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Charlie Jane AndersGuest of Honor

Charlie Jane Anders' latest novel, The City in the Middle of the Night, was a 2020 Hugo finalist for Best Novel. She's also the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won the Nebula, Crawford and Locus awards, and Choir Boy, which won a Lambda Literary Award. She's also written a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke and a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others. And she's currently hard at work on an untitled young-adult trilogy. Her short fiction has appeared in Tor.com, Boston Review, Tin House, Conjunctions, the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Wired Magazine, Slate, Asimov's Science Fiction, Lightspeed, ZYZZYVA, Catamaran Literary Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and tons of anthologies. And her journalism and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, and elsewhere. Her story "Six Months, Three Days" won a Hugo Award, and her story "Don't Press Charges And I Won't Sue" won the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short story. With Annalee Newitz, she co-founded io9.com, a site about science fiction, science and futurism. She also organizes the monthly Writers With Drinks reading series, and previously organized the notorious Ballerina Pie Fight.



Tom SmithMusic Guest of Honor

Tom Smith has been a Chessiecon Music GOH and special guest before. You probably know who he is.
But in case you don't...
The only recording artist to appear on both NPR's Sound and Spirit and The Dr. Demento Show, Tom Smith combines high-energy folk rock, SF/fantasy, popular culture, progressive politics, cartoon voices, unbelievably bad puns, and the occasional recipe into a show you will never forget.







Other Participants

 

Linda Adams was probably the least likely person to be in the Army—even the Army thought so! She was an enlisted soldier and served for twelve years and was one of the women who deployed to Desert Storm. But she’d much prefer her adventures to be in books. She is the author of the military-based GALCOM Universe series, including the novels Crying Planet and Lonely Planet. She’s also received three honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest and an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock Magazine’s contest. Find out more about Linda Maye Adams on her website at http://www.lindamayeadams.com.

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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. His latest books are Knight of the Broken Table (Book 1, Knights Tower) and Lessers Not Losers (Book 1, Bred in Captivity), and Nowhere to Go But Mars (a novella). Follow him at: Twitter @DHAire15, Facebook (Dare 2 Believe), and www.DHAire.net.

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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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Susan  De Guardiola

Susan De Guardiola has been active in fandom for more than thirty years as a costumer, masquerade emcee, and all-around fan. She has worked as a book reviewer for Publisher's Weekly and the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. She ran the Hugo Awards Ceremony in 2012 and the infamous BOGS fundraiser at Darkovercon for seventeen years. Professionally, she is a social dance historian and popular dance teacher who may often be found in musty library stacks researching dance from the 16th to the early 20th century, which she teaches at workshops and dance events across the United States and Russia. In her spare time, she plays high-speed online Scrabble and studies Russian.

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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. Harrison is also an award-winning screenwriter and an inaugural fellow of the Johns Hopkins University/Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund Screenplay Lab. His first film, Ape Canyon, filmed in June and is currently in post-production. As an author of horror and magical realism, Harrison wrote The Listeners (Bancroft Press, 2012), and his latest short story, "Magicland," appears in the October 2018 edition of Phantom Drift: A Journal of New Fabulism. He's currently accepting new clients in fiction and memoir at the Writer's Ally (http://thewritersally.com).

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Meg Eden

Meg Eden 's work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel "Post-High School Reality Quest" is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

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Mary Fan

Mary Fan writes sci-fi/fantasy stories about intrepid heroines and far-off worlds. Her books include the Jane Colt sci-fi trilogy (comprising Artificial Absolutes, Synthetic Illusions, and Virtual Shadows), Starswept (YA sci-fi), and Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil (YA dark fantasy). She is also the co-editor of the Brave New Girls anthologies about tech-savvy teen girls that aims to inspire more young women to enter science and technology careers. Her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, including Love, Murder & Mayhem (Crazy 8 Press), Mine! (ComicMix), and Magic at Midnight (Snowy Wings Publishing). Her next release will be Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon (Page Street Publishing), a YA adventure about a girl warrior who fights demons and evil automatons a China-inspired steampunk fantasyland.

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Elektra Hammond emulates her multi-sided idol Buckaroo Banzai by going in several directions at once. She’s been involved in publishing since the 1990s— now she writes, concocts anthologies & edits science fiction for various and sundry. When not freelancing or appearing at science fiction conventions, she travels the world judging cat shows. Her latest story "Two Horses," can be found in TV Gods: Summer Programming edited by Jeff Young and Lee C. Hillman. Elektra is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and an associate member of SFWA. She lives in Delaware with her husband, Mike, and more than the usual allotment of felines.

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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.

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Nate Hoffelder Nate Hoffelder has been building and running Wordpress sites since 2010. He blogs about indie publishing and helps authors connect with readers by customizing websites to suit each author’s voice. You may have heard his site, The Digital Reader, mentioned on podcasts such as The Creative Penn, Wordslinger, or Sell More Books Show.

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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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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. TORTALL, A SPY'S GUIDE, a book he co-wrote with Tamora Pierce, Julie Holderman & Megan Messenger, is currently available in hardcover from Random House Children's Books.

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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.

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Valerie Mikles

Valerie Mikles loves science, Stargate, grapes, and the color blue. Her early plans of being a dance teacher and a novelist were put on hold when she realized 'Black Hole Hunter' was a career option. She received her PhD in astronomy in 2008, then moved to L.A. to be a screenwriter. She wrote and produced several indie films about asexuality. Now she works on weather satellites for NOAA and is writing a sci-fi novel series. Her motto in life is "I can be everything I want, just not all at the same time.

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Marilyn Mix has been attending and running science fiction conventions since 1976. She is a textile enthusiast who sews, knits, crochets, embroiders, and braids. She recently tried yarnbombing.

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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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Sarah Pinsker

Sarah Pinsker is the author of the Nebula winning novelette, "Our Lady of the Open Road" and the Theodore Sturgeon Award winning novelette, "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind." Her stories have appeared in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Uncanny, among others, as well as numerous anthologies and year’s bests. Her first collection, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea: Stories will be published by Small Beer Press in 2019, followed by a novel. She is also a singer/songwriter and has toured nationally behind three albums on various independent labels. She lives with her wife and dog in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Aleksandr Poryshkin is the Chessiecon chair for 2020.

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Bambi Riggsbee-Smith has been in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) for about 32 years. She made her living as a dancer, dance teacher and a costumer. She has been fen since she could read chapter books... That was 195_ (Yes, old enough for the warranty on many parts to have expired.) Bambi has been wrapping pretty consistently for more than 25 years.

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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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Sarah Sexton is an artist living in Maryland.

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Steven R. Southard

Steven R. Southard 's short stories appear in over ten anthologies including Dark Luminous Wings, In a Cat’s Eye; and Avast, Ye Airships! He’s the author of the What Man Hath Wrought series, with fourteen alternate history 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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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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K.M. Szpara

K.M. 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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Ted Weber Ted Weber has pursued writing since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. His first published novel was a near-future cyberpunk thriller titled Sleep State Interrupt (See Sharp Press). It was a finalist for the 2017 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel. The first sequel, The Wrath of Leviathan, was published in 2018, and the final book of the trilogy, Zero-Day Rising, is coming out Sep. 1, 2020. He also has other books on the way. He is a member of the Maryland Writers Association, and runs a monthly writing workshop. By day, Mr. Weber works as a Climate Adaptation Policy Analyst, and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents. For book samples, short stories, and more, visit https://www.tcweber.com/

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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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Martin Wilsey

Martin Wilsey is a full-time author and creator the highly acclaimed, bestselling, SOLSTICE 31 SAGA. Mr. Wilsey's first novel, STILL FALLING, was published March 31st of 2015. Less than three years and over a half a million published words later, he retired from his career as a research scientist for a government-funded think tank. As a full-time science fiction writer, Mr. Wilsey still uses his research and whiteboard skills to keep the books flowing. He likes to put the science back into science fiction. Mr. Wilsey is also the founder and CEO of Tannhauser Press, a small press and collaborative environment that was explicitly created by writers for writers. As a prolific blogger, Martin shares what he has learned on his journey as an indie published author. On his blog, he writes a weekly webcomic and shares his inspirations and views on life. In addition to writing, he has begun to expand efforts into publishing through Tannhauser Press, audio narration, and podcasting. Mr. Wilsey has more projects than he has time. Please feel free to email him and distract him even more. He and his wife Brenda live in Virginia with their cats Brandy and Bailey.

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