Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

Meet Our Contributors

Debbie Acklin is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She loves to network with other authors and travel with her family. Wish her luck as she expands her writing career with an attempt at a first novel.

Kathleene S. Baker and husband Jerry reside in Plano, TX with three pooches: Hank, Samantha and Abby. She has contributed to many publications, anthologies and writes regularly for Southern Tour Magazine and Frank Talk magazine. And she is a co-creator of the Not Your Mother’s Book anthology series. Learn more at

Teri Batts is a Christian published author and has been married for thirty-seven years with two sons, three beautiful granddaughters and another grandbaby on the way. Teri writes true-life short stories, poems, political opinion and blogs. Her writing style includes a sense of humor that will keep you coming back.

Carole A. Bell is a licensed professional counselor. Her ministry is helping families become what God wants them to be. She writes, speaks, and consults about parenting issues. Since 1999, she has written a weekly Christian parenting column for the Plainview Daily Herald. Read her blog at

Valerie D. Benko is a Communications Specialist from western Pennsylvania. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and other anthologies and journals, such as Not Your Mother’s Book and Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing.

Rocky Bleier of Appleton, WI graduated from Notre Dame, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, was drafted again by Uncle Sam and sent to Vietnam. He was severely wounded in his legs and feet; overcame his injuries, rejoined the Steelers and played twelve seasons, winning four Super Bowls and rushing for a thousand yards in one season.

Ginny Dent Brant is an educator, counselor, writer, soloist, Christian speaker and Bible teacher who resides with her husband Alton in Clemson, SC. She is the author of Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, which was endorsed by Chuck Colson. For more info go to

Sally Willard Burbank has practiced medicine for over twenty years in Nashville. She is the married mother of two college students. She is seeking publication for three completed novels and she has written a book and a blog about her humorous and touching experiences as a doctor:

Jim C., Jr. LCSW’s sobriety date is 11-1-84. He has a master’s degree in social work from University of Maryland and has been in the addiction treatment field for twenty-seven years. Jim’s private practice includes working with impaired physicians, PA’s, pharmacists and professional athletes. He has two beautiful daughters, Katie and Emily!

Maisha C. is a high school student who immigrated to the USA at the age of eight. She hopes to someday become a successful writer. Some of her other favorite activities are ice-skating, painting, and reading. Maisha wants to inspire other girls (or women) to stand up for their rights.

Hana Haatainen Caye, speaker and writing instructor, is agency principal for Speechless, a copywriting and voice-over business in Pittsburgh. With over twenty-five children’s books published, she is an award-winning poet and author of short stories. Hana’s non-fiction book, Vinegar Fridays, evolved from her blog, Green Grandma. Learn more at

Emily Parke Chase is the author of six books, including Help! My Family’s Messed Up (Kregel, 2008). When not writing, Emily speaks at writers’ conferences and women’s retreats. She has blogged extensively about her cousin’s woodworking skills at her website. Visit her at

Jane McBride Choate has dreamed of being a writer since she was in grade school. After marrying, she started banging out stories on an ancient typewriter. She’s since upgraded to a laptop. Being published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is a dream come true.

Carol Commons-Brosowske is a native Texan. She has been married to the love of her life, Jim, for thirty-nine years. They have three children and four dogs. Carol would love to have more. Dogs, not children. Besides writing, she loves quilting. She writes a weekly column for a national magazine.

Michele Ivy Davis lives in Southern California where she is a freelance writer. Her stories and articles have appeared in a variety of magazines, newspapers, and law enforcement publications. Her debut young-adult novel, Evangeline Brown and the Cadillac Motel, won national and international awards. Visit her at

Drema Sizemore Drudge is an MFA student at Spalding University and has been published in The Louisville Review, Chicken Soup for the Soul, ATG, Mother Earth News, Penumbra, and other publications. She is currently working on a novel inspired by a recent trip to Paris. Contact her at

Terri Elders, LCSW, lives near Colville, WA, with two inspirational dogs and three narcissistic cats. Seventy-five of her stories have appeared in anthology series, including several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She can be friended on Facebook and contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

Sandy Ezrine died in 2002. Her bio as it appeared in 1996 listed her as an author, trainer and management consultant. For twenty years she had worked with foundations, universities, federal agencies and private corporations. Sandy specialized in organizational development, employee motivation and problem solving.

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is an author and speaker based in Greenville, SC. Her work is fun and family-friendly. Her newest book is The Art of Stone Skipping and Other Fun Old-Time Games, with a Christmas novel in the works for 2014. Other works include four collections of “reality” poetry. Visit for more information.

Tracy Fitzgerald married her best friend in December of 2010 and their first daughter was born the summer of 2011. Tracy is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys painting pottery, traveling and spending time with her family.

In 2005, when she contributed her story, Hattie Frost was a student at Miami University in Oxford, OH, where she was studying to become a special education teacher. She was actively involved in Alpha Pi Omega, a coed service fraternity, as well as many other organizations. In her spare time, she enjoyed writing.

J. Fullerton has been writing for her own self-expression for years. She aspires to help others with the fragile and vulnerable places in the mind, helping them to find defining moments of transformation and then investing this information into creative communication. E-mail her at [email protected].

Patricia Gallegos lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She inspires young authors through teaching writing classes, and works at Washington State University. She is a freelance writer finishing her first book, In My Shadow: Inspiring Goals, Life’s Dreams, Your Legacy. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] or at

Nancy B. Gibbs is a writer and motivational speaker living in Cordele, GA. She is the author of nine books, has contributed numerous stories to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, writes devotions, newspaper articles and stories, anthologies, magazines and Sunday school papers. She would love to speak at your event. Learn more at

Liz Graf is a retired high school biology teacher with three grown children. She loves translating the world through the writer’s word. Liz is married to her high school sweetheart and writes in Palm Coast, FL. She hopes you have a Sunshine Day. E-mail her at [email protected].

Judythe Guarnera, a retired non-profit program director in the fields of health and aging, is grateful that she is too old to die young. She connects with people through her volunteer work as a mediator and through her writing. She is active in SLO NightWriters, a local writing organization.

Joseph P. Guerrero is an aspiring cartoonist. He is a non-violent offender striving to make the necessary changes needed so that once released he may become a positive, successful member of society. He welcomes correspondence and may be contacted at #1195944, Haynesville Correctional Center, P.O. Box 129, Haynesville, VA 22472.

Carol Goodman Heizer resides in Louisville, KY. She received her Master’s of Education from the University of Louisville. She is a five-time published author whose books have sold both in the United States and overseas. E-mail her at [email protected].

Rebecca Hill and Tom Caufield live in Los Angeles. She and her friend Dominique work at Channel Road Inn and the Inn at Playa del Rey. Rebecca’s stories have appeared in previous Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and in Redbook magazine. Her novel is entitled Confessions of an Innkeeper.

Megan Hjelmstad graduated from West Point in 2007 and spent five years as an Army Officer before embracing life as a stay-at-home mom. She resides in Colorado with her husband and three kids, where she’s mastering the art of domesticity and writing about life’s little adventures. E-mail her at [email protected].

When Carol Howard contributed her story in 2005, she was working on her associate’s degree, in addition to being an avid reader and a writer. She had three wonderful children and was happily married to her own personal hero. Carol was writing a historical romance novel. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jim Hullihan is an internationally recognized film producer and leadership retreat designer whose Motivational Media Assemblies programs annually appear before millions of people. As the creator of America’s first digital magazine for teens, Sweet! Digizine, and the LeaderONE program, Jim is a leading motivations expert for U.S. secondary education.

Jeanette Hurt still visualizes her goals, and as an award-winning author, wife and mom, she’s achieved many of them. Her latest book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dehydrated Foods. Tweet her at JHurtAuthor, or visit her online at

Jennie Ivey lives in Tennessee. She is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including stories in several Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. Visit her online at

Mimi Greenwood Knight is a freelance writer living in South Louisiana with her husband, David, and their four spectacular kids. She enjoys gardening, baking, karate, knitting, Bible study, and the lost art of letter writing. Mimi is blessed to have essays in two dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Janey Konigsberg lives in Rye Brook, NY with her husband Don. They are very active grandparents to their twelve grandchildren. Janey received a bachelor’s degree in English from Adelphi University. She was a caregiver for her elderly mom, Rosie, who passed away just before her 100th birthday.

Continuing to write throughout his teen years, Christopher Laddish went on to study journalism at San Francisco State University. He is currently a freelance writer and photographer based in the Bay Area. You can find links to his current work on his blog at

Tom Lagana is coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul, Serving Productive Time, The Quick and Easy Guide to Project Management, and Serving Time, Serving Others. Contact him at P.O. Box 7816, Wilmington, DE 19803 or e-mail [email protected]. Learn more at

Jeannie Lancaster is grateful for the tender mercies and blessings found in each day. She dedicates her story to her husband, who danced with her through forty-three years of rain and sunshine, joy and sorrow.

Ginger LeBlanc works in public relations and lives with her husband, her son and her feisty wiener dog in Baton Rouge, LA. E-mail her at [email protected].

Aletheia D. Lee has earned three degrees in education from Atlanta Christian College and Walden University. She teaches English as a Second Language to elementary students. She lives with her husband and three children in Douglasville, GA. This is her fifth story to be published. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lynne Leite is a writer, speaker and storyteller. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Lynne gets her inspiration from her faith and family, and she is blessed by both! She is currently working on her first book. Contact her at

Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life and This Business of Writing, is a former adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico, and former reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer and USA Today. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and others. E-mail him at [email protected].

Bobbie Jensen Lippman is a prolific human-interest writer. She currently writes “Bobbie’s Beat” for the Newport News-Times, Newport, OR. She has been a hospice volunteer for over thirty years. She lives with her husband, Burt, their dog Charley, and a shelter cat named L.S. (Lap Sitter). She may be reached at [email protected].

Linda Lohman is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She thanks God daily for a bounty of supporting friends and family. Living in Sacramento, CA, she loves life in retirement. Her hobbies include beading, reading, and walking her Yorkie, Lucy. E-mail her at [email protected].

Patricia Lorenz is the author of thirteen books including The 5 Things We Need to Be Happy. She also has contributed to nearly sixty Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s a professional speaker who travels the country, often speaking about one of her favorite topics: “Humor for the Health of It.” Contact her at

Mandie Maass is a certified life coach who has dedicated herself to motivating and encouraging others to become their very best person. She loves reading, writing, and most of all spending quality time with her husband and three boys. She is currently writing a book on experiencing fullness of life.

James C. Magruder has bachelor’s (BBA) and master’s degrees (MBA) in marketing. He manages the Marketing Communications department in a Fortune 200 firm. He enjoys hiking, biking and the martial arts, having earned a third-degree black belt in karate. He blogs at

Tim Martin is the author of There’s Nothing Funny About Running, Summer With Dad, and Wimps Like Me. Tim has completed nine screenplays and is a contributing author to numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. E-mail him at [email protected].

John and Edna Massimilla wrote the poem “Heaven’s Special Child” soon after the birth of their third daughter, Ruth, in 1952. Edna, who liked to write poetry since childhood, seemed to make her personal project to continue this talent from then on, with concern for all mentally retarded children. Her husband, Rev. John, devoted his ministry to this cause, becoming chaplain of Delaware’s institution for the disabled. When columnist Ann Landers printed “Heaven’s Special Child” in her column, the Massimillas received thousands of letters from parents and other caregivers; they answered them all.

Hanoch McCarty, Ed.D., is a professional speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in motivation, productivity and the improvement of instruction on every level. He combines fresh insights, useful data, and best current practice presented with high energy and much appropriate humor. He can be reached at 12970 Self-Esteem Ln., Galt, CA 95632.

Kathleen Swartz McQuaig shares stories shaped by her deep faith. As a writer, speaker, teacher, wife, and mother, she lives to encourage others. After earning her master’s degree in education and living in military communities stateside and abroad, Kathleen and her family settled in Carlisle, PA. Learn more at

Jacquie McTaggart lives in Independence, IA with her husband, Carroll. She teaches literacy workshops, does staff development training, operates an interactive website at, and is a frequent keynote speaker at reading and early childhood conferences. Jacquie has two sons and six grandchildren.

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fifth Assassin, as well as the bestsellers The Inner Circle, The Tenth Justice, Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Zero Game, The Book of Fate and The Book of Lies. He is also the host of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel. But to see what’s far more important, please go to: P.S. He still loves Marshall’s.

Janet Miracle is a retired teacher and librarian. She lives in Kentucky with her husband Carson. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and master’s degrees from Eastern Kentucky University. The mother of three grown children and two grandchildren, Janet enjoys gardening, traveling, and listening to music.

Kevin Nastu is happily married and a fun-loving father of two wonderful kids. Kevin is an avid player of the drums, loves concerts and stand-up comedy. Kevin’s motto is why frown and cry when you can smile and laugh! E-mail him at [email protected].

Catina Noble received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Carleton University in 2009. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her four children. Catina enjoys reading, writing and taking photos. Catina plans on writing a novel at some point. E-mail her at catina. [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

Ava Pennington is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. She has published numerous magazine articles and contributed to twenty-three anthologies, including sixteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, will be released October 2013. Learn more at

Saralee Perel is an award-winning columnist/novelist and multiple contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her book, The Dog Who Walked Me, is about her dog who became her caregiver after Saralee’s spinal cord injury, the initial devastation of her marriage, and her cat who kept her sane. Contact her at [email protected] or

Linda Kaullen Perkins taught second grade at Washington Elementary in Sedalia, MO. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Kids in the Kitchen, Country Woman magazine, Woman’s World magazine, and various other publications. E-mail her at [email protected] or

Brittany Perry was born and raised in West Virginia. Her mother Deanna Dick was her role model and taught her to write. She also had help from Pamela Frailey and Leann Likens, who were her best teachers. She attended the 2007 West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts and Concord University. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lori Phillips received her BA in communications/journalism and her master’s degree in education. She is the online editor for’s Dreams and Marriage sites. Her e-book titles are available through Amazon. Contact her through her sites or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @tweetdreams4u, @flutterby03 and @BellaMarriage.

Rebecca Pippert is a prominent speaker, bestselling author and evangelist, the founder of Salt Shaker Ministries: a global evangelism training ministry. Becky is the author of nine books, including the modern classic, Out of the Salt Shaker. Becky and her husband are ministering in the UK and Europe. Contact her at [email protected].

Michelle Duplessis Prudhomme is dedicated to her husband, Perry, helping him with his daily needs. They are strong in their faith and blessed with everything they have. She misses her two beloved cats and Golden Retriever. Michelle also helps others work at home; to join her team and work from home, contact her at

Robert Robeson is a professional member of the National Writers Association, the Distinguished Flying Cross Society and the Military Writers Society of America. He retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel, has a BA in English from the University of Maryland and has completed extensive graduate journalism work.

Marcia Rudoff, author of We Have Stories — A Handbook for Writing Your Memoirs, is a writing instructor and newspaper columnist in Bainbridge Island, Washington. She enjoys freelance writing for anthologies, newspapers and magazines when not playing with grandkids, watching baseball, or enjoying friends.

Glenna Salsbury provides keynotes and seminars nationally and internationally. She graduated from Northwestern University and holds a master’s degree from UCLA and Fuller Seminary. A member of the National Speakers Association, Glenna has received the highest awards given among professional speakers. Glenna can be reached at

Theresa Sanders is honored to be a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. An award-winning technical writer, she managed a documentation and training department before turning to creative endeavors. She lives with her husband near St. Louis. Connect with Theresa on Facebook:, LinkedIn:, or e-mail her at [email protected]

Virginia Satir (1916-1988) was an American author and psychotherapist, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her work with Systemic Constellations. She is widely regarded as the “Mother of Family Therapy.” Her best known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.

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

Angela Sayers was a twenty-year-old cancer patient who sought to raise awareness for pediatric cancers, especially osteosarcoma. She loved books, writing, playing online Scrabble, and her cat, Charles Fitzpatrick The Third.

John Wayne Schlatter is a freelance contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. His book, Gifts by the Side of the Road, was released in 2012. Sponsored by Showpath Promotions, he speaks at schools throughout the country on “Creating a Culture of Civility.” Visit him at

When Sophfronia Scott published her novel, All I Need to Get By, with St. Martin’s Press, one reviewer referred to her as “one of the best writers of her generation.” Her work has appeared in Time, People, More,, Sleet Magazine, Numéro Cinq, Saranac Review and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Georgia Shaffer is a certified life coach, a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, and the author of 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make . . . And How to Avoid Them. As a professional speaker, she loves to encourage cancer survivors and healthcare givers. For more information, visit or e-mail her at [email protected].

Ritu Shannon is a working mom of two who has recently rediscovered her passion for writing. She is thankful to her children who are her literary inspirations. She dreams of one day moving to Maui with her husband and kids and working as a writer or blogger from the beach. E-mail her at [email protected].

Annabel Sheila calls Moncton, New Brunswick home and it’s there she writes about the splendour of nature, the serenity of the ocean, and the wonder of love with a passion that comes from the heart of an author who is one with her muse! E-mail her at [email protected]

Susan Elizabeth Smith received her BA in Recreation Administration in 2007. She belongs to numerous honor societies and graduated salutatorian from high school in 2002. She currently works as a CSR, loves animals of all kinds and currently lives with her rescue guinea pig and rescue cat.

Mike Staver is an internationally respected coach and speaker. His book Leadership Isn’t for Cowards was published in June 2012. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and was most recently chosen as one of the forty hottest business speakers in America by Meetings & Conventions magazine.

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

Robert Tell’s poetry and other work have appeared in many periodicals. A full-length poetry book, Bard Memorial Hospital, as well as Tell’s novels, memoir, stories and poetry are widely available in both print and e-book editions. Information about Tell and his work can be found on his website

Penelope Vazquez moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to become a professional dancer. She has toured with artists around the world. She lives a fulfilled life as a mother and wife. She enjoys teaching dance to kids and continues to fulfill her passion as a professional dancer by doing local gigs every now and then.

Beverly Walker lives in Tennessee and cares for her husband, who is battling cancer. She enjoys scrapbooking pictures of grandchildren and family memories, and has been published in many Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Rebecca Waters taught in the field of early childhood education for nineteen years before becoming a professor of teacher education at Cincinnati Christian University. She is now a freelance writer, novelist, and speaker. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit her blog at

Sarah Winkler received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California, Davis. She loves to read, write, and travel. She is a self-professed coffee addict with a huge collection of books and never lacks imagination. E-mail at [email protected].

Susan Yanguas lives in Maryland and is a writer/editor for the federal government. She enjoys painting, reading, and working with animals. The first book in her mystery novel series will be published this year.

Dominique Young spends each day expressing herself artistically through dancing, baking, writing, photography, gardening or innkeeping. Her hopes for Morning Bird Homemade Baked Goods are for them to reach and nourish all who find and need them. E-mail her at [email protected].

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