Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

Meet Our Contributors

Teresa Ambord was an accountant for many years before becoming a full-time writer. Now she writes full-time from her home in far northern California, surrounded by her posse of small dogs, including foster pets. Teresa makes a living writing for business, but her heart is in writing about family.

Monica A. Andermann lives on Long Island with her husband Bill and their cat Charley. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and more of her writing can be found both online and in a variety of print media.

Karen Asire has a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Pedagogy and a Master’s degree in Counseling. In addition to teaching piano, Karen has published several inspirational articles as well as a book, Acquainted with Grief. Karen also has a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers. She resides in South Carolina.

Rita Billbe owns Angels Retreat on the White River in Arkansas. Her passions are fly fishing and singing in her church choir. She has stories in five other Chicken Soup for the Soul books, a suspense novel completed and a blog:

Jennie Bradstreet is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother and has been a stay-at-home mom for sixteen years. Her family has gone through many struggles and adventures including a premature baby, a house fire, three floods and cancer, all of which have given Jennie a unique perspective on life. E-mail her at [email protected].

Robin A. Bridges received her Bachelor of Science degree from Buffalo State College in 1995. She loves hanging out with her family and passionately enjoys photography and writing. E-mail her at [email protected].

Dianne E. Butts has over 250 publications in magazines and books, is the author of Deliver Me: Hope, Help, & Healing through True Stories of Unplanned Pregnancy (, and is an aspiring screenwriter. She enjoys riding her motorcycle with her husband Hal and gardening with her cat in Colorado.

Sally Clark lives and writes in Fredericksburg, TX. Her award-winning poetry and stories have been featured in anthologies and gift books published by Tyndale House Publishers, Thomas Nelson, Howard Books, New World Library, FaithWords, Adams Media, and Chronicle Books. This is her third contribution to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Learn more at

Phyllis Cochran lives in Winchendon, MA, with her husband Philip. She continues to write inspirational stories whenever she experiences them. She has two grown children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. E-mail her at [email protected].

Liz Cook is a registered nurse, wife, mother and grandmother of six grandsons. Her writing began as a hobby, which has progressed to writing for a local newspaper and several nursing journals. She enjoys time with her family and The United Methodist Church that her husband pastors.

Leslie Cooper has a non-profit organization which includes teaching caregivers, teachers, doctors, therapists, etc. how to make and apply adaptive devices to enable disabled users to gain independence. It is about one-fourth of the cost to make them versus buying them. Her son demonstrates at the presentations and workshops.

An avid writer since childhood, Florence Crago writes primarily about her family life experiences. She and husband Glen served as pastors, college professors, social workers, and volunteers for Heifer International, until his death in 2000. Currently she is a chaplain at the retirement community where she lives and leads a writers group.

Tracy Crump has numerous published credits. She is a CLASS graduate, moderates an online critique group, and enjoys teaching other writers at conferences and through her Write Life Workshops. She was recently promoted to “Grandma” and will talk about Nellie to anyone who listens. Visit Tracy at

Barbara Cueto is an evangelist first. Her autobiography, From Mafia Princess to God’s Princess, is sold in Spanish in over thirty countries. She writes, speaks and sings for her savior Jesus Christ, in whose service she is employed full-time. Contact her at

Michele Cushatt writes stories from a vast collection of life experiences, many of which helped forge her deep love of words. Now she writes and speaks full-time, encouraging others to celebrate life even when it’s difficult. Michele, her husband, and three teenage boys live in Colorado. E-mail Michele at [email protected].

Christina D’Agostino received her Bachelor of Science with honors from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2009. She teaches second and sixth graders in a Catholic school. She loves running, service work, and her family and friends.

Regina K. Deppert graduated from Florida Metropolitan University. She now works in the legal field and lives in Indiana, where she grew up. Regina enjoys reading, writing, music and animals. She hopes to write more. E-mail her at [email protected].

Denise A. Dewald has been writing Christian material for over twenty-five years with numerous publications to her name. Denise enjoys reading, needlework, music, her family and pets. One of her poems has been made into a song and aired on Family Life Radio. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sally Dixon received a Bachelor of Education in 1999 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing from Tabor Adelaide in 2011. She is a freelance writer from Australia. She loves traveling and once worked as a pastry chef in England. She desires to write children’s books and biographies.

Although Janet Perez Eckles lost her sight, she gained insight to serve as an international speaker, writer, columnist and author of Simply Salsa: Dancing without Fear at God’s Fiesta, Judson Press, August 2011. From her home in Florida she imparts inspiration at

Judi Folmsbee is a retired teacher after twenty-five years of teaching elementary special education. She has written three children’s books and many devotionals. She has been published in church booklets and religious and secular newspapers. She enjoys photography, gardening, scrapbooking, and family time.

Peggy Purser Freeman is the author of The Coldest Day in Texas, Swept Back to a Texas Future and stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After. She is currently editor for Granbury Showcase Magazine. Learn more at

Carol Gibson, graduate of the Christian Writer’s Guild Apprentice Level Program, is a registered nurse at a correctional facility. She has written stories for reading textbooks and authored eight children’s stories not yet published. She loves to make heirloom quilts and write for God. E-mail her at [email protected].

Pamela Gilsenan is the proud mother of five adult children and assorted grandchildren. For decades, food service industry jobs supported her while she wrote articles and books. E-mail her at [email protected].

Arlene Rains Graber’s first devotional book, Devoted to Traveling, was released in 2010. She has won numerous awards for memoirs and non-fiction articles including Writer of the Year, and Article of the Year from East Wichita News, and First Place in the Heart of American Christian Writers contest. Learn more at

Lynne Graham-Orlando has written two children’s books and is currently working on three Christian-fiction novels in hopes of publishing them soon. Born in England, she resides in Michigan, is happily married, and is a mom of three and grandmom of two. She enjoys writing, cooking, gardening and kayaking. E-mail her at [email protected].

Rosalie Grangaard Grosch received a B.A. from Luther College, Decorah, IA. She has taught in the United States, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and China. Rosalie is an inspirational speaker and small group leader. She enjoys travel, fellowship in her faith community, a lake home, friends and family.

Linda A. Haywood received both her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees from Eastern Michigan University. She has worked with seniors, those receiving mental health services and survivors of domestic violence. Linda plans to write inspirational books for adults. E-mail her at [email protected].

David Heeren has authored or co-authored twelve books. His latest book, In His Steps Again, is an update of the 1896 Charles Sheldon classic. He also has written The Sign of His Coming, concerning the celestial sign of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. E-mail him at [email protected].

Rhonda Hensley resides in Spartanburg, SC, with her husband Gary, a Southern Baptist pastor. She is an Inspirational Speaker and Bible Teacher for Women’s Ministries. She also enjoys freelance writing and photography. Learn more at

Darlene Hierholzer is the mother of three children, unexpectedly losing her beloved son, David, in 2008. She worked with her daughter, Dana Hierholzer, the author of this piece, to share a story of a comforting soul during that heartbreaking time. Currently, she is helping her daughter with her first novel, Something to Believe In.

Ann Holbrook lives in Northwest Arkansas. She has been published in The Storyteller; The Ozarks Mountaineer; anthologies including: Writing on Walls, Voices, Echoes of the Ozarks, Skipping Stones, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People. She is working on an inspirational book for cancer patients and their families.

Helen Hoover enjoys sewing, knitting, and traveling. She and her husband volunteer with the Sower Ministry for retired Christian RV’ers. Word Aflame Publishing, The Secret Place, WordAction Publishing, The Quiet Hour, Light and Life Communications, Victory in Grace, and The Lutheran Digest have published her devotionals and personal articles.

Ken Hornok, ThM (Dallas Theological Seminary) pastors Midvalley Bible Church in Salt Lake City and is an adjunct professor with several publishing credits. He and Marcia raised six children, who now reward them with grandchildren. Having run thirteen marathons, he also bikes, hunts, gardens, raises bees, and fixes things.

Teresa Hoy enjoys life in rural Missouri with her husband and a large family of rescued cats and dogs. She writes freelance articles, fiction, and poetry. Several of her stories have appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, The Ultimate series, and other anthologies. Visit her at

Mary Hughes loves writing true stories that encourage and inspire people to live more faith-filled lives. She has a devotional newsletter, “Christian Potpourri,” now in its eighth year. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit her website at

This is a true story taken from Corinne A. Hummel’s daily life. Her sister, Marie Senter of San Antonio, helped her write it.

Aura Imbarus, PhD, is the author of the Pulitzer Prize entry Out of the Transylvania Night. Born and raised in Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Romania, or more precisely in “Dracula’s county — Transylvania,” she works as a motivational speaker and expert in educational strategies and methodologies. Learn more at or contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Robbie Iobst is a writer and speaker living in Centennial, CO, with her husband John, son Noah and puggle Scooby. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. E-mail Robbie at [email protected] or learn more at

Terry Ann Johnson has embraced writing since her youth in West Plains, MO. She is a proud wife, mother, and grandmother. While working as a copywriter, Terry is continuing her writing career as both an aspiring screenwriter and novelist. Terry enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and the outdoors.

Nancy B. Kennedy is a long-time writer and editor. Her latest book is Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Military Chaplains (Leafwood Publishers, 2011). She has also published two books containing children’s science activities. To learn more visit her website at

Carolyn K. Knefely is a speaker, etiquette specialist and career coach. As a people polisher and co-director of Christian Communicators, she educates, validates and launches women in their speaking ministries through conferences, retreats and workshops. She delivers entertaining and interactive mother/daughters teas and retreats. Learn more at

Kathleen Kohler is a writer and speaker from the Pacific Northwest. Her articles, rooted in personal experience, appear in books and internationally in magazines. She and her husband have three children and seven grandchildren. She enjoys bird watching, gardening, traveling, and painting. Learn more at

Laurie Kolp has a Bachelor of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University. She taught school for twelve years and although she continues tutoring children with dyslexia, her true love is writing. Laurie lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three children and two dogs. Contact her at

Madeleine Kuderick is passionate about writing stories and poems that touch the heart. Her work appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul, A Cup of Comfort, Hallmark Gift Books and similar anthologies. She speaks at conferences hosted by the International Reading Association and the Council for Learning Disabilities. Learn more at

Dorothy LaMantia writes stories of everyday faith and redemption in her study overlooking Barnegat Bay, NJ. A former English teacher, she has won an award for reporting from the Catholic Press Association. This is her third contribution to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at [email protected].

Kathryn Lay is an author of many children’s books as well as stories and articles for children and adults. She and her family live in Texas. Learn more at or e-mail her at [email protected].

Jamie Lee operates Animal Bonds, a holistic wellness program for dogs. Jamie helps “add years to your dog’s life, and life to your dog’s years.” Jamie has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life and national pet magazines. Learn more about her at

Janeen Lewis is a freelance writer living in central Kentucky with her husband and two young children. She has a degree in Journalism from Eastern Kentucky University and has previously been published in seven Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. E-mail her at [email protected].

Cynthia A. Lovely, from New York, is a freelance writer and musician, also active in church ministry. Published in various magazines, newspapers and anthologies, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and currently working on a contemporary woman’s novel. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit

Melanie Marks has had over fifty stories in magazines such as Highlights, Woman’s World and Teen Magazine. She’s had four children’s books published, and numerous teen novels including: The Dating Deal, A Demon’s Kiss, Paranormal Punch, and The Stranger Inside. Learn more at or e-mail her at [email protected].

Hank Mattimore is currently a volunteer surrogate grandpa for a Children’s Village in California. A widower, Hank has two grandchildren of his own as well as the twenty-four foster children who live at the Village.

Before she even learned to write her name, Ann McArthur was dictating stories to her mother, who patiently typed them. She graduated from seminary and continues to tell stories in the women’s Bible studies that she teaches. She is about to release her first novel, Choking on a Camel.

Jeri McBryde lives in a small town outside of Memphis, TN. She recently retired from the library system and spends her days reading and working on her dream of being a published writer. Jeri loves crocheting and chocolate. Her family and faith are the center of her life. This is her second story to appear in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jennifer McDonald has been a military spouse for twenty-three years and has been stationed around the world, currently living in Hawaii. A homeschooling mother of four, she has written numerous articles for homeschooling and military spouse publications. You can find her blog at or e-mail her at [email protected].

Michelle Close Mills’ stories have appeared in many anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause, Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat’s Life, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers. A former native of Fort Wayne, IN, Michelle and her family live in central Florida. Learn more at

Katie A. Mitchell received her Bachelor of Arts in English, with honors, from Missouri State University in 1979. She is in corporate public relations for a major outdoors company and enjoys hiking, singing, antiquing and volunteering with children’s organizations.

Kevin Morrison is a 1992 graduate of Warren High School in Downey, CA, and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Now a stay-at-home dad and aspiring Christian novelist in Bakersfield, CA, he and his wife are gladly busy with the activities of their four children. E-mail Kevin at [email protected].

Adjunct reference librarian Shelley Mosley has co-written nine books and one novella. She also writes articles and reviews books for professional journals. One of her stories, “Man and Car: A Love Story,” was in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters. E-mail her at [email protected].

Herchel E. Newman, professional firefighter, began writing after retirement. He is often called upon for his storytelling talent. He enjoys photography as a business and hobby. He is also a motorcycling enthusiast. He and his wife are marriage mentors and love being grandparents. E-mail Herchel at [email protected].

Tammy Nischan is a Christian teacher, speaker, and writer who resides in Grayson, KY, with her husband, Tim. She is the mother to four children on earth and two in heaven. Tammy enjoys sharing her photography and devotional thoughts on her blog, “My Heart… His Words.” Learn more at

Maria Norris graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism. After moving to Southern California, she held various writing, editing and sales positions. She retired to North Texas in 2008 to be near family, and enjoys writing children’s books and poems. E-mail her at [email protected].

Carrie O’Maley received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Butler University and Master of Library Science from Indiana University. She works as a public librarian. This story is dedicated to family and friends who remind her to live with faith, hope, and love. E-mail her at [email protected].

Christa Holder Ocker, a repeat contributor, likes to write about everyday life. Her memoir auf Wiedersehen, a 2010 Finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award, has been added to the Holocaust Collection at Yeshiva University, the Leo Baeck Institute, The New York Society Library, and the Goethe Institut.

Charles Owens hails from Trinity, NC. He received his undergraduate degree in business from Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego and his Master’s degree from the Naval War College. Charles and his wife Sonja have three children and enjoy traveling and working in Christian ministry.

David Ozab is currently writing his first non-fiction book, Her Name is Anna, which tells the story of his daughter’s cleft surgery and struggles with speech. This devotional is excerpted from his book. He also writes about his life as a stay-at-home dad at

Sheri Palivoda received her Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is currently working as a school librarian in Pittsburgh, PA. She believes that reading is the foundation for all academic subjects, and she is currently working on several children’s books.

Andrea Peebles lives with her husband of thirty-four years. She has worked in the insurance industry for over twenty-seven years and currently operates a part-time garden wedding facility in Rockmart, GA. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, reading and of course, writing. E-mail her at [email protected].

Stephanie Piro is a cartoonist, illustrator and designer. She is one of King Features’ team of women cartoonists, “Six Chix” (she is the Saturday chick). She also does the cartoon panel “Fair Game.” Her work appears all over, from books to greeting cards. In addition, she designs gift items for her company Strip T’s and her CafePress Shop. Learn more at

Jennifer Quasha is a freelance writer and editor who has focused on pets since 1998. She has written for many Chicken Soup for the Soul books and recently co-authored Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life and Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat’s Life. She lives with her two dogs, Sugar and Scout. Learn more at

Brenda Redmond is blessed with two daughters and a wonderful husband who inspire her every day. She enjoys traveling, reading, swimming, camping and spending time with family and friends. She plans to continue to write and grow as a writer. E-mail her at [email protected].

Crystal Brennan Ruzicka grew up in Fairport, NY, and currently resides in Chippewa Falls, WI, with her husband and ten children. She enjoys spending time with her family and writing her devotional blog, “Not My Steps.” She can be contacted through her blog at

Theresa Sanders considers it an honor to be a frequent Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor. An award-winning technical writer and consultant, she lives with her husband in suburban St. Louis and is blessed with four beloved grown children. E-mail her at [email protected].

Cyndi S. Schatzman, RN, MS, CCRN, a former nursing instructor and critical care nurse, is currently an inspirational speaker and author. She is married to her college sweetheart Todd and has three children who have grown into young adulthood despite the fact that their mother still burns garlic toast. Contact Cyndi for your next speaking engagement at [email protected].

Lindy Schneider is a children’s book illustrator, author and inspirational speaker. She speaks on how to discover God’s presence in everyday experiences. This is her third story to be published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at [email protected] or learn more about Lindy at

Dayle Shockley is an award-winning writer, the author of three books, and a contributor to many other works, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She and her retired fire captain husband can often be found traveling around the country, enjoying God’s handiwork. Visit Dayle’s website for more information at

Jennifer Smith is a nursing student who is passionate about life and writing. She loves to spend time with her wonderful husband and her two sons. She hopes that her stories will point the readers to Christ and that He alone will be glorified.

Mary Z. Smith is a regular contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as Guideposts and Angels on Earth magazines. Her most recent book, Life’s A Symphony, is dedicated to her niece’s husband Lou who gave his life serving our country. Mary enjoys walking, gardening and spending time praising God.

Diane Stark is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She loves to write about the important things in life: her family and her faith. Diane is the author of Teachers’ Devotions to Go. E-mail her at [email protected].

Michelle Stewart pastors with her husband at a multi-national church in Canada. She is mom to five kids — plus one waiting in heaven! She leads “girlfriends,” a ministry for women and is the founder/organizer of Pink Christmas. One of her favorite places is on a beach — reading. E-mail her at [email protected].

Kim Stokely has toured throughout the country in a one-person musical about women in the Bible. In addition to stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Vista, her fiction works have been printed in Writers’ Journal. She is currently working on her fourth novel. She blogs at

Sandra Diane Stout received her Associate’s degree in Business Studies from Indiana University Kokomo and is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a secretary at Indiana University Kokomo. Diane enjoys directing church drama, designing costumes, and is an accomplished pianist. She writes children’s nonfiction. E-mail her at [email protected].

Cozy mystery author Ann Summerville was born in England, and in search of a warmer climate, moved to California before settling in Texas. Ann is a member of Trinity Writers’ Workshop and resides in Fort Worth with her son, two boisterous dogs and a somewhat elusive cat. Learn more at

Sue Tornai completed “What’s Your Story?” apprentice writing course with the Christian Writers Guild in 2004. Her articles and stories have been published in Christian magazines and anthologies. Sue teaches Sunday school and enjoys camping and fishing with her husband John and dog Maggie. E-mail her at [email protected].

Marilyn Turk received her B.A. in Journalism from LSU and has been published in The Upper Room, Guideposts, Clubhouse Jr., and Coastal Christian Family. Besides writing, she enjoys the Florida panhandle lifestyle — walking, playing tennis, gardening and fishing with her husband Chuck. She is currently writing two inspirational novels. E-mail her at [email protected].

Shirley Pieters Vogel is a respected inspirational speaker and author whose articles have appeared in many publications including Leadership Journal. Her prize-winning book, wHispers, was published in 2008. Shirley’s passion is to share God’s love, hope and faithfulness with those who are struggling. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit

Sally Walls has not been a spectator to loss; she has been fully engaged. Throughout a decade of heartache, God has shown her that He makes good on all of His promises. Sally, her husband James, and teenage son Owen live in Calgary, Canada. Their other son, Davis, now lives in heaven.

Whether through words or photographs, Cari Weber is passionate about telling stories. She is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer whose work has been published in several books and magazines. Cari finds beauty in the ordinary and enjoys nature and wildlife. Learn more at, or e-mail her at [email protected].

B. Lee White has been a licensed practical nurse for nineteen years and a writer since she could write her first words. She is currently going to college to become a registered nurse and is working on her third book in the Soulfinder series. She enjoys reading, writing, and singing.

After fifteen years in the nuclear medicine field, Melissa Wootan made the decision to change careers and became a full-time wife and mother. She is currently at work writing a children’s humorous book series. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sandy Wright works with gifted and talented students and is a freelance writer. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, horses, traveling, and rollicking with her yellow Lab, Jake. Though at times her life has been challenging, she embraces it with joy. E-mail her at [email protected].

More stories from our partners