Local writers Samantha Ducloux Waltz, Cinda Stevens Lonsway and Ken Gomes recently had the pleasure of having their writing published. Their writing style and topics are varied; they wrote inspirational passages for the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, a delightful children’s book and a coming-of-age book about a boy in the mid-1900s. Read on to learn about these neighbors and what they’ve been writing.

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE -  Samantha Ducloux Waltz has contributed 19 stories to the 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' series. Her 20th story will be published in March in a book about parenthood.Lake Oswego writer Samantha Ducloux Waltz has submitted stories to the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of books for many years. Her story “Christmas Magic” was included in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas" released in November, and “Biking Haleakala” was included in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us," released in December. Her 20th story will be released in March in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood."

“They don’t take everything I submit, but I’ve been very fortunate. I have a wonderful editor,” said Waltz. “I am proud to be part of the 'Chicken Soup' family, especially in our world. These books provide a lovely, short uplifting moment.”

In describing her method of writing, Waltz said she is “spotty” at journal writing and writes from her own life experiences.

“I really love this form of writing,” she said. “This is so focused on themes. I always begin too long. I start with the idea in my head, with a story arc. I figure out what I want to say, the situation and how it ends, think it through, draft it and then run it through my writing group.”

Waltz was an English teacher earlier in life and some of the members of her writing group are former students, people to whom she has taught the love and craft of writing.

In addition to writing for the "Chicken Soup" series, Waltz writes for numerous anthologies, The Christian Science Monitor and Redbook magazine. She is also compiling an anthology about blended families and welcomes contributions to the book. You can learn more about the anthology and how to submit articles on her website,

Waltz admits that writing can be a lonely process.

“Writing is very solitary,” she said. “I encourage writers to join Oregon Writers Colony or Willamette Writers. People need a nudge and then you just have to sit down and get going on it. The muse will come. Some people say they don’t have time to write but you can grab a moment. Take notes everywhere — in line at Starbucks, on napkins or on your iPhone. There are lots of little bits of time.”

The "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of books is easily found at area bookstores and general merchandise stores.

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Cinda Stevens Lonsway's book was published as a surprise Christmas gift by her husband. West Linn artist Peter X. O'Brien illustrated the book.The publishing of West Linn writer Cinda Stevens Lonsway’s book, “Tommy T and the Pea That Got Away,” came as a surprise to her. Her husband presented the first edition of her book to her as a Christmas gift this year. He had it illustrated by their friend, West Linn artist and illustrator Peter X. O’Brien.

The inspiration for the book came when, in 1995, her son decided he didn’t want to eat peas anymore. Lonsway started finding the tiny vegetables everywhere. “Where have you been?” she mused. That was enough to get the creative juices flowing.

Several months ago her husband found the poem and took it to O’Brien to illustrate, and then self-published the book.

“This is a gift from the heart. Peter captured it so well,” Lonsway said. O’Brien included the whole family in the illustrations as well as ladybugs, Lonsway’s signature insect. “There is a ladybug on every page. It’s fun to look for them throughout the book.”

Lonsway is a contributor to Wild Sister online magazine and writes an inspirational blog, “ROAR!" You can read the blog at To learn more about purchasing “Tommy T and the Pea That Got Away,” email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO   - Ken Gomes has published 'Billy Jackson, A Young Man's Journey and Passion in a Young America.'An insurance broker by day, Lake Oswego’s Ken Gomes turns his attention to writing in his “spare time.” This self-taught writer has self-published “Billy Jackson, a Young Man’s Journey and Passion in a Young America.”

Gomes said he drew on his heritage as a fifth-generation Californian to craft this coming-of-age story. The book tells the story of a young Texas lad who grew up on a farm in the mid-1900s, dreaming of exploring the United States. His journey eventually brings him to San Francisco, where he connects with an old Californian family, meets the love of his life and sees his life forever changed.

Gomes uses the story to teach the reader about U.S. history and to offer meaningful lessons about life.

“You will feel what it was like to be on a cattle drive and then the migration from the Midwest to the West Coast,” he said, “what it was like to be both poor and rich in California during the mid-1850s for both the Caucasians and the Hispanics.”

Written for teenagers and adults, Gomes’ book paints a colorful picture of a boy and a country destined for greatness.

Gomes also writes trade manuals.

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