Project Description

Jackie Mercurio, Jacinta Hart Kehoe, and Cynthia Leonard

Jackie Mercurio lives with her husband, five children, and a black Lab in New York. She is pleased to report that, taking his own advice to “focus on the wings,” her son Calvin is a happy boy today and is collaborating with her on writing a longer version of this story. Visit her at

Jacinta Hart Kehoe began writing as a child by recording her pony’s journal. Her work has appeared in The Examined Life: A Literary Journal of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Rosebud, the Des Moines Register, Parenting with Spirit, Fostering Families, and more. “Coyote Tales” is one of a compilation of reflective essays about relearning to live after an accident that she wasn’t expected to survive. She has relocated from Iowa to Louisiana, where she lives with Phillip, the love of her life, two dogs, and a cat.

Cynthia Leonard loves learning, good books, writing, photography, travel, Hellenistic archaeology, and Byzantine art. Her work is in management, and she likes its collaborative give-and-take nature. She cherishes time with her family, including one awesome grandson. This is her first published creative nonfiction work.

Every Mother Has a Story

The winners of the Shebooks/Good Housekeeping memoir contest offer three slices of life as a mother. In “People Don’t Get Me, Mom,” Jackie Mercurio carries a troubling secret that will change the life of her brilliant, misunderstood boy. Then a family trip to the Butterfly Garden takes them to a place of healing and wonder. In “Coyote Tales,” Jacinta Hart Kehoe recovers from an accident she wasn’t supposed to survive but struggles to help her adopted daughter learn to love and trust again. And in “Pulling Rabbits from a Hat,” Cynthia Leonard tells her fascinating story of growing up in a magical act, with a mother who disappeared and reappeared nightly.

Buy the Book