President: Gavin Fisher
Vice president: Susan Johnston
Treasurer: David Kelly
Secretary: Leah Bunn
Membership secretary: Jackie Moore
Social media / Publicity officer: Mark Wren
Events Coordinator: Annette Kontoleon
Newsletter editor: Kerri Yarsley
Webmaster: Damien Booth
General committee members: Gary Ivory, Karen Thomas, Julie Baythorpe, Karen Knight-Mudie, Andrew McDermott
Speaker coordinator: vacant
Competition coordinator: vacant
Read more about our current committee members below
Gavin was born in South Africa. He studied there and worked as an architect and project manager before relocating to New Zealand where he lived for seven years with his wife and two daughters.
He also enlisted as a volunteer paramedic for several years and served with the National Sea Rescue Institute on numerous rescue missions. Other interests include flying and scuba diving.
Gavin now resides in the Gold Coast with his wife, Caroline, and currently works for an award-winning construction company as a contracts administrator.
Favourite quote: Fiction [fik-shuhn] – A literary work that avoids letting the truth get in the way of a good story.
Susan Johnston – Vice President
David Kelly – Treasurer
After arriving in Australia and meeting her soul mate, Leah Bunn has dived into a world of the unknown, learning about things that she didn’t realise she was passionate about. Rather than walking away, she has taken on each challenge with the intention of learning from each and every lesson. Whether it be business, writing, conservation and/or the environment, it is clear that her life has been turned 180 degrees.
Leah is a co-organiser of Green Drinks (Gold Coast), and she is co-organiser of a local small business group on the Gold Coast. She believes in buy local, and support local – whether that be small business or farmers and the like.
She has started writing her first book, and is excited about sharing her story. Leah has a wide variety of skills and attributes, which have assisted her in looking at things both logically, and outside the square box.
Leah works with her partner, Mark Wren, within their businesses.
She has been a member of the Helensvale Writers for a few years, and has been a member of the Gold Coast Writers’ Association for approximately five years, joining the committee of the GCWA in December 2015.
Jackie Moore – Membership Secretary
Mark was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1963, his family arrived by ship to Western Australia as Ten Pound Poms.
He moved across to Melbourne in 1969, where his mother, one of Australia’s top A-Grade female journalists, married the publisher of her newly-written books. Dennis Wren was managing director of the Melbourne office of William Heinemann Publishing. In 1970, he went out on his own, starting Wren Publishing, which Mark now owns.
The family also started ‘The Independent’ newspaper in Hastings, Victoria.
Mark has completed over twelve years of college and university, combined with thirty-seven years as an IT technician, printer and photographer.
He has achieved the highest printing qualifications attainable in Australia. Apprenticed to Wilke Printers, Mark went on to work for another of Rupert Murdoch’s companies. As a third year apprentice, he shared a supervisor position, where over the next decade he participated in the production of over 300 million books and magazines (57 mast heads).
Mark wrote a thesis after finishing his Printing Survey Certificate in 1983. This was published and has been used as an education tool to this day. Regular articles and photographs have been published with Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as various magazines and IT publications over four decades.
He has been involved in conservation circles, and has been a member of the ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation) for over thirty years. Mark is one of the founding members of Green Drinks (GC), now in sixty countries. He is on the board of the Southport Chamber of Commerce; co-organiser of a small business group with partner, Leah; and has been involved with various charities and community groups since 1976.
Mark relocated from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, in 1991 to become self-employed.
Mark is equally qualified in ICT, as he is in printing. He is the proprietor of IPCC (Group of Companies) now trading in eight countries.
- Cherri International (Computer Solutions)
- After Dark Digital, Security & Offset Printing
- International Plastic Card Corporation P/L (IPCC)
- Rat Mats (Mouse Pads with Attitude)
- Wren Publishing
Annette left school at the age of fifteen. She couldn’t read. Her mother believed that if a female wore glasses, no man would ever marry her. She failed miserably in all my exams at school because if you can’t see, you can’t read.
Several years later, she could only say thank God for contact lenses, as they changed my life dramatically. They opened a whole new world. Not only did she learn to read, but she could actually see the people she was talking to.
Annette was inspired by the stories my grandmother told me. She was in awe about the suffragettes. Their fight for women’s rights was the first step to equality. She was a modern-thinking woman. Many young people today wouldn’t know who the suffragettes were or how much they gave up and what they endured to get women the right to vote.
Annette would describe herself as a strong-willed person who likes her own space. A song that comes to mind that was written when she was in my early thirties, “I Am Woman,” was to play a huge factor in my life. She credits those who she believes are special people and animals that give her so much and ask little in return.
When she was in her late teens, she decided to write a novel about her heritage, with some truths and a lot of fiction. Unfortunately, her mother read it while she was at work and decided she was trying to defame her family, so she tore it up. What she didn’t know was that the stories my grandmother had told her when she was young were embedded in her mind.
Many years later, after her mother passed away, she started that same novel once again. This book is the first of the trilogy that spans many generations, from the eighteenth century and continuing on to the twenty-first century.
Annette’s father was a great storyteller; he wrote a book at the age of ninety-three. His life was full of adventures, and his memory for detail was exceptional. He was a good man but a wild boy. The book he wrote doesn’t really show his wild side. When her father reached his hundredth year, his biggest worry was that Annette might write a book about his wild side and the cops would come after him.
To give you a glimpse into Annette’s life, she has a message for you on how she has survived the difficulties of everyday living. Annette hopes you will be inspired by the following words:
When you reach to the depths of your soul, you find a glimmer of light. All is not lost and becomes a new beginning. Life has gone in a complete circle. What goes around comes around.
The challenge of life and old age comes to all who survive. How we deal with it is the key to unlocking the door of our destiny. No matter what confronts us, our actions speak louder than words. That’s what we are really judged by.
Be your own person, have your own ideas, gain strength from your knowledge, and live your life to the fullest. Love and be loved. Give of yourself to people who need help, and one day your deeds will be repaid.
Never give up. Life is too short.
Kerri Yarsley was born in Melbourne, Australia in the late ’50’s. She studied Biochemistry, Microbiology, Education, and Computers at university. After marriage, Kerri worked as a Systems Programmer and attained Fitness Leader’s qualifications and trained in marital arts.
Kerri and Frank had four children in six years, so Kerri changed into documenting which was more easily done from a home base. Over two decades later Kerri is still enjoying writing and learning new things. She has more recent diplomas in Business and Project Management, and has also studied a variety of interests including piano, chanter, guitar, flute, oil painting, singing, bee keeping, Taekwondo, Aikido and Kung Fu weapons, such as the sai, short sticks, long staff, nunchaku and straight sword.
Kerri loves peaceful forest surroundings occasionally disrupted by her chooks, dog and multiple wild birds, including finches, scrub turkeys and black cockatoos. She loves vegetarian food and her lifestyle reflects her love and respect of all life.
In 2011, Kerri wrote “The Instruction Manual for Kids – Parent’s Edition” because there wasn’t one, and it seemed to be needed more and more. Later years have seen title become available in eBook and audiobook formats.
Damien has a genuine passion for helping and assisting people/businesses with their web sites and social media marketing. Ever since Damien first laid his hands on a keyboard, he hasn’t considered doing anything else.
2009 – Damien decided it was time to run his own business, developing and marketing web sites for small to medium businesses around Australia. 123 Internet.com.au and 123 Buy.com.au were born over two years of hard work and continuous persistence.
2015 – Damien joined forces with Cherri International (Computer Solutions). Working as a team has been a benefit to all parties involved, as each bring their own skills and attributes.
Damien has never looked back. He prides himself on helping each and every small to medium business within his portfolio, as well as individuals needing some help with their online presence, reach success.
Gary hails from Queensland and grew up in Brisbane at a time when roads were still being sealed and out -houses languished splendidly across suburban backyards. Educated as a teacher, and a Graduate of both Deakin and James Cook Universities, Gary has lived in many parts of the State and is now in his 41st Year as school principal. His interest in writing has grown out of his teaching experience and continues to peek his interest as the influence of technology shapes and forms the modern writing experience.
Living in country Queensland gave Gary the opportunity to write as a correspondent for two provincial newspapers. As well as this experience, Gary managed one of the Brisbane Urban Newspapers and regularly wrote columns of interest for local communities.
Gary and his wife Penelope, spent time in the Middle East, where Gary worked for the Qatar Government as a consultant assisting in the establishment of the Independent School System. Gary took the opportunity to write extensively about this experience and his forays into Jordan and Morocco and shared these writings with a large following of interested armchair travellers.
After returning to Australia, Gary worked with GCWA over several years coordinating the “Authors in Schools Program” as well as supporting the 2013 Writers Festival. Gary rejoins the committee after retiring from the Vice Presidents role to recover from illness.
A lover of music and a member of the Gold Coast Theatre Organ Society, Gary spends his spare, spare time playing piano and organ.
Author and Publicious CEO, Andrew McDermott (Andy), published his first novel The Tiger Chase in 2002 with an American publisher. He launched the book in San Diego and followed up with a book tour of the US, including the LA China Town and Las Vegas.
On his return to Australia, he became disillusioned with the publishing industry. After being locked into an unproductive contract, earning a tiny percentage of royalties for all his hard work, and not owning any of his rights, he decided to follow the self-publishing route.
From 2005 – 2007 he was the president of The Gold Coast Writers’ Association (of which he is now an honorary lifetime member), and worked closely with like-minded authors, assisting them with their manuscripts and publishing needs.
In 2010, to mark the year of the tiger, he launched the revised self-published edition of The Tiger Chase as a paperback and an ebook, and donated all his royalties to the Save China’s Tigers Foundation. That same year he followed his dream by creating Publicious, a company designed to help self-published authors like himself. His main aim was to create the kind of company he wished had been around when he was starting out and one that would give the many unscrupulous publishing providers that populate the internet a run for their money.
In 2011 he launched his first, and last, children’s book, The Last Tiger, in paperback, hardback and ebook.
2014 saw the launch of Murder inQuest, which is the first book in a series of speculative fiction stories featuring The Galactic Knights. That same year he also wrote and published The Publicious Guide to Self-Publishing.
Andy continues to write and is currently working on the third book in The Galactic Knights series and has recently completed a detective novel called Flirting With The Moon to be published soon. He teaches creative writing at the ACE Adult Community Colleges NSW and QLD, and is active in the writing community, regularly appearing at writers festivals and groups.