Archive for December, 2014

My story: Why I love to tell your story

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Welcome to the Fox & Fiddle! Now that you’re here, I ought to introduce myself, although I much prefer interviewing other people. Here’s a quick peek at the raw materials that contributed to the construction of Fox & Fiddle Productions.

My upbringing in the U.S. flatlands was uneventful, apart from Walter Mitty dreams of becoming a mountain man someday. My parents were quite progressive in the sense that they had international connections and were constantly entertaining people whose foreign accents and appearances were very different from our Midwestern neighborhood norm. I listened with wide eyes to their exotic stories of life in far off places like Egypt, Nigeria, New Guinea, Japan, and Scandinavia.

My itch for adventure was first satisfied when I took bicycle trips with my high school friends: Once we took a night-time ferry ride across Lake Michigan, followed by a 660-mile journey home by way of the U.P., and another time we drove to San Francisco and pedaled to the Atlantic, gathering enough stories and photos to fill a National Geographic magazine article. (We contacted them with a proposal and they invited us to submit our story, but then we chickened out. We feared that our Instamatic camera photos were not good enough). This was in 1976 when not many 17-year-old kids were bicycling from California to Delaware.

My mountain man ambitions were partially fulfilled when I spent two summers working in Yellowstone National Park. I even picked out a spot near Beartooth Pass where I hoped to build my cabin someday. Then at the age of 22, I rode my motorcycle out to Southern California and I never looked back. Earlier, I had played in a band that traveled like the Partridge Family in a converted bus, performing from coast to coast for nearly two straight years. Then in Los Angeles, I hooked up with a terrific band that opened doors for me to play some exciting outdoor festivals in the USA, Canada and Europe.

I still love playing recreational keyboards in bands, but at the age of 30 – with my awesome wife Joan and a second daughter on the way – I took a more serious look at my career. That’s when a door opened for me into talk radio. For 15 years – punctuated by a stint in graduate school at the University of Edinburgh – I created half-hour radio programs for an international audience. And I loved it. Topics covered anything related to families, relationships, child-rearing, health and more.

I won’t bore you with all the details, except to say that our journey took us to Colorado for 18 years and then to North Carolina, with bunny trails leading through places like England, Scotland (twice), Turkey and the Philippines. For more than five years, the Fox & Fiddle Inn hosted hundreds of wonderful people, and we held many music jams on our huge wraparound porch overlooking Hominy Creek (see www.foxandfiddle.net/bnb

As our kids grew up and flew the coop, Joan and I decided that our huge, historic house and farm was too big for the two of us. So we sold the farm, downsized, and gave the name to Fox & Fiddle Productions.

The silver thread throughout my life is a love for stories. I can’t even begin to estimate how many books I’ve read to my four children, and needless to say, they absolutely love stories! Truthfully, nearly everyone I know has an amazing story. I love uncovering them as much as a miner loves finding gold.

I am honored to have helped many people share their tales of laughter and tears with others, through print, web, audio and video. No matter what I write or produce, my passion is to make an emotional, tangible connection with the reader/viewer/listener. I do not speak to the “masses” through “mass media.” I connect with one person who most needs to receive a life-changing message.

So, that’s my story. Now … what’s yours?

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How “The Fox & Fiddle” got its name

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

My kids and I were walking beside a lake in North Carolina, brainstorming about a name for the bed and breakfast we were soon to open on a small organic farm in the Appalachian Mountains. The spacious house had real southern charm, and we looked forward to hosting music jams on the wraparound porch overlooking the creek and forest.

Kylie proposed “The Fox and Fiddle,” and everyone loved it. The name embodied our vision of warmth and hospitality and artistic beauty, as well as evoking memories of music jams and fresh pints we’d enjoyed at cozy pubs while living in Scotland (pubs with names like the Dog and Hedgehog, or the Pig and Rose).

That was in 2009, when we moved from the dramatic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains to the down-home, southern roots and old mountain culture of North Carolina.

Five years and hundreds of guests passed by in a heartbeat. The kids moved on to other interests, so Joan and I sold the farm … although the name continues with my freelance writing and production business (formerly called Peacedude Productions, LLC).

We have so many warm memories of all the friends we made at the bed and breakfast … and the awesome musicians who inspired our dreams … and the delicious home-grown greens and eggs, and the fresh-roasted coffee we shared with our amazing guests. I could write a book about all the wonderful stories from that season in our life.

That was then. Now, here at the threshold of 2015, just wait and see what breathtaking adventures are birthed in this new season of the Fox and Fiddle.

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(Here’s my daughter Kylie bicycling along the Ashby de la Zouch canal in Bosworth, U.K., not far from the Dog & Hedgehog Inn.)

The Healing Revolution (ghost-written book)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

In the first few weeks of interviews with Dr. Frank King, I mined his intellect for a wealth of practical information. But for the life of me, I couldn’t uncover the root story of his life passion. Then one day, his eyes twinkled as he told me about an 80-year-old man he had seen when he was in college who had lectured about natural health while standing on his head. This same man surfed – at 80 years of age! Suddenly, Dr. King’s story came to life as I began to discover the seeds of his deepest passions.

The Healing Revolution – sample chapters (click on image):

Prisoners of hope (unpublished book)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

An tale of crack, prostitution, theft, imprisonment, and hope … written with Toni & Ron VanCise.

SAMPLE CHAPTER

“Lighthouses of Manitoba” (USA Today Travel)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

USA Today Travel: “Lighthouses of Manitoba”

“The Landforms in Lebanon” (USA Today Travel)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

USA Today Travel: “The Landforms in Lebanon”

“Walking in Malmo, Sweden” (USA Today Travel)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

USA Today Travel: “Walking in Malmo, Sweden”

“Landforms in Aruba” (USA Today Travel)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

USA Today Travel: “Landforms in Aruba”

“Vatican Garden Tours” (USA Today Travel)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

USA Today Travel: “Vatican Garden Tours”

All Things are Possible (book)

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

From betrayal in the bayou to black belts and the Beach Boys, Victor Marx’s gripping tale takes readers on an astounding journey from the depths of despair to an unexpected meeting with the man who shaped his destiny.