Past GCWA Events

Our September Guest Speaker – Peter Watt

The funny and charming Peter Watt regaled us with how his experience and love of history led him to becoming an author of historical fiction.

Our September Workshop Presenter –

Professor Richard John

About Richard

Professor Richard John is the Head of Chemistry and a former Dean (Learning and Teaching) at Griffith University. He is a recognised leader in STEM Education in Australia and his influence and contribution spans all levels of education, from pre-K to university. He is a passionate advocate and successful facilitator of STEM pathways for transforming lives–particularly young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

An award-winning educator, Richard has over 60 research publications in international peer-reviewed journals, and is a named inventor on two patents. He has taught undergraduate chemistry for over 20 years, is the author of a foundation year chemistry textbook (The Chemistry Companion) and co-author of two senior-school chemistry textbooks. He is also the creator and author of the Suzie the Scientist Early Reader Series and the Millie the Mathematician Early Reader Series – school-based reading resources linking literacy with the Australian Curriculum in Science and Maths.

Our August Guest Speaker – Michelle Upton

Michelle Upton in her delightful conversation with Rochelle Aguis regaled us in stories about her initial story idea and her journey to publishing and beyond.

Terms of Inheritance

Four sisters. A vast fortune. And a mother who thinks she knows best. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.When multi-millionaire Jacki Turner is forced to take stock of her life, she sets her daughters a challenge – in order to inherit her vast fortune, each must fulfill a task that she believes will push them to become better versions of themselves.
Terms of Inheritance is a funny, poignant, brilliantly observed story about letting go of the past.

About Michelle 

Michelle Upton loves writing short stories and novels that examine our darkest fears but then shine a light on the hope and possibility for us all. Her novel Terms of Inheritance was shortlisted for the 2021 Banjo Prize and was published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia on the 30th of November 2022. Terms of Inheritance was also shortlisted for the 2023 Adaptable: Turning the Page to Screen program run by the Queensland Writer’s Centre. Terms of Inheritance is out now in paperback, ebook and audiobook.After emigrating to Australia in 2006 from Birmingham, England, Michelle is now extremely proud to be an Australian citizen. She lives on the beautiful Redlands Coast in Queensland and loves being close to the water.

Find out more about Michelle and her books on her website:

Our August Workshop presented by Cynthia Terelst

Cynthia took us through a workshop on writing your first chapter. She discussed the important elements each first chapter should have. We then dissected the first chapter of her novel, Down the Rabbit Hole to see how those elements were incorporated. 

About Cynthia

Cynthia enjoyed writing as a child and teenager but put writing aside as she experienced the adventure of life. Recently her love of writing was reignited when a friend spoke to her about the novel she was writing. Since that time, Cynthia has published seven romance novels in her Love Down Under series. She does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.Although her friends claim she is a crazy cat lady, she denies this vehemently. She currently has three cats sharing her home: two of her own and the other is her daughter’s. She vows she will never go back to the days when lived with seven. Cynthia Terelst lives in Queensland, Australia.

To leran more about Cynthia and her books go to:

Our July Guest Speaker – Damian Hussey

An exciting in-conversation event with Damian Hussey, hosted by Kellie Cox, where we learned about the magic of movie making on the Gold Coast from screenwriter, director and accomplished cinematographer, Damian Hussey. Damian discussed with us his beginnings in the film industry and tools for writing. He has a proven track record, completing four feature length scripts in 2021 alone. Damian answered questions from the audience and shared his wisdom on the craft of scriptwriting and the adaptation from film to novel.

About Damian

Damian joined the Australian Army in 2001 as an Avionics Technician and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. He then traveled extensively throughout the world before beginning his filmmaking career. He uses these experiences to tell unique and authentic stories that can make a difference.

Since 2011 he’s worked on a large slate of commercials, music videos and online video marketing productions, as well as creative short and feature films.

He is an accomplished cinematographer with a number of films credited to him, including a post-apocalyptic film called Gunpowder and indie features Ashburn Waters, Alice and Bliss of Evil (in post-production). His films have screened in international film festivals and taken out numerous awards.

He is also the owner/operator of his own production company, Iron Forge Pictures. His feature film directorial debut The Lost One was in 2020.

Always staying busy, in 2021 he wrote four feature length scripts and directed his second feature, Girls’ Night Out in 2022.

Damian is currently in talks to create his newest script, an Aussie comedy called The Streak. He’s also adapting Gunpowder to become a graphic novel.

In 2016, Damian discovered a love for teaching and has been teaching filmmaking on and off since. He hopes to inspire the next generation of filmmakers and encourage them to follow their dreams and have fulfilling careers.

About Damian

Damian joined the Australian Army in 2001 as an Avionics Technician and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. He then traveled extensively throughout the world before beginning his filmmaking career. He uses these experiences to tell unique and authentic stories that can make a difference.Since 2011 he’s worked on a large slate of commercials, music videos and online video marketing productions, as well as creative short and feature films.

To find out more about Damian head to his website

Our Second Guest Speaker – Emerald Brewer

In celebration of NAIDOC Week 2023

Emerald Brewer is a Kombumerri-Noonuccal woman with connections to the Gold Coast and North Stradbroke Island. Emerald is a mother to 4 children and currently works in both child protection, youth justice and is studying a masters of teaching. Emerald is an avid reader, and her favourite authors include Stephen King and Matthew Reilly.

Emerald spoke eloquently about her family and it’s history here on the Gold Coast and on the beauty and power of indigenous storytelling. She talked to us about the Bundjalung Nation from the Kombumerri-Noonuccal perspective, to inspire our storytelling and give us a deeper understanding of our Gold Coast region. She also advised on culturally appropriate procedures when undertaking indigenous research for books.

Bonus talk by Ki Garvey

Ky talked to us about her writing process and her experiences with publishing and launching her first book.

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About Ky

Ky is a mother to two boys who are both diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. Through her experiences with her boys, she has been inspired to write fun and engaging stories that turn challenges into triumphs. Ky aims to share supportive, inclusive and empowering stories for children.

Ky writes and hosts the podcast Totally Lit! a monthly podcast celebrating reading, writing and creating literature. The podcast features writers, illustrators and all types of creators of books and stories.

Ky’s first picture book, Easy Peasy (EK Books) follows Ruby, who has a brand-new pair of roller skates. Ruby is sure skating will be easy, but after a few tumbles she realises she may need her dad’s help after all. Embracing themes of independence, perseverance, and family relationships, this is a fun, engaging story for children learning how to do something for the first time.

Our June Workshop – Jack Roney’s Writer’s Workshop on Authentic Crime Fiction

This 2-hour workshop is a must for writers of crime fiction. Gain firsthand knowledge and insight into the real world of policing to add realism to your storytelling. Discover the connection between character arc and theme to write compelling crime narratives.

Have all your questions answered during an informal Q & A session.

Learning outcomes

  • Police tropes & cliches
  • Debunking the myths
  • Australian police jurisdictions & procedures
  • Suspect interviews
  • Investigation protocols
  • Developing character & theme
  • Case study analysis

About Jack

Jack Roney is a traditionally published author and former detective. He draws on his 33 years experience as a police officer to immerse his readers in fast-paced and gritty crime thrillers and mysteries.

His novel ‘The Ghost Train & The Scarlet Moon’ was the runner-up in the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize. His first novel ‘The Angels Wept’ was shortlisted in the Watpad Awards.

In 2021 he was selected for the Qld Writers Centre Fishbowl Residency. He was a police consultant for the ABC television series ‘Harrow’. In his workshops, Jack offers a unique and personal insight into the real world of policing in the context of writing crime fiction.

Find out more about Jack on his website.

Books by Jack Roney and Hawkeye Publishing

Our May Guest Speaker – Rhiannon Elton

What you don’t know you don’t know: Building a thriving indie career

Rhiannon Elton

Rhiannon weaves tales of mystery and magic as the fantasy detective author of the Wolflock Cases series. Her love for all things fantastical began as a young girl, raised by a fairy and tutored by wizards, where she discovered the power of imagination and the art of storytelling. As a Dungeon Master and seasoned player, she brings her love for games to the page, immersing readers in a world of magic and wonder.

About Rhiannon

Beyond the page, Rhiannon is a tireless champion of the arts and a beacon of inspiration for aspiring writers. She is the progenitor and organizer of the Logan Writers Festival, bringing together communities of writers, artists, and creatives from all walks of life. As the President of the Logan Chamber of Commerce, Rhiannon uses her platform to promote creativity, growth, and community, always dreaming of a world where magic is within reach for all.

Facebook Page

Our May Presenter – CAPT Dylan Conway


BrothersNBooks was founded in 2020 after the pandemic crisis saw millions of people around the world suffering from isolation, poor mental health and helplessness. Dylan Conway the founder of BrothersnBooks had also felt the throws of despair and was suffering from significant injury which had left him bed ridden and needing to escape.

Through reading Dylan found that he was able to harness the power of bibliotherapy and keep his mind active during his hardest times. He spoke to a number of other people who had also found the benefits of reading and decided to do something about the stigmatisation of reading in this country.

Dylan began speaking about the importance of reading to his close friends and family and created an instagram platform that allowed others to share their stories of adversity, success and books that have helped shape their lives. The platform quickly gained traction and media attention as it grew to over 15,000 followers in less than a year.

From there, Dylan and the BrothersNBooks team began donating books to local communities, which quickly turned into setting up community libraries to spread the life changing books to as many people as possible. Since then BrothersNBooks has set up community libraries all over Australia and has inspired people around the world to read more books when they are facing hardship and is collectively growing the resilience, education and emotional intelligence of thousands of people.

About Dylan

CAPT Dylan Conway was born and raised in Central Queensland in a small town called Biloela. Like many young Australians living in regional Queensland he was drawn to the life the military could provide and enlisted as a 17 year old to the Australian Defence Force Academy. 

After graduation he would then complete his Officer training at the Royal Military College – Duntroon where he joined the Royal Australian Infantry and posted to the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in Townsville. Since graduating CAPT Conway has served in a number of combat units and training establishments including the School of Infantry training young infantry candidates, the warrant officer and non-commissioned officer’s academy where he assisted with the development of junior leaders and their promotional courses and now most recently the 6th Battalion where he serves as an operations officer. 

CAPT Conway is a young and motivated Army member who for the last year has been striving to encourage reading, education and bibliotherapy amongst soldiers and the wider Australian community through his charity Brothers and Books LTD. Key activities his charity has achieved include multiple fundraising efforts which have seen him donate over $140,000 to veteran charities in under two years. He has also established over 30 community libraries around Australia as a part of the philanthropic push to encourage more communities and organisation to read great books. CAPT Conway’s charity platform also reaches over 250,000 people online every month.

CAPT Conway’s love of reading and wish to promote bibliotherapy around Australia stemmed from having 9 surgeries on his back. During this time of adversity in Dylan’s life he was unable to walk, socialise or work professionally in the ADF. Dylan turned to reading in order to retain and re-gain purpose in his physically lacking life and this resulted in him reading from sun up to sun down in between hospital appointments. Dylan had his last surgery in 2022 which led to the amputation of his lower back of which Dylan believes he was able to find peace with the life altering surgery due to the meaning he has found through the perspective in books.


Our April Guest Speaker – Jen Swenson

Spoke about the importance of being seen

Jen took members and guests on a transformative journey where she shared practical tips on how to gain clarity about themselves. This talk was all about discovering what you need to know to be your authentic self and show up confidently in the world. Jen guided us through the process step-by-step, so we can be seen and heard as the best version ourselves.

About Jen

Jen Swenson is a respected entrepreneur, engaging speaker and children’s author who has dedicated her career to empowering individuals to discover their life purpose and recognise their inherent value.

Through her latest project, The Change Room Podcast, Jen is furthering her mission to equip women in the second half of life with the tools necessary to transform themselves into their best possible versions. Jen’s personal journey has been fraught with numerous obstacles, including navigating the business world, parenthood, leadership, and divorce. However, through these experiences, she has discovered the importance of embracing renewed mindsets, reinvention, and a sincere commitment to authenticity.

Jen’s unwavering passion and steadfast commitment to excellence have earned her the reputation of a trailblazer and a thought leader in her field. Her invaluable insights and unique perspective continue to inspire and motivate individuals from all walks of life to unlock their full potential and achieve their dreams.

Our March Workshop hosted by Paul Smith

Paul spoke about his passion for weapons, their origin and the importance of accuracy when using weapons in your storytelling. About a dozen swords, knives, and other weapons from different periods will be on display. Paul will regale us in stories, and give us a brief description about each weapon, their origins and use.

Question time with Paul is always an adventure, so have your questions ready.

About Paul

PAUL SMITH wrote and published his first novel Walk with the Tiger, not long after retiring. This is the first adventure/thriller book in the Jack Harrigan series set in the seventies. There are several more Jack Harrigan stories in the process of editing and imagining.

Paul has also written short stories, published in anthologies and on websites. His storytelling career really began with his epic adventures he’s tell his children about the giant octopus. When not spinning a yarn, Paul is often working on his 1956 Desoto or collecting replica weapons from retro detective stories.

Paul is part of the Rainforest Writing Retreat’s crew.

You can find out more about Paul

Bonus talk by Christine Betts

The Power of Email Lists for Authors

In this short workshop, Christine Betts introduced a variety of ways to build your own database of readers. Over the past few years, many authors have focused on building a presence on Social Media platforms. However, most authors, including the big names (like King, Rowling, and Attwood, etc) also have a direct link to their readers through their own Email List. This workshop will show you how to create an author newsletter and build your own database of fans with useful platforms like Bookfunnel and blogs.

About Christine

Christine Betts writes novels about women, love, and loss, award-winning short stories about sisters and Bali, lost girls, and stand-up comedy, and blogs about creativity, travel, and the inner life. A firm believer that writers will save humanity, she writes daily and encourages everyone around her to join in. In 2021 her short story, Death of a Show Princess, was Shortlisted for the Scarlet Stiletto Awards. Her story, Tough Crowd, won the November Right Left Write competition through the Queensland Writers Centre. In April 2022, Christine won The Tasmanian Writers’ Prize for her short story, How I Got this Tattoo.Christine lives and works on Bundjalung country. She is the Newsletter Editor for the Gold Coast Writers’ Association and co-facilitates the popular Write & Sip fundraising events.

Our March Guest Speaker – JC Lesley

Spoke about writing authentic characters with disability

How many times does a novel or movie have a character with disability who has superhuman powers? How many times do books and novels have a character that you are made to pity because they have disability. Why write yet another stereotype of a person with disability? Why not get the details right and create an authentic character. 

Most people with disability get annoyed and frustrated at how incorrectly portrayed they are in fiction, and how many easy mistakes could have been avoided if the author had properly researched or simply talked to someone with that disability. Authors need to engage and  create an inclusive space dedicated to authentic representation. 

In this workshop, Janelle, a writer with disability herself, pointed out some of the mistakes authors commonly make when including characters with disability, and the stereotypes and how to avoid them.

Participants were asked to put themselves in the head of someone who is either blind, deaf or has a mobility issue, and discovers a body on the floor and lots of blood.  Participants were encouraged to think about how they would have to deal with the situation with their disability from an authentic point of view.

About Janelle

In between procrastinating over the second draft of her novel about a blind investigator and her police / guide dog Spike, and sitting on health committees as a consumer rep, JC Lesley competes nationally in blind archery. Before she went blind she had an international operatic career with the Australian and Frankfurt Operas. She is a regular conference presenter, had more than 100 of her arts, disability and health articles published, and won awards and had short stories published in anthologies including ‘Oh nuts!’ in Short and Twisted 2016, ‘Ice Queen’ in Meanwhile Murder 2022, and ‘Quacks do Echo’ in Got Game 2023. JC Lesley runs her own entertainment and production agency, has been the producer of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concerts for over 15 years,   has recorded 3 solo CDs, and before covid, loved to travel overseas at least once a year to perform.

Connect with Janelle on Facebook

Our March Workshop hosted by Sophia Aves

Character scars allow us to delve into the backstory of your characters and flesh them out into a relatable and flawed persona your reader can love. By creating a world behind each character, you will find that they react more naturally to differing circumstances on the page as your work through your manuscript. Character scars is applicable for non-written characters or already developed ones to add depth to your manuscript.

About Sophia USA Today Bestselling author Sofia Aves writes fast-paced police romances, sizzling military units, steamy cowboys with a Montana backdrop and the occasional cheeky god. Married to a veteran, she often tackles topics of PTSD and reintegration and has a soft spot for all who work in uniform.

Sofia writes kidlit for charity and has over one hundred and fifty publications including translations into five languages across four not-so-super-secret pen names. For the past three years Sofia has been the marketing manager for Romance Cafe Publishing. She enjoys discovering new romance talent and watching them soar.   Sofia is a mum of three crazies in a returned veteran household and has a pair of overly large fur babies who believe they are teacup puppies. After eighteen years of planning and dreaming, Sofia and her husband opened Lorendel Alpaca Park with their first starter herd last December.  

Find more about Sophia on her website

Our February Guest Speaker – Marc Rosenberg

Screenwriter and producer, Marc Rosenberg, spoke about what makes screenwriting a unique form of writing.

An American, Marc Rosenberg has worked in Australia and the U.S. as a screenwriter and film producer for over thirty years. He’s written seven feature films and over 30 hours of television. His film credits include Heatwave with director Phillip Noyce, Raven’s Gate and Dingo with director Rolf de Heer and December Boys, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Rosenberg has won the prestigious Australian Writers’ Guild Award twice, the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the U.S. Fade-In Screenwriting Award. Rosenberg has been the Director of Education at two film schools in Sydney and taught screenwriting in the U.S., China and India. He’s written the instructional book, The Screenplay Tree, distributed worldwide, and contributes to the periodical, Film


  • Masters Degree in Creative Arts, Film Adaptation University of Technology, Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts, Government and English, The University of Texas, Austin
  • ‘Writer-in-Residence’ Australian Film, Television and Radio School (Screenwriting).

Connect with Marc on Linkedin

Our February workshop hosted by Charmaine Clancy

Charmaine spoke about the different aspects of the Romance genre, and how the theme can be incorporated into various other genres.

CHARMAINE CLANCY is an Australian author and educator. 

Her works include novels for kids and teens, including the best-selling, My Zombie Dog. Charmaine also writes short stories for grown-ups and is published in various anthologies. She’s even won awards for some of her stories.

Charmaine is very passionate about helping students who have struggled with literacy and inspires them to create their own stories they can be proud of. As well as teaching at high school, Charmaine presents holiday writing workshops for children of all ages and hosts the annual Rainforest Writing Retreat for grown-up writers. 

All her books are written with humour and dogs. Life is better with both.

You can find Charmaine at

Our January Guest Speaker – Harry Colfer

Harry shared with us how he uses his real-life experiences to create stories, how he fictionalises events to avoid confidentiality issues, creates believable characters, and share his writing workflow.

Harry Colfer is the pseudonym of an experienced Critical Care Paramedic with nearly twenty years of on-road experience gained in both England and Australia. With his role being one of the highest trained prehospital clinicians, he regularly attends cardiac arrests, multi-system trauma, major incidents and the wayward results of criminal endeavours.

As a way of dealing with his inevitable demons, he embraced the cathartic paramedic custom of storytelling and, back in 2012, began writing in his spare time. Using his knowledge of the subject area, he created a series of humorous short stories, Ambo Tales from the Frontline, recently managing to complete his goal of writing one for each of the thirty-two codes used to categorise emergency calls. Although his stories are fictional, the clinical details and interventions are all accurate, thereby giving the reader an entertaining education in the frontline emergency world. Beyond this, his main protagonist, Jono, often says and does things Harry wishes he could get away with in his real job, and that’s perhaps why he goes by his pen name.

Other than his short stories, Harry has published two full-length novels featuring the same characters, a murder mystery, Dead Regular, and the thriller sequel, Beneath Contempt, with another two, High Acuity and Show Cause, in preparation.

Our January Workshop – Harnessing Your 2023 Goals by Kate Kelsen

In this workshop, Kate shared the productivity tools that have been integral to her success. From 30 & 90 Day Plans to tracking achievements, she will share the tips that  help her harness her writing goals, no matter what stage of the writing process she is at. Having these structures in place has given Kate a sense of accomplishment and progress, even in the smallest steps.

About Kate: Discovering a love of storytelling early in life, Kate Kelsen has received recognition from literary awards around Australia, including:

  • Reflections: Finalist in the Wild Atlantic Writing Awards 2022
  • Kindred Counsel: Shortlisted for the 2022 SD Harvey Short Crime Story Award
  • Ten of Swords: Winner of the 2022 GenreCon Short Story Competition
  • Undetected, Published co-authored with Christine Betts. Rainforest Writers Retreat Anthology 2021.
  • Grieve Writing Competition 2014 & 2015, Readers Digest 100 Word Short Story Competition (2015)

At twenty-one, Kate published her debut novel, The Wilted Rose, a novel inspired by the true story of a Brisbane family’s experience with mental illness in the 1960s.

In 2016, Kate published The New Neighbors, and Paid to Dance: Stripping Past and Present.

In her writing, Kate takes a particular interest in exploring various human experiences and perspectives. She predominantly writes crime and psychological suspense, often with a sprinkling of the supernatural. Kate lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Saturday, 17 December, 2022

Saturday, 19 November, 2022

Our November Guest Speaker – Lori-Jay Ellis

Lori-Jay Ellis CEO, Queensland Writers Centre

Queensland born and raised, Lori-Jay embodies creativity and innovation; she brings an enthusiasm and thirst for new ideas as well as a firm belief in nurturing creative talent. Lori-Jay uses her proven leadership success in the arts and business sectors to ensure reduced reliance on traditional funding models and a greater emphasis on sustainable business practices.

She has produced and directed funded short films, and as part of her mid-life crisis became a self- published speculative writer. She has a personal passion for the written word and a genuine love for all things indie.

Lori-Jay is empowered by the creative process and its vital role in leading with vision to enable sustainable organisational models. She holds a Bachelor Arts (Visual – QUT) and has been CEO of a community arts studio in Sydney, marketing director at a large multinational, and managed a New York art gallery.

Our November Workshop/ In Conversation With – Megan Norris

Megan Norris is a UK-trained journalist and award-winning author whose coverage of some of Australia’s most infamous crimes has graced the front covers of national and international print media.

Her first book, Perfect Victim, co-authored with author, Elizabeth Southall, is now a movie starring Sam Neill, Miranda Otto, and Guy Pearce called In Her Skin. The book is on the curriculum of Queensland’s Bond University for criminology/psychology students where her ground-breaking research sheds new light on the connection between stalking and homicide.

A former winner of the EVA (Eliminating Violence Against Women Award), Megan’s special area of interest is in investigating and writing the stories of survivors of violent crime – primarily women and children.

Her exploration of revenge killings during marital breakdown – Look What You Made Me Do by Five Mile Press – won the 2017 Davitt Award for best non-fiction.

Megan is a regular true crime contributor to Australian Women’s Weekly and has appeared on Foxtel’s Crimes That Shook Australia, Channel Seven’s Sunday Night and Today Tonight as well as Ten’s, The Project.

She is also a regular guest on Mishel Laurie and Emily Webb’s acclaimed podcast, True Crime Australia, and has appeared on the Mama Mia True Crime Podcast and the ABC’s Nightlife show. 

Her new book, Out of the Ashes (Big Sky Publishing) chronicles the inspirational journey of Bali Bombing survivor, Therese Fox, and was released in October to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Kuta. Her eighth true crime offering The Messiah’s Bride, is due for release next year with Penguin Random House.

Megan works off her laptop on a dodgy old ironing board at the Gold Coast home she shares with her husband Steve, grandson Nathan, and his dog Larry.

She is the Queensland Convenor for Sisters in Crime Australia.

Saturday, 15 October, 2022

Our October Guest Speaker – Andrea Lewis

Andrea Lewis currently holds the position of CEO/Festival Director of Somerset Storyfest, the writer’s festival for the Gold Coast.

First contracted in 2003 by the then Somerset Celebration of Literature, Andrea has taken the festival from strength to strength to be recognised as one of Australia’s foremost writers’ festivals.

Andrea’s commitment to Arts and Culture industry on the Gold Coast and beyond have assisted in developing literacy-based activities throughout the City for children, youth and adults. Taking a collaborative approach and always looking for innovative ways in which to support like minded organisations, ensures success for everyone.

Our October Workshop presented by Dr Daryl Dymock

Darryl Dymock is well-versed in interviewing people across Australia in person and online as well as undertaking online surveys to obtain adults’ opinions and experiences.

Two of his published books, Extending Your Use-by Date and The Chalkies, are based on those methods, along with many of his academic publications. He is currently working on a book based on a survey and interviews with older adults about making the most of later life.

Writing non-fiction from interviews and surveys

This one-hour workshop will look at the pros and cons of using interviews and surveys to collect information, consider ethical questions, and suggest ways of making sense of the information collected in order to write it up for a wider audience.

Saturday, 17 September, 2022

Our September Guest Speaker and Workshop – Sofia Aves

Workshop Information

Marketing and author branding is crucial in the bookish world. Readers love to follow their favourite authors across socials and newsletters to create a solid base of super fans. Sofia Aves will cover consistency in branding, marketing books, newsletters and her favourite topic: writing binge-worthy romance.  

Sofia Aves

USA Today Bestselling author Sofia Aves writes fast-paced police romances, sizzling military units, steamy cowboys with a Montana backdrop and the occasional cheeky god. She co-hosts the Sisters of Sin shared world, has written for K Bromberg’s Driven world and will release several book in Elle James’ Brotherhood Protector world in 2023/24. As Marketing & Events Manager for Romance Writers of Australia, she loves to see authors flourish in their careers while sending her budget broke buying their books. Sofia writes kidlit for charity and has over one hundred and forty publications across four not-so-super-secret pen names. 

Sofia is a mum of three crazies in a returned veteran household and has just adopted a second German Shepherd. After eighteen years of planning and dreaming, Sofia and her husband will put the finishing touches on their very own alpaca park this year. 

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Our August Guest Speaker – Rachael Johnson

Topic – Our Libraries

  • An overview of the Gold Coast Library Service –See what your library card can get you.
  • What programmes do our libraries offer for writers? – Both online and in-person events and programmes.
  • What resources do our libraries offer for writers? – How to get the most out of our library website and e-library.

About Rachael Johnson

  • Is a Librarian with Gold Coast Libraries. She’s been working for the library service for just over 10 years, working at all branch locations around the Coast, from Upper Coomera to Coolangatta and everywhere in between.
  • Her favourite parts of this job are chatting to customers, especially those who haven’t been to a library in a while, attending the libraries in-person author events and of course all the books!
  • Rachael is also a Mum of two and currently work part-time. She loves reading (when she gets a chance) and taking long walks on the beach.

Our August Workshop presented by Judy Wollin

Topic – Voice. Building Rich Characters

Engaging characters are the essence of all stories. What characters still make you smile? What makes a great character? Looks, brains, what they wear? How they carry themselves? Voice is the answer.

Character voice is critical to building a strong character. If we can’t hear our characters as writers, how can we expect our readers to hear them, get captured by them, and want to read more? 

Judy Wollin is presenting a workshop, ‘Voice. Building Rich Characters.’ Key elements of building a strong character voice will be explored, and members will have the opportunity to work on their characters. The workshop will include practising strategies to differentiate characters, strengthen your style, and build dialogue, internal dialogue and tone.

Come along, join the fun.

About Judy Wollin

Judy Wollin writes middle-grade fiction because it makes her smile. She has a lifetime of experience working in education as a nurse teaching in hospitals and later as an academic teaching in several universities. She has seen the impact of low literacy, in primary and secondary school students and tertiary students frustrated by their lack of literacy skills. She was motivated to write books for boys that were action-packed and reality based. The aim is to write books boys want to read to engender a love of reading. 

Judy loves travelling and lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates and was lucky enough to see lots of the Middle East while she was there. Judy did a road trip from Brisbane to Karumba in far North Queensland via Longreach and Mt Isa in 2019 and will travel to Norfolk Island this year. ‘I love people watching, visiting places I don’t know and speaking to the locals.’

Judy takes every opportunity life presents to pick up ideas for stories. She has a story about the shearer Jackie Howe rolling around in her head.

Judy has published non-fiction book chapters, academic papers, and parliamentary submissions. She has written two series of middle-grade books: Team football and Speed in the Desert. Team football is based on the lives of three boys living in Southeast Queensland. Speed in the Desert is based on two boys living in the Emirates. Judy is exploring publishing opportunities for both. 

Judy is excited about being on the Gold Coast Writers committee. ‘The whole organization is so positive it provides a great network for writers.’

Don’t miss anything. Judy’s website (, Twitter (@judywollin1), Instagram (judywollinauthor) and facebook (Judy Wollin Writer).

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Our July Guest Speaker – Paul Smith

Topic – Gun for Hire: Choosing the Right Weapon for your Detective

Paul will be showing us replicas (not the real

thing) of guns used by our favourite novel and film detectives. Learn the pros and cons of each choice of firearm for your character, get to handle them and see their size.

About Paul Smith

PAUL SMITH wrote and published his first novel Walk with the Tiger, not long after retiring. This is the first adventure/thriller book in the Jack Harrigan series set in the seventies. There are several more Jack Harrigan stories in the process of editing and imagining.

Paul has also written short stories, published in anthologies and on websites. His storytelling career really began with his epic adventures he’s tell his children about the giant octopus. When not spinning a yarn, Paul is often working on his 1956 Desoto or collecting replica weapons from retro detective stories.

Paul is part of the Rainforest Writing Retreat’s crew. 

You can find Paul at

Our July Workshop presented by Jen Swenson

Topic – Podcasting

In her Podcasting workshop, Jen will present the different aspects of creating a podcast, including practical steps in production, apps, software and hardware, and will share from her podcasting journey. 

This will be a practical and insightful workshop where you will have the ability to begin work on your own podcast.  

About Jen Sweson

Jen Swenson is a published Children’s Author and businesswoman and has been the Treasurer of the GCWA Committee for the past 3 years.  Along with being an accountant and owning her own bookkeeping practice for the past 22 years, Jen is a bubbly creative woman who uses her story of reinvention to inspire people to grow and flourish through her Podcast – The Change Room targeted at Gen X and Baby Boomer women, listen here

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Our June Guest Speaker – Kylie Chan

Topic – From IT to Best Selling Australian Author

‘Fantasy author Kylie Chan will talk about her journey from being an information technology consultant in Asia to a best-selling Australian author. She will discuss the changing landscape of traditional and indie publishing, and her own journey from being a purely traditionally published author to success with a combination of traditional and self-publishing digitally and in print.’

About Kylie Chan

Kylie has a BBus in information technology, an MBA in IT, and an MPhil in Creative Writing. She started out as an IT consultant and trainer specialising in business intelligence systems in Australia, and then had her own consulting business for ten years in Hong Kong. When she returned to Australia in 2002, Kylie studied martial arts and Buddhist and Taoist philosophy  and wrote the best-selling nine-book Dark Heavens series, a fantasy based on Chinese mythology, and has recently released the new ‘Dragon Empire’ science fiction series. She is a full-time writer based on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Connect with Kylie Chan

Kylie’s website:


Twitter: @kyliecchan

Instagram: kylie_chan_a

Our May Workshop presented by Charmaine Clancy

Topic – Using Humour in your Writing

Find out why humour is a magical ingredient for creative writing and how to apply it in this activity-based workshop.

About Charmaine Clancy

is an Australian author and educator. 

Her works include novels for kids and teens, including the best-selling, My Zombie Dog. Charmaine also writes short stories for grown-ups and is published in various anthologies. She’s even won awards for some of her stories.

Charmaine is very passionate about helping students who have struggled with literacy and inspires them to create their own stories they can be proud of. As well as teaching at high school, Charmaine presents holiday writing workshops for children of all ages and hosts the annual Rainforest Writing Retreat for grown-up writers. 

All her books are written with humour and dogs. Life is better with both.

You can find Charmaine at

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Our May Guest May Speaker – Lucia Masciullo

Connecting Image and Word

A conversation about the balance of words and images

Do you want to know the point of view of a visual storyteller? Did you ever wonder what is the process an illustrator follows to go from text to fully illustrated pages?

An engaging conversation on the delicate balance between words and images in picture books. 

About Lucia Masciullo
Lucia is an award-winning illustrator who loves to create whimsical characters and colouring with traditional techniques, mixing watercolour, pencil and collage.
Born and bred in Livorno, Italy, she moved to Australia in 2007 and since then she has illustrated thirty books, among which Come Down, Cat!, by Sonya Hartnett, CBCA Honour Book and shortlisted for the Prime Minister Award.
She currently lives on the Gold Coast.

Lucia’s last books:

  • Go Home, Cat!, by Sonya Hartnett, Penguin Random House, 2022
  • The Imagineer, by Christopher Cheng, NLA 2021
  • Olive, by Edwina Wyatt, Little Hare Books, 2021

Our May Workshop presented by Kate Kelsen

Topic – Crafting a Short Story

In this workshop, Kate will draw on her success from multiple competition wins to help you master short story writing. She will also show you the value of practicing short-form writing, and how it can improve your storytelling overall. Participants will have the opportunity to write their own flash fiction short story up to 500 words.  

About Kate Kelsen

Discovering a passion for storytelling early in life, Kate started writing short stories in high school, and by the age of eighteen was receiving recognition from writing awards and competitions around Australia.

The Hunter Writers Centre in Newcastle consecutively selected Kate’s entries to the Grieve Writing Competition two years in a row, for publication in the competition’s annual anthology. One of these entries, a 500-word flash fiction short story titled No Questions Asked, was also chosen for the inaugural Hunter Writers Centre Award.

Kate has also been a finalist in the Reader’s Digest 100 Word Short Story Competition.

In 2021 Kate co-wrote ‘Undetected’ with friend and fellow author Christine Betts, a detective story that was selected for the 2021 Rainforest Writers Retreat Anthology ‘Murder & Mayhem’, to be released in 2022.

On January 2022, Kate won the GenreCon Short Story Competition with her entry ‘Ten of Swords’.  

In her writing, Kate takes a particular interest in exploring various human perspectives, and finds the short story to be the perfect format to capture moments and reflect on experiences.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Our March Guest Speaker – Stacey King

How to Self-Publish Your Book to a Professional Standard 

Stacey presents an extensive tutorial on how to set up your own book publishing business to self-publish your book/s in paperback, hardcover, and ebooks on KDP (Amazon), Ingram Spark and Smashwords. 

Initially how to set up your accounts, what’s required and how to distribute your book/s to a global audience. Stacey offers her experience on handy tips and tricks, must do’s and what not to do.

More importantly she presents a simple overview of how to self-publish your work to a professional standard you can be proud of.

Stacey King is an accomplished author, businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She has extensive experience advocating for the indigenous Banaban people. Over the past thirty years, she has focused on bringing traditional knowledge, historical research, and collective stories of the Banabans to a worldwide audience. She is the co-founder of Banaban Vision Publications and lives on the Gold Coast, Australia. 

Stacey published her first book – Te Rii ni Banaba: backbone of Banaba with her co-author and late husband,  Raobeia Ken Sigrah, first published by the University of South Pacific in 2001 and a new updated second edition was published in 2019.

She published her historical novel, Nakaa’s Awakening, Book One in 2020 based on her own family’s lives at the beginning of the mining industry on the Banaban homeland, Ocean Island commencing in 1900. This book is the first in a four-book series, Land of Matang spanning one hundred years and tells the dramatic impact on the Banabans and their homeland from eighty years of Colonial occupation and the devastation of phosphate mining.

Her latest book Rise & Fall of a Multi-Million Dollar Brand is her business biography. Stacey business background is inspiring. How it all began and the unique path she forged – a Cause driven juggernaut focused on a global message. She shares her vision, her determination, her belief that you never give up, and how she did it her way!

For more information visit Banaban Vision Publications:

Our March Workshop – Ask An Editor

Our panel of experienced editors, Kerri Yarsely, Beverley Streater, Gail Tagarro, and Jacquelin Melilli (Jacqx) were on hand to answer all of our burning questions.

Kerri Yarsley

Kerri has spent most of her career in the computer industry, initially as a programmer, then after four kids, she found documenting to be more easily achievable from a home-based office.English and the written word was not originally a strength, especially coming from a Science background, but it became so after two decades of technical writing.

Kerri’s first book, “The Instruction Manual for Kids – Parent’s Edition”, took twenty-five years to research and twelve months to write. She hoped the book would help struggling parents (and grandparents) in their quest to raise their young ones – from babies all the way through to teenagers – in a way that promoted good sense, happiness and fun learning. The book was self-published in 2012 and received a number of excellent reviews. Timing and sudden health issues halted the momentum of the book’s progress

Kerri continues to remain active in the creative writing space through her connection with the GC.WA, which she enjoys immensely, and through a shared dream with her husband of creating children’s stories with a distinctly Aussie theme.

2021 Recipient of the GCWA Achievement Award.

For more information about Kerri please visit

Beverley Streater

Language has always been a passion for Beverley. She was the little girl who sat at the dinner table studying all sides of the early HP sauce bottles, which came with labels printed in three languages; who only wanted books for gifts; and who excelled at reading out loud in class while failing miserably at maths and handwriting tests.

As an adult, Beverley further embraced reading and writing through academia and then work. During more than thirty years as a public servant, she developed a strong appreciation for effective interpersonal and written expression. Beverley supported people with disabilities and their families as a direct care worker, service coordinator, and team manager. She found managing teams both exciting and exhausting, so she slipped into advisory roles where she honed her writing and editing skills.

After three years challenged by a range of editing assignments within a local publishing house, Beverley became an independent freelancer, setting up Streater Editing Services. She still writes, translating complex documents into plain language for readers with learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, or low literacy. As an editor, she styles herself as a ‘critical friend’, gently assisting authors to shine.

For more information about Beverley please visit

Gail Tagarro

Gail is a Book Writing Coach, Accredited Editor (AE), and published author of historical fiction. She runs several book coaching and book writing programs.

Gail has been working with writers since the early 2000s. In addition to AE, her qualifications include journalism and an MA in Linguistics. She has many years’ experience in the corporate world, and has spent 33 years running her own businesses.

Gail brings a unique perspective to helping people catapult their fiction and nonfiction books into the world.

For more information about Gail please visit

Jacquelin Melilli (Jacqx)

Jacqx has a Master of Arts degree in Writing and Literature. Her specialisations include editing, creative non-fiction and fiction writing, publishing, scriptwriting, playwriting, and research.

Jacqx worked in film, television and theatre for many years and taught youth drama. In 2002, she founded her business offering editing, copywriting, and writing mentor services.

In 2002, she published her award-winning plays, Can Anybody Hear Me? Little Red Meets the Dingo, Goldisocks and the Three Koalas, Foreigners in Oztralia, Lost Child.

Ready-Ed Publications commissioned her to write four educational books titled the Lights, Camera, Action series. Jacqx has also published multiple articles and the short story, Secrets That Define Us.

When the money didn’t start rolling in, Jacqx focused on writing and editing in the corporate sector for businesses and university lecturers and students.

It was when Jacqx was commissioned to edit a memoir, and then another and another, that she decided to pursue this as her area of specialisation because she saw how life-changing it could be for her clients. She also believes it’s a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

Jacqx caught the jealousy bug when her client’s books were getting published and she had not published anything in years. After nine years of working on her debut historical novel titled Rogues and Vagabonds, she took time off to finally complete it.

For more information about Jacqx work, please visit

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Speaker and Workshop – Christine Betts

A Sense of Place – writing craft workshop on world-building by Christine Betts

‘Learn the rules like a professional so you can break them like an artist. Pablo Picasso

Genre is basically a “set of socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time.” It is essential for writers to know and understand the reader expectations in their genre of choice.

Join us for an exploration of those “agreed-upon conventions,” the expectations, tropes, cliches, and stereotypes found in genre fiction. A thorough understanding of these will allow you to write confidently within your genre or push the boundaries of established genres to create new ones.

World-building for all Genres

World-building isn’t just for epic fantasy and science fiction sagas. Whether you’re writing a Memoir, Contemporary or Genre Fiction, a short story, a series of novels, or anything in between, your characters somewhere real to live. Establishing the rules and boundaries of your world and how everything functions within it is helpful to the writing process and essential if you want your readers to lose themselves in your story, and not get lost on the way. Even if the world you’re building is exactly like the one we live in, the world of your story needs rules.

The second half of the workshop is a series of exercises to help flesh out your world and further your craft in world-building and setting.

Place is central to Christine Betts’ work.

Each story grows out of a setting or location. Christine left her heart in Paris years ago and her first two novels and a collection of short stories are set in France. Current works in progress are set in California, England, and because we’ve all mostly been grounded over the past few years, Australia.

Two works of memoir (in progress) Remembering Paris and The Lucky Ones, celebrate her favourite city, Paris, and Ipswich, her childhood home.

Her short story, Death of a Show Princess, set in country Victoria, was Shortlisted for the Scarlett Stiletto Awards in 2021 (Highly Commended.) Her short story, Tough Crowd, won the Queensland Writers Centre RightLeftWrite competition in November 2021.

She writes a blog, WriterPainter, where she rambles about Travel, Life, and Art. She is passionate about writing, animal rights, and her family.

For more information about Christine and her work visit

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Meeting cancelled due to Covid 19

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Member Christmas party

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Our November Guest Speaker – Charmaine Clancy

Producing a quality anthology

Charmaine Clancy is an Australian author, publisher and presenter. Her works include children’s novels and crime short stories. Some even win awards.

Charmaine is the founder of the annual Rainforest Writing Retreat, Australia’s favourite writing retreat. Together with her RWR team, she mentors new and established writers on the craft, publishing and marketing.

Each year, the Retreaters, as the attendees of the RWR are known, produce a themed anthology of short stories and poetry.

In her presentation, Charmaine will detail the process for producing a quality anthology from accepting submissions, right through to marketing the finished product.

Our November Workshop – Presented by Jacqx Melilli

Jacquelin Melilli (

Topic – Writing Your Memoir
Nobody has experienced life in the same way you have. Writing a memoir is a valuable legacy to leave behind. It’s your chance to share years of accumulated wisdom, mistakes, triumphs and your expertise in something you were passionate about. Not only will recording your experiences be historically important in years to come, sharing your expertise will benefit others. In this workshop, Jacqx will cover how to get started and keep motivated to finish this important project. Topics will include using photographs and music to refresh memories, researching facts, avoiding conflicts when it comes to sensitive material, and how to write with your reader in mind using creative writing techniques.

Jacquelin Melilli (Jacqx) has a Master of Arts degree in Writing and Literature. Her specialisations include editing, creative non-fiction and fiction writing, publishing, scriptwriting, playwriting, and research.

Jacqx worked in film, television and theatre for many years and taught youth drama. In 2002, she founded her business offering professional editing, copywriting, and writing coach services. She has always been passionate about telling stories and wanted to leave these behind as her legacy. She proudly accomplished that goal in 2002 with her first publications of award-winning plays, Can Anybody Hear Me? Little Red Meets the Dingo, Goldisocks and the Three Koalas, Foreigners in Oztralia, Lost Child.

She has since published a series of educational books published by Ready-Ed Publications titled the Lights, Camera, Action series, multiple articles and the short story, Secrets That Define Us.

Jacqx has recently completed her debut historical novel titled Rogues and Vagabonds about vaudeville performers who toured regional Victoria during the Great Depression. For more information about Jacqx work, please visit

16 October 2021

Our October Guest Speaker – Geneve Flynn

Speculative fiction

Speculative fiction is a hugely popular category on Amazon. Bram Stoker Award-winning author and editor, Geneve Flynn, will explore the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and offer insights on industry directions and how to succeed in this field. 

Some of the most memorable heroes and villains have sprung from the speculative fiction world. Think of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Harry Potter and Voldemort, Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter. The second half of the presentation will expand on what makes these characters so resonant, and offer tips and tricks to make sure your heroes and villains are just as unforgettable. 

Geneve Flynn is an award-winning speculative fiction editor and author. She has two psychology degrees and only uses them for nefarious purposes.

She co-edited Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women with celebrated New Zealand author and editor Lee Murray. The anthology is a 2020 Bram Stoker Award® winner and is shortlisted for the 2020 Shirley Jackson Award, Aurealis Award, and Australian Shadows Award. Black Cranes is listed on Tor Nightfire’s Works of Feminist Horror and Locus magazine’s 2020 Recommended Reading List

Geneve was assistant editor for Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins, a speculative fiction anthology which features authors such as Neil Gaiman, Ken Liu, Robert Silverberg, James (SA) Corey, Lee Murray, Mark Lawrence, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Angela Slatter. The anthology is the legacy of Australian fantasy author Aiki Flinthart, and is in support of the Flinthart Writing Residency with the Queensland Writers Centre

Geneve’s short stories have been published in various markets, including Flame Tree PublishingThings in the Well, and PseudoPod. Her latest short story, “They Call Me Mother,” will appear in Classic Monsters Unleashed with some of the biggest names in horror, including Joe Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, and Ramsey Campbell.

Geneve loves tales that unsettle, all things writerly, and B-grade action movies. If that sounds like you, check out her website at

Our October Workshop

Topic – ‘I’m a Good Writer: I Don’t Need An Editor’:

Gail Tagarro is a book writing coach and Accredited Editor (AE). She currently runs four different book coaching programs, helping many aspiring writers go from zero to finished draft, including the 12-week program Get Your Book to the Finish Line™ running again in October.

Gail has been working with writers since the early 2000s. She is an AE, has an MA in linguistics, a journalism degree, years of experience in the corporate world, and 32 years running her own business. Through her book coaching programs and professional editing services, she helps authors and aspiring writers bring their fiction and nonfiction books into the world.

Gail has published an historical novel about the relationship between Chopin & the French writer George Sand during their stay in Mallorca, and a self-help nonfiction book on writing technique. As a documentation consultant in a previous life, she wrote countless corporate procedures and IT documentation.

Working with other writers doesn’t leave her much time for working on her next novel, but she plans to follow her own advice in 2022 and get stuck in.

Gail will present her workshop – ‘I’m a Good Writer: I Don’t Need An Editor’: A full disclosure workshop on how writing and editing are different skills, and how you can prepare your manuscript for your chosen editor.

18 September 2021

The Annual General Meeting was held on 18 September, 2021. The new committee was elected. Members were invited to pitch their books to the audience.

21 August, 2021

Candice Lemon Scott

Candice Lemon-Scott is an award-winning and internationally published Australian author, editor and presenter. She has published fourteen books with New Frontier Publishing, Penguin, Pearson Education and Odyssey Books and has a new children’s book series coming out in 2022 with Storytorch Press. Her children’s books are fast-paced adventures that appeal to reluctant readers in particular.

Candice has won several awards recognitions including the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, Educational Publishing Australia Award, Wilderness Society’s Environmental Awards for Children’s Literature, Green Earth Book Award in the US and PPA Awards. Her titles have also been listed in the Premier’s Reading Challenge across Australia, and as best new releases with Lamont Books.

Candice has a Bachelor of Communication / Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing & Editing). She conducts numerous author talks and workshops and is a presenter for Speakers’ Ink speaking agency.

She is passionate about literacy and is a Books in Homes role model. She also owns new and used book exchange Big B Books in Burleigh Heads.

In this presentation Gold Coast author, editor and bookstore owner Candice Lemon-Scott will share her top tips on the business of authorship, from becoming an author to publishing and marketing your books. There will also be a focus on tapping into the children’s chapter book market in which Candice specialises.

Judy Wollin

Judy Wollin writes realistic action adventure for children. She plays an integral role in addressing barriers to literacy by inspiring her young readers with characters overcoming personal challenges.

Having completed courses with the Australian Writers’ Centre including Write Your Novel, she has published non-fiction books and academic papers. Her rich work history has seen Judy working across universities and training organisations, including an adventurous four years in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Judy’s studies have culminated in a PHD in Disability and Multiple Sclerosis.

Judy is affiliated with the Australian Society of Authors, Queensland Writers Centre, and the Gold Coast Writers Association where she serves on the committee whilst enjoying her life on the beautiful Gold Coast.

With a growing social media presence, you can contact Judy at or on Twitter as @judywollin1, Instagram as judywollinauthor and Facebook and Goodreads as Judy Wollin Writer.

In her presentation, Judy Wollin will encourage members and guests to face their fears around submitting their work and entering competitions. Judy believes the way to attract publishers’ attention is through success in writing competitions. Judy will share ideas for assessment, synopsis writing and connecting with courses and competitions.

17 July, 2021

Roxanne Paynter

Roxanne Paynter, a qualified and experienced Counsellor, began writing her first book, Small Souls, after spending time in hospital with her new born son. She sought to publish it and share her meditations with other parents. She shared her journey of self publishing, both in print and with Ebooks. After a successful beginning and the book initially selling well, the original publisher informed her that due to ill-health, they were scaling back their business. Fast forward 10 years, Roxanne discovered her book was still being sold by the publisher. After resolving that issue, she has again printed the book with new publishers, and it continues to sell in a very niche market.

Roxanne’s books of guided meditations, Soul Safari Meditations for all Ages, and  Small Souls Meditations for Children, are available direct from the author’s website or from 

Kate Kelsen

GCWA’s own Social Media Manager presented her workshop “Your Online Author Presence.” During this talk, the GCWA’s resident Social Media Manager Kate shared tips and information about establishing and maintaining your online presence as an author. From Instagram accounts, Facebook pages and groups, to websites and blogs, Kate walked us through these platforms to help us decide which are most appropriate for our audience, along with productivity tools to simplify the process and save time.

20 March 2021

Guest Speaker: Josh Hale

Josh Hale was born in San Leandro, California to an Australian mother and American father. His family relocated to Queensland in 1992 when he was 14 years old. This move proved instrumental in his development as a writer. As an only child in a foreign country, Josh was left with a lot of time to spend with his imagination and a pen in hand.

Josh began his career in film at the turn of the century. To date he has been blessed to work with many great minds within the film industry. This has created quite a diverse range of skills.

Josh is an Alumnus from the New York Film Academy, where he studied on both the Gold Coast and Los Angeles campuses.

Since then, Josh has seen a number of productions – commercials, music videos, short and feature-length films – come to light, including Digital Athletes: The Road to Seat League which won many prestigious international awards.

Josh spends his down time on the Gold Coast with his wife and cats.

Although Josh has many projects on the go and in various stages of development at the one time, he is excited that his second feature film, House of Inequity,is an official selection at the Gold Coast Film Festival 2021 and will have its World Premiere in April this year.

Josh’s credits

Workshop: Kellie Cox

Whether you have a current Work-In-Progress (WIP) or not, this workshop is designed to help you delve deeper into your fictional characters to discover their learning style, their values and their love language.

If you don’t have a character to apply the day’s insights to, then try them on yourself.

Using the assessment tools provided at the workshop, you may feel like a child peering through a slit in a broken fence, spying on someone who is doing something so unlike their usual persona presented to the external world. You will be able to access different perspectives of your characters to make them more complex, more relatable and more believable than before.

Your readers will be impatient for more!

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Our guest speaker is the enthralling John Thompson-Gray, who will speak on ‘Making Non-Fiction as Enticing as Fiction’. John has a wealth of experience bringing to life historical events as if you actually witnessed them. You will learn how to use the established techniques of: suspense, mystery, structure; (lonely) voice(s) telling the story (marginalised, (person, case, tense)); cultural factors; calling on imagination; pacing; reader fixation of belief, scepticism; research; and mindshare examples.

It’s just wonderful! John’s book Japanese Blitz on Darwin is a bestseller and, if you don’t have it already, John will donate 42 copies as a fundraiser at $5 each! I’m sure if you ask nicely, John will be happy to sign your copy during the break. Other books by John include: Love, Luck and Larceny – Memoirs from Broome 1942, How Great Thine Aunt (for sale and discounted to $10), de Kat Met de Elf Levens (translated into Dutch), and The First Australian Missionary to Korea – Henry Davies and his Nieces (translated into Korean).

John Thompson-Gray – Biography

John Thompson-Gray (yes, the American way of spelling) is a classically educated person. John graduated in Science (UQ, St Lucia); Education (Monash); Administration and Philosophy (post-grad Monash); Masters in Engineering (Royal Melbourne); and Hons in The Short Story as an Art Form, Life and Travel Writing, Macroeconomics and Public Policy (University of Cambridge, England).

John has spoken at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne; at the Churchill Address at the English Speaking Union; is a member of the judging panel for the Roly Sussex National Short Story competitions; and has a book marketing and distribution business.

John is the author of numerous books:

  • Japanese Blitz on Darwin (bestseller)
  • Love, Luck and Larceny – Memoirs from Broome 1942
  • How Great Thine Aunt
  • De kat met de elf levens (translated into Dutch by Marianne Hallemons)
  • The First Australian Missionary to Korea – Henry Davies and his Nieces (translated into Korean by Myong-duk Yang)

And, to top it off, his current projects include: Navy essay competitions, volumes of short stories, a private engagement, Korean stories, and an autobiography.

John’s wealth of experience has come from his days as Master at Scotch College, Melbourne (3yrs); at Swinburne University as an Academic (7yrs); Applied Research and Development (4yrs); Superintendent at BHP Ltd (24yrs); and as an author (11yrs).

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Workshop 1
Our President, Andy McDermott, will help you with the fundamental essence of your next writing project – ‘Creating Characters and Plots from Scratch.’

Workshop 2
Our Treasurer and resident songbird-cum-comedienne, Jen Swensen, will get your mind and schedule in focus – ‘Achieving Your 2021 Writing Goals.’

Saturday, 21 November 2020



Dr Candice Michelle Goodwin juggles living in two worlds: She’s a scientist & engineer, as well as a science fiction author and TV & film producer. These worlds overlap and Candice keeps science (such as the genetic revolution and superabilities) grounded, authentic and entertaining in a science fiction context.

Candice is the Founder & Principal of Rebel with Cause (RWC) Productions. Her current passion project is the genre TV series concept, “Enter Entropy”, based on her books of the same name, available on Amazon. She is also a producer on Canadian projects that are positively disrupting industry trends, and is the host of a fresh new podcast inspiring girls and women to pursue STEM careers.

Candice’s various projects include the feature film “Code 8”, and TV series “Deep Six”, “Kat Loves LA”, and “Amortal”, as well as new book, “Enter Entropy: Volume 3” where the deception of magic and the science of fight choreography, as well as ghost-hunting were explored, hands-on. Candice has also worked with world-renowned storyboard artists and illustrators on the art for her book covers.

“Enter Entropy” is the story of Dr Lana Senate, an accomplished scientist who consults with the police. A lab accident leads to her being infected with genetically manipulated bacteria that alter her cells, resulting in enhanced senses. While struggling to keep her abilities a secret from the people she loves, Lana realizes that she needs to trust others to help her understand this gift and use her advanced sensory awareness as an advantage in solving crime. Right before your eyes she is changing…


The journey of writing is a discovery of one’s own self. Learning to reflect and process our own life helps us to see ourselves more clearly; only then can we begin to see others and the broadness of the world around us in more unfiltered ways. The bigger the pictures become, the words begin to flow to give adequate expression to what we are seeing and experiencing.

This is where I discovered I could write like me!


Deborah Candler

Deborah is a mentor, lecturer, trainer, tutor, author and ordained minister. She has twenty years’ experience in the fields of children’s dentistry and community oral health education within Victoria and Queensland Health sectors. Currently, Deb contracts to mentor women staff at Kings School, lectures leadership units at various institutions and is a facilitator and deliverer of the MATE program in partnership with Griffith University to bring solution to violence against women.

Deb is married to Philip who manages Maritimo luxury boats on the Gold Coast. Together they have been on the board of Effective Aid International educating and improving the lives of a marginalized people group with Thailand and Burma. They have four married children and 8 grand-children.

Deb self-published her first book: A Fascination With Forward in 2009 and is finishing her second. She also has children’s short stories and poems ready to publish.

Saturday, 15 August 2020



During this talk, Kate will share with you the productivity tools that have been integral to her success, helping her write and publish four books. From 30 & 90 Day Plans to tracking achievements, Kate will share tips to help you harness your 2020 goals, no matter what stage of the writing process you are.


Discovering a passion for storytelling early in life, Kate has received recognition from writing awards and competitions around Australia. The Hunter Writers Centre in consecutively selected Kate’s entries to the Grieve Writing Competition two years in a row, for publication in the competition’s annual anthology. One of these entries was also chosen for the inaugural Hunter Writers Centre Award. Kate has also been a finalist in the Reader’s Digest 100 Word Short Story Competition.



Never in history has there been a better time to be a writer. In this short presentation, Kellie will share her journey as an independent author and demonstrate how this popular avenue of storytelling has allowed for traditional rules of fiction writing to be turned on their head. Giving us some helpful hints but most importantly encouraging us to the be the creative voice that we all are, Kellie will disclose some of the secret techniques and tips that have made her books so unique.


Kellie Cox is a local Gold Coast writer and the author of Murderous Intent; The List; The Reef and The Last First Kiss. A multi-genre author with qualifications in psychology she enjoys exploring the vulnerabilities of the human psyche in fiction. Kellie created the publishing enterprise, Strong Female Protagonists with the goal to challenge the narrative of gender in storytelling. When not writing she is supporting artists across the globe in her role of creative coach and therapist. In her free time, Kellie can be found at the beach and posting endless photos of her adorable dogs.

Saturday, 18 July 2020



This is a fifteen (15) minute workshop. Beverley will share some tips and hints for making dialogue work for you and your characters.


So you’ve finished your manuscript—congratulations. This is your work, your baby. You have nurtured and moulded the words. You have shifted the chapters, added some dialogue, checked your sources. You are ready to seek feedback from an editor.

You’re feeling a mixture of anticipation and fear; perhaps you’re a bit self-conscious. You are fiercely proud of your achievement but a bit scared of what people will say. Perhaps you’ve heard some horror stories.

Tune in to this session with qualified, experienced, and sensitive editor, Beverley Streater.

Beverley, also a writer, will discuss types of editing, and provide you some tips on how to find and work with an editor. She will give you an insight about what to expect when you share your project with an editor—your rights and your responsibilities. Finally, she will share some industry resources, and tell you about some simple steps you can take to carry out some self-editing.



Jen Swenson is an enthusiastic Accountant and the Treasurer of the Gold Coast Writers’ Association.

In this session, Jen will detail the journey of writing and publishing her first children’s book “Goldie the Unchicken” from its initial conception to its release. Her story is both an inspirational and practical look at how an idea can be developed into a published piece of literature.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

The Life of Brian

Brian Falkner International writing coach presenting at Gold Coast Writers' June 2020 Online Monthly Meeting

Brian Falkner is an internationally acclaimed writing coach. Brian will share with us information on:

  • My books and my career as an author
  • Schools visits
  • Workshops
  • Tips on how to write for children.

Brian Falkner wanted to be an author ever since he was a child. It only took him thirty years to realise that dream. Along the way he worked as a reporter; advertising copywriter; radio announcer; graphic designer; and Internet developer. Brian has had nineteen books published internationally. He is also an internationally acclaimed writing coach, running workshops and writing camps around Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Writing as a child writer

Petar Kocic Child Author Presenter for Gold Coast Writers' Association Online Monthly Meeting

The Process of Writing my First Book

Petar Kocić will cover WHY he started writing the book and his process. He’ll also explain the details of how he found the illustrator and how he learned the importance of an editor.

He will go over what he enjoyed the most, and the difficulties of Marketing and Sales.

Petar Kocić was born in a beautiful European country called Slovenia. When he was five, he moved to Melbourne with his family, and after only a few weeks, it was time for him to start going to school. But the biggest problem was that he didn’t know a word of English!

As he learnt the English language, he became interested in reading, spending every afternoon with his favorite books, like Geronimo Stilton, and Weirdo.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

  • Brief Introduction by GCWA President Marisa Parker
  • Creative Writing Skills: Stylesheets – Kerri Yarsley
  • Writing for Fiction and Fantasy – David Kay
  • The Dragon’s Den Trilogy – Jason Boggs
  • ‘Live’ chatting with your speakers – Ask questions through the chat function and your speakers will answer in-person (online)  

Kerri Yarsley

Kerri Yarsley is a valued GCWA Committee member and has been the GCWA Editor for a number of years. 

Read Kerri Yarsley’s bio here.

Creative Writing Skills – Stylesheets: You’ll learn some essential information on formatting so as to  “Schmick” Up Your Microsoft Word Manuscript and get it ready for you to let your creativity flow. 

David Kay is another valued GCWA Committee member.

Read David Kay’s bio.

Writing for Fiction and Fantasy: This genre, like any, has its specific requirements, one of which is ensuring your character development is up to scratch. David will discuss how he has written The Circles of Time series.

Jason F Boggs has spent his entire life reading as many novels and graphic novels as possible in this sub-genre, as well as movies to understand “what works & what doesn’t”. In 2016, he finally decided to commit to a series called, The Dragon Trilogy. His goal: to make the greatest sci-fi/fantasy series of all time.
The Devil’s Dragon (TDD) was released in 2017 and the follow-up, The Dragon’s Harvest was released in 2018. Both to 5-star reviews. The final book of the series, The Dragon’s Zenith, will be out by Christmas 2020.

Jason currently lives on the Gold Coast, Australia, with his wife, SueEllen who endures his imagination and their two cats, who do not.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

You too can Write a Book Using The Notebook Habit

Dominique Liongson - presenter at the Gold Coast Writers' Fair Free Online Meeting April 2020

Dominique Liongson, author presenter of The Notebook Habit used this technique (TNH) to compile her book PUN-TASTIC WAYS FOR BRIGHTER DAYS. She also explains more about the importance of the five senses for our writing styles. You too can collect more ideas to write a book using TNH approach.

This is an 8-minute video that also uses some cool examples taken from none other than George Lucas.

Dominique Liongson is a clever creator of three dimensional (3D) craft projects, 2D visual arts, and 1D written words. All that in one word– artist! In the field of authorship, she has created poetry, prose, puns, riddles, essays, blogs, and illustrations.

Follow Dominique on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as @dominicreative. Or visit her home on the web at

Tapping into Inspiration – the Powerhouse for Creative Writing

Bronwen Cribb guest speaker for Gold Coast Writers' Association Free Online Event April 18 2020

Bronwen will introduce her story of writing and challenge you to think about inspiration in a different way. The key here is intuition. Many of us think about this as a vague gut-based feeling or a knowing about something before the evidence appears, but there is much more to the topic. It is the ability to tune in to environments, to plumb the depths of a situation, and to know when an idea will fly or is best left aside. Whether we admit it or not, it is the doorway through which every successful creative writer walks before and during the process of producing their masterpiece. Have you heard of body sensing (enteroception) and the technique of using ambience to tap into environments for inspiration? Do you know what edging and retreating are and how these two components work together to reveal hidden details in everyday life, details easily missed, and to overwrite the usual ways of seeing a situation? Do you know what socio-affective processing is and how to use it to gain relevance in your writing? It is considered to be the basis of all great breakthroughs in science, art and literature. Then, to top off the presentation, you may like a couple of free resources: tools available on the internet that you may not yet have discovered.

BiographyDr B. W. Cribb is a scientist, academic and author with over 30 years of experience. Bronwen began her career in neurobiology, studying how insects and other animals sense the world around them. At the same time, she began running community talks and workshops on positive self-development and unusual mind skills. This community approach was left behind though, to pursue research and teaching at university, where Bronwen found a fascination in the use of sensory systems to create pictures of reality that affect survival, and explored behaviour at the interface between life forms. Dr Cribb has worked in Australia, the UK, and Singapore, has experience as an international speaker, and is the author of over a hundred publications and multiple book chapters. Her current mission brings her back to the community, to unveil the science of the mind in ways that helps with everyday life, and challenge many core beliefs about consciousness, aging, and what the mind can do for us. Bronwen’s book – Design Your Mind: Everyday tools to make every day better – is available through her website at and on the Amazon platform.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

How to Book Publish in the 20’s 

Ocean Reeve of Ocean Reeve Publishing will present at Gold Coast Writers' Association March 2020 Meeting
  • Understanding the new age of book publishing 
  • Understanding printing – print-on-demand, digital, offset
  • Understanding Amazon  
  • Understanding publishing contracts 
  • Understanding establishing a career as an author.

Award-winning publishing consultant and international publisher, Ocean Reeve, presents an informative 90-minute presentation on the new processes and challenges facing authors in 2020 and beyond. Including an opportunity to put questions forward, Ocean will leave you with greater clarity on your options in the book publishing and marketing space.

Daryl Greer – A Writer’s Journey

Darryl Greer A Writer's Journey Presentation Gold Coast Writers' Association March 2020 Meeting

Darryl Greer’s talk today will tell you how he came to be a writer in the first place, starting out when he was a lawyer in London, writing and getting paid for magazine articles; how, in the early nineties he decided to write a novel, which, although a flop, lured him into the world of fiction. He will cover a topic that will be familiar to most of you – his dejection when all those rejection slips start flowing in. Then, he was suddenly signed up by three literary agents; two in London, and one in Australia, none of whom were able to secure him a publishing deal, of his eventually self-published first novel, The Election. Darryl will also talk about his latest novel, Bounty, and he will give an account of why he chose to write a story about a young Muslim boy from a small, poverty-stricken corner of Lebanon.

In Conversation with Chris Hammer, acclaimed Australian Author

The GCWA was delighted to be invited to join Chris Hammer ‘In conversation’ at the Tweed Library on 2 March 2020.Two Committee members, Kerry Pearmain and David Kay took up the Library’s offer, posing a wide range of questions about his first 2018 bestseller book Scrublands and his new book Silver. Chris was generous with his answers, expanding on his career as a journalist and his transition to crime fiction writing. His informative and relaxed style kept the 50 or more attendees enthralled, prompting numerous further questions from the audience before he retired to sign copies of his new book and talk more personally with his committed readers. Both Kerry and David enjoyed the opportunity to meet and interview this very personable and accomplished author.

Selina Ryan, the Tweed area Librarian opened the event before Kerry took over and addressed the audience with aplomb as she opened the conversation with Chris Hammer and our GCWA panel. The conversation was open and friendly and often amusing. Chris has a good sense of humour which infiltrates his novels.

One hour later with our questions almost exhausted, Kerry took the microphone and invited the audience into the conversation. There was no shortage of eager, devoted readers and twenty minutes later Kerry wrapped up the session and announced our GCWA 2020 Anthology writing competition. Chris Hammer then directed the audience to his sales and signing table. The Tweed Library was the authors first stop and we wished him further success on his journey down the south coast.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Creative Writing Skills Workshop

Social Media for Writers

Join Rebecca Torti, GCWA Committee member who will facilitate a 30-minute workshop on social media tools. With Rebecca’s experience in marketing, she will share the techniques and approaches recommended for sharing your information as a creative with the writing and reading community. This will focus on using FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter.


A Journey Towards a Healthy 100

Health and wellbeing are essential for this day and age. Come and listen to Deborah Peden, BA/BEd, Life Coach and Trained Demartini Method© Facilitator, who has provided a depth of understanding and appreciation for wellness across all areas of life.

Deborah has been researching on and supporting others with their health and wellbeing for over a decade. Her experience as a life coach and facilitator has provided a depth of understanding and appreciation for wellness across all areas of life. Deborah has supported many people to realise vibrant, balanced wellness through workshops, seminars and face-to-face client consultations. Coalescing with her health focus, Deborah has a degree in English and History, fostering her passion for literature, literacy and research. Since 2009, she has coordinated and judged in the literary competition for the English Teachers Association of Queensland (ETAQ) supporting young people and teachers to showcase their literary talents. Her writing has been awarded literary prizes in 2009 and 2014, this creative bent extending to writing magazine articles and online profiles. 100 Ways to a Healthy 100 is the result of a combination of her passions: balanced wellness, educating & writing, distilling ancient and contemporary wisdom into a readable and relatable almanac.

Take A Step Into The Unknown It Can Change Your Life. It Did Mine! ©  

Diana Todd-Banks shares her advice on health and wellbeing from a different perspective. Diana has had an incredibly varied life and with 58 moves says the best way to get a glimpse of Diana is to look at her life in numbers:

-Lived and worked in a Maori shearing gang.
-Picked tobacco in all-male tobacco picking team.
-Back to Adelaide then Chicago but
-$1 a day was all Di had to live on.
-Gained a degree in Classical Guitar in Chicago.
-21 different occupations.
-8 different companies.
-3 different countries.
-2 ½ husbands.
-1st Australian female wine importer in the US.
-1st director of an international chamber of commerce in Los Angeles.
-Had a small US company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
-18 years was a syndicated feature columnist.
-5 people who died, Di packed up their possessions.
-In the ’90s those experiences blurred – Diana lost her voice and was unable to walk for 6 months or function for 3 years.

During that time Diana vowed if she recovered she would help others … somehow. She did and continues to do so today.

Diana has written 7 books plus 3 int’l best selling books, ghostwrites, & mentors people about managing life changes.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

GCWA Committee Members and Authors, Beverley Streater and Kerri Yarsley will provide insight into creative writing skills that address ‘Punctuating Dialogue’ and ‘Stylesheets’.

English and the written word was not originally a strength, especially coming from a Science background as a computer programmer, but it became so after two decades of technical writing.

Kerri’s first book, “The Instruction Manual for Kids – Parent’s Edition”, took twenty-five years to research and twelve months to write. After that, Kerri chose to format and edit the work herself, feeling that she was up to the task, having done it for corporations and governments for years. The book was self-published in 2012 and received wide acclaim.

As a career public servant, Beverley developed a strong appreciation for effective communication and designed technical communications (media releases, briefs, speeches) for a range of stakeholders.

As a writer, Beverley currently contributes via her blog Classic Women, social media, book reviews, and has been published in the online magazine, Broad. As a freelance editor, she offers encouragement, support, guidance, and editing to local writers.

Three authors

Are you confused by the terms Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing? Don’t worry, it is something many people struggle with and is the cause of numerous discussions! In fact, Self-Publishing is sometimes considered an overarching term for Independent and Assisted Publishing … so that can just add another confusing dimension!

A trio of authors who have taken three very different approaches:

Christine Betts is a business owner and published writer.

Her first novel Hotel Déjà vu (independently published through her imprint Time Step Press, 2018) combines her passion for Paris with her interest (obsession?) for artists, writers and their lives.

You can find her on Facebook by searching @ParisTimeTravel or at her website

Ron Thomas is a lover of writing, a storyteller, a searcher for tales as yet unwritten. For more than 20 years, Ron was Managing Director of a successful Australian technology company. It was a big decision to leave a job he loved to indulge in his passion for writing and a long bucket list.

Ron is a believer in the power of words and considers that wordsmithing skills are the most empowering tools in his armoury. His first effort was a musical, Ballaarat; then, he turned to historical novels and so began, the Solly Trilogy. Unsurprisingly, its key character is a story-telling swagman. Ron has traditionally published several books.

James Culverhouse has been a pizzaiolo, business owner, projectionist and teacher. He currently works as an IT professional in the higher education sector. He has dived with sharks off the Queensland Coast, survived being a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, and lived in a mud-brick house in Tasmania.

James and his wife share their home in Moreton Shire, Australia, with their black cat, Shadow, and their loveable dog, Chad. He has published his first book, “Wolf and the Crow”, the first book in the Ebonsheare Chronicles trilogy.

When you’ve heard from our trio of authors, it’s time for a Self-Publishing company to provide their perspective and also respond to comments made before Afternoon Tea.

Join Andy McDermott from Publicious, as he provides his insights –

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Tammy Richie is a remarkable woman whose story is a powerful reminder about what we’re truly capable of as human beings.

She is one of the lucky ones who had First Aid training – she saved her own son’s life when he drowned in their backyard pool at just 16 months of age.
Her passion for protecting lives and helping others avoid the pain she has been through is what inspired her to start her Business, First Aid YUCAN2. And today, she is an inspirational mentor and life-coach to many people around Australia and the globe.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Latest Publishing News – the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ to Becoming a Published Author, with Andy McDermott.

Last month, Andy McDermott was invited to be a presenter at the inaugural ‘Fiona McIntosh National Masterclass Conference’ in South Australia.

As a representative of self-publishing, he appeared alongside the major publishers including Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Simon & Shuster, Allen & Unwin and Harlequin, as well as the CEO of QBD and representatives from Dymocks and James Bennet.

Andy’s returned to Queensland bursting with all the latest information about the publishing industry, especially the ever-changing ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for the author aiming to become a published author; and, he can’t wait to share this information with you.

Josh Clifton, author of ‘The Hospitality Guide’.

Joshua is an experienced customer service coach who provides clients with promotional and marketing knowledge to propel their businesses. His expertise includes business improvement, maximising staff potential, productivity, formulating successful client outcomes, client relationship development, in-house training/staff development, strategic promotion and client marketing.

Joshua will discuss the fundamentals of customer engagement and what it really takes to build a powerful tribe and deliver a product that makes you stand out from the rest.

As a first time publisher, Joshua will discuss with you step by step this process that enabled him to become an author, featured in multiple newspapers and magazines in Australia and around the world, and partner with organizations such as Tafe Queensland and International software companies Tanda all within a few months of being published.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Can your book become a platform for building a community and influence social change?

Dr Elizabeth Celi will discuss how your books can become a positive leverage tool for social progress in your local community and beyond, if you so choose. Once the creative journey to publish your book is done, what avenues can you consider in developing the profile and positioning of your book for the readership you intended to serve? Considerations on engaging the media, media training and the power of words deliberately spoken and deliberately not spoken will be discussed.

Lastly, how can video and film entice your readers to get your book on their bookshelf? Elizabeth will share examples of activities she worked on to position her books and how screenwriting and short films have become the next step to enhance her social health messages.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Dion Jensen – PTSD – How Creative Expression takes a soldier through PTSD and into a career

Author and international speaker and trainer, Dion Jensen is the Confidence Coach. However, it came from a journey of heartache as Dion learned how he could claim VICTORY over PTSD, by training those who have suffered trauma, in a SOLUTION based program, delivered in a language and manner that matches the background of The Warrior.

Now a two time published author, Dion’s book and concepts throughout have saved lives, including his own as he proved that PTSD was not a disorder.

Today we have an online interview to screen with Dion as he currently works in the South Pacific providing mental health and welfare solutions to foreign governments. We will find out how through writing Dion took on re-framing, externalising and challenging the status quo, providing an alternative perspective and solution. Dion talks about how exposing himself and writing this book was challenging, but also provided him peace; peace through serving and the impact it had on others.

Andy Cullen – Writing to Heal

Zoe and Andy Cullen

An Australian soldiers journey home through writing!

Andy is a veteran of 17 years service in the Australian Army. Retiring as a Major in 2012 having served 6 years as a soldier in the Royal Australian Infantry (RAINF) and later as an Officer in the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) focusing much of his career in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). He was awarded the COMMENDATION FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE for operations in Afghanistan. Zoe grew up in the tranquil hills of Byron Bay living in a mud brick home built by her parents. She has a passion for life, family and travel and after university married into the Army, her own career taking a back seat to Andy’s life as a Military Officer.

Andy was diagnosed with PTSD following multiple deployments to Afghanistan. Zoe was forced into the position of sole parent of their four young children. Andy’s condition worsened while he battled with a loss of identity and purpose following his retirement from the Army. He eventually ended up in a mental hospital falling into a dark depression that very nearly cost him his life leaving Zoe to pick up the pieces of the broken family.

Together they fought their way through the many challenges living with PTSD brings. Resurrected gives a unique insight into the realities of war and its effects on marriage and family. Told from the perspectives of both veteran and wife.

Andy and Zoe are Ambassadors for Mates4Mates, proudly supporting Defence Force injured and their families. They now facilitate the REBOOT Combat Recovery Course in Australia, It’s a course that provides practical help for service members, first responders and their families, addressing the moral and spiritual wounds of combat for both the veteran and the family that were fighting a battle of a different kind at home

Saturday, 20 July 2019 Theme – Children’s Books


Everyone has a story and wife/mother/police officer/debut author…Debz Pokai is no different. Debz will introduce the concept of her published work ‘The Rainbow Zoo’ and what it took to transition her mindset into authorship and the ‘why’ behind her creative expression.

Trade Published author and illustrator, Susy Boyer has worked as a freelance illustrator and painter for 30yrs. She works from her home studio beside the beach in the Byron Shire. Susy also runs a studio & gallery called “The Art Room” on the Gold Coast where she lived for many years while raising her three sons.

Here she regularly steps away from her own work to teach drawing to some wonderfully talented children, and to mentor young teenage artists.
Susy majored in Illustration and Design at The Qld College of Art, and after graduating spent five years working as a graphic designer for magazine publishers in Sydney and London. After some wonderful years as the Assistant Art Director of The Australian Women’s Weekly, a yearning for more drawing time led her to change to a full-time career in illustration. Susy loves working in publishing, especially children’s books and has illustrated more than 80 titles, from Picture Books to Readers for the educational market.

Saturday, 15th June 2019


The synopsis, the blurb and the logline, what’s the difference?


Award Winning author of ‘The Art of Self Love’, professional speaker, entrepreneur, and podcaster will be joining us to share the concepts behind her book. Constantly in demand nationally for speaking, Kim never fails to captivate, entertain and inspire.

Saturday, May 18th 2019

WRITING WORKSHOP – Clive Johnson Author

Award-winning non-fiction published author Clive Johnson, is back to further enhance our creative thinking with this 1-hour workshop on profiling.

PODCASTING – Brett McCallum

Published author of ‘Embrace The Fail’, professional speaker, storyteller, and podcaster will be joining us to share why it is important as creatives we embrace podcasting and some steps to consider if you plan on establishing a podcast.

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