Collaborative Writing Challenge

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

Esyld's Awakening Meet the Writers

CWC Story Coordinator

T.S. Dickerson

Tara is a long-time lover of storytelling. She began writing for fun in fourth grade; her first work was a poem about dolphins. She wrote for her high-school and college newspapers and her college’s literary magazine but chose a different career path, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Equine Science. 

After joining a group of friends for a weekly “poetry night” at a local restaurant, she rediscovered her love of writing. Now, she has decided to take her passion seriously. 

Tara joined the CWC in their fifth collaboration, The Map. She enjoyed the experience so much that she jumped at the chance to become story-coordinator for Esyld’s Awakening.

In addition to her work with the CWC, Tara is in the final stages of writing a post-apocalyptic romance titled The Scarring Underneath.

Tara is happily married with two human children, three dogs, and a cat. Born and raised in Montana, she has also lived in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania, and currently resides in North Dakota.

Connect with Tara at:

Jean Grabow

Chapter 7

Jean Grabow works in an advertising agency and goes from writing copy to writing fiction during the evenings and weekends. She is currently working on two projects, a Young Adult novel and an adult novel based on her work experiences. Jean is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and holds a Certificate in Fiction Writing from the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program. Jean enjoyed writing a chapter for Wytch Born, her first CWC project, and “Retribution,“ her first collaborative short story. She lives in the Los Angeles, where most things seem like fiction.

Mike J Smith

Chapter 3

A scientist who has spent his working life drafting reports and technical articles, staying within the strictures of the third person and being precise in the use of language. His reading is entirely science based revolving around journal articles and technical books. 

Any free time is spent taking photos and reading about photography. He has a number of articles published in photography magazines. As editor of a science journal he spends much time reviewing and copy editing the writing of others. He has not written fiction since high school and Ark was his first foray. He thoroughly enjoyed contributing and says 'it was a blast!'.

Kate Landers

Chapter 12 & 18

Kate Landers is originally from Texas, but now resides in Tennessee, where she has recently learned there are seasons other than just "Hot" and "Hotter." Writing for Esyld's Awakening was her first attempt at fantasy fiction. She is a member of the local writer's guild as well as the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Most of her writing is for children, but when her babies become surly teenagers, she will most likely have to find a new category. You can find her on Twitter @OQueKate, where she tweets about the writing process, parenting, and other subjects she knows very little about.

Sharnita Sanders

Chapter 6

Sharnita Sanders is an Oakland University senior currently studying Creative Writing and Linguistics. A writer since the sixth grade, any given time there are a slew of characters pacing the colorful lengths of her mind. An avid editor and proofreader, she is a former copyeditor and blog contributor to the Oakland Arts Review, a literary journal that not only publishes undergraduate work but is run by undergrads themselves.

Phoebe Darqueling

Chapter 6

Gears, goggles, and glamour; Corsets, crafts, and creativity; Sci-fi, silliness, and Steampunk; Dirigibles, dancing, and DIY; Physics, phonics, and phoenixes; Bustles, balloons, and beads; Lace, leather, and life; Fantasy, feathers, and flaws; Paper, piercings, and pirates!

I got interested in Steampunk starting in 2009 but I haven’t had a chance to be as active in the scene as I’d like to be. I thought having a blog where I could store all of the resources I find and share it with the growing community of steampunk enthusiasts would be a great way to start. It’s clear that this is a genre and aesthetic that is exploding and I want to be a part of it.

My background is in Anthropology, Art History and Museum Studies, so I see this site as a sort of living digital museum that I get to curate. For the past 3+ years, my husband, tiny dog and I have been living the lives of vagabonds and bouncing between places as far off as Bulgaria and as familiar as MN where I grew up. We’re in Michigan for the moment, but only Fate knows how long that will last…

Crystal M M Burton

Chapter 10

Crystal lives in rural Central Texas with her loving husband and their three energetic children. She is a veteran of the United States Navy who now proudly serves as a stay-at-home mother and wife. She works from home as an author and editor, and in her free time enjoys crocheting, gaming, and movie marathons. When she’s not writing or chasing the children, Crystal is either exploring her passion for learning or diving into one of her favorite fandoms.

She has been published in multiple short story anthologies, and co-authored a zombie fiction novel with five other writers, coming in 2016. Her most recent project, Light & Shadow, is a fantasy novel, written in tandem with an intertwining companion novel, Shadow & Light, by friend and author M.W. King. Their books are being represented by Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc. and are set to be released in 2017. Crystal is currently working on an epic, high-fantasy series titled Aspect.

She got involved with the CWC during project three, Ark, and loves the teamwork and creative process that goes into a CWC novel. She’s excited to help bring another collaborative novel into existence, this time as the Story Coordinator.

L.S. Christoper

Chapter 13 & 21

L.S. Christopher is the somewhat eccentric author of Tales from the Crossing at Barracuda Flats and numerous short stories that cross a multiplicity of genres, and she has never met a plot bunny that didn't morph into a rabid jackalope somewhere along the line. In between writing stories and maintaining her blog at she enjoys cooking, crafting and tabletop games and has a disturbing fondness for B-movies and quirky YouTube videos. She currently lives in the Indianapolis area with her very nice wife and several not-so-nice cats, and frequently takes long walks after dinner to try to catch more Pokemon that aren't rats or pigeons.  Wytch Born is her first project with the CWC. 

Chris Donovan

Chapter 9

Christopher Donovan is an aspiring screenwriter, with a degree in Writing for Film and Television from the University of the Arts. Chris is currently working two jobs while simultaneously trying to overcome his massive procrastination problem to create more original works. While Chris is trained and capable of writing short stories, plays, and television scripts, he is most comfortable creating feature length film scripts.

Chris usually frequents the horror genre. While out of his element, Chris sees this opportunity as a way to practice writing outside of his comfort zone and broaden his thematic horizons. He dreams of bringing some of his horror to the big screen and also whishes to one day be able to write a SyFy original film. He can be found on Twitter: @The_Don_17 and on his Tumblr: @professionalhorror, which he uses to release weekly short horror stories and horror movie reviews

Sarah Stone

Chapter 4

Sarah got her start as a writer with fanfiction and her grandfather’s old Windows ’95 desktop computer. After writing all the way through high school, she went to Hollins University for writing and emerged with a BA in History and English with a concentration in creative writing. 

It was in early 2015 that Sarah discovered the Collaborative Writing Challenge. She signed up for CWC’s project five, The Map, and loves the challenge of working on a collaborative novel. She is also involved in project six, Esyld's Awakening

Sarah has worked as a freelance writer, and her articles have been published both online and in-print. She blogs regularly at

Scott Clegg

Chapter 11

My name is Scott Clegg, 40 years old from San Antonio TX. Originally from Southern California. I moved here over 10 years ago for a better life, slower pace and wide open spaces. I'm a married father of three with a full time profession as a Radiologic Technologist. I began writing nearly 20 years ago when I penned a full length motion picture screenplay titled Bigfoot. It made the rounds to the Hollywood elites, but nothing ever materialized from it. 

I'm currently adapting it to a full length novel, because a good story needs to bed told. It's a little slow going with my schedule, but I'm having a great time doing it. I have my fingers in a few other pies as well, attempting to write a serial story piece about a Super Hero, and also a YA science fiction novel about a time traveling boy. All my work can be found at Stop by for a read, follow, leave some feedback and let's bounce ideas off one another. I hope you enjoy.

Charlotte Rose Lange

Chapter 5

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 She is an avid chess player and debater, which shows through in her writing style.

Liz Butcher

Chapter 1 & 16

Liz Butcher resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, daughter, and two cats, Pandora and Zeus. While writing is her passion, her numerous interests include psychology, history, astronomy, the paranormal, mythology, reading, art and music – all which help fuel her imagination. She also loves being out in nature, especially amongst the trees or near the water. Liz has published a number of short stories in anthologies and currently has a multitude of projects in the works including her upcoming novel, ‘Fates Revenge’.








Kevin Boardman

Chapter 9

Kevin Boardman was born and raised in northeast Ohio. Since the age of 10, he has loved the idea of writing. While in high school, he created a trilogy of fantasy works that totaled over 150 hand-written pages. He has written several adventures for the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game for his own use, and is currently looking at publishing his own fantasy world for use in the latest edition of the game. He is an avid RPG gamer and organizes the D&D Adventurers’ League in his area. He currently lives in the Chattanooga, TN area with his wife Alicia and his children Alex, Krissy, and Kara.

Jonny Caputo

Chapter 14 & 22

Johnny Caputo is a pirate, but only part time. He spends the rest of his time teaching, reading comic books, going for the occasional guilt-inspired run, and writing. He received his MFA in creative writing from Chatham University in 2016. His work is forthcoming in The Pea River Journal and the collaborative novel Eslyd’s Awakening. You can read more about him work at or by following him on Twitter @gojohnnycap. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio where is plenty of loot to be plundered and grog to be drunk.

Cathrine Arne

Chapter 10

After graduating from William and Mary with a degree in English, Catherine spent seven years in NYC in the editorial departments of Ladies’ Home Journal and Guideposts magazines. Then, armed with a brand-new master’s in counseling, she moved to Pennsylvania where she worked as a therapist and nonprofit program coordinator.

In 2012, she got a second master’s, this time in creative writing. Her master’s thesis was a satirical novel, Animals, Inc., a modern-day version of Animal Farm. When she decided to adapt the novel into a screenplay on a lark, she fell in love with screenwriting and embarked on a new career. She now writes book-to-screen adaptations for an LA-based media company, while working on her own projects. Currently she is finishing up a television series about a psychopath uprising.

Catherine also opened her own escape room business last April, which has been more work that she ever imagined! Although it has been quite a learning experience, she’s looking forward to getting back to writing full time in the near future. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, two dogs, and three cats.

Jason Pere

Chapter 17 & 22

A Fresh new addition to the community with “Ark” and CWC’s resident Swashbuckler. Jason Pere is a native New Englander, currently residing in Connecticut with his wife and two rambunctious cats. He has had a long standing passion with the arts. 

As early as the age of six Jason knew that he wanted to do something creative with his life. He tried his hand at several mediums, picking up a strong interest in acting for film and theater at the age of thirteen and focusing on that craft for over a decade. Life directed Jason to drift away from film and theater over the years and pick up writing as a form of creative expression. He began with poetry and journaling. Every so often Jason would scribble down an odd short story or two. Finally in November of 2012 Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet, a collection of original poetry and philosophy.

After publication of that book Jason took some time away from novel writing to work in the world of collectible card games, board games and other forms of professional Dorkery. He continued to dabble in poetry and picked at competitive short story writing. Jason returned to full length novel writing in October of 2014 with the “Purgatory” series, a dark fantasy title. The first book in the series is set to be published in late 2015. 

Jason discovered CWC early on in 2015 and has been a passionate member since, diving into multiple collaborative fiction projects with other CWC authors. When not writing or enduring his “Real World Job” Jason enjoys, Netflix time with his family, breaking out obscure board games and dorking out with friends, firing up the his game console and surviving a Zombie Apocalypse or indulging in baked goods and sleep.

Lorah Jaiyn

Chapter 3, 8, 19

Lorah Jaiyn started to focus on her writing career after she developed a nasty case of empty nest syndrome. Her fiction has appeared online at Speculative 66, 101 Words, Our Write Side, and Dark Chapter Press, and she has short stories that will soon appear in several different anthologies and e-zines. Lorah has novels-in-progress that cover multiple genres, each blended with a romantic element. Lorah spends her days behind a desk, and writes in the evenings while entertained by her muse and greatest distraction, Cena, her Jack Russell terrier. She enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors, being a mom and Gramma, and is a total Hallmark Channel addict. Lorah can be found on and Twitter @writerlorahj.

Claire Chitty

Chapter 23

Claire Chitty is based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, UK, where she writes mainly horror, paranormal and historical thriller fiction.

Growing up with a ferocious thirst for reading inspired her to pick up the pen and publish her first short story in a woman's magazine in her early 20s. Since then, Claire has written and published stories and poems in magazines, websites, and anthologies.

As well as proudly writing novels with the CWC she is currently working on her own novels as well as continuing to write short stories. All this is done in the company of her five scaley muses: 3 snakes, a gecko, and a very spoilt bearded dragon. 

Gisela Pechmann

Chapter 24

Gisela resides in a suburb of Vienna, Austria, where she earns a living as mediator between misunderstood computers and confused users. As IT specialist, she has been writing programs, manuals and training documents for about two decades now, but writing fiction is a fairly new passion of hers. Although fictional people and stories have been roaming her mind all her life, committing them to the page had not occurred to her until she came across a free online course for creative writing. Armed with the basics and helpful feedback from her peers, she delved ever deeper into the joys and challenges of the craft and soon realized that she was hooked for life.

Apart from writing, Gisela enjoys quiet evenings with her husband, with whom she shares a love for everything geeky. She also collects toy crocodiles and elks without rhyme or reason, tries to learn as many languages as her brain can process and is notoriously curious about natural, formal and social sciences, which often play a major role in her stories. In addition to a few short stories, she's currently working on a sci-fi novel and when the mood strikes her, she also writes awful poetry. Esyld's Awakening is her first CWC project, but when another project comes up, she won’t hesitate to sign on again.

Meghan Barrett

Chapter 27

Meghan Barrett is currently earning her PhD in entomology, studying bee, wasp, and ant brains, and working towards a MS in STEM Education as well. Meghan spends her "free time" writing ecofeminist poetry, which can be found in a variety of publications including Crabfat, Palaver, and Gandy Dancer magazinesMeghan is an assistant poetry editor at Storm Cellar Quarterly and a member of the Philadelphia chapter of Neuwrite. She loves hazlenut coffee, all Megachilidae, and her cat, Nyx. Esyld's Awakening is Meghan's first time with CWC, but certainly not her last! You can find out more about her poetry and science writing on Facebook, Twitter (@Abiogenesister), and on her website:

Douglas Esper

Chapters 4b & 16b

Douglas Esper is an author from Cleveland, Ohio with publishing credits through Limitless publishing, ScoutMedia publishing, FrontierTales Magazine and more. He is a vocalist and percussionist who last year performed over eighty shows in five countries with Chuck Mosley (Ex-Faith No More, Ex-Bad Brains, VUA, Indoria, Primitive Race). Douglas is currently shopping a mystery/thriller novel, In The Watershed, and writing an MG/YA fantasy/adventure series. He is also writing his first nonfiction book, about his extensive touring, including Chuck Mosley's two show reunion with Faith No More and other tales from the road.