Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: For Mom, with Love

Meet Our Contributors

Maizura Abas was trained as an English as a Second Language teacher in the United Kingdom. She now resides in Malaysia. Maizura devotes her life to her two children. She is indebted to her husband for proofreading her creative writing pieces and loving her despite her inability to roast the perfect beef and all her innumerable quirks. E-mail her at [email protected].

Monica A. Andermann lives and writes on Long Island where she shares her home with her husband Bill and their little tabby, Samson. Her writing has been included in such publications as Woman’s World, Guideposts and many titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Ronda Armstrong writes from Iowa about family, faith, and fortitude. Her stories appear in varied anthologies, in addition to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She rotates with other writers at thebridgemeditations.wordpress.com. Ronda and her husband are ballroom dancers. E-mail her at [email protected].

William Mark Baldwin is earning his Ph.D in Earth and Atmospheric Science at Mississippi State University. Mark is from Crossville, TN, and is a graduate of Tennessee Technological University (B.S.) and Western Kentucky University (M.S.). Mark enjoys running, storm chasing, and traveling. E-mail him at [email protected].

Toni Becker received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, WI. She works for Sheboygan County Health and Human Services, managing two senior centers and doing home outreach to the elderly. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing for local and regional publications. E-mail her at [email protected].

Carole A. Bell, a licensed professional counselor, writes, speaks, and consults about parenting issues. She writes a weekly Christian parenting column and has stories published in other Chicken Soup for the Soul books and More Christmas Moments. Her book, From Birth to Seven: Building a Strong Foundation will be out February 2016.

Susan Blakeney is a writer of fiction for children and young adults with several projects well underway. These include two historical novels and one work of speculative fiction — the story that awoke her passion for writing several years ago. E-mail her at [email protected].

Donna Brothers received her B.S. degree in Communications from California Polytechnic University. She worked at CBS Television and then received her teaching credentials in Language Arts and Special Education. She is currently a special education teacher in Yorba Linda, CA. In addition to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series she published a short story in Women’s World magazine. She enjoys photography, baking and hiking.

Judy Brown lives in Holland, MI. She has worked for Evergreen Commons, a senior community center, and the Holland Rescue Mission. She enjoys writing, both academic and inspirational, and plans to continue this endeavor.

Having successfully launched four children into their own lives and completed a B.S. degree, Rhonda Brunea is reinventing herself in Orkney, Scotland, where she is rediscovering her love of writing and the healing magic of stories.

Leigh Ann Bryant, author of In My Defense, is a survivor of battered women’s syndrome. Her passions include God, family, nursing, traveling, educating others about domestic violence, and prison ministry. Learn more about her and her book, a nonfiction memoir about killing her abusive husband in self-defense, at www.leighannbryant.com.

Jill Burns lives in the mountains of West Virginia with her wonderful family. She’s a retired piano teacher and performer. She enjoys writing, music, gardening, nature, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Barbara Burris lives with her husband Bruce in a log home set in the middle of three acres of informal cottage and woodland gardens. These gardens serve as inspiration for Barbara’s photographs and watercolor paintings. Her future plans include a series of stories about summers at her grandmother’s cottage.

A.J. Cattapan is an award-winning author, speaker, and middle school English teacher from the Chicago area. Her bestselling YA novel Angelhood has won multiple awards, and her middle grade mystery Seven Riddles to Nowhere releases in August 2016. Follow A.J.’s writing and travel adventures at www.ajcattapan.com.

J.D. Chaney is a retired teacher, having received his B.A. degree from San Jose State University and M.A. degree from Cal State, Dominguez Hills. He currently lives in the Bay Area with his therapist wife. J.D.’s daughter attends Oregon State University. His hobbies include traveling and running.

A.B. Chesler is a writer and blogger living in sunny Southern California. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as finding the lighter side of life. Please feel free to visit her blog at thishouseoflove. net or e-mail her at [email protected].

Courtney Conover is a writer, certified yoga instructor, and curly hair enthusiast. Her first book will debut in 2016. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she resides in Michigan with her husband and two children. Stop in and say hello to her at www.courtneyconover.com.

After thirty-five years in various trades, Patrick Coomer has returned to writing. His love of words was inherited from his mother, featured in this book and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible. Currently a bus operator in Portland, OR, Patrick’s stories amuse and inspire his growing audience at patcoomer.wordpress.com.

D’ette Corona is the Assistant Publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in business management. D’ette has been happily married for twenty-three years and has a nineteen-year-old son whom she adores.

Kala Cota lives in a small logging community in Oregon. She teaches preschool and enjoys spending time with her husband, two grown children and granddaughter. Since her mother’s diagnosis, she is incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement from family and friends. E-mail her at [email protected].

Nancy Bravo Creager was born and raised in Chile. She now lives in Washington State. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Nancy enjoys reading the classics; her favorite poet is Neruda, and her favorite writer is Steinbeck. She experiments with writing inspirational prose and poetry.

Tracy Crump enjoys storytelling (the good kind) and has published numerous stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She encourages others through her Write Life Workshops and webinars and edits a popular writers’ newsletter, The Write Life. But her most important job is Grandma to little Nellie. Visit her at WriteLifeWorkshops.com.

Cindy D’Ambroso-Argiento is originally from New York. She now lives in North Carolina with her family. Cindy is a freelance writer and receives a wealth of material from her family. To read more of Cindy’s work check out her website at www.cindyargiento.com. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Angel Dionne is a first year Ph.D student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. She serves as the founder for Peculiar Mormyrid magazine and enjoys writing, traveling, and reading. She hopes to continue writing and eventually secure a tenure track teaching position at a university. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lucille Engro DiPaolo resides in Plymouth Meeting, PA. She has been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series several times. Lucille loves traveling and has completed many adventures on her “bucket list” including parasailing, ballooning, ziplining, and most exhilarating, dog sledding on Mendenhall Glacier.

Tricia Downing is a professional speaker and athlete. In 2000 she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle and was paralyzed. Tricia credits the examples her mother set regarding faith, resilience and resolve for getting her through the difficult experience. Learn more at www.trishdowning.com or e-mail her at [email protected].

Logan Eliasen graduated from Wheaton College in 2014 with a B.A. degree in biblical and theological studies. He is currently a law student at the University of Iowa. Logan enjoys reading classic novels and collecting vinyl records.

Shawnelle Eliasen is an inspirational writer. She’s contributed numerous stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband live in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River with their five sons and a yellow Labrador named Rugby. Follow their adventures at shawnellewrites.blogspot.com.

Linda Rose Etter is a retired teacher with a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies. Her devotional books, Listen To HIS Heartbeat #2 was published in 2015 and #1 in 2011. Both contain humorous analogies and include scripture so they make great gifts and teaching tools. More information about her books can be found at www.etterlinda.com.

Gail Eynon received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Capella University, and her Ph.D from Capella University. Gail spent this last year battling late stage breast cancer and enjoys life to the fullest.

Melissa Face lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. She teaches English part-time at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School and has published more than sixty essays in various magazines and anthologies. E-mail her at [email protected].

Elizabeth Reardon Farella is a graduate of Molloy College where she received her teaching degree. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Literacy. Elizabeth teaches first grade at St. Edward the Confessor School in Syosset, NY. She enjoys reading, writing, and traveling with her family. E-mail Elizabeth at [email protected].

Victoria Fedden is a writer and a mom from Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Her memoir This is Not My Beautiful Life will be published in June 2016 by Picador USA. She blogs on her website at www.victoriafedden.com. Visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/victoriacfedden.

Anna Fitzgerald received her Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, and Master of Arts degree from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Anna enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. She is currently attending law school. E-mail her at [email protected].

Judith Fitzsimmons is a freelance writer and business consultant who lives in middle Tennessee. Her hobbies are aromatherapy, yoga, and fitness, but her passion is being a mom.

The mother of three adult daughters, Sally Friedman regards them as her most important work. Now mothers themselves, they have provided much of the material for the essays she has been writing for four decades. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she resides in Moorestown, NJ. E-mail her at [email protected].

Pam Giordano received her Bachelor of Science degree at Georgian Court University. She is a retired elementary school teacher whose hobbies include writing and painting. Pam is a member of several choral groups. E-mail her at [email protected].

Patricia Gordon is a retired elementary school teacher, mother and grandmother. She holds teaching degrees from Illinois State University and Western Michigan University. She now teaches music education at Grand Valley State University and loves to write about her family. She also writes fiction as Patricia Kiyono.

Robin Rylee Harderson enjoys reading, writing, painting and her beautiful granddaughter. She has been married for twenty-eight years to her husband, Marty. Robin has been previously published in Women’s World and Sewing Memories.

Jennifer Harrington recently retired from a career in the computer technology field and enjoys playing music, computer games, and movie night with her husband and four children. She cared for her mother through her journey with Alzheimer’s disease and is now a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association Northern California Chapter.

Isabel Harris lives and teaches in New York City. She plans on writing a memoir about living with major depression and is excited for this opportunity to share part of her story. She has never stopped loving horses and still considers herself to be an urban cowgirl.

Sonja Herbert is the author of an award-winning novel about her mother surviving the Holocaust in a circus, and of many other true stories. Sonja presently lives in Germany, where she is getting re-acquainted with her mother and siblings. E-mail her at germanwriter.com.

Julie Hornok’s stories have appeared in several publications and websites, and this is her fourth appearance in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When she is not busy driving her three kids all around the DFW Metroplex, she loves to support families living with autism. Contract her through her website at www.juliehornok.com.

Lisa Hutchison is a #1 international bestselling author and holistic educator. She understands the challenges of maintaining a connection within and to the Divine in an overwhelming world. As a licensed psychotherapist, she helps her empathic clients express their authentic voices, protect their energy and trust their instincts. Learn more at www.lisahutchison.net.

Jennie Ivey lives in Cookeville, TN. She is a newspaper columnist and the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including stories in several Chicken Soup for the Soul collections.

Kara Johnson lives in Eagle, ID with her husband Jim, son Weston, and daughter Kyah. She enjoys traveling, scuba diving, camping, rafting, hiking, writing, and trying to keep up with her toddlers. She feels blessed and incredibly indebted for the love Joan has shown her. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sheridan Kee received her associate’s degree in 2014. She is continuing her education in social work at Union University and plans to work with those in need. She enjoys riding horses, baking, spending time with friends and family, and church activities. “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

Jennifer Knickerbocker is a mother of four boys. In her spare time, she runs a non-profit educational organization in Spokane, WA. Jennifer is passionate about her family and her children, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. “Motherhood is the best hard work.”

April Knight has just completed a romance novel: Sweet Dreams, 65 Bedtime Stories for Big Girls. She writes a column called “Crying Wind” for the Indian Life newspaper. She is a professional artist and her paintings can be viewed on www.cryingwind.com.

Mimi Greenwood Knight is a mama of four living in South Louisiana. She’s blessed to have over 1,000 essays and articles in magazines and essays in thirty anthologies. A newcomer to the sustainable living movement, Mimi is fumbling her way through learning to knit, garden, and keep bees, worms, and chickens.

Nancy Julien Kopp, a Chicago native, has lived in Kansas for many years. Her stories are in seventeen Chicken Soup for the Soul books, fifteen other anthologies, magazines and newspapers. A former teacher, she now teaches through the written word. Visit her blog for tips and encouragement at www.writergrannysworld.blogspot.com.

Ann Kronwald is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about and celebrating ordinary life. She never refuses a good hike, as long as it is followed by dark chocolate. Ann is the mother of four grown children, and “Nana” to nine rug-rats, which give her plenty of writing ammunition.

Karen Kullgren is the author of Grace in the Gray Areas: Thriving in Life’s Paradoxes (available at amazon.com and bn.com). She is a freelance writer/editor with a particular interest in exploring women’s lives, spiritual journeys, diverse cultures, and the universality of human experience. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit www.graceinthegrayareas.com.

Terri Lacher is a freelance writer and speaker, living in Texas with her husband Bob and golden Lab Samson. Her offbeat humor is sprinkled throughout her inspirational short stories, poetry and bi-monthly newspaper columns. E-mail her at [email protected].

Victoria LaFave is a writer and marketing coordinator for nine Catholic schools in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She has been published in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, along with My Teacher Is My Hero. Her stories have also appeared in Parents, FamilyFun and Woman’s Day magazines. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mary Ellen Langbein has been writing short stories and poetry ever since her grade school days. It is one of her favorite hobbies. She also keeps busy playing golf, paddle tennis, decorating and traveling with her husband. She resides in New Jersey, is married, and Mom to Lauren and Logan.

Mary Elizabeth Laufer has a degree in English Education from SUNY Albany. She recently left teaching to devote more time to writing. One of her stories received honorable mention in The Saturday Evening Post 2016 Great American Fiction Contest and will be published in an anthology with other finalists.

Ali Lauro is a fifteen-year-old high school student. She has enjoyed writing and reading from an early age and aspires to work someday in this field. She lives with her parents, twin sister, brother, and two dogs.

Barbara LoMonaco has worked for Chicken Soup for the Soul as an editor since 1998. She has co-authored two Chicken Soup for the Soul book titles and has had stories published in numerous other titles. Barbara is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has a teaching credential.

Aimee Cirucci Lorge is a freelance writer and personal essayist with a focus on family, career, and the unique intersection of both in the military spouse experience. A graduate of Wake Forest University and Temple University, she lives overseas and works as a college-level communication instructor. Learn more at www.aimeelorge.com.

A graduate of Queen’s University, Gail MacMillan has had her work published throughout North American and Western Europe. She is the award-winning author of two books and several short stories and has thirty-five traditionally published books. Gail lives in New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and two dogs.

Teresa Ann Maxwell lives in Washington with her favorite fisherman and husband, Richard. She has many fond memories of snowy, white Christmases spent with family in her home state of Idaho. The family still celebrates Christmas with their stockings — Mom included.

Debra Mayhew is a pastor’s wife, mom to seven (usually) wonderful children, and a writer. She loves small town living, long walks, good books and family time. Learn more at www.debramayhew.com.

Annette McDermott is a freelance writer and children’s author whose work has been published in both adult and children’s magazines and online. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of subjects but specializes in holistic living topics. When she’s not busy writing and raising her family, Annette enjoys singing, gardening, and reading. E-mail her at [email protected].

Michelle McKague-Radic lives in Ontario with her husband and children. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and History and is currently working as a freelance writer as she stays home with her children. E-mail her at [email protected].

Chris Mikalson is a retired bookkeeper, who is now enjoying camping with her husband, as well as pursuing the creative “loves of her life” — writing and painting. Chris is a Reiki Master and finds great joy in helping others heal with the aid of this beautiful energy. E-mail her at [email protected].

Carrie Monroe lives and writes in Minneapolis, MN. She works in theater and has had stories published in children’s magazines. She enjoys writing, biking, swimming and running. Check out her blog at carriemonroewrites.wordpress.com.

Donia Moore is a freelance writer in Southern California. As a “rusty pilot” who hasn’t flown in a while, she loves aviation and writes articles for several general aviation publications on a regular basis. Favorite weekend breaks are spent kayaking with her dog in summer and snowshoeing in winter.

Beth Morrissey is a freelance writer based in Dublin, Ireland. She loves to make new friends, so please visit her online at www.bethiswriting.com.

When Lava Mueller told her mother that “Cotton Balls” had been accepted for publication, her mother said, “That’s great, Sweetheart. I’m glad I could help you get rich. I just ate a bug.” Lava’s Young Adult novel, Don’t Tell, can be found on Amazon.com. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy grew up in St. Joseph, MO, in the shadow of the short-lived Pony Express, but now lives in the Missouri Ozarks. She is a full-time writer, member of both Missouri Writers Guild and the Ozark Writers League. Her short fiction has been widely published and her novel, Kinfolk, from Champagne Books was released in 2011.

Hank Musolf was born in Wisconsin and now lives in Minnesota with his family. He plays the cello in his high school orchestra and is also on the Speech Team.

Ava Pennington is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher. She has published numerous articles in nationally-circulated magazines and contributed to twenty-eight anthologies, including twenty-one Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also authored Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, endorsed by Kay Arthur. Learn more at www.AvaWrites.com.

A journalist in rural Minnesota, Ellarry Prentice studied travel and tourism. In addition to her work as a reporter for her hometown newspaper, she is a freelance writer and photographer, and an advocate for mental health and alcoholism awareness. She enjoys reading, volunteering, and traveling with her husband, Greg.

Cecile Proctor is a full-time student at the University of New Brunswick and the provincial contact for the Brain Injury Association of Canada. She is working towards an honors degree in psychology with a minor in cognitive neuroscience. She plans to continue her education to join the field of neuropsychology.

Winter Desiree Prosapio is an award-winning novelist and humor columnist. Her Blue Sage Mystery series features strong mothers and daughters persevering in unique and challenging circumstances with courage, humor, and wisdom. Read more at wdprosapio.com.

Susan R. Ray writes a weekly newspaper column entitled “Where We Are” available at susanrray.com. A retired teacher, she volunteers in a second grade classroom, and she writes, reads, and takes field trips with her eight grandchildren. Susan likes to travel, bake bread, and quilt.

Denise Reich is an Italian-born, New York City-raised freelance writer, dancer and photographer. She’s happy to be a repeat contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Denise currently writes for the Canadian magazine Shameless. Her Broadway memoir, Front of House, was released in 2015.

Dr. Kelle Z. Riley, author, scientist and safety/martial arts expert, has been featured in forums from local newspapers to national television. Her debut novel, Dangerous Affairs, was praised for accurately highlighting women’s issues in an easily accessible, entertaining format. Learn more at www.kellezriley.net.

Kimberly Ross holds a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Paul School of Theology. In her former work as a chaplain and pastor, she served in a homeless shelter, VA hospital, hospice, retreat center, and churches. She is a writer, Reiki master, proud mother of three wonderful young adults and an adoring grandma of one.

Jessie Santala is a personal assistant and part-time writer and photographer who resides with her husband in Denver, Co. She has her master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

Donna Savage is a pastor’s wife who loves encouraging women. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s trying to simplify her life, see more joy, and conquer her addiction to chocolate. Her phone contains over 100 photos of her grandchildren. Connect with Donna at [email protected].

John Scanlan is a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps. He is currently pursuing a second career as a writer and can be reached using [email protected].

Lisa J. Schlitt lives in Kitchener, Ontario. She has been married to Patrick for sixteen years. Together they have four children and are in the process of adopting number five. Lisa hopes to have “The Race” illustrated and published for the children’s literature market.

In addition to authoring twenty-six published romance novels, Candace Schuler also writes case studies, white papers, grant proposals, press releases, marketing collateral, and more. She shares her life with her husband of thirty-seven years and two seventy-pound Dobermans who think they are lap dogs. Learn more at www.CandaceSchuler.com.

Natalie Scott is a mother of three: Eleanora (who is in heaven), Pierce and Everett. She is married to Nicholas Scott. She is a writer for Easter Seals. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Journalism.

Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, taught writing at Rutgers University, and worked as an academic librarian and educational media specialist. Fifteen of her fiction books for adults, teens and children are published. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles appear in hundreds of diverse publications and anthologies. Learn more at jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com.

Penny Smith, a seminary graduate, has taught at conferences and retreats at home and abroad. Her writings cover a variety of genres, appearing in numerous Christian periodicals. She authored Gateways To Growth and Maturity Through the Life of Esther. E-mail her at [email protected] or learn more at www.pennyesmith.blogspot.com.

Writer, performer, speaker Kim Stokely lives in Nebraska with her husband and three neurotic dogs. Her novels: Woman of Flames, Winter Trees, and Spring Rains are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit www.kimstokely.com or Facebook.com/kimstokelyauthor for information on her performances and work.

Daryl Wendy Strauss’s story “Mom’s Christmas Stocking” brought many donations to her giving project and 2015 was the most successful Mom’s Christmas Stocking event thus far. She is a Certified Angel Card Reader, Reiki practitioner, trained actress, and heart lover. E-mail her at [email protected] and learn more at www.momschristmasstocking.com.

Janet Taylor is a registered nurse living in Franklin, TN with Robert, her biggest supporter. Her Mississippi family provides inspiration and is often the topic of her stories. E-mail Janet at [email protected].

Michelle Vanderwist is currently a student at Georgetown University. She loves to draw, paint, play the guitar, work with animals, and stay active. Michelle is a terrible cook but has a hidden talent for hula hooping. E-mail her at [email protected].

Kristin Viola is a Los Angeles-based writer who has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Zagat, Angeleno and other publications. Aside from running, she loves traveling, reading and a good glass of wine. E-mail her at [email protected].

Holly Wilkinson, her children, and her mother all live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She likes coffee, music, and rain, and writes short stories, blurbs and poetry on her Woman at the Well blog at womanatthewell-womanatthewell.blogspot.com. She continues to be inspired by the amazing strength of the woman who raised her.

Katrina Anne Willis is a wife and a mother of four. An author and essayist, Katrina was named a BlogHer 2015 Voice of the Year. Her first novel, Parting Gifts, will be published by She Writes Press in April 2016. E-mail her at [email protected].

Beth M. Wood lives in St. Louis with her three beautiful kids. She is a twenty-year veteran of the marketing industry, a writer by choice, a devout reader and semi-fanatic editor. She shares her thoughts at blog. bethmwood.com and tweets @a1972bmw.

Lisa Wright-Dixon received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Syracuse University. She currently resides in South Carolina with her husband Gregory and their six cats. Lisa is currently working on other short stories and plans to write a book of childhood memoirs.

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