From Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrating People Who Make a Difference


Diana M. Amadeo is an award-winning author. She lives in New England with her husband and three grown children close to her heart. Diana has in excess of 450 publications as books, magazine articles, and essays. Yet she humbly, painstakingly tweaks her thousand or so rejections with the eternal hope that they may, too, see the light of day.

Gary Anderson has owned collector and race cars since his teens. He turned his hobby into a successful business as an automotive rubber supplier, which has expanded into making rubber products for a wide range of industries. Semiretired, Gary still enjoys his cars and spending time with his wife, Donna, and their kids, grandkids, and many friends around the country. To donate to Lance Colton’s college fund, e-mail [email protected], or visit for contact information.

Elizabeth Atwater lives in Pfafftown, a lovely, quiet little village in North Carolina. While all her spare time is devoted to writing, her heart is devoted to her soul mate, best friend, and wonderful husband, Joe.

Nancy Baker resides in College Station, Texas, with her husband and golden retriever. She enjoys traveling, reading, and walking. After retirement she pursued her lifelong love of writing and has been published in anthologies, national magazines, and devotionals. She is a hospital and a hospice volunteer.

Nancy Bennett has had her work published in various places including Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause, the Christian Science Monitor, and Reunions Magazine, as well as many mainstream publications. Her pet projects include reading and writing about history and creating ethnic dinners to test on her family. She lives near a protected salmon stream where the deer and the bears often play.

Judy A. Bernstein is coauthor of the Christopher Award–winning memoir They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys of Sudan. She continues her work with the International Rescue Committee in San Diego, California, while speaking to schools and organizations and working on her next book.

Corey Binns is a science writer based in New York City. She's contributed to publications including Popular Science, Scientific American, and the New York Times. Currently, she's working on a book for third and fourth graders called Poo Power. You can read more of Corey's work and contact her at

Pamela R. Blaine writes “Pam’s Corner” for her local newspaper. Many of her stories have been published in magazines, newspapers, and books. She is a church pianist and has a CD of songs she has written. Her goal in writing is to encourage and to preserve family history for her children. Visit Pam at, or e-mail her at [email protected]

Ellen Bolyard is an office administrator in Morgantown, West Virginia, where she resides with, Bob, her husband of twenty-eight years. They are the parents of three grown children. She has read the Chicken Soup series for years and this is her first work to be published.

LaRonda Bourn lives with her husband, John, and her two amazing girls, Sophie and Maggie, in a beautiful Minnesota town dedicated to preserving its German heritage. She feels blessed to be working in marketing, where she can do what she loves most: being creative and encouraging her coworkers.

Ellie Braun-Haley lives in Central Alberta. She has a number of stories and books published and is the author of A Little Door, A Little Light, a book she was challenged to write following the death of her seventeen-year-old son, Jason. Ellie speaks on the material from the book, hoping to help ease the pain of others who have lost someone they love.

Carolyn Brooks is president of Carolyn Brooks Ministries, the National School of Protocol, Simply Divine Communications, and Bella-Mia Skin Care by Beauty for Ashes Cosmetics. Carolyn is the author of Conversations on Faith, and her work has appeared in many other anthologies. Her future releases will include Breaking the Silent Addiction of Abuse—Breaking Free from Your Past, and Moving Up the Corporate Ladder God's Way. To find out more about Carolyn, please visit

Renie Szilak Burghardt is a freelance writer who was born in Hungary. She has been published in over fifty anthologies, including several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the latest of which have been: Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Celebrating Brothers and Sisters. She lives in the country and loves nature, animals, and spending time with her friends and family. She can be reached at [email protected]

LindaCarol Cherken's career began with an interview with the Beatles for her Lankenau School newspaper. She has written for national newspapers, including the Philadelphia Daily News, and coauthored with her daughter, Carolyn, a syndicated advice column called “Mother and Daughter.” LindaCarol is Communications Director for the Porter Institute of Valvular Heart Disease at Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, Pennsylvania. She also enjoys writing essays for the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Cynthia Hope Clark is a retired government director and now a full-time freelance writer, penning stories on the banks of Lake Murray, South Carolina. She is the founder of, an award-winning website recognized annually in Writer’s Digest magazine. She’s writing a mystery series based on her escapades with the federal government.

Ann Coogler, a native of North Carolina, enjoys life in Salem, South Carolina, with husband, Bill. Her writing can be seen in: God Allows U-Turns: American Moments, Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul: Daily Inspirations, Chocolate for a Teen’s Dreams, and Bereavement Magazine. To learn more about Ann, visit

James Robert Daniels has written fiction and nonfiction since 1975 and is published in books, magazines, newspapers, and online internationally. To find out more about Modest Needs and to make a contribution, please visit

Paul J. DiLella teaches English, speech, and drama at Pahrump Valley High School in Pahrump, Nevada. Previously, he taught at Solomonville Elementary in Solomonville, Arizona. It was during a trip in 2002 to Solomonville that this road incident happened. A published playwright, Paul attends the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah, each summer.

Lawrence D. Elliott is a nationally published author and has been a realtor in Southern California since 1989. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and his dog, Lacie, in Ontario. He also runs a network of real estate. To find out more about Lawrence, please visit

Patricia Cena Evans is a nurse-midwife in Southern California where she lives with her husband and the youngest of their five children. She is a prolific writer, and the coauthor of the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Empty Nester’s Soul, due for release in 2008. To find out more about Patricia, please visit, or contact her at [email protected]

Peggy Frezon is a writer from New York whose publishing credits include Guideposts, Sweet 16, Positive Thinking, Angels on Earth, and Teaching Tolerance. Her stories have also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Soul Matters, and other publications. To find out more about Peggy, please visit

Rick and Virginia Hawthorne’s Valley View Vaulters have won championships against all odds. Lessons stop only when weather makes it impossible to practice in an open arena. If you can help the Hawthorne’s with their campaign to cover the arena, or to find out more about Valley View Vaulters located at Independence Ranch in Lakeview Terrace, California, please visit

Betty Heelis still enjoys the simple life on her rural small holding. She is surrounded by her animals, wildlife, and stunning open countryside, all of which contribute toward a state of mind that allows Betty to recount her exploits or escape into fantasy through writing.

Dorothy Hill is a writer and a retired educator. Many of her stories concern her experiences as a single parent, a foster parent, and an adoptive parent. Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul are two books that feature her work.

Jeanne Hill is an author, an inspirational speaker, and a contributing editor to Guideposts magazine. Her award-winning short stories and articles are often chosen for anthologies. She has also authored monthly columns in magazines and published two inspirational books: Daily Breath (Word Books) and Secrets of Prayer-Joy (Judson Press).

Miriam Hill is coauthor of Fabulous Florida and a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She's been published in the Christian Science Monitor, Grit, St. Petersburg Times, and Poynter Online. Miriam’s manuscript received Honorable Mention for Inspirational Writing in the 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

Pamela Hirson lives with her son, daughter, and bichon frise, Roxy Rose. She is a passionate writer who finds gratitude in delivering a positive message. As the facilitator of a monthly writer’s workshop, she volunteers her time, hoping to inspire other writers in their work. She can be reached at: [email protected]

Pamela Hackett Hobson is a banker and author. Pam’s first novel, The Bronxville Book Club, was featured in the New York Times article “Buzzzz, Murmurs Follow Novel.” The sequel is entitled The Silent Auction. To find out more about Pam, please visit, or e-mail her at [email protected]

Rose M. Jackson authored two leader's guides for Donna Partow Ministries and worked with Dr. Walt Kallestad on five books, including Be Your Own Creative Coach. Rose enjoys speaking at women's retreats, dancing and camping with her husband, and traveling, especially with their two sons and grandchildren. To find out more about Rose, please visit, or e-mail her at [email protected]

Susan A. Karas’s work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Shopper’s Soul, Guidepost’s Sweet 16, Positive Thinking, and Plus Magazine, among others.

Mimi Greenwood Knight is thrilled to have her work included in a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as seeing 300 of her articles and essays published in national parenting magazines, Christian websites, and a smattering of anthologies. She lives with her hubby and four kids in South Louisiana where she enjoys butterfly gardening, Bible study, and the lost art of letter writing.

Karen Kosman is an inspirational speaker and author of Wounded by Words (New Hope Publishers, 2007). Karen’s joy and zest for life warms hearts. She has authored stories in several compilations and magazine articles. She can be reached at [email protected]

Cheryl M. Kremer lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Jack, and teenagers, Nikki and Cobi. Her father told her this story a few months before he passed away in December 2006. Cheryl’s work has appeared in quite a few Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She can be reached at [email protected]

Joyce Laird is a freelance writer who juggles her time between industrial and consumer feature writing, creative nonfiction, and fiction. She is a regular contributor to Woman’s World and American Fitness magazines and became one of the Chicken Soup authors with Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul.

Kathryn Lay is a full time author and speaker living in Texas. Her books include Crown Me! a novel for children, and The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. She and her husband have been helping immigrants and refugees for thirty years. To find out more about Kathryn, please visit or e-mail her at [email protected]

Celeste Leon lives near Lake Tahoe, California, where she enjoys the outdoors with her husband of fourteen years and their five-year-old daughter. Celeste is a physical therapist and has written stories for and Daily Inspiration, the newsletter for Celeste is currently writing a family biography, including stories about her father’s incredible life and accomplishments.

Jaye Lewis is an award-winning writer, who looks at life from a unique perspective, celebrating the miraculous in the everyday. Jaye is currently editing her book, Entertaining Angels, which she hopes to submit to a publisher soon. To find out more about Jaye, please visit, or e-mail Jaye at [email protected]

Patricia Lorenz is an art-of-living writer and speaker and the author of ten books. She’s one of the top contributors to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books with stories in over thirty editions. To find out more about Patricia and to inquire about her speaking for your group or community, please visit website, or she can be reached at [email protected]

Priscilla Miller is a freelance writer and is published on a regular basis in several northern Michigan newspapers. Never having had any formal training, she has always loved to write. She realized her life’s dream of having her work published at the same time she was diagnosed with “wet” macular degeneration, which threatens to rob her of her eyesight.

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible study teacher, public speaker, and former human resources director. With an MBA from St. John’s University in New York, and a Bible Studies Certificate from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Ava divides her time between teaching, writing, speaking, and volunteering. She can be reached at [email protected]

Beth Pollack, a recent graduate of University of Pennsylvania, has written for everything from Newsweek to Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul. She is currently looking to publish her first novel—a historical fiction mystery about a crime with clues spanning continents and generations back to WWII.

Claudia Porter is an inspirational speaker, author, composer, and music teacher. In addition, Claudia and her husband, Bruce, of Torchgrab Ministries, Inc., have been a part of bringing comfort to hurting people ravaged by tragedy and terrorism around the world. Claudia is also published in Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2. She can be reached at [email protected]

Barbara J. Ragsdale majored in music education and English in college, plays piano and organ, and has directed children’s choirs. Barbara is a certified land and water aerobics instructor and works for a company that specializes in custom-made ocular prosthesis for children and adults. Also published in Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul, she is a winner in a nonfiction writing contest sponsored by a branch of National Pen Women.

Shirley A. Reynolds is a freelance writer and retreat speaker, who recently moved from big city suburbia. She enjoys writing, photography, solitude, four-wheeling, and the beauty of a mountain environment. With one grandson, she has a never ending source of material. She has published several stories and is presently working on a book about her work with street youth.

Rhonda Richards-Cohen is a graduate of Greenville College and Stanford University. She resides in Dallas with her stepchildren and husband, Todd. She is still going through Gertrude’s stuff and is writing a memoir about her great-aunt and their years together. Gertrude died two days after her eighty-seventh birthday. Her memory is a blessing.

Sallie A. Rodman is an award-winning writer living in Los Alamitos, California, with her husband. Her children are grown, and she has two grandchildren. She looks back with fond memories of the Good Samaritans and has a framed picture in her cowgirl outfit to remind her of that adventuresome trip. She can be reached at [email protected]

Kim Rogers is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and sons in Oklahoma. A journalism graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, her work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul, Guidepost’s Sweet 16, and many other publications.

Harriet May Savitz is the award-winning author of twenty-six books, including Run, Don’t Walk, an ABC Afterschool Special produced by Henry Winkler. Her essays appear in seventeen of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Several of her books (children and young adult) have been reissued by AuthorsGuild/iUniverse and can be found at To find out more about Harriet or her books, please visit or e-mail her at [email protected] or at Essay Books at

Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a husband, father, social worker, author, and inspirational speaker. His “miraculous” comeback story was first published in Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul. Since then he’s had numerous stories published. To find out more about Mike, please visit, or

Alexandera Simone (pen name) is a graduate from the Biological Sciences program at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys writing online articles, essays, and short stories, usually relating to environmental conservation or political debates. She hopes to one day become a published novelist in the fantasy or science fiction genre.

Ashley Claire Simpson is a fourth-year student studying Politics and History at the University of Virginia. She is from Herndon, Virginia, and she wrote this story about one of the mission trips she took in high school with her home church. About to graduate and enter the “real world,” she would like to thank her loving family for their infinite love and support.

Jami Smith resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she is a student at Louisiana State University, majoring in communication studies. She currently works as the marketing manager for LSU Student Media. In her spare time, Jami enjoys writing and attending LSU football games.

Nick Sortal is a senior writer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. In 2001, he authored Basketball Tip-Ins, 100 Drills and Tips for Young Players (McGraw-Hill) and has been recognized for outstanding journalism by the Florida Press Club and the Florida Recreation and Park Association. But he is proudest of his parents, Violet and Mike Sortal of Herrin, Illinois, his wife, Robyn, and his children, Diane, Michelle, and Aaron.

Morgan St. James splits time between Marina Del Rey, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. She met Rick and Virginia Hawthorne in 1995, became part of their family of friends, and has written several articles about them. Morgan coauthors the Silver Sisters Mystery series with her sister, Phyllice Bradner, and is the author of several short stories published in anthologies and on Amazon Shorts. She belongs to Sisters in Crime and Henderson Writer’s Group. To find out more about Morgan, please visit

Gloria Cassity Stargel writes for Guideposts, Decision, Today's Christian, and others. Her award-winning book, The Healing, a cancer-survival story, gains value with age like a fine antique. You can read portions of it at To order ($11.95 per copy), please visit the website, call 1-800-888-9529, or write to Applied Images, 312 Bradford St., N.W., Gainesville, GA 30501.

Pamela Strome-Merewether and her husband live in New Mexico with their very beautiful children, Taylor and Alexis. The entire family is very involved in the local community and enjoy spending time together doing family activities.

Scot Thurman has served as both a campus minister at the University of Arkansas’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry and a minister of pastoral care at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He and his wife, Robyn, own Thurman’s Lodge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and have two children, Lila Claire and Matthew Scot.

Colleen Tillger did finish college and is working as a women’s counselor. However, her father always encouraged her to pursue her dreams, so she is also working on her first novel and has recently started a small business designing edgy apparel for dogs (, inspired by her spaztastic Boston terrier, Murphy.

Nancy Viau is the author of the middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head (Amulet, Fall 2008). She has contributed stories, poems, and essays to: Highlights for Children, Highlights High Five, Babybug, Ladybug, Hopscotch for Girls, Fun For Kidz, The Writing Group Book, Family Circle, FamilyFun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other magazines and newspapers, in print and online. To find out more about Nancy, please visit

Mirna Whidden is an educator and is pursuing a Ph.D. in education. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. Naomi Whidden is now in high school, enjoying sports, and is very involved with her local church. In Naomi’s spare time, she enjoys reading and playing the guitar.

Kathy Whirity is a newspaper columnist who lives in Chicago with her husband of twenty-eight years, Bill, their daughters, Jaime and Katie, and her two loyal golden retrievers, Holly and Hannah. The love of writing is what motivates Kathy to share her joy with others. She feels it is a gift from above and feels blessed for the privilege to touch others with her words. You can reach Kathy by e-mail [email protected]

Vickie Williams-Morris is a performance, visual, and literary artist from northeast Ohio. She was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award (2007) for a collaborative work of nonfiction, Pam I Am: A Felon’s Story. She gives thanks to God and her family and friends. To find out more about Vickie, please visit

Kerry M. Wood, retired teacher of English and foreign languages, textbook coauthor, and freelance writer, is the author of Past Imperfect, Present Progressive, a self-published memoir. To find out more about Kerry, please visit Kerry at

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