Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters

Meet Our Contributors

Mary Amelia was inspired by her life as a playwright, producer, director, actor, artist, photographer, businesswoman, motivator, reverend, author, and mom to write Love Thyself: A Life Guide for Women. She lives in California and re-energizes on the beach when she’s not traveling. E-mail her at [email protected].

Monica A. Andermann lives on Long Island where her family continues to inspire much of her writing. More of Monica’s work can be found both online and in print, including several editions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort collections.

Annie (not her real name, of course) is a freelance writer whose work has appeared widely both online and in print. She is happy to report that her marriage has remained strong and loving for twenty years despite her mother-in-law’s antics.

Linda Apple is the author of Inspire! Writing from the Soul and Connect! A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers. Her stories have appeared in twelve Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s a motivational speaker and serves as a speaker trainer for Stonecroft Ministries. Visit her website:

Eden Arneau is a freelance writer and speaker from the Heartland. Those long winter months are perfect for hours at the computer while her cubs are in school. Her husband is her biggest cheerleader and approved this story, as long as she remained anonymous. You can e-mail her at [email protected].

Gretchen Bauer is the pseudonym for someone who does not want her mother-in-law to know that she tattled on her.

Garrett Bauman, recently retired as a professor of English at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, has published several pieces about his father, who believed in fire extinguishers, insurance policies and emergency brakes. He never did crawl out on that roof.

Meghan Beeby has a B.A. in English Literature and is also a Registered Nurse with a strong interest in psychiatric-mental health nursing. She lives in rural upstate New York with her wonderful husband John, and large family of rescued companion animals, including special needs dogs.

Juliet Bell has had a varied career in theatre, teaching, and computer programming. She currently lives in New Hampshire where she enjoys life as a painter, maker of wooden jigsaw puzzles, and palmist. She has written several books and many stories for the young. She may be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Devyani Borade is a published writer of short humorous stories on topics drawn from everyday life. She likes chocolate cookies, Calvin and Hobbes comics and trying her husband’s patience. Visit her blog at to enjoy the adventures of Debora, her alter ego.

Marty Bucella is a full-time freelance cartoonist/humorous illustrator whose work has been published over 100,000 times in magazines, newspapers, greeting cards, books, the Web and so on. To see more of Marty’s work, visit his website at:

Kristine Byron worked as a trainer for Tupperware and in later years as an interior designer. She loves to cook and entertain. Kristine also loves to travel with her husband and spend quality time with her five grandchildren.

Martha Campbell is a graduate of Washington University, St. Louis School of Fine Arts and a former writer/designer for Hallmark Cards. She has been a freelance cartoonist and illustrator since leaving Hallmark. She lives in Harrison, AR.

Author Talia Carner’s heart-wrenching suspense novels, Puppet Child and China Doll, were hailed for exposing society’s ills. Her next novel, Jerusalem Maiden, will be published by HarperCollins in June 2011. Carner’s award-winning short stories and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary publications. Visit her website at

Dave Carpenter has been a fulltime cartoonist since 1981. Dave’s cartoons have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Harvard Business Review, Reader’s Digest, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, Woman’s World, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens, the Saturday Evening Post, and other publications. Contact Dave at [email protected].

Stefani Chambers, a native Texan, currently lives in New York City with her husband Chris. She received her Masters of Journalism from the University of North Texas. Answering phones from 9 to 5 pays the bills; writing creative nonfiction is what she was put on earth to do, as well as singing, running, and traveling with her husband.

Michele Christian lives in Abington, MA and is a published author in several short story books, including Chicken Soup of the Soul: Twins and More. Michele thanks her children and family for their continued support as well as providing her the best writing material! Please e-mail her at [email protected].

J.M. Cornwell is a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and A Cup of Comfort anthologies. Her novel, Past Imperfect, is available online in paperback and e-book at Amazon, Powell’s and Barnes & Noble. When not writing about family foibles, she contributes to and may be e-mailed at [email protected].

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 Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Rebecca Davis is a sophomore at Northeastern University. She is majoring in Media Communications with a minor in Spanish and Production. She has been writing since she learned how to speak and her ambition is to write a novel with her mother.

Gwen Daye has been a professional freelance writer since 1998, but began writing in 1979. Since then her family has inspired much of her work. She very much appreciates their love and support and, after this book is published, is hoping that they still speak to her.

Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer living in Paris, France, with her husband and two young sons. In addition to writing for various magazines, she is working on a book about intercultural weddings. She also blogs about freelance writing from abroad and child-friendly activities in Paris. Contact her at

Moira Rose Donohue is the author of two picture books: Alfie the Apostrophe, 2006, which received “high marks” from Kirkus, and Penny and the Punctuation Bee, 2008, both published by Albert Whitman. Her other publishing credits include children’s plays, magazine articles and an entry in Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul 2.

Debbie Dufresne earned a master’s degree in library and information science from Syracuse University. After many years working for a newspaper, she is now a freelance copy editor/proofreader/writer. She is an avid New York Yankees fan and also enjoys reading and searching for antiques and collectibles. E-mail her at [email protected].

Irene Estrada received her Bachelor of Science, with honors, and Master of Arts from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is a retired Director of Budgeting. Irene enjoys traveling, reading and writing. She is currently writing a combination autobiography and biography. The biography includes entries from her brother’s journals.

Gail Eynon received her BA in psychology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo and is currently working on her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Capella University preparing to graduate with honors. Gail enjoys writing in her spare time. She feels that you are never too old to enjoy life.

Susan Farr-Fahncke is the founder of, where you can find more of her writing and sign up for an online writing workshop! She also founded the amazing volunteer group, Angels2TheHeart, wrote Angel’s Legacy and is co-author, editor, and contributor to over sixty books, including many Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Lauren Fitzpatrick grew up in Indianapolis and has since lived and worked all over the world. She holds a BA in Communication and Culture from Indiana University, and an MA in Travel Writing from Kingston University. She is working on a novel about her travel experiences. Contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Lori Giraulo-Secor is a single mom in western New York with two beautiful children, Adam and Leah. She writes nonfiction short stories and children’s poems. She’s inspired by her family and is working to compile their funniest moments for a novel. Read Lori’s blog at or e-mail her at [email protected].

Chicken Soup for the Soul editor Kristiana Glavin earned a journalism degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2004. She previously worked as a reporter, and loves that she now reads, writes and edits for Chicken Soup for the Soul! Kristiana lives, runs and plays in Connecticut.

Judy Lee Green is an award-winning writer and speaker whose spirit and roots reach deep into the Appalachian Mountains. Tennessee-bred and cornbread-fed, she has been published hundreds of times and received dozens of awards for her work. Her family is the source for many of her stories. Reach her in Tennessee at [email protected].

Stephanie Haefner is a wife, mother of two and novelist from Buffalo, NY. Her debut novel, A Bitch Named Karma, is available from Lyrical Press. This is her second Chicken Soup for the Soul publication. When not writing, Stephanie enjoys family activities, dance class, scrapbooking, and Walt Disney World.

Laurel Hausman lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two Beagles, where she teaches high school mathematics. Her interests include biking, gardening, quilting, and reading. Her dream is to become a full-time writer of creative nonfiction.

Georgia A. Hubley retired after twenty years in financial management to write full-time. She’s a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Christian Science Monitor and various other magazines, newspapers and anthologies. She resides with her husband of thirty-two years in Henderson, NV. Contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Carol Huff lives in Hartwell, GA, and enjoys freelance writing. She has had her work published in several national magazines, and has completed her third novel. She takes care of rescued animals on her farm, and enjoys horseback riding. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jody A. James prepares her waffles in a small Southwestern Pennsylvania town where she is a dental hygienist. Her household consists of a thirty-something single mom, two active and life-loving boys, a pretentious hamster-loving cat, and a tortured cat-hating hamster. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Marsha Jordan, zany grandmother and undiscovered shower singer, began her writing career on the restroom walls of St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Her book, Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter, available at, earned honorable mention in the World’s Funniest Humor Contest. She lives with her husband in Wisconsin. E-mail her at [email protected].

Ron Kaiser, Jr. has managed to finagle an astoundingly good-looking woman, far beyond him in every way, to marry him. They live together in New Hampshire, where he writes stories when he is not just dumbstruck looking at his radiant wife. He seeks to publish a book of short stories and a novel. E-mail him at [email protected].

Paul Karrer has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor and many Chicken Soup for the Soul books. He was North Monterey County’s LULAC Educator of the year for 2009. He is a fifth-grade teacher and union negotiator in Castroville, CA. He frequently gives talks on education or writing matters.

Alex Kingcott grew up on the prairies of Alberta. Her parents exposed her to the arts early, and she quickly found her passion for theatre and storytelling. She studied Communications at Mount Royal University in Calgary, where she lives with her fabulous and endlessly amusing friends and family. Contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Mimi Greenwood Knight is a freelance writer and mama of four living in South Louisiana with her husband David and way too many pets. She enjoys Bible study, butterfly gardening, artisan breadmaking and the lost art of letter writing.

Jess Knox is the author of three Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2007 with a degree in Screenwriting and is currently the publicity coordinator for OmniPop Talent Group in Los Angeles. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

After thirty-plus years as a communications professional and corporate wordsmith for a Fortune 500 company, Mitchell Kyd has begun a new journey as a freelance writer and tale weaver. Her stories reflect the humorous and sometimes poignant moments of life in rural Pennsylvania. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Roberta Laurie received her degree in Communications from Grant MacEwan University in 2010. She is a freelance writer and editor. Roberta has seen her work published in several anthologies and numerous periodicals. You can learn more about Roberta’s writing and other passions by going to her website:

Beth Levine is a freelance writer whose work has been published in many national magazines (Woman’s Day, More, Good Housekeeping). She is the author of two nonfiction books, and she thinks Christmas cookies are a very good idea. To learn more about Beth visit her website at

Janeen Lewis is living the life she always dreamed of, writing from home while caring for her two children. When she isn’t writing about her zany-but-lovable family, she enjoys spending time with them. Contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Patricia Ljutic lives in California with a creative family that makes art with paper, paints and soapstone. Her work has appeared in My Mom Is My Hero, A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Special Needs, Contra Costa Times and Ciao! Travel with Attitude. Her e-mail is [email protected].

Barbara LoMonaco received her BS from the University of Southern California and has an elementary teaching credential. Barbara has worked for Chicken Soup for the Soul since 1998 as an editor and webmaster. She is a co-author of Chicken Soup for the Mother and Son Soul and Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Resolution.

Natalia K. Lusinski created her first newspaper, “Nat’s Neat News Notes,” at age ten, and has been writing ever since—from short stories and books to TV and film scripts. But “family matters” most, as is seen in this book, which includes her seventh published Chicken Soup for the Soul story. E-mail Natalia at [email protected].

Kenneth C. Lynch is a retired U.S. Navy officer, having served twenty-seven years. Ken is currently a teacher’s assistant for Pennsylvania’s Pennridge School District. He has been published in Chicken Soup for the Shopper’s Soul and in The Storyteller magazine.

John MacDonald is an English as a Second Language teacher in Albany, NY and enjoys poking fun at his family’s quirky behavior through his writing. His stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family and Conceive magazine. Please e-mail him at [email protected].

Judith Marks-White is a Westport News (CT) award-winning columnist of “The Light Touch,” which has appeared every Wednesday for the past twenty-five years. She is the author of two novels published by Random House/Ballantine: Seducing Harry and Bachelor Degree. Judith teaches humor writing and lectures widely.

Dary Matera is the author of fourteen books, including the bestseller Are You Lonesome Tonight? He currently lives in Arizona.

Jeri McBryde lives in a small town outside Memphis, TN. She recently retired from the library system and spends her days reading and working on her dream of being published. Jeri loves crocheting and chocolate. Her family is the center of her life.

A freelance writer who loves to toy with words, Dee McFoster comes from a long line of quirky females. Consequently, she credits her own peculiarities and obsessions to deviant DNA. Although she considers herself a Daddy’s Girl, it’s the image of her mother that greets her in the mirror.

Lynn Maddalena Menna received her BA from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and her MA from Montclair State University. She is a frequent Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor and her new young adult novel is due to be published next year. Lynn lives in Hawthorne, NJ with her husband Prospero and cat Toonise. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Anna Michaelsan is a freelance writer.

Mike Morlacci is a husband, father and communications specialist. He is also a freelance writer and a former sports writer and sports editor… really.

Retired library manager Shelley Mosley has co-authored several nonfiction books. She also writes romantic comedies with Deborah Mazoyer under the name Deborah Shelley. Shelley enjoys being with her family and friends, playing with her cats, reading, traveling, singing, playing the piano, and watching movies. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

When Lava Mueller told her mother that “Cotton Balls” had been accepted for publication in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters, her mother said, “That’s great, Sweetheart. I’m glad I could help you get rich. I think I just ate a bug.” Lava lives in Vermont. E-mail her at [email protected].

JT Nelson graduated from the New England Academy of Funeral Service in 1965. He always wanted to write about growing up in a funeral home and the practice of small town funeral service. JT loves carpentry, fishing, boating, woodworking and living by the ocean and lakes. Please e-mail him at [email protected].

Sherylynn Niezen has an extended minor in English and is finishing up her Bachelor of Arts degree from UFV. She loves teaching and helping coach a synchronized skating team. She loves writing humorous poetry and hopes to one day write a full novel. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Mark Parisi’s “off the mark” comic, syndicated since 1987, is distributed by United Media. He won the National Cartoonists Society’s award for Best Newspaper Panel in 2009. His humor also graces greeting cards, T-shirts, calendars, magazines, newsletters and books. See Lynn is his wife/business partner. Daughter Jen contributes inspiration, as do three cats, one dog and an unknown number of koi.

Cynthia Patton, BS, JD, attended the University of California, Davis, and has worked as an environmental attorney, scientific editor, consultant, habitat restoration manager, and writer. The Northern California native has one daughter. Her nonfiction stories have appeared in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, and books. She’s revising a memoir. E-mail Cynthia at [email protected].

Ava Pennington is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher. She has published numerous magazine articles and contributed to nineteen anthologies, including thirteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She has also authored One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell, 2010). Learn more at

Saralee Perel is an award-winning columnist/novelist and a multiple contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her newest book, The Dog Who Walked Me, is about her dog who became her caregiver after she suffered a major spinal cord injury and her cat who kept her sane. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit her website at

Elizabeth Philip received her Bachelor of Social Work and Master’s of Arts in Teaching. She teaches high school English in Missouri. Elizabeth is currently at work on a novel. She shares her home with her husband, their two children, a Collie, an Australian Shepherd, and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Lori Phillips lives with her omnivorous family in Southern California where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in communications, journalism and Master of Education. She is the Japanese Food and Living Simply editor for Lori also enjoys writing about marriage, family, and spirituality. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Helen Polaski (Szymanski) began writing professionally in 1984 and has thousands of articles and short stories in anthologies, newspapers, magazines. She has compiled and edited eight anthology books for Adams Media. The late Paul Harvey, of radio fame, read from her anthology books and endorsed them as his “preferred bedtime reading.”

Felice Prager is a freelance writer and multisensory educational therapist from Scottsdale, AZ. Hundreds of her essays have been published locally, nationally, and internationally in print and on the Internet. She is the author of Quiz It: Arizona. To find out more about Felice’s book or to find links to more of her work, please visit

T. Powell Pryce is a single mother of two who lives near Saint Louis, MO. She teaches and writes, and has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Natalie June Reilly is a football mom of two extraordinary teenage boys and the author of the children’s book, My Stick Family: Helping Children Cope with Divorce. Reilly is a freelance writer who loves her life and is looking forward to returning to college with her firstborn son in the fall. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Bruce Robinson is an award-winning internationally published cartoonist whose work has appeared in numerous consumer and trade periodicals including the National Enquirer, The Saturday Evening Post, Woman’s World, The Sun, First, Highlights for Children, etc. He is also the author of the cartoon book Good Medicine. Contact him via e-mail at [email protected].

Gary Rubinstein is a teacher in New York City. He has two published books, Reluctant Disciplinarian, a memoir about his first year of teaching, and Beyond Survival, a textbook for new teachers. He was also published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales, published in 2010. E-mail him at [email protected].

Jessie Miyeko Santala recently received her Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Denver. She is a photographer who is also currently working on her first book. Jessie enjoys Starbucks, the Denver Nuggets, her family and spending time with her husband, Mike. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Shannon Scott works as a Public Information Officer in Atlanta for a sewer rehab contractor, and enjoys the challenges each day brings. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and children (ages four and six), reading, writing and being outdoors as much as possible.

Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a husband, father, social worker, freelance author (including a CD/Download of twelve stories, read with light background music, entitled Possible), and inspirational speaker. He’s had many stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Please visit

Timothy A. Setterlund is an attorney practicing in Boca Raton, FL. He welcomes the relief of literature from the constipated legalese he works with daily. He intends to continue, and write fiction as well. Reach him via e-mail at [email protected].

Avery Shepard received her Bachelor’s degree from San José State University in 2002. She enjoys traveling, snowboarding and fast driving. Avery currently writes young adult fantasy, but plans to venture into both science and women’s fiction. To learn more about Avery visit

When Mary Z. Smith isn’t busy writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts or Angels on Earth, she can be found in her garden or walking her Rat Terrier Frankie. She and her husband Barry and her ninety-two-year-old mother-in-law Flora reside in Richmond, VA, where they enjoy visits from their grown children and grandchildren.

Jean Sorensen’s cartoons have appeared in Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post Magazine, The Lutheran, and numerous textbooks. Her work has also been featured in greeting cards for Oatmeal Studios. Jean lives in the Washington, DC area with her high school sweetheart and three children, who always keep her laughing.

Cecil Swetland received his Bachelor of Arts from Simpson College and Master of Arts in Education from California State University. He is a frequent speaker to adults and teen groups on the topics of education and communication. He is a school administrator, enjoys traveling, and participates in international education projects.

From belly dancer, to fitness trainer, to speech pathologist, to memoir teacher, Tsgoyna Tanzman credits writing as the supreme “therapy” for raising an adolescent daughter. Published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and also on,, and in The Orange County Register. E-mail her at [email protected].

Marie Wells is a pseudonym for a daughter who desperately loves her mother and would not hurt her for anything in the world. But this daughter also recognizes that some stories are funny and they simply must be told, but only under a secret identity.

Lori Wescott is a freelance humorist living it up in the small town of Nolensville, TN, where she resides with her handsome husband and brilliant son. She enjoys most things mom-related and has been known to dominate a game of tee ball. Read more of her work at

Valerie Whisenand, usually writing as Valerie Hansen, is the author of many Christian fiction paperback novels. When she moved to the Ozarks she found her calling, as well as a beautiful atmosphere filled with loving, caring people. She’s been married to her high school sweetheart for a gazillion years! E-mail her at [email protected].

Arthur Wiknik, Jr. served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. His memoir Nam Sense is now in its second printing. This is the fifth Chicken Soup for the Soul book he has been published in. Arthur frequently shares his wartime experiences at schools and civic organizations. Visit his website at

Alan Williamson is a nationally published humor writer whose work explores the small dilemmas of everyday life. Shunning the complex issues and thorny global conundrums of the day, he chronicles the flaws, follies and convoluted capers that unite people in their humanity. Alan can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Ann Williamson received her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Regis University in 2008. She was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society and was published in Apogee, the Regis literary journal. She is a devoted grandmother and an avid reader. You may contact her via e-mail at [email protected].

Ann Michener Winter has been writing poetry since age eleven and began writing nonfiction several years ago. Retired from twenty-three years of administrative work at UCSB, she loves family and friends, tap dancing, yoga, doo-wop singing, volunteering at the South Coast Railroad Museum and traveling. Please e-mail her at [email protected].

Helen Xenakis enjoys the retirement lifestyle since it provides plenty of time to pursue her love of writing. This is her fourth Chicken Soup for the Soul publication.

S. Nadja Zajdman is a writer and an actress. Her theater roles include the one-woman show, Shirley Valentine, and the title role in Sheindele. Her short stories, essays and memoirs have been featured in newspapers, magazines and literary journals. Nadja has performed her material on radio and in live readings.

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