~About US~

MISSION: Creative Colloquy fosters the writing community in the South Sound through unique literary events and publications.

Creative Colloquy was founded in February of 2014 with the intention of fostering relationships built upon the mutual admiration of the written word and providing a platform to highlight literary talent in the South Sound.

We do this in a number of ways including the online literary site focused on short fiction, novel excerpts and essays but also including poetry and other prose penned by writers who reside in the Pacific Northwest. Creative Colloquy also boasts an annual print literary review and occasional audio collections like, Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal. Collections like these can be expected throughout the year to encourage local scribes to become both engaged and invested in the local creative culture and to share their words with a welcoming audience.

Reading events occur the third Monday of every month at Honey at Alma Mater in Tacoma Washington. 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 and fuel inspiration and love of their craft.

The Creative Colloquy team is a deeply passionate but dedicated crew of writers themselves who invest countless hours and resources into these efforts to help promote the talented scribes in the area. Other special events are coordinated on a case by case basis always keeping our vision in mind, ultimately to play as a platform to help the literary culture flourish and gain a sense of community.

Though we haven’t gained 501c3 status yet, thanks to the fiscal sponsorship of Shunpike you can make a tax deductible donation. All funds help to keep Creative Colloquy a sustainable beast and are applied to publishing costs, podcast and website hosting and event production.

Thank you immensely in advance.


The Team

Director/Event Producer/Founder: Jackie Fender (Casella) has been a resident of Tacoma and surrounding areas since she was just a glimmer. She’s a freelance editorial writer with columns among the pages of  Tacoma Weekly, the Weekly VolcanoCity Arts Magazine, South Sound Talk, Post Defiance, South Sound Magazine and the South Sound Users Guide.  Jackie is a self professed creative community enthusiast and strives through various projects to foster the positive growth of the Tacoma community culture. Other creative/community endeavors have included  Tacoma ART BUS/Duchess of Downtown Tours, Wrist Magazine, Art on the Ave and non-profits Peace Out and Puyallup Main Street Association. Fender was awarded the 2018 AMOCAT Award for Outreach by an Individual.

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 a Gig Harbor 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


Kellie Richardson is poet and innovative voice born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Appointed Tacoma’s Poet Laureate in 2017, her work explores the intersection of race, class, and gender with specific emphasis on themes of love, loss and longing. She employs both classical poetic forms as well as contemporary mediums such as spoken word. Her work is provocative yet accessible, powerful yet vulnerable. In addition to publishing original work, Kellie created the blog, Brown Betty, in 2012. Brown Betty exists to provide armor and inspiration for real life; a place where commerce and community intersect to cultivate healing in the Black community. Kellie recently published her first collection of poetry, “What Us Is,” on Amazon, and is working on an exhibit of mixed media collage that examines the complexities of the Black American experience, including feminism, faith, sexuality and mental illness. Kellie is a proud resident of the Hilltop neighborhood, where she lives with her partner and two kids.


Cat Melaunie


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.