Board Members

2018 Board Members


Shirley Penick, President

Shirley Penick is a techy turned writer. As a lifelong reader it seemed only natural that one day she decided to write. Of course, translating her mathematical and computer science engineering degrees and experience into story telling wasn’t exactly a smooth transition. But with her parents’ encouragement ringing in her memory of “You can do whatever you choose to do” she did just that. Learning the craft and finding her niche, which currently happens to be small town contemporary romance, is all it took. Shirley volunteered at her very first conference with GSRWA in 2015 and continues to do so both in the chapter and the conference. She also belongs to the Eastside RWA chapter and the PNWA, where she loves to encourage new writers to follow their heart and not let anything or anyone stop them.

For more information, please visit or find her on Facebook at and Twitter @shirley_penick

Catherine Chase, Vice-President of Programs

Catherine Chase writes historical romance and joined GSRWA in January 2017. Eager to get to know her new writing friends she volunteered to help with ECWC and was the assistant chair for Swag.
From her day to day she works in the tech industry and at night she works to finish her first manuscript.
Of her many passions, she loves to cook, travel, and learn new languages. She’s always excited to answer questions if people ask for advice on where to go in different countries or even where to go to eat.
Continuing her desire to get to work more closely with members of GSRWA and help writers, new and experienced, she is excited to help bring dynamic speakers to the community. Connect with her on twitter @catfchase


JC Hay, Vice-President of Communications

 JC Hay writes science ction romance with clever heroines, supportive heroes, and high-tech gadgetry because, as he says, “the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them.” An eager transplant to the Northwest, he jumped at the chance to live somewhere he didn’thave to choose between mountains and ocean. A member of Romance Writers of America since 2010, he is also a member of the SFR Brigade (for Sci-Fi Romance). When not writing, he can typically be found with his knitting nearby, and has been known to bring back yarn from every conference trip “as a souvenir.” As Vice-President of Communications, JC manages the chapter’s website, mailing list, and social media presence, in addition to being the general tech person when needed. This is his first leadership role in RWA.
To learn more about JC, go to, like him on Facebook at, or on Twitter


Jennifer Henderson, Secretary

Jennifer’s addiction to romance novels began at a young age when she would sneak peeks at her mom’s Harlequins while the rest of the family was at swim lessons.  Her love of all things old led to a history degree, a dozen years teaching U.S. and world history at a prep school, and eventually writing Regency romance novels.  She lives in the Pacific Northwest, loves travel, scuba diving, and going to the movies, and has yet to find a piece of chocolate she did not enjoy.

Jennifer is a 2017 Golden Heart® finalist and is honored to be a member of the GSRWA board.

Please visit her website at and follow her on twitter at @_JennyHenderson.


Ava Grayson, Treasurer

Raeann Berge is a writer who lives in Marysville, WA and wears many entrepreneurial hats.

Semi-retirement has given her the time and receiving an honorable mention in a writing contest has given her the impetus to write.  She began her publishing career in 2016 and has twelve e-book shorts on Amazon under the pseudonym of Ava C Grayson.

Raeann has been a tax preparer, handled her family business accounting both past and present.  She loves using a calculator and often says she’d like to be buried with one.

As a handwriting analyst she gets unique insights into people’s personality. To paraphrase a line, handwriting is brain-writing like eyes are windows to your soul.

Travel, riding horses and maintaining her private pilot’s license are some of the things she enjoys besides a good box of chocolates.

Check out her website at and like her on or


Eliana West, 2018 Conference Chair

In 2015, on a whim, Eliana West decided to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and hasn’t put her pen down since.

With help and encouragement from the Pacific Northwest writing community Eliana is pursuing her passion to write multi-cultural romance with diverse characters. This passion was further borne out when Eliana founded Writers for Diversity (, a community for writers who are interested in creating diverse characters and worlds. 

Eliana is a proud member of RWA, GSRW, RCRWA and CIMRWA. She is a former board member of Mixed Remixed, an art and literary festival celebrating the mixed experience (