco Island

Naples guidebook geared to kids colors facts with fun

A (Mostly) Kids’ Guide to Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades, by Karen T. Bartlett. Mostly Kids’ Guides LLC. 80 pages. $18.95.

There’s nothing square about this 8 X 8 inch high-energy book. It’s the hip answer to youngsters who visit Naples and say, “I’m bored. What are we going to do?” The book features snappy page design, a full color palette, lively text, plus attractive photographs and other illustrations. Mostly, it just explodes with delicious information about this corner of Southwest Florida with a focus on children’s activities. Feedback from the Naples tourism industry has been exuberant, and the author-publisher already has plans for other regional Kids’ Guide books. KidsGuide2015_Final_FRONT_Cover

The guide begins with a colorful burst of images tied to interesting facts about some of the area’s hallmark critters and plant life. Then we are off on a romp that samples fun at the beaches (all five of them) and continues with an exploration of places that make nature education and preservation fun: the Conservancy, the Naples Zoo, and the Shy Wolf Sanctuary among them.

Everywhere, the text offers a child-friendly voice with good natured wit. Ms. Bartlett bills herself as the “Adventurer in Chief,” and no child, parent, or grandparent will deny the powerful appeal of her upbeat, lighthearted guidance.

What else is on the kids’ tour? Well, there is the Naples Bay / Tin City area, a ride on the Naples Princess, the shops on Fifth Avenue South (with a lingering glance at Regina’s Ice Cream Pavilion), the dog-friendly Third Street Shops, the various city and county parks, the Naples Depot Museum, the Naples Botanical Gardens, the Galisano Children’s Museum, the Florida Sports Park, and many other close-in destinations.

Then the book opens to a wider view, introducing highlights in and near Immokalee, including the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Roberts Ranch. Ms. Bartlett teases her readers with fascinating bits of Native American history along the way.



Marco Island receives attention for its shelling and other beaches, along with tempting descriptions of parasailing, helicopter trips, and waverunner fun. Readers younger and older are invited to visit Keewaydin Island and Cape Romano. Look out for the gopher tortoises and spiny tail iguanas. Don’t miss the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the triangular fish that “looks like a bat with warts, with lipstick-colored lips.” Go on a fishing trip. Visit Mackle Park.

Then get ready for the Everglades.

Airboats on the river of grass, alligators, manatees, Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, hammocks you don’t sleep in, Billie Swamp Safari, Skunk Ape Headquarters, Everglades City and its historical museum, Big Cypress National Preserve, Collier Seminole State Park, Clyde Butscher’s gallery, and countless varieties of beautiful birds – is there no end to this place for family’s to enjoy while they learn?

To read the entire review, as it appears in the March 25, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 26 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte editions, click here  Florida Weekly – Bartlett 1 and here Florida Weekly – Bartlett 2 

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Exciting new book brings Marco Island to your coffee table

Marco Island: Florida’s Gulf Playground, by Michael Coleman. Marco Island Ink. 110 pages. $25.00.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the “new” Marco Island, Michael Coleman has assembled an attractive volume that blends history, colorful personalities, the island’s many attractions, and a generous assortment of color photographs illustrating the natural and manmade beauties of the place named by TripAdvisor as the number one U. S. island travel destination.  FrontCoverImage-1

A foreword by Herbert Rosser Savage, the distinguished architect of many of Marco’s private homes and public buildings as well as the Marco Beach Hotel (refashioned as today’s Marriot), sets the book’s buoyant tone  and previews some of its key stories. Mr. Colman’s own prefatory note provides brief biographical notes on his contributors and offers thanks to many others, include the Marco Island Historical Society, for making the book possible. His overview whets the appetite for the essays to come.

Readers will enjoy learning about the native Calusa Indians, the Spanish settlers vanquished by diseases, and Marco’s early development in the last half of the eighteenth century. William Thomas (W. T.) Collier, known as the founder of Marco Island, settled there in 1870 with his wife and young children. This Collier (no relation to the Barron Gift Colliers) was a successful entrepreneur. He farmed, opened a hotel, helped start the first school, and invented a clam-dredging machine that launched a successful industry. For a short while, the island was named Collier City in his honor.

Just as interesting are the vignettes about Tommie Barfield, who successfully lobbied for better roads and schools in the area and worked with Barron Gift Collier, the major landholder, to split off huge Collier County from Lee County. She was a dynamic, forceful woman who received the governor’s appointment to be the new county’s first Superintendent of Public Instruction.

MIchael Coleman

MIchael Coleman

Remember that we are talking about a mosquito-infested frontier whose pioneers needed great resolve. The doctors Louis and Mary Olds were among those pioneers. A delicious chapter of the book is Betsy Perdichizzi’s incorporation of sections from Mary’s diary and letters into a fascinating narrative of early twentieth century Marco life. Mary’s poetic wonder at the area’s natural beauty leaves us wanting more.

The big story, of course, is the Mackle Brothers’ dream of a tropical residential wonderland. This experienced team of developers was smitten with the possibilities of a spectacular island community with affordable residential sections, mostly on canals; hotels and other resort amenities; and spectacular beaches. They aimed not at vacationers, but rather at retirees.

The scale of the proposed enterprise demanded extensive infrastructure work.

The brothers advertised widely and well, and they received a lot of interest across the nation. Magazines and newspapers ran feature stories about the mecca-in-the-making. Models were build and a five-phase plan developed. People were ready to purchase. And they did. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 1, 2015 Naples Florida Weekly, click here: Florida Weekly – Marco

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Headlines, deadlines, and death

Deadly News, by Don Farmer with Chris Curle. Publisher Page/Headline Books. 320 pages. Hardcover $24.95. Trade paperback $19.95.

Suppose the second Atlanta Olympics is about to begin and the news frenzy is ratcheting up while lavish parties feed the buzz. Atlanta’s business and political leaders are all eager to make a killing. Instead, a killing makes the news and threatens to upset their plans, as law enforcement agencies and news crews make the death of a movie star their primary focus.

Waning film star Cav Campbell didn’t just die, he plummeted from the 46th floor of a condo skyscraper and was impaled on the tower mast of TV news truck on hand to cover the celebratory pre-Olympic partying. Campbell, the boy-toy of Global News Service’s chief owner Brenda (“Bren”) Forrest, was a coke-head with a healthy tab and tan. Readers know early-on that he was tossed to his death by Eurasian beauty Lia Lee as part of a plot to weaken Bren’s hold on GNS so that British television and illegal drug entrepreneur Ian Phelps can take over her company.  Cover_DeadlyNews

Suspense rises from the question of whether or not the diabolical Phelps will succeed.

However, the investigation process is far from the major center of interest, especially since it does not take hold until the final fifty pages of the novel. Lia Lee is murdered before she can be found out (let alone arrested) – or is that Tia Lee, Lia’s twin?  Hmmmm, perplexing.

Much more engaging and much more authoritatively presented is the world of television news. Whether detailing the workings of the CNN-like Global News Service or the local Atlanta Channel  3 and its NewsBlitz3 so-called Satellite News Center, Mr. Farmer and Ms. Curle have it nailed. The bits and pieces of reporting, jockeying for position on camera or at the site of the action, and the control room banter are handled with an authenticity colored by sharp, satiric overtones.

Curle and Farmer

Curle and Farmer

The authors provide us with pomposity, other forms of vanity, eagerness, aggressiveness, industry, silliness, and even some downright professionalism. The race for getting the news out first, maybe even getting it right, regularly comes alive in the novel’s most entertaining passages. The parody of news-speak gets repetitious after a while, but it never gets dull. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the August 21, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the August 22 Naples edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Don Farmer

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Books Across the Bridge

Sunshine 4

This was the working title of an article I submitted to the Naples Florida Weekly.  It was published in the August 20-26, 2009 issue. To read it, click here: Florida Weekly – Sunshine Booksellers.

 Here are some other book industry pieces in Phil’s archives:

Trident Press                                      Wickham Books South

Mina Hemingway                                  Whitehall Printing

Ft.Myers magazine – ArcheBooks

Stuart Unsworth in the south branch of Sunshine Booksellers

Stuart Unsworth in the south branch of Sunshine Booksellers

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BOOK BEAT 38 – Wade Keller

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   April 4-10, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

When Wade Keller moved to Marco Island in 1995, he immediately became active in the Naples Rotary Club and began writing a “Spotlight” column for the club’s bulletin. These were 500-word profiles of the Rotary Club’s members. Wade wrote about eighty of these over a two-year period. One of those members, Edward Elliott, thought Keller had done such a good job on his profile that he asked him for help in writing his memoir. This ghostwriting stint was the first step in Keller’s progress from retired CPA to owner of a busy vanity press with satisfied customers.

Keller was born in Greenville, Georgia where he worked in the family grocery store. Later, he served in Vietnam, earned degrees in accounting, and taught college. While building his CPA firm, he began writing a financial column in a local weekly. This experience infected Keller with the writing bug, so agreeing to do the Rotary Club’s “Spotlight” column was just a natural continuation of the pleasure he had received from his newspaper column. 

When I asked Keller about his transition from CPA to memoir editor-ghostwriter, he said that for him it was no big deal. His right brain and left brain activities nourished one another. As a CPA, he had gathered data (cancelled checks, invoices), organized it, and reshaped it into financial statements. In helping his memoir-writing clients, he taped interviews, reviewed their notes, false starts, life documents and photographs, and organized these materials in a way that made for effective story-telling.

The original idea was simply to offer ghostwriting services, but soon the need to bring these projects into print led Keller to develop Keller Publishing. His business has grown by word of mouth, as one satisfied customer leads to another. After Edward Elliott’s Taking the Thread Back came out late in 1998, Keller was approached to work with Joseph Callahan on Shoot for the Pin, which came out the following year.  Things went slowly through the first years of the new century – only four books in five years. But then, in 2005, the press took off and Keller Publishing now has eighteen books in print and six more in the pipeline.

In becoming a publisher, Keller defined his particular contribution as what it had been from the beginning – organizing, shaping, and ghostwriting. He has engaged an individual in New Hampshire to take care of book and cover design. He has contracted with Ingram to handle the distribution of Keller Publishing titles. These are not unusual outsourcing steps, but rather how most publishing firms work – large or small. Keller takes bids from various printers and decides which one will give him the quality he requires at the best price. A recent project, Charles Strasser’s From Refugee to OBE, led Keller to contract with a printer in Shanghai. The next step will be to find the right public relations firm.

Other Keller Publishing titles include Gail G. Thomson’s The Making of a Surgeon, William R. Rose’s Tell Me a Story, Grandpa, Lynn Bonasia’s poetry volume A Family Journey, and Edward G. Storie’s At the Helm. Memoirs by Joe Manoni and Glenn Williams include sections on wartime service. Maury Atkin’s Life’s Voyage tells, among other things, of Atkin’s work in helping to found the modern state of Israel and to gather support for its survival during its early years. There is, indeed, a great variety in the life experiences revealed in books that Wade Keller has nourished to and through publication.

Keller Publishing has brought out two titles by the Polish-born neurosurgeon Janusz Subczynski, detailing different periods in his life. The first, In the Shadow of Satan, tells of the author’s experiences living under Nazi and Communist regimes. The Colors of Life focuses mainly on his life after immigrating to the United States.

As more manuscripts come his way, Keller sees increasing quality, along with enhanced marketing prospects, for his new and future titles. New contracts, in some cases, have royalty arrangements. Yet he does not intend to become a trade publisher. Just as he is content to focus on ghostwriting and leave design and publicity to others, Keller is content to fill the need for what he calls a “boutique, for-a-fee” publisher. And he is content to specialize in memoirs. Keller’s credo is to focus on what he knows he can do well. Check up on this interesting enterprise by visiting kellerpublishing.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club. Send him your book news at pjason@aol.com.

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