About Our Authors
Meet our authors. Write to them. Join their blogs. Visit their websites. Information for communicating with our authors, as well as a short bio, is provided below. For more information on individual authors and their books, check out their publications in Browse Titles (or click on the link to their book/s), where you will find reviews, interviews, and all sorts of other information about each book and its author(s). Check back with us from time as we will be presenting more authors and additional contact information. Where authors have provided them, photos are included. Where authors have allowed, we have provided their personal email addresses. To contact authors without personal email, send a request to email@example.com; we will forward your communications.
Cindy McKinley Alder is a parent, a teacher, and a writer. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in the Teaching of Reading from Eastern Michigan University. She has taught both elementary school and college. Her children attended the very same elementary, middle school, and high school as she did! She is now a private tutor.
In 2002, her first book, a children’s book called One Smile, was published. It won the Benjamin Franklin award that year. In 2013, her second children’s book, One Voice, came out. It immediately won the Preferred Choice Award and the Carol Reiser Award. Both books show how simple random acts of kindness can change the world.
That same year, 365 Teacher Secrets for Parents: Fun Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School came out, a book she co-wrote with teacher and long-time friend Patti Trombly. This book is full of fun and easy ways parents can work with their young kids on all academic subjects and more!
Most recently, Cindy has once again joined with Patti Trombly- this time to produce a book for our pandemic series: 10 Quick Homework Tips. The book, for certain, will outlive the pandemic, for these tips work whenever parents are looking to end homework battles with their children.
Cindy lives in Milford, Michigan with her husband and their cat Watson. She loves long walks, reading good books, and toasting marshmallows over a campfire.
Follow her blog!
Wally grew up wherever his father was stationed during his U. S. Air Force career. When his father was overseas, Wally stayed with his grandmother who was a great storyteller. Listening to the way she made stories come alive made Wally feel as if he had really been there. As he grew older, he began to write down things that made him either laugh or cry and tried to make them as real as possible. Sometimes, he finds it easier to escape into his own little world and create things he wishes were true but never can be. He knows people need an escape from reality at times so he decided to make his writings public.In his book, The Musings of a Carolina Yankee, there are some true stories and there are some stories he doesn’t know where they came from, but he wrote them in order for readers to have fun and join him on his journey. Like his father, Wally served in the US Air Force; his military service came during the Vietnam conflict. Wally grew up in New Hampshire and moved to South Carolina — the “misplaced” Yankee is a theme in his writing.
It is with regret that we share the sad news that Wally died unexpectedly in July 2015.
Julia Aziz is a licensed clinical social worker and a mother of three children. She is also an accomplished speaker on topics such as “The Soul of Service,” “Holding Intention While Jugging It All,” and “Motherself,” a monthly mother’s group.
In addition to this personal and professional experience in working through motherhood transitions, she has also written for and served as general editor for Dovetail Journal for interfaith families.
She shares her motherhood observations, both professional and personal, in her book, Lessons of Labor: One Woman’s Self-Discovery through Birth and Motherhood.
Dr. Bach, seated on the left, is a psychotherapist, writer and artist. She co-founded the Berkshire Center for Psychosynthesis in Massachusetts, and, later, the Psychosynthesis Institute of New York and for many years was a Psychosynthesis trainer, a therapeutic approach that recognizes and works with the creative and spiritual dimension of an individual.
In addition to her long-time private practice and her work as a trainer, Dr. Bach has presented seminars in the United States, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
She is the co-author, with Nanette Hucknall (seated on the right), of The Rose and the Sword: Balancing Your Feminine and Masculine Energies.
It is with sadness that we note that Judith Bach passed away March 3, 2019.
Franki Bagdade graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Elementary Education. She received her MA in Special Education from Wayne State University. She is currently enjoying her largest “pandemic purchase” and is half-way through earning her master’s in clinical social work at University of Kentucky.
She has spent more than 20 years specializing in the world of children with extra needs, including non-traditional learning environments, camp settings, and everything in between.
Her traditional mainstream educational experience includes all types of general classroom teaching, running a special needs resource room, consulting for pre-school through high school resource programs, and conducting training sessions for professional development. Most recently, she was the assistant director of Tamarack Camps, one of the largest overnight camps in North America.
Franki is the owner and founder of FAAB Consulting, which offers academic and behavioral guidance for schools and camps and behavioral coaching for families.
Franki lives with her husband, Jeff, and her three notorious children in West Bloomfield, Michigan
Gregg lives on the Northwest side of Chicago with his wife and children and his black Labrador, Apollo. He is a firefighter/paramedic for the Chicago Fire Department working on the West side of the city. When he is not on shift, Gregg runs his private counseling practice, seeing first responders exclusively. As an active member of the CFD Pipes and Drums corps, Gregg has been playing bagpipes for over 15 years. Among his interests are vacationing with his family, tending to his houseplants, listening to The Beatles, and bringing Apollo to the forest preserve to play catch. His goal is to fight the stigma that first responders have concerning mental health, and to bring awareness, as well as solutions, to those in need.
Dr. Liz Bayardelle holds a PhD in business psychology with a strong footing in the practical application psychological research. She serves as a digital consultant.
She has written two books published by MSI Press: Clean Your Plate! 13 Things Good Parents Say That Ruins Kids’ Lives and (forthcoming) Parenting in a Pademic.
In her own words, Dr. Bayardelle, as a busy, educated, multitasking mother, “runs a household with a teenage stepdaughter, a toddlernado, a newborn baby, two dogs totaling over 200 pounds of poor behavior, and a rabbit the size of a large housecat.
She also runs a successful parenting blog (theStaySaneMom.com) that has an avid following of mothers who want to be smart, engaged, and thoughtful parents.
TL Brink is the author of How to Argue with an Atheist: How to Win the Argument without Losing the Person.
Dr. Brink is a social scientist and author of fifteen books, two dozen encyclopedia articles, and hundreds of journal articles, reviews and conference presentations. His main topics of interest include clinical assessment and treatment of mental disorders in later life, religious phenomena, cancer attitudes, consumer behavior, qualitative research methods, and Big Data Analytics using Bayesian Sequential Statistics. He has degrees from Claremont Men’s College, San Jose State University, Santa Clara University and the University of Chicago.
He has been a member of the Association for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, Western Psychological Association, Western Positive Psychology Association, Midwestern Psychological Association, International Council of Psychologists, Sociedad Interamericana de Psicologia, Gerontological Society of America, American Academy of Religion, Religious Research Association, and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
He has served as editor, editorial board member, or peer reviewer for more than a dozen professional journals. He has been appointed to the faculties of Stanford University School of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Universidad Iberoamericana, University of Redlands, University of California Riverside, and University of the People. He is currently Professor of Psychology at Crafton Hills College.
On youtube he has over 600 videos which have received 1.7 million hits for HEADLESSPROFESSOR. Dr. Brink resides in Mexico and southern California.
Dave Brown is the author of five previous books. He lives in Downingtown, Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.
He co-authored One Simple Text…The Liz Marks Story with Betty Shaw. The book is a poignant tale of the drama that Liz and her family suffered as a result of her nearly dying from an accident that resulted from texting while driving.
Joanna J. Charnas, LCSW, is a Clinical Social Worker with over thirty years of experience as a licensed mental health provider. She received her master’s degree from Boston University School of Social Work in 1988 and has worked in numerous service sectors during her career, including homelessness, geriatrics, AIDS Service, long term care, and mental health. Joanna has retired from full-time employment in 2021, and now works part-time as a psychotherapist, and is enjoying retirement.
Joanna published on HuffPost Blog for two and a half years, and her writing has appeared in PopSugar, The San Francisco Review of Books, and SteadyHealth. She writes about a wide array of subjects including health and wellness, mental health, positivity, family issues, humor, dating and romance.
Joanna has a passion for films. Except during the height of the Pandemic, she has seen at least one movie a week in theaters since she was fourteen. This passion is reflected in her book, A Movie Lover’s Search for Romance.
More about her writing can be found at www.joannacharnas.com and on her blog at https://joannacharnas.wordpress.com/
Her first book, Living Well with Chronic Illness, was released August 25, 2015. It was the #1 Hot New Release in its category on Amazon.com and was an American Book Fest Award Finalist.
Her second book, 100 Tips and Tools for Managing Chronic Illness, was released in April 2018, won a Book Excellence Award.
Joanna’s third book, A Movie Lover’s Search for Romance, was published in June, 2020, and won the following three awards; Hollywood Book Festival Honorable Mention – autobiography/biography/memoir; Book Excellence Awards Finalist;
Pinnacle Book Achievement Award (memoir.)
Her fourth book, Tips, Tools, and Anecdotes to Help during a Pandemic, was published in July, 2020.
Bertha Cooper earned a BSN degree in nursing (University of WA) and entered the profession the same year as Medicare, a coincidence destined to define her career in non-traditional ways.
She began her career in public health and moved into a management position early in her career–the beginning of a long career in management and administration in an expanding array of health care delivery innovations. She worked in public health, home health, long-term care, hospice and acute care. Every one of those positions involved quality, safety, and effective health care for the elderly. She became a reasonable voice and passionate advocate for patient-centered services across the continuum of care.
Writing was part of each of Bertha’s professional roles; she wrote to inform, educate and persuade. When she started into her own experience with aging, she realized she had questions about natural aging compared to pathological aging which dominated her professional work. She combined her curiosity about aging and passion for writing in an on-and-off ten-year quest that resulted in the book, Women, We’re Only Old Once, Keep What You Can, Let Go of What You Can’t, Enjoy What You Have!
A couple of months earlier, she published Old and On Hold: Aging in Place during the Pandemic as part of the MSI Press pandemic series of books.
Bertha has been a featured columnist for The Sequim Gazette, a local weekly newspaper published by Sound Publishing for over seven years. Her column appears every other week.
Bertha’s book, Women, We’re Only Old Once, has won four awards:
2023 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement award for Best Book in the category of Health
2023 Independent Press Award Winner in the category of Aging/Midlife
2021 Best Indie Book Award in Self-help Category
2020 Kops-Fetherling International Book Award/Phoenix Award – Best New Voice: Health and Fitness
You can find Bertha on Face Book.
Frederic Craigie Jr., Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, educator, speaker, and writer. His passions and areas of expertise include spirituality in health and health care, healing relationships, clinician well-being, and resiliency and positive mental health.
Fred attended Dartmouth College during the tumultuous Vietnam War era and completed his doctorate at the University of Utah. He served internships in the VA system in clinical psychology and in substance abuse rehabilitation. Following his training, he began what was to become a 37-year full-time faculty role at the Maine -Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Augusta, Maine, where he coordinated behavioral health teaching for residents and students and provided behavioral health care to a largely underserved primary care population.
He serves as Visiting Associate Professor at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine (AWCIM) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and held an appointment as Associate Professor of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth until his “semi-retirement” in 2015.
Since the mid-eighties, Fred has written and presented extensively about the healing and life-giving roles of spirituality in health and patient care, in the experience of health care providers, and in the life and culture of healthcare organizations. He received a John Templeton Spirituality and Medicine Award for Primary Care Residency Training Programs (in conjunction with George Washington University Medical Center, Institute for Spirituality and Health) in 2002. He takes particular joy in having founded the Tom Nevola, MD Symposium on Spirituality and Health, the oldest academic symposium on spirituality and health in the United States. He is also the founder of a spiritual care program at the Residency’s affiliated hospital and served for many years as associate editor of a professional journal devoted to Christian faith and mental health.
With AWCIM, Fred has developed curricula and taught about spirituality, healing relationships, leadership, and clinician wellness and self-care in the Center’s programs for fellows, allied health professionals, students, and for the general public.
He is the author of Positive Spirituality in Health Care: Nine Practical Approaches to Pursuing Wholeness for Clinicians, Patients, and Health Care Organizations, (Mill City Press, 2010).
Fred also serves on the Board of Directors of Community Health Options in Lewiston, Maine. CHO is a non-profit, member-directed, co-op health insurance company that was formed with the inception of the ACA and continues to provide health care access to a substantial population of largely underserved and self-employed Mainers.
His website, offering a variety of resources, a periodic blog, and weekly reflections on spirituality and health, is www.goodnessofheart.com.
In his personal life, Fred cherishes his relationships with his wife, grown children and grandchildren, extended family, and friends. His own approach to “meaningful, joyful and peaceful living” also includes regular spiritual reflection and practice, along with playing fiddle and mandolin, running up and down the court playing basketball, doing carpentry and home projects, being sure to laugh regularly, and resolutely following the subtleties and wonders of major league baseball. He has called Maine “home” since the mid-seventies and now lives seasonally in Tucson.
Laura Dabbs works at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is pursuing her MA-TESOL degree. Laura teaches Community English Classes at UAB and formerly taught ESL and GED classes in Georgia at Dalton State College. Working at a diverse university as afforded her the opportunity to see first-hand how personality traits, learning styles and learning strategies play a role in a variety of educational and professional situations. Laura and her family have enjoyed a multi-cultural household by hosting foreign exchange students from various locations around the world.
Her book, co-authored with Betty Lou Leaver, The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom: Bringing Hidden Dynamics to Light for Individual and Group Harmony and Success. explains why some classrooms become dysfunctional and suggests what to do about them.
Richard Gentei Diedrichs grew up in Los Angeles. He edited travel and health magazines in Seattle, worked as an editor at the schools of engineering and public health at University of California. Berkeley, and then taught fourth and fifth grades, as well as kindergarten, in public elementary schools around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Richard was ordained a Zen priest in 1984. Currently, he is a Dharma teacher in Hawaii.
He has published short stories in literary journals, a short story collection, Spirit of Tabasco, and two novels, Neither Coming Nor Going and Cherry Blossom. He lives with his wife and dog on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
His MSI book, Living in Blue Sky Mind: Basic Buddhist Teachings for a Happy Life, is available in paperback, hard cover, and e-book formats and has been recognized by the MidWest Book Watch and other reviewers for its quality. (See the MSI Press book page for this book.)
Renyuan Dong works as a senior healthcare consultant based in Tokyo. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in both philosophy and economics, speaks three languages – English, Chinese and Japanese – and boasts of having traveled to over 30 countries.
Most of the ideas presented in his book Rainstorm of Tomorrow – The Ever-Flowing Banquet of Philosophy matured during the author’s collegiate study of philosophy and economics, as well as his professional tenure in healthcare and biology; the shift wrought a cross-disciplinary mode of thinking, illuminating connections and contradictions that defy the boundaries of each subject. Through his travels, the author found persistent proofs of and supplements to his existing philosophical belief transcendent of the confines of any single culture. At the root of the author’s ideas, however, lie his inherent sense of alienation from the world and his vigilance against any established norms. The multinational identity of the author may help usher in an occasion for West to meet East in the philosophy of science.
His book, Rainstorm of Tomorrow, has been highly reviewed and won several awards.
Follow him on Facebook.
Bennett earned a journalism degree from University of Southern Mississippi and an MS in Business Administration. He worked as a Management Intern by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (TN), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (MD), and as a staff advisor to then Congressman Trent Lott (with whom he is shown here), helping develop a national policy for nuclear waste disposal. The last ten years of his career was spent searching for a safe disposal site for high-level radioactive waste—much of this time was spent speaking to State and local governments, American Indian Tribes, and the public. He edited the Jones County Junior College newspaper, wrote for the University of Southern Mississippi Student Printz newspaper, and taught a freshman journalism course at USM. He served as sports copy editor for the Bristol Herald Courier (VA/TN). His professional career included writing speeches for Presidential appointees, congressional testimony, and public relations. He and his wife lead a worship team, teach church classes, and sponsor a home bible study, and visit hospitals and shut-ins.
His book, Of God, Rattlesnakes, and Okra: A Preacher’s Boy Tells His Growing-Up Story, won a 2015 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award and has become beloved in his Southern homeland—and is gaining a fan club in the North, too!
Seanne Larson Emerton, L.M.F.T., L.I.M.H.P., is one of our newest authors. She has been in private practice for over twenty years. She loves her work and life in the Heartland,, including practicing yoga, spirituality and health, and enjoying music, travel, and time with her sons and families in Boston and Denver. The power of relationships fuels her desire to help others. She is grateful for her grandparents and parents who were her first teachers. She and her husband, Tom, live on the land her great-great-grandfather homesteaded. Family is her greatest joy.
Her book, co-authored with Dr. Geri Henderson, Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist, was published in June 2015 and was selected as a Book of the Year Award Finalist.
Content writer, cartoonist, digital artist, and writer, Jeremy Feig is originally from a small town in slightly upstate New York. After graduating from New Paltz College, he moved to Los Angeles for TV and film production work before stumbling into a career in digital marketing. Jeremy spends much of his time working on creative projects, usually involving comedy. He’s written numerous screenplays and TV scripts, created original cartoons, and directed quirky short films. Jeremy and his family recently moved from Santa Monica to Portugal.
His book, How My Cat Made Me a Better Man, was published in 2016 and has captivated men and women alike.
Dr. Filatova is a highly respected Russian psychologist, specializing in the area of personality. A senior professor of psychology at St. Petersburg State University, she is the foremost expert in Europe on socionics and published the first-ever book on socionics in Russia (which was the Soviet Union at the time). Since then, she has written many books on the topic and is held in high regard by socionists worldwide.
Her book with MSI Press, Understanding the People around You: An Introduction to Socionics, is the seminal work on socionics in the USA and is gathering a following.
Sad note: Katya died on March 14, 2015 of a heart attack in her home in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her son wrote that her last act, just minutes before her death, was to send off an email, related to her many books on socionics. “So”, he said, “she did work right up until the last minute of life.” Katya was a wonderful person, larger than life. A professor of psychology at St. Petersburg State University, she is revered throughout the eastern world, especially the former Soviet Union, as the psychologist who brought them socionics, much the way that the Myers-Briggs mother-daughter team is looked upon the USA vis-à-vis MBTI, the western realization of Jung’s theories that differs, in a just a few substantial ways, from the eastern/socionics realization. Katya will indeed be missed by many—those she knows she helped and the thousands more she never met whom she did indeed also help with her understanding of human nature. Rest in peace, Katya! Job well done!
Marsha Franklin is a certified life coach, who has been actively involved in a number of advocacy agencies for children with disabilities. She has made presentations at Allied Health and parent conferences, addressing community and family needs, and served on the Child Developmental Committee, an advisory body to the Government of the State of Pennsylvania, as well as serving as a board member for an international children’s organization and a charter international school in California.
Perhaps more important, she is the mother of seven children, several with some serious physical problems that kept her family in the straits of poverty for years. She made it through those years with aplomb, thanks to personal and family resilience, and recounts the trials and tribulations with wit in No Pennies to Pinch.
Thomas Jesús Garza (Ed.D., Harvard University) is UT Regents’ and University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and Director of the Texas Language Center.
He coordinated the Russian program at U Texas from 1990 to2010 and directed the Arabic Flagship program between 2015-2018.
He has co-authored several textbooks of English as a Foreign Language and Russian, as well as the World Readiness Standards for Russian (2020) with Jane Shuffelton and Peter Merrill.
Julie M. Gentile is a yoga teacher, author of two award-winning books: 108 Yoga and Self-Care Practices for Busy Mamas and How to Stay Calm in Chaos: An Everyday Self-Care Guide, and creator of the Stand Up for Your Self-Care blog and YouTube Channel. She is on a mission to empower busy people to prioritize self-care.
Kris Girrell is an author, speaker, and executive leadership coach on a global level. His education spans the disciplines of psychology, theology and coaching. Kris has lectured, presented and coached clients in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia/Pacific.
A father of three and grandfather of four, he lives with his wife Sarah and son Jesse in Andover MA.
Joella Goyette is an illustrator and animator, originally from Winona, Minnesota, living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She currently attends the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and will be receiving her BFA in 2D animation in the spring of 2024.
Spunky Grandmas and Other Amusing Characters is her illustration debut. She enjoys showcasing her love for cartoons and drawing characters.
In her spare time, she likes watching cartoons and movies, talking with family and friends, and having adventures around Minneapolis, but above all, she is constantly creating!
You can find Joella and an extensive archive of her work on her Instagram page @j.r.goyette.
Dr. Graves (Ph. D., Texas Tech University) is an education expert, well-published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. During pregnancy, she suffered complications due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that resulted in kidney failure. After personally experiencing the traumatic change from career woman to a chronically ill, stay-at-home mom, she has actively cultivated strategies to balance her ongoing health battles with her desire to be a great mother and wife while staying professionally active.
Her book, How to Be a Good Mommy When You’re Sick: A Guide to Motherhood with Chronic Illness, was released in early February. Prior to publication, it gained the attention of Library Journal, which reviewed it positively.
Visit her FB Page on Chronic Illness and Motherhood.
Reverend Steven Greenebaum, Ph.D., is the author of The Interfaith Alternative and Practical Interfaith, founder of the Living Interfaith Church, and holds Masters Degrees in Mythology, Music, and Pastoral Studies. He has dedicated his life to the oneness of humanity, working for social and environmental justice through a multitude of forums. Minister, teacher, and both church and temple choir director, he has worked with Common Cause, marched at Standing Rock, and was the Founder/Executive Director of Citizens for Environmental Responsibility.
Follow Steven on Facebook.
Christina Fisanick Greer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of English at California University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches writing, literature, digital storytelling, and creative non-fiction. She has written dozens of articles about writing, especially as a form of therapy, and is the author of nearly thirty books. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, son, and two cats.
Her book, The Optimistic Food Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder, has attracted the attention of the Associated Press and of the National Eating Disorders Association.
Visit Christina’s FaceBook page.
B. L. Ham is an acquisitions editor for a small press and has served as a reader and advisor for more than one leading publisher. She wrote the book, Publishing for Smarties: How to Find a Publisher), to answer the dozens of questions she typically gets from first-time authors.
She has a second book in production — help for authors with the legal aspects of publication.
She may be contacted through MSI Press: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Andrew Harvey served in law enforcement for 25 years, the last 12 as a captain with a Southern California police agency. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from California State University at Los Angeles, and an educational doctorate in the field of organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the California POST Command College, the West Point Leadership Program, and is recognized in California as a master instructor.
Dr. Harvey is an award-winning college educator, with two decades of college teaching experience at five different institutions, ranging from community college all the way through the university doctorate level.
His book, Tucker and Me, is a delightful tale of a boyhood split between the South and the big city of Los Angeles.
Dr. Geri Henderson considers herself, first and foremost, a teacher and mentor but loves her roles as sister, aunt, and friend. Geri has taught in a number of places such as the Caribbean, Jordan, Bahrain, LIthuania, Lebanon, Japan, Korea, and the US. Her interests include a passion for music which she studied and subsequently taught for 30 years before beginning her second professional career in higher education. She is probably teaching literature and writing somewhere in the world right now.
Her first book with MSI Press, Thoughts without a Title, was edited while she was teaching in the Middle East and contains the stories and essays of Middle Eastern college students and their views of the world.
Her second book, co-authored with Seanne Emerton, Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist, is gathering 5-star reviews and was selected as a 2015 Book of the Year Award Finalist.
Her most recent book was written together with Richard Rice, primary author, and Vincent Rice, illustrator. Called Noah’s New Puppy, it is a delightful children’s book focused on the management of PTSD.
Nanette is a psychotherapist, career therapist, writer, and artist. She is available for lectures and workshops and has designed and facilitated workshops on “Karma, Destiny and Your Career,”and “Living From Your Heart,” which she has presented in the United States and in Canada. Nanette has a BA from Cooper Union and is trained in Psychosynthesis. She is a co-founder of The Center for Peace Through Culture, and is the founder and President of Higher Self Yoga. She has published several books on yoga, karma, and better self-understanding.
She co-authored the MSI book, The Rose and the Sword: How to Balance Your Feminine and Masculine Energies, with Dr. Judith Bach. Her latest MSI Press release is How to Live from Your Heart: Deepen Relationships, Develop Creativity, and Discover Inner Wisdom.
A. Darius Husain is the Executive Director of Face to Face Academy, a charter high school in St. Paul, Minnesota whose mission is to graduate students considered most at risk for dropping out of high school. The Minnesota Department of Education named F2F a “High Quality Charter School” for its work in graduating students and closing the achievement gap. Newsweek named F2F as one of American’s Top High Schools 2014 in the category “Beating the Odds 2014 – Top Schools for Low Income Students.” Mr. Husain serves as the Director of Research for the International Medical and Educational Trust in Missouri. He holds a B.A. in psychology with an emphasis on experiential education from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and has completed Master’s course work in school counseling at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.
His book, Roadmap to Power, co-authored with Dr. Syed Arshad Husain, was released in Fall 2015 and has been recommended by US Review of Books.
Syed Arshad Husain, M. D., is a child psychiatrist known worldwide for his work with children living in war zones and disaster areas. Dr. Husain founded the International Center for Psychosocial Trauma at the University of Missouri, and counseling centers in Bosnia, Kosovo, and an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan.
He has published scientific articles in major peer-reviewed journals in the U.S. and Canada, and has written five books including Hope for the Children: Lessons from Bosnia.
He has received numerous awards from major professional societies including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; 2014 awards include the National Council for Behavioral Health Doc of the Year and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Catcher in the Rye award. He was given an Honorary Ph.D. by the University of Tuzla, Bosnia.
Currently, he is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Child Health at the University of Missouri–Columbia and serves as a medical director of a large behavioral health organization in Missouri.
In 2015, he received the coveted Citation of Merit Award from the Missouri University School of Medicine Alumni Association.
His MSI book, co-authored with A. Darius Husain, Roadmap to Power, was released in Fall 2015 and has been recommended by the US Review of Books.
It is with sadness that we report that Dr. Husain passed away on September 24, 2022. Please refer for his official obituary for details.
Elaine (shown here at a door of the Abdallah al Azem Madrasa) comes from a small town on the Hudson River which her Dutch ancestors pioneered in the 18th Century, but after converting to Islam, in 1960 she left it all behind and went to live in Damascus with her Syrian husband, Mohammed Imady, whom she met as a student at New York University. There she raised her three children, two of whom are also MSI Press authors, learned Arabic, taught English and music, and traveled the world with her husband, who became a Syrian cabinet minister.
Her first book, Postscripts from Palisades, was published in Syria by Dar Tlas and in the USA by the local historical society of her hometown as well as by iUniverse, Inc.
Now, after more than fifty happy years of marriage, Elaine, tells her story in Road to Damascus.
Her Facebook page on her book includes more information, with pictures, of Syria and the opportunity to interact with the author.
Muna was born in Damascus in 1962 to an American mother and a Syrian father. She has a BA in English Literature and a diploma in English-Arabic Translation from Damascus University as well as a Maitrise from the Sorbonne. She has written several textbooks for teaching English as a second language to children. She has also written and translated many short Arabic stories for children which were published in several Arabic magazines. She also writes for Wild River Review from time to time.
She lives in Damascus with her husband Dr Nizar Zarka and their three children and teaches English as a second language to young children.
Her book, Syrian Folktales, relates stories she has heard from her grandmother and gathered from other local sources and is quickly becoming a beloved source of stories, recipes, and information about Syria for Syrian-Americans, those with Syrian heritages anywhere in the world, and people of Syria. Reviewed many times, her book has gained 87 5-star reviews and received the 2014 MSI Press award of best-reviewed book.
Read the Huffington Post interview with Muna!
On April 22, 2016 MSI Press lost a wonderful author — at too young an age. The talented, kind, angelic Muna Imady (Syrian Folktales) passed away in Damascus. Cause, so far, not given. The world should be grateful for what Muna brought to it in her short life. May we all be able to say as much! RIP, Muna.
Two moving memorial tributes have been written about Muna’s life. To read them, click on the links below.
Recently, we were contacted by Muna’s family. She had left behind war stories and poems. Thanks to the generous editorial assistance of Dr. Geri Henderson, one of our authors and editors, these wonderful contributions will be published posthumously.
Dr. Kingman is a 30-year veteran of supervisory positions in government, educational, and organizational programs. Holder of a Ph. D. in education, with a minor in curriculum and instruction and coursework from Harvard University in educational leadership, Dr. Kingman has counseled and supported many employees who have found themselves near the breaking point in toxic work situations. Dr. Kingman has also personally survived such environments and lived to write about them.
Dr. Kingman is currently finishing a book, How to Stay Alive When Your Job Is Killing You, with Dr. Danny Wise. Publication is expected in October 2015.
Susan Jane, who prefers to remain anonymous, is a writer and a supporter of falsely accused priests. She is also a Roman Catholic parishioner, a catechist, leader of a prayer & faith formation group, and a member of a lay Franciscan order. She has two books, Accused: How to Help When Your Priest Is in Trouble and Abandoned (for accused priests) that are planned for release in Fall 2015 and another int he works, which keeps her busy splashing ink and crumpling paper. She has some of the most extensive, personal experience in this area, having supported three falsely accused priests: one who was exonerated early in the process, one who was exonerated but not returned to ministry, and one, for whom she testified, who was found not guilty by a jury in a criminal court case. She is well positioned to write these books, but she wishes to remain anonymous because priest support is not popularly accepted and she has experienced some negative repercussions.
Peter Jonas was a soccer dad for 18 years and has recently transitioned to the role of soccer granddad. When he isn’t refereeing a match and dealing with outrageous parents, he works as a professor of research and statistics at Cardinal Stritch University.
Soccer is Fun without Parents is his fifth book.
Unfortunately, Peter passed away unexpectedly in Spring 2021. He was a great author to work with for both editors and readers. We know that readers will continue to enjoy his award-winning book for some time to come.
Author of GodSway: My Anecdotes with God, Diana Skidmore Keathley is a life-long foreign language educator, specializing in Spanish Language and English as a Second Language. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Education degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and Language Acquisition from University of Central Oklahoma.
Fluent in Spanish, Diana has ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language) Bilingual Certification at the Advanced level in both oral proficiency and written language in Spanish. She has taught Spanish at all levels, K-12, in both public and private schools, English Immersion grades 2-5, and Spanish Immersion grade 4.
After a 30+ year career in K-12, mostly in Tulsa Public Schools, she moved on to manage the adult ESL program of YWCA Tulsa’s Immigrant and Refugee Services for almost eight years, where she more than quadrupled the scope and funding of the program during her tenure. As manager of the adult education program at YWCA Tulsa, Ms. Keathley was instrumental in garnering several federal grants from the Department of Education, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well as other private grants and funding opportunities for the I & R department. One source alone grew from $57,000/year in 2012 to more than $250,000/year in 2020 as a result of her leadership in the department and her participation in the grant-writing process.
Music and Writing
Throughout her life Diana has also been involved in music and writing. As a singer/song writer, she has experience in both religious and secular venues, and was once invited to sing at the famous Bluebird Café in Nashville. Her writing has been published in both print and online formats, including Tulsa World, Arizona Literary Magazine, and the Amy Writing Foundation. She has won awards, including cash prizes, for her writing in poetry and inspirational/creative non-fiction categories. Now retired from her career in education, Diana is focusing on writing and church leadership.
Community and Church
She has been active in several local churches for many years where she was part of a Worship Team, has led Bible Studies and Life Groups, and has served on the Prayer Team, the Host Team, and the Chazown Experience Team. For several years she worked with those teams as a Community Leader, overseeing other volunteers.
Her true-life stories of God’s intervention, protection, provision, and personal communication, as laid out in her first book, GodSway: My Anecdotes with God, have had an impact on her students and her peers, in addition to her family. Seeing that her supernatural experiences have had a positive effect on people around her, Diana feels called to share them on a broader scale and is passionate about helping others have a more intimate and powerful relationship with God.
Family and Home
Diana resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband of 43 years. She loves spending time with extended family and playing games – especially Corn Hole (“bags”) and Catch Phrase –with their four adult children, their spouses, and five grandchildren. When she is not singing, writing, or teaching, Diana enjoys walking and working puzzles of all kinds.
Betty Lou Leaver (Ph.D., Pushkin Institute, Moscow) is Director of The Literary Center of San Juan Bautista and previously served as provost, associate provost, and dean at the Defense Language Institute. She established an international language program at NASA for cosmonauts and astronauts assigned to the International Space Station; served as a language training supervisor at the Foreign Service Institute, curriculum developer for the Federal Foreign Language Training Lab, dean and chief academic officer at the New York Institute of Technology in Jordan, president of the American Global Studies Institute, co-director of the Center for the Advancement of Distinguished Language Proficiency at San Diego State University, and founding director of the Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region at Indiana University; and provided consultation to educational programs in 24 countries. She has published 21 books, more than 100 articles, and is currently co-editing a book, Transformative Language Learning and Teaching, for Cambridge University Press.
In addition to serving as managing editor at MSI Press, where she also copy-edits upon occasion and makes decisions about book acquisitions, she serves on the advisory board for Georgetown University Press, which published two of her books in past years.
Shenan (CB) Leaver has attended special education classes in Virginia, California, and Ohio and graduated from Hayes High School in Delaware, Ohio, where he was voted “class flirt.” A parishioner at the San Benedict (in the background) parish, he now lives in Hollister in San Benito County, California and works at a sheltered workshop, M&M, where he has many friends who like to listen to his tall tales, most of which are based on true stories, funny things that happen to one relative or another — or to him.
He has written a very special and very funny book about his mother, Mommy Poisoned Our House Guest (yes, true story). Stand by for edition 2, currently in the making.
CB is also working on a similar volume about his father, tentatively titled Daddy Waited.
Shenan loves to receive email from readers!
Susan J. Lewis, Ph.D., J.D., is a multi-credentialed mental health professional with the unique combination of licensed psychologist, forensic psychologist, and attorney. She has 25 years of experience in clinical practice with unique populations who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. Dr. Lewis is a sought-after consultant, and as a national seminar instructor, she trains hundreds of mental health professionals each year.
Patricia Lorenz is an inspirational art-of-living writer and speaker and the author of 14 books. She’s one of the top contributing writers in the country to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books with over 75 stories in 60 of the Chicken Soup books. She’s had over 400 articles published in numerous magazines and newspapers, is a contributing writer for 26 Daily Guideposts books and 50 anthologies, and is an award-winning newspaper columnist. Patricia raised two daughters and two sons in Wisconsin as a single parent. These days, Patricia and her hunka, hunka burnin’ love husband live in Largo, Florida where she loves her empty nest and the freedom to follow her dreams while she’s still awake.
Her book, 57 Steps to Paradise: Finding Love in Midlife and Beyond, was published in June 2016.
Larry MacDonald has a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and over 30 years of experience RVing and freelance writing for various magazines, including MotorHome, Trailer Life, and Canadian RVinglds.
His book, RV Oopsies: 101 Dumb Things That RVers Do! is a compilation of ten years of research on RV mishaps, rated from “dumb” to “dumbest,” with helpful hints on how they could have been avoided. A “must-read” for all RVers, new and seasoned, wanting to save some grief and cash by learning what not to do while RVing.
In his next book, Travels with Elly: Reflections on Canada by an RVer and His Dog, the author travels from coast to coast in a trailer with his wife and pets, including their poodle, Elly, in order to gain a better understanding of his adopted country. An informative read for armchair travelers with a spirit of adventure, for those wanting to learn more about Canada, and for any cross-Canada traveler, especially RVers and dog lovers. Travels with Elly was selected as a finalist in the American Book Fest Best Books Awards.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Larry joined a dozen other MSI Press authors writing books to support those experiencing quarantine and closed cities. He wrote Diary of an RVer during Quarantine from the point of personal experience, living in an RV. As usual, with wit.
Multi-published author and freelance editor, Cynthia MacGregor, has also formerly hosted two TV shows, “Solo Parenting” and “Younger Every Day,” both of which were seen in the South Florida area, where Cyn (as most people call her) has lived since 1984. In addition to the more than 100 books she has published, Cyn also writes plays, both for adults and for kids, and has had all but one of them produced in her community. In addition, one show, for kids, was produced in New York. Cyn works seven days a week at her craft of writing and editing and loves every minute of it. Calling herself “arguably the happiest woman there is,” she says, “There’s no one in the world I’d want to trade lives with.”
It is with sadness that we report that Cyn passed away in July 2020.
Dr. Elizabeth Mahlou wishes to remain anonymous because she speaks candidly about her childhood abuse while avoiding naming names in order to shield the innocent from more emotional harm. However, using her pseudonym, she is willing to communicate with readers who enjoy her books, A Believer-in-Waiting’s First Encounters with God and Blest Atheist. She is now hard at work on a follow-up book, Raising God’s Rainbow Makers. She maintains a blog, 100th Lamb, and has often used a tiger, a kindred spirit, as an avatar.
Her most recent writing endeavor, a story about a Christmas cat, “Cat with a Divine Mission,” appeared in Guideposts Magazine in December 2015.
Bob was born in Richmond, California and attended California State University Hayward. After college, he became a third-generation steel painter. He spent 20 years painting bridges in the Bay Area, the last 12 as a member of the Golden Gate Bridge paint crew. Bob retired in 2014 and is now a contributing author to local magazines. He lives with his wife in Northern California.
Bob was born in Richmond, California and attended California State University Hayward. After college, he became a third-generation steel painter. He spent 20 years painting bridges in the Bay Area, the last 12 as a member of the Golden Gate Bridge paint crew. Bob retired in 2014 and is now a contributing writer at Bicoastal Digest Magazine, with his work also appearing in Marin Magazine, and The Argonaut, Journal of the San Francisco Historical Society. He now lives with his wife in Valley Springs, California.
Colette McNeil aspires to develop confidence in individuals with autism by expanding the perspectives of their parents, families, teachers, and caregivers.
Colette McNeil has worked with children and adults with disabilities for 30 years. She spent 20 of those years teaching students with autism and related disorders ages 3-22. Additionally, Colette has a close relationship with her nephew with autism who is in his 20’s
Ms. McNeil holds a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology. Further, she is a prolific reader of Positive Psychology literature and embeds her learning into her daily interactions and coaching-consultation practices.
Through her business Shared Perspectives Support, Colette McNeil provides private coaching-consultation services to families struggling with Autism and developmental disorders in the Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties of California, USA.
Visit her website for more information at Shared Perspectives Support.
Ken Mogren has been a nearly lifelong resident of Winona, MN, in the beautiful Mississippi River Valley. At Winona State University, he majored in Psychology and English and credits an understanding of human nature and good communication skills for success in a 43-year insurance industry career.
At about age 60, he rekindled a dormant interest in creative writing and began entering humorous sonnets in contests, enjoying a bit of success. In retirement, he has picked up the pace, resulting in a collection of nearly 200 sonnets, with over 100 of these in his first book, SPUNKY GRANDMAS….And Other Amusing Characters.
Ken and his wife, Sally, enjoy traveling and spending time with their three sons and their families. He also serves as a volunteer on the non-profit boards of a hospital, university and theatre company. Ken’s other interests include running, cycling, and cross-country skiing. He regularly competes in those sports and has won three national age group championships. He also enjoys kayaking and golf.
As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, serving with 1st Marine Air Wing, Iwakuni, Japan and Da Nang, Vietnam Air Base, the author has experienced first-hand, an inside view of what it takes to survive the challenges and trials of deployment and reintegration back into society and family, which gives him strong credibility in counseling veterans. Vic, himself a recovering alcoholic with 43 years clean and sober “a day at a time”, and a PTSD diagnosis, writes about the sheer power and honesty he experienced while meeting weekly, face to face with the 12 combat veterans in Group Room #2. Vic puts into action reaching out to these warriors with uplifting inspiration and the critical measures necessary to help them end their suffering and anguish by putting them on a positive path to healing.
Minister, Counselor, Coach
Victor Montgomery, III received specialized training from Breining Institute of California and Saddleback College and holds a Master’s Level (M-RAS) as a Certified Registered Addiction Specialist – California State Approved Certification. Vic received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Summa cum Laude honors in Psychology (BA) from Vanguard University of Southern California and a Master of Arts Degree from The University of Phoenix in Education (MAEd). He has earned a Lifetime Membership in Psi Chi Honor Society.
Vic Montgomery is an Ordained Minister with the Assembly of God International Fellowship in the past, serving as an Associate Pastor with Bethel Temple Church, Fresno California. Vic was the Director of Jail & Prison Ministries, Chaplin Assistant and Founder of the Harvest Home for Men. Rev. Montgomery volunteered to be a counselor/mentor with California Governor Ronald Reagan’s Match-2 Mentoring Outreach rehabilitation program for California’s inmates in the Department of Corrections’ system.
Family and Personal
Vic a native Californian and his wife Diane a native New Yorker enjoy their huge family of 7 children and 33 grandchildren, camping, sailing, kayaking, bird watching, cooking, watching and playing sports and honoring God.
Anais Mora lives in Hollister, California. She is a member of the Old Mission San Juan Bautista parish and the Old Mission SJB prayer group; she also is an active member of the Spanish-language prayer group, El Rosario. She works as a legal assistant and is currently completing her final year in law school. Her forthcoming book, co-authored with Dr. Elizabeth Mahlou, Angel or Demon?, Is her first venture into professional publication.
Dennis Ortman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in the Detroit Metropolitan area for over twenty years, specializing in treating those with addictions and those who have suffered the trauma of infidelity. Before becoming a psychologist, he was a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit for fourteen years. He received the doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit-Mercy and a graduate degree in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. With graduate degrees in both psychology and theology, he works with patients on issues at the borderline between psychology and spirituality, employing a mindful approach to therapy. He authored five books on recovery from addictions and infidelity. He also lectures around the country on utilizing the wisdom of Freud and Buddha in treatment. He has three stepchildren and five step-grandchildren.
The four books he has published with MSI Press have remained popular long-term as they help many people in need:
The Pandemic and Hope
He has a fifth book in progress.
Tony Overbay is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), who has helped more than 1000 clients. He is, as well, a Certified Mindful Habit Coach, host of the award-winning podcast, The Virtual Couch, and a popular motivational speaker. He created The Path Back, a faith-based online pornography recovery program that has helped thousands break free from the destructive influences of pornography addiction and compulsive sexual behavior.
He is co-author of He’s a Porn Addict…Now What?
Gewanda is the founder and CEO of Hope and Healing Corporation, serving the needs of the marginalized of society locally and abroad to orphanages in Haiti and Africa. In 2003, she started an organization to help young girls and teens suffering with self-esteem and identity issues.
Gewanda is a featured concert soloist, and her natural talent in music and praise and worship has offered her the opportunity to minister and travel singing throughout the US, Canada and Bahamas. Levitical Praise was birthed out of these true authentic worship experiences. Johnson holds a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.
Gewanda has worked with multiple multicultural and diversity assemblage of both professionals and laity groups in various settings. Most notable, in 2003, she was asked to speak to the highly Militant Religious Divides between the Protestants and Catholics in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Gewanda hosted a weekly radio show called “Message of Hope,” which directed its content to reconciliation and healing of the family, community, spirit, soul, and mind.
Her book, It Only Hurts When I Can’t Run, was released in June 2015. This is the first volume of an intense memoir. Gewanda is working on the second volume.
Get to know Gewanda at her website.
For two decades, Patt Pickett, Ph.D., has listened to and learned from thousands of couples determined to strengthen their marriages. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she believes in the power of couples to create great relationships and feels privileged to witness the amazing changes possible.
In The Marriage Whisperer: Tips to Improve Your Relationship Overnight, published in 2013, Dr. Patt offers readers practical tips for relationship enrichment. This book has earned several honors, including winning the IPPY Living Now Awards Gold Medal in 2013 and an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Eric Hoffer Awards competition.
Dr. Patt continues the discussion in more depth in her new book, due out in June 2017, Awesome Couple Communication.
Dr. Patt has appeared on a number of radio and television shows. Links to them are available on her book page.
Catch her on her website for more tips and information about her past and upcoming events.
Author of Harnessing the Power of Grief, Julie Potter is a certified social worker with experience in health care, including home care, hospice, nursing home, and hospital settings. For 20 years, she coordinated a spousal bereavement program and a hospital based wellness program for people 60 and over.
Dr. Kacee Quinelle (pseudonym) is a long-time friend of Dr. Ekaterina Filatova, author of the popular Understanding the People around You: An Introduction to Socionics. Katya, proliferate author in Russia, had wanted to bring alive the various aspects of socionics once her first book had been published in the USA, but she unfortunately passed away before she was able to do that. Kacee has undertaken the 16 follow-on small volumes, one on each socion (personality type), envisioned by her friend, Katya.
The first four volumes in this series have been released:
Understanding the Analytic
Understanding the Critic
Understanding the Entrepreneur
Understanding the Seeker
Others are in progress.
Brittany Renz is a successful personal trainer and mother in Hollister, California. A popular trainer with a very large, stable clientele, she trains together with her family, as well as coaching others. After years of people asking her how she does it all, she finally decided to take her experience and share it with the world.
Richard is a veterans, who wrote the book, Noah’s New Puppy, loosely based on his life and the wonderful help he received from his own service dog, Abby. Several years ago, Richard became a licensed service dog trainer, living with his family in Germany. Founder of K9s for Veterans Abroad, he is completing his MA in Social Work and plans to continue to combine his talent for dog training with his skills as a therapist to help veterans deal with their trauma.
Richard’s brother, Vincent Rice, drew the beautiful illustrations for Richard’s book.
Joanna Romer‘s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, and other publications. With her late husband, Jack Milton, Romer wrote and produced the 1972 feature film, Please Stand By. For the past 14 years, she has taught communications at colleges and universities in Florida and New York.
Currently, Joanna Romer lives in Daytona Beach, Florida, where she has written several books for MSI Press, which have achieved various forms of acclaim. Follow the links to the books to learn about each and how it has been received.
Widow: A Survival Guide for the First Year was published in 2012.
A Widower’s Guide to a New Life, published in August 2014, received starred status in Library Journal, was recommended by US Review of Books, and was selected as Book of the Year Award finalist for 2014.
With Cheryl Vassiliadis, Joanna produced Creative Aging: A Baby Boomer’s Guide to Successful Living, released in December 2014 and favorably reviewed by Library Journal. This book was selected as a 2015 USA Best Books Award finalist and recommended by US Review of Books.
Divorced: Survival Techniques for Singles Over 40 was released in June 2015.
A Woman’s Guide to Self-Nurturing: How to Build Self-Esteem by Being Nice to Yourself was released in November 2015.
How to Get Happy and Stay That Way was released in May 2016.
Passing On: How to Prepare Ourselves for the Afterlife was released in December 2016.
Recovering from Domestic Violence will be released in May 2017.
It is with deep sorrow that we report the passing of Joanna Romer, unexpectedly, in July 2018. Her prolific contribution to the bookshelves of libraries — and MSI Press — has been tremendous. Her books are well-loved. She had two books in various stages of publication when she died; they will be published posthumously: Helping Our Disabled Veterans and with Pat Young, Life after Losing a Child.
Dr. Amir Sabzevary holds two Master’s degrees and a PhD; his dissertation is entitled Choiceless Awareness: Psychological Freedom in the Philosophy of Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Dr. Sabzevary has taught religion and philosophy for over 30 years at a variety of colleges and universities in the Bay Area and is currently the Chair of Philosophy and Humanities at Laney College in Oakland, CA.
A practicing architect since 1983, Yasr (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; M. S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.S., University of Jordan) is an international consultant in architectural design and planning, who has won top awards in several design competitions. He is currently an urban development strategist leading multi-disciplinary teams of international consultants in the urban re-development of the central area of the Holy City of Makka, KSA. Previously, he was assistant professor at the Department of Architecture at the Jordan and Petra Universities and a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and the American Archaeological School in Jerusalem. Professor Sakr has lectured and published widely on architectural education, design theory, and history.
His book, Subversive Utopia: Louis Kahn and the Question of the National Jewish Style in Jerusalem, was released in Fall 2016.
Born in Israel, raised in Canada, and now living in the US, Irit Schaffer works in her physical therapy practice in California, where her “good blood” background and her extensive educational training has allowed her a unique perspective on the mind-body-spirit connection.
Irit is the author of Good Blood.
Shari Schnuelle, LIMHP, LPC, has 20+ years of specialization in trauma study and treatment of a variety of traumas, fostering trauma resilience, and post-traumatic growth. Shari also offers life coaching focused on creative growth, particularly for women in transition, who envision different directions in their lives.
Betty Shaw and her daughter, Liz, travel throughout the United States to bring awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. She lives in Easton, Maryland with her family and their dog, Quintin.
Her book with Dave Brown, One Simple Text…The Liz Marks Story, is a poignant tale of the drama that Liz and her family suffered as a result of her nearly dying from an accident that resulted from texting while driving.
Joshua Shea is a recovering pornography addict and the author of The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About: How I Let My Pornography Addiction Hurt People and Destroy Relationships. He has appeared on over 50 podcasts, television and radio shows. Prior to admitting his addiction, Joshua was a prominent magazine publisher, award-winning journalist, film festival founder and politician in central Maine
He is co-author of He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? and Porn and the Pandemic.
Boris Shekhtman has been considered a national authority on teaching students to use foreign languages effectively in communication with native speakers. He has developed a unique set of tools designed to enhance an individual’s communication in a foreign language environment, which he describes in How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately.
Boris Shekhtman presented his communication rules at numerous seminars for a number of U.S. Government agencies including the Library of Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture and Air Force. His clients included correspondents of major news organizations such as ABC News, CBS News, BBC, NBC News, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, and Associated Press. The content of the seminars is well described in his books. The most popular of them are: Developing Professional-Level Language Proficiency (Cambridge University Press, 2002); How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately (MSI Press, 2003); Achieving Success in Second Language Acquisition (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Communicative Focus. Teaching Foreign Language on the Basis of the Native Speaker’s Communicative Focus (MSI Press, 2007). The seminars received high evaluation from students, teachers, companies and linguistic conferences.
Boris Shekhtman was also a leading expert on helping students reach near-native second language competence. At FSI he developed the first course for Level 3-4 students. That course has been described in a number of publications and was presented to the Interagency Language Roundtable in 1985 as a program of excellence. In the 6 years that he taught at FSI, with classes ranging in size from 4 to 6 students, everyone who entered at Level 3 with prior in-country experience (the prerequisite for enrollment) and remained the entire 6 months, achieved Level 4.
Boris Shekhtman was a key person in organizing nine conferences of the Coalition of Distinguished Language Centers for the purpose of providing support to the universities, institutions, and schools with programs that teach foreign languages to the near-native level. He served on the Editorial Board of the Journal for Distinguished Language Studies, which is a forum for exchanging information about developing high levels of proficiency in foreign languages. He edited five books on socio-cultural and socio-linguistic competences, coauthored Mark Smith’s Diary: Cross-Cultural Lessons in Russian-American Mentality (FSI and ERIC, 1986); authored Working with Advanced Foreign-Language Students (MSI Press, 2003); contributed to the groundbreaking book What Works: Helping Students Reach Native-Like Second-Language Competence (MSI Press, 2008). He lectured and provided consultation to many government and private language programs.
Candace Sjogren is a corporate executive, entrepreneur, trainer and coach. She is the Head of Emerging Sales at Marqeta and CEO at Boston Breakthrough Academy, a leadership development academy for adults looking to level up in life.
Prior to this, Sjogren was the founder and CEO of two fintech companies and chief strategy officer at a number of lending platforms nationwide, and continues to serve as an angel investor.
She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, Andrew, son, Ivar and dog, Pan.
Janice was caregiver to her husband for twenty years. He had Parkinson’s Disease, followed by dementia. She wrote about what she was experiencing during that time, as it was therapy for her. What followed is her book, Survival of the Caregiver. Janice loves playing bridge, doing photography, swimming laps, and writing poetry, some of which has been published.
Janice also wrote a weekly column for The Beaches Leader, called “On The Sunny Side,” for two years.
Check out her website for caregivers.
Everyone has at least one story to tell; Alfred Stites has a lifetime’s worth. Candid, humorous, thought provoking and interesting, his writings delight both young and old. Writing is a passion for Alfred… he writes because he loves to tell a story. If you’re fortunate enough to sit in his presence whilst he weaves a tale or two, blue eyes a’ twinkle, you’ll not forget neither the story told nor the storyteller.
His book, Forget the Goal, the Journey Counts…71 jobs Later, relates a lifetime of interesting meetings, unusual endeavors, and tales worth relating and reading.
Update 2016: Alfred passed away on on April 11, 2016 after living a very long and full life. Just read his book, “Forget the Goal, the Journey Counts…71 Jobs Later,” and that will be clear. He worked with some rather famous people, like JFK and others of equal fame. He had quite a zest for life. For 94 years he fully enjoyed every day of it. Indeed, a long, full life. RIP, Alfred. We have enjoyed your stories.
Sula is a very unusual cat. She is the parish cat for Old Mission San Juan Bautista and a survivor of six bouts of three kinds of cancer. The parish loves her and makes sure she is well taken care of. So does her oncologist, Dr. Theresa Arteaga of the Animal Cancer Center of Monterey, who has provided her much free care and kindness. At the Mission she has a home at the Mission Gift Shop (and, now that she is semi-retired, with her godparents, parishioners from Hollister).
Sula’s miraculous understanding of who needs comfort and joy — and uncannily offering it to them at just the right time during and after Masses (and while visitors are touring with docents), has garnered her some national attention. Her story appeared as the lead article in Guideposts Magazine in December 2015 and was repeated as the lead article in All God’s Creatures in November-December 2017.
Sula has written 6 books, with the help of some of the parishioners at Old Mission SJB. The first book, which has garnered some fame, including totally selling out during the first hour of a Barnes & Noble book launch event, is called Surviving Cancer, Helping People: One Cat’s Story. It is recommended by US Review of Books and was selected as a Reviewers’ Choice book for MidWest Book Review, in which the reviewer “highly recommended” the book.
Since then, Sula has produced a book for children who visit her mission home, Tale of a Mission Cat. She has also written books for Christmas (Christmas at the Mission), Easter (Easter at the Mission), and Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). And a special book about saints (Saints I know) to help teens in catechism classes with insights in selecting their confirmation name.
And, even while still fighting cancer, she is not stopping. Two books are due out this year, Sula and the Franciscan Sisters and Praying with Sula.
Sula’s books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, many other retailers, and MSI Press LLC webstore (where you can get a 25% discount with the code FF25 and also often find even greater discounts).
Publications by and about Sula
Read articles about Sula:
- The San Francisco Post
- Hollister Freelance – Lifestyles: “A Cat’s Mission”
- Gilroy Dispatch “Sula the Cat is on a Mission in San Juan”
- Benito Link “Cat’s Story is a Tale of Hope”
- The Morgan Hill Times: “Sula the Cat is on a Mission in San Juan
- Guideposts Magazine and All God’s Creatures Magazine (mentioned above):”The Inspiring Story of Sula the Cat”
Contact Sula on FaceBook.
Michael Tosto is a theological and spiritual writer and a former leader in the Christian church. A graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in history, he spent ten years researching the history and evolution of humanity’s theological consciousness. Joshuanism is a culmination of that research; a work of theology and spirituality, his book details an alternative to the current manifestations of Christianity yet still rooted in the same Son of God.
Patti Trombly has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Reading. Even after 20 years of teaching in elementary school, middle school and college, she still looks for teachable moments in everyday life and for new ways to help children learn. She is a parent of two, a teacher and a business owner.
With Cindy McKinley Alder, she co-authored two books:
- 365 Teacher Secrets for Parents: Fun Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School.
- 10 Quick Homework Tips (one of the books in our pandemic series)
Check out the 365 Teacher Secrets website for more “fun ways” to help learners — and get a workbook that goes with it.
Shai Tubali is the author of fourteen books in the Hebrew language, among them bestselling and prize-winning fiction and non-fiction. For the last twelve years, he has taught spiritual transformation and spiritual therapy in Israel, Germany, and India. His knowledge of chakras and subtle anatomy derives from the Yogic Nityananda tradition through the American Yogi, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, and from working with thousands of people in hundreds of workshops. He developed the White Light method, which enables people to utilize their subtle anatomy and chakras for psychological and spiritual balance.
His book, A Guide to Bliss, was published March 2015.
Interviews with Shai Tubali:
Shai Tubali and the White Light Method (in Hebrew)
Video presentations by Shai Tubali:
Chakren von Shai Tubali (in German; auf deutsch)
The Five Principles of the White Light (five parts)
Find out more at his website.
Fernando Ustman is a consulting psychologist from Colombia, now living in San Diego. He holds a master’s degree in transpersonal psychology from the South American School of Transpersonal Psychology as well as an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He has studied in Argentina, the United States, and Spain. He specializes in levels of consciousness, holotropic respiration, dynamic meditation, and archetypal psychology – applications that improve the quality of life — and conducts workshops and lectures on these topics. He also has produced videos on Neurolinguistic Programming.
Cheryl lives in an over-55 lifestyle community outside Atlanta that offers a an abundance of life-enriching activities. She dances for herself and teaches dance to others. In the past year she added tai chi instructor to her resume. She started a Flowing Rhythm Dance Class in her community and also teaches dance movement for sit-down classes for those without the ability or balance to dance while standing. In order to give back to others, Cheryl also takes her sit-down Flowing Rhythm class to an adult daycare facility to bring a sense of joy and fun to their lives. All these dancers are an inspiration in what they achieve.
With Joanna Romer, she co-authored Creative Aging: A Baby Boomer’s Guide to Successful Living.
Marti Wells-Smith is a Christian, wife, friend, and grieving mother, who finds great hope in continuing her life journey amid unexpected joy and sadness. She shares her deepest thoughts and experiences through free verse poetry and non-fictional prose to comfort others who struggle with the loss of a child or loved one, or with life itself.
She’s a native Kansan who advocates for people in need as well as animals, large and small. Her background includes being a past board member for a local mother to mother ministry, safehouse and no kill animal shelter, as she continues to raise funds for the shelter at a local antique/thrift store. Her daily routine includes caring for her adopted lab mix and three devoted cats.
Marti was involved in all fine arts that were offered during her school years and participated in local and regional theater productions well into her adulthood.
She received a BA in English and Sociology from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas, and began her career with jobs that included being a copy and feature writer in both radio and regional and state-wide news publications. She won state and national awards for human interest stories during her years as editor and writer for a large electrical cooperative in Oklahoma, and has had poetry published in Home Life, the anthology Gifts of Words and Western Horseman.
Marti made a mid-life career change to crisis services before pursuing writing fulltime again. She now seeks solace in faith and fellowship, her husband Scott and their extended family. and is often seen sitting quietly on her sunporch, wondering about what could have been, and is yet to be.
Andrew loves learning about anything space related, and dreams of a career at NASA or SpaceX.
Andrew plays the trumpet in marching band and plays the piano. He has his black belt in karate, is a sprinter on the track team, and enjoys skiing with family and friends. Andrew loves to fix computers and other electronics.
He has been making origami designs since he was five and sells his creations in a shop in his hometown.
Andrew lives in Maryland with his mom, dad, and older brother.
Dr. Wilcox has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS and has spent over 20 years as a researcher studying the pharmacological and behavioral effects of drugs at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and then at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. She has authored several manuscripts published in peer reviewed scientific journals and presented her research at international scientific meetings. Dr. Wilcox’s research career has always combined her interests in pharmacology, psychology and neuroscience. Initially studying potential therapeutics to treat drug abuse behavior, the scope of her research changed to focused on studying the neurobiology of ADHD and treatment medications. Around this time Dr. Wilcox’s son was diagnosed with the inattentive subtype of ADHD. When searching for books to help her as a parent, Dr. Wilcox realized there was a lack of information on the inattentive subtype of ADHD in boys. Along with her son she wrote her first book, Andrew’s Adventures with His ADHD Brain: Helping children and parents to understand inattentive-type ADHD.
Dr. Wilcox serves on the executive board of the Inattentive ADHD Coalition, hoping to increase awareness and understanding of the inattentive subtype of ADHD in children and adults. In addition, she holds memberships in the national organizations Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) and Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). As a result of her research career, Dr. Wilcox has affiliations with several international professional organizations including Behavioral Pharmacology Society, Society for Neuroscience, and College on Problems of Drug Dependence. As an active advocate for education Dr. Wilcox served on a sub-committee of the Carroll County Public Schools Board of Education to voice the concerns of parents regarding the educational system in Carroll County, Maryland. She remains interested in the continued problem of drug abuse, which includes the highly at-risk ADHD population, and works with her local county health department as a member of their opioid overdose prevention program coalition.
Dr. Wilcox lives in Maryland with her husband and is a mom to two sons.
Dr. Danny Wise holds a PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Wise’s doctoral work focused on issues of resiliency of individuals in work environments, especially those undergoing significant change.
Dr. Wise is completing a book, How to Stay Alive When Your Job Is Killing You, with Dr. Chris Kingman.
Author of A Theology for the Rest of Us and a teacher and administrator in public and private schools for close to 40 years, Arthur Yavelberg has dedicated his career to making complicated concepts and issues accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Career in Education
While most of his students were middle schoolers, he has also been involved in teaching World History, American History, and Comparative Religion in high school and adult education programs around the country. Where many academicians seem to delight in abstruse jargon that confuses more than it explains, his goal has always been to present information in a manner that does not intimidate but instead helps the student understand and draw independent conclusions.
Besides his professional career in education, Arthur also had the opportunity to live and teach in Singapore for two years. A microcosm of all Asia–with temples, churches, synagogues, and mosques mere blocks from one another–Singapore is a wonderful place to delve into many different religious traditions. Further, once in Singapore, it is easy to travel to China, Japan, Cambodia, and Thailand to experience firsthand how these diverse teachings manifest in a variety of cultural settings. To be able to discuss the precepts with so many devotees–to actually participate in the rituals and celebrations–was an experience that, speaking frankly, seemed difficult to dismiss as just arbitrary happenstance.
Community and Spiritual Involvement
Now retired, Arthur has been involved with Contemplative Meditation groups and Buddhist sangha and is actively involved in exploring such topics in social media. Again, these opportunities have helped deepen his spiritual awareness and encouraged him to share what he has learned with others in A Theology for the Rest of Us and through his group interactions as well as podcasts and interviews on the national and international stage.
Pat Young has written for the Daytona Beach News Journal, South Bend Tribune, Flint (MI) Journal, Clarkston (MI) News, Hometown News in Daytona Beach, Florida, New Mexico Magazine, Silver City Life Magazine and other publications.
She also worked in public relations and advertising for several real estate companies in Michigan, New Mexico and Florida.
She earned awards for her writing, including National Newspaper Association and Michigan Press Association awards. She earned two media awards while at the South Bend Tribune. One of her stories in New Mexico Magazine (“Giant Wind Harp in Tune with Nature”) was chosen for inclusion in the SIRS Discoverer data base.
She has an associate degree in liberal arts. She has written stories, articles and poetry since she was a kid, but the book she is co-authoring with Joanna Romer, Life after Losing a Child, is her first book. When she isn’t writing, she volunteers at the Port Orange, Florida YMCA and at the Ponce Inlet, Florida Lighthouse. She lives in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida with her life partner Dean Vanderbleek.