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Local writer published in latest "Chicken Soup For The Soul" book

By: Laura Albright Loomis News Correspondent
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It isn’t hard to see why a local woman’s short story was chosen to be in the latest “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book. Loomis resident Alison (Mary) Shelton’s humorous story, “The Other Toy Story,” made the cut for “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart,” a recently released compilation of stories that appeals seniors. Shelton plays down her talents and accomplishments and said, “I’m simply a retired school teacher with two daughters, five grandchildren and two poodles.” Shelton’s two daughters and five grandchildren live in Rocklin and she attends all of their sports activities and events including birthday parties to Christmas. For Shelton, those gift-giving events suggest the most challenge. “The Other Toy Story” is a humorous take on what so many people find frustrating and almost impossible – buying gifts for one’s grandchildren. “For those of us raised in a gentler time, visiting a toy store in today’s world can be a daunting experience,” Shelton wrote Susan Smith, of Loomis, read “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart,” and said, “I as a grandmother have run into these circumstances often. More than often; perhaps 90% of the time I have trouble trying to do or purchase the best I can in order to find that little something special for my grandkids. Alison is right. Find the guy in the red shirt and let him put the stuff in your basket.” I enjoy Alison's writing. Her way with words puts a smile on my face and in my heart,” Smith said. Shelton, a retired high school English, journalism and history teacher has a B.A. in English and history and a Masters Degree in education. After a 30-year teaching career, she said she enjoys traveling, art classes, writing workshops, Loomis – her home of eight years – and above all, her five grandchildren. Shelton’s writes a monthly column for “SeniorMag Live” where she injects her humor to everyday life. In 2008, Shelton was taking a class a Sierra College when she learned that the “Chicken Soup” series was accepting stories. Having already written “The Other Toy Story,” Shelton submitted the story online. She said time passed and she forgot all about the submission. Two years later, she was notified her story was in the final 300 considered. “I was surprised considering I’d forgotten all about it,” Shelton said. Two months later, she found out her story had made the final cut and she was awarded $200 and 10 free books. “I distributed the books to my nine fans,” Shelton said with laughter. Amy Newmark, publisher and co-author of the new book said, “We received thousands of submissions for this book, and the stories were terrific.” She said she read the finalists’ stories and made the final selection. “What really struck me as I read the stories was how dynamic the writers were, and how active and interesting their lives are, whether they are in their sixties, seventies, or eighties,” Newmark said. According to Newmark, the stories chosen reflected that high energy level. “The people who wrote the stories, who are all of ‘a certain age,’ live such interesting, dynamic lives. It makes me look forward to my retirement years.” Shelton continues to contribute to “SeniorMag Live” as well as submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul.