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Sarah PinskerGuest of Honor

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the novelette "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind," the 2014 Sturgeon Award winner and a 2013 Nebula finalist. Her story "A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide" was a 2014 Nebula finalist, and another story, "No Lonely Seafarer," made the 2014 Tiptree Award longlist. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed (including the Women Destroy Science Fiction and Queers Destroy Science Fiction special issues), Fantasy & Science Fiction, Uncanny, Daily Science Fiction, the Journal of Unlikely Cartography, and Fireside, and in anthologies including Accessing the Future: A Disability Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction, How to Live On Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, Long Hidden, Fierce Family, and The Future Embodied. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Galician. She co-hosts the Baltimore Science Fiction Society's Dangerous Voices Variety Hour, a reading series/quiz show. She is also a singer/songwriter with three albums on various independent labels: (Charmed, disappear records; Wingspan, Reinventing Records; This is Your Signal, The Beechfields, with the Stalking Horses) and a fourth forthcoming. She and her wife live in Baltimore, Maryland and she can be found online at sarahpinsker.com and twitter.com/sarahpinsker.

Tabitha LadinArt Guest of Honor

Tabitha Ladin grew up in Maine and began her life as an artist at a very early age. From her early years she has loved drawing and painting animals both real and imagined. She still has drawings done when she was four years old that she occasionally pulls out for giggles.

Tabitha went to The Art Center of Tucson in Arizona to learn Graphic Design and Computer Graphic Design. After some freelance work, she moved to the Los Angeles area in California and worked as a colorist and later a color editor for Malibu Comics. After about a year she moved back to Arizona and worked as an interface designer for a major financial software company and later joined the marketing department to create designs for catalogues, brochures, flyers, packaging etc. She worked there for about eight years before her position was eliminated and she decided to care for her children full time.

In 2009 when her children weren’t so little Tabitha decided to return to her true passion; fantasy and nature art. Working in acrylic paints she strives to bring to life in brilliant color all the fantastic creatures that reside in her imagination. She sends her fantasy and science fiction art to various fantasy and science fiction convention art shows around the country. She has also published a line of 6 fantasy themed coloring books on Amazon.com.

Tabitha can be found online at http://www.tabithaLadin.com.

S.J. TuckerMusic Guest of Honor

S. J. Tucker came flying out of the Memphis music scene in 2004, guitar in hand and voice at the ready, and her feet have hardly hit the ground since. With a siren’s voice and a mental blowtorch made of masterful lyrical storytelling and style, she deftly binds together the varied elements of jazz, folk, and fairytales. No two of her concerts are the same, but S. J.'s skill, stage presence and desire for connection with her audience, consistently shine through. Listeners and critics compare her guitar work to that of Emily Saliers, her vocal delivery to KT Tunstall and Joni Mitchell. The body of her recorded work spans more than ten years and features frequent guest performances by Heather Dale, Betsy Tinney, Ben Deschamps, Alexander James Adams, and Renee Janski. S. J. often travels solo, but is happiest when sharing concerts with her 3-piece folk fusion band, Tricky Pixie. She’ll be on the road in 2016, as ever, but when she isn’t traveling, she lives with a very handsome wizard and three equally handsome cats, in a thoroughly enchanted forest, at the feet of the Arkansas Ozarks. Listen for free and join the fan family at http://sjtucker.com

Special Guests

Elizabeth Schechter


Elizabeth Schechter has been called one of the top erotica and alternative sexuality writers in the world. Her writing credits include the award-winning steampunk erotic romance House of Sable Locks, the science fiction BDSM duology Tales from the Arena, and the Celtic fantasy Princes of Air. Her shorter work has appeared in anthologies edited by D.L King (Carnal Machines), Laura Antoniou (No Safewords), and Cecilia Tan (Jingle Balls; Like a Prince). Elizabeth Schechter was born in New York at some point in the past. She is officially old enough to know better, but refuses to grow up. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and son, and a most accepting circle of friends who are both very amused and very proud of the pervy, fetish writer in their midst. Elizabeth can be found online at http://elizabethschechterwrites.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth.A.Schechter.

Betsy  Tinney

Betsy Tinney , recipient of the 2012 Pegasus Award for Best Performer, is a Northwest cellist known both for her graceful musicality and her broad versatility. She has performed and recorded with many different groups, from solo acoustic performers to large rock bands; her contributions to each are unique and, as she explains, “whatever the song wants.” Betsy also performs solo, using a combination of acoustic cello and electronic looper that creates an interwoven tapestry of sound. Her solo cello work has been called “captivating,” “mesmerizing,” and “a rich texture for the ear, reminiscent of dark chocolate and fine red wine.”


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.

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. He's toured archeological sites that were hundreds, if not thousands of years old. experiences that have found expression in his writing of his epic fantasy Highmage's Plight Series: Highmage's Plight (Book 1), Merchants and Mages (Book 2), Human Mage (Book 3), Highmage (Book 4), Well Armed Brides (Book 5), and even in the first book of his new urban fantasy series, Dare 2 Believe. To learn more about his books and other projects visit the author's website, www.dhr2believe.net. Follow him on: Twitter @dare2believe1 Facebook.

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.

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.

Sue Bowen

Sue Bowen has been involved in crafts her whole life. She has taught crafts since she was a teen and has continued both learning and teaching within the craft realm until this very day. She paused to take various degrees: Business, Educational Technology, Education, and so forth. She is accustomed to teaching both without and with speech so demonstrations are really quite fun for her. Please visit her classes as there is always something new to learn.

Jamaila  Brinkley

Jamaila Brinkley writes historical fantasy, including romance with a hint of magic. Her first book, 'Thieves' Honor,' released in May 2016 from Soul Mate Publishing and features a shy wizard, a sassy thief, and an interfering duchess (the best kind). She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and was a finalist in the Romance Through the Ages contest in 2015. 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.

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.


Charles Butler is the chair of the Mythic track. He has been writing historical fiction for about 20 years and reads lots of SF & Fantasy. He is a playwright, singer, and signer. He works with Wicca and Santeria prisoners. He is versed in Tarot, divination, magic and prayer and is currently enrolled at the Howard University School of Divinity.

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.

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.

Vonnie Winslow Crist

Vonnie Winslow Crist is an award-winning author and illustrator who believes the world is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic. "The Enchanted Skean," Ms. Crist's first novel, was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award. Her speculative story collections, "Owl Light" and "The Greener Forest," each include a L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award-winner. Her writing appears in anthologies and magazines published in Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia, Finland, the UK and USA including: Dragon's Lure, Potter's Field 5, Tales of the Talisman, Zombies for a Cure, Faerie Magazine, Dia de los Muertos, and Dogs of War. Over 1,000 of her illustrations have been published -- most recently, cover art on: FrostFire Worlds, Outposts of Beyond, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Scifaikuest, Illumen, and Spaceports and Spidersilk. She is editor of The Gunpowder Review, co-editor of Hides the Dark Tower, and a staff writer for Harford's Heart Magazine. She is also a clover-hand who's found so many 4-leafed clovers she keeps them in jars. For more information about Ms. Crist, visit her website: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com

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.

Scott Edelman

Scott Edelman has published more than 85 short stories in SF/F magazines and anthologies. A collection of his horror fiction, These Words Are Haunted, came out in hardcover from Wildside Press in 2001, and was re-released in paperback by Fantastic Books in 2015. His collection of zombie fiction, What Will Come After was a finalist for both the Stoker Award and the Shirley Jackson Memorial Award. His SF short fiction has been collected in What We Still Talk About from Fantastic Books.

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.

Bob Esty

Bob 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.

Mary Fan

Mary Fan is the author of the "Jane Colt" sci-fi series (from Red Adept Publishing), the "Flynn Nightsider" young adult dystopian fantasy series (from Glass House Press), and the "Fated Stars" high fantasy series (from Glass House Press). Her interests include religion and philosophy in sci-fi, artificial intelligence, dystopias, music in fiction (she's a classically trained musician and composer), and fairy tales. In addition, she cares about diversity (or lack thereof) in fiction and what it's like being a minority author.

C.S. (Celia) Friedman

C.S. (Celia) Friedman is a best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction, as well as an accomplished costume designer. Critics have acclaimed her complex and compelling characters, richly textured worlds, and keen insight into the shadows and twists of human nature. She has published eight science fiction and fantasy novels to date, including the acclaimed Coldfire Trilogy. Her works have been translated into German, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, and Polish.

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).


Jeff Gritman is a co-author with Cristin Kist

Kelly Harmon

Kelly Harmon used to write truthful, honest stories about authors and thespians, senators and statesmen, movie stars and murderers. Now she writes lies, which is infinitely more satisfying, but lacks the convenience of doorstep delivery.

She is an award-winning journalist and author, and a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. A Baltimore native, she writes the Charm City Darkness< series, which includes the novels Stoned in Charm City, A Favor for a Fiend, and A Blue Collar Proposition. Her science fiction and fantasy stories can be found in many anthologies, including Triangulation: Dark Glass; Hellebore and Rue; Deep Cuts: Mayhem, Menace and Misery; and Gaslight and Grimm. Ms. Harmon is a former newspaper reporter and editor, and now edits for Pole to Pole Publishing, a small Baltimore publisher. She is co-editor of Hides the Dark Tower along with Vonnie Winslow Crist. For more information, visit her blog at http://kellyaharmn.com, or, find her on Facebook and Twitter: http://facebook.com/Kelly-A-Harmon1, https://twitter.com/kellyaharmon.

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.

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.

Cathy Hird

Cathy Hird is a shepherd, a minister and a writer. She runs a small sheep farm in rural Ontario and works in a United Church of Canada congregation near Toronto, Ontario. She has two published YA fanatasy novels set in ancient Greece, and several short stores. Cathy writes a weekly spirituality column for the online news magazine OwenSoundHub.org. Cathy is an avid reader of fantasy and Science Fiction with Evan Currie, Guy Gavriel Kay and J. R. R. Tolkien among her favorite writers. She is working on another story set in bronze age Greece in which centaurs play a major role, and on a contemporary fantasy story set where she lives.

Tom Holtz

Tom Holtz is a Vertebrate Paleontologist and a Principal Lecturer with the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland. He is also the Faculty Director for the Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars. Mr. Holtz's research interests include: Phylogeny and functional morphology of the theropod dinosaurs, Ecomorphology of terrestrial predators, Cursoriality and terrestrial locomotion, Mesozoic biogeography, Functional character complexes and homoplasy, and Phylogenetic taxonomy of the theropod dinosaurs. Many of his papers have appeared in professional publications.

Tom Holtz has made science fictional appearances in two of Michael Swanwick's works: the short short story Proving Dr. Tom's Hypothesis and his novel Bones of the Earth. Mr. Holtz also appeared in Parry and Carney, Friends for Life, a dinosaur-based webcomic by former Umd student Mike Keesey, Doctor Fun's Cartoons, and Charley Parker's Dinosaur Cartoons.

You can find out more at http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz

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.

Nickie Jamison

Nickie 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.

Heather Rose Jones

Heather Rose Jones is writing a historic fantasy series with swordswomen and magic set in the alternate-Regency-era country of Alpennia. The third book, Mother of Souls, is celebrating its release at Chessiecon this year. She 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 http://alpennia.com

Cristin Kist

Cristin Kist and Jeffrey Gritman have been friends for more than 20 years and are the co-authors of Prison Dad, a series of science fiction comedy short stories. The shorts revolve around a group of friends who's drunken adventures lead them to time travel, run into aliens, switch bodies, get harassed by an army of squirrels and more. They will release the third volume at Chessiecon. Read more about Prison Dad on their website www.prisondad.com. Cristin Kist loves words and has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She hates squirrels and the music of Billy Joel, but loves dogs, travel, champagne, and fashion. She is also devoted to her amazing family and friends. She lives with her awesome, beautiful, dog, Miss Isla "Sookie" Slagathor, a puggle, who she loves and is so grateful for and her little monster, a hound mix named Samwise Brody Chewbacca, who makes her laugh. She spends her free time cooking, writing, shopping, and painting. 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. Jeffrey Gritman loves listening to punk rock, heavy metal, hardcore, drinking a dark beer, playing video games, spending time with his great friends and family, as well as tending to his perfectly manicured yard of course. He also enjoys cooking, photography, writing, and traveling. He has a Masters of Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University and currently lives outside Philadelphia with his wife Andrea, son Logan, and two cats.

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.


Joshua Kronengold Josh is Chessiecon's Music Track Coordinator. He also makes music.

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.

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, working with manuscripts.

Michael McAfee

Michael McAfee recently self-published his first book, Tarot Poems (http://www.harvard.com/book/tarot_poems). He is an active actor/writer/director/producer/editor for the Post Meridian Radio Players, Boston's premiere audio theater troupe (www.pmrp.org), most recently directing The Duke of Newbury Street (http://pmrp.org/projects/duke). He has been active in all aspects of fandom since the early 1990s, and has been running flirting workshops both at cons and at SCA events since the mid-1990s. Feel free to come up at random and talk about projects.

Katrina Messenger

Katrina Messenger is certified as an Archetypal Pattern Analyst and Dream Pattern Analyst. As a Wiccan mystic, Katrina works extensively with mythology, dreams, ritual and trance as a means of self exploration, self healing and self evolution. She believes that any attempt to change the external world must be paired with the inner work of a personal spiritual practice.

Meg Nicholas

Meg Nicholas is a professional folklorist and storyteller currently serving as an event and logistics coordinator, on contract to the Department of Energy's Office of Indian Energy. She recently utilized her background in folklore and museum studies as part of the creative team that developed the Accokeek Foundation's traveling Piscataway Connections exhibit.

Her folklore work has focused on family folklore, personal narrative, and the material culture of American Indian artists, and her academic and professional work includes publications in Voices: Journal of New York Folklore and VoxPop, and readings and presentations given at meetings of the International Museum Theater Alliance, the Mid-Atlantic Folklife Association, the American Folklore Society, and the Southern American Studies Association. Other speaking engagements and appearances include contract presentations with Fairfax County Public Schools, George Mason University, the Art Institute of Washington, and featured panel discussions with DragonCon's fantasy and science fiction literature tracks.

Meg holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (concentration in Folklore) and a BA in history from George Mason University and maintains membership in the American Folklore Society, the Modern Language Association, the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Andi O'Connor

Andi O'Connor is the award winning author of the fantasy series The Dragonath Chronicles, The Vaelinel Trilogy, and The Legacy of Ilvania. Andi's novel, Silevethiel, is the 2015 Best Indie Book Award winner for Science Fiction/Fantasy and the 2015 New Apple Official Selection for Young Adult. Silevethiel was also named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013. Andi's short story Redemption, is a Kindle Book Review, 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semifinalist. Andi is also the owner of the publishing company Purple Sun Press and released its first fantasy anthology, Coven in the fall of 2015.

You can frequently find Andi as a guest panelist and exhibitor at Cons throughout the country including the Rhode Island Comic Con, Philcon, ConCarolinas, Conclave, Wizard World, and Chessiecon. Andi is a member of the National Writers Association and the Boston chapter of the Women's National Book Association. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and four dogs. You can connect with Andi on Twitter @OConnorAndi and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/oconnor.andi.


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.


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.

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.

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.

Kathy Sobansky

Kathy 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.

Steven  Southard

Steven Southard 's short stories appear in ten anthologies including Hides the Dark Tower; Dead Bait; 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 for http://stevenrsouthard.com/ to learn more about his fictional adventures.

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.

Erwin Strauss

Erwin 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.

Kelly  Szpara

Kelly Szpara 's short fiction appears in Lightspeed, Shimmer, and Glittership. He is a member of SFWA, graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop, and the editor of Transcendent: The Year's Best Transgender Speculate Fiction (Lethe Press, Sept. 2016). Kelly lives in Baltimore, MD, with a miniature poodle and too many books. 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 @KMSzpara.

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.

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.

Jan Whiteley

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

TommyLee Whitlock

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.

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.
Mr. Wilsey is the author of the Solstice 31 Trilogy for more information he can be found at: http://wilseymc.blogspot.com/
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.