Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

Meet Our Contributors

Elena Aitken lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains where she spends her days playing chauffeur to her twins and writing. Elena has published over eleven romance and women’s fiction novels. Learn more at

Karen Baker lives in Northern California with her husband and their dogs, cats, cattle and horses. She is the proud mother of a writer and artists. One story about her beloved cat is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can’t Believe My Cat Did That! Other stories appear in anthologies about animals.

Kerrie R. Barney lives in Pullman, WA, where she enjoys knitting, gardening, and training her supernaturally smart Border Collie, MacKenna. Her book, Life, the Universe, and Houseplants, a collection of essays about Kerrie’s adventures growing indoor plants, is now available on Amazon.

Garrett Bauman, a retired Professor of English from Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, has published work in The New York Times, Sierra, Yankee and many Chicken Soup for the Soul books. E-mail him at [email protected].

Pam Bender is enjoying retirement with Charlie, her husband of forty-eight years. Their kids made it into adulthood unscathed by their mother’s ambitious do-it-yourself ideas! Undaunted (and while Charlie golfs) the projects continue!

Paula Bicknell began her writing career as a civilian contracted to write for the U.S. Air Force’s newspaper and magazines. Later, she wrote for a daily California newspaper. Paula has seven children and enjoys farming with her family in Northern California. Visit her weekly blog at

Jeanne Blandford is a writer/editor who, along with her husband Jack, is currently producing documentaries and creating children’s books. When not in their Airstream looking for new material, they can be found running SafePet, a partnership between Outreach for Pets in Need (OPIN) and Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC).

Cynthia Lynn Blatchford is the author of several stories published in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. As a former foster child success story, she aspires to help others to both heal and succeed using the written word based on her own life experiences. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jan Bono’s specialty is humorous personal experience. She has published five collections, two poetry chapbooks, nine one-act plays, a dinner theater play, and written for magazines ranging from Guideposts to Woman’s World. Jan is currently writing a mystery series set on the southwest Washington coast. Learn more at

Karla Brown attended St. Joseph’s University, but honed her writing skills through determination and for the joy of writing. E-mail her at [email protected].

John P. Buentello has published essays, memoirs, short stories, and poetry. He is the co-author of the novel Reproduction Rights and the short story collection Binary Tales. He is currently at work on a mystery novel and can be reached at [email protected].

Miki Butterworth and husband Bob retired to Sedona in 2003 after traveling extensively buying for Miki’s clothing and world artifact boutique. Before that Miki spent twenty-six years as a professional singer/guitarist. She is a mother of three grown children and currently enjoys painting, writing and volunteering.

Carol A. Cassara is a writer and sometime college professor who lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and dogs when she’s not traveling the world. She blogs daily on living our best lives at and is working on a memoir.

J.D. Chaney is a retired teacher, having received his B.A. degree from San Jose State University and M.A. degree from Cal State, Dominguez Hills. He currently lives in the Bay Area with his therapist wife. J.D.’s daughter attends Oregon State University. His hobbies include traveling and running.

Emily Parke Chase has fond memories of her grandmother’s home. Now she is a grandmother herself! A popular speaker at retreats and conferences, she is the author of seven books, including Standing Tall After Falling Short (Wingspread, 2013). Learn more at

Harriet Cooper writes personal essays, humor and creative nonfiction for newspapers, newsletters, 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].

Barbara Crick, a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, has been writing since third grade, when a teacher told her parents she showed promise. She has won several awards for her poetry through the Poetry Society of Colorado. Barbara lives with her disabled husband, who is her greatest fan. E-mail her at [email protected].

Audra Easley is a graphic designer in Atlanta, GA. She loves volunteering in her community, drawing, and writing. She is at work on her second novel.

Logan Eliasen is a senior Bible and theology major at Wheaton College. He enjoys spending his free time with friends and his four younger brothers. A few of his favorite things are chai tea, classic books, and vinyl records. Logan has previously been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen.

Betsy Franz is an award-winning writer and photographer specializing in nature, wildlife, the environment and both humorous and inspirational human-interest stories. Her articles and photos reflecting the wonders of life have been published in numerous books and magazines. Learn more at

Sally Friedman, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, has contributed essays to The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Family Circle and many other publications. Many of her essays have appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her favorite subject is her own family. E-mail her at [email protected].

Ron Geelan received his bachelor’s degree from Providence College. He lives in New York with his wonderful wife and children, who are the inspiration behind his writing. Ron is a previous contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and his articles and essays have appeared in numerous regional and national publications.

Kerry Germain lives on the North Shore of Oahu, HI. She is the author of the award-winning children’s picture book series Surf’s Up For Kimo. She considers herself a “tropoholic,” enjoys scuba diving and dancing hula. This is her third life story written for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Learn more at

Golriz Golkar has been writing poetry and prose since the age of six. She studied American literature at UCLA and received her master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2007. Golriz is a primary school teacher in San Francisco, CA.

Shirley P. Gumert and husband John built a retirement home in the Texas Hill Country. They still travel, explore historical sites, and share memories with three grandchildren. Shirley has written personal essays for newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. She says yellow legal pads and stubby pencils are better tools than computers.

Hana Haatainen-Caye, speaker and writing instructor, has a copywriting, editing, and voice-over business in Pittsburgh. With over thirty children’s books published, she has won awards for her poetry, short stories, and blog (, and is the author of the nonfiction book, Vinegar Fridays. Learn more at

Judy Harch is a freelance writer and journalist. She is the author of the novel Falling Off the Family Tree. Her stories have previously appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Judy lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and rescue Labrador Retriever, Charlotte. E-mail Judy at [email protected].

Michelle Hauser is a Canadian humorist and newspaper columnist. Having made a mid-career shift to writing, she is currently working on a collection of nonfiction essays for publication. Outside of writing, one of Michelle’s favorite roles in life is to be “Joe’s mom,” however tough picking up after him proves to be.

Jan Henrikson is an intuitive counselor who writes and hikes in Tucson, the home of her heart, with her love, Louis.

Miriam Hill is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and has been published in Writer’s Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Grit, The St. Petersburg Times, The Sacramento Bee, and Poynter Online. Miriam’s manuscript received Honorable Mention for Inspirational Writing in a Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

Writer Rebecca Hill lives in Los Angeles with musician Tom Caufield; both appreciate the creative haven that is Apartment #104. Rebecca has worked with American Idol, National Geographic, Warner Bros., and IMAX. Her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, a Hallmark book and Redbook magazine.

Judi Hockabout-Martin’s story was written when she was an activity director at an assisted living facility in Omaha, NE. She and her husband are both retired and enjoy golfing, traveling and spending time with their kids and grandchildren. Judi owns her own videography business called Reflections.

Ken Hoculock, known to western Pennsylvania radio listeners as “Ken Hawk,” recently retired after twenty-five years as a broadcast journalist. He resides in western Pennsylvania with his wife Margie and their daughter Savannah. E-mail him at [email protected] or his Sunday blog “Ken’s Korner” at

Mariane Dailey Holbrook graduated from both Nyack (NY) College and High Point (NC) University, with degrees in education. A retired teacher, she lives with her husband, John, in coastal North Carolina. She has two sons and three grandchildren. Mariane is the author of two books, Humor Me and Prisms of the Heart.

Stan Holden has been a professional art director and cartoonist for many years. With the downturn of the economy he chose to look at other avenues of income, which included sales and marketing. A terrible event that occurred during his childhood became the catalyst for his passion to help others through his writing.

Jennie Ivey lives in Tennessee. She is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including several stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology. Learn more at

Joelle Jarvis’s passion has always been personal development. She has worked with many of the world’s most inspirational names, including Tony Robbins, and now has her dream job as Vice President of Marketing for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her greatest love is her son Jackson. E-mail her at [email protected].

Karen Kilby is a certified personality trainer with CLASServices and a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. She is a popular contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and other publications. Karen’s devotional book, Becoming a Woman of Purpose, is available through Amazon and major bookstores. Learn more at

Mitchell Kyd is a freelance writer living in central Pennsylvania. She writes and blogs about the joys and poignant moments of small town living and is a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. More of her stories can be found at

Cathi LaMarche has contributed to over twenty anthologies. As a composition teacher, novelist, and writing coach, she spends most days immersed in the written word. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and hiking. She resides in Missouri with her husband, two children, and three dogs.

Carrie M. Leach is a missionary wife and mom-of-many in Eastern Europe. When she’s not homeschooling, folding laundry, cooking, gardening, or working among the Gypsy children of her area, she is writing. Her goal is to write a book about her experiences. E-mail her at [email protected].

Barbara LoMonaco has worked for Chicken Soup for the Soul as an editor since 1998. She has co-authored two Chicken Soup for the Soul book titles and has had stories published in numerous other titles. Barbara is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has a teaching credential.

Crescent LoMonaco used her knowledge from years of working behind the chair and owning a hair salon to write the “Ask a Stylist” column for the Santa Barbara Independent. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She lives on the South Coast with her husband and son.

Patricia Lorenz is an art-of-living writer and speaker, the author of thirteen books and contributing writer to nearly sixty Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband “hunka-burnin-love” Jack live in Largo, FL, but she enjoys traveling to other parts of the country speaking to various groups. Contact her at

A retired naval officer, Ken Lynch worked as a teacher’s assistant in Pennsylvania’s Pennridge School District after his career. He has had several stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and is currently writing a book about his time in the service. Ken lives with his wife and two children in Hilltown, PA.

Gloria Hander Lyons has channeled thirty-five years of training in the areas of art, interior decorating, and event planning into writing cookbooks and fun how-to books. She also writes humorous short stories and cozy murder mysteries. Learn more at

Judith Marks-White is a Westport News (CT) award-winning columnist of “In Other Words.” She is the author of two novels published by Random House/Ballantine Books: Seducing Harry and Bachelor Degree. Her work appears in numerous anthologies. She teaches humor writing, lectures widely, and is working on her third novel.

David Martin’s humor and political satire have appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Smithsonian magazine. His latest humor collection Screams & Whispers is available on David lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife Cheryl and their daughter Sarah.

Lynn Maddalena Menna’s young adult novel, Piece of My Heart, was listed on Seventeen magazine’s list of must-read books for the summer of 2013. A song from that book, “(You Have) No Soul,” is available on YouTube. Lynn and Prospero live in Hawthorne, NJ. Contact her at [email protected] or on Facebook.

Jackie Minniti is a former teacher and the award-winning author of Project June Bug, a novel about a student with ADHD. She is currently a columnist for The Island Reporter, a publication serving the South Gulf beaches in St. Petersburg, FL. She lives on nearby Treasure Island with her husband and two noisy macaws.

Courtney Mroch writes fiction in addition to blogging about travel, health and fitness. When she’s not writing, it’s a safe bet you’ll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and their two cats, Mr. Meow and Lady Tabitha Tabernathy Tabberkins Pryor (or Tabby for short).

Nell Musolf lives in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. She enjoys reading, writing and puttering around her kitchen.

Irena Nieslony was born in England, but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece with her husband and her many cats and dogs. She received her B.A. honors degree in Drama and English from the University of London. As well as writing short stories, Irena has had three novels published, all murder mysteries.

Risa Nye’s articles and essays have appeared in both local and national publications and in several anthologies. She writes about the craft of nonfiction for Hippocampus Magazine. Her “Ms. Barstool” cocktail columns appear online at She lives in Oakland, CA. Learn more at

Linda O’Connell is a multi-published writer and teacher from St. Louis, MO. She enjoys a hearty laugh, dark chocolate and walks on the beach with her husband Bill. Linda blogs at

Barbara A. Page holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science from Wilkes College and spends her days as a technical writer. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and two cats. Barbara enjoys writing personal essays, playing acoustic guitar, reading nonfiction, and walking.

Kathy Passage is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Living with her handyman husband, her two Elkhound pups and her adult son provide her with hilarious life happenings to share with her readers. She writes to get life out of her head and onto the page for a better perspective.

Chicken Soup for the Soul editor Kristiana Pastir earned a journalism degree from Syracuse University in 2004. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing for Chicken Soup for the Soul, Kristiana enjoys reading, yoga, and adventures with her husband — especially their scuba diving trips around the world.

Andrea Peebles lives with her husband in Rockmart, GA. She enjoys writing, cooking, travel and photography. She is still working on her memoir and in the meantime has enjoyed writing for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series for the past several years. E-mail her at [email protected].

Saralee Perel is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist who is honored to be a contributor to many Chicken Soup for the Soul books. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit

Connie Pombo is a freelance writer, author and speaker. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books and numerous publications. Learn more at

Winter D. Prosapio is an award-winning humor and travel writer with a weekly family humor column, “Crib Notes.” Her writing has appeared in everything from airline magazines to grocery lists. She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and two daughters, and works for a water park. This is her third Chicken Soup for the Soul essay.

Jennifer Quasha is the author of over forty nonfiction books for children and adults. She has also been published in more than a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books! Check out her favorite books on

Carol McAdoo Rehme spends her children’s inheritance maintaining a demanding, historic 1887 Victorian Italianate she shares with her hard-working husband. When not repairing plaster, unearthing hidden ponds and chasing off pigeons, she authors award-winning books, mentors writers for thrills, ghostwrites for money, teaches at conferences, and edits books for variety and challenge. She is also the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters.

Maureen Rogers is a Canadian transplant living in her new home by the sea in Seattle, WA. Her writing projects include fiction, essays and poetry. She has been published online in newspapers, and anthologies including four other stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. 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. E-mail him at [email protected].

Laura Smetak and her husband Mark enjoyed five blissful years of living in their loft space before moving to the suburbs to start a family. Now they have two children, a minivan, a lawn to mow, and a constant parade of deer in the back yard… and they wouldn’t have it any other way. E-mail her at [email protected].

Jeanne Jacoby Smith is a retired professor of English and Teacher Education at McPherson College in Kansas. She and her husband have two children, Adam and MiRan, plus three grandchildren. She is an avid writer and active in outreach projects in her church.

Michael T. Smith lives in Caldwell, ID with his lovely wife Ginny. He works as a project manager and writes stories for his heart in his free time. E-mail him at [email protected].

Ruth Smith was born in Missouri and raised in Colorado. She is now living in California. Her father taught her the love of reading. Her sister told her to write. Ruth has three children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren — #8 is on the way. Her goal is to continue to write for the family.

Laurie Sontag is a California newspaper columnist who also has a blog. She spends most of her time being confused by Twitter and avoiding work by posting cat videos to Facebook. Her writing has been in nine Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and featured on Yahoo Shine. Learn more at

Joyce Stark retired from local government and started to write stories about her life and the people in it. She travels widely in the U.S. and Europe, looking and listening.

Jean Haynie Stewart still lives with her husband in their Mission Viejo, CA, home of forty-two years, and longs for that single-story house while she writes about family, travel, and history for Chicken Soup for the Soul, magazines, and newspapers; serves as a Christy Award judge; and tackles her first book.

Writer, performer, speaker Kim Stokely’s humor blog can be seen at Her novel, Woman of Flames, a fictional account of the Hebrew prophet Deborah, is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit or for information on her performances and work.

Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. Her first novel, The Hourglass, is a winner of the Chatelaine Award for Romantic Fiction. Sharon’s second novel, Share the Moon (to be released Fall 2014 by Lyrical Press), was inspired by the closeness in her own community and scenic northwestern Connecticut.

Hope Sunderland is a retired registered nurse who hung up her enema bucket and bedpan to start writing. She writes what she hopes is humor from the South Texas Gulf Coast.

Pam Tallman holds a master’s degree in theater arts, but is constantly fumbling and dropping her degree in life skills. This gives her plenty of fodder for her humorous essays. The mother of four felines, Pam enjoys baking, quilting and cat herding. She hopes to soon sell her novel. Please… anyone.

Writer, speech therapist, memoir teacher, life coach, wife and mother, Tsgoyna Tanzman credits writing as the supreme “therapy” for raising an adolescent daughter. Published in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her humorous essays appear on and Follow her blog at

B.J. Taylor admits she’s bullheaded, though that can be a good thing. She is an award-winning author whose work has appeared in Guideposts, numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and various magazines. Learn more at and check out her dog blog at

Ann Thurber has a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies with an emphasis in Comparative Literature. She’s a movie aficionado, devourer of books, yogi, positive thinker, and pink glitter enthusiast. Ann has a background in screenwriting and is currently working on a Young Adult novel.

Joanne Webster made her home in Orillia, Ontario, happy with her husband, two sons, a dog, a cat and many friends. She celebrated life by teaching, writing, playing piano, singing and making pottery. The family loved their Newfoundland cottage and community. Joanne died in February 2014.

Ernie Witham writes the syndicated humor column “Ernie’s World” for the Montecito Journal in Santa Barbara, CA. His work has also appeared in many anthologies including twenty Chicken Soup for the Soul books. He leads humor workshops around the country and is on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

Raymond M. Wong earned the MFA degree in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. His memoir, I’m Not Chinese: The Journey from Resentment to Reverence, is slated for publication by Apprentice House in October 2014. He lives in San Diego with his wife and two children. E-mail him at [email protected].

Dallas Woodburn is a Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University. This year she is doing fifty-two random acts of kindness and chronicling her experiences on her blog Contact her and learn more about her nonprofit youth literacy organization Write On! at

Linda C. Wright lives on the Space Coast of Florida with her husband Richard and their dog Ginger. Several of her personal essays have been anthologized in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. In her spare time, Linda teaches creative writing, enjoys reading, and traveling. E-mail her at [email protected].

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