Kenai writer feeds soul with words

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2007

KENAI - There's no shortage of aspiring writers on the Kenai Peninsula looking to get their work published, but one local woman has found her niche in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of books.

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"I would write whether I got published or not, because I just love it and love doing it, but it is encouraging for me," said Jacki Michels of Soldotna, in regard to her stories being selected from thousands submitted for the series of books about life-affirming lessons and experiences.

Michels in the past had three stories picked up by the book series. In "Chicken Soup for the Fishermen's Soul," she had a story called "Taking the Bait," which she said was about "catching myself a husband."

In "Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul," she had a story called "Pink Jelly Glasses," which she said "is about looking on the bright side of life when you've experienced a loss."

And in "Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause," she had a story called "Burn Baby Burn" and a poem called "Presto-change-O," both of which she said deal with "moving on to a new phase of life."

Michels' latest story to be published is in the recently released "Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul," in which she fondly remembers a beloved family member for his services and contributions.

"It's called 'Obituary Notice,' and it's a notice for my coffee pot, which I loved and had a close relationship with for years and years. It was dreadful the day he died, so it inspired me to write a story," she said.

Michels will hold a book signing for the "Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul" from 8 to 11 a.m. Friday at Kaladi Brothers in Soldotna.

Michels also has three more stories coming out in the series in the next year, including "Icky Kiss" in a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book devoted to "Love Stories" due out in February "The Drive Home" in a book of "Stories to Soothe the Spirit" due out in June, and "The Return of the Ducklings" in the "Empty Nesters" book in the series due out in August.

As to how she developed her writing skills, Michels said it was a combination of factors, including natural talent, development of that talent at Kenai Peninsula College and being surrounded by good subject matter.

"I've always written in journals my whole life but never considered myself a writer. I credit Janice High at KPC, who I took a creative writing course with and loved it," she said.

Michels said the best part of having her work published is when she learns a reader has really connected with one of her stories.

"I love sharing the stories and hearing the feedback I get on them," she said. "I love hearing from moms and other people who can really relate to them."

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