Literary Themes Subconsciously Rooted in Childhood
Insecurity and salvation.
These two themes recur often, yet unplanned, in the fiction and poetry I write. They usually emerge from a character’s self-doubt, countered by an unrealistic belief that situations, no matter how awful or threatening, will eventually turn out okay, that adversity will ultimately surrender to peace. But why do these particular themes keep showing up?
A few years ago, a political disagreement with my father ignited in him a firestorm of condemnation of other cultures and races—never mind the mixed racial heritage of my spouse and our daughter. Communication ended abruptly in mutual expletives. After more than five decades, he and I were finally done. I figured I’d never hear from him again, that the next time I visited him would be at his graveside.
The relationship with my father has always been tenuous at best. I felt safe with him only once—in 1958 as he carried me through the hospital parking lot on my way to a tonsillectomy. I was two. Fear soon obliterated that initial sense of safety, thanks to repeated episodes of rage, from verbal abuse and an eagerness to fight, to animal cruelty and domestic violence, a few incidents recounted in my published fiction.
My parents separated when I was twelve. I’d spent that summer of 1968 working in my father’s Phillips 66 service station in Crestview, Florida—sometimes alone and always under order to wear a “Wallace for President” Dixieland hat and campaign necktie. Dad’s small, two-pump station had three restrooms in back, designated as “Men,” “Women,” and “Restroom,” the third to which he directed people of color.
In the station’s front window, he’d hung a hand-drawn recreation of an auto tag that read “Put your (heart symbol) in Dixie, or get your (donkey symbol) out.” One hot day, a traveller from a northern state noticed the sign after I’d gassed his car. “If I’d seen that damn thing,” he snarled, “I wouldn’t have stopped.” I was glad my father was away at the time. Otherwise, a fight would have certainly ensued.
Bizarrely hot-tempered, my father was quick to violence. I witnessed such fury that crippled and killed animals and bruised and broke people both emotionally and physically. I felt a flood of relief and freedom when my parents split and I ended up in Pensacola, Florida, fifty miles from Crestview and my father. Marrying his second wife shortly after the divorce finalized the following year, he moved some forty-five miles north to his hometown, Andalusia, Alabama. With his wife’s deft support, he established a used car dealership that provided a good income, even though he faced legal problems at one point for buying and selling stolen cars. Due more to his wife’s business savvy than his public charm or honesty, he skirted prosecution and became wealthier than he’d ever imagined he would, though it had no effect on his refusal to pay child support, doling out only small portions when I visited him.
During my visits that never exceeded two days, he appeared to have mellowed since the divorce—specifically, his propensity to violence had apparently evaporated. I became jealous of his wife’s two sons whom he’d adopted. They, I believed, enjoyed the father I craved, a reasonable man who respected them enough to do what a parent should do. The emotional distance between us increased while the frequency of my visits decreased. Only after his death did I become aware of the psychological and physical violence he waged against his new family.
Fast forward four-and-a-half decades.
My father’s wife died in April 2015, succumbing to cancer. During her decline, her children visited her at home, but not without consequence. When his wife’s daughter said she would not move into my father’s home to take care of him after her mother’s death, he became so livid he threatened to kill her if she ever returned for any reason. She didn’t. When his oldest adopted son visited his mother a few days before she died, my father accused the son of plotting to steal his money and slugged him. The son responded instinctively, knocking my father to the floor.
“Get out!” my father raged. “Get out before I kill you! I’ll put you in the ground you ever come here again!”
Increased paranoia followed his wife’s death and led to rabid accusations that relatives were constantly plotting to steal his land and money. He threatened to kill many and alienated all but one, a cousin whose tolerance ensured the care he needed.
Already receiving thrice-weekly dialysis treatment before his wife’s death, my father had developed a notorious reputation among Andalusia’s medical workers for verbally abusing doctors and dialysis personnel. In early August 2016, he suffered a mild heart attack that placed him in a hospital where doctors determined he’d require rehabilitation center placement upon release. Facilities in his hometown, thanks to his reputation, refused to take him, necessitating placement in a Crestview facility where he required sedation most of the time. Shortly after placement, my cousin informed me that his condition had begun to deteriorate rapidly, that he suffered from advanced diabetes, kidney disease, and increasing dementia.
Living in New Mexico, I decided not to visit him. Any possibility of reconciliation, no matter how remote, had surely vanished within sedation and the distortions of dementia. Then my wife’s brother in Pensacola died unexpectedly, and we made the 1,350-mile drive to attend his memorial, placing us within forty minutes of the Crestview rehab facility.
On a rainy Wednesday morning in a town that’s grown unrecognizably large since my childhood, the nurse in the rehab facility’s locked wing pointed out my father at the end of a line of wheelchair-bound patients parked along one wall. The greasy pompadour he’d worn most of his adult life had been replaced by shorter hair, brushed into a faux mohawk, the result of a nurse’s playfulness. He stared blankly toward the opposite wall, murmuring. I knelt before his chair and took his hand.
He slowly turned his gaze.
“You know me?”
After a moment, he nodded almost imperceptibly.
“Who am I?”
He smiled slightly. “Ray,” he whispered.
“No, not Ray.” I have no idea who Ray is. “Try again.”
Something clicked. His face tightened, his lips parted slightly, and he began to cry. “Chris…”
Just as quickly, his expression muddled, and the stare returned. He nodded. And nodded.
I engaged him in talk as best as possible and took a few photographs.
He held my hand off and on, muttering things like, “I used to have lots of money. No more. It’s okay, it’s okay. Madelyn [his deceased wife] is coming soon.”
Aides began wheeling patients to the dining room for lunch.
“You seen Mama?” he asked. His mother had died some forty years earlier. “She ain’t been by.”
“No, but you’ll see her soon,” I said. “She’s waiting.”
A shadow of a smile played on his lips. He nodded once. “I love everybody.” He nodded again. “Everybody loves me.”
“I’m sure they do.”
He leaned slightly forward. “I’m proud…”
My breath caught with hope that, at last, he’d express something he’d never before expressed.
“I’m proud,” he whispered again, “real proud of my life.”
I let the breath go. “Yes, you should be.”
He sat back.
An African-American nurse arrived to take him to the dining room. My father, whose racist rants were legendary, reached for her hand and grinned.
“She’s nice,” he said. “People…people’s the same everywhere.”
The nurse positioned herself behind the chair.
“We need to go,” I said. “Time for you to get some lunch.”
He raised a hand toward my wife—that unsuitable, racially-diverse person who married me thirty-eight years ago.
“I love you,” he whispered.
She hugged him.
He then held his hand out to me. His face twisted momentarily as though he might cry again.
“I love you,” he said. And he nodded.
“Yeah, I love you, too, Dad.”
His eyes glazed.
I lowered his hand to his lap and let go.
The nurse said, “Y’all can wait or come back after lunch if you’d like.”
We thanked her and stepped aside, and she wheeled him away.
Six days later, the day after our return to New Mexico, he died. My cousin said that he had been en route from dialysis to the rehabilitation center when he went to sleep for the last time.
I didn’t travel to Andalusia for the funeral, but my cousin filled me in. The preacher of the church my father attended—designated as a primary recipient of Dad’s estate after he disinherited his wife’s children and me—delivered a glowing tribute that had some attendees wondering who the hell the preacher was talking about.
Southern preachers consider eulogies sacred opportunities to exploit insecurity and harvest souls by lobbing sizable chunks of fire and brimstone while praising the exceptional life of the dearly departed, now cozied up in heaven with Jesus.
What does it hurt?
Most of us—kind or cruel—reach for higher standards at some point. And we all fail in different degrees. It’s okay to remember people as better than they were. It’s okay to grant a little salvation.
At some point, I’ll stand at my father’s graveside, keenly aware of how he influenced me to strive to be his opposite, of how he will always affect the characters and themes in my fiction and poetry.
Creative writing workshops can be tailored for beginner-to-advanced writers, addressing the needs of specific groups. Workshops incorporate interactive exercises to encourage students to develop skills specific to their writing goals. Students engage in various activities to improve ability and inspire confidence within a fun, nonjudgmental environment. Workshops cover fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, exploring story and poetic elements such as plot, character, voice, dialogue, description, setting, pacing, and point of view. Some of the techniques utilized include:
Exploring events in students’ lives as inspiration
Exploring writing as a positive outlet
Examining situations through multiple points of view
Focusing on subject development
Developing a story from first draft through final revision
Chris has served as a fiction writing instructor for Writer’s Digest School and has conducted numerous workshops for continuing education programs. Chris offers free single-class workshops to K-12 public schools.
Educational presentations and musical performances on Native American flute explore the mythology, history, crafting, and music of the ancient and modern versions of the flute, dispelling popular but erroneous information of the flute’s development and true place in history.
Popular mythology portrays the Native American flute as an instrument used solely by men to court women, but the flute was and continues to be an instrument played by both men and women in numerous activities, from simple enjoyment of playing to use in fertility rituals honoring gods of harvest and more.
The presentation includes an overview of existing flute creation myths, flute history and use, crafting and structure information, and performance. Presentation length can be tailored to needs.
Chris is a craftsman and musician of the Native American flute. He has published two books on the history and crafting of the instrument and recorded/released three CDs of native flute instrumentals currently available under the WindPoem title. For more information or to arrange a presentation, please contact Chris.
~ A Vietnam veteran whose mother’s love proves worse than captivity…
~ A musician who employs music to resurrect his dead wife…
~ A boy who flees an abusive father to land in a circle of demented faeries…
~ An Iraqi War vet who discovers compassion in a tortured, decaying phooka…
~ A sexual assault victim who burns for her victimizers…
~ An angel, wounded and imprisoned by a father desperate for divine healing of his physically and mentally deformed daughter…
~ A suicidal woman who discovers salvation in a Tokyo street vendor’s box…
More than 30 years in the making, Walking after Midnight is a literary trove, collecting 61 tales of critically acclaimed dark fantasy, southern gothic, science fiction, horror, and mainstream fiction that mine the depths of character–how we fail and triumph, accept and reject others and ourselves, and light the darkest recesses of our souls.
On sale now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats and soon to be available in paperback through most bookstores. Get a 20 percent discount if you order through Createspace. Use the code NA8BMLHK at checkout.
Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale
“Who doesn’t love a good children’s book encompassing a sweet message, exquisite, color imagery, and a dog gifted with the ability to whip up southern cuisine! Not only is [Hush, Puppy!] a delightful read of fantasy and enchantment, but [readers] will be astounded by the illustrations provided by Beth Young, who uses brilliant color to enhance the author’s story.” ~ Suzie Canale, Three Lights in the Attic book reviews
Ever wonder how fried cornbread came about? I did… Thus begins the story, Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale. “In celebration of good people and tasty food,” the book is appropriate for all ages, available from most bookstores.
TheiBooks version features full print-book layout AND read-along audio, perfect for iPad and other devices.
Beth Young is an award-winning artist with an extensive background in commercial, creative, and instructional art.
It can take a long time to grow up. For Josh, six centuries isn’t enough. Enabled by Big Daddy’s fast-past gadget—a 1966 Mustang—and a device for communicating with the dead, 16-year-old Josh and companion Keala flee into a bizarre future six centuries hence that ends up looking a lot like home.
“Wry wit on socio-political problems … a refreshing look through the eyes of a youngster on the verge of manhood.” ~ MyShelf.com
“A special novel that will captivate readers and linger in the mind.” ~ Two Lips Reviews
“Action alone will keep you reading. The story contains a moral, but will humanity learn its lesson? A fun read.” ~ Coffee Time Reviews
Spanning nearly three decades of C.S. Fuqua’s literary career, White Trash & Southern collects 232 poems—an exploration of life’s challenges and rewards. Download an excerpt.
“With an eye for the particular and an ear for the music of everyday life, C. S. Fuqua shares with readers his brave and lyrical view of human experience. An unflinching examination of the sorrows and joys we experience while moving through the world, White Trash & Southern is a fine collection of poems.” ~ Dr. Wendy Galgan, Editor, Assisi
“White Trash & Southern is an exhaustive book of powerfully emotive poems that explore a lifetime of wounds still present and gaping. By not looking away, by taking stock and inventory of all that we’ve been through, we come to discover that we’ve become strong, hardened, and wise for all of our hardships. This is a wonderful book of poetry, and a fine achievement that will greatly enrich its readers.”~ Devin McGuire, Editor of the Unrorean and author of After the Hunt (Encircle Publications 2013)
“… gritty, insightful, humorous, tragic, and celebratory … begin anywhere, skip around, or read it from back to front … a well-written, coherent collection … however you read it.” ~Jonathan K. Rice, Editor/Publisher, Iodine Poetry Journal
“A poignant, very strongly emotional collection of poems ~ one I intend to return to …” ~ Judith B. Glad, author of Improbable Solution
In 2009, cancer took two friends. Joe had a good job that provided health insurance, but the insurance company refused to fund “experimental” procedures that might have saved his life. Rob was a waiter, working for low wages and tips, unable to afford insurance and not covered by an employee insurance program. Both men experienced inexcusable desperation and suffering–one because he had no insurance coverage, the other because he did. Many of the poems in this collection explore Joe’s experiences over the last year of his life and his family’s experiences the year following his death. All are meant to honor these two friends, both deeply cherished and missed.
Interest in crafting the Native American flute has grown steadily since the 1980s, but reliable, specific crafting instruction has been as scarce to come by as reliable accounts of its history and development. Native American Flute: A Comprehensive Guide ~ History & Craft updates and combines into one volume the two previous books, The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft and Native American Flute Craft, to present a comprehensive history of and crafting guide to the native flute.
The Native American flute is popularly known as a “love” flute, an instrument used by males in courting, but it is much more and has been played throughout history by children, women, and men. The commonly accepted mythology of the native flute does nothing but reinforce the negative view of native women as subservient to the male. Take, for example, entries on various internet sites that claim that only men played the flute—no matter the culture or tribe—that its power is completely destroyed by the slightest touch of a woman. Such stories make for appealing chauvinistic myth, but not for accurate history. While hunting and courtship were, indeed, associated with the flute, its uses numbered many more than courting, were more diverse in intent, and certainly were not restricted to the male.
Native American Flute explores the documented history and mythology of the Native American flute, debunking the popular belief that the flute is only a man’s instrument.
Native American Flute provides an in-depth, fully illustrated, step-by-step manual for crafting one of the most stirring instruments ever invented. Learn the flute’s celebrated history and build it in all its forms, from the ancient end-blown flute to the modern two-chamber flute, drone, and more.
Native American Flute’s detailed history and thorough, easy-to-follow crafting instructions provide novice and pro alike the tools and understanding to craft personalized Native American flutes from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo, PVC, and more while honoring the flute’s cherished journey from ancient times to present day.
Discover the true history and mythology of the Native American flute and learn to make your own, including the ancient and modern versions.
From Dexter Johnson’s garage studio to James Joiner’s “A Fallen Star,” Tune Records to FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound studios, Aretha Franklin to the Rolling Stones and the Black Keys, from the beginning to present day—Muscle Shoals: The Hit Capital’s Heyday & Beyond is an updated, expanded version of Music Fell on Alabama, the original book-length history of the Muscle Shoals music industry, first published in 1991, chronicling the cooperation of black and white producers and artists during one of the most volatile times in U.S. race relations, cooperation that produced many of the most celebrated and enduring songs of all time.
Much has been written about the Muscle Shoals music industry and even a movie produced since publication of Music Fell on Alabama, most accounts crediting the area’s phenomenal success to some mystical power divined from the Tennessee River. Myth makes for good drama, but Muscle Shoals: The Hit Capital’s Heyday & Beyond details the true source of the industry’s success: the tenacious determination of talented individuals obsessed with the desire to make a difference in music.
And what a difference they made…
Notes to My Becca
“C. Stephen Fouquet writes about his newborn daughter with sensitivity and grace. This is a compelling, honest book.”~ Bob Keeshan, TV’s “Captain Kangaroo”
In 1995, Notes to My Becca introduced a wide audience to the societal trend of at-home fathers. NTMB is a touching, practical look at parenting on the wonder—and anxiety—of becoming a father. All editions are currently out of print, but the book may be offered as a free digital download in the future. If interested, please contact C.S. Fuqua by clicking on the email icon.
The collection of poems documents intimate moments of the author’s daughter from birth into adolescence, contemplating the challenges, sacrifices, and rewards of parenting, The Swing elicits “thoughts and feelings from many experiences. A must for any (parent).” ~ Willie Elliott for Myshelf.com.
The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, Uncial Press, 2008, EPIC winner for Best Poetry Collection.
“Mama’s Boy”: Honorable mention in Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 6.
“Mama’s Boy”: Year’s Best Horror Stories XXI selection.
“Old Lady Campbell, She is Dead”: Honorable mention, 1990 Year’s Best Horror & Fantasy.
“The Sharps and Flats Guarantee”: Year’s Best Horror Stories XX selection.
“Undertaker II: Drowning”: Honorable mention in Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 7.
“Walking After Midnight”: Year’s Best Horror Stories XIX selection.
Novels & Fiction Collections
Walking after Midnight, Cooperative Ink, October 2016. More than 30 years in the making, Walking after Midnight is a literary trove, collecting 61 tales of critically acclaimed dark fantasy, southern gothic, science fiction, horror, and mainstream fiction
Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget, Cooperative Ink, 2015. First published by Awe-Struck Publishing in eBook format as Big Daddy’s Gadgets, 2006. Republished in 2011 in paperback and eBook formats by Mundania Press. “For some, it takes a long time to grow up. For Josh, six centuries isn’t enough.” Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget is science fiction social satire, set in present-day Hawaii and six centuries into the future. Available from online bookstores and most local bookstores by order.
Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale, Cooperative Ink, 2013. Ever wonder how fried cornbread came about? I did… Thus begins the story, Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale, the fictional history of how an excitable puppy and a tiny baker create the southern treat, hushpuppies. Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale is available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.com and in Nook/ePub format from Barnes & Noble. Full production read-along audio for both print and eBook editions is available as an mp3 download from Amazon.com.
Rise Up, Mundania Press, 2012. C.S. Fuqua’s second collection of short fiction, collecting two dozen short stories that span nearly thirty years of Fuqua’s career, features ghosts and faeries, the macabre and mundane, rich and poor, and distraught and jubilant, exploring the motivations, actions, and consequences that force ordinary people to become extraordinary. Sometimes we recognize evil’s approach; sometimes we don’t. Rise Up explores the consequences. Out of print.
Trust Walk, short fiction collection, Mundania Press, 2010. The 35 stories collected in Trust Walk explore the motivations of the human spirit, the qualities that lead us into temptation as well as deliverance, that make even the most ordinary among us extraordinary. The unabridged audio version was published in 2013. Out of print.
Butterflies Die, audio novel, Books in Motion, 2001. Currently unavailable.
Flight of the Omni, audio novel, Books in Motion, 1998. Currently unavailable.
Deadlines, audio novel, Books in Motion, 1998. Currently unavailable.
Death in Service, audio novel, Books in Motion, 1997. Currently unavailable.
Cancer, Cooperative Ink, 2015. A collection of poems celebrating two friends who died from different forms of cancer in 2009.
White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, Volume I, Cooperative Ink, 2014. Collects more than 200 previously published poems, spanning three decades of C.S. Fuqua’s writing career.
If I Were, I Would!, Cooperative Ink, 2014. (A different version, entitled If I Were, was published in eBook format by SynergEbooks, 2011.) Promoting vocabulary expansion and parental interaction, If I Were, I Would! inspires deeper awareness and respect as it takes readers on an extraordinary ride into imagination. Embark on fantastic adventures in a whimsical universe of poetry and art where everything is possible. Explore and celebrate the wonderful and diverse world through imagination! And if you see the authors there, wave!
The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, Uncial Press, 2008, EPIC winner for Best Poetry Collection. Poems that document intimate moments of a child from birth into adolescence, contemplating the challenges, sacrifices, and rewards of parenting, The Swing elicits “thoughts and feelings from many experiences. A must for any (parent).” — Willie Elliott for Myshelf.com.
Native American Flute: A Comprehensive Guide ~ History & Craft, Cooperative Ink, 2018. Native American Flute explores the documented history and mythology of the Native American flute, debunking the popular belief that the flute is only a man’s instrument. Native American Flute provides an in-depth, fully illustrated, step-by-step manual for crafting one of the most stirring instruments ever invented. Learn the flute’s celebrated history and build it in all its forms, from the ancient end-blown flute to the modern two-chamber flute, drone, and more. Native American Flute’s detailed history and thorough, easy-to-follow crafting instructions provide novice and pro alike the tools and understanding to craft personalized Native American flutes from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo, PVC, and more while honoring the flute’s cherished journey from ancient times to present day.
Native American Flute Craft ~ Ancient to Modern, Cooperative Ink, 2015. Interest in crafting the Native American flute has exploded since the 1980s, but reliable, specific crafting instruction has been as scarce to come by as reliable accounts of its history and development. In 2012, Cooperative Ink published C.S. Fuqua’s The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, which explored the instrument’s true history and mythology while also providing a section on crafting, geared primarily to experienced woodworkers. In response to the continuing success of that book, Fuqua has written Native American Flute Craft, an in-depth manual for crafting the Native American flute in all its forms, from the ancient Anasazi flute to the modern two-chamber flute, from the traditional to the drone and more. Easy-to-follow illustrated instructions provide thorough instruction on crafting personalized instruments from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo, and PVC.
Muscle Shoals ~ The Music Capital’s Heyday & Beyond, Cooperative Ink, 2014. From Dexter Johnson’s garage studio to James Joiner’s “A Fallen Star,” Tune Records to FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound studios, Aretha Franklin to the Rolling Stones and the Black Keys, from the beginning to present day–Muscle Shoals: The Hit Capital’s Heyday & Beyond is an updated, expanded version of Music Fell on Alabama, the original book-length history of the Muscle Shoals music industry, first published in 1991, chronicling the cooperation of black and white producers and artists during one of the most volatile times in U.S. race relations, cooperation that produced many of the most celebrated and enduring songs of all time.
Notes to My Becca, Second Edition, Cooperative Ink, 2013, features an update, new photographs, and expanded entries, offering a touching, practical, and thoughtful look at parenting from a dad’s viewpoint while addressing the miracle, anxiety, fear, and wonder of becoming a parent. Notes documents the fear of a possible third miscarriage, tumultuous extended-family situations, and normal post-birth parenting stress. But more, the book describes the joy of father regarding his new daughter, from first breath to first feedings, first words, and first steps.
The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, Cooperative Ink, 2012, separates flute myth from flute fact to provide a better understanding of the Native American flute’s true place and function in history and in today’s culture. The book details the development and use of the native flute by both women and men, as well as the myths that have grown up around its use. The book’s final section provides readers with detailed instruction on crafting both the ancient, end-blown native flute and the modern native flute.
Alabama Musicians: Musical Heritagefrom the Heart of Dixie, The History Press, 2011. Alabama Musicians details the history of “musical” Alabama, from the state’s contributions to folk music, jazz, country, rock and more from the 1800s through the present, featuring biographies of dozens of Alabama music stars who have had and continue to have profound effects on music. Although much of the book’s information is now outdated, the publisher refuses to take it out of print or contract an update.
Notes to My Becca, First Edition, Fairview Press, 1995, charts a new father’s concerns, feelings, and hopes during his wife’s pregnancy and through the first year of their daughter’s life. The late Bob Keeshan, TV’s “Captain Kangaroo,” wrote, “C. Stephen Fouquet [C.S. Fuqua] writes about his newborn daughter with sensitivity and grace. This is a compelling, honest book.”
Divorced Dads: Real Stories of Facing the Challenge, Fairview Press, 1996, is an unusual glimpse into the lives and relationships of some extraordinary divorced fathers, providing an intimate portrait of fatherhood beyond marriage, an exploration and examination of post-divorce failures and successes as “Dad.” Out of print.
Music Fell on Alabama, Crane Hill Publishers, 1991; reprinted by New South Books, 2007. The first book-length history of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recording industry from its inception through the 1980s. These two editions are now out of print. The content has been updated and expanded, published as Muscle Shoals ~ The Hit Capital’s Heyday & Beyond
“The Addict,” 3PBS Radio, Melbourne, Australia; Rick Kennett, producer; 1986.
“Crane,” In the Eye anthology by Thunder Rain Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 87 Alamogordo, NM 88311-0087; 2007. Proceeds from this anthology went to “Habitat for Humanity” to benefit those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
“The Soft Touch,” Bath & Domestics, 75 SE 4th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444; 3rd Qtr, 1980.
“Sparking Revolution,” BusinessAlabamaMonthly, P.O. Box 66200, Mobile, AL 36660; Oct 1988.
“Suppository,” The Writer’s Exchange “Favorite Faux Pas,” The Writer, posted on the magazine’s website, September 2008.
“Staying Country in the Country,” Western & EnglishFashions, 2403 Champa St., Denver, CO 80205; Jan 1981.
“This Alabama Wholesaler Works on a First Name Basis,” BeerWholesaler, 75 SE 4th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444; 2nd Qtr, 1979.
“Triumph’s First Postwar Roadster,” CarCollector/CarClassics, Box 28571, Atlanta, GA 30328; Vol. IV, No. 3, March 1981.
“Unattended Children: An Engagement Policy that Works,” Wilson Library Bulletin, Bronx; Vol. 62, No. 10, June 1988.
Various basic reading stories; CriticalVocationalReadingSeries, Instructional/Communications Technology, Inc., Huntington Station, NY 11746; Sets VA*A, VA*B, VA*C, 1981.
“Water Heating in the 1980s,” Maintenance & BuildingManagement, 287 Mokauea St., Honolulu, HI 96819; May 1983.
“When One Man’s Hometown Changes,” HometownPress, 2007 Gallatin St., Huntsville, AL 35801; March/April 1988.
“Yagoda: 45 Years of Success,” BeerWholesaler, 75 SE 4th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444; 4th Qtr 1978.
“Youth and Experience Pay Off at New Orleans Beer Wholesaler,” Beer Wholesaler, Delray Beach, FL; Sept/Oct 1980.
Selected Nonfiction Periodicals
The Writer; Ad Astra; The Old Farmer’s Almanac; Honolulu; Business Alabama Monthly; The Wilson Library Bulletin; Alabama Magazine; Hometown Press; Hawaii Remodeling; Naval History; Freelance Writer’s Report; Hawaii Foodservice News; Hawaii Automotive News; Apparel Industry Magazine; Hawaii Real Estate Investor; Brake and Front End; Eastern Automotive Journal; Army/Navy Store & Outdoor Merchandiser; Professional Housing Management Association “Pronotes,” Kids Fashions; Tack ‘n’ Togs; Western & English Fashions; Christian Bookseller; Bath & Domestics; Beer Wholesaler; Veternarian Economics; Pet Dealer; Pet Business; Car Collector/Car Classics; Creative Crafts; Play Meter; Hawaii Maintenance & Building Management; Hawaii Building Industry Digest; Hawaii Food Show Guidebook; Social Issues Resources Series, Inc.; Critical Vocational Reading Series; Hawaii Filipino News.
Rick Kennett is one Australia’s best known and most talented writers of ghost stories, science fiction, and dark fantasy. One of his more widely available works is the story “Out of the Storm,” a haunting tale involving the missing minesweeper-corvette HMAS Barrinji, appearing in Terror Australis, the Best of Australian Horror, available from Coronet Books, Hodder & Stoughton, 10-16 South Street, Rydalmere, NSW 2116, Australia. Please visit the Official Rick Kennett Website for more information and a complete listing of his work.
Mike & Joe Suchcicki, game designers
Former newspaper editor Mike Suchcicki (visit his personal website) and son Joe head Ghoulash Games, “an ever-so-tiny game design studio in Florida,” creating wonderful family-oriented games. GHOULASH: The Last Game on Earth is an exciting, fast-paced battle game for 2-4 players in which you battle giant, green deadly monsters called Ghouls to determine the fate of the human race. Read all about the game at Ghoulash.com. Mike & Joe’s Card Game is a fast-paced challenge for 2-6 players that combines THREE GAMES into one madcap session—a word-construction game, a card-battle game, and a board game! (The game board and dice are on the cards!) Read more about this unique game on Mike & Joe’s Card Game website page.
Molly Haven, author
Molly Haven’s debut novel The Signatures, a wild-and-madcap romp strictly for mature audiences, is a swinging tale of sweet, innocent, young attorney Stacee Pockett, who considers sex an unnecessary distraction from the work she loves. When given what appears to be a simple assignment by her boss and idol, the intimidating Greta Gable—get eight signatures crucial to The Big Case—Stacee finds it difficult at best to accomplish her task with the decorum demanded by Greta, especially since her clothes keep coming off. The Signatures is available at Amazon (print and Kindle), Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Read a review here.
Dick Claassen, author/musician
Under the direction of master flautist and instructor Dick claassen, PlayFolkInstruments.com is dedicated to increasing accessability to the Native American flute. Dick has penned several instruction books on learning and playing the Native American flute, banjo, and ukulele, the most comprehensive, understandable, and fun books in the field. If you love folk music and want to know more about it, PlayFolkInstruments.com is the place to visit.
Richy Campbell, author
Richy Campbell capture’s special moments in his poems with the goal to make sense of “all of this.” His latest collection is Lovely Peripheries, available from Live Canon. A Staffordshire native, Richy is a coeditor of Sideways Poetry Magazine and resides in south Manchester. His work has recently appeared in Under the Radar, and Ink, Sweat and Tears. You can find more about him at www.richycampbell.com. He also exists on Twitter, specifically at @richyacampbell.
Yvon Hintz, author
Yvon has been writing stories since she was a child, starting her epic Half Horse series when she was nineteen. As much as weaving stories—as she describes it—she loves to edit. She has edited stories for others as well as her own.
Yvon is also an artist who illustrates some of her stories and creates covers for them, as well as covers for friends’ novels.
Some of Yvon’s favorite things include science fiction, cats, dragons, travel and watching movies and documentaries. She’s published numerous novels, including Half Horse—The Quinolan Qhronicles (12 books), Hyper Space Key Trilogy: Skypuddle, Arim’s Dark Star, Hyper Space Key, Blood Dr
agons, Bottle of Jin D.N.O., TANDDIS series (Time and No Damn Direction in Space), Creepy, SukiandSilk, and Pinhead of Angels.
Jan De Vos, aka JD Fox, is one of Belgium’s premier rockers, having served as drummer for The Machines, Belgium’s number one pop band, from the late 1970s through the early 1980s. In 1989, he joined Derek & The Dirt, a heavy rock outfit that recorded four albums before his departure. In 1991, he became a singer-guitarist, combining American roots music with French lyrics, recording an album with the band Paris Texas and three solo records.
Shortly after what he thought would be retirement from the music business in 2007, Fox contacted Muscle Shoals songwriter Spooner Oldham and hooked up with the Sunset Travelers, Holland’s finest roots band. Together, they recorded The Roadmaster, a tribute to Oldham with songs that speak for themselves—no sophisticated arrangements, no big production, no vocal acrobatics.
In 2016, Fox released My Friend, his homage to another Muscle Shoals legend, Donnie Fritts. This time, he decided to go further back to his musical roots. With friends from Belgium, he formed The Velvet Street Band (the name refers to the address of the home studio where the album was recorded), an outfit that primarily plays acoustic instruments. The album also features Bonnie Fuqua, performing the spoken vocal on the title song, “My Friend.”
To purchase these albums, please visit the JD Fox website for more information.
John McVey, musician
John McVey, dubbed by one Texas journalist as “Houston’s hottest guitarist,” headed for Arkansas after graduating high school in 1974 and later migrated to Texas to establish himself and his band, the Stumble, as one of the state’s most popular blues groups. Now he’s taken his talent to Missouri where he’s based in St. Louis. If you’re in the neighborhood, check out John and his band in concert. Your ears will be glad you did. John’s CDs are available at Amazon.com. Keep up to date by signing up at his website.
Screamin’ Skull Press
Tony Nesca and Nicole I. Nesca have one question: Where have all the fearless artists gone? Unable to find a mainstream publishing outfit that suited their taste for grittier writing, the Nescas formed their own—Screamin’ Skull Press. For the Beat Generation, controversy was the norm, not the exception. Living on the fringes of society was considered to be more exciting and fulfilling than conforming to the mainstream.
Tony and Nicole feel connected to that generation through their own work and an innate understanding of what it means to be artists whose work cannot be deemed “conventional” by anyone’s standards. Tony and Nicole have cultivated distinct individual styles, publishing numerous works through Screamin’ Skull as their journey toward a more rebellious future for literature continues.
Rogue Press is a boutique publishing house founded by a triumvirate of deviant writers who wallow in the melancholia of the scribe to elicit both dolor and cheer. Believers in the dialectic, aesthete, and absurd, Rogue Press subscribes to the principles of parrhesia.
Rouge isn’t interested in privileged tones of voice or pious drivel. The world is Rouge’s already, catering to the press’s sensibilities. But Rogue is not intrigued by the trashy fatuity that permeates society. Instead, Rogue seeks honest, earnest prose from fractious souls and intriguing poetry from plebians—wry, contemporary voices that reflect our troubled times.
With four decades of experience in every facet of the publishing industry—writing, editing, layout, design, finished product—I can assist you in making your current project the best it can be. If you need coaching, proofreading, detailed editing, ghostwriting, layout and design, or publication of your project, contact me to see how I can help.
Ready-to-submit electronic and print file creation
Indie author vendor accounts setup
Determine clear objective and goals
Define remedy and plan of action to overcome obstacles
Assist in organization, defining timeline for completion (research, first draft, revisions, completed manuscript)
Assist in developing clear plot, voice, tone, etc., for intended audience
Assist in adapting personal experience into creative process
Basic Manuscript Evaluation
The basic evaluation will assess a manuscript’s overall readability, addressing:
Strengths and weaknesses
Point of view
Overall grammatical structure
Proofreading and Editing
Grammar, spelling, punctuation
Grammar, spelling, punctuation
Mechanics of style
Basic manuscript formatting
In-depth book editing
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation
Mechanics of style
Consistency and logic (plot and characterization)
Manuscript standard submission formatting
Basic reorganization and/or rewriting of content
Elimination of jargon and/or cliché language/phrases
Other non-mechanical editing as needed
Research (optional), writing original material, checking or correcting reading level, and/or creating/reformatting tables and figures
Create new manuscript from client’s rough draft, utilizing client’s research and content
Develop client’s idea into marketable manuscript, utilizing client’s research
Basic Manuscript Evaluation
The basic evaluation will assess a manuscript’s overall readability, addressing:
Strengths and weaknesses
Point of view
Overall grammatical structure
Detailed Fiction Manuscript Critique
Evaluate and offer specific critique on strong and weak areas, with suggestions for improvement regarding:
Characterization and character development
Point of view
Mechanics (grammar, spelling, punctuation)
Detailed Nonfiction Manuscript Critique
Evaluate and offer specific critique on strong and weak areas, with suggestions for improvement regarding:
eBook Formatting & File Creation
Formats include Nook, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc. (price dependent upon length of book and use of tables and/or illustrations; query for specific price quote for your project)
Audio iBooks creation (optional cost dependent on scope, audio source, and length)
Vendor account setup and publication through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, and partnered distributors (optional service, cost dependent upon selected vendors)
Print Book Formatting & Creation
Full formatting (price dependent upon use of tables, illustrations, and other specialty design requirements)
Printer-ready formatted file
Optional publication and distribution through CreateSpace/Amazon (channels for worldwide distribution to online and brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries)
Full cover design specific and unique to your book, using graphic or photographic background
High school and college class essay editing: I will not research or write a class essay. That would be cheating. I will only edit to improve a paper’s appearance and readability. In some cases, I will make suggestions for further research and expansion to improve content.
Public relations and other business writing
Advertising pamphlets, booklets, and flyers, cost dependent upon project scope; includes printer-ready formatted file
Other services: Have a need? Let me know, and we’ll discuss possibilities.
Small projects, payment accepted at beginning of assignment.
Major projects/services, 50 percent down payment, 50 percent upon completion (payment plans available)
Payment via conventional check, PayPal, or (preferred) Dwolla
Background & Qualifications
I began writing professionally in 1979 while still in college, freelancing for magazines. In 1980, I became a newspaper journalist and later moved into magazine staff writing and editing. In the late 1980s, I turned to full-time freelancing, publishing nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in regional, national, and international publications. Please click here for a publishing bibliography. Click here to open and download my press kit.
Nearly two dozen books published by traditional large and small publishers, including novels, poetry collections, short fiction collections, and nonfiction books
Professional Background: Chris has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, book editor, English tutor, substitute teacher, janitor, respiratory therapy technician, gas station attendant (when such things existed), salesclerk, musician in a Mexican restaurant, writing instructor, and more. After graduating college and a few stints as a daily and weekly newspaper reporter, Chris moved to Hawaii where he served as a magazine writer/photographer, both on-staff and freelance. In the mid-1980s, he turned to full-time freelance writing, specializing initially in nonfiction before transitioning primarily to fiction and poetry.
Chris’s work spans a broad spectrum—historical, musical, and social nonfiction, and dark fantasy, literary, and science fiction and poetry—appearing in hundreds of publications worldwide as diverse as Bull Spec, Main Street Rag, Slipstream, Pearl, Bogg, Chiron Review, The Year’s Best Horror Stories, Cemetery Dance, Christian Science Monitor, Honolulu Magazine, Naval History, and The Writer. His published books include Native American Flute Craft ~ Ancient to Modern, The Native American Flute ~ Myth, History, Craft, Trust Walk and Rise Up fiction collections, The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget, Muscle Shoals ~ The Hit Capital’s Heyday & Beyond, Cancer, White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, and Notes to My Becca.
Birth: 1956 in Andalusia, Alabama, City Hospital, a two-story building on East Watson Street near the intersection of South Cotton Street, built in the early 1900s, later named Covington Memorial Hospital before being abandoned in the early 1960s. The hospital’s now gone, razed, nothing remaining, not even a splinter. Chris swears he is not responsible.
Education: BA in communication arts/journalism from University of West Florida where he learned to write news articles shortly before 24/7 cable and internet “news” annihilated journalistic ethics, reliability, and professionalism.
Other Pursuits: Chris is an accomplished musician of several instruments, primarily guitar and Native American flute. He has recently produced the WindPoem series of CDs, featuring Native American flute meditations and World Fusion compositions. Other music projects are in pre-production. His music can be licensed through Pond5.com for use in other creative projects. He also crafts Native American flutes. For more information about his flutes and music, please visit the WindPoem page.
[C.S. Fuqua] writes … with sensitivity and grace … compelling, honest. ~ Bob Keeshan, TV’s original Captain Kangaroo
Working on the [New Mexico Review] is such fun as I get to read and review such great work like the poem “Gibson” from issue 7 by C.S. Fuqua. Just as the subject of the poem speaks out about life, line by line, so, too, does it speak to me. ~ Christina Litherland, New Mexico Review
Good horror … isn’t about gore but about the unexpected … Fuqua is a master of prose. I found his writing crisp, filled with details that make a story come to life. ~ Diabolical Plots
…[R]eminded me a bit of Manly Wade Wellman’s Silver John stories. I can think of no better praise than that. ~ SFRevu
…a lasting impression on the reader. ~ Sensawunda
Wry wit on socio-political problems … ~ MyShelf.com
C S Fuqua handles the themes of love and death with beautiful simplicity: what else is there to life? ~ Kalyna Review
With an eye for the particular and an ear for the music of everyday life, C. S. Fuqua shares with readers his brave and lyrical view of human experience. ~ Dr. Wendy Galgan, Editor, Assisi Literary Magazine
C.S. Fuqua’s [poetry] paints an entire story with a Tom Waits brush. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it. ~ Ken S., Editor, Spank the Carp literary magazine
…a feeling of hope and the certainty that happiness and goodness are still out there. ~ Cynthia Harris, author
… gritty, insightful, humorous, tragic, and celebratory … ~ Jonathan K. Rice, Editor, Iodine Poetry Journal
Fuqua’s, then, is a mind that’s not mired in or bogged down by horror, but one that appreciates the possibilities dark fantasy provides in terms of language and ideas, symbol and emotion. ~ David Bain, author/editor
Walking after Midnight ~ Collected Stories, with eight “year’s best” honors, has something for every reader in your life, from dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction to slipstream, southern gothic, and literary.
Stream C.S. Fuqua’s WindPoem albums and Sinner’s Suite EP on Pandoraand Spotify.
Get free downloads by signing up for the newsletter, packed with information about current and coming releases and free downloads of fiction, poetry, music, and more in every issue.
No matter the effort to avoid it, personal experience—from the drama of relatives to political shenanigans—creeps into every writer’s work, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. The Confederate flag hoopla and the fight for and against the rights of people of color, women, and homosexuals are examples of issues that have proved provocative, disruptive, even destructive in interpersonal relationships and a godsend for the political powers who use division as a control device. Buying into the propaganda of political and media organizations, we make extreme decisions that affect our interpersonal relationships for the rest of our lives. When those decisions involve a writer, you can bet the effects will be reflected in the writer’s work.
Politics is naturally contentious, each generation viewing its own political tomfoolery as more contentious than what came before. Since the advent of 24/7 “news” channels, whose primary purpose is not to report news, but to stoke fear, frustration, hatred, and anger, politics has been exploited fully as a tool to divide and punish rather than to find compromise and serve the common good. I’m not so naïve to believe this use of politics is something new, but its in-your-face nature has strengthened exponentially in recent decades, thanks to technology. We’re assaulted relentlessly through our televisions and radios, computers, smartphones, tablets—umbilically connected to designer “news” sites that feed our prejudice and fear to the point we lose grip on reality and rationality and strike out at all who differ in opinion, worldview, gender, sexuality, religion, lifestyle, or race.
I grew up in South Alabama and Northwest Florida during the late 1950s through the early 1970s. The region wasn’t then nor has it become one of the most tolerant of diversity. Flaming midnight crosses lit up country pastures. Robed, hooded figures gathered like kids at a mega weenie roast, singing angry, hateful campfire songs about folks born of different race or religion, preaching the end of the world was nigh if lesser races acquired the same rights whites already enjoyed. Oh, save us, Jesus! It’s Armageddon! Color me silly, but I don’t think Jesus the Jew would be welcomed at such an event.
A close relative was then and remains a man of the white robe, flames flickering in his eyes, despite his interaction over the decades with a variety of people of color and cultures, thanks to his public sales business. He has never felt a need or desire to question the region’s prevalent stereotypes and fears of people who’re different, to overcome the hatred, to grow. Why, I don’t know. To my knowledge, he’s never suffered physically, financially, or mentally due to malicious acts by any person of color. And he certainly hasn’t lost his rights to groups or individuals gaining their own. He has, however, been a willing, unquestioning consumer of the Wallace/Thurmond/Trump/Helms/Cruz/Santorum/Fox/et.al. stream of fear and hate mongering, never once seeking objective verification to even the most extraordinary claim, never once attempting to understand any issue through a viewpoint other than his own bigotry.
During a phone conversation four years ago, I voiced support for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. “Don’t you tell me,” he growled, “you like what that communist nigger’s done.” I wasn’t shocked by his response. We’d debated his use of such small-minded epithets on numerous occasions, especially this particular word which he uses not only in reference to anyone black, but also to persons of Middle Eastern, Mexican, and other cultural and racial backgrounds. I suspect he used the word this time simply to anger me as he began a litany of irrational charges against President Obama, that the President had “ruined” the economy, that he’s Muslim, that he’s waging war against Christians, that he’s not even American—all the batty, right-wing talking points and conspiracy theories that even reality can’t counter in the true believer’s mind. Then he asserted that the U.S. should have never pulled out of Iraq, that Obama had secured the destruction of America by doing so.
“We never should have invaded Iraq in the first place,” I said.
He took a breath. “That’s something we agree on,” he said. “We should’ve nuked the hell out of them because them A-rabs ain’t even human.”
That was it.
We were done.
After a lifetime of shared, reluctant tolerance, our relationship had abruptly come to an end.
Earlier this week, my spouse received an email from one of her relatives, an email purporting that the factual histories of the Civil War and Rebel battle flag are instead myth, that the war had little to do with slavery, that the flag is a symbol of only southern heritage, not racism. The sender did not copy me on the mail, perhaps because she understands my view of such bigotry and did not want to risk rebuttal. When my spouse replied to the mail, she copied all to whom the original had been sent, and she copied me as well, addressing the original mail as though her relative had offered it as an example of how gullible people are when something supports their bigoted worldview:
“People will believe anything rather than admitting that it’s been 150 years since the end of the Civil War and we still have racism. How sad and disappointing. As a nation we have made progress, but we still have far to go.”
A day later, the following landed in my mailbox, thanks to my spouse’s relative who hit “reply to all.” It’s presented unaltered:
“No one living today is a slave or has owned a slave, am I wrong in not liking group of people who have different views of life than I do? I have always been told ‘your rights end when they intruded on mine’ how much longer do we as Americans need to bend over and take it up the as…before these people realize they need to start to take care of themselves? This crap has been going on for years. The American public has, in my opinion done way too much to make amends for what has happened in the past and they still want more, work for it like the rest of us have done and quit asking for a hand out.”
It would have been wise not to reply to the rant, but I’m not a wise man. I thought that, by engaging the writer in a rational, fact-based discussion, he might look beyond the hyperbole of pundits, might change his mind. So I responded, copying all on the list:
“Thanks for your entertaining mail. If you would like to engage in a rational debate on specific issues, backing your points with objective, valid sources (not political organizations such as Fox News or DailyKos), I’d be happy to debate you. However, specifics are required. For example, instead of generalizations such as ‘these people,’ define whether they are black, of Mexican descent like yourself, Jewish, Middle Eastern, East Indian, Asian, etc., since the average southern white lumps all races of color into the same lesser-than category. Another example would be ‘handouts’ and the group to which the so-called handout is provided–social security, Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, etc.–and how it affects you and how or why it is right or wrong. Back your argument with objective sources. Another example is ‘your rights end when they intrude on mine.’ Be specific. For example, do you mean you have the right to fly a Nazi flag on your property, but you don’t have the right to demand government or public entities to fly the flag on their buildings or property since that property represents all people? Or I have the right to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster but not to force you to say my prayers in school?
“You get the idea.
“If you and the others in this mail exchange do not desire a rational debate but would prefer to vent anger and frustration over issues based on the ‘factual’ nonsense regarding the Confederate flag that began this exchange, I prefer to be left out of the loop.\
A few moments later: “Fuck you.”
My response: “Okay.”
Then: “Just forget my email address and I don’t ever want to see you or any of your family again. Chris you are a looser.”
“For future reference,” I replied, “it’s ‘loser,’ not ‘looser.’”
When we refuse to engage in rational discussion, when we set our minds so rigidly based on irrational hatred and fear, when we refuse to consider another point of view unless it agrees with our own, when we refuse to grow, all of us are losers.
From fiction to poetry, creative nonfiction to straight reporting, personal experience colors my work in some way. One example of experience influencing my nonfiction work began with intervention in three on-the-street domestic violence incidents in Hawaii in the early1980s, which led to an article for Honolulu Magazine on the state’s problem of domestic violence, what police termed “local love.” The article helped in a small way to push a mandatory arrest bill through the state legislature to become law, requiring police to arrest aggressors when responding to domestic violence calls. In fiction and poetry, the above relatives, as well as others, have provided models for characters in stories such as “Side-Road Shack” and “Luau,” the novel Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget, and in many of the poems in White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, Volume I.
We writers are grateful to the relatives who manufacture drama, the politicians who stir the pot of fear and hatred, the citizens in our communities who fuel suspicion and discontent. By simply being who they are, these people prove an ironic benefit to writers. We thank them for helping us to explore the irrational, the hateful, the destructive through the characters they inspire. If, by chance, our work benefits the reader or society at large in any measure, we owe them that much more gratitude.