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Ada PalmerGuest of Honor

Ada Palmer's science fiction series Terra Ignota, beginning with the novels Too Like the Lightning (Tor, 2016) and Seven Surrenders (Tor, 2017), explores how humanity's cultural and historical legacies might evolve in a future of borderless nations and globally commixing populations. She is a historian working on the history of ideas, primarily in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, focusing on the legacy of antiquity, the history of books, publication and reading, and the history of heresy, censorship, and freethought. She teaches in the History Department at the University of Chicago, and researches in Italy, often in Florence or at the Vatican. She is the composer for Sassafrass, an a cappella group performing fantasy, SF and mythology-themed music; her Viking mythology musical play "Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok" debuted at Balticon 2013 and is now available on CD and DVD. She also researches anime/manga, especially Osamu Tezuka, early post-WWII manga and gender in manga. She has published articles on the history of manga and worked as a consultant for many anime and manga publishers including FUNimation and Tezuka Productions. She blogs for Tor.com, and writes the philosophy & travel blog ExUrbe.com. This year, Palmer won the Compton Crook award.



S.J. TuckerArt Guest of Honor

Megan Willis has worked on a number of animated shows and shorts, including 'Axe Cop' and 'Major Lazer'. She currently works as a storyboard artist on 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,' and has done boards both for multiple seasons and for the upcoming theatrical film. Even when not drawing at work, Megan is often still drawing at home! She does a number of different comics for fun, primarily her current ongoing webcomic 'The Skybox.' Otherwise, she enjoys a lot of nerdy activities, including video games, cartoons, ridiculous monsters, poking fun at bad movies, being enchanted by any nearby large body of water, and petting every dog she sees. Samples of her artwork can be found here.



T.J. BurnsideMusic Guest of Honor

T.J. Burnside first encountered filk music over forty years ago, at the DC area's first Star Trek convention (August Party 1975). There she was delighted to discover she'd been writing filksongs before she even knew what they were. T.J., along with her August Party cohorts Linda Melnick and Sheila Willis, formed a singing group in 1985 by the name of Technical Difficulties. TD went on to release two recordings, Please Stand By in 1986 and Station Break in 1988, and performed to enthusiastic audiences as the musical guests at many conventions around the US and Canada. In 1989 T.J. married fellow filker and science geek Mitchell Clapp, and they transformed into the colony creature and sometimes filk duo T.J. & Mitchell Burnside Clapp. After winning many awards singly and together, T.J. and Mitchell returned to California's Edwards Air Force Base to work on breeding their backup singers. T.J. now resides with Mitchell in their soon-to-be empty nest in Arlington, Virginia. She spends her time enjoying reading, wine, science fiction, hiking, singing, cooking, and keeping her energetic 70 pound brindle boxer mix Oz from destroying the house. She continues to be amazed that people still invite her to conventions to perform, and is honored and happy to oblige if it means hanging out with all the wonderful people in filk fandom!



Other Participants

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Danielle Ackley-McPhail published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today's Promise, The Halfling's Court, and The Redcaps' Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon's Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

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D.H. Aire

D.H. Aire has walked the ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem and through an escape tunnel of a Crusader fortress that Richard the Lionheart once called home, experiences that have found expression in his writing of his epic fantasy/sci fi Highmage's Plight and Hands of the Highmage Series. He is also the author the Dare 2 Believe and Terran Catalyst Series. Follow him at: Twitter @dare2believe1, Facebook (Dare 2 Believe), and www.dhr2believe.net.

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D. Glenn Arthur

D. Glenn Arthur tried for years to strike a balance between FIAWOL and FIJAGDH before giving up and going to the FIAWOL side a few decades ago. A multi-instrumentalist and sometimes filker, Glenn plays with The Homespun Ceilidh Band and has organized the Regency Ball pick-up band for Darkover in the past, and hallway blues-jam sessions at various conventions, as well as doing early music, blues/classic rock, and musical theatre ... and on one occasion appeared as a dancing clam. At filk conventions, Glenn brings extra instruments to lend out and for show-and-tell.

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Fred Blonder

Fred Blonder has always been fascinated by ancient technologies, and was into Steampunk long before it had a name. He regularly rows in the crew of a replica Viking Longship, and has been in the crew of the Trireme, Olympias, the largest (170 oars) oar-powered vessel in the world, designs and builds sundials, and teaches English Country Dance. He recently became a published Science Fiction author, with the publication of his short story, The First Law.

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Jamaila  Brinkley

Jamaila Brinkley writes historical fantasy with touches of romance. Her Wizards of London series features thieves, duchesses, witches, and more indulging in mayhem and romance in Regency England. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and was a finalist in the Romance Through the Ages contest in 2015. Jamaila came to romance as an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and found that her favorite historical romances seemed ripe for an injection of magic. Her favorite historical period is currently the Victorian era, and she's never happier than when immersed in a multi-book family series. Jamaila lives outside Baltimore, Maryland in a house that is perpetually under renovation with her husband and twin toddlers. You can find her blogging about romance, writing, parenting, cooking, and more on her website at www.jamailabrinkley.com, and posting pictures of her lunch on Twitter as @jamaila.

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Lee Budar-Danoff

Lee Budar-Danoff sails, plays guitar, and writes when she isn’t reading. Lee volunteers as Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month and is an alum of the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop. A former history teacher, Lee spends that energy raising three children with her husband in Maryland. Her work has appeared in Perihelion SF, Diabolical Plots and Abyss & Apex.

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Charles Butler

Charles Butler is a Pagan Pastor with training in both Wicca (Northern European) and Ifa (West African) lineages. For more than 20 years he was the con chair of Ecumenicon Interfaith Conference (which ended in 2013), and has been the coordinator of the Esoteric/Mystic track for Darkover/Chessicon for almost as long. He used to interpret for Clam Chowder, and still interprets the Hallelujah chorus here at Chessiecon. He and his wife Fancy run a home circle of prayer in the Ifa & Voudoun traditions. Talk to them individually at the Rising Sun Outreach Ministry table in the Dealer's Room. He is the author of Princess of Galilee, Madupe - Tales of the Orisha, The Transformation Tarot (forthcoming), Matrona of Crete (forthcoming), Parsha - Meditations on the Torah (forthcoming), Strangers at the Gate with Pyracantha, the opera According to Us with Rosanna Tufts, Pagan Prison Ministry, and editor for Baen Books (Bujold), and The Forty Virgins (Yunus Salehi).

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Michelle Markey Butler teaches medieval literature and modern fantasy at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Homegoing (historical fantasy, Pink Narcissus Press), and The Last Abbot of Linn Duachaill (with Jess Barry, historical fiction, S&H Publishing). Her research specialty is medieval drama, so she is easily provoked by the widespread assumption that Everyman is representative medieval English drama and likely to a professorial tirade that Mankind is in fact the best play in English before Shakespeare. You have been warned.

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Leslie Roy Carter lived all over the United States, as well as in Argentia, Newfoundland, while growing up. After receiving a B.S. in Physics from the College of William and Mary, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. While serving as a naval officer, he earned an M.S.E.E. from the Naval Postgraduate School. His career as a surface line officer took him to many ports such as Pearl Harbor, Long Beach, San Diego, and Charleston, culminating in command of the Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigate, U.S.S. Reid. He then switched to the acquisitions specialty, eventually becoming a major program manager before his retirement in 2002 with the rank of Captain. In retirement, he turned his attention to writing. His recent publications include LEGACY OF MAGIC (sword and sorcery, in collaboration with his wife, Margaret L. Carter). “A Walk in the Mountains,” co-written with Margaret, appeared in the 2016 anthology REALMS OF DARKOVER. A sequel, “Believing,” was included in MASQUES OF DARKOVER (2017). For more information, please visit Carter's Crypt: www.margaretlcarter.com

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Margaret Carter

Margaret Carter specializes in vampires, having been marked for life by reading Dracula at the age of twelve. Her vampire novel Dark Changeling won an Eppie Award in the horror category in 2000. Other creatures she writes about include werewolves, dragons, ghosts, and Lovecraftian entities with tentacles. In addition to her horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance fiction, she has had several non-fiction books and articles published on the supernatural in literature. With her husband, retired Navy Captain Leslie Roy Carter, she has collaborated on a sword-and-sorcery trilogy, beginning with Wild Sorceress. Her recent works include Legacy Of Magic (a prequel to the trilogy), Passion In The Blood (a vampire romance), Bear Hugs (an erotic romance shapeshifter novella), and Sealing The Dark Portal (a paranormal romance with Lovecraftian elements). Explore love among the monsters at her website, Carter's Crypt: http://www.margaretlcarter.com.

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Beth  Chandler

Beth Chandler has been living the fandom life ever since watching Gigantor as a preschooler. After an early career in the lower echelons of publishing, she earned her master’s degree in library and information studies. A public librarian for fifteen years, Beth currently selects library materials for her employer including computer titles, consumer-health books, and graphic novels. The highlight of her science-fiction-writing career to date is winning third place in the first Turkey Award contest at ChessieCon. Her other interests range from needlecrafts to world religions. Beth lives on the Maryland side of the DC suburbs with her nerdy husband and fanboy cat, Lord Ivan Vorcatril.

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Carl Cipra

Carl Cipra started reading F&SF in his pre-teen years and has been hooked ever since. He became involved with Fandom back in the 1970s (by way of the SCA in Southern California) and is one of the founding members of Lambda Sci-Fi: DC Area Gaylaxians. He really enjoys moderating discussion panels at conventions and is looking forward to all the fascinating discussions at Chessiecon this year. Mundanely, Carl is the program manager for instructor-training in a much-maligned, three-letter Government agency.

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Harrison Demchick

Harrison Demchick came up in the world of small press publishing, working along the way on more than sixty published novels and memoirs, several of which have been optioned for film. An expert in manuscripts as diverse as young adult, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, literary fiction, women's fiction, memoir, and everything in-between, Harrison is known for quite possibly the most detailed and informative editorial letters in the industry--if not the entire universe.
As a screenwriter, Harrison's work has earned him three contest wins, three film options, and in 2016 an invite to the Johns Hopkins University Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund Screenplay Lab. Harrison is also the author of literary horror novel The Listeners (Bancroft Press, 2012). He's currently accepting new clients in fiction and memoir at the Writer's Ally.

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Scott Edelman

Scott Edelman has published more than 85 short stories in magazines such as Analog, Postscripts, The Twilight Zone, and Dark Discoveries, and in anthologies such as Why New Yorkers Smoke, Crossroads: Southern Tales of the Fantastic, Chiral Mad 3, and MetaHorror. A collection of his horror fiction, These Words Are Haunted, came out in hardcover from Wildside Books in 2001, and was rereleased in paperback in 2015 by Fantastic Books. He is also the author of the Lambda Award-nominated novel The Gift (Space & Time, 1990) and the collection Suicide Art (Necronomicon, 1992). His collection of zombie fiction, What Will Come After, came out in 2010 from PS Publishing, and was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Memorial Award. His science fiction short stories have been collected in What We Still Talk About from Fantastic Books. A collection of zombie novelettes, Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them, was published earlier this year by Written Backwards Press. He has been a Stoker Award finalist seven times, both in the category of Short Story and Long Fiction. Additionally, Edelman worked for the Syfy Channel for more than thirteen years as editor of Science Fiction Weekly, SCI FI Wire, and Blastr. He was the founding editor of Science Fiction Age, which he edited during its entire eight-year run. He also edited SCI FI magazine, previously known as Sci-Fi Entertainment, for more a decade, as well as two other SF media magazines, Sci-Fi Universe and Sci-Fi Flix. He has been a four-time Hugo Award finalist for Best Editor.

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Meg Eden

Meg Eden 's work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel "Post-High School Reality Quest" is forthcoming June 2017 from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

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Bob and Sue Esty

Bob and Sue Esty : As a matter of fact, yes, it is all about the music. Music was what got Bob involved in Chowder nearly (mumble) years ago. Bob and Sue met while doing music with the Markland Madrigalia, and they have been playing as a harp and singing duo at the Maryland Renaissance Faire since before they were married over 30 years ago. Bob, now retired from full-time teaching, is broadening his exposure to Irish music, and Bob and Sue are singing with the revived Markland Madrigalia.

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Mary Fan

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from New Jersey. Her books include the JANE COLT space opera trilogy (consisting of ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES, SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS, and VIRTUAL SHADOWS), the FIREDRAGON novellas (YA dystopia/fantasy), the FATED STARS novellas (YA high fantasy), and STARSWEPT (YA sci-fi romance). She is also the co-editor of the BRAVE NEW GIRLS sci-fi anthologies, which aim to encourage more girls to explore STEM careers (proceeds from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Fund).

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Annalee Flower Horne

Annalee Flower Horne is a science fiction writer from Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mothership Zeta, and the Futurescapes anthology. She's also a feminist culture critic and essayist who's written for Geek Feminism, Uncanny Magazine, and The Bias, a feminist geek culture blog she co-edits with Natalie Luhrs. You can find her on twitter @leeflower.

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J.L. Gribble

J.L. Gribble is a professional medical editor by day. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).

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Jeff Gritman

Jeff Gritman is a programmer by day, self published science fiction comedy author / science fiction podcast host by night. He is co-author of "Prison Dad" a six volume collection of science fiction comedy shorts that has been around for about five years. Also, Jeffrey is co-host of the "Silly Talks About Science Fiction" a weekly podcast. In his spare time Jeffrey enjoys playing video games with his son Logan and wrangling his army of cats at his home outside Philadelphia.

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Steve Haug

Steve Haug (aka Maugorn The Stray) is a full-time musician and has been performing music since some time that he's neglected to note. Suffice it to say, that's been for at least one lifetime, probably several. He's performed on and in festivals, renaissance faires, dives, bistros, coffee shops, sub shops, streetcorners, and sci-fi conventions. His repertoire and writing spans the Ages and a keleidoscope of genres. He performs upon an arsenal of instruments, sometimes on several at once.

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Kim Headlee

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250- year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the midtwentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning published novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight first edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster), and has been studying the Arthurian legends for nigh on half a century.

Art (c)2015 by Jennifer Doneske, created for the hardcover edition of King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee.

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Tom Holtz

Tom Holtz is a dinosaur paleontologist specializing in the origin, evolution, adaptations, and behavior of carnivorous dinosaurs (especially the Tyrannosauridae: T. rex and its kin). He is Principal Lecturer in Vertebrate Paleontology in the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland, where he also teaches courses in historical geology, general paleontology, evolutionary biology, and global change, and where he directs the Science & Global Change living-learning program. He is also a Research Associate at the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and a member of the Scientific Council of the Maryland Science Center. In addition to numerous technical publications, he is author of several general audience books (including Dinosaurs: The Most Complete Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages (Random House)), has been a featured expert on many TV documentaries, and has been a consultant for several museum exhibits around the world. Michael Swanwick killed him off in the 2003 short short story “Proving Dr. Tom’s Hypothesis” (yes, that’s a spoiler, but the story is only one page long…). Dr. Holtz lives with his wife (costumer C Sue Shambaugh), three cats, and the Inland bearded dragon Osborn in Upper Marlboro, MD.

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John Huff

John Huff grew up in a house where music was a pretty common commodity. His mother played piano and sang and his eldest sister was heading in the direction of a concert pianist. Little did he know that his father played guitar (he kept it well hidden) in a swing band put together from fellow crewman on his various naval vessels he crewed on.

In grade school John learned to play the clarinet and piano accordion, but when he entered high school he discovered those weren't "cool" instruments so he dropped them. It was in 1972, five years after the summer of love, that John got his hands on a guitar for the first time; it was love at first bite. After that he learned to play five string banjo, tenor banjo, concertina, bass guitar, mandolin and in the last few years violin and fiddle.

So, how does this end up with John playing at sci-fi cons?

A couple of years later (the fall of '74) John and his buds, who were also freaks of folk music, science fiction, photography, and model rocketry learned that the 32nd annual World Science Fiction Convention was to be held in Washington D.C.. To make a long story short the lead to John learning about filk, to getting into medievalism (through model rocketry no less), to meeting his future wife, forming Clam Chowder, to getting into raising and training whippets to living the life of humble artisans in southern PA.

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Jesters Ink is an improv group consisting of Jenny Hendricks, Brian Croxford, Michael Winslow, Kat Sinclair, Austin Riley, Dusty Allard, Babs Vandermaal, Chelsea Burke, Didier Paul, John Crespo, Lucas Dutcher, Malerie Anderson, Travis Williams, Cori Fisher, and Jesse Taylor.

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Nicole  Jamison

Nicole Jamison is the pen name of writer Ora J. McGuire. Ms. McGuire wrote her first full-length novel at age 10 – that creative endeavor sparked her desire to begin her writing career. Her stories dabble in and blend many different genres; science fiction, fantasy, romance, contemporary, poetry, horror, and whatever else captures her interest. Her short adult fiction has been published in the Coming Together Among the Stars, Coming Together Outside the Box, Slice Girls, and Coming Together Strange Shifters anthologies. Look for her newest horror short in the Once Upon a Scream anthology, due out later this year.
Ora’s hobbies include knitting, drinking copious amounts of wine, Netflix binge-watching, and obsessing over the latest nail polish and makeup trends. She is graduate of Old Dominion University (Creative Writing, Class of 2006) and lives in Hampton Roads with her darling husband, step-child, and two spoiled furbabies, Jayne and Frye.

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Heather Rose Jones

Heather Rose Jones is the author of the Alpennia historic fantasy series: an alternate-Regency-era Ruritanian adventure revolving around women’s lives woven through with magic, alchemy, and intrigue. The most recent entry is Mother of Souls (2016). Heather blogs about research into lesbian-like motifs in history and literature at the Lesbian Historic Motif Project and writes both historical and fantasy fiction based on that research. She works as an industrial failure investigator in biotech. For more information, see alpennia.com.

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Cristin Kist

Cristin Kist loves words and has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She dislikes clowns, squirrels, and the music of Billy Joel, but loves dogs, travel, champagne, and a good story. She is devoted to her amazing family and friends. She lives with her awesome dogs, Isla Sookie Slagathor (a puggle) and Samwise Brody Chewbacca (a hound mix) who she is so grateful for and who make her laugh. She spends her free time cooking, writing, shopping, and watching movies. She studied English at Penn State and has a law degree from Villanova. Her day job is working in contract negotiations. She is an attorney registered in Pennsylvania.

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Steve Kozeniewski

Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") is the author of several horror and science fiction novels, including "Braineater Jones", Billy and the Cloneasaurus, and Every Kingdom Divided. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

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Timothy Liebe is the husband of and Site Administrator for popular YA fantasy novelist Tamora Pierce, as well as her co-author on Marvel Comics' White Tiger miniseries. As an actor, he appeared in original audio productions for NPR and the Pacifica Network; in audio dramatizations of Robert Heinlein's The Star Beast, Shannon Hale's Enna Burning, Geraldine McCaughrean's myth retellings of Odysseus, Thesus and Hercules, and in Tamora Pierce's Circule of Magicseries,The Will of the Empress" and original audio novel Melting Stones; as well as in cult classic movies Shock! Shock! Shock! And Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. As an independent video/filmmaker, he has helped directed and produce numerous independent projects. He is currently finishing up co-writing the Tortall Companion Guide, available in 2015.

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Tamar Lindsay

Tamar Lindsay has loved to read for over sixty years, and attended her first con in 1972. Her preferred medium is print, though she also reads several webcomics. Spoilers rarely annoy her; if she likes a book, she will read it many times. Currently favored authors include Sir Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Frances Hardinge, Lois McMasters Bujold, Connie Willis, Patricia Wrede, Caroline Stevermer, Elisabeth Boyer, Lawrence Watt-Evans, L.Sprague de Camp, Murray Leinster, James White, Theodore Sturgeon, Clifford Simak, Seanan McGuire, Philip Reeve, Jim Hines, Jonathan Stroud, Leon Garfield, and William Ritter.

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Karen MacLeod

Karen MacLeod 's editing credentials go back to 1977, working on various amateur writers' editing projects and freelance editing of various novels for Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah. Karen has edited several award-winning novels for clients and publishers over the years. Karen has also been the editorial consultant for Sime~Gen Inc. since 1996. She has been involved in mystical arts and studies for more than 40 years. She first worked with Jacqueline Lichtenberg as far back as Esotericon in 1984, which sought to give classes in real world magic and mysticism that paralleled the worlds of Darkover, and was hinted at in Jacqueline Lichtenberg's work. The conference brought many people together as their first hint of open Paganism. She was involved with DarkoverCon from its beginnings, and part of the Esoteric track as long as it has been in place. She is well-read in astrology and some Kaballah, is acquainted with Norse myth, and is learning some African traditions. She has played Oba, the crippled wife of Shango, as she will this year.

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Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, consultant, librarian, signing storyteller, and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, explores questions of power and prejudice in an epic fantasy setting, and has been called “fascinating and unique” by National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley. Kathy is the founder of The Sweet Sixteens (www.thesweet16s.com) debut group of 2016 middle grade and young adult authors, and serves as the co-Regional Advisor for the Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is also the author of eight resource books for educators, librarians, and parents, including Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press, 2013). She lives near Baltimore, MD with her husband, son, and a cat named Pancake. Find her online at www.kathymacmillan.com or on Twitter at @kathys_quill.

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Misbehavin' Maidens

Misbehavin' Maidens are a mixed a capella/folk band comprised of Saber Tompson, Lucky Annie, Flint Locke, and Rouge O'Malley; four women from the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area with a love of sex-positive music, parodies, drinking & fandom references for the 18+ nerd crowd.

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D.C. McLaughlin

D.C. McLaughlin just became a published author in 2013. Her first book is a vampire novel, Deadly Conversations, which resembles the original "Dark Shadows". Her second book, Wanderling's Choice, is a novella retelling of the old "Beauty & the Beast" tale - with dragons.

D.C. McLaughlin, a veterinary technician from York county Pa., lives with her husband of fifteen years on a small farm with three Haflinger horses, a flock of chickens, several cats, a retired greyhound and thirteen corn snakes. When not caring for the animals, she participates in historical re-enactments and studies Middle Eastern dance.

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Mike McPhail is an author and graphic artist, and also a member of the Military Writers Society of America; he is dedicated to helping his fellow service members (and those deserving civilians) in their efforts to become authors/editors/artists, as well as supporting related organization in their efforts to help those "who have given their all for us.

He is best known as the editor and illustrator of the award-winning Defending The Future series of military science fiction anthologies, which just celebrated it's tenth anniversary.

In 2014 he added the title of publisher, as the co-founder of eSpec Books LLC, Speculative Fiction Publishing.

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Valerie Mikles

Valerie Mikles is a PhD astronomer with a passion for writing and creative arts. While she enjoyed traveling to telescopes around the world as a black hole hunter, she has since returned home to Maryland where she works on weather satellites for NOAA. When not writing, she can be found at the community theater, acting, choreographing, costuming, or stage managing. She's also written and produced a series of comedic short films about asexuality, inspired by her own journey of self-discovery. She's a regular attendee at science fiction conventions and enjoys cosplay. Her fandoms include Firefly, Stargate, and Star Trek, and anything that allows her to make another blue dress. Her motto in life is "I can be everything I want, just not all at the same time."

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Meg Nicholas is a professional folklorist and storyteller of mixed Lenape and Welsh heritage. Her folklore work includes family folklore, personal narrative, contemporary ghost lore and urban legends, and the material culture of American Indian artists and communities. Her work has been featured in Journal of New York Folklore and VoxPop, as well as meetings of the International Museum Theatre Alliance, the Mid-Atlantic Folklife Association, the American Folklore Society, and the Southern American Studies Association. Her exhibit, Piscataway Connections, is available for display from the Accokeek Foundation. Meg holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (concentration in Folklore) and a BA in history from George Mason University, which she uses – to varying degrees – in her current role as a contractor for the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy. She is happy to discuss how students of obscure fields can leverage their skills into a job that contains both planning mundane meetings and navigating snowfall and high winds on a slippery oil rig in the heart of Indian Country. In her increasingly rare free time, she serves as an ordained minister, enjoys making costumes (both historic and sff-based), gardening, knitting, and spins yarn – both the verbal and physical kind.

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Ada Palmer 's Terra Ignota series (Too Like the Lightning, Seven Surrenders, The Will to Battle, from Tor Books) straddles the line between utopia and dystopia, exploring how humanity’s cultural and historical legacies might evolve in a future of borderless nations and globally commixing populations. The first volume was a Hugo Best Novel Finalist, and earned her the Campbell Award, the Compton Crook Award, and the Tiptree Honors List. She is a historian of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, classical reception, the history of books, publication and reading, and the history of philosophy, heresy, science and atheism, and teaches at the University of Chicago. She composes fantasy, SF and mythology-themed music, including the Viking mythology musical stage play Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok (available on CD and DVD), and often performs with her vocal group Sassafrass. She also researches anime/manga, especially Osamu Tezuka, early post-WWII manga and gender in manga, and has worked as a consultant for many anime and manga publishers. She blogs for Tor.com, and writes the philosophy & travel blog ExUrbe.com.

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TJ Perkins is a gifted and well-respected award-winning author in the mystery/suspense genre for YA and fantasy for teens +. TJ has 8 YA mysteries under GumShoe Press, a 5 book fantasy series entitled Shadow Legacy with Silver Leaf Books and an award-winning Pagan picture book for ages 0-6 with Schiffer Publishing. Always a strong presence at Cons on the east coast, TJ conducts writer workshops for adults. Her short stories for young readers have appeared in the Ohio State 6th Grade Proficiency Test Preparation Book, Kid's Highway Magazine, and Webzine 'New Works Review,' just to name a few. She's placed five times in the CNW/FFWA chapter book competition. Her short story of light horror for tweens, The Midnight Watch, was published Oct 2007 by Demon Minds Magazine, and she's had multiple short stories published in several anthologies.

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Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce writes fantasy novels for teenagers, best known for their teen girl warriors and wizards, with a powerful fan base composed of teens, adults, and fellow authors. In October she co-wrote _TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE_ together with Julie Holderman, Tim Liebe, and Megan Messinger, and will publish _TEMPESTS AND SLAUGHTER_, first in a new trilogy, in February 2018.

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Dimensional Riffs

Dimensional Riffs is a Nerd Rock band that was born like a Pheonix out of the ashes of Paradox Machine. They represent all that is awesome in Fandom!

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Roberta Rogow writes Historical Mysteries, although she sometimes makes up her own history. Her most recent book is Mayhem in Manatas, in which a reluctant sleuth must solve a murder and stop a war in a Manhattan Island that never was and never will be (think Last of the Mohegans meets Arabian Nights with a Spanish accent). Roberta is also known as a filker; she was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 2013. In her Mundane life, Roberta is retired after a 37-year career as a Children's Librarian in public libraries in New Jersey.

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Don Sakers was launched the same month as Sputnik One, so it was perhaps inevitable that he should become a science fiction writer. A Navy brat by birth, he spent his childhood in such far-off lands as Japan, Scotland, Hawaii, and California. In California, rather like a latter-day Mowgli, he was raised by dogs.

As a writer and editor, he has explored the thoughts of sapient trees (The Leaves of October), brought ghosts to life (Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three), and beaten the "Cold Equations" scenario ("The Cold Solution," Analog 7/91, voted best short story of the year.) He's best known for his Scattered Worlds series.

Since 2009, Don has been the book reviewer for Analog Science Fiction & Fact, where he writes the "Reference Library" column in every issue.

Don lives at Meerkat Meade in suburban Baltimore with his spouse, costumer Thomas Atkinson.

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Pam Smith

Pam Smith is a cosplayer from central Pennsylvania. She is originally from Dallas, Texas, and studied vocal performance at the University of North Texas focusing on opera and musical theater. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force and studied political science at Fort Hays State University where she focused on civil rights and liberties. Pam is an advocate for the LGBTQ community and has performed with the Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus. She also volunteers with the Central PA Avengers, volunteer team of cosplayers who partner with nonprofits, libraries, and charity groups to bring smiles to kids and adults alike.

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Jay Smith

Jay Smith is an award-winning author, audio dramatist, and podcaster responsible for the acclaimed audio horror series HG World and the pulp superheroine radio serial Hidden Harbor Mysteries. He also adapted fantasy author Ed Greenwood's first novel in the Hellmaw series Your World is Doomed! For full cast audio production. Jay's audio plays and novels, including The Diary of Jill Woodbine, the story of a young woman's struggle to find truth, love, and safety during the zombie apocalypse, are available through amazon.com. Jay's other works include the short story collection Seven til Sunrise, the gamer-geek satire Rise of the Monkey Lord, and the upcoming how-to book Anatomy of an Audio Drama. Jay appears on various podcasts including Behind the Screams, The Chronic Rift, and The Batcave Podcast. Jay holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Seton Hill University and lives in Central PA with his wife, kids, a neurotic Bombay and a sneaky weirdo polydactyl cat.

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Kathleen Sobansky

Kathleen Sobansky spent most of her young life reading science fiction and looking for people to sing in harmony with. Soon after moving to Maryland in 1977, she found John Huff, Bob Esty and Don Stallone in the Markland Militia, and shortly after THAT, Clam Chowder was born, under the escalators at the Hunt Valley Inn, at Balticon 1978. The rest is history. Though Clam Chowder is now retired, making her a Clam Emerita, she still cherishes her passions for music and science fiction. She is married to her other passion, resident lawyer and poker maven Ed Sobansky, aka Igor Bear.

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Michelle D. Sonnier

Michelle D. Sonnier is an urban fantasy writer who specializes in the dark side, some might even say she jumps over the line into horror on occasion. The characters in her stories are rarely purely good or purely evil; it’s the gray areas that fascinate her. She has a collection of short stories, Charmed City: 13 Tales of the Peculiar and Obscure, available now. Her work has also appeared in Tales of the Talisman magazine and Allegory eZine, as well as multiple anthologies from Sam’s Dot Publications and more recently Malicious Deviance from The Library of the Living Dead and Dia de Los Muertos: A Day of the Dead Anthology from Elektrik Milk Bath Press.

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Steven R. Southard

Steven R. Southard ’s short stories appear in over ten anthologies including In a Cat’s Eye; Hides the Dark Tower; and Avast, Ye Airships! He’s the author of the What Man Hath Wrought series, with fourteen stories so far. An engineer and former submariner, Steve takes readers on voyages to far-off places and long-ago times aboard amazing vehicles accompanied by engaging characters. Steve scribbles in several genres including steampunk, clockpunk, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Set sail to stevenrsouthard.com to learn more about his fictional adventures.

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Mary  Spila

Mary Spila is a librarian, scholar, and educator. Her profession is “librarian”; she is currently a cataloger at the State Library of Pennsylvania, my specializing in Pennsylvania State Documents. Her vocation is “scholar”; she studies medical history (with an emphasis on epidemics), history in general, clothing and costume, mythology, fiber arts (spinning, knitting, tablet weaving, dyeing ...), film history, hard sciences, and most genres of literature. A side effect of learning about things is teaching, hence the “educator” part; if she knows something, she is happy to teach it, as it is by teaching we get a better grasp on what we know. She has been a member, at varying levels of activity, in the Society for Creative Anachronism for 30 years, and has attend and been a panelist at SF and related cons for the past 8 or so years.

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Erwin S. Strauss

Erwin S. Strauss (Filthy Pierre) got into fandom at MIT in the mid-1960s. He published the "Index to the SF Magazines 1951-1965." He caused a stir by publishing the MIT SF Society's collection of underground campus songs, and trying to import pirated textbooks. He was a fixture at East Coast cons, playing the piano at filksings. From 1974 to 1996, he published "The SF Convention Register." From 1979 to the present, he's done the SF Conventional Calendar for Asimov's SF. From 1975 to 1983, he published the Microfilk, a compendium of filksongs songs in ridiculously tiny type. He's written "Basement Nukes" and "How to Start Your Own Country." These have been mentioned in SF novels, and said to have been found in the library of the "Heaven's Gate" comet cult. Less controversially, he's written "The Complete Guide to Science Fiction Conventions" for the neophyte congoer. He's in the Filk Hall of Fame, has received the Big Heart service award, is a Fellow of the New England Science Fiction Association, and received a Special Noreascon Four Award for contributions to the fan community. He can be recognized by his iridescent "Filthy Pierre" badge, and his mouth-powered organ.

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Kelly  Szpara

Kelly Szpara 's short fiction appears in Uncanny, Lightspeed, and Shimmer magazines, and has been reprinted by Glittership. He is a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop and the editor of Transcendent: The Year's Best Transgender Speculate Fiction (Lethe Press), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Kellan lives in Baltimore, MD, with a miniature poodle and many cats. He has a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, which he totally uses at his day job as a paralegal. On nights and weekends, he writes science fiction and fantasy novels that advance his queer agenda. You can find him on Twitter at @KMSzpara.

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Peggy Thompson

Peggy Thompson graduated with a degree in Anthropology and Criminology in 2008. While attending college, she was one of the founding members of Cleveland State Pagans where she worked to increase the visibility of Pagans on campus and to dispel myths. Peggy has coordinated many different public events in Cleveland, OH. She has also been invited to teach at conferences to share her knowledge of Paganism and Organizational strategies. In 2015 she was invited back to Cleveland State to speak to a class on Paganism. In 2016, Peggy was published for the first time, she has an article in The Pagan Leadership Anthology; edited by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor Ellwood. Currently, Peggy is the High Priestess of her own small group in Lakewood OH, she also sits on the boards of Rising Sun Outreach Ministry, and the Open Hearth Foundation. Through these organizations she works to encourage other leaders and strengthen Pagan Communities. She can be reached at peg.e.thompson@gmail.com or via her Facebook page under peg.e.thompson.

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Brent Warner

Brent Warner works in the space industry as a thermal engineer. (That means that he does heating and air conditioning in space.) His only personal experience with underwater voyages was in tourist submarines in Hawai’i. This was not quite as exciting as what you see in the movies (because nobody was dropping depth charges), but it was exciting enough.

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Jan Whiteley

Jan Whiteley is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy reader, with a great love of the writing craft.

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Fr. TommyLee Whitlock

Fr. TommyLee Whitlock is among the founding members of The Order of Saint Michael and has been active in the Order’s Hospitaller Path and Esoteric Studies Group. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Celtic Christian Church by Bishop Katherine Kurz and has officiated interfaith weddings and hand-fastings. Fr. TommyLee has been a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy literature since junior high school. Since moving to northern Virginia area in 1987, he has attended and participated in numerous Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, as well as several esoteric conventions.

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Martin Wilsey

Martin Wilsey is a writer, hunter, photographer, rabble rouser, father, friend, marksman, story teller, frightener of children, carnivore, engineer, fool, philosopher, cook and madman. He and his wife Brenda live in Virginia where, just to keep him off the streets, he works as a research scientist for a government-funded think tank.

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