Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Meet Our Contributors

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

Peggy Archer is the author of picture books for children, including Turkey Surprise, a New York Times bestseller. Besides writing, she enjoys walking, line dancing, and time with her grandchildren. She and her husband have six children and eleven grandchildren. They live in O’Fallon, MO. Visit her at

Elizabeth Atwater and her husband Joe live on a horse ranch in North Carolina. They both enjoy horses, gardening, reading, and of course, writing.

Ruth Barmore received her Associate of Arts degree in 1990 from Cecil College in Maryland. She is an honorably discharged Air Force veteran, the wife of a career Air Force husband, mother of two sons, and proud grandmother of two. Ruth enjoys sewing, quilting, traveling and writing. She plans to write mysteries.

Barbara Bartocci is an author and professional speaker who has given motivational talks throughout the U.S. and Canada. She has had nine books published, including the national award-winning Nobody’s Child Anymore: Grieving, Caring, Comforting When Parents Die, and she is completing her first novel.

Lainie Belcastro has many titles in the arts, but her most treasured title is mom to her daughter Nika. Together they created the trademarked storytellers, Mrs. Terra Cotta Pots & Twig, who plant dreams for children! Lainie, a published writer, has signed with a children’s book publisher. She plans to live “happily ever after!”

Suzu Belle is a single sixty-something nomadic adventurer from Winnipeg. She enjoys working out at the gym, swimming, sunbathing, hot springs, growing food, cooking and taking care of animals. E-mail her via [email protected].

Born and raised on Cape Cod, Kristine Benevento has lived in two countries and three states as a military spouse. Currently living in Vermont, she enjoys family get-togethers and anything her husband and sons are involved in. A former firefighter and EMT, she holds a B.A. degree in Emergency Services Management.

Lily Blais works in risk analysis but writing is her passion. Her first novel is complete and she is currently submitting it to literary agencies. Time with family and friends means the world to her and she has just welcomed into the world her first grandchild.

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.

Christy Caballero lives among the trees in Northwest Oregon with kitties and a Greyhound. She has earned national awards in journalism and four Maxwell awards from the Dog Writers Association of America. E-mail her at [email protected].

Barb Canale’s books include Prayers & Playfulness: Daily Devotions for Young Families (2016 AmorDeus Publications), the award-winning Prayers, Papers, & Play for college students (2013), To Have and To Hold for married couples (2014), and Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer: Daily Devotions for Parents of Teenagers (2015).

Ria Cantrell writes under a pen name. She is a best-selling author of historical romances. Ria was born and raised on Long Island but now enjoys living on the sunny gulf coast of Southwest Florida with her British rock-star husband. Ria is also a classically trained vocalist.

Lisa Carey has written a book about Jonathan and her family’s journey through tragedy, and hopes that book will be published soon. She and her husband Mike and son Joshua live in upstate New York where they fight for the rights of the disabled. You can view the horse photo on YouTube. E-mail Lisa at

Sue Carloni is a freelance writer who lives in Wisconsin. She has had 150 articles, stories, and poems published in magazines for children and adults. She loves to read and take walks in the Wisconsin state forests. As a member of the Hawks Inn Historical Society, she volunteers on their archives committee.

Sharon Carpenter earned her B.A. degree in History and English at Jacksonville State University, and her M.A. degree from the University of Memphis. She teaches middle schoolers in Memphis and tries to avoid Elvis Week. Her biggest fans are her husband Jesse and three incredible kids who turned into amazing adults.

Pastor Wanda Christy-Shaner runs a Facebook page called “Good News Only,” a site developed for prayer and praise. She has been previously published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, as well as War Cry. She is an award-winning speaker, actress and adrenaline junkie. E-mail her at [email protected].

Elizabeth Copeland is an author and theatre artist. Her novella, JAZZ—Nature’s Improvisation, won the 2014 Ken Klonsky Novella Contest and was shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Award. Other works are published in Forge Journal and Circa, among others. She lives in Sackville, New Brunswick with her husband, Glenn.

Doug Couch earned an Ed.D from The University of Kansas and retired from the University of Central Missouri as Director of Academic Advising. He and his wife, Peggy, have four children and twelve grandchildren. Doug passed away in October 2015, and this piece demonstrates that his greatest joy was his family.

Dwight Crocker has worked at George Junior Republic with at-risk youth for the past seventeen years. He enjoys hunting and fishing and spending quality time with his wife and daughter. He would like to thank Daisy Townsend for writing this story. It wasn’t possible without her.

Mike D’Alto received his Master’s of Creative Writing degree from Queens College in 2013 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University in 2007. He teaches English at Suffolk Community College and tutors high school students for standardized tests. He enjoys writing poetry and one-act plays.

Laura Dailey-Pelle received her master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University. She works at a hospital in southeast Michigan as Director of Radiation Oncology and Healing Arts. Laura enjoys walking, reading, writing, photography and spending time with her family.

John Elliott is a forty-four-year veteran of Israel’s Mossad and the CIAs Special Operations Group. For nine of those years he was assigned to Interpol in Lyon, France. Fluent in six languages, he is an on-air contributor for the BBC, and is also a public and motivational speaker.

Tracy Falenwolfe lives in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with her husband and two sons. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Kiss of Death Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She’s been published in several anthologies. Learn more at

Linda Feist, a Buffalo, New York native, resides in North Florida. Retired, she is now pursuing her first love, writing. Her debut story at age seven, “Apes in the Attic,” received critical acclaim from her mom. That was it . . . she was hooked! Linda believes our greatest assets are our children and our elderly. She plans to write about that.

Chanel Fernandez is a graduate of Rutgers University living in central Florida and pursuing her love of the arts via every possible avenue. Currently, Chanel is busy growing a brand called Graphted Designs, which incorporates her multiple passions, using fashion design and editorial photography to realize her visions.

Betsy Franz is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in nature, wildlife, the environment and both humorous and inspirational human-interest stories. She is dedicated to encouraging others to see, appreciate, and protect the wonders of nature around them.

Lorraine Furtner enjoys exploring writing in all forms. She’s a playwright, storyteller, and former newspaper columnist whose poetry has appeared in Imaginary Gardens and Foundling House, an online journal. She lives with her family in East Tennessee and is working on a novel and a children’s picture book.

Grace Givens has only recently begun writing about the many serendipitous occurrences in her life. A veteran performer, she is a cancer survivor who sings through her exams, tests and treatments. She and her husband Robert reside in Houston, TX. E-mail her at [email protected] or view her at

A.J. Goode studied English at Blackburn College and Central Michigan University. She is a romance writer, humorist, and proud member of Romance Writers of America. She and her three children currently live in Southwest Michigan, where she also enjoys quilting, reading, and baking. E-mail her at [email protected].

Robbi Ann Gunter received her Chef certification from George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. She studies ancient wisdom and quantum physics with spiritual Elder, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha. As a Sun Dance Ceremonialist, she is devoted to uplifting consciousness. Robbi is an entrepreneur and writer in Kingman, AZ.

Pebbles H. writes leisurely on her personal blog at and professionally as a marketer. Armed with an overimaginative mind and her love of languages, Pebbles hopes to publish her poetry collection and write children’s books that will inspire all.

Lane Elizabeth Hall is a native of Atlanta, GA where she currently resides and works. She enjoys dancing, singing loudly in her car, and struggling to teach herself how to play the guitar. Her aspirations include seeing the Northern Lights, hugging a Redwood tree, and having a personal library in her own home.

The Norwegian adventurer and Mount Everest summiter Siv Harstad has a business background and is known for her unlimited source of courage, enthusiasm and how she transforms challenges into achievements. She’s an international speaker, helps people with her leadership methodology, and takes people on amazing adventures.

Judith Ann Hayes loves to write! She is an avid reader. Her older daughter is a registered nurse and her younger daughter is a make-up artist; both are happily married. Judith is a very proud grandmother. She loves to spend time with friends, but her greatest joy is having fun with her three grandchildren.

Christy Heitger-Ewing is a freelance writer living in Avon, IN with her husband and two sons. She is a columnist for Cabin Living magazine and writes regularly for Christian magazines. Her book Cabin Glory ( was a grand prize winner. Visit her website at

Stan Holden has been an art director and cartoonist for most of his career. Known for his out-of-the-box thinking, he was able to parlay his creative talents into the business world. His inspirational business book Giving Candy to Strangers has helped tens of thousands of people from around the globe connect with others.

Andrea Howson is an aspiring writer living off the West Coast of Vancouver Island in Victoria, British Columbia. She is a doting wife, and mother of a beautiful little girl who inspires her every day. Andrea enjoys painting, kayaking, hiking and being in the outdoors with her family.

Carol Huff is owner of Sudie Belle Animal Sanctuary in Hartwell, GA. Most of her writing inspirations come from her rescued animals. Aside from her animals, she enjoys gardening, horseback riding, and sleeping. E-mail her at [email protected].

Kristine Jacobson is a mom of three, a farmer’s wife and a writer. She has a degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has worked at daily newspapers and in nonprofit public relations. She enjoys reading, biking, walking, scrapbooking, camping and nature.

Susan Maddy Jones is a freelance writer living in Arizona. Visit her blogs about emotional intelligence, overcoming adversity, authenticity, life balance, appreciating nature, hiking, camping, travel, and teardrop trailers at and E-mail her at [email protected].

Sandy Kelly is a communications specialist from Alberta, where she has enjoyed a successful career as a reporter and nonfiction writer for over twenty years. Her lifelong love affair with the written word has made her an avid reader and dabbler in fiction writing, and she is currently working on her second novel.

SuZan Klassen is a freelance writer and artist. Her adult children have given her three grandchildren so far. SuZan enjoys traveling with her husband. Join her via her “Travel Light” website at

Karin Krafft is a Norwegian immigrant to the United States. She lives in Portland, OR where she spends most of her free time writing. Three days a week she has the privilege of caring for her fifteen-month-old granddaughter. Karin enjoys, reading, walking, swimming and spending time with friends and family.

Jolie Lisenby received her Bachelor of Arts degree from University of St. Thomas in 1996. She resides in Southern California with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys the outdoors and continues to pursue her love of writing.

DeLila Lumbardy has had ninety articles published and in 2016 published her first book, Bound by Secrecy, available on Amazon. She is currently working on the sequel to the Christian novel. She blogs monthly on her website. She loves living in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Australian born author Grant Madden immigrated to the USA in 2005 and currently resides in El Cajon, CA. Grant’s cover stories have appeared in Sailing, Cat Sailor and the San Diego Reader. This is his fifth story to be included in a Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology. Learn more at

Joyce Styron Madsen has done corporate and medical research and written children’s stories and articles. She is an animal welfare advocate, rescue dog foster mom, humane society volunteer, and handler for Lila Comfort Dog. She usually writes surrounded by her four former puppy mill dogs. E-mail her at [email protected].

Melissa Maglio works as a librarian in the Bay Area and lives with her husband Mario and their three cats: Mia, Mittens, and Fluffy.

Joshua J. Mark is an editor/director and writer for the free online history site, Ancient History Encyclopedia. His nonfiction has also appeared in Timeless Travels Magazine and History Ireland and his short fiction in Litro and Writes for All, among others. He lives with his wife Betsy and daughter Emily in upstate New York.

Leslie Marlowe received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Florida and her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University. She has three adult children, a dog and a cat. She loves hiking in the mountains. Leslie enjoys writing and hopes to publish a novel soon.

Katie McKenna is a fundraiser and stand-up comedian living in Brooklyn, NY. She runs a blog called Small Bites and Little Victories. She plans to become a motivational speaker to use her experience to help others who have experienced trauma. Her story in this collection was adapted by the author from her book How to Get Run Over By a Truck. Copyright 2016 Katie McKenna. Used by permission of Inkshares.

Marsha Warren Mittman has had numerous poems and short stories published in various journals and anthologies, including two other Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s received a half-dozen mid-west poetry awards, and distinctions in two short story competitions. Her second chapbook, Patriarchal Chronicles, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Greg Moore has spent his life in broadcast radio; he is frequently heard on morning radio shows across the country as a creator of comedic vignettes and parody songs. He lives in Oklahoma City.

Lava Mueller is a Creative Writing instructor at the Community College of Vermont. She is also a seminarian at Andover Newton Theological School where she learns about angels and miracles in a most academic and scholarly way. Lava lives in Vermont and loves being part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Rebecca Newman received her Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, and Master of Arts degrees from Hollins University. She is the mother of a brilliant son and creative daughter, and the grandmother of seven children. She enjoys creative as well as nonfiction writing and heirloom sewing.

Linda Newton is a counselor and the author of 12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise. She frequently speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars in the U.S. and abroad. Visit her online at, and check out her Facebook page at

Lynne Nichols retired from teaching after thirty years. Her experience spans all grade levels from first to eighth, including a year in Victoria, Australia as an exchange teacher. She now divides her time between Naples, FL and Taos, NM. Interests include scuba diving, time with her grandchildren and reading.

Diane C. Nicholson is a writer/photographer and longtime vegan. She and her husband Harry recently opened Twin Heart Animal Sanctuary in Tappen, BC. Follow them at or contact her via e-mail at [email protected]. Diane is a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Samantha Nolan received her Bachelor of Arts with a focus in English from Queens College, CUNY in 2014. She resides in Long Island and works in New York City. Samantha enjoys traveling and writing whenever she has the chance. She hopes to publish novels in the future.

Carolyn C. O’Brien owned and operated an independent bookstore in Mississippi for sixteen years. She now lives in lower Alabama with her husband and a Russian Blue cat that came with the house.

Tiffany O’Connor, Ph.D., holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and a Master of Business Administration degree. She is an accomplished freelance writer. Tiffany is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of two amazing boys. She chronicles her experiences raising boys at

Nancy Emmick Panko is a retired pediatric nurse. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. A member of the Cary Senior Writing Circle and The Light of Carolina Christian Writers group, she is the author of a soon-to-be published fictional novel, Guiding Missal. She and her husband live in North Carolina.

Carol Greenley Papenthien lives in Iowa with her husband. This is her first time writing for publication and she finds the experience exciting. She enjoys golfing and baking pies for family and friends.

Jeannie Powell loves a good mind-body-spirit discussion and is anxious to share unusual happenings, which have felt a lot like angels and miracles. She enjoys writing about life’s important details that often go overlooked. Her first book, Life Simplified, will be published in fall 2016.

Kay Presto has stories published in a variety of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s an award-winning television and radio broadcaster and photojournalist, covering motorsports. She has recently completed a middle-grade novel, and is currently writing several children’s books. E-mail Kay at [email protected].

Lou Prudhomme is a teacher, writer, grief counselor, and volunteer chaplain with a Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is the mother of four and grandmother to fifteen, with homes in Minnesota and Florida. No day is ever long enough to do all that she loves to do.

Sandy Alexander Reid has taught high school English in St. Louis for thirty-nine years. She is the mother of three sons and collects flamingos. She uses the story “My Heroes” to introduce herself to her students every year and asks them to write a story of their own, introducing themselves to her.

Mark Rickerby is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He is also the head writer for Big Sky, an upcoming Western TV show, co-author of his father’s memoir The Other Belfast, and a voice actor and audiobook narrator. He also wrote and sang fifteen songs on a CD for his greatest achievements, his daughters Marli and Emma.

Sue Ross finds stories in everything she does, reveling in language that lifts and inspires. It is rumored that Sue’s first word gave her such satisfaction that she said it twice . . . “Author! Author!” Holding a B.A. degree in English, Sue has recently completed her first novel, titled Golanski’s Treasures. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jessie Santala has a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She works as a personal assistant and a photographer. She is married to the love of her life and is the mom of two precious babies. She finds time to write in her “free” time.

Doris Schoon received her M.D. from the University of Minnesota, interned in Brooklyn, NY, and worked two years in New Mexico for Presbyterian missions. After ten years in general practice, she specialized in ophthalmology. Her last fifteen years of practice were at the VA Long Beach hospital. She lives in Anaheim, CA with her dog Sheba.

Kim Schultz is a published author, playwright and actor. Her recent memoir Three Days in Damascus, about falling in love with an Iraqi refugee, is being released fall 2016 with Palewell Press. Learn more at and or via Twitter @kimschultz1.

K. Seward, M.S. Ed., is a children’s book author and her articles, poems and stories have appeared in magazines and devotionals for kids. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. She is thrilled to be a part of this Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology as she has been an avid reader and fan since she was a teenager.

Paula L. Silici is continually astonished by her spiritual experiences and loves to write about them. She lives with her husband Frank near Denver, CO. E-mail her at [email protected].

Shanna Silva is an author, freelance writer and Tony-nominated producer. Her work is found in the Multiples Illuminated anthology, on Kveller, and her first children’s book, The Passover Scavenger Hunt, will be published in early 2017. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sheryn Smith is a retired educator. She enjoys writing, cooking and spending time with family and friends. In her “first life” she published five best-selling cookbooks. Currently she is working on writing about her adventures in China, where she taught English for a brief period.

Darlene Sneden is a writer and editor living her dream in Montclair, NJ. Married to her high school sweetheart, Darlene is known as Mom to two wonderful young adults. She is an empty nester who finds adventure around every corner. Read her blog at

Kimberly Sokolofsky lives in Boiling Springs, PA with her husband and three boys. Kim leads the children’s ministry at her church, and also works with children with autism. Kim enjoys traveling with her family, hiking, and being involved in her community.

Toni Somers lives in Springfield, MO with her husband of sixty years and two Miniature Schnauzers. Somers’ poetry, fiction, and memoir have won local and national awards and been published in Today’s Woman magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and in four anthologies. E-mail her at [email protected].

Deborah L. Staunton’s work has appeared in The Sondheim Review, Mothers Always Write, Sheepshead Review, Meatfor Tea and The MacGuffin. She has written child development materials for Harcourt Learning Direct and her essays “Promises Kept,” “An Owl in Winter,” “Anything Could Happen,” and “Shoes” placed in various contests.

Sidney Stevens has an M.A. degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. Her essays and articles have appeared in Newsweek, Travel & Leisure, Sierra, and Mother Nature Network. She also coauthored four health books and enjoys yoga, hiking, reading, traveling, creating art and volunteering. E-mail her at [email protected].

Kelly J. Stigliano lives in Orange Park, FL with her husband Jerry. They have five children and two granddaughters. A member of Word Weavers International, she has been published in magazines and anthologies, and actively blogs at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Kelly travels extensively as an inspirational speaker.

Annmarie B. Tait resides in Conshohocken, PA with her husband Joe Beck. Annmarie is published in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Reminisce magazine, Patchwork Path, and many other anthologies. She also enjoys cooking, crocheting, and singing and recording Irish and American folk songs. E-mail her at [email protected].

Martha Tessmer taught technology for thirty-five-plus years at colleges and corporations. A master’s degree in Education, combined with the tragedy of her son’s death, launched an unexpected ministry as a nationwide public speaker and author. Her passion is to touch lives through lessons her family learned on their trek.

L. Thorburn received a Master of Education degree from The College of Saint Rose. She works for the state as a trainer for local social services offices across the state. She is an avid camper, biker, and a first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Mary Vela is an award-winning author whose work as an editorial assistant led to monetary awards and selection as “Civilian of the Year.” A number of her picture books won Book of the Year awards and two short stories received Honorable Mention from Writers Digest. Find her books at

Nicole Vickers lives and works outside of Chicago. She has a threeyear-old son, Kade, with another little boy on the way. Nicole enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and daydreaming about becoming the next great American novelist.

Shereen Vinke walked her way through college, taught for a couple of years, and now spends her days chasing her husband and their three children. When she is not making use of the blessing of walking, running, biking, and other leg-related activities, she enjoys reading, writing, and creating artwork.

Donna Duly Volkenannt lives in Missouri with her husband and grandchildren. Her work has been published in multiple genres and has won several awards, including the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award. While completing her first novel, she blogs at

Following a career in Nuclear Medicine, Melissa Wootan is joyfully exploring her creative side. She enjoys writing and is a regular guest on San Antonio Living, an hour-long lifestyle show on San Antonio’s NBC affiliate, where she shares all of her best DIY/decorating tips. Contact her through

Amy Catlin Wozniak shares her life with her soul mate, four children, two grandsons, and a Great Pyrenees named Scarlett O’Hara, who has absolutely no problem living up to her namesake. She resides in Northeast Ohio, where she reads and writes stories that reflect God’s hope. E-mail her at [email protected].

Pam Ziebold is a retired wife and mother and has experienced an awesome life of answered prayers. She wrote this story because she felt God wanted His people to know He still hears and answers our prayers.

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