Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive

Meet Our Contributors

Christopher Allen splits his time between the UK and Germany, where he teaches business English. In 2011, Allen was a finalist at Glimmer Train and was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In his spare time, Allen travels obsessively and blogs about his travels at

Teresa Ambord writes business articles from her home in rural Northern California. Teresa is fully owned by her dogs, who inspire her writing and decorate her life. She volunteers as a foster parent for animals at E-mail her at [email protected].

Monica A. Andermann lives on Long Island with her husband Bill and their cat Charley. In addition to many credits in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, her writing has appeared in such publications as Skirt!, The Secret Place, Ocean, and Woman’s World.

Carol E. Ayer’s publishing credits include Woman’s World, True Story, True Confessions, and other Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. Visit her at

Syndee A. Barwick is a freelance writer and purveyor of positivity. A published author of the nonfiction story, “The Wisdom of Socrates,” in Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, and an agented writer of a young adult fantasy that is on the road to publication. E-mail her at [email protected].

Garrett Bauman is Professor Emeritus from Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. His textbook on writing is currently in use at eighty-seven colleges and his writings have been in The New York Times, Sierra, Yankee, other Chicken Soup for the Soul books and many other publications. 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].

Jay Berman is a retired florist, working on his first novel; he volunteers for three non-profits, assisting with newsletters, solicitations, and peer counseling. Jay has one son currently attending college; and has family in New York, Texas, and Florida. His hobbies include: Yankee fanaticism, baseball memorabilia, reading, and creative writing.

Rita Bosel, a native of Germany, has lived and worked on three continents. Now residing in Palm Coast, FL, she enjoys life in the Sunshine State and capturing — and thus reliving — the defining moments that shaped her life’s stories.

Allyssa Bross grew up in Charlotte, NC. She is currently a principal dancer with LA’s professional ballet company, Los Angeles Ballet. She loves being an inspiration to others to follow their dreams. E-mail her at [email protected].

L.R. Buckman graduated from Mission College with an A.A. degree in English. She is pursuing a degree in nursing. She loves working with older people, but actually she would rather write, write, write. She is a member of South Bay Writers club and Romance Writers of America and blogs at

Throughout Nancy Lombard Burall’s life, she has walked through many heartaches, trials and new beginnings. From the death of her parents when she was a teenager, to being a single parent, to the breakdown of her health, Nancy has learned to trust God. She writes from her experiences with humor and encouragement.

Sally Willard Burbank received her medical degree from the University of Vermont. She is a practicing internist. She is married and the mother of two college students. Sally enjoys writing, reading, gardening, and bicycling. To read other stories by Sally, visit her blog at

Lynn Cahoon found her true calling while examining life’s highs and lows. She realized her happiest times surrounded writing and telling stories. Since that commitment, Lynn’s sold her first book. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and three fur babies, but calls Idaho home. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sara Celi is a TV anchor at KFOR/KAUT Freedom 43 in Oklahoma City, OK. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2004 and since then has traveled all over the country for her journalism career. She also enjoys running, hiking, and volunteering with the Junior League.

Cindy Charlton, professional speaker/author, brings her message of hope, inspiration, and gratitude to everyone. She survived a life threatening illness, losing three limbs in the process, but feels lucky to be alive. Cindy writes personal essays for magazines and a blog, Cindy welcomes e-mails at [email protected].

Jane McBride Choate is the author of thirty-two books and over 400 short stories and articles. Being published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is a dream come true for her.

Audrey Clearwater is earning her B.A. degree in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. She resides in Nevada with her husband and two beautiful daughters. Her passion is writing stories that inspire others and she endeavors to become a novelist specializing in creative non-fiction. E-mail her at [email protected].

Harriet Cooper is a freelance writer and has published personal essays, humour and creative nonfiction in newspapers, newsletter, anthologies and magazines, and is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She writes about family, relationships, health, food, cats, writing and daily life. E-mail her at [email protected].

Gunter David was a reporter for major city newspapers for twenty-five years and a Pulitzer Prize nominee by the Evening Bulletin of Philadelphia, before obtaining a master’s degree in family therapy. He has had numerous stories and memoirs published in literary journals and anthologies.

Kerri A. Davidson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Otterbein College. Upon graduation, she achieved her childhood dream of moving from Indiana to New York City and is currently writing a memoir about her adventures. In her free time, she loves to dance. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lola Di Giulio De Maci is a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She also enjoys writing children’s stories, some appearing in the Los Angeles Times. Lola has a Master of Art’s degree in education and English and writes from her loft overlooking the San Bernardino Mountains. E-mail her at [email protected].

Linda C. Defew calls writing her therapy and her sole purpose is to stay busy inspiring others. Linda writes for her local paper and numerous magazines such as Christian Woman and The Writer. She and her husband live in the country where they surround themselves with family, friends, and dogs. E-mail her at [email protected].

Hollye Dexter is co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press), and author of two memoirs. She teaches writing workshops for adults and at-risk teens. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children, where she hikes, plays music and blogs about living an authentic life at

Gary Duff is the CEO of xQ Public Relations, as well as an award-winning journalist, producer and talk show host, whose ideas have led to magazine publication and appearances on television and radio. E-mail Gary at [email protected].

H.J. Eggers is delighted to have her sixth story in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Life with her beloved husband Shawn is a blessing and education. Son Michael and his new wife Rose add even more joy. Gardening, quilting, fishing, camping, yoga and of course writing fill her heart and days. E-mail her at [email protected].

Terri Elders, LCSW, lives near Colville, WA, with two dogs and three cats. Her stories have appeared in multiple editions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Terri is a public member of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her blog at

Jean Ferratier is a heart-centered archetypal coach, helping people link their synchronous moments to their life’s purpose. Her recent book is titled Reading Symbolic Signs: How to Connect the Dots of Your Spiritual Life. Jean loves to dance and share information on her blog at E-mail her at [email protected].

Pamela Gilsenan has five adult children whose names begin with the letter “S.” She graduated from Stephens College and plans to pursue a law degree.

Liz Graf is a retired high school biology teacher with three grown children. She and her high school sweetheart are now settled in Palm Coast, FL. Liz loves seeing and translating the world through the written word. She strives to make every day a Sunshine Day. E-mail her at [email protected].

Dale Mary Grenfell is an educator, writer and storyteller. She teaches in Colorado, conducts workshops and recently completed her first manuscript on a new look at grief in western culture. She also delights in hosting foreign students who enrich her appreciation of our marvelous multicultural world. E-mail her at [email protected].

Pamela Hawken has lived and worked in Europe, Africa, Oregon, Colorado and California. Retired from a career in business, she enjoys photography, music, travel, gardening, and being a grandma. Pamela has recently written a book titled Angel on a 747 based on her travels and life as a single mom. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sue Henninger lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York State with her husband, three sons, and some pets. She’s a full-time freelance writer who enjoys boating, waterskiing, and tubing with friends and family in her spare time. Visit her website and blog at

Allison Howell is a homeschooling mother of seven children, two of whom have cystic fibrosis. She enjoys reading, crocheting, hobby farming, and hiking. She and her husband Ken have been married for twenty-two years. Allison blogs at

Randi Sue Huchingson lives in Florida with her husband and four children. She is a pastor’s wife and a homeschool mom. She enjoys writing short stories about how God speaks to her through her daily life. She also enjoys teaching and making music with her kids. E-mail her at [email protected].

Owner of Café Roche Espresso Bar in Winston-Salem, Sarah Hummell has devoted her life to coffee and café culture. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Restaurant Management in 2004 and writes a coffee blog at In her free time, Sarah enjoys traveling, and spending time with her husband and their two children.

Besides penning thank you notes, award-winning author Jeanette Hurt writes about food, wine and travel. Her latest book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sausage Making. She lives in Milwaukee with her family. Follow her on Twitter, visit her website,, or listen to her on NPR affiliate, WUWM.

Lisa Hutchison is a writer, licensed mental health counselor and holistic educator in Massachusetts. She leads therapeutic and expressive therapy groups for elders in a partial hospitalization program, and has a private healing practice in which she teaches clients to empower themselves through the written word and educational seminars.

Jennie Ivey lives in Cookeville, TN. She is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including stories in several books of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Visit her website at

Karen Lewis Jackson holds a master’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University. When her family moved to Canada she retired from programming and has since been busy writing and volunteering. She also enjoys recreating the role of an 18th century fifer at historic sites. E-mail her at [email protected].

Linda Jackson, a wife and mother of three, makes her home in Southaven, MS, where she writes full-time. More information about her writing may be found at or on her blog at

Miranda Johnson is currently in high school and will graduate in 2014. She is involved in marching band and plays piano, flute, is learning alto sax, and is also interested in art.

Tom Kaden is a graduate of Messiah College and Asbury Theological Seminary. He is vice president of Someone To Tell It To, Inc., a nonprofit counseling service. Tom is married, the father of four, and he is an avid New York sports fan and outdoorsman. E-mail him at [email protected].

Tom Krause was a team captain on the Boonville Pirates 1974 State Championship team. He is now one of America’s most quoted motivational speakers. Tom currently lives in Nixa, MO, with wife Amy and sons Tyler and Sam. Learn more at

Sheila Seiler Lagrand lives in the foothills of Orange County, CA, with her husband Rich and three dogs. By day, she works as the operations manager for a registered investment advisory firm. Otherwise, you’ll find her boating, cooking, enjoying her grandchildren, and blogging at E-mail her at [email protected].

Jeannie Lancaster writes from her home in Loveland, CO. She believes that even in the most challenging of situations, there can be moments of immense joy, which lead one to a sense of deep gratitude. It is from reflection on these moments that her most important writing emerges.

A freelance writer, Jennifer Lang has been published in Parenting, Real Simple, Yoga Journal, Parents and Natural Solutions, among others. Her essays have appeared in the South Loop Review and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as on Most recently, her story appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride.

Julie Lavender is married to her high school sweetheart David and together they have four wonderful children: Jeremy, Jennifer, Jeb Daniel, and Jessica. She is a homeschooling mommy, and enjoys cooking and traveling. Julie writes for her local newspaper, and has written books, devotionals, and articles. E-mail her at [email protected].

Amy Gray Light writes animal and human-interest essays for regional, local, and national publications. A former editor for a design magazine and an international nonprofit, Amy now lives on Wye Mountain in Arkansas, where she and her husband, Excy, run a wild mustang sanctuary. Learn more at

Sarah Darer Littman wrote Confessions of a Closet Catholic, 2006 Sydney Taylor Book Award, Life, After, a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor book, Purge and Want to Go Private?, a 2012 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers. She’s an award-winning columnist for Contact her at and [email protected]

Gail MacMillan is the award-winning author of twenty-six published books and numerous short stories and articles published in both North America and Europe. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and three dogs. Contact Gail through her website at or by e-mail at [email protected].

Conny Manero is an executive assistant by day and a writer after hours. She has written two novels, Voice of an Angel and Waiting for Silverbird, and a children’s book called Kitten Diaries. When not writing, Conny is an active fundraiser for the Toronto Cat Shelter and is an avid ten-pin bowler.

With degrees from the University of Wyoming and the College of St. Catherine, Alice Marks taught preschool for over thirty years in Minnesota and Texas. Upon retirement, she joined a writers group in Port Aransas, TX, which she now leads. E-mail her at [email protected].

Scott Martin and Coryanne Hicks are co-authors of the inspirational memoir Moving Forward In Reverse, available exclusively on Amazon in late 2012 and various other retail outlets in 2013. This story has been adapted for the good folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul and you, the reader. Visit to learn more.

Sara Matson lives in Minnesota with her husband and twin twelve-year-old daughters. Her stories have appeared in four other Chicken Soup for the Soul books. E-mail her at [email protected].

Catherine Mattice is president of Civility Partners, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations build positive workplaces. She became interested in the power of positivity while working with targets of workplace bullying, and her accident allowed her to experience this power firsthand. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit

Audrey McLaughlin lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband Tom, spending her winters in Florida. She retired after working twenty-seven years in early childhood education. She enjoys writing and sharing what she has learned from working with young children, their families, and her personal life experiences. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mary Anne Molcan is currently a fine arts student at North Island College on Vancouver Island. She has published poetry in a local magazine and plans to continue sharing her words and artwork so that others can learn about themselves. Mary Anne can be contacted via at [email protected].

When Gail Molsbee Morris isn’t chasing rare birds, she pursues God’s heart. She writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and can be reached through her blog, She continues to edit her book, Finding Light in the Darkness, an uplifting autobiography about alopecia and cancer. E-mail her at [email protected].

Carine Nadel has been writing features for The Orange County Register, Orange County Jewish Life magazine, and many other publications. She has a humor/lifestyle blog at Her favorite stories come from her husband, Steve, of over thirty years and her grown children and grandkids. E-mail her at [email protected].

Linda O’Connell, a seasoned preschool teacher from St. Louis, MO, enjoys a good laugh, dark chocolate and long walks with her husband. Her inspirational stories have been published in fifteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books and many other publications. Linda blogs at

Dorri Olds is a Manhattan-based award-winning freelance writer who has written for a variety of publications including The New York Times, The Jewish Daily Forward, is a weekly contributor to NBC’s Petside and a web designer/social media consultant. She is a member of American Society of Journalists & Authors and Graphic Artists Guild.

Galen Pearl leads retreats and discussion groups based on her program to develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. She writes a blog and is publishing a book about her program, titled 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There). E-mail her at [email protected].

Award-winning columnist/novelist Saralee Perel is honored to be a multiple contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and her perpetually increasing family of pets. E-mail Saralee at [email protected] or via her website at

Shirley Dunn Perry is a nurse and author of Ten Five-Minute Miracles: How to Relax. Her work has appeared in many publications. Biscuit making, hiking, world travel, watercolors, and enjoying her family and grandchildren add zest to her writing adventures. E-mail her at [email protected] or read her blog at

Connie Pombo is an inspirational author, speaker and freelance writer. She has contributed several stories to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Connie is the creator of Baskets Full of Hope, a gift basket company for breast cancer survivors and their caregivers. She can be reached at

Kimberly Porrazzo is a writer and editor with five essays published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her husband and two sons love baseball; Nick played Jeremy Giambi in Moneyball, and Anthony currently works for the Anaheim Angels. “Positive thinking” plays a big part in their lives. E-mail her at [email protected].

Nafisa Rayani, a previous contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is a young Kenyan woman who only recently discovered her passion for writing, but has been using the “Power of Positive” in her life for many years now. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mark Rickerby’s writings have been published in three previous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. He co-wrote his father’s memoir, The Other Belfast, about growing up in Northern Ireland. His most recent project is a CD of fifteen original songs for parents titled Great Big World. To learn more, visit

Tamara Roberts is CPO of Bring Your Own Tiara. Continuing to cleave to her husband of over thirty years, Tamara is an award-winning author and speaker. Besides enjoying tea parties with her six grandchildren, she has a passion to empower and encourage people. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sioux Roslawski is a third grade teacher in St. Louis, a teacher consultant for the Gateway Writing Project, a wife, a mom, a grammy and a rescuer of Golden Retrievers. Sioux enjoys reading, eating chocolate and napping on Saturday afternoons. Learn more at

Carol S. Rothchild has her master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins. A freelance writer/editor, she contributes to education, media, web, marketing, advertising, anthologies, and magazines — complete with celebrity interviews and backyard fashion shoots. E-mail her at [email protected].

John Scanlan is a 1983 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and retired from the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel aviator. He currently resides on Hilton Head Island, SC, and is pursuing a second career as a writer. John can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a husband, father, social worker, author (including a CD/download of twelve stories entitled Possible, as well as working on an autobiography entitled A Shot of Inspiration), and an inspirational speaker. To learn more visit

Ange Shepard was born and raised on the east coast of Canada on Cape Breton Island but currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband. She enjoys writing, donairs, 90s music, and of course Chicken Soup for the Soul therapy when needed. E-mail her at [email protected].

Former public defender and prosecutor Mickey Sherman is a criminal defense lawyer in Greenwich, CT. He has served as a legal commentator on most every TV network except The Food Channel. His first book, How Can You Defend Those People?, has been universally acclaimed by the legal and literary community. E-mail Mickey at [email protected].

Aaron Stafford received his business degrees from Missouri, Hawaii and Arkansas. He lives and sells real estate in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Washington. He enjoys computer games, humor and reading as many books as he can find, especially those with a positive outlook. E-mail him at [email protected].

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

Sharri Bockheim Steen, Ph.D., is a freelance medical writer in New Jersey. She kept a blog about her experience with cancer ( and is grateful for her fully restored health. Sharri thanks her wonderful husband Bob, her two children, and all her family and friends for their support and encouragement.

Sandy Stevener and her husband are involved in full-time missions work. They live in Mississippi and travel often to Central and South America. Sandy is involved with many local ministries and is an aspiring novel writer. You can follow Sandy at and or e-mail her at [email protected].

There is a famous quote that scars (both emotional and physical) remind us where we’ve been but they don’t have to dictate where we are going. Sidney Anne Stone’s “scars” made her who she is today and she wears them like a badge of honor but she never hides behind them.

Florence Strang is a registered psychologist with more than twenty years of experience in the fields of education and psychology. She has also been trained in mindfulness meditation, reiki, horticultural therapy and angel therapy. Her blog, 100 Perks of Having Cancer, is soon to be published as a book.

After discovering a secret “reset” button, JC Sullivan is re-living her twenties, confident that she’s having more fun this time around. Having fled the cubicle, she seeks adventure. Not independently wealthy, she takes odd jobs — to backpack the world. She’s been to over 120 countries and every continent. Visit her blog at

Annmarie B. Tait resides in Conshohocken, PA, with her husband Joe Beck. Annmarie has stories published in several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes, Reminisce magazine, Patchwork Path, and many other anthologies. Annmarie is a current nominee for the 2011 Pushcart Prize. E-mail Annmarie at [email protected].

Tsgoyna Tanzman’s career spans from belly dancer to speech pathologist to fitness trainer to memoir teacher. Writing is her “therapy” for raising her adolescent daughter. Published in nine Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her essays and poems can be read at, and in The Orange County Register. E-mail her at [email protected].

Nina Taylor is the editorial director for Pneuma Books, the book producer for Chicken Soup for the Soul. In between raising her husband, three teenage sons, and a toddler, she edits and ghostwrites books, and dreams of finding the time and energy to write young adult novels. E-mail her at [email protected].

Carl Van Landschoot is the Head of Business Studies and the Director of Sports and Business Management at Corpus Christi High School in Burlington, Ontario. Carl is married to Jane and they are the parents of five children — Alex, Joseph, Katie, Thomas and Claire. E-mail him at [email protected].

Mary Varga is a fifty-two-year-old single mother living in Louisville, KY with her family of origin. Her son, Andrew lives in Little Rock, AR with his father. She is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, teaching exercise classes at several senior homes/centers. Fitness is her passion!

Pat Wahler is a grant writer by profession and writer of essays and fiction by night. Her stories have appeared in multiple national and local publications. A life-long animal lover, Pat ponders critters, writing, and life’s little mysteries at

Rebecca Waters received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati. She is a professor of teacher education at Cincinnati Christian University and a writer. Rebecca loves spending time with her family. She may be contacted at [email protected].

B. Lee White has been a licensed practical nurse for twenty years and a writer since she could write her first words. She currently takes care of our wonderful veterans and in her spare time is working on her third book in the Soulfinder series. She enjoys reading, writing and singing.

Angela Winfield graduated from Barnard College and Cornell Law School. She is an attorney, life coach and motivational speaker. She delivers addresses at school assemblies and corporate events and helps groups and individuals “O.P.E.N.” doors to reach their highest potential. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit to learn more.

Lisa Wojcik teaches literacy and art to low-income elementary grade children through a Florida public library system. Degreed from the University of New Mexico, Lisa is a science researcher, artist, and writer. Her short stories, poetry, children’s literature, and research work can be seen at E-mail her at [email protected].

Ferida Wolff is author of seventeen children’s books and three essay books, her latest being the award-winning picture book The Story Blanket and Missed Perceptions: Challenge Your Thoughts Change Your Thinking. Her work appears in anthologies, newspapers, magazines, and in her nature blog E-mail her at [email protected].

Janey Womeldorf is a freelance writer who loves laughing, strong coffee, elastic waistbands, and travel. Born in England, she now lives in Florida where she scribbles away about the lighter sides of life. She also hopes to make a clay vase one day. Feel free to e-mail her at [email protected].

Susan Kimmel Wright lives in a western Pennsylvania farmhouse with her husband and an ever-changing assortment of animals and adult children. She has authored three children’s mystery novels and has had many stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mary Jo Marcellus Wyse earned an MFA degree in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2006. She loves Yours Truly for Tofutti non-dairy ice cream cones and hoards them in her freezer. Mary Jo lives near Boston with her husband and two children.

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