Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness

Meet Our Contributors

Nancy C. Anderson is the author of Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage. She and her husband Ron have been married for thirty-six years and encourage other couples to love each other in thought, word, and deed. Read more on her website/blog at

Erin Elizabeth Austin is the founder of Broken but Priceless Ministries, a nonprofit organization which helps people suffering with a chronic illness. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family, friends, and build forts with her nephews. Her goal for each day is to have an adventure, laugh, and eat chocolate.

Valerie D. Benko is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and has more than two dozen essays and short stories published in the U.S. and Canada. Visit her online at

Jennifer Berger currently resides in Queens, NY with her husband Aaron and their seven-year-old son Josh. A former editor and freelance writer who loves to read and write, Jennifer is now a stay-at-home wife, mother and full-time advocate for her child.

Rita Billbe is a retired high school principal from Oklahoma City. She and her husband own a resort, Angels Retreat, on the White River in Arkansas. Two of her passions are fly fishing and singing in her church choir.

Kathleen Birmingham works as a ghostwriter, convincing her steadily expanding list of clients to share their deepest, darkest secrets with the world. A regular contributor to national magazines, Kathleen is also a member Writers and Critters, an all-women group comprised of writers from around the world.

Susan Boltz is a retired medical lab technician and basic logic assistant. She stays young by teaching Sunday school for high school students. Writing devotionals and humor, biking, and baking cookies for Kairos Prison Ministry keeps her busy.

Karla Brown attended St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA and is happily married. She loves swimming, nature and reading. She also hopes to one day publish her middle grade, young adult and romance manuscripts. E-mail her at [email protected].

Linda Bruno is a speaker and writer. Her current project is a devotional (All God’s Creatures) based on how our interactions with our pets mirror our relationship with God. She and her husband Guy have one grown daughter, five grandchildren, and two furkids. Linda can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

John P. Buentello is the author of several books and numerous essays, short stories, and poems. E-mail him at [email protected].

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

Twelve years ago, stifling sobs, Diane Caldwell boarded a plane to Greece. She hasn’t lived in the U.S. since. She currently makes her home in Istanbul, where she dances with gypsies whenever possible and writes when the muse whispers. Her stories have appeared in eight different anthologies and on numerous websites.

Eva Carter was born in Czechoslovakia, raised in New York, has lived in Las Vegas, NV and is currently in Dallas, TX with her husband Larry and their cat named Squeaky. After a twenty-three-year stint in finance for a long-distance company, she enjoys writing, creating greeting cards and photography. E-mail her at [email protected].

Stephanie Cassatly earned her MFA degree in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in various publications. She teaches writing part-time at Palm Beach Atlantic University, speaks publicly on the topic of forgiveness and resides with her husband and two daughters in Jupiter, FL on the Loxahatchee River.

Kitty Chappell is an international speaker and award-winning nonfiction author who has appeared on radio and television discussing the power of forgiveness. Her autobiography, Soaring above the Ashes on the Wings of Forgiveness, is being developed into a feature film. Kitty welcomes your comments at

Jane McBride Choate has been writing since she was a child entertaining friends at school with stories featuring them. Being published in Chicken Soup for the Soul is a dream come true for her.

Helen Colella is a freelance writer and retired teacher. Published works include educational books/materials, articles/stories for adults and children, anthologies, parenting magazines, and the new Explore & Discover National Parks: Just Follow the Signs, a family-oriented activity book. Helen is also a consultant for blue13creative in Denver.

Kirsten Corrigan received her B.A. degree from Luther College and her M.A. degree from The University of Iowa. She retired from a career in finance to focus on being Mom to her son, Ryan. Kirsten enjoys photography, running, teaching fitness classes, freelance writing, and singing. E-mail her at [email protected].

Melissa Crandall cut her professional writing teeth on media tie-in novels (Star Trek, Quantum Leap, and Earth 2), then branched out into short stories and essays. Recently, she was chosen as one of only twelve writers in the state of Connecticut to participate in The Great Connecticut Caper hosted by Connecticut Humanities.

Melissa Cronin holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in online journals and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries. Melissa has written a memoir. She and her husband live in South Burlington, VT where she writes for a local newspaper.

Annalee Davis earned a Master of Divinity degree and graduated summa cum laude from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She has been published in The Secret Place, the Pentecostal Evangel, Chicken Soup for the Soul books and other compilations. She loves to speak, write and play the harp. E-mail her at [email protected].

Kalie Eaton is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree at Mercer University in Macon, GA. She is a member of the esteemed Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She enjoys photography and plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy post-graduation. Her Instagram handle is @_kamaea.

Neither blindness at thirty-one, unthinkable tragedy nor painful injustice defeated Janet Perez Eckles. Rather, in spite of adversity, she has become an international keynote speaker for Spanish and English-speaking audiences. She is a #1 bestselling author, radio host, life coach, master interpreter and Christian ministry leader.

Terri Elders, LCSW, lives near Colville, WA with her dog Natty and three cats. Her stories have been published in nearly a hundred anthologies. She now has two dozen stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She co-edited Not Your Mother’s Book… On Travel. She blogs at

Holly English enjoys horseback riding, hiking, and beach combing. She also plays the piano, guitar and banjo—very badly—and never plays them when others can hear. She is currently writing a western romance novel.

Steve Erwin is an award-winning journalist and wrote the New York Times bestseller, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Genocide with Immaculée Ilibagiza. He was an NYC correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and writer for People magazine. He’s written seven nonfiction books and is finishing his second novel.

Beverly Fox-Jourdain was born in Ontario and graduated college in England. She currently resides in British Columbia with her husband, three children and a menagerie of dogs and horses. She is the author of two inspirational novels to date.

Robbie Neil Freeman is an inmate in the Texas state prison for crimes committed in his rebellious youth. He has had to grow up in prison and learn that actions have consequences—good or bad. He’s learned that his Heavenly Father is the perfect role model and tries to follow His example. Robbie will be eligible for parole in 2024.

Sally Friedman is a longtime contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she has contributed to The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, and numerous regional and national publications. Her favorite subject is family life. E-mail her at [email protected].

Christina Galeone is a freelance writer from New England. She enjoys writing regularly for Beliefnet, The Catholic Free Press, Community Advocate and the Telegram & Gazette. She also writes screenplays. She is excited to be included in this Chicken Soup for the Soul book!

Judythe Guarnera connects with people through her volunteer work as a mediator and through her writing. Her first novel, Twenty-Nine Sneezes, is in the final editing stage. She has been published in a variety of venues, including a previous Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology.

Charles Earl Harrel pastored for thirty years before stepping aside to pursue writing. He has 510 published works. His articles, stories, and devotionals have appeared in thirty-two anthologies, including four stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Charles enjoys playing twelve-string acoustic guitar. E-mail him at [email protected].

Janet Hartman left New Jersey with her husband and Terrier to telecommute from her sailboat, following the sun along the East Coast for six years. She began writing about sailing and the liveaboard life. After moving ashore in North Carolina, she added land-based subjects and flash fiction to her repertoire. Learn more at

Jan Henrikson writes, hikes, edits and dances in Tucson, AZ. Her stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies from Chicken Soup for the Soul to A Cup of Comfort. Every day she is thankful for her adventures in the Sonoran desert with her friends, her love, Louis, and their future dog, Beau.

Born into poverty, Ruthy Herne believes in the power of faith, hope and love… and the greatest of these is love! A bestselling author, she’s married to a wonderful man, has great kids and grandkids, and loves God, family, her country, chocolate, dogs and cappuccinos.

Ann Hoffman is a retired lecturer of English Literature and Music. Her hobbies are singing in a choir, quilting and writing. She has five children, eleven grandchildren, and lives with her husband in the small coastal town of Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa. She writes short stories, poems and children’s books.

Vanessa Hogan, B.A. B.Ed, is an elementary educator and literacy mentor. She resides on scenic Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia with her husband Liam and their young daughter Veglia. Vanessa has always had a passion for writing and aspires to publish children’s literature in the future.

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 rear view and now hang their hats in Henderson, NV. E-mail her at [email protected].

Julie Kinser Huffman grew up in Nashville, TN and currently works as a property manager in Houston, TX. She has three grown children: Viktoria, Lindsay and Stefan. Stories that bring value, hope, and encouragement are her passion and Julie is honored to be a contributor. 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, gardening and spoiling his great-nephew. E-mail him at [email protected].

Jennifer Hunt has loved writing since she was very young. She finds peaceful expression in her writing. Her favorite job is that of mother to her three beautiful children. She thanks her best friend for supporting her in writing and submitting something so personal, and hopes it can help even one person.

Immaculée Ilibagiza is the author, with Steve Erwin, of several books including the New York Times bestseller Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. A recipient of the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation, she travels the world speaking about forgiveness. Please visit her website:

M.M. Jarrell is an academic advisor at a university. She has volunteered as a leader with several ministries for divorced/widowed. Her passions are ballroom dance, writing, and reading. She finds joy in her ability to help others reach goals, discover hope, and find purpose.

Crystal Johnson is a counselling psychologist and speech language pathologist in Vancouver, BC. Writing is her creative outlet and method of processing the challenges of life. She is grateful for the support of her family in all that she does.

Anne Jones is a pseudonym. The author of this story wanted to remain anonymous, but she thought that her story might help other people who are struggling to forgive.

Sheila Kale is a mother to four and grandmother to eight beautiful children. She is a life coach in Central Texas helping creative people stop procrastinating, see with new perspective, and accomplish what they have always wanted. Known for incorporating stories and humor, she is a sought-after inspirational speaker.

Sheridan Kee received her associate’s degree in 2014. She plans to continue her education by getting her bachelor’s degree in social work to help children in need. She enjoys riding horses, baking, and church activities. For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well (Matthew 6:14).

Lois Kipnis has forty years of experience as a drama teacher and arts administrator. Her publications include a one-act play, Things Can Always Be Worse!, and three books for teachers: Together We Can Improvise, Volume 1 and Volume 2, and Have You Ever… Bringing Literature to Life Through Creative Dramatics.

April Knight collects antique valentines and love letters written in the 1800s and has many framed and hanging on the walls in her home. She believes e-mails have killed romance. Her latest published books are a romance titled Sweet Dreams: 50 Romantic Bedtime Stories…for Big Girls, and a mystery titled Nobody Dies in Kansas.

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. Read more of her articles or enter her latest drawing at

Linda LaRocque is the author of several award-winning plays. Her numerous short stories have appeared in Guideposts, Signs of the Times, Chicken Soup for the Soul books and various other anthologies. Her plays are published by Playscripts and ArtAge Publications. Linda writes from her South Haven, MI home.

Deborah Lienemann lives in Iowa with her husband and daughter. She has three grown sons and a granddaughter. She enjoys writing and sharing messages of hope, inspiration and her Christian testimony with others. She is currently an aspiring writer, and journals and writes daily.

Born and raised in Honolulu, HI, Danielle Lum is a writer, soul searcher, teacher, business woman, aunt, friend and lifelong student. She loves animals, sunsets, traveling, photography, sake, and hanging with friends. Her kids have four feet and tails. She misses her mom but is grateful that her lessons will live on forever.

Cecilia Heather MacDonald has three published children’s stories to her credit along with social commentaries and has been a ghostwriter. She’s currently working on several novels/scripts in varying genres for children, young adult and adults. She welcomes your comments at or [email protected].

Kathryn Malnight has been published several times before, and this is her second story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. As of right now, she lives with her four awesome siblings and parents. She enjoys film, reading, writing (obviously), Broadway musicals, and working with kids with special needs.

Kristine Robbins McGovern has a degree in philosophy from the University of Colorado and was a print journalist for twenty years. Her short plays have been performed across the country, and her paintings have appeared in several national shows. She recently moved to Florence, CO, where she is rehabbing a house built in 1903.

Cynthia Mendenhall is a nonfiction writer and Certified Christian Life Coach who works with single-again adults. “True Forgiveness” is part of a yet-to-be-published instructional guide to creating a great life after divorce. Cynthia is available for speaking engagements. E-mail her at [email protected].

Susan Méra grew up in the UK. She believes that peace comes from within and that only if we live in a state of peace and love can the world itself be peaceful. A former journalist, Susan and her French husband Henry live in Australia and share mutual interests in history, literature, philosophy, culture and fine cuisine.

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].

Sherry Morton-Mollo teaches Advanced Placement English and has a master’s degree in English Literature. She received her B.A. degree at the University of California at Los Angeles. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of forgiveness and its transforming power.

Margaret Nava writes from her home in New Mexico where she enjoys sunny days, beautiful weather and green chile. In addition to her stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, she has authored six books and written numerous articles for Christian publications.

Daniel Nester is the author of Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Grief, Making Out in Church, and Other Unlearnable Subjects. Other books include How to Be Inappropriate and The Incredible Sestina Anthology, which he edited. He teaches writing at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Diane Nichols is the author of the worldwide memoir Prison Of My Own… A True Story of Redemption & Forgiveness as seen on ABC’s 20/20 and The Montel Williams Show. She is also an award-winning newspaper reporter, a magazine journalist and a budding novelist. She invites you to visit her website at

Nancy Norton received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rowan University in 1999. She has three grown daughters and teaches second grade in New Jersey. Nancy enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her grandchildren, and being walked by her two dogs. She plans to write character education books for school children.

Kay Conner Pliszka has twenty-two stories in eighteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She uses her stories, both humorous and dramatic, to touch the hearts of audiences as she gives motivational and inspirational speeches in various parts of the country. E-mail her at [email protected].

Connie Pombo is a freelance writer, author and speaker. Her stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books and numerous publications. Connie enjoys traveling, running and swimming. She is working on her first novel, based in Sicily. To contact her or learn more, visit

Joe Rector has published three books, along with several other pieces for magazines and newspapers, and writes a weekly personal column for The Knoxville Focus, a weekly newspaper. E-mail him at [email protected].

JoAnn Richi, MC, LPC, holds a Masters of Counseling degree and has been in private practice for over twenty years. She is currently working on a series of eBooks on mental health. Ms. Richi is also the Clinical Consultant for The Psychology of Bliss Seminars in Arizona and Italy. For additional info, visit JoAnn’s website at

Mark Rickerby is a writer, screenwriter, singer, voice artist and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor. His proudest achievements are his daughters, Marli and Emma. He released a CD of fifteen original songs for them, and co-wrote his father’s memoir. For info on these and other projects, visit

Sallie A. Rodman has her Certificate in Professional Writing from California State University, Long Beach, where she is currently teaching writing to adult seniors. She loves to share unique personal experiences. Her work has appeared in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and various magazines. E-mail her at [email protected].

Sioux Roslawski is a full-time third grade teacher, a part-time freelance writer and an occasional dog rescuer. Currently she’s working on a novel, and in the process, doing more deconstruction than construction. You can read more of her writing at

Award-winning author, speaker, blogger Jo Russell shows by example how to cope in all stages of life and stay sane. She posts a humorous weekly blog on Jo is a retired reading teacher. Her inspirational stories, devotionals, and humor span more than forty years in magazines and anthologies.

Beth Saadati, a high school English teacher, has invested her time and heart into the lives of hundreds of teenagers. She is currently teaching writing classes, homeschooling her son and daughter, writing two books, and sharing a message of truth, courage and hope in the aftermath of her beloved firstborn’s suicide.

Karen Todd Scarpulla, graduate of Towson State University, spent nienteen years in Chicago raising her two children. She currently lives in California. She has a passion for cooking, entertaining and traveling. She continues to write books and speak to audiences, encouraging them to find forgiveness. Learn more at

Sara Springfield Schmit received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Southwestern University in 2003. She has two boys, a husband, and two crazy dogs. She plans to get her Master of Art degree in English from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Jeff Sebell experienced a traumatic brain injury in 1975. Through his book, Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury, published by Lash & Associates, and his blog, Jeff addresses core issues of self-discovery for those who have had a TBI. His blog can be read on his website at

Yvonne Curry Smallwood has been writing and publishing inspirational stories for more than twenty years. But her absolute favorite pastime is traveling with her family and friends. When she is not writing, you can find Yvonne in a craft store purchasing yarn for the many crochet items that she donates to local charities.

Michael T. Smith lives in Caldwell, ID with his lovely wife Ginny. He works as a project manager and writes inspiration in his spare time. Sign up for a weekly story at or read more stories at

Cheryll Snow is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer, and registered nurse. This is her second published piece in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She is currently seeking representation for her inspirational novel, Sea Horses. E-mail her at [email protected].

Now retired from local government, Joyce Stark travels widely across Europe and the U.S. She continues to write anecdotal stories and travel articles from her past and those she meets.

Robert Stermscheg, now a retired police officer, enjoys reading as well as writing. His passion is researching and writing historical fiction. When not writing, he enjoys traveling with his wife. Contact him through his website at

Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Her poetry and personal essays have been included in hard and softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items, photos, and memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of the Smithsonian.

Lynn Sunday is an artist, writer, and animal advocate living in Northern California with her husband and senior rescue dog. Her most recent publications include: Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the ’60s and ’70s; Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?; and The Noe Valley Voice. E-mail Lynn at [email protected].

Hope Sunderland is a retired registered nurse with a B.A. degree in Psychology who hung up her bedpan and enema bucket to write. She writes from the South Texas Gulf Coast. This is her third contribution to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Kara Sundlun is an Emmy Award-winning television news anchor and host of Better Connecticut. Her series Kara’s Cures is a mainstream guide to health and spirituality; she is also a contributor for The Huffington Post. Kara is married and mom to cherished children Helena and Julian.

Willow Swift is a blogger, mother, and poet… not necessarily in that order. She writes to help herself, and others, explore and enjoy the journey of life, and to make sense of the stones so often in the path.

Annmarie B. Tait lives in Conshohocken, PA with her husband Joe Beck. She enjoys cooking and many crafts, along with singing and recording Irish and American folk music. Annmarie has contributed several stories to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Reminisce magazine, and numerous other anthologies. E-mail her at [email protected].

Stacey Wagner currently lives in Seattle, WA. She has an MBA and B.S. degree in Business Administration from Black Hills State University in South Dakota, where she was born and raised. She enjoys traveling and not staying in one spot too long.

Pat Wahler is a grant writer by day and award-winning writer of essays and short stories by night. She is proud to be a contributor to five previous Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. A lifelong animal lover, Pat ponders critters, writing, and life’s little mysteries at

Elizabeth June Walters is the pen name for a writer who lives in Pennsylvania. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and dog. In her spare time she enjoys reading, crafting, Bible study, and practicing hospitality.

Kate White is a thirty-one-year-old writer who lives just outside of the Detroit area. She has been previously published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series as well as in Floating Bridge Review and The Linor Project. Kate is currently working on publishing her memoir, which she plans to release late 2015.

Arthur Wiknik, Jr. served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division and fought in the Hamburger Hill battle. He has appeared both on the History Channel and the Military Channel. Arthur frequently shares his military experiences at schools and civic organizations. Visit his website at

Patricia Williams lives in Lakeview, AR. She is a senior citizen and loves having had the time to write and share many other people’s stories. Currently she is homeschooling five children, ranging from four years old to thirteen-year-old twins. She has a wonderful church family and loves what she does.

Ferida Wolff is the author of three essay books for adults and seventeen books for children. Her essays appear in anthologies, newspapers and magazines. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and also writes a nature blog at

Raymond M. Wong earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University LA. His writing has appeared in USA Today, U-T San Diego, San Diego Family, Small Print Magazine, and Segue. His memoir, I’m Not Chinese: The Journey from Resentment to Reverence, was published in 2014. Learn more at

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