From Grief to Peace – Who We Are
Joy Collins trained as a nurse at well-known Bellevue Hospital in New York City and then went on to receive her BS in Business Administration from St. Joseph's College.
In addition, she studied Reiki with Susanne Wilson, a medium and Reiki Master in Carefree, Arizona and is now a Reiki Master herself. Beyond her love of medicine and the metaphysical, Joy is also a published author. She started out writing non-fiction articles. Then she was published in the anthology Love in Bloom, a joint effort of Women Writers of the Desert where she met fellow writers Cathy and Betts. Then came two contemporary novels in the women's fiction genre – Second Chance and Coming Together (co-authored with Joyce Norman).
Joy's life took an unexpected turn when her husband John died suddenly in May 2010. In trying to make sense of that loss, Joy combined her love of writing and her passion for all things spiritual with her love for her beloved husband. She is working on another book called I Will Never Leave You. In it, she not only chronicles her life with John during their earthly life together but she explores what life has been like since he transitioned and how she has learned to not only live with that sorrow but has found a way for them to continue their love for each other.
In addition to her book, Joy is happy to be working on this project with Cathy and Betts. It is her passion to help those who have lost their soul mate to death.
A transplanted Easterner, Joy now calls Arizona home. In her spare time, Joy enjoys mothering her four fur-babies - energetic goldendoodle Bella and marmalade kitties Chaz, Riley and Sean.
From the first books she ever read (something in the See Dick and Jane genre), Cathy Marley has had a love affair with words. A life-long voracious reader, she was well into her 40s before it occurred to her that she could leave a career in Aerospace and instead build a life she loved as a writer. The result was CJM Communications which she started in 1991 as a writing service for small businesses.
Somewhere along the way, her own creative voice began clamoring for attention and she began writing more and more for her own expression. She was first published in Love in Bloom, a creative collection of essays, short stories and poetry from Women Writers of the Desert. Shortly thereafter, Cathy wrote and published Peeking Over the Edge...views from life's middle, a collection of her own reflections on life as she reached middle age.
As a member of Women Writers of the Desert, Cathy formed a friendship with Joy Collins and Betts McCalla. That friendship deepened after both Betts and Joy suffered the loss of their husbands and soul mates. As their friend, Cathy sought ways to help them work through their grief. From Grief to Peace, the company they founded to help others who are grieving, and Cathy's book Breathing Again – thoughts on life after loss arose from that time.
Cathy and Norm, her husband of over 40 years, live in Phoenix, Arizona with fur babies Jake, Molly, Joe and Sugar. Their extended family includes Norm's three adult children, seven adult grandchildren and, at last count, 14 great grandchildren.
Betts McCalla is an author and publisher residing in Peoria, Arizona. Brought up in the Midwest, she met the love of her life, Jerry, and they worked together as partners producing local television shows in the Chicago area including the counterculture Underground News. The show's eclectic mix of guests included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Grateful Dead, Sen. Eugene McCarthy, activist Abbie Hoffman, Mick Jagger, and Joan Baez.
Betts co-owned and managed a manufacturing company for years in southern California and Arizona before she founded Running Quail Press, a local publishing firm for indie writers. Her writing career includes documentary television scripts, infomercial scripts, articles for newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, and masses of advertising media copy. She met Joy Collins and Cathy Marley when they were all published in the book, Love in Bloom, a creative collection from Women Writers of the Desert.
After Jerry passed, Betts spent over two years reading, researching, and querying grief counselors, financial advisers and medical personnel trying to get questions answered and new problems resolved. She needed to gain clarity for the things she was experiencing physically, financially and emotionally in her life but she couldn't find what she needed in one book or five books or even twenty books. Two overfilled bookcases later, Betts decided to write Not Too Frayed to Fly, to offer practical guidance and give hope to people experiencing the loss of their soul mates.