Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Meet Our Contributors

Teresa Ambord is a senior editor and writer for a major publisher. She works from her home in rural far Northern California. For fun she writes stories about her family, her faith, and her posse of small, rescued dogs. Her dogs inspire her writing and decorate her life.

Monica A. Andermann lives and writes on Long Island where she shares a home with her husband Bill and their latest addition, a cat named Samson. Her work has been included in such publications as Sasee, Woman’s World, Guideposts, and several other Chicken Soup for the Soul collections.

Anna B. Ashley worked at a small town newspaper for over forty years. She began writing while in elementary school and was the editor of the high school newspaper. Joyce writes short stories, commentaries, articles, profiles and features for the newspaper and other publications. She is married with three children and four grandchildren.

Jill Barville is a freelance writer in Spokane, WA. Her first cat, Tyler, was one of seventeen feral cats in her uncle’s orchard. After she tamed and claimed him, Tyler rewarded her love by paw kneading, purring and protection from any mouse within a quarter mile. Contact her at

Gretchen Bassier holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She lives in Michigan with four cats, eleven doves, and four horses — all sources of inspiration for her writing. She has written numerous short stories, one and a half novels, and hopes to start a nonprofit to benefit feral cats.

Valerie D. Benko writes from Pennsylvania when she’s not busy rescuing and re-homing stray kittens and cats with her Dr. Dolittle husband. She is a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and has more than two dozen essays and short stories published in the U.S. and Canada. Visit her online at

Kathleen Birmingham writes from Phoenix, AZ, where she lives with her husband, three children, dog, cats, and fish. Kathleen and her family have always chosen their pets from animals who needed rescuing, giving them their “forever homes,” a solution that works well for both their rescued pets and Kathleen’s family.

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).

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 including Guideposts to Woman’s World. Jan is writing a mystery series set on the Southwest Washington coast. Learn more at

Robert J. Brake, Ph.D., is a retired college teacher, freelance writer, jazz aficionado, friend of animals, friend of nonprofit organizations, and resident of Ocean Park, WA. He loves a good story and being the center of attention. E-mail him at [email protected].

Karla Brown is married and lives on the outskirts of Philadelphia, PA. She loves swimming, British movies, chocolate and gardening. She also writes paranormal romantic suspense, YA and middle grade, and hopes one day to be a novelist.

Cathy Bryant is a former childminder, life model and civil servant. She has blogged for The Huffington Post, won nine literary awards, and co-edited the poetry anthologies Best of Manchester Poets Volume 1, 2 and 3. Her latest book is Look At All the Women, available at

Lori Bryant is a public speaker, author and inspirational storyteller. Lori is a four-time contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul. She also writes for Zoe Life devotionals. Her passion is helping people live life to the fullest! Contact Lori at or on Facebook at Lori Bryant’s Stories.

Jill Burns lives in the mountains of West Virginia with her wonderful family. She’s a retired piano teacher and performer. She enjoys writing, music, gardening, nature, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Liane Kupferberg Carter is a journalist whose articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Huffington Post. She writes a monthly column for Autism After 16. She wrangles cats with her husband and two adult sons.

Beth Cato’s the author of The Clockwork Dagger, a steampunk fantasy novel from Harper Voyager. She’s had stories in over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s a Hanford, CA native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Learn more at

Melissa Halsey Caudill is thrilled to have her second story published with Chicken Soup for the Soul. She is a paralegal and shares her life in North Carolina with her supportive boyfriend Richard and their four combined children. She is currently working on her first novel. Visit her blog at

Linda Cheshire is mom to four grown children, a grandmother, and loves her faith, family, animals, writing, singing, crafting jewelry, and traveling with her husband. Her writing interests are inspirational, humorous, children’s and music. She resides in South Texas with her husband and collection of beloved rescued dogs and cats.

Margrita Colabuno is a single mom and full-time marketing-communications professional. She graduated cum laude from Hiram College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She enjoys designing and crafting jewelry, to wear and to share, and lives with her teenage son and sassy feline in Northeast Ohio.

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].

J.J. Crowley is a freelance direct response advertising copywriter/ creative director. A graduate of New York University, he now lives in Connecticut with his wife, two daughters, two cats, two dogs, two parrots, and a varying number of goldfish. He enjoys fast cars, fast motorcycles, slow dancing and long naps.

Jo Yuill Darlington is a writer of short stories and poetry. This is her second story published by Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Mary Dempsey, a former teacher and bookstore owner, resides in Bluffton, SC. Her writing has appeared in newspapers, magazines and four Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. She is a freelance writer for a local newspaper. Mary enjoys traveling and is an avid cycler.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/columnist living in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. Her bi-weekly column, “Southern Oregon Journal,” publishes in the Mail Tribune newspaper. Peggy is working with an agent regarding her debut novel. She enjoys nature, reading, the arts, and traveling (without cats).

Laurie Carnright Edwards has been involved in Christian ministry for over thirty years with her pastor husband, Dale. She enjoys working with children and teens, and seeks to honor God with her gift of writing. Laurie received a B.A. degree from Berkshire Christian College and a MATS from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Manley Fisher has a Bachelor of Education degree and has taught English classes to adults for nearly twenty years. He lives in Spruce Grove, Alberta, and enjoys cross-country skiing, fishing, and, of course, writing. His other work includes pieces for professional publications and hopes one day to be an inspirational speaker.

John Forrest is a retired educator who writes about the exceptional events and wonderful people in life. He lives in Orillia, Ontario, with his wife Carol, where they enjoy golf, travel and following the life adventures of their children Rob and Dana. E-mail him at [email protected]

Claire Fullerton is the author of the novel A Portal in Time. Her second novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel, will be published in early 2015. She is a three-time award-winning essayist, and a newspaper columnist.

Heidi Gaul lives in Oregon with her husband and four-legged family. She loves travel, be it around the block or the globe, and reading is her passion. Active in American Christian Fiction Writers and Oregon Christian Writers, she is currently finishing her third novel. E-mail her at [email protected].

Shirley P. Gumert is a writer who lives with her husband, John, in the Texas Hill Country. Her story “My Parents’ Pears” appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home. Her family knows that George, the smartest cat in the world, still visits them, to tell of new adventures. Meanwhile, he drops off stray kittens.

Bonnie Compton Hanson, artist and speaker, is author of thirty-seven books for adults and children, plus hundreds of articles, stories, and poems (including thirty-four for Chicken Soup for the Soul). A former editor, she has taught at several universities and writing conferences — plus loves cats! Learn more at

Susan Harris is the author of Remarkably Ordinary: 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are, Golden Apples in Silver Settings, Little Copper Pennies and Little Copper Pennies for Kids. Born in Trinidad, she lives on the Canadian prairies with her family and their gregarious cats. E-mail her at [email protected].

After earning a B.A. degree with honors in both Psychology and French, Janet Hartman worked as an IT professional for many years before returning to her love of writing. Her work has appeared in national magazines, online, and various anthologies including several for Chicken Soup for the Soul. To learn more, visit

Jill Haymaker is a family law attorney in Fort Collins, CO. This is her third story published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. She enjoys outdoor activities with her three children, three grandkids and her Shetland Sheepdog. E-mail her at [email protected], blog at or twitter @JillLHaymaker.

Emily Ruth Hazel is a New York City-based poet and writer who aims to capture the beauty, hope, and humor in everyday experiences. Her first poetry book is titled Body & Soul. Emily’s poems are also featured at and have appeared in magazines, journals, anthologies, music albums, and science museums.

Cheryl Heide currently lives with her husband Dick, four cats and two horses on their farm in northeastern Kansas. She has written a collection of stories about her experiences and the animals that shared her life at Leap of Faith Farm in southern Minnesota. She is also a singer and a writer of prose as well as poetry.

Marijo Herndon’s stories appear in several books, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She has also developed stress management strategies that benefit the coaching programs for a leading health plan company. She lives in New York with her husband, Dave, and two rescue cats, Lucy and Ethel.

Georgia A. Hubley retired after twenty years in financial management to write full-time. Vignettes of her life appear in various anthologies, magazines and newspapers. Once the nest was empty, Georgia and her husband of thirty-six years left Silicon Valley in the rearview mirror and now hang their hats in Henderson, NV. E-mail her at [email protected].

Carol Huff, co-owner of Sudie Belle Animal Sanctuary in Northeast Georgia, enjoys writing about the rescued animals on the farm. She is a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and has also been published in several other national magazines. E-mail her at [email protected].

David Hull received his Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Brockport in 1986. He has published numerous short stories in magazines and Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Retired from teaching in 2013, David enjoys, reading, writing, gardening and spoiling his great-nephew. E-mail him at [email protected].

DJ Kinsinger knows the value of stories: in teaching life lessons, in helping people in the healing process, and in knitting hearts together in laughter and in love. She has been a writer forever, finding magic in words. DJ is delighted to share life’s tender, funny, and poignant moments with others through her stories.

Mimi Greenwood Knight is a freelance writer living in south Louisiana with her husband, David, and four spectacular kids. She enjoys gardening, baking, karate, knitting, Bible study, and has recently jumped on the backyard chicken wagon. Mimi is blessed to have essays in thirty Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Kathleen Kohler writes stories about the ups and downs of family life for numerous magazines and anthologies. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, and have three children and seven grandchildren. Visit to read more of her articles or enter her latest drawing.

Melisa Kraft resides in Benton, KY, with her husband and two boys ages five and nineteen. She also has two stepsons, one grandson and one granddaughter on the way.

Joyce Laird is a freelance writer living in Southern California. Her features have been published in many magazines including, American Fitness, Cat Fancy, Grit, Mature Living, I Love Cats and Vibrant Life. She is a regular contributor to Woman’s World and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Lisa McManus Lange is a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, this being her fourth book. She likes cats, writing, her kids, and peace and tranquility — but not in that order. Visit her at or e-mail her at [email protected] ca.

Jody Lebel’s short stories have sold to Woman’s World magazine, Pages of Stories and dozens of others. Her romantic/suspense novel, Playing Dead, was released by The Wild Rose Press in 2012 to excellent reviews. Jody resides in southern Florida with her two cats. The three of them enjoy beachcombing.

Mark Leiren-Young is the author of two comic memoirs, Free Magic Secrets Revealed and Never Shoot a Stampede Queen (winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour). He is also a screenwriter, playwright, performer, journalist, filmmaker and cat lover.

Gretchen Lendrum is a retired English teacher from Middletown, RI who enjoys reading, writing, music, all animals, and long walks with her husband and dog. She has had essays published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers, the Providence Journal, The Newport Daily News, Newport Life Magazine and The Sun magazine.

Lenka Leon is working on a collection of personal essays. She was born and raised in the Czech Republic and came to the San Francisco Bay area via London where she caught the travel bug that keeps her wandering shoes polished and ready for new adventures. She’s a diehard Bon Jovi fan who loves to volunteer and swim with dolphins.

Lisa Leshaw has now officially retired as a therapist and is busily exploring new careers for the second stage of life. She is still at her happiest (and best) side by side with her grandkids, Mush and Gab, and her husband Stu. Secretly she dreams of the day that a magazine editor calls and says, “Yes, Lisa Leshaw, you’re hired!”

Mary Clare Lockman is a retired Oncology/Hospice RN. She also has a B.A. degree in Writing and has written three books. The most recent is They’re Always With You. Her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books and magazines. Mary has four daughters and four grandchildren and has been married to Paul for thirty-six years.

Laird Long writes in various genres. Big guy, sense of humor. His writing credits include: Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Woman’s World, The Weekly News, that’s life! and stories in the anthologies Amazing Heroes, The Mammoth Book of New Comic Fantasy, and The Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries.

Newspaper columnist, retired teacher, counselor and psychologist, Janet E. Lord is the mother of one child and is from Illinois. The majority of Janet’s professional life has been in the education arena. She currently focuses on writing children’s books and a weekly newspaper column for families.

Morna Murphy Martell has written numerous articles, plays, TV and film reviews, and was Broadway Critic for The Hollywood Reporter. Morna enjoys hiking, reading, live theater and coffee with friends. Her books, Classics 4 Kids and Shakespeare in an Hour, are published by Shakespeare, Inc.

John McInnes was a teacher. He received his diploma of teaching in Melbourne, Australia in 1960 and his B.A. at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia in 1970. Since retiring he has written short stories, memoirs, etc. Some of which have been published. He taught seniors at colleges and coached Australian Rules Football at League level for thirty-plus years.

Joan Friday McKechnie has a B.S. degree in Bible from Cairn University. She works in a local elementary school as an instructional aide. Joan enjoys reading, writing, swimming, walking, and kayaking. She has three grown sons, two cats, and a very happy Golden Retriever who loves going for walks with her.

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 her husband, Prospero, live in Hawthorne, NJ. E-mail her at [email protected] or on Facebook.

Nanci Merczel lives in Poplar Grove, IL with her husband, daughter, and two cats who do not consider her their favorite — but she loves them anyway. She enjoys art and photography and is currently working on a picture book for children.

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, and the author of 12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise. She speaks all over the country, and currently hosts a popular blog with her husband, “Answers from Mom and Dad” on YouTube https:/ and

Diane C. Nicholson is a writer and professional photographer/photoartist, specializing in companion animals and special needs children. A longtime vegan, her affinity and respect for animals and her patient understanding of children with special needs are reflected in her art. Diane has eight stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Alicia Penrod received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2004. She currently does accounting for an insurance company in Utah. Alicia enjoys running in competitive races with her husband as well as hiking with him and her four big dogs.

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

Felice Prager is a freelance writer and educational therapist from Mesa, AZ. She is the author of five books: Waiting in the Wrong Line, Negotiable and Non-Negotiable Negotiations, TurboCharge Your Brain, SuperTurboCharge Your Brain, and Quiz It: ARIZONA. She has five cats and vacuums a lot.

Diane Quinn is a freelance writer living in Las Vegas, NV. Diane and her husband are allowed to live with their two spoiled cats. She enjoys reading, playing tennis and is fascinated by wildlife and nature every day.

Tim Ramsey is an educator in the public school system and an instructor at his local community college. Many of his past adventures from campus are chronicled in his book, The Hugs on My Shirt. Tim lives in Arizona with his wife, daughter and seven cats.

Julie Reece-DeMarco is an attorney, educator and author. She is married with four daughters and enjoys being a mom, spending time outdoors in the great Northwest and playing sports. Approximately one million copies of her books are in print.

Donna Reed received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Juris Doctor from the University of New Hampshire Law School.

Stacey Ritz is an award-winning freelance writer and the Executive Director of Advocates 4 Animals, Inc. Learn more at

Janet Ramsdell Rockey is a freelance writer living in Tampa, FL, with her Realtor husband and their two cats. Her dedication to writing survives the demands of a full-time job, her husband’s constant home improvements, and her furry feline “children.” See her Amazon Author page at

Heather Rodin is mother to six grown children and serves as Executive Director for Hope Grows Haiti. She and her husband Gord live with their Great Dane, Bogart, near Peterborough, Ontario. Family needs, charity demands, speaking and writing keep her schedule full.

Gail Sellers enjoys writing animal, children’s and inspirational stories. She loves cats and enjoys relaxing at her cottage. E-mail her at [email protected].

NL Shank has been creating stories throughout her life and now chooses to share them with others. Her travels around the world and exposure to many cultures, combined with a vivid imagination, give her rich fodder to draw from. She currently lives in Southern California and is happily owned by a rather fierce feline.

Charlotte Blood Smith has been a freelance writer for fifty years. She has written for over 115 publications. Charlotte has had cats since she was four and spent a lot of time watching them, especially their interaction with other animals.

Deborah Sosin is a writer and clinical social worker whose essays have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, on Salon, and elsewhere. Her picture book, Charlotte and the Quiet Place, will be published by Parallax Press in 2015. A longtime meditator, Debbie lives outside Boston with her skittish cats, Sophia and Sascha.

Alvena Stanfield is fairly new to writing, She is delighted, energized and amazed when a reader says her writing is interesting. Publishing success sent her back to NKU. She now studies writing and electronic media. Her suspense novel and screenplay are looking for agents. E-mail her at [email protected].

Nicole Starbuck started scribbling as an infant and hasn’t stopped since. After receiving her BFA degree in Studio Art from the University of Arizona, she gathered her snow gear and settled in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to write novels and short stories. E-mail her at [email protected].

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 three felines, Pam enjoys baking, quilting and cat herding. She hopes to soon sell her novel. Please… anyone.

Austin Tamillo is an elementary school teacher in Northlake, IL. He resides with his beautiful wife Joy, his two amazing children, one pampered pooch, and four fabulous felines in Elgin, IL. His hobbies include writing, running, and cheering for his beloved Kansas City Royals.

Tsgoyna Tanzman, life coach, writer, speech pathologist and memoir teacher, considers writing her ultimate “therapy.” Her published works appear in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies,, the Orange County Register and Soul Matters. Her humorous, wise and scientific-ish blog can be read at

Denise Taylor is the busy mom of eleven children, eight of whom are still living at home. Thankfully she has her husband Todd to help out around the house. She also keeps company with one cat named Flower P. Cat. Denise loves to write, camp, hunt and fish in the quiet forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where she resides.

Stephen Taylor is a writer and graphic artist. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area. He remains a devoted cat lover; he lives with his cat, Maxi; performs catsitting duties for various feline friends; and continues to volunteer as a cat care partner at a local animal shelter.

Martha VanCise grew up in Indiana, but lived in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Haiti. She also worked in the English as a Second Language program at Indian River State College in Florida. Along with writing, she enjoys nature photography and visiting her two granddaughters. E-mail her at [email protected].

Fran Veal, author of the Finding My Escape book series, currently resides in the beautiful city of Murfreesboro, TN, with her husband of twenty-eight years, sixteen-year-old daughter, and one extremely snarky cat. She enjoys reading, hiking, and playing video games with her daughter.

David Warren has been writing part-time for three years. This is his second story to appear in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. David has also appeared in Grand magazine and is the author of Mealtime Guests, a nationally released children’s book. David resides in Kettering, OH with his wife Angela and daughter Marissa.

Susan Graham Winslow lives in Gloucester, MA. She has a B.A. degree in English from the University of Massachusetts and writes for a number of magazines in the equine industry. She is also a Therapeutic Riding Instructor, mom to Lexie, Sam and Keelie, owner of three cats, Manchego, DeDe and Finn, and a Shire named Dancing Bear.

Susan Yanguas is a four-time contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series; this is her second cat book. She is a nonfiction writer/editor for a government agency and author of the Po-po Poker Mystery series. Susan also blogs about health and wellness at

Ellyn Horn Zarek is a freelance writer from Jupiter, FL. She is a member of the Writers’ Circle at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. An alumnus of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Ellyn enjoys local beaches, her job at The Weiss School, and time with friends and family. E-mail her at [email protected].

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