Author Discussion Questions

Author Bio's

The authors of Pieces of Her Mind are currently constructing pages for three audiences:
1) Members of Book Clubs; 2) Members of Writing Groups; and 3) Members of the Teaching Communities (e.g., looking for course syllabi).

The questions and answers to provoke discussion and thinking for the Members of Book Clubs will be on site soon. Q&As for other groups will be available shortly thereafter.

Melissa Bickel
Melissa wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but her parents and those around her introduced her to the richness and bounty of words. Life for Melissa took many twists and turns, so it wasn't until later in life that she truly experienced the fullness and excitement of writing.

She is a survivor, having gone through a divorce, cancer, and raising a teenager on her own. She's learned what the word humility means and tries to live humbly each and every day. Her successes aren't awe inspiring, but they are successes none-the-less. She's won first prize in a state-funded writing/poetry contest. She's sold a few pieces of poetry and prose on the Internet and writes on many creative sites. Melissa hopes to grow more as a poet.

Until then, she is enjoying a new relationship with a man who's also a writer. Life is starting over at the ripe old age of forty-six for Melissa and she loves it.

Melissa’s work has been published in Prune Juice.

Lois J. Funk
Lois is a widow who enjoyed nearly fifty years of marriage with her husband, Fred. She has traveled extensively outside the U.S. and lived in Australia during her high school years. Her inspiration comes from childhood, sisterhood, womanhood, wifehood, motherhood, and grandma-hood, plus several years of secretarial work, for paying and non-paying "bosses," including her husband and various family members.
She is an internationally published poet and children's author. She also enjoys writing inspirational music, mostly for children. She is a member of several websites that advocate poetry.

Vicki Taylor Bonnell
Vicki lives in Northern California. She comes from a rich heritage of pioneer families who have left her with stories, books and songs of their journey across the Wild West in the mid-eighteen-hundreds from England. Huntsville, Missouri is named after the fifth of her great grandfathers. They are her heroes. She grew up on ranches in wide open spaces. She loves the wilderness, rivers, streams, lakes and the ocean.

Vicki is a retired interior designer and author of one arts and crafts book called Let It Dough Let It Dough Let It Dough.

Susan Campion
Sue has travelled her entire life, both as a Navy brat and as an executive in the K-12 education non-profit arena. These experiences taught her to embrace diversity, to be strong, and to appreciate stability, friends and home. As a middle school teacher, principal, national consultant and executive in non-profit organizations, Sue worked with challenged young adolescents and teachers in the “toughest” schools in large cities throughout the United States. She led a $13 million contract to coach teachers to believe in the capabilities of all children and hold high expectations. Sue has a doctorate degree from the University of Washington.

Sue learned and practiced the power of self-fulfilling prophecy. Her willingness to break rules and create turnarounds in schools has been documented in multiple books. Her three younger siblings tell tales she no longer wants to hear.
At the ripe age of fifty-seven, Sue met her soul mate and has now been married to her spry seventy-seven year-old John for four years. Her passion is writing poetry and she has been published in three anthologies. She also keeps herself busy with golf, bridge, and reading. Varied life experiences now help Sue move to her next phase of living life fully.

Connie Chiechi
Connie was born in a small town in central California, where she lived until age twenty, at which time she moved to Sacramento and attended college. She has remained there ever since. She has experienced many great joys in her life: a loving husband and daughter, an extended family, a sweet but neurotic dog, faithful friends, travelling, yoga, bicycling, and writing poetry.

Connie taught college composition for a number of years and loved interacting with young students, helping them improve in their writing. At last, she is retired and can pursue what she has always wanted to do—write.

Robyn Corum
Robyn lives in Hartselle, Alabama, with her children and husband of twenty years. She takes much of her inspiration from past experiences and leans heavily on a colorful imagination for the rest. She enjoys cooking, crafting, reading, writing, and spending time with her children.
Robyn creates short stories, poems, novels, and most recently, Japanese poetry of all forms. She especially believes in the possibility of happily-ever-after endings.

Nancy Bravo Creager
Nancy lives in Bremerton, Washington, with her husband and youngest daughter, who is developmentally disabled. She has four children, four grandchildren, and surprise—a set of great grandkids, twin boys, just a year old. She feels blessed. Nancy was born in South America; English is her second language. She loves the challenge of those irregular verbs and double meaning words.

Most of her life, Nancy has been a nurturer. Now in her late sixties, she takes care of herself, and of course, follows her first love: reading and writing. She likes prose and poetry; different forms and styles keep her brain going. One of her autobiographical stories was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and one of her many poems in Gulf Coast Anthology of Poetry.

Alvin Thomas Ethington
Alvin is a displaced Southerner, both in time and place. He learned proper Southern values from his father, the second son of State Senator Peter H. Ethington. He was raised in the Southern diaspora in Casa Grande, Arizona, to an old Southern family and has degrees from Oberlin and Yale. Did he mention he considers himself Southern?

He currently lives in the granola bowl on the left coast of the United States; that's Southern California for the uninitiated. He has published senryu, haiku, and tanka and writes in English, Spanish, and French.

He is honored to be the only male connected with this project. All his Southern Steel Magnolia relatives, both living and dead, told him he had to put that in.

Suzanne Fuller
Suzanne is a writer, graphic designer, amateur photographer, and a student of animals and nature. She grew up on the beautiful coast of New England, and now lives in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, with her husband of thirty years. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Maryland College of Art and Design, and the Art Institute of Boston.

As a full-time graphic designer for marketing and advertising, she enjoys the problem-solving process of visual communications, and this carries over to her writing as well. For Suzanne, good writing is the successful completion of a puzzle. She has always enjoyed the natural world and has traveled extensively and experienced all types of landscapes. Nature informs much of her work.
She is also a professional horseperson and currently volunteers with an organization that provides the riding experience to handicapped children. Suzanne finds that the incredible bond and understanding that forms between the horse and child is a constant source of inspiration and respect. They find a way to communicate that we can only imagine.

Writing poetry has just recently become a creative outlet for Suzanne and she finds it an endlessly challenging and gratifying exercise.

Suzanne has been published in Prune Juice.

Dana Furrow
Dana grew up in rural Maine, the oldest of three children and the only girl. She now lives and works with her husband of twenty years and their three children on a hazelnut and Christmas tree farm in western Oregon. When she’s not tending the family business, she’s caring for her horse, sheep, cattle, chickens, and garden.
She spends her precious time trail-running with her border collie, kayaking, biking, reading, skiing, and writing. Her passion is writing young adult stories.

Dana thrives on learning and recently discovered Japanese poetic forms. She has entered her work in flash fiction and poetry contests and has won many. She wrote a short story which she dreams of working into a novel for young adults. Her work has been published in Prune Juice.

Carol Judkins
Carol lives in Carlsbad, California, where she can breathe the sea air. Presently retired from a satisfying career in Public Health, she loves traveling the world with her husband, John.

Carol is a social justice advocate, a romantic, a non-swimmer, a mother, an independent film lover, a perpetual dieter and ancestor hunter—all of which provide inspiration for her writing. Her work has appeared in Prune Juice, Frogpond, Mayfly, and Ribbons.

Deborah Kammer
Deborah enjoyed her childhood divided between city life in Sydney, Australia, and her grandparents’ home in the red soil of the Great Australian Outback in the wheat sheep belt of New South Wales. She was a wife for twenty years, and is now divorced and a single mother of three wonderful sons for most of twenty-three years.

She made a life choice to leave her literature and philosophy studies at University to assist her husband in business.
She found her own success in real estate. Life’s roller coaster prevented a return to complete her degree, yet led to extensive travel within her own country and overseas, which gave her vast hands-on experience in many fields.
Deborah is an advocate for making changes in the injustice of the status quo and now has the opportunity to embark on a writing career, utilizing her vast field of knowledge and eagerness to learn much more. Her inspiration is her passion for life.

Rama Devi Nina Marshall
Rama Devi Nina involves herself in diverse creative activities: poet, writer, musician, healer, spiritual counselor, coach and graphic designer. She also works as a freelance editor and writing consultant.

Nina grew up in New York City. She attended Oberlin College and Heartwood Institute of the Healing Arts.
At a young age, she developed a strong interest in spirituality and journeyed to India to pursue a spiritual path under the guidance of her Guru.

For more than two decades, she has dedicated herself to this path and also engaged in extensive volunteer service. Her service activities arc through a variety of avenues. For the past ten years, she serves as a counselor-chaplain for sick and dying patients and their families at Amrita Institute, a super-specialty hospital in India.
Through diverse writing styles, Rama Devi Nina explores theme threads of unconditional love and compassion, spiritual awareness, philosophical pondering, and echoes of the infinite. She considers poetry the music of words and vehicle for expressing the inexpressible.

Nessie Noel
Born in the 1940s, Nessie grew up on a large, working cattle ranch in Alberta, Canada. At the time, this ranch ran a forty-thousand-cow/calf operation. As the only daughter of loving parents who were survivors of the dirty thirties, Nessie was sandwiched between two rough and tumble brothers. Inevitably, she grew into a tough little tomboy who spent almost all her spare time riding horses.

During the long, sweet summertime of childhood, she was free to ride the dusty trails, mostly alone, exploring the joys and beauty of her rustic and unspoiled surroundings. In these formative years, she forged a lifelong bond with Nature. Although poetry has always danced in Nessie's heart and mind, it was only after her much loved husband passed away that she began to seriously explore it.

Being the mother of six children, three who came into the family through adoption and three who came into it through birth, and being Granny to fourteen grandchildren ranging in age from two to nineteen, this wannabe poetess, has indeed much life experience from which to draw her words and ideas.

In addition, for a number of years, Nessie and an American friend have been developing a geologically based concept, which Nessie first conceived in a dream. This children's project is described at
Currently, Nessie is working to complete a book about a playful, adventuresome little rock -as in stone- character. Stay tuned.

Phillippa Ross
Born in Outback Australia in the late sixties, Phillippa is the youngest of three siblings. She actively pursued creative writing from an early age, and with a love of song lyrics, found an appreciation for meter and rhyme. Phillippa embraced the arts in her academic years and went on to become a graphic designer for two decades. She also owned and ran a sign business for fourteen years with her husband. They have two children. Embracing motherhood and leaving the boardroom, she discovered the joy of writing again. She predominantly pens biographical poetry, incorporating satire, as she loves to laugh.
Since joining a community-based writing website over two years ago, she has been published in a poetry anthology as well as her own series of poems inspired by her children. Her interests other than family include reading, listening to music, drawing, oil painting, airbrushing and scrapbooking.

Phillippa currently juggles a small Internet-based business as well, and will attest that life really does begin at forty.

Joan E. Stern
Having taught French for seven years, Joan returned to graduate school for a Master's degree in Public Administration. She used it in positions at various universities and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California.
She spent the last fifteen years of her professional life as a business consultant. In addition to writing poetry, which has been published in a number of anthologies, and painting in acrylics, she enjoys living in Malibu and delights in traveling.
Joan attends plays, concerts, and museum events with her husband, Bob, who studies the governmental process focusing on strengthening democracy, which sometimes provides further travel opportunities. The other man in her life is their son, Ryan, who keeps her up-to-date regarding technology and popular culture

Karyn Stockwell
Karyn, born and raised in Buffalo, New York, moved to Northwest Indiana as a young teenager and remained in the land of cows and corn ever since. While trying to find her identity as a flower child, she changed Karen to Karyn to remind herself to always question the “whys” of life, and because she’s different. She also hoped, someday, to write about it in the third person.

She wears many hats, and although some appear off-kilter, she’s most proud of her hats labeled registered nurse in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, mother, Irish, and writer. Her sense of humor and love of laughter is her foundation in life, and Karyn strives to share smiles and positive energy with hopes of making the world a happier place.

Karyn is known to drive with cool shades on, top down, real music blasting, and with her hair blowing in the breeze as visions of Pulitzers dance in her head. Some day, she hopes to own a convertible.

Marie Toole
Marie is a Brooklyn girl, born and raised in Bay Ridge, and the middle child of three sisters. Presently, she lives in the warm south in Delray Beach, Florida, after retiring from the travel business. She is busy scrapbooking for her six grandkids and loves being in the kitchen, cooking and baking their favorite treats.

Marie is an avid reader and loves writing. It is her passion. Now retired, she has time to pursue what she loves the most.

Marie has been published in Prune Juice.

Sally Yocom
Music and poetry have been with Sally all of her life. She served as music director for a radio station, where she also performed a piano program every week called Sally’s Magic Fingers. Can you believe that title? She was music supervisor for two public school districts, and gave private piano lessons for many years.
Now that Sally is retired, she has won several prizes for her music compositions, including one written for a full symphony orchestra. Most of her compositions have been performed for audiences. Her other favorite art form is poetry, and she greatly enjoys writing poems of many different styles, though she especially likes to use wordplay.

As a member of Mensa, she has had at least one poem published in every monthly issue of the Central Ohio Mensa magazine for the last nine years. She has twice won a Mensa national award for poetry. Sally’s book, Elements and Styles of Poetry, is being used in several high schools, which pleases her very much. Life is good.