Collaborative Writing Challenge

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
― Helen Keller

The Concierge - Meet the Writers

Laura Callender - 33 - New York, USA 

CWC Founder & Story Coordinator 


My first piece of fiction was written when I was only 12 years old. I described in detail how it made me feel to watch my favorite cardigan as it swirled around the washing machine. My teacher gave me praise, but I never really thought much about writing until I reached my early twenties. I started with poetry, and then moved on to short stories, eventually progressing to full chapters that matured with me. For me, age and experience really honed my writing ability, and I started to believe that I could one day publish a full length story. I’m still working towards that goal, but I’m proud to say my first completed book was written for my daughter and published in November 2014. You can find: Jungle Gym - Baby Animals on Amazon, and I have two more children’s books written and planned for the near future. 


Born in Liverpool, England, and raised in North Wales by my wonderful parents, I finally escaped and travelled the world. I met my husband David whilst he was in the UK, and subsequently moved to New York, USA to begin our life together. Our beautiful daughter was the icing on the cake, and she has played a huge part in allowing me to finally realize my decade old dream of organizing a successful collaborative writing project. Seeing this come together has really taught me to never give up on your ideas! 

Eleftheria Chrysochoou - 30 - Athens, Greece (Chapter 2 & 17 Author)


I started writing stories as a child and my growing love for writing eventually led me to pursue a degree in English & Literature. I have been a video game reviewer since the mid 2000's, a translator for nearly the same number of years, and recently became a qualified English language teacher. After a year of engineering studies in England and a few years of living in Sweden, I currently live in my home country and never take a single day for granted!

Rochelle Vaisanen - 33 - Ipswich, Austrailia (Chapter 3 Author)


Rochelle is a traveller-at-heart with an insatiable appetite for good food and healthy living. Her travel bug started when she lived in Chile for three months at 19 years of age. Her love for travel has been satisfied by flying the skies for work, which has taken her to Asia, South America, Middle East, America and Europe.

 

Here passion for writing was unearthed when she started a blog out of necessity - to document her journey through breast cancer treatment. It started as a means to keep her friends around the world up-to-date on how her treatment was progressing, but she soon realized she had a creative itch hidden deep below the surface for the written word. Since then she has dabbled in feature writing, editing and now creative writing. As well as working on this collaborative novel, Rochelle writes regular freelance articles for an online health website - Holistchic: www.holistchic.com, all whilst soaring the skies for work and training for triathlons. 


Her future life goals are: to grow her hair again (it’s a slow process after losing it to cancer), publish her breast cancer blog - Cancer Triathlon: www.cancertriathlon.com, and represent Australia in her age group at ITU World Championships. 

Christopher Robin - 27 - Melbourne, Australia - Chapter 4 Author

Chris Chalmers writes under the nom de plume 'Christopher Robin', mostly to spite this alarming oversight by his parents. His body resides in a bustling small town in Melbourne yet he spends the majority of his time inside his mind. Despite escaping the womb brandishing both pen and paper, it was only at age 10 when he began to make artful coherence of the pair. He has a small but powerful body - of work. It wasn't until he discovered an online community - more in need of a red pen than your average english class - that he considered publishing his writing. Like a mercenary who failed negotiation class, he is available for hire for only the vague notion that there might be something in it for him. The Concierge marks the first contribution of his that will go to print, but it will certainly not be the last. It is rumored that when not trapped behind a keyboard, you can find him trapped behind a keyboard, either saving the world or grinning maniacally as he finishes yet another perfect sentence.

You can find an alarming chunk of his work at www.writerscafe.org/youfoundchris
Krista Michelle - 32 - BC, Canada (Chapter 5 Author)

I am a proud Canadian, who lives in a small scenic seaside town. As the mother of a beautiful 9 year old daughter, I work hard to ensure I can enjoy my downtime with her. We love hanging out, and going for coffee, and I secretly hope my passion for writing rubs off on her. I always knew that writing and making literacy available to anyone, anywhere, was a passion of mine! So I picked up pen and paper, and the rest is history.


I am currently working on my first novel "The Keys", coming soon, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, being part of a Collaborative Writing Challenge has meant so much to me, and where I feel my future as a writer lies. As the Author of Chapter 5 of "The Concierge", it seems natural to fall in step with my fellow writers in an organized manner that utilizes all of our ideas into one book. It's great to see how our ideas flow! I look forward to my next chapter on this book, and also future projects! I’m also delighted that any publishing royalties from this novel will go to a worthwhile literary charity, which makes it all worthwhile!

Hope Louizes - 17 - Huntingtown, MD (Chapter 6 Author)


Hope, as a freshman student of International Studies and Political Science, is one of the youngest (maybe the youngest?) writers on this project. She has a healthy appreciation for Netflix, coffee, and writing in her spare time, but had previously never been published, so this is a new and exciting step for her. The opportunity to collaborate with so many different authors from a variety of countries and ages gave her insight to different styles of writing, and she is very thankful. 

L. Vancelli - 38 - Atlanta, GA (Chapter 7 & 16 Author & CWC Story Coordinator for Ambition)


Allie Love Vance is a professional who writes under the pseudonym L.Vancelli.  When she's not mastering the art of multi-tasking, she teleports into the experiences of her fictional characters whose stories are forthcoming. She resides in Georgia where she is pursuing a dual degree in English Literature and Arabic. She is thrilled to be a contributing author with CWC, and also CWC's first appointed story coordinator. The Concierge is her first collaborative project. You can find her on Twitter @vancelliwrites.

A. Logan - 29 - Portland, Texas (Chapter 8 Author)


A. Logan is a 29 year old adolescent burdened with the struggles of adulthood. Along with dabbling in writing stories, he has become accomplished at messing around on the guitar, songwriting, and sarcasm. He is very guarded with his words, however when he gets into the flow of writing, his imagination takes over and he produces some wonderful work. The Concierge gave A. Logan the opportunity to dive into the middle of a story, and he brought some much needed fire into the main character; Clarissa's life.

Moya Rooke - 70 - Lincolnshire, UK (Chapter 9 Author)


Moya Rooke lives in a tiny village in Lincolnshire, England. She is the oldest writer on this collaboration but does not let that intimidate her as she says there may be snow on the roof but there's still a fire in the cellar. However, she is proud to be part of this collaboration especially since reading the bios of fellow participants, as she did not realize she was in such illustrious company. She has spent nearly all her life working with animals and has had three different boarding kennels. She now finally has time to indulge her other passion; writing. 


Moya has not only contributed to The Concierge, but her starter chapter: Ambition, was selected by the writers of our second collaboration, set to be published in September 2015. She is looking forward to seeing how this first project is received.

Kaylee Kosakowski - 18 - Queens NY (Chapter 10 & 23 Author)


Kaylee Kosakowski is a student studying Television, Film, and Communications. She has always found writing to be her favorite outlet and has worked to improve her skills as a storyteller. From scripts to poetry to short stories to novels, she has dabbled in all areas of writing. In her spare time, she collaborates with her friend to create a marvelous story that they hope will one day be published. 


Being one of the younger writers in the project, she fully embraces the opportunity to work with other great authors and people, trusting that every experience will guide her as she grows. Kaylee herself can stand proud having had two chapters selected for The Concierge, and another chapter selected for our second collaboration: Ambition. It’s hard to believe a writer has acquired such diverse skills so early on. This writer is certainly one to watch. She can be found on Twitter: @asiankayleeann.

Charlotte Rose Lange - 21 - Madison, USA (Chapter 11 & 18 Author)

Charlotte Rose Lange is a recent college grad who works with adult literacy in Wisconsin. Her favorite part about CWC is sorting through all the strings, tying them together, and adding her own bead. She writes best under pressure, so CWC is a perfect fit.

You can read her work at http://www.writerscafe.org/clange. She is an avid chess player and debater, which shows through in her writing style.

Rachael Steele-Gooch - 39 - New York, USA (Chapter 12, 25 & Mr. Creed)


Having recently relocated to New York City, this new chapter of Rachael’s life also includes finally being able to let her creative juices flow and start her journey into writing. An Australian born adventurer, Rachael has also had the pleasure of living in England, Canada and Japan.  


An avid reader from a young age, Rachael studied Journalism in High school, has dabbled in some poetry and contributed to the travel section of the Qantas Crew Magazine at her former job. This writer is beginning her journey into Creative Writing by contributing to CWC ‘s firsts project: The Concierge, as well as the second project: Ambition, and is also eagerly awaiting her turn to submit a chapter for the third collaboration: Ark.


Rachael is currently taking a short course at “The Writing Institute” at Sarah Lawrence College and is excited to start further courses to help hone her skills in the creative writing field. After a childhood growing up in rural Australia, her worldly travels, and a passion for adventure and other cultures, Rachael has a stockpile of memories and experiences she is eager to share with the world.

Virginia Carraway Stark - 25 - BC, Canada (Chapter 13, 19, 26 & 28 Author)


Virginia is a Canadian author and screenwriter who lives in British Columbia, Canada. Her scripts have been made into movies (BlindEYE and Truth and Wine) and online podcasts (Candid Shots of the VPD). Virginia has written several dozen well-researched blog articles about cutting edge biochemistry and health topics for wellness websites and pubmed.com. In addition, she promotes the remarkable turnaround of the African country Rwanda with My Rwandaful Blog, where she educates readers about everything from mountain gorillas to murderous lakes. 

Currently, Virginia is editor in chief at StarkLight Press, a leading Canadian publishing house devoted to science and speculative fiction. She promoted her new novel, Dalton's Daughter, as well as her short story anthology Tales from Space, at VCON (Vancouver Science Fiction Convention) this year to great acclaim. In addition to introducing VCON audiences to her alien race the Gendlers, Virginia also picked up her Aurora Award Nominee Pin. 

Both aforementioned works center around the Galactic Armed Forces Science Fiction Universe, the immersive and open-ended worldscape loved by fans all over the world. Virginia Carraway Stark is co-creator of this universe, and co-editor of its online incarnation the GAF Mainframe. Virginia has also written stories for StarkLight Volumes 1, 2 and 3. These fascinating anthologies compile the winners of StarkLight Press' short story contests, which are open to first time, fresh authors from all over the world. 

In between writing projects, Virginia finds time to record excerpts from StarkLight Press' catalogue on YouTube and runs online writing and poetry workshops. She resides with her husband in the country, where they are surrounded by several dogs, waterfowl and a small herd of goats.  She is also an international representative of the National Paranormal Society of America. 

Websites: www.starklightpress.comwww.ihavememory.wordpress.comwww.myrwandafulblog.wordpress.comabout.me/virginia_carrawaywww.gafmainframe.com

Awards: Aurora Award/ Prix Aurora Nominee 2013, Winner StarkLight Press Short Story Contest, Notable Mention New Writer Cannes Film Festival 2006-7

Mandi Millen - 50 - Holargos, Near Athens, Greece (Chapter 14, 27 & Flash Chapter Author/Editor)


Long of limb, broad of beam, open of mind and impatient by nature, I can sometimes wreak havoc without meaning to. But I mean well. Originally from the south-east of England, I can’t remember a time when I was wasn’t in love with words. I started my working life as a reporter for a weekly local newspaper in south London, then moving onto a daily regional covering Sussex. After a brief stint as a Press Officer, I took what I thought was going to be a six-month career break, working as a holiday rep in Greece. That was in 1989, and I’m still here. What happened? Nikos happened, that’s what. He persuaded me to stay and we’ve now been married for 20 years and have a son who turns 18 in February 2015. I still write for a living, in I think of as Corporate Journalism, but it’s on my blog http://shemeanswellbut.blogspot.com that I release my inner word nerd to churn out short stories, reflections on life and general burblings.

Kevin Grover - 39 - Chatham, UK (Chapter 15 & 21 Author)


Kevin has been writing stories since he was ten years old, favoring science fiction, fantasy and horror. In 2012 he managed publish his first piece by coming second in Writing Magazine’s annual ghost story competition, which was a real boost for him. Since then he has been writing numerous short stories that he publishes on ABCtales.com and is also deep in the depths of a devilish horror novel. 


Kevin’s primary role is as a police officer in London. He is often able to draw a lot of inspiration from his experiences at work. Juggling work and writing is often difficult and he finds himself writing well into the early hours. Writing has been something Kevin felt an overwhelming need to do, and his biggest influence has been Stephen King. 


Kevin describes himself as a major geek, who can be found watching old episodes of Doctor Who when not reading or writing. Participating in The Concierge has been a challenge for Kevin, as its not his preferred Genre of writing. Despite this he has had a lot of fun and finds it interesting seeing where the story will be taken by each new writer.

Elaine Padgett Carnegie - 58 - Texas, USA (Chapter 20 & Flash Chapter(s) Author/Editor)

A native Texan filled with the love of the lore we cut our teeth on; I was born with a passion for writing, communication and challenge. Even as a young child I wrote poetry and I have always loved pouring what is inside of me onto a blank sheet of paper. My first job was at a small town Newspaper in Crosby, Texas at the age of 15. I write for a weekly paper now in the Texas Hill Country and other small publications. I became a paralegal in the early 90’s and I have been a Licensed Private Investigator for ten years. I now have my own company and I edit manuscripts for publication, build websites and do product script. (My company is EC Diversity at www.ecdiversity.com) 


I raised a large family working as a paralegal, and I dealt black jack at two casinos for a couple of years. I have settled in the picturesque Deep East Texas Piney Woods near a scenic private lake. I love it here and with my children grown I am attempting my first full length novel this year and I am very excited about it! I am also delighted to be a part of “The Concierge” team. It has been wonderful watching the characters grow and the plot untwist, and sharing it with the talented writers on this team. Kudos to Laura for her hard work and keeping us all together and in line!

Sophie Flowers - 31 - Cheltenham, UK (Chapter 22 Author) 

      

Sophie is a journalist and writes fiction in her spare time. She has recently launched a publishing company, green eye coeur presse, which helps authors transform their writing into e-books. As Editorial Director, Sophie is responsible for ensuring that every word published is perfect! She is a member of Montpellier Writers' Group in Cheltenham, where she is constantly inspired by talented writers, and where she met fellow author, poet and now business partner Guy Mortenson with whom she is building a publishing empire and plotting to take over the world. 


Sophie started out working in publishing and then became a reporter and news editor on a local paper, before honing her editing skills at a global online publication. New horizons are beckoning, but you can be sure that it will involve words, editing and perfectionism!

Sophie Southwood - 31 - UK (Chapter 24 Author)


My school teacher Mr. James had us studying pride and prejudice at school, I fell in love with Jane Austen novels from then onwards, but this also sparked my love for reading as well as creative writing. 


As life became more demanding after studying I only had time to read now and again, so haven't written anything for years. When Laura set up CWC I just had to get on board. I had my son 10 1/2 months ago, it was during his naps he allowed me to get stuck into writing again, and I escaped into the lives of the characters featured in the collaborations. 


I surprised myself when not only one, but two of my chapters had be chosen for the novels. I was over the moon to know I still had it in me. It really has got my creative juices flowing again, and I recommend CWC to anyone tempted to experience something new and unique. If your thinking about it, don't.....JUST DO IT!!... It's a rewarding step you can take to get back into writing.

Sharon Flood - 63 - Ottawa, Canada (Volunteer Editor)


Sharon flood is a writer who lives in the Ottawa Valley of Canada. She did some writing growing up, and in High School, but after that she went to work, got married, and her writing was put aside for decades. In October of 2008 she discovered  a collaborative writer's site which reawakened her passion for writing. She hasn't stopped writing since. After forty years of working in retail, she retired in 2013. She now has more time to devote to her favourite pastimes – reading and writing. 


She has the cover story in a time travel anthology called Forevermore, which has now been published. She did a great deal of the editing on her anthology, as well as for a number of independent authors on her writer's site.