Contributing Writers

A special thanks to all our contributing writers! You help to make NW Georgia Living a success!

Ciara Mealer



Ciara N. Mealer is Senior Editor at NW Georgia Living Magazine, a writer, and works for North Georgia Zoo. She lives on a mountain in Cleveland, Ga. She is an avid naturalist, a voracious reader, an adventurous explorer, and a curious collector who loves quirky, odd, forgotten, and lost things. Contact her at




Gene Murphy



Gene Murphy, editor of NW Georgia Living, lives in Cedartown with her husband “Murph” and their dog Lilly. Since retiring in 1995 as the lead teacher at the Polk Adult Learning Center, she, Murph and a variety of dogs have enjoyed traveling the USA and Canada in their 5th wheel RV. She is an avid reader and belongs to “Bookish Babes,” her book club.




Jennifer AlmandJennifer Almand owns Almand Specialty Painting & Design, and has been beautifying homes in Northwest Georgia since 2006. She lives with her husband Rick, and their three dogs, in scenic Kingston, Georgia. In addition to murals and faux finishes, Jennifer paints furniture and custom art, designs tile mosaics, backsplashes and showers, works as a home organizer, and consults with her
clients on fabrics, finishes and fixtures to make their homes unique. Jennifer also enjoys photography, riding her Harley Davidson, playing with her “fur-children”, donating her time and talents to community charities, and pursuing any and all creative endeavors. You can contact Jennifer at (706)346-1590, visit her business page on Facebook, or email her at



J. Erickson


J. Erickson owns Erickson Development, a real estate development company. In addition to being a developer, he is also a contractor, real estate investor and adventure seeker. A former jock he now enjoys watching sports more than participating. Jerry lives in Marietta with his two sons, JT and Jack, who are active in baseball and school.



Tammy Barron


Tammy Barron has a B.F.A from the University of Utah and a B.S. in E.C.E. from Shorter. She taught in Floyd County for many years. Currently, with the support of her husband, George, she has left education to raise their children and develop their Blackberry Hills homestead full-time.




Dr. Laurie Johnson


Dr. Laurie Johnson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Coach, and Consultant. She has helped teens, adults, and over 6,000 families overcome obstacles to happiness. Author of Dr. J’s Field Guides. She can be reached at 770.655.5364. She is married and a mother of four




Patricia MontgomeryPatricia Montgomery is a freelance photographer who offers fine art images for the walls of homes and businesses with sales of her work all over the United States and as far away as Australia.  She also provides photographic services for commercial and marketing use, aerial photography, as well as for engagements, weddings, and individual / family portraits. Patricia lives with her husband, Monty, near Cave Spring, Georgia in a cozy cabin atop a forested mountain they lovingly call Bucks Mountain. Online image galleries  


Kathy PatrickKathy Patrick owner of Meals on Heels, is a personal and entertainment chef in Rome, GA. She provides fun (and delicious!) dinner parties in your home or office, or wherever you want to host a special event. She can also fill your freezer with entrees — so dinner is ready when you are! Kathy is married to Marty Cipollini, a biology professor at Berry College, and she enjoys reading, water skiing, working out with kettle bells, and herb gardening. Contact Kathy at 706 728-6070 or at and visit the website at



Rebecca Pikula


Rebecca Pikula lives in Atlanta with her husband of five years. She attended Georgia College and State University. She has visited 14 countries and 36 states, and enjoys travelling and motorcycles, sometimes simultaneously.





Robert SmythRobert Smyth is a native of Rome Georgia and spent over 20 years in radio broadcasting in sales, production, and on air performance.  He was honored with the title of class AA performer of the year for the state of Georgia from the GAB in 2006 as well as several radio production and performance awards. He is a graduate of Auburn University in Communications with an emphasis in broadcasting and has an extensive back ground in media and marketing related fields. Mr. Smyth joined the Marketing and Business Development team at Coosa Valley Credit Union in 2007. He serves on several committees for the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and works closely with other local organizations and charities. Mr. Smyth is also a member of the Exchange Club of Rome and serves on their Board of Directors. He is married to Becky C. Smyth and they have 4 children. Joseph 12, Ashlee 10, Carolyn 9, and Sarah 16months. Robert Smyth can be contacted at


Dana Thompson


Dana Lynn Thompson is a writer, web designer, and co-founder of The Pink Typewriter Project, an initiative to make a difference in the world by promoting positive thinking, gratitude, and service to others.

She is currently working on a novel centered around her love of tennis and one day hopes to pen a memoir about her life with horses. Dana lives on a small farm with her rock star husband, two horses, and five rescue dogs. She can be reached at




Rachel Turner



Rachel Turner is a freelance writer and humor blogger. She also runs a traveling murder mystery party business called Make it a Mystery. Georgia born and raised she lives in Woodstock with her husband and two sons. Drop by her blog, or email her at



Paula Laack


Paula Davis-Laack, JD, MAPP is a burnout prevention and resilience expert who helps professionals break their addiction to being busy and overwhelmed. She is the author of Addicted to Busy: Your Blueprint for Burnout Prevention. Please visit Paula’s website at or email her at




Reesa MiltonReesa Milton is owner of Perfect Home on Shorter Ave. which is celebrating ten years  creating classic comfortable homes using their collection of accent furniture, art and accessories, as well as window treatments, bedding and rugs.   In her former retail life, Reesa, a native Roman,  was owner of The Wedding Belle {now Perfect Dress of Rome} and also owns Perfect Prom, a specialty prom boutique.  You can reach Reesa at, or read her musings on interior design at her blog  “Perfectly at Home”



Past Contributors

Kat Carter

Kat Carter is a prolific reader who loves to cook and entertain. She lives in Cedartown with her husband of 40 years, Jimmy Carter. Kat is a retired educator who holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. and Ed.S in Leadership. She retired from Georgia State University where she designed and implemented training programs for state agencies. Contact Kat at





Susan HackneySusan Hackney spent 38 years in adult literacy education, recently retiring as (the first-ever) Division Vice President of Adult Education at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. She holds Bachelor’s, Masters, and Specialist Degrees in education. She says her unfinished educational concern is fostering family literacy. She has written, edited, and worked on editorial boards for several professional publications, Her interests include reading, writing, traveling, gardening, family, and friends. Susan is married to Olin, and they have two children and four grandchildren. Additionally, they have two cats and feed a multitude of birds, squirrels, raccoons, and deer.



Chef Joan Brady

Chef Joan Brady is the co-owner and Executive Chef at Crawdaddy’s Cajun and Creole Cuisine and Gourmet Grub Catering at 239 Broad Street in Rome. She lived in the heart of Cajun country and gained a love and respect for the people and the food. After graduating from culinary school, she staged at three of New Orleans most iconic restaurants: Borgne, Luke, and Restaurant Revolution. She can be reached at 706-237-7775 or



Virginia Brewer

Virginia Brewer is the owner/operator of Lavender Mountain Hardware and Garden where the staff offer seminars on miniature gardening and other topics. Visit them at or check them out on Facebook for a schedule of seminars.






Guyeth NashGuyeth Nash is a psychotherapist and organizational consultant in private practice in Rome, Ga. She has over twenty five years of experience in clinical, corporate and academic environments. Guyeth has a Post Graduate Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, an M.Div. in Pastoral Counseling, and an M.Ed in Counseling. Guyeth is a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Guyeth Nash can be contacted at




Ali Freeman


Ali Freeman is a self-proclaimed fashion junkie who spent her early career in NYC working with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. Today, she’s the physician liaison at Harbin Clinic and the style maven behind the blog Ali and her husband John live in Rome with their adorable Shih Tzu Jack.