Karen Dean Benson

IMG_00231As a young girl, Karen had a strong desire to put words on paper. She enlisted the help of her younger brothers to deliver a neatly hand-written newspaper throughout their Detroit neighborhood, Rosedale Park. This went on for several weeks until her mother lowered the boom  after a number of phone calls questioning the goings on in their home.

Years passed with Karen devouring book after book in the local library until one day she decided to try her hand writing historical fiction. After graduating from Northwood University, she married and spent the next years in the woodlands of Northern Michigan relishing the beauty of the Au Sable River.

In spite of, or because of, her growing family, she pounded out stories on a Royal Portable typewriter that bounced merrily across the desktop. The lusty voices of children in the background increased her fervor to lose oneself in another world.

Somewhere between diapering her first child and kissing the sixth off to college, she managed to resurrect what little she remembered about writing from the Dominican Nuns in the Detroit, Michigan parochial system. They had attempted to teach her how to diagram a sentence. Armed with this knowledge and her love of Jane Austen and Kathleen Woodiwiss’ memorable tales, Karen eventually swapped out the Royal for a thirty-pound Olympic that stayed put when typing.

Her love of research, history, and tales of convoluted lives adds spice to an already rich and rewarding family life. She weaves all this against the backdrop of a by-gone era and tosses in plenty of problems to solve. Her novels involve young women blundering through the social constraints of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Karen is published in numerous anthologies in Michigan and Florida with mainstream contemporary short fiction. This past January she signed a three-book contract with Melange books, titled Ladies of Mischief. The first book, Devil’s Grace – Renn Arelia’s Story, launched August 29, 2015.  Mission Song – Chenoa’s Story will be out early winter 2015.

Karen joined GCWA in February 2005. She and husband Charlie divide their time between golf courses in both states.

Visit her website at: http://karendeanbenson.com

Karen Dean Benson’s books

Jamilla D. Brooks

IMG_4577Jamilla is a native to beautiful Southwest Florida. Her love for writing started at a young age. Writing has allowed Jamilla to share her voice. As an Inspirational Speaker, Mentor, Spoken Word Christian Poet and soon to be published author, she has been able to perform and speak in many venues with her “Desire To Inspire.”

She recently landed her first role in a full feature film slated to be released in 2016. The indie film will be produced in beautiful Southwest Florida! She’s excited to embark on this new journey!

If you are a social butterfly be sure to Follow, Like, and Share! 

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Jamilla’s books

Mary Clista Dahl

mary_clista_dahl_250Mary Clista Dahl discovered her passion for pouring out her heart and soul on paper at age four when she journaled about true-life preschool drama in a miniature diary. Her desire to promote joy, love and compassion through the written word, combined with her perpetual wish to help others, have become the foundation for her life’s work, Capture Life Writing. She has been published in Reader’s Digest, Wall Street Journal College Journal, National Business Employment Weekly, and The Buffalo News. Mary, an avid nature advocate, is also a frequent contributor to the online journal, Naturewriting.com.

Her first book, Giddy as Charged, The Happy Manual, is available now at Amazon.com. Her one and only work of fiction produced the self-proclaimed worst romance novel ever written, the never published, “From the Moment You Said Good Morning.”

Mary earned her B.S. degree in Cultural Studies with a communication concentration from SUNY Empire State College and a certificate in Public Relations and Advertising from the University at Buffalo, where she has spent over thirty years on an enthusiastic journey assisting students on their academic and career paths.

She is a past winner of the UB Literary Guild Writing Contest and the most gratifying award ever, a lifelong listener of, “Have Mary do it, she likes to write.”

Visit her website at: http://capturelifewriting.com

Michael Cole

michael-coleMichael Cole is Assistant Professor of History at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Senior Editor of FCH Annals: Journal of the Florida Conference of Historians, a peer-reviewed academic journal.  His principal field is colonial Latin American history.  He is the author of several history articles, book reviews, and articles in specialized history encyclopedias.  His most recent article is entitled “A Spanish Entrepreneur in Early Colonial Mexico,” and is available electronically in volume 24 (at no cost) here: http://fch.ju.edu/fch_vol_21.pdf.

Anita Katherine Dennis

anitaDennisAnita Dennis received her BA in sociology, with a minor in anthropology from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1973. She was not only accepted into her husband’s Mende tribe in 1972, but she lived in his village for a year in 1983-84 as a lay missionary. She is the co-author of Slaves to Racism: An Unbroken Chain from America to Liberia, 2009. In 2014 she published Beyond Myself: The Farm Girl and the African Chief.

Visit http://anitakdennis.com for a movie of the tribal masked being, color photos, and her blog.
Watch her video at http://youtu.be/LRCCSyILJec

Anita Dennis’s books

Rebecca Elam

notavailJoined GCWA about nine years ago. I am a former Membership Chairman.
I have a children’s series that I work on when I have the time, but I mainly write for my husband who is a storyteller. He performs at least three times a month both locally and state-wide. That takes up a majority of my writing time. I enjoy this form of writing as I see my work come alive. I see what works and what doesn’t then go back and edit one more time. I am an original member of the Hurricane Critique Group. Without them, I would be lost. All my work receives a professional going over, no word left unturned, no comma ignored.

Pauline Hayton

Hayton hails from England and worked as a probation officer in her hometown of Middlesbrough for 12 years before immigrating to the United States in 1991 with her husband Peter. They live in Naples, Florida, willing slaves to four bossy cats.

Hayton never wanted to be a writer, but after listening to her father’s war stories and reading his tattered wartime diaries, she felt compelled to write his WWII memoir A Corporal’s War. Several magazine articles followed.

While researching her father’s memoir, she stumbled upon Ursula Graham Bower’s story and knew instantly that her next book would be about this amazing woman. The book is Naga Queen which is based on 8 years in Ursula Graham Bower’s life during WWII.

To celebrate surviving cancer twice, Hayton traveled to Myanmar in 2006. A travelogue of her journey is available as a Kindle book. ​

Chasing Brenda and If You Love me, Kill Me are two novellas published 2012 and 2013.

Her latest book is her memoir Still Pedaling.

Pauline Hayton’s books

Denise Holbrook

DeniseHDenise Holbrook began her writing career as a photojournalist and editor for a weekly newspaper chain in the Lake Okeechobee region of south central Florida, covering everything from rodeos to drug plane crashes. When her family moved to the Fort Myers area, her writing focused mostly on real estate marketing, political campaigns, and technical presentations.

Her editorial columns and character profiles were regular features in the Lehigh Acres Citizen newspaper and Gulf Coast Woman Magazine, running the gamut from political commentary to the ups and downs of raising a family.

More recently, she won the first place award for fiction in the 2012 Gulf Coast Writers Association Writing Contest.

She is a staff editor for Jacobs Writing Consultants, and served as the program chair and vice president of the Gulf Coast Writers Association for 2013 and 2014.

She enjoys writing a devotion blog for NASCAR fans. Her children’s book, Doors, is available through Amazon and other online booksellers.

Denise Holbrooks’ books

Connie Hope

Connie-PhotoI have always wanted to write. When I was 10 years old, I won first prize in a Patriotism contest at the Children of the American Revolution (CAR). I said to my mother, “I want to be a writer.” My mother said, “Find a profession that will pay some money.” I wrote articles for the school newspaper, the local newspaper and a few magazines, but it wasn’t until I came to Florida eight years ago that I decided it was now my time to write.

I spent a year and a half creating my first cookbook, “In Addition…to the Entrée”. It’s all about the important side dishes which compliments the main dishes. It is a personal guide to help the busy working person as well as anyone to decide what to serve as a side dish for the meal. The book has one hundred and sixty recipes, over two hundred color photos, and is divided into fourteen sections with an extensive index.

Then I started working on my novel, “The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts)”. Victoria Storm is facing a divorce and wants to do something different with the rest of her life. But what? She receives a cell call from someone who suggests she opens a tea room like her grandmother in her hometown of Metuchen, New Jersey. And who was that who called?

She buys an old house, renovates it into a tea room and has lots of encounters with uninvited guests or are they ghosts?

Please check out www.cookingbyconnie.com and thebonnieneuktearoom.com for more information, ordering, pricing, and photos. The cookbook is $15.00 and the novel is $10.00, plus postage if you want it mailed.

You can also purchase The Bonnie Neuk through www.Createspace.com/4775503 or on Amazon.com Or either book from the back of my car.

Visit her website at: www.thebonnieneuktearoom.com

Connie Hope’s books