Category Archives: Self Help

Welcome Diane Dettmann

Please join me in welcoming Diane Dettmann to Highlighted Author.


Diane is an author, presenter and teacher. She was a literacy staff developer and taught at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. She co-authored Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants and presented the book at international conferences in Finland and Canada.  Diane was recently featured in the national education association today This Active Life. Her inspiration has touched and helped others through their healing after a death of a loved one.  “Working your way through grief after the death of a loved one takes energy and courage,” says Diane. Often angels float in and out offering support. The sudden death of my husband at the age of 54 surrounded me with many angels. Friends, family and total strangers floated into my life just when I needed them most.”

Diane lives in Afton, Minnesota, where she enjoys writing and spending time with her loving husband, Allan.


Welcome, Diane, please tell us about yourself.

I’ve enjoyed writing ever since I was five years old. As child, I often sat on the front porch steps and scribbled nonsense words on a rainbow tablet. I started journaling in junior high and took creative writing classes in high school. My tenth grade English teacher read aloud to us everyday and inspired me to follow my writing bliss. As an elementary teacher and literacy trainer in the public schools, I encouraged students to express their creative energy in dance, art and most of all—writing which in turn nurtured mine. My master’s program in “Curriculum and Instruction” pushed me deeper into the writing realm as I researched and wrote my thesis paper, “The School of Bliss: A School Designed for Students’ Happiness” which I presented at a national women’s conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. A year later, I began the rigorous process of National Board Teacher Certification that required hundreds of hours of writing. When I received my results, I was not only excited that I passed, but elated that I had received a perfect score on my writing section.

Being a self-motivated writer, I enjoy exploring new resources and ways to nurture my writing. I read books by authors like Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron and Anne Lamott. I love reading non-fiction, especially biographies and memoirs of famous people. The first biography I remember reading as a child was about Carol Heiss, the 1960’s Olympic figure skater. I couldn’t put the book down. It inspired me to practice another love in my young life—figure skating. My years of journaling and free writing were like ice-skating practice—they developed my writing skills while I enjoyed the flow of the pen across the page.

I finally got serious about writing in the 1990s. I started my own local writer’s group, “Quill and Thought,” published a few articles in education publications, and participated in writer’s nights where I read my work. In 2003, while reading journal entries about my husband’s illness and death, I realized how hard I had struggled to make sense of my life after the devastating loss. I knew I had a story in me, but was not sure how to share such a personal journey with the world.

In 2010, after rereading my journals and seven years of numerous starts, stops and working titles, I attended a writer’s conference in California. After nervously reading a section of a chapter to a critique group, their positive feedback inspired me. I returned to Minnesota, connected with Adair Lara, a memoir consultant, who encouraged me to keep going. A year later Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal finally reached the hands of readers.


What they’re saying:

“In this well written memoir, Diane tells of her emotional journey in touching detail.”—Mary Ann Grossmann, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“The reader is drawn in and captivated by Diane’s vivid account of her grief after the death of her loving husband . . . a powerful story of love, grief, hope and faith all can learn from.” –Mary Jacks, M.S. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Twenty Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal by Diane Dettmann is an honest record of a widow’s difficult struggle that is inspirational…

Dettmann is brutally honest about her long battle with losing her beloved husband, and readers going through that dark valley will appreciate this story. It is well written and well edited. The author’s portrayal of herself, John Hohl, family members and her second husband, Allan, are believable and add to this memoir. This is a book that will touch many lives in a positive, helpful way.”—Alice D. for Readers Favorite

“Symbolically, the Twenty-Eight Snow Angels are for the 28 years that Diane and her husband, John, were married. One snowy night, Diane literally went out into her back yard, lay down in the snow and created snow angels. As you read her story, you will be amazed at the courage and fortitude Diane demands of herself as she faces daily challenges by pushing herself through her grief and learning to face a life alone and succeeding! It is indeed, “A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN STORY OF A LIFE RENEWED”. Diane Dettmann has accomplished an extraordinary achievement in sharing the sadness and grief of her very private journey from Denial to Acceptance.”—Sharon D. Anderson, Ph.D.





Interview on KAXE 97.1 fm with Heidi Holtan

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Twenty-Eight Snow Angels

Book trailer





Twenty-Eight Snow Angels



The following excerpt takes place six months after my husband’s death. It begins with a description of my struggle to make it on my own as I coped with my grief. Facing the responsibilities of a new job that I started a few weeks after John’s funeral only added more stress to my life.



Chapter 14 Comfort

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THINKING MY JOURNEY through grief would be like a fifty-yard dash and my life would return to normal when I crossed the one-year finish line in June, I kept pushing ahead. However, no matter how hard I tried, I still struggled to get through my days. My brother Tom’s and John’s deaths had created an intense anxiety about my own mortality. Life continued to be a daily process of putting one foot in front of the other and just getting through it. Tired and exhausted, my life tilted and swayed while my heart slammed in my chest. I felt like I was dying. Every afternoon the dismissal bell signaled the end of the day. When the children filed by my office with their packs bobbing on their backs and smiles stretched across their faces I knew I had made it through another day.

One gray spring afternoon as I drove home, a sharp pain ran across my chest. I gripped the steering wheel, praying the ache would stop. When the pain intensified I panicked. Instead of heading home on Interstate 94, I took the I-494 exit and drove to the hospital where my clinic was located. Terrified I was having a heart attack, I pulled into the emergency room parking lot. I sat in the car and tried to calm myself down, but nothing helped. My breathing quickened. My heart raced. Afraid I was dying, I ran toward the ER doors. Part of me wanted to turn back, but something pushed me on. I told the nurse at the desk I thought I was having a heart attack.

She guided me into a curtained area where she checked my pulse and blood pressure. A doctor appeared carrying a chart and a clipboard in his hand. He jotted down my symptoms and directed the nurse to run a few tests. After an EKG and a blood draw, the nurse hooked up an IV and rolled me into a private room. She adjusted my blanket, nestled the call button next to me and said she would be back shortly with my dinner.

For the first time since the night of John’s death, a sense of comfort rolled over me. When my supper arrived, I devoured the salad, vegetables and chicken. Even though the meal was served on a plastic tray, it tasted like a gourmet meal prepared at a fine restaurant, quite the change from microwave popcorn and frozen dinners. After dinner

I called my sister to tell her I was in the hospital and left a message at work that I would not be there in the morning. Later, the nurse stopped in to check my monitors and helped me wheel my IV into the bathroom. She settled me back into bed and said my doctor would run tests in the morning. Then she handed me a small cup with a white pill in it and poured me a glass of water. She said the pill would help me sleep. I swallowed the tablet and leaned back into the newly fluffed pillows. Feeling drowsy, I clicked off the television and closed my eyes. The hum of voices in the hallway lulled me to sleep.


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Welcome J.C. Davies

Please join me in welcoming J.C. Davies to Highlighted Author.


J.C. Davies attended the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard.  She graduated with an Undergraduate degree in psychology and a Masters in public health. She, along with her book, I Got the Fever, has been featured in the news around the world, including, Istoe Independente (Brazil),  Sábado (Portugal), Flair (Italy),  Naticia al Dia (Venezuela),  Nacion (Chile), El Mundo (Spain), ABC News, BBC News, New York Post, Asbury Park Press,…  And the list goes on.  To check it all out, visit JC’s News Articles page on her web site


Welcome, J.C.  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an author:

One time, at a book club, an up-in-arms overly PC race crusader asked who gave me the right to write this book. My answer is this: Don’t wait around for people to give you “permission” to do novel, creative, thought-provoking things. You won’t get permission. That is a promise.

That same person later demanded to know (with much righteous indignation), “Who are you?!” I am JC Davies. I have a lot of experience dating people from other cultures, and for the book I interviewed lots of people on the subject, but it’s the “doing” that gave me “the right.”  We all have stories, but only a few have the cajones to put in the work.

The world of publishing is entering a whole new era. It is no longer controlled by elite publishing institutions who decide an author’s future via endless piles of rejection slips. Writers’ talents have been and still are being marginalized, but at the same time the powers that be are desperate for original content. So now more than ever, there is no more waiting at the mailbox for the approval of others. You control your own destiny.

To get back to your original question, Charlene: How did I become an author? I had a great idea, wrote a book about it, started a publishing company, learned the nuts and bolts of book publishing, produced a video, designed a website, made innumerable mistakes, and raged this country’s media machine on a daily basis. There were a lot of not-so-great things that came out of the process. Would I do it again? That is a tough one. I don’t think I have an answer yet. I will tell you that writing this book (with a picture of my naked men and all) is the one thing that people find the most interesting about me. I was an analyst on Wall Street for 12 years and no one ever wants to hear me talk about that.


What made you decide to write I Got the Fever.

When I started dating interracially over twenty years ago, there were no books on the subject. I have learned a lot over the last twenty years, but mostly though a painful process of trial and error. I wanted people to learn from my experiences as well as others’ who are quoted in my book. People have this idea that if they date someone of another race or culture something terrible will happen. They don’t know what, but they are sure it will “never work out.” I wrote this book to reduce the fear factor. To help make people feel more comfortable dating among other cultures.


Your book has stirred up some controversy…

People’s main objections about the book are claims that I am stereotyping or a racist. Most of these issues are raised by people who have not read the book. Yes, the topic is provocative, but I have gone to great lengths to get feedback from people of all different races and both sexes. It is not one-sided, not one person’s opinion. People who have dated interracially tend to really enjoy the book because they can really relate to the stories. As for stereotypes, any thoughtful person knows that some stereotypes exist for a reason and, yes, some are not true. I think the book dispels as many stereotypes as it confirms. One thing is for sure: if we cry “racist” or “stereotype” every time someone starts a dialogue about race, we are not going to get very far as a society.


Who’s your biggest supporter? (I know he’s your boyfriend *wink*)  Tell us about him.

My boyfriend is a Persian Jew, raised in Iran and forced to leave his home by Ayatollah Khomeiniin during the Islamic revolution of 1979.  But he has been in New York City for over 30 years now, so he is really just a cute Jewish guy with a funny accent. He doesn’t like to see all of the unfair negative press I have received, but he has supported me every step of the way.  It has been a grueling almost three years, and I would not have been able to do it without his love and support.


What’s coming up next?  Anything new for readers to look forward to?

Yes I have three book ideas I am thinking about, and another already in the works. The book currently in progress will discuss a race/culture that was not included in the original book.


I had two inquiries from major agencies asking if the movie rights were available, but the rights have yet to be sold. There are actually 2-3 different ways the book could be turned into a movie/TV show, so producers would have a lot of options.


Tell us about I Got the Fever.

The book is organized into five parts, one for each culture discussed (Jews, Asians, Blacks, Latinos, and Indians). There is not an overall conclusion, but the two most common cultural conflicts noted were food (i.e. some cultures eat some funky, possibly smelly, alive, and often very different food) and language (worried about feeling left out or family members talking about them). But the book also includes things like: Who is the most generous (Jews, Latinos, and Asians)? Who is the best in bed (Latinos)? Are those stereotypes about men’s equipment true (Blacks no, Asians sort of)? What are some of the dos and don’ts concerning his parents? What are some of the cultural customs that might be very different from how things are in the States?


What they’re saying:

“What makes “I Got The Fever” a must read, is that J.C. Davies does not give generic information that revolves around the typical stereotypes of interracial dating. Instead, she provides detailed comments from real people about how these relationships really work.”  –  Jason Hendrix

“The book is definitely a fun read thanks to Davies’ easy conversational style and keen sense of humor, which makes this a recommended book for anyone interested in relationships in general and understanding different cultures.” – Ernest Barteldes



Fox News Interview



Video from Silver Fox Book Club can be found




Radio Interview on Spin Talk with Alan

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I Got the Fever Book Trailer




I Got the Fever


Are you sick of believing all the good men are either married or gay? Then it’s time to catch the fever—for intercultural dating, that is. The fact is, soulmates come in every color—and I Got the Fever can help you find yours. Injected with pants-wetting anecdotes, eyebrow-raising commentary, and plenty of juicy details, I Got the Fever offers a practical course of treatment for dating within five unique cultures: Latino, Asian, Black, Indian, and Jewish. Plus, author J.C. Davies delivers the low down on every question you ever had about dating men of other races but were too PC to ask:

  • Do Asian men like their women submissive?
  • Are Jewish men really cheap?
  • Are all Indian men well versed in the Kama Sutra?
  • Do Latin lovers live up to their reputation?
  • Do Black men actually have big, er, uh, equipment?

Whether you’re already in an interracial relationship, contemplating one or just want to be entertained by JC’s conversational style and hilarious anecdotes, I Got the Fever is the perfect prescription for dating in a new and diverse world.





Shared with permission from JC Davies. More available at her Web Site.


Get your copy of I Got the Fever HERE.

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Welcome Kelli Cooper

Join me in welcoming Kelli Cooper to Highlighted Author

Author Kelli Cooper is a wife and stay-at-home mom of three.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and music and a Master of Science degree in education.  Kelli is dedicated to using the challenges she has faced in her life to help others get through similiar situations and hopes that each person who reads her book will come away with a better understanding of herself, her need for Christ, and God’s unfailing faithfulness, love and support for her.  



Author Kelli Cooper loves the Lord first and foremost.  She is a stay-at-home mother of three amazing children, but what got her here is that she is a wife to a great husband…and a daughter-in-law by default.  In her book, Love the Unlovable: In-Laws, Kelli shares from a heart of experience, her most real struggles with becoming a daughter-in-law.  These are typical in-law issues that most daughters-in-law or mothers-in-law deal with from time to time, transcending the personal circumstances that surround them.  As one reviewer stated, “The circumstances may be different for everyone, but the problems are the same and so are the answers.”

Kelli’s goal is to show others that they can overcome the marriage-busting issues that in-laws so often bring to the table in a relationship.   You can get through it!  You don’t have to allow them to ruin your marriage, but it’s not always easy.  Though there are not always concrete answers to each situation, Kelli hopes that her personal situation will illustrate the importance of loving your in-laws, with or without a relationship with them.

Kelli is dedicated to using the challenges she has faced in her life to help others get through similar situations and hopes that each person who reads her book will come away with a better understanding of herself, her need for Christ, and God’s unfailing faithfulness, love and support for her.

Kelli grew up in Minnesota and has recently moved back there with her husband, Mike, to raise their family.  Mike and Kelli are involved in several ministries in their church and hope to use their situation to bring others one step nearer to the Savior.



About the book Love the Unlovable: In-Laws:

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Every marriage has issues. And every mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law is difficult to love at some point. In Love the Unlovable: In-Laws, Kelli Cooper addresses major issues that arise after uniting two people in marital bliss, with the intention of helping people learn to live with nightmare in-laws. Inside you’ll find biblically based, practical advice on how God would have us handle these challenging people that He has placed in our lives—whether we like it or not.

Unfortunately, a close relationship with one’s in-laws is far from the norm. Kelli Cooper speaks from a heart of experience in a genuine attempt to help others who find themselves in similar situations to rescue their relationships before they are too far gone. If nothing else, Love the Unlovable: In-laws is a guide to survival—how to deal with the less than ideal!



This book was written with many purposes in mind.  The main purpose is to help women in the positions of both daughter-in-law and mother-in-law accept and cope with their situations; however, it is also a venue to share some of my personal experiences, which, some people may find difficult to believe.  I also have shared some true stories told to me by friends or acquaintances that could certainly be considered sitcom or soap opera material.

In order to understand some of the stories I am about to share, some background information might be necessary.  My husband, Mike, is the third of four children, including one girl, and three boys to follow.  During his teenage years, Mike’s parents more or less told him that he would never really amount to anything and that he might as well live at home the rest of his life and take care of them.  His siblings, however, were treated as though they had the world at their fingertips.  They could do no wrong.  While the other kids each had their own bedrooms and everything else they could ask for, my husband slept on a bed in the corner of the basement.

Because of this, among many other things, my husband had extremely low self-esteem.  When I met him, though I was unaware at the time, he was sixteen years old and on the verge of being an alcoholic.  He was on the road to nowhere.  I was both surprised and appalled to find out that not one member of his family had ever encouraged him.  He wasn’t even required to do his homework because his parents thought he wasn’t smart enough to do it anyway so there was no point.

When we started dating, I absolutely could not believe that he was failing classes simply because of a lack of effort.  He did, however, with a little encouragement, start to put forth a bit of effort and made the honor roll in high school.  He also put himself through college after being told he was too stupid to make it, at the top of his class.  He turned his life around and made something of it, even when the odds were against him.  His parents hate this.

My husband is the only one of their children who is married, though all of them are adults.  He never had a relationship with either of his parents.  His dad was always too busy with his older brother while his mom was busy with his older sister.  The son who is younger than my husband never really had much of a relationship until he was older, but he, being the youngest, was able to do, say, and have whatever he wanted, which provided some consolation for him.

Mike was a senior in high school when he proposed to me.  We were young, but I had been on my own for two years and we had been in a long distance relationship during those two years so as a couple, we were fairly mature and the marriage, we both believed, was God-led.  From the day that he proposed to me, our relationship with his parents seemed to begin a downward spiral, which was soon going to plummet, through a variety of conflicts and experiences into non-existence.

Through these experiences, I have learned many things, including how not to be when I myself am a mother-in-law.  Most of all, however, I have learned that every situation in which I find myself, contains a lesson that always seems to apply to my life.

There are things that I could have done differently and there are many that I wouldn’t change.  I have learned from my mistakes and hope to prevent the same mistakes being made by those who read this.  Whether you are a daughter-in-law struggling with your in-laws, or a mother-in-law, struggling with yours, there are stories in this book that will make you laugh in disbelief.  There are experiences you can share in.  Above all, there are snippets of advice from God’s word that could change both your heart and your relationship with the in-law in your life.


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