From Chicken Soup for the African American Soul


Dr. Jarralynne Fletcher Agee is a psychologist working at UC Berkeley in the Department of Workforce Development. Her passion centers on helping others develop their best selves in their career and personal lives. She achieves this through print, in-person and radio consultations with people from across the U.S. She lives in California with her husband Robert and two sons, Trey and Quest. To contact Jarralynne, e-mail her at [email protected]

For over a decade, Wally Amos has been the national spokesman for Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc., in addition to also actively supporting and working with other charities and causes. The recipient of many honors and awards, Wally Amos received an honorary Doctorate in Education from Johnson & Wales University. His autobiography, The Face That Launched a Thousand Chips, was published in 1983. His most recent book is titled Watermelon Magic: Seeds of Wisdom, Slices of Life. In it, he uses watermelon as a metaphor for life, sharing his personal path to wisdom, humor, joy and a positive outlook on life.

Darrell (Coach D) Andrews is the founder of Darrell Andrews Enterprises and FamQuest, Inc. He is a motivational speaker, trainer and author of the book How to Find Your Passion and Make a Living at It. He can be reached toll free at 1-866-4-COACHD x108 or through

Ta’Shia Asanti is the recipient of the Audre Lorde Black Quill award, the Kathleen Morris award for contemporary fiction and is a celebrated poet, fiction writer, activist and journalist. She is also the author of the acclaimed book, The Sacred Door. Asanti’s Web site is

Leslie Esdaile Banks is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton undergraduate program and Temple University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Filmmaking program. She is currently the author of over eighteen novels and many novellas in literary genres as broad as romance, women’s fiction, crime/suspense and horror. She lives and works in Philadelphia with her husband, Al Banks, and children. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Judy Belk’s essays and short stories have appeared in various literary magazines as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and on National Public Radio. In 2000, she was awarded a fellowship to Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island in Washington. You can reach her at: [email protected]

Deborah Bellis is a newborn-baby nurse in the Los Angeles area. She is presently writing an interactive workbook for first-time parents. She provides consultations about infant care and enjoys writing about life experiences. Her articles have been published in local newsletters. She is a caregiver for her mother. E-mail her at: [email protected]

Stephen Bentley, creator of “Herb & Jamaal,” first became interested in cartooning in grade school as a means to increase his popularity. Later Bentley realized he could make a living with his craft. The six-year-old comic strip blends characters that represent different sides of Bentley’s personality with current societal issues. Born and raised in California, Bentley currently lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.

Norka Blackman-Richards is passionate about teaching and writing. She currently teaches for the City University of New York. Norka is actively seeking a publisher for her teaching memoir, Confessions of an Immigrant Teacher. She lives in Queens with her husband, Warner. Please reach her at [email protected]

Arthur Bowler, a U.S./Swiss citizen and graduate of Harvard Divinity School, is a writer and speaker in English and German. His work has appeared in several bestselling inspirational anthologies. He is currently seeking representation for his book A Prayer and a Swear. Contact him at

As a renowned professional speaker, author and television personality, Les Brown has risen to national prominence by delivering a high energy message which tells people how to shake off mediocrity and live up to their greatness. It is a message Les Brown has learned from his own life and one he is helping others apply to their lives.

Isabel Bearman Bucher, wife, mother, friend, writer and teacher, continues her honeymoon with life. At one point she thought that all of her stories had been written—but as it is with a life well-lived, her stories are always beginning and becoming. She loves hiking Earth’s great wildernesses, and with her husband and grown daughters, exchanging homes throughout the world. She’s finished two books and is starting a third. Please contact her at: [email protected].

Dale G. Caldwell is the deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. Dale has been nationally ranked in tennis and is an avid hymn writer. He is married to Sharon Caldwell.

A native of Southern California, Tracy Clausell-Alexander posesses a love for creative writing using her personal experiences to influence her literary works. She is an accountant who enjoys reading and playing the piano. Tracy is the mother of six children, one of whom lives only in her heart. She is working on her first book. Please e-mail her at: [email protected]

Miiky Cola trained as a playwright in London (2003–2004). He is currently developing his student play, “8,000 Manic Seasons” and has written his first play titled “Incurables-Laissez Le Bons Temps Role.” Miiky is a native New Orleanian. He enjoys linguistics, cooking and Brazil. Contact him at [email protected]

Linda Coleman-Willis is a professional speaker, author of several books and a performance improvement coach. She was the 2002–2003 president to the National Speakers Association—Los Angeles Chapter. Linda enjoys spending “fun” time with her family and friends. Please e-mail Linda at [email protected]

Jerry Craft is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts (B.F.A.) and a National Cartoonists Society Award Nominee (2000). His book, Mama’s Boyz: As American as Sweet Potato Pie!, was named a “Great Book for African American Children.” Check his Web site for book, shirts, mugs, greeting cards and children’s board games at

Cheryl Dash is the founder of A Pinch of This—A Dash of That Desktop Publishing. She writes poetry, lyrics and short stories. She has completed a screenplay and is currently working on a novel. Cheryl considers her passion for writing a gift from God. Please reach Cheryl at: [email protected]

Tyrone Dawkins is a motivational speaker, executive career coach and clinical hypnotherapist. He has provided career consultation for executives from numerous fortune companies. He has helped many people change unwanted behaviors and beliefs through private coaching sessions and workshops. His empowerment presentations introduce people to their unlimited potential.

Mel Donalson received his B.A. from Bates College, M.A. from the University of Iowa and Ph.D. from Brown University. A published poet, fiction writer and essayist, he is a professor of film, literature and popular culture at Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles.

Ray Driver, the author of Jemma’s Treasure, is a homeschooling mother of three and a keynote speaker and workshop coordinator for homeschooling groups and conventions. Born and raised in California, she is also a Christian family counselor for her church, a preschool director and a former state coordinator for a political awareness group.

RuNett Nia Ebo resides in Philadelphia with her family which includes seven grandchildren. She attended Clark (College)-Atlanta University, class of 1972. She went from welfare to work and established her own business as a self-published author of eight books. For more information visit: or

Minister Mary Edwards has authored five books. She is founder of The Called and Ready Writers, His Lovely Wife Ministries, M.E.D.I.C. Ministries, and co-founder of Joy of Jesus Ministries with her husband, Rev. Eddie K. Edwards. Voted “One of the Most Influential Women in Metropolitan Detroit” in 2002, she ministers nationally and internationally. E-mail her at [email protected]

Gary K. Farlow is a native Tarheel with a juris doctorate from Heed University. His most recent book, Prison-ese: A Survivor’s Guide to Speaking Prison Slang may be ordered from Loomanics Unlimited, P.O. Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Mr. Farlow is in his 14th year of incarceration and welcomes any and all correspondence. He has completed a play dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis in prison and enjoys reading, writing, classical music and collecting postcards. You may write to him at The Nash Correctional Institute, #0215977, P.O. Box 600, Nashville, NC, 97856.

Greg Franklin received his bachelor of arts degree from Morehouse College where he majored in finance and political science. Greg is a medical sales representative and a professional speaker. He can be reached at [email protected] Greg dedicates this story to his mom, Barbara Franklin, who died of multiple myeloma on May 9, 2003.

Nancy Gilliam resides with her husband and seven children in Philadelphia where she works with Creative Kids. She’s the director of Freedom Christian Bible Fellowship Drama Ministry. She’s written numerous songs and plays and has published her first children’s book, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Contact her at [email protected]

Michelle R. Gipson earned both her B.A. in mass media and her M.A. in counseling from Hampton University. She has been published in Jane, Black Issues Book Review and The Atlanta Daily World. Michelle is currently working as a freelance writer while working on her memoir. Please reach her at [email protected] or at P.O. Box 250504, Atlanta, GA 30325.

Thyonne Gordon, COO of the nonprofit youth center A Place Called Home in South Central, Los Angeles, attended Howard and Pepperdine Universities for her B.A. and M.B.A., respectively. She currently seeks doctoral candidacy at Fielding Institute and is writing Chicken Soup in the Heart of the Hood. Contact: [email protected]

Farrah Gray grew up in the inner city of Chicago. He started his first business at the age of eight and made his first million at the age of fifteen when he sold his food company, Farr-Out Foods. He is currently the majority owner and publisher of InnerCity Magazine, a joint venture with Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, the oldest African American-owned media conglomerate in America. His book about his experiences and the lessons he’s learned in his first nineteen years, Reallionaire: Ten Secrets to Being Rich from the Inside Out, will be published in January 2005. He can be reached at [email protected]

Jaynell Grayson is a public relations specialist for IBM Global Services. Food from the ’Hood is a student-owned business located at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California. Company profits provide college scholarships for the student owners, who donate 25 percent of their crop to feed the needy in their community. For more information, contact Aleyne Larner at 323-295-4842. To contact Jaynell, write to: IBM Global Services, Rte.100, Bldg.4, Somers, NY 10589; phone: 914-766-4107; fax: 914-766-8494; e-mail: [email protected]

Fran Harris was a member of the Houston Comets’ 1997 WNBA Championship team. An author, speaker and former ESPN, Lifetime Television and Fox Sports announcer, she owns Tall Tree Productions, a multimedia company that specializes in reality, documentary and nonfiction programs. Connect with Fran via e-mail at [email protected] Visit

Lisa Helem, a writer in New York city, received her bachelor of arts in English and African American Studies from Duke University in 2001. She enjoys laughing with friends, 1970’s era music and shopping. Next fall, she plans to attend graduate school. She can be reached via e-mail at: [email protected]

Nicole Hodges Persley is an actress and playwright. She is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Nicole studies African Diaspora theater and performance and loves working with youth. She is currently writing a play about transnational identity. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Bill Holton is a freelance writer living in Florida.

John L. Horton is a sixty-two-year-old, retired Marine sergeant major. He holds an M.A. from the University of Oklahoma. He is a juvenile probation officer, motivational speaker, youth activist, writer and trainer in Norfolk, Virginia. John enjoys working with inner-city youth and families and doing consultant work.

Wade Hudson’s career as a writer spans more than three decades. After his involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, he was a newspaper reporter, playwright and public relations specialist. In 1988, he and his wife Cheryl founded Just Us Books. Mr. Hudson has written nearly twenty books for children. His newest is Powerful Words.

Gregory Huskisson has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Morehouse College and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A writer and a budding filmmaker, Greg is working on a sequel to “Sister, I’m Sorry” in which men tell their story. Contact him at [email protected]

Tinisha Nicole Johnson lives in Denver, Colorado. She has her associate degree in business and paralegal and is currently in school full time, pursuing her bachelor’s in accounting and finance. Her goal is then to pursue her master’s in education. She is a single black mother of one son and is currently working at a finance company in the Accounting/Payments Department. She looks forward to pursuing her longtime dream as a freelance novelist and nonfiction writer.

Michael Jones is a single father with one son. He is a systems analyst in Los Angeles. Mike enjoys softball, jazz and inspirational speaking. He has started a foundation called OMCOL (One Miracle Celebration of Life) and is writing a book by the same name. Please e-mail him at: [email protected] or through his Web site at

Yolanda King is the firstborn child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. As a dynamic speaker and seasoned actress, Yolanda King has performed or lectured in forty-nine of the fifty American states as well as in Europe, Africa and Asia for education, business, religious and civic organizations. She is the co-author of the inspirational book, Open My Eyes, Open My Soul.

Landis Lain received her bachelor of arts in 1984 and her juris doctor in 1988. She is an administrative law judge in Michigan. She loves her husband and family, dance and reading. She writes fiction, romance and inspirational women’s books. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Upon graduation from Carver High School in Gadsden, Alabama, Howard L.Lipscomb Sr. traveled around the country playing in several bands as a drummer. After traveling, he married and settled in Flint, Michigan, where he and his wife raised their family. His life is centered around God and his church, the Family Worship Center Church, as well as the ecumenical movement DeColores, a ministry that provides tools for individuals in their walk in Christ. He is also a dedicated volunteer for incarcerated youth. He enjoys being with his children and grandchildren most of all, but is known to hang out on the riverbank fishing or in the backyard barbecuing.

Patricia Lorenz, an art-of-living writer and speaker, is one of the top contributors to Chicken Soup for the Soul books with stories in nineteen of them. She’s the author of five books, including Life’s Too Short to Fold Your Underwear and Grab the Extinguisher, My Birthday Cake’s on Fire (available at:, 800-932-2145) and Great American Outhouse Stories: The Hole Truth and Nothing Butt (available at, 877-289-2665). To contact Patricia about speaking opportunities e-mail her at [email protected] or visit her Web site:

Kim Louise is the author of six novels and three novellas, including Destiny’s Song, A Touch Away and A Love of Their Own. She is a sought-after speaker and instructor whose writing has appeared in the Omaha Star, The Cathartic Journal, and Role Call Anthology. Reach her at: [email protected]

Ahmon’dra (Brenda) McClendon, president of Brilliance Inc., has an M.S.W. from San Francisco State University and twenty years’ experience in the field of human experience services. She is a facilitator with Motivating the Teen Spirit, a teen empowerment program and the creator of “Passionate Living a New Existence,” a program of self-discovery. E-mail her at [email protected]

Karlene McCowan received her master of science degree in nursing from Ohio State University in 2002. She lives in West Virginia with her husband and three children. She enjoys serving God, reading, jogging, walking, tennis, music and working with youth. You may e-mail her at: [email protected]

Valerie McNeal received her bachelor of science, with honors, in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco in 2001. She is currently an account manager at SBC in San Francisco. Valerie is an avid cook. Her current work in progress is a unique cookbook titled The Dish.

minerva, also known as Gail Hawkins, is a noted poet, editor, teacher and performer. She was on the staff of the National Geographic Society for ten years. Her book of poetry, The Wall, was published by The Inevitable Press. Contact her for poetry workshops, performance, editing or public speaking at [email protected]

Dennis Mitchell is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and author who gives life-changing keynotes, seminars and workshops. Since the early 1980s, Dennis has devoted his life to acquiring and sharing the attitudes, beliefs, tools and strategies to help others achieve excellence both personally and professionally. For more info or to book Dennis for a cutting edge program for your event, contact him at 1-888-547-3255 or

Anthony Marquis Moore is studying computer aided drafting and design at Sinclair College. He enjoys reading, writing and cooking. He intends to continue writing while living in the Dayton, Ohio area.

E. Joyce Moore is a modern-day Renaissance woman. Her passion encompasses all of the arts, but her focus is on writing. After nineteen years with AT&T she chose to take the opportunity to pursue the development of a nonprofit fine arts organization and write her first book, Gettin’ to the Good Wood, published in December 2003. Please e-mail her at: [email protected]

Dominique Morisseau, writer/actress, Detroit native, has work both in print and onstage throughout metro Detroit, New York and California. Author of two NAACP Image Award-winning plays, Dominique’s work can be most recently seen in the ROAR! and Rebel Verses Theatre Festivals in NYC; in Signifyin’ Harlem, a literary journal; and in her own book of poetry, Screamin’ with My Mouth Closed. Contact her at [email protected]

Always a storyteller, Herchel Newman started writing after retirement in 1999. He loves family, humor and romance, so he is a professional wedding photographer. As an Air Force and professional firefighter veteran, he says every day is an adventure someone should write about. Contact him at [email protected]

Evelyn Palfrey writes romantic suspense for the “marvelously mature.” Her novels, The Price of Passion, Dangerous Dilemmas and Everything in Its Place, have appeared on the Essence bestseller list. She is an attorney in Texas. Find out more about her at

Myrtle Peterson earned her B.A. from Dillard University in 1952 and an M.S.W. from Columbia University in 1955 with extensive postgraduate study. A mental health practitioner, she retired in 1991 and enrolled in acting school. She has performed in “Caroline’s on Broadway” in New York City. She studies autobiographical writing at Nassau County Community College. You may reach her at: [email protected]

Yvonne Pointer is a motivational speaker and author of the book, Behind the Death of a Child. She’s the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2001 Essence Award and the 908th Point of Light from former President George Bush. Please reach her at: P.O. Box 603456, Cleveland, Ohio 44103 or [email protected]

Vici Howard-Prayitno is a struggling independent filmmaker and writer who decided to get married and raise a couple of kids to pass the time until she gets discovered. She loves chocolate and compliments. So if you’re a fan or producer with a massive bank roll, HOLLA BACK!!! at [email protected]

Tracy Price-Thompson is the national bestselling author of Black Coffee and Chocolate Sangria. A decorated Desert Storm veteran and retired Army engineer officer, she is also the co-editor of Proverbs for the People, an anthology of contemporary African-American fiction released by Kensington Publishing.

Gloria Quinney is a native of Alexandria, Louisiana, and currently resides in Flint, Michigan. Gloria received her bachelor of arts degree from Grambling State University and her master of arts and master of public administration degrees from Western Michigan University. She is currently CEO of GQ Enterprises. E-mail her at: [email protected] Web site:

Tony Ramos received his bachelor of arts in journalism from California State University at Long Beach in 1979. He is president of the Allied Healthcare Group, a division of Medical World Communications. Tony is married with two children and serves on the executive board of his church, Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles. He enjoys coaching his children in sports and running. Please e-mail him at [email protected]

Dorothy C. Randle earned her bachelor of arts degree from California State University Dominguez Hills and her master of organizational leadership with high honors from Biola University in 2003. She is happily married with three children. She plans to author books on training, leadership and development. Please reach her at: [email protected]

Carol Ross-Burnett is a gospel singer/songwriter/producer who released her first CD in 2002. She is also a diversity consultant, trainer, author and speaker. Carol holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree from San Francisco State University. Contact her at [email protected]

Zev Roth is a freelance author living in Israel. He has published three books with Targum Press, the most recent one titled. “10.10.” His articles have appeared in Jewish Press and World Jewish Review. Zev is married and has seven children. Please contact him at [email protected]

Nikki D. Shearer-Tillford is a writer and owns a business, The Sacred Mind. Her vision is to create messages/products that speak to the heart and mind. She conducts an annual women’s group that encourages expression of unresolved emotions through creativity. She can be reached at [email protected].

Catina Slade has enjoyed word play ever since she wrote a poem for a childhood friend that served to mend a broken relationship. Her twofold ministry of writing and speaking has allowed her to speak life into the broken-hearted with words of hope and healing. Her two children, Cameron and Courtney, are her rays of sunshine in Los Angeles, where she is at work on her first novel. You may e-mail her at [email protected]

Jayme Washington Smalley is a professional musician, storyteller and folk artist living in Augusta, Georgia. She enjoys traveling, cooking and crafting. Jayme has written a collection of short stories titled, As the Butterbeans Boil. Please contact her at [email protected]

Mary Spio went on to establish herself at the top of her field, developing core technology applications for major networks including Viacom, BBC, M-NET and a myriad of Fortune 100 companies. The multifaceted Spio also engineered a fun and engaging online dating community,, to turbo-boost love lives.

John W. Stewart Jr. has worked extensively in the film industry for the past twelve years. Recently, he has resurrected his childhood dreams of writing and entrepreneurship. He is currently working on a screenplay and can be reached at P.O. Box 8153, Universal City, California, 91618 or [email protected]

Lalita Tademy, a California native, was formerly vice-president of a Fortune 500 high technology company. She left the corporate world, immersed herself in tracing her family’s history, and subsequently wrote Cane River, which was Oprah Winfrey’s 2001 summer book club selection. Her Web site is

Elodia Tate is a writer, speaker and “health coach” who uses the power of storytelling and humor to encourage others to embrace a natural health approach. With Yolanda King, she recently co-authored an inspirational book called Open My Eyes, Open My Soul ( Contact her at or 209-238-9938.

Salome Thomas-El is author of the bestseller, I Choose to Stay (Kensington, March 2003). He is an elementary school principal and national champion chess coach in Philadelphia. Walt Disney recently purchased the movie rights to I Choose to Stay ( Salome Thomas-El lives with his wife and two daughters in Philadelphia.

Mary Cornelia Van Sant, known as Connie, believes that peace on Earth is achievable in our lifetime. Connie believes healing for our world begins in each of our own individual hearts and minds. She has a passion for teaching mindful meditation. This is her second story to be published in the Chicken Soup series.

Karen Waldman, Ph.D., finds her work as a psychologist extremely rewarding. She also enjoys writing, music, acting, playing in nature, traveling with her husband Ken, and spending time with their wonderful families, friends, children and grandchildren (Lisa, Tom, Lana, Greta, Alyson, Brian, Eric, Maryann, David and Laura). Her e-mail is [email protected]

R. Jenée Walker, M.D. is a psychiatrist board-certified in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. She practices in Charleston, West Virginia. She presents workshops across the country with an emphasis on spiritual healing. She is presently writing a book that will serve as a guide to maintaining emotional peace. Please reach her at: [email protected]

Melanie M. Watkins, M.D. is a recent graduate of the Stanford University School of Medicine. She attended University of Nevada Reno where she graduated with high honors. Her work and life story have appeared in USA Today, Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul, Woman’s World Magazine, and This Side of Doctoring. She enjoys writing and motivational speaking. She lives with her son Jonathan in San Francisco, California. You may contact her at [email protected]

Woody Woodburn is a sports columnist for the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California. He was honored for column writing by the Associated Press Sports Editors’ national contest in 2003 and 2001, appeared in The Best American Sports Writing 2001 and is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He can be reached at [email protected]

Phyllis W. Zeno recently retired after twenty years editing AAA Going Places, a magazine that goes to 4.5 million AAA members. She is currently writing two children’s books, Look, Find & Learn: U.S. History and World History with her daughter, Linda Williams Aber. She travels all over the world with the Merry Widows, a ballroom dance group she directs. She can be reached at [email protected]

About the cover artist:

For Keith Mallett, painting is a spiritual journey that started in childhood and continues to this day. A painter, etcher and ceramic artist, his subject matter ranges from still lifes to abstracts. In recent years, he has devoted his talents to themes that portray the beauty and strength of the African American experience. His work has been exhibited throughout the world, and has been featured in Showtime’s “Soul Food” series, Disney’s “The Famous Jett Jackson,” TNT’s “Second String” and Woody Allen’s movies “Mighty Aphrodite” and “Celebrity.” His paintings grace the covers of several books, including Sisterfire, a collection of poems by Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and Terry McMillan. For more information, visit his Web site at or write Keith Mallet Studios, Inc., P.O. Box 151378, San Diego, CA 92175.

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