~About US~

MISSION: Creative Colloquy strives to highlight the South Sound literary community and build relationships based on mutual admiration of the written word.

Creative Colloquy achieves this in a number of ways, including an online literary site focused on short fiction, novel excerpts and essays, but also including poetry and prose penned by writers residing in Western Washington. CC publishes an annual print anthology teeming with stories by local scribes paired with the art of South Sound artists inspired by the words within.

Our team has helped craft a series of podcasts with local creatives, a noir-themed audio collection, a bad teen poetry zine, and poetry to pizza. CC has also held pop-up literary readings within the confines of an old post office, a taproom, the Knights of Pythias lodge and local bookstores. Additionally, we hold our annual Creative Colloquy Crawl; a large-scale pub crawl styled literary event featuring dozens of storytellers bridging genres, generations, demographics and experience levels. This event brings hundreds of attendees each fall. Other special events are coordinated on a case-by-case basis, always keeping our vision in mind, to act as a platform to help the literary culture and community flourish.

In the time before COVID, monthly reading events were hosted every third Monday at Honey at Alma Mater in Tacoma, Washington. Currently, these are being broadcast via Zoom online meetings. These readings feature authors published on the website, followed by an open mic and occasional live music intermissions. Our gatherings aim to lure writers out from the solitary activity of writing itself to connect with like minds, fuel inspiration and celebrate the love of the craft.

The Creative Colloquy team is a deeply passionate and dedicated crew of writers themselves who invest countless hours and resources into efforts promoting talented scribes in the area. In all of our community collaborations and creative endeavors, Creative Colloquy prioritizes cultivating a welcoming space of inclusivity. There is no toleration of hate speech or other discriminatory practices. We strive to provide a platform where all writers (and listeners) feel safe in the vulnerable act that is the sharing of stories.

The Team

Founder & Event Producer: Jackie Fender (Casella) has been a resident of Tacoma and surrounding areas since she was just a glimmer. She’s an editorial writer with columns among the pages of the Weekly Volcano, and has been published by City Arts Magazine, South Sound Talk, Post Defiance, South Sound Magazine, and Grit City Magazine. Other creative community endeavors have included  Tacoma ART BUS/Duchess of Downtown Tours, Wrist Magazine, and Art on the Ave. Fender was awarded the 2018 AMOCAT Award for Outreach by an Individual. You can reach her at Jackie.D.Fender@gmail.com.

The Board

Cat Melaunie  is a Texas Native, Washington transplant. She has a degree in English Language Arts and Writing with minors in psychology and education from McMurry University, as well as an ELA Teaching license in Washington. She is a freelance writer, currently working with Nerdfarmer Podcast and has been featured in Tacoma Strong . Cat has three passions: writing, teaching, and dogs. Cat can be seen locally hosting trivia, emceeing events, and volunteering wherever there is a need. Cat is a downtown Tacoma resident and mother of a 2 1/2 year old guinea pig named Obiwan Guinobi.


IMG_6936Jennifer Preston Chushcoff is a word nerd with a Halloween heart. She was born and raised in Southern California and continued her trek north after attending UC Berkeley. Jenn has been frolicking in the woods and water of the Pacific Northwest ever since. She’s an award-winning author, artist and Master Gardener with work in anthologies, journals and children’s books. Her nature-inspired art appears in galleries and private collections. Jenn is excited to connect the South Sound community and has enjoyed watching CC rise from the waters like a mighty literary kraken. Stalk her: www.byJenn.com. Say hello: contact@byjenn.com.

DL (Larry) Fowler is an award winning author of biographical and thriller novels. He earned a BA in humanities at USC and an MBA from Cal-State. After a career as a CPA and investment advisor, he now pursues his first love, writing. Larry has lived the past ten years in Gig Harbor with his wife Judi and enjoys spending time with his daughter and three grandchildren who live nearby.

Sandy2015noglassesrectSandy King moved from the Dairy State to the Pacific Northwest nearly three decades ago. Although she misses family members back East and occasionally pines for a good cup of beer cheese soup, she now calls Tacoma home and is an avid fan of the plethora of arts events and activities that Grit City has to offer, engaging whenever possible. She has been published in local projects such as Wrist Magazine, the Tacoma Laureate Listening Project, and Creative Colloquy Volume 2, and has had the honor of being a featured reader for Tacoma City Ballet’s Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball Soiree and the Creative Colloquy Lit Crawl. Sandy resides in a modest apartment in the Tacoma Center area, and enjoys writing, drawing, swimming, dancing, Sunday lunches with her adult son, and learning to sing.


Jonny_Eberle_Headshot_SquareJonny Eberle is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Arizona, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Northern Arizona University. He lives in Tacoma with his wife and three typewriters. He blogs at www.jweberle.com.

Editorial Committee:

profile2 Managing Editor: Elizabeth Beck is an island writer who likes to share scratched-out and blacked-over words. A deep love for the South Sound Region is only exceeded by her passion to expose the immense talent found there. Her poetry and short stories have been featured at WRIST Magazine, Underneath the Juniper Tree, The Laureate Listening Project, The Washington State and Gig Harbor History Museums, TAM, The Washington State Department of Commerce, and glimpsed floating down storm drains. Hold her work up to the light at americanogig.wix.com/elizabethbeck.

Emilie Rommel Shimkus is a PNW-native actor, singer, and writer. She works onstage and onscreen in webseries, commercials, and independent film, most known (and cosplayed) for her lead as a Bard in the award-winning series JourneyQuest. Emilie is a board member of Northwest Renaissance Poets & Publishers and hosts a monthly reading and open mic series in Auburn. She was a 2015 Tacoma Artists Initiative Program grant recipient and produced Tell Your Children, a short-film project based on original poetry and inspired by women in myth, legend, and fairy tale (www.poetryshorts.org). Her poems can be found in Tacoma-centric anthologies In Tahoma’s Shadow and Sarasvati Takes Pegasus as Her Mount, and she has been a featured reader and workshop leader for the Tacoma Poetry Festival, Creative Colloquy Crawl, and other South Sound reading series and literary events. www.emilierommelshimkus.com ig + twitter: onefootonshore.

Troy Kehm-Goins is a Puyallup poet and artist who has been published in WRIST, Post Defiance, Read Write Poem, and Les Sar’zine. His work is a mixture of the everyday and the mythological, drawing upon diverse influences and inspirations. He has also self-published four poetry chapbooks, the most recent of which is Black Psalms. He resides online at Troy’s Work Table (www.troysworktable.blogspot.com) where he explores books, art, beer, and wandering.

James P. Stuart is an American fiction writer, based in Tacoma, Washington. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Colorado State University and has been writing fiction for more than fifteen years. A student of the American West, he is drawn to the history and people who have shaped the region since the first Indigenous people settled here, thousands of years ago. His work has been featured in Creative Colloquy, The Almagre Review, and Short Fiction Break, among others. He also maintains a short fiction website, The Forge (www.storiesfromtheforge.com).

Hannah Hadjes is an emerging writer of fantasy and adventure prose as well as incendiary verse. At age eight, in a history class learning about the momentous Library of Alexandria, she wrote her first story about a little fairy who didn’t like the look of her wings. Ever since then, she has been jotting down ideas and writing short stories between school work and her other hobbies which include dancing, acting, and enjoying the outdoors. She studies writing at Pierce College and is also the student lead editor of the Student Literary Arts Magazine at Pierce. Hannah has always been passionate about leaving the world a better place than she entered it and continues to pursue this goal in her writing.

Jack Cameron is the author of 15 Minute Stories, a collection of flash fiction, Kickstart Your Kickstarter, an e-book on crowdfunding, and Ruin Your Life, a self-help book for hooligans. He is preparing to publish his first novel, A Better Lie. His work has also appeared in Creative Colloquy, Grit City Magazine, and The Pitkin Review. His website, TacomaStories.com covers local businesses and events as well as every homicide that happens in the city. He has an Associates in Human Services from Tacoma Community College, a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College, and is currently an MFA in Creative Writing Candidate at Goddard College. You can find him online on his personal website, at @jackcameron on Twitter, Facebook.com/jackcameron He also writes a weekly newsletter called Notes From Table 30 that you can subscribe to at http://jackcameron.substack.com

Events and PR Team:

Jennifer Preston Chushcoff
Emilie Rommel Shimkus

Past Team:

Assistant Director 2014 – 2018:  Joshua Swainston has worked as a mechanic, merchant sailor, courier, loan shark, club promoter, Ryder truck rental agent, McDonald’s grill cook, taxi driver, valet, coffee roaster, wine distributor, psychologist assistant, UPS man, Disney Store stock boy, and played Santa Claus. His short stories and flash fiction are printed in Open Thought Vortex, The First Line, The Seattle Star, as well as others. While writing editorials for the Weekly Volcano, he won a Washington Press award for his piece about Ivan the Gorilla, “The Silverback of South Tacoma.” His first novel, The Tacoma Pill Junkies, was released in February of 2013. Find out more about Joshua at joshuaswainston.com.

Managing Editor 2016: Melissa Thayer is a writer who grew up in Las Vegas and Montana, and has suffered with conflicting issues ever since. Her first novel, a literary fiction called The Stories We Don’t Tell, was published in May 2014 by Booktrope. Over the course of years and through many teachers and sources, she has studied the craft of writing through all genres. She lives in Tacoma with her husband, two children, three cats, and her grandfather’s library.

Managing Editor 2017: Christian Carvajal is a writer, actor and director whose debut novel, Lightfall, is in print from Campanile Books. Since his 2008 arrival in Olympia, he’s released a nonfiction guide to Genesis and the Gospels (Rereading the Bible) and, under the pen name Lynn Savage, a satirical novel called Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride. He’s a feature writer for the Weekly Volcano, specializing in fine arts and travel, and he freelances for educational companies in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2015, Weekly Volcano readers honored him as “Best Writer” in Olympia.