Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Meet Our Contributors

DeVonna R. Allison is a freelance writer/speaker who has published work in various Christian periodicals and educational materials. Though her children are all grown, she and her husband, Earl, still live in their dream house in the country. E-mail her at devonna. [email protected].

Teresa Ambord is a full-time business writer/editor, working from her home in far Northern California. When she’s not writing about business she enjoys writing about her family, her friends, and her faith. She also loves raising her posse of small dogs who inspire her writing and decorate her life.

Monica A. Andermann lives on Long Island where she shares a home with her husband Bill and their most recent addition, a kitten named Samson. Her work has been included in such publications as The Secret Place, Sasee, His Mysterious Ways, and Woman’s World, as well as many titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Gloria Ashby is a writer, speaker, and funny lady. She publishes her weekly blog “Glimpses of God,” and writes inspirational stories about God encounters. Living in Texas with husband Jim, Gloria enjoys reading and digging in her butterfly garden. E-mail her at [email protected] and read her blog at

Zoe Ayrton is a fellow journeyer in life. She lives to inspire others to enjoy a transforming connection with God. After thirty years in England, Zoe now lives in northern Canada where she enjoys negotiating life as a wife, mother, shepherd, trainer and musician. E-mail her at [email protected].

Karena Delite Bailey received her B.S. degree in Journalism, with honors, from Illinois State University. She is a published writer and speaker, with a background in technology. A believer in miracles, Karena meditates to create inner peace and a closer connection to the divine within us. E-mail her at [email protected].

Francine L. Baldwin-Billingslea has been published in over twenty-five anthologies including several in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Whispering Angel, Thin Threads, and Silver Boomers books, and many others as well as authoring an inspirational memoir titled, Through It All and Out On the Other Side.

Joan McClure Beck is a retired teacher with a master’s degree. She has been published in many anthologies, including several in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Besides being a writer, she tutors privately, paints in watercolors, delivers Mobile Meals, helps with church mission projects, and volunteers with community charities.

Lisa Benkert shares her story to honor her son, Jordan, who she loves and misses so much, as well as to bring awareness to the Gift of Life Program. Her son giving four people a second chance at life brings comfort to her, knowing that he has helped four other families from feeling the pain of losing a loved one.

Long Beach, WA author Jan Bono’s specialty is humorous personal experience. She has published several such collections, two poetry chapbooks, nine one-act plays, and a dinner theater mystery play. She’s written for Guideposts, Star, and Woman’s World, and is currently writing a mystery series set on the southwest Washington coast. Learn more at

Karla Brown lives on the outskirts of Philadelphia and is a flight attendant. She loves gardening, spending time with her family and sports. Her current work-in-progress is a paranormal romantic suspense novel. E-mail her at [email protected].

John P. Buentello writes essays, short stories, poems and nonfiction. His books include the novel Reproduction Rights and the short story collections Binary Tales and The Night Rose of the Mountain. He is currently at work on a mystery novel and a collection of essays. E-mail him at [email protected].

Sally Willard Burbank is a practicing internist in Nashville. She is the married mother of two college students. She has been published in two other Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She enjoys gardening, cycling, reading, and writing. She has written three novels. Check out her blog of humorous doctor stories:

Jill Burns lives in the mountains of West Virginia with her family. She is a retired piano teacher and performer. She enjoys writing, music, gardening and nature.

Christianna Capra, Co-Founder, Spring Reins of Life (501c3), which provides EAP services to PTSD veterans, at-risk youth and bereaved children in central New Jersey. CC lives in New York City and has fifteen-plus years in the publicity industry, yet EAP work and horses like Straw are her life’s true passion. For information/donations, visit

Margaret Chandler was a legal secretary in Los Angeles for thirty-five years. After moving to a senior retirement community in Arizona, she volunteers her time helping those in need of assistance. She also enjoys exercising, reading and walking with her little Yorkie, Bella.

Jane McBride Choate is the proud mother of five, the even prouder grandmother of four, and the beleaguered staff of a cat who thinks she is of royal lineage.

Peggy A. Cloninger is a wife and mother of two. She lives in both Seldovia, AK and Nampa, ID. She homeschooled her daughters, invented a new art form using animal hides, plays drums at her church, and is writing a cookbook. Peggy thanks C. Ellen Watts for writing her miracle story.

Chrissy Conner is a wife, mother, runner, recruiter, author, and certified life/career coach and is currently working on her first inspirational book series! Chrissy lives in Oklahoma City, OK with her husband and two children. E-mail her at [email protected] com or follow her on Twitter @Chrissy_Conner.

Linda J. Cooper writes songs, poems and speeches that enable people to creatively deliver tributes at parties and special events. She has been published in Hilton Head Monthly magazine and is pleased to be included once again in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at [email protected].

Heather Davis is a momma, a writer and drives in the funny lane. She’s the author of TMI Mom: Oversharing My Life and TMI Mom: Getting Lucky. She and her husband have two daughters and live in Bartlesville, OK. She blogs at

Amy McCoy Dees is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has written numerous articles for children and educators. She currently holds the District One seat on the Coweta County Board of Education. She enjoys reading and laughing along with her family. E-mail her at [email protected].

Teresa DeLeon-Cook is a military wife, mother and grandmother. She has spent twenty years in civil service, passionate about her work, her staff and her agency’s mission. She is a native Texan, an avid reader, and a tireless traveler. She plans to continue writing. E-mail her at [email protected].

Michele Dellapenta has been writing since childhood. This is her second publication in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She credits her sister, Jodi L. Severson, a writer, as her inspiration. Married since 1982 to Lou, Michele lives in Ohio and enjoys reading, writing, scrapbooking and cooking. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lynn Dove calls herself a breast cancer “thriver” rather than “survivor.” An award-winning author and writer, she has been married to her best friend, Charles, for thirty-five years and she is the proud mom of three brilliant children and grandmother to two adorable grandbabies. Learn more at or on Twitter @LynnIDove.

Annette M. Eckart founded Bridge for Peace with her husband Edward. She brings healing to the nations through Jesus Christ. A dynamic speaker, Annette inspires as she teaches and prays with people worldwide. Visit her website at

Logan Eliasen is a theology student who enjoys spending time with his family and friends. A few of his favorite things are acoustic songs, chai tea, and classic books. E-mail him [email protected].

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny raise their brood of boys in Illinois. Her stories have been published in Guideposts, MomSense, Marriage Partnership, Thriving Family, Cup of Comfort books, numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and more. Visit her blog “Family Grace with My Five Sons” at

Suzie Farthing, RN, has over eighteen years of experience in adult hospital and emergency nursing. In 2006, Suzie founded One Love for Nurses and since then has pursued many activities to encourage other nurses. She hosts the One Love for Nurses podcast (available on iTunes). E-mail her at [email protected].

Yvonne Fogarty was born with a natural gift of healing and her life’s work has been that of an intuitive healer/teacher. She is writing her first book, sharing personal real-life experiences and that of clients she has helped and treated. Now permanently residing in Tasmania, Yvonne is still actively healing.

Jess Forte is a sophomore in college studying creative writing. When she is not sitting at her laptop working on one of her novels or at a meeting for one of the many campus organizations she is involved in, she enjoys spending time with friends. Follow her on Twitter @authorjessforte.

Jay Fox, born in Bermuda, has been in the music business for many years. Jay began writing stories at St. David’s Primary School. He was awarded first in class for his adventure story “The Last Hope.” Later, Jay began writing songs and became a recording artist and entertainer. E-mail him at [email protected].

Carolyn Bennett Fraiser is a freelance writer, teacher and publications specialist for several non-profit organizations in Asheville, NC. In addition to writing, Carolyn enjoys photography, music, cooking, and hiking. Visit her blog at or follow her on Twitter @carolynbfraiser.

Jody Fuller was born and raised in Opelika, AL. He is a comedian, speaker, writer, and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. Jody enjoys Auburn football and spending time with Ruby, his chocolate Labrador Retriever. E-mail him at [email protected].

Carmen Goldthwaite, an author, teacher and storyteller, writes about Texas history and sailing, her favorite hobby. She teaches creative writing at SMU. Her book, Texas Dames: Sassy and Savvy Women Throughout Lone Star History, was published October 2012 by The History Press. Learn more at

Karen Goltz earned her MDiv from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA, in 2004. She is a homeschooling mom of two children and the owner and editor-in-chief of Quiet Publications. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending quiet moments with her husband.

Debbie Hagan received her MFA degree in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. She is a full-time writer and adjunct writing instructor at New Hampshire Institute of Art, in addition to book reviews editor for Brevity literary magazine. Her writing has appeared in Brain, Child and elsewhere. E-mail her at [email protected].

Dr. Shari Hall, a Yale and Columbia graduate, has worked internationally in Australian Aboriginal communities, underserved pediatric populations of Guatemala, and with wounded warriors at Walter Reed. A Top 40 Adult Contemporary recording artist, a mother, and motivational speaker, she inspires others to live a healthy, passionate life. E-mail her at [email protected].

Gloria Jean Hansen has penned columns and articles for local newspapers and magazines and written books for many years. She is a nurse educator/writer/bluegrass musician and hopes one day to retire to a cabin by the river to write full-time. Contact her at [email protected] or

Charles Earl Harrel pastored for thirty years before stepping aside to pursue writing. He has 465 published works. His stories and devotionals have appeared in thirty anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad. Charles enjoys photography and playing 12-string guitar.

Carol Goodman Heizer, M.Ed., resides in Louisville, KY. She is a six-time published author whose books have sold in the U.S. and overseas. Her work has previously appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her latest book (and accompanying workbook) is Losing Your Child—Finding Your Way. E-mail her at [email protected].

Christine Henderson is a Realtor by day and writer by night. Hidden Brook Press and Write Integrity Press have published her life-inspired stories about family in their anthologies. You can also find her writing in Ruminate Magazine, The Secret Place and Berry Blue Haiku.

Margaret Hevel’s professional background includes: Professor of Nursing, Nurse Health Educator, Founder and Director of a child abuse prevention program, NARAH-certified to teach equine driving for those with special needs. She coauthored Parenting with Pets. Margaret is the mother of four daughters raised in the companionship of animals.

Thomas Ann Hines holds a BS degree in criminal justice; loves “going to prison” to share her experiences with inmates in hopes of helping them understand the never-ending pain of their victims. She also speaks in churches of her journey to forgiveness. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jeanie Jacobson has enjoyed varied careers—everything from computer programming to educating students about exotic pets. She loves Jesus, and is a joyful wife, mother, and grandma. She loves spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, horseback riding, and praise dancing. She’s currently writing a Christian-fantasy series for young people.

Dr. Karen Jacobson started her private practice in 1992 as a family chiropractor and is currently a success coach and professional speaker. Her passions include Latin ballroom dancing, health, fitness and music. She is a member of the Flying Samaritans, providing services in Mexico. E-mail her at [email protected].

As a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Louetta Jensen has authored four novels and three screenplays. Her novel, Bittersweet Serenity, was a winner in the North American Fiction Writer Awards, and also received a Certificate of Merit in the 9th Annual Writer’s Digest National Book Awards.

Ms. Jones is retired and lives in Wisconsin. E-mail her at [email protected].

Janet Sheppard Kelleher is honored to win a 2013 Carrie McCray Literary Award for Nonfiction. She’s a newspaper columnist whose collection of Southern stories, Havin’ My Cotton-Pickin’ Say, and her humorous memoir, Big C, little ta-tas, about kicking breast cancer’s rear end, debut this year. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jean Thompson Kinsey lives in Brooks, KY, near her three adult children. She likes to read, write, travel, and be involved in church. Jean writes inspirational fiction and nonfiction. Her fourth novel was recently released. E-mail her at [email protected].

Vicki Kitchner recently retired after teaching Exceptional Student Education for thirty years. She and her husband divide their time between North Carolina and Florida, unless they’re off on an adventure, such as backpacking around Mont Blanc or floating down the Colorado River in a dory. E-mail at her at [email protected].

Jennifer Knickerbocker is a mother of four boys. In her spare time, she runs a non-profit educational organization in Spokane, WA. Jennifer is passionate about her family and her children, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. “Motherhood is the best hard work.”

Sharon Knopic is an artist and author, educated in Pennsylvania as an X-ray technologist. She currently works for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Child Support. Enjoying all kinds of artistic venues, she has taught scrapbooking nationwide as well as publishing other biographical stories. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sara Lynn Worley Kuntz is an award-winning writer whose credits include children’s books, numerous newspaper and magazine articles, and a feature family film. Her stories have appeared in several titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She teaches writing workshops in the Fort Lewis College Continuing Education program.

Debbie Rouhana Lane, born in Brooklyn, grew up in the late ’50s and ’60s, a “hippie” some would say. She married at 19 and endured some real tragedy and hardships. She is a mother, grandmother, and business owner whose joy in life revolves around family and caring for those around her. She is a hard worker and runs Testa Wines, a wine importing business in New York.

Colleen Leftheris received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with honors in 1997. She has taught third and fifth grades. She has been writing stories and poems since a teenager. She loves children, animals, traveling and writing, but mostly to make learning fun. E-mail her at [email protected].

Anna Lowther resides in Ohio. She is a wife, mother, editor and writer. Her husband, Eric, is an accomplished author and they hope to start their own publishing house in the near future. Anna’s interests are varied and include alternate history, fairy tales, dark fantasy and horror.

Susan Lugli is a Christian speaker and author. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. She is an advocate for burn survivors and speaks on their behalf. E-mail her at [email protected].

Lisa Mackinder received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Western Michigan University. A freelance writer, she lives in Portage, MI, with her husband and rescue animals. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys photography, traveling, reading, running, hiking, biking, climbing, camping and fishing. E-mail her at [email protected].

A graduate of Queen’s University, Gail MacMillan has had her work published throughout North American and Western Europe. Recently she has signed the contract for her thirtieth book. Gail lives in New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and two dogs. She is the award-winning author of two books and several short stories.

Elaine Olelo Masters has had eighteen books published. Available are What the Witch Doctor Taught Me for adults and The Dragon Who Stole the Holidays for kids 7-11. This is her second story in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Elaine lives in Waikiki, a ten-minute walk from the ocean. E-mail her [email protected].

Tina Wagner Mattern is a Portland, OR writer/hairstylist, married to a wonderful man and is mother to two great kids. She has been blessed beyond measure with miracles her whole life. This is her seventh story published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. E-mail her at [email protected].

Anne Merrigan is a therapist by trade, working in the field of trauma. Her personal experiences on “earth school” motivates her to assist others in discovering their own inner light. Anne enjoys painting, gardening, friends and family. She is currently working on a YA novel. E-mail her at [email protected].

Christine Miller is healthy and living in California. Her Heaven Can Wait Necklace was inspired by her spiritual journey through breast cancer. If you would like to see a video and photos of Lucky the Hummingbird or the photo of the heart on her head, please visit her website at

Sarah Mitchell believes in living life to the fullest. As a mother of three, she divides her passion between her family and writing. Sarah is revising her novel-length manuscript to submit for publication with the hope that when her children are young adults, they’ll read it and be proud.

Kacey Morabito-Grean wakes up New York’s Hudson Valley weekdays on 100.7 WHUD. Her health and happiness show is on Sunday mornings and at Kacey and her husband Mike are living happily ever after with three Pugs, a Beagle and two barn cats in Cold Spring.

Marya Morin is a freelance writer. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications such as Woman’s World and Hallmark. Marya also penned a weekly humorous column for an online newsletter, and writes custom poetry on request. She lives in the country with her husband. E-mail her at [email protected].

Linda Newton is an “Empowerment Educator,” helping people find healing and strength for a better life. View her blog at She has written three books: Better Than Jewels, Sapphires from Psalms, and 12 Ways to Turn Your Pain Into Praise. An international speaker, learn more at

Linda Nichols is a former 911 dispatcher and full-time mother to Abbie, Alex, and AJ. She owns a small contracting business with her husband, Garren, and is an accomplished professional singer. She enjoys music, traveling, riding motorcycles, and studying all things supernatural and spiritual.

Shirley M. Oakes has been a co-owner, with her daughter, in Family Affair Day Care/Preschool for over fifteen years. She has written several short stories for magazines and has had a children’s book titled No Bed for Mommy published. Her hobbies include family history, gardening, sewing and painting.

Jeanne Pallos has several stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and is the author of stories for adults and children. She is passionate about writing family stories and preserving the memories of loved ones for future generations. She lives in Laguna Niguel, CA. E-mail her at [email protected].

Diana Perry lives in Columbus, OH and writes for magazines and newspapers as well as writing juvenile books, teen novels, mysteries and action adventures. Currently she is on tour with The Weather by Heather and working on her next book, The Fairyland Pet Show. Contact her at [email protected] or [email protected].

Pam Phree is a full-time Certified Nursing Assistant but her true passion is writing. The co-author of Betrayal, Murder and Greed: The True Story of a Bounty Hunter and a Bail Bond Agent, she lives in Puyallup, WA and is currently working on a novel about heaven and the afterlife.

Delena Richeson is a Licensed Professional Counselor holding an MS degree from Lee University. She enjoys travelling with family and friends. Her passion is writing about her life challenges to help others. Her first novel will be released later this year. To discover more, visit or

Jeannette Richter lives on a farm on the short-grass prairie of Alberta with her husband John. She is currently working on a novel about the loss of language rights and confessional schools in Manitoba after the Riel Uprising of 1870.

Sallie A. Rodman has written for numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. She received her Certificate in Professional Writing at California State University, Long Beach. Sallie believes heaven is all around us if we just stop and listen. E-mail her at [email protected].

Tammy Ruggles is a legally blind freelance writer, finger painter, and photographer based in Kentucky. Faith, family, and friends are important to her. She also writes screenplays and poetry, and welcomes e-mail at [email protected].

Theresa Sanders loves writing for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She also writes fiction, and is now pursuing publication for her soon-to-be-complete third novel. A previous novel placed as a finalist in a national competition, and before her creative endeavors, she was an award-winning technical writer.

Sara Schafer is a two-time cancer survivor who is married with two children and a grandson. She cross-stitches bookmarks and writes nonfiction inspirational stories and daily devotionals. E-mail her at [email protected].

Dayle Allen Shockley is an award-winning writer whose byline has appeared in dozens of publications. She is the author of three books and a contributor to many other works. She and her husband (a retired fire captain) enjoy traveling RV-style, enjoying God’s handiwork.

As the daughter of a missionary doctor, Alisa Edwards Smith spent her childhood in Nigeria. She has written articles for Guideposts magazine and several other publications. Alisa graduated from Duke University and currently lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband and children.

Christine Smith is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who lives with her husband of forty-five years in Oklahoma. Sharing stories of family memories has become a fun and rewarding experience. Christine enjoys reading, writing, and staying busy with family, church, and friends.

A past president and board member of the League of Utah Writers, Edwin F. Smith has written articles for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, The Ensign, Deseret News and The Davis County Clipper. He resides in Kaysville, UT with his wife Ann. E-mail him at [email protected].

Jenny Sokol received her Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994. She writes a weekly column for the Orange County Register. Jenny is a military spouse and loves traveling, running, and the adventures of motherhood. E-mail her at [email protected].

Gary Stein co-founded an NYSE-member investment banking division. He has been an advisor to many entertainment firms and helped build a thirty-time Emmy-winning kids’ TV company. A previous contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Gary has authored the book, Confessions of an Unfiltered Mind. E-mail him at [email protected].

Nandi Stewart is a Christian, wife and mother of three adult children. Nandi is the librarian at a preparatory school in Jamaica. She loves reading and putting on voices as she reads aloud to her students. Nandi loves paper; she makes beautiful handmade cards.

Genie Stoker graduated from The University of Arizona. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of two. Genie has taught parenting classes and has mentored children in reading and science. She’s published articles on community service and child development. E-mail Genie at [email protected].

R. Stone is now a global professional in the field of energy and faith healing for people and animals. She practices an interfaith model. She strongly prefers to not receive advice about her own health or beliefs. She may be reached for healing at [email protected].

Kamia Taylor has been writing stories since she was six years old, winning her first essay contest in third grade. Since then she has been published in several magazines, and continues to write on the environment, spirituality, business and money tips while playing with her five rescue dogs.

Connie Hyde Thurber grew up on a farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada. She graduated from university in Greenville, SC. She and her husband have two married children. Connie is director of a nonprofit organization in Moncton, NB and enjoys cottage life, reading, biking, and skiing.

Award-winning author Susan Traugh has been writing essays, educational and nonfiction books for over twenty-five years. Susan just finished her first young adult novel and a book of essays. She lives in San Diego, CA with her husband Steven. They have two daughters, a son, and an “extra daughter.” E-mail her at [email protected].

Arlene Uslander received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University. She has published sixteen nonfiction books and over 400 newspaper and magazine articles. She is an award-winning journalist and a freelance editor, helping writers polish their manuscripts before they send them to publishers and/or agents.

Rita Kaye Vetsch resides in central Minnesota with her loving family and her quirky pets. She has a passion for writing and recently had her first children’s book, The Many Colors of Friendship, published by Eloquent Books. Rita enjoys photography, taking care of children and spending time with family.

Marlene Wallach, President, Wilhelmina Kids, takes pride in nurturing young people with a message to become your dream. Marlene has published books promoting the message of empowerment for young teens. She received her MBA degree from Pace University where she gives a series of talks. E-mail her at [email protected].

Brenda Warneka has a B.A. degree in history from Oakland University, Rochester, MI, and a JD degree from Wayne State University Law School. She practiced law for twenty-five years. She enjoys travel and researching and writing nonfiction. She lives in Laughlin, NV with her husband, Dick. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mary Z. Whitney is a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series as well as Guideposts and Angels on Earth magazines. When not penning praises to her heavenly Father, she can be found gardening or walking her little dog Max with her Marine husband, John, in their country surroundings of Leavittsburg, OH.

Kim Winters leads monthly writing workshops for teens. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. She eagerly awaits the release of her first young adult fantasy novel Keeper’s Mark. Follow Kim at Kat’s Eye Journal ( E-mail her at [email protected].

Melissa Wootan enjoys refurbishing furniture alongside her husband Joey, but is most passionate about writing. Her stories have appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and Guideposts. She is currently working on her first young adult novel. You may contact her through Facebook at

Amy Wyatt is a Jesus-following, Southern-talking, recovering perfectionist, wife and mom who advocates for those living with epilepsy by speaking, writing and spreading awareness. Amy is the founder of Seizing Opportunities, an organization that encourages those affected by epilepsy to enjoy every moment and live life to its fullest.

Jamie White Wyatt is a Bible teacher, speaker, retreat planner, writer, former business owner, and ballroom dancer. Jamie loves encouraging traditions and joy-filled living. Originally from Florida, Jamie, husband Ed, and their grown children, live in Georgia. E-mail her at [email protected], or read her blog at

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