Melody Jones Author and President of the Western Colorado Writers' Forum

Melody Jones

President

Melody Jones is a published writer and poet, speaker, crafter, coffee enthusiast, lover of beagles, and Colorado native. A Palisade girl, she recently returned to the western slope after 30 years in the Denver area.

After a 20-year career in social work working with at-risk youth in the foster care system, she became involved in various writer and author groups on Colorado's Front Range. Melody realized there was a true need for social media help in the writer world, and an accidental entrepreneur was born. She provides consultation, management, workshops, trainings, retreats, and conference presentations on all things social media with a special focus on writers and authors. She still works in social media on a limited basis.

Melody served as Vice President and Communications Chair for the Denver Woman's Press Club from 2019-2021. Her current role there is social media consultant and manager.

To her great delight, she won first place in the Mesa County Library Poetry Contest in May 2022. Read her winning poem The Sun and The Moon here.

Currently, Melody hosts Writer Chicks Coffee Club Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. at Main Street Bagels in Grand Junction.

She's the founder and host of Creativity Retreats for Writers, host of the Grand Junction-based Butt in Seat Writing Group, and runs online writing groups as well.

Find out more at her website: MelodyJonesAuthor.com.

Follow her on social media: Facebook; Instagram; LinkedIn.

She looks forward to getting to know the writing community on the western slope!

virginia-jensen-bio

Virginia Jensen

Vice President

My life has been full of study, spiritual search, marriages and a career in graphic design, publication and beadwork. I’ve been writing poetry and fiction for decades now, both to capture deep personal experience for myself and to relish the way words sing and mean.

Only recently have I submitted for publication and have had four poems accepted for publication so far. I have four books of beadwork designs, with my own instruction and illustration, published by Kalmbach books, a major publisher of craft books and magazines.

I have a BA, but I have pursued learning in an organic way, studying writing and art at Winthrop in SC, art at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, design at University of Utah, and writing at University of New Mexico. I've participated in numerous critique groups, workshops and conferences in Albuquerque, Grand Junction and Denver.

I can't say enough about the value of critique groups to a growing writer. Poetry especially can be a deep personal experience, and having the feedback of others who are equally invested in writing can build trust in your own expression and form.

I have been on the board of WCWF for nearly four years, serving as Chairman for a year and publicity director for two. I designed, wrote, and produced the WCWF newsletter from October 2015 to January 2022. Watching WCWF grow and regenerate into new areas and offer the community so many wonderful opportunities to expand their writing skills and enjoy the wonderful works of local writers has been more than fulfilling, it has been a joy.

Caleb Ferganchick

Caleb Ferganchick

Secretary

Caleb Ferganchick is a rural, queer, slam poet-activist and author of The Secret of Sunflowers (2021) and Poetry Heels (2018). His work has been featured and published by Western Colorado Writer’s Forum (2021), South Broadway Ghost Society (2021, 2020), “Slam Ur Ex ((the podcast))” (2020), and the Colorado Mesa University Literary Review. He organizes the annual Slamming Bricks poetry slam competition in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and serves as a board member for Western Colorado Writer’s Form and Mutual Aid Partners. A SUP river guide and speech and debate coach, Caleb also dreams of establishing a queer commune with a river otter rescue and falconry. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado. To learn more, visit calebferganchick.com.

John Lanci

John Lanci

Interim Treasurer

Born and raised in upstate New York, John taught for over thirty years at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts, where he remains a professor emeritus in the department of Religious Studies. He holds degrees in classics, ministry, and religion from NYU, Notre Dame, and Harvard. After retiring, he moved to Grand Junction in 2020 to be closer to his family and to finally enjoy life in high desert country after decades of high humidity, lush mosquito-harboring vegetation, weeks of cloudy days, and periodic hurricanes. He has published two books and a monograph on the Bible as well as a number of academic articles on religion and pedagogy. Now he writes for fun.

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Member-at-Large

Avery Brooks grew up on the East Coast and has spent the years since gradually moving west. She has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology and has spent much of her life studying dominance, climate change, social justice issues, and human rights atrocities. While conducting postdoctoral research in New Orleans, she fell in love with the city, which has featured prominently in her writing. She has taught at multiple universities, but her most rewarding experiences involved teaching interdisciplinary courses on dominance, climate change, and LGBTQ+ studies.

Avery is a graduate of the 2018 Golden Crown Literary Society’s Writing Academy. She serves as curator and editor of the Slamming Bricks Anthology, which features poetry from LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and AAPI poets on themes of resistance and liberation. When she’s not busy reading and writing fiction, she serves as a freelance writer and freelance copy editor for other authors and uses her free time to advocate for social justice issues, women’s empowerment, and animal conservation in the face of a rapidly changing climate. She enjoys hiking with her two dogs, trying different microbrews, and rooting for the Saints. You can find more information about her at https://averybrooksauthor.com and on social media at:

Facebook:@averybrooksauthor
Instagram:@Averybrooksauthor
Twitter:@AuthorAvery

ChristieMathernePic

Christie Matherne

Member-at-Large

Christie Matherne is a published writer, editor, photographer, and journalist. A South Louisiana native and newcomer to the Grand Valley, Christie has been busy exploring the amazing trails and parks in her new city of Grand Junction. She is tickled to have the Colorado River in her backyard, along with an eighteen-foot canoe, a dog, a cat, and a husband, who are all usually in the backyard too.

Christie has a BA in English/Creative Writing. After a couple post-college years interviewing everyone from Ice Cube to John Waters as an alt-weekly editor, she jumped into the freelance world with both feet. Sometimes she landed in various watercraft, floating down rivers and writing about it; other times she found herself swimming in five different pots of gumbo. She currently writes and edits personal finance content for WalletHub.com, and pitches stories to 64 Parishes and Country Roads Magazine in Louisiana, among other things.

Christie is thrilled to be on the WCWF board and involved in WCWF's mission, as she believes that everyone can find power and truth in writing and literature.

MaryWatson

Mary Watson

Committee Member

Since 2000 Mary Watson has been evaluating and sharing written critiques with hundreds of writers, speakers, and presenters through various public speaking and educational events. Mary spent three years in Benin, West Africa teaching and presenting events. She has been a successful public speaker and continuously motivates adults as well youth through Toastmasters programs/events, Ignite Grand Junction!, TEDxGrandJunction, and several Communication and Leadership Workshops.

Adrienne Cascarella

Adrienne Cascarella

Committee Member

A Philadelphia native and a lover of all arts, Adrienne has been writing poetry, prose and scripts as well as acting, dancing, singing, and playing guitar for the better part of her life. Adrienne views art as a mirror reflecting the world's joy, pain, rage and love so that we may more clearly see, better understand and grow from it.