2017 Program Participants

Sharon Lee

Sharon Lee
Guest of Honor

Sharon Lee, Guest of Honor
Sharon Lee has been married to her first husband for more than half her lifetime; she is a friend to cats, a member of the National Carousel Association, and oversees the dubious investment schemes of an improbable number of stuffed animals. Despite having been born in a year of the dragon, Sharon is an introvert. She lives in Maine because she likes it there. In fact, she likes it so much that she has written five novels set in Maine; contemporary fantasy trilogy Carousel Tides, Carousel Sun, Carousel Seas, and mysteries Barnburner and Gunshy.

With the aforementioned first husband, Steve Miller, Sharon has written twenty novels of science fiction and fantasy — many of them set in the Liaden Universe® — and numerous short stories. She has occasionally been an advertising copywriter, a reporter, photographer, book reviewer, and secretary. She was for three years Executive Director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc., and was subsequently elected vice president and then president of that organization.


Steve Miller

Steve Miller
Guest of Honor

Steve Miller, Guest of Honor
Steve was the founding curator of the University of Maryland’s Kuhn Library Science Fiction Research Collection and a former Nebula juror. Steve enjoys music, plays tournament chess, and collects cat whiskers.

Steve Miller and his wife, Sharon Lee, live in the rolling hills of Central Maine with two insistent muses in the form of cats and a large cast of characters. The husband-and-wife team’s collaborative work in science fiction and fantasy include seventeen novels and numerous short stories in their award-winning Liaden Universe®. In addition to their collaborative work, Steve has seen short stories, nonfiction, and reviews published under his name, while Sharon has seen published short stories, newspaper pieces, and two mystery novels.

Read more about the Liaden series.  2017 Guest of Honor Interviews


Ackley-McPhail, Danielle 2014Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books. She and her husband, Mike McPhail, have recently started their own press, eSpec Books. Her 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 A Legacy of Stars, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections. She lives in New Jersey with husband, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and two extremely spoiled cats. To learn more about her work, visit www.especbooks.com or www.sidhenadaire.com.


Michael Arnzen (http://gorelets.com) teaches full-time at Seton Hill University, home of the country’s only MFA degree in Writing Popular Fiction.  To date he has won four Bram Stoker Awards and an International Horror Critics Guild Award for his often funny, always disturbing horror fiction and poetry, which includes such book-length titles as Grave Markings, Play Dead, Freakcidents, and Proverbs for Monsters.  Alongside Heidi Ruby Miller, Arnzen also co-edited Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction — a large how-to guide for authors of speculative fiction and other genres.  Arnzen continues to write horror and criticism while teaching the zombie populations near Pittsburgh, PA.  Follow Mike at http://michaelarnzen.com.


Barker, JDJ.D. Barker is the international bestselling author of Forsaken (Hampton Creek Press, 2014) – a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Debut Novel, the expertly crafted tale twists both past and present into a fast-paced, suspenseful ride which has earned him comparisons to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Saul. His latest novel, The Fourth Monkey, is set for release in spring 2017. In addition, he has been asked to co-author a prequel to Dracula by the Stoker family. Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.


Eric Beebe is the owner/operator of Post Mortem Press (PMP) and Bee Squared Publishing (B2P). Founded in 2010, Post Mortem Press quickly gained positive recognition is the small press community by demonstrating a mutual respect for the author and reader, while combining a love for books with business and marketing savvy. Bee Squared was formed to provide authors who choose to self-pub an affordable non-predatory option outside of the self-pub giants that prey on authors hopes and dreams. Eric is also the author of No Nonsense, No Gimmick Guide to Marketing Your Book. Eric has extensive business experience, leaving the world of corporate America in 2010 to form Post Mortem Press. He moderates and participates in countless panel discussions each year, he also develops and leads workshops, and teaches at the university level.


Chiacchia, KenDefrocked-biochemist-turned-science-writer Ken Chiacchia’s first pro SF sale was “A Technical Fix,” Cicada, 2002. Subsequent short stories include “Tribute,” Oceans of the Mind; “And Yet It Moves,” Paradox; “The Rescue Contact,” Cicada; “Victim,” From the Trenches; and “The Humanoid Element,” Cicada. He ’s also contributed several stories to the Triangulation series. Ken’s poem “Casualty” garnered a 2007 Rhysling Poetry Award nomination.

Ken works a day job as the senior science writer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. His work as a nonfiction science journalist has won a number of awards, including the Carnegie Science Center Journalism Award and several Golden Quill Awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. The unskilled labor for his wife’s 26-acre farm in Harmony, Pa., Ken also is a sidekick of the dogs who find lost people and (literally) chases after brushfires with the Harmony Volunteer Fire Company.


Lawrence C. Connolly’s books include the Veins Cycle novels Veins (2008), Vipers (2010), and Vortex (2014). His collections include Visions (2009), This Way to Egress (2010), and Voices (2011), which include his stories from Amazing Stories, Cemetery Dance, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Twilight Zone, Year’s Best Horror, and other top magazines and anthologies of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Voices was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Current projects include a screenplay of his story “This Way to Egress,” co-authored wth filmmaker David Slade (executive producer of Hannibal and American Gods). Media Press Kit available from LawrenceCConnolly.com.


Cynthia Crise, who plays a librarian in real life, discovered a love for fantasy and science fiction in her teens, at a time when most fans were older and male.  It would be many years before she would meet kindred with whom she could discuss how hot Aragorn is.  A mid-life brush with writing left her facing the reality that she lacked the stick-to-it-iveness necessary to produce a finished work.  Late in her quest to adulthood Cynthia woke to the wonders of anime and manga.  She now spends too much time preparing panels for the next convention, and there is always a next.


Susan Hanniford Crowley is a science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance author specializing in vampires and rare supernaturals. She’s an active member of the SFWA, RWA (Published Authors Network), CTRWA, and Broad Universe. She founded Nights of Passion Blog. Susan is also an Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine. Her vampire/supernatural adventure romance novels Vampire King of New York and Vampire Princess of New York will be available in print at this conference. They are also in Kindle.


Dame Dahlia is a cosplayer from central Pennsylvania. She has been cosplaying for 10 years. She volunteers with the Central PA Avengers, a nonprofit volunteer team of cosplayers who partner with nonprofits, libraries, and charity groups to bring smiles to kids and adults alike. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force where she served during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. She was honorably discharged in 1992. She is an advocate for LGBTQ individuals and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Political Science from Fort Hays State University. Her thesis topic is dealing with equal protections for LGBTQ individuals. She is married with four children and a grandmother.


Davin, Eric LeifDr. Eric Leif Davin is the author of Pioneers of Wonder: Conversations with the Founders of Science Fiction (Prometheus Books, 1999) and Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1960 ( Lexington Books, 2006). His short stories have appeared in such anthologies as Jerry Pournelle’s Far Frontiers (Baen Books), The Fantastic Civil War (Baen Books), and Mike Resnick’s Galaxy’s Edge. His story, “Icarus at Noon,” appeared in The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera (Baen Books), June, 2015. His story, “Twilight on Olympus,” appeared in The Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction (Baen Books), June, 2016. He is also a two-time winner in the Parsec short story contest, including First Place the first year of the contest. Damnation Books published his debut novel, The Desperate and the Dead, in 2014. The sequel, The Scarlet Queen, will appear in 2016.


Randee Dawn is a Brooklyn-based author, journalist, mom to a sweet West Highland Terrier. She published her collection of dark speculative fiction short stories, Home for the Holidays, in 2014, and in 2009 co-authored The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion. Her short fiction has popped up in a number of publications and podcasts, including 3AM Magazine and Well-Told Tales, and two stories will be featured in upcoming 2017 anthologies from The Writing Piazza’s Beagle Freedom Project and the Children of a Different Sky collection. When not making stuff up, Randee publishes entertainment profiles, reviews and think pieces regularly in outlets including Variety, The Los Angeles Times, Today.com and Emmy Magazine and blogs regularly at randeedawn.com.


Dexter, SusanSusan Dexter: Once–long ago–I scrounged old diaries to write my first novels. Once, I was a mid-list Del Rey author., Now, I am an Indie Author/Publisher. I have both backlist and previously unpublished works available on the Kindle and Nook platforms, and physical books for sale through Createspace and Wildside Press. Last year, I helped Farm & Dairy celebrate their 100 Year Anniversary by writing an article on what F & D meant to me in exactly 100 words. Want more? Visit my website CalandraEsdragon.com, and follow my blog there, Take Up the Quest.


Frederic S. Durbin grew up in rural central Illinois, where he spent his childhood avoiding shoes, climbing trees, reading, and playing in a ramshackle barn. He studied classical languages and mythology at Concordia College, River Forest, and graduated summa cum laude. For two decades he taught English and creative writing at Niigata University in Japan. Dwelling with his wife among the wooded hills of western Pennsylvania, he is a frequent presenter of writing workshops. His published work includes the fantasy novels Dragonfly (Arkham House) and The Star Shard, as well as numerous stories in Cricket, Cicada, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Black Gate. His most recent novel, A Green and Ancient Light, was named a Reading List Honor Book by the American Library Association. Visit him at fredericsdurbin.com.


Esaias, TimonsTimons Esaias is a satirist, poet and writer of short fiction, living in Pittsburgh. His works have appeared in sixteen languages. He has been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and won the 2005 Asimov’s Readers Award for poetry. His work appeared this last year in Asimov’s and Analog. He teaches in Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA Program.


Stephen C. Fisher:  I started reading science fiction and fantasy early in the Eisenhower years. My efforts to write it as well have earned me a nice collection of rejection letters and a tiny handful of publications in mid-sized markets. Along the way I got a Ph.D. in music, rediscovered and published a lost symphony by Haydn, and took part in over 150 performances of the works of Gilbert & Sullivan (variously as pirate, policeman, viola, and second violin). I am also a diehard Phillies fan, a serious amateur entomologist, and a 21-gallon Red Cross blood donor, and I set a new personal high last year by running 102 miles in races. I am the full-time servant of a family of extremely spoiled cats.


Gottfried, Chet faceChet Gottfried: A freelancer in book production for forty years, I live with my wife, Sue, and our three ex-feral cats, in State College, Pennsylvania. I’m an active member of SFWA, with stories in Jim Baen’s Universe, Aboriginal SF, and Isaac Asimov’s SF, along with a large variety of stories in small press and online publications. In 1984, Space & Time published my novel The Steel Eye to start its book line. Thirty years later, and ReAnimus Press has published my new fantasy novel, The Gilded Basilisk. In May 2014, ReAnimus also published my YA fantasy novel, Einar and the Cursed City, which won first place in the Editors & Preditors 2015 readers poll for YA books. June 2015 should see a sequel to Einar . . . My website lookoutnow.com features over a thousand pages that cover nature photography, cartoons, and games, as well as travelogues from trips to the UK Lake District, Iceland, and the U.S. Southwest. My public FB page is https://www.facebook.com/gildedbasilisk.


Wendelin Gray is a linguist, writer, dancer, a long-time volunteer with the Silk Screen Arts Organization, and a regular contributor to Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society events. Her novels include Kumori and the Lucky Cat, The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak, The Vulpecula Cycle, and The Weary City.  She recently won the bronze for Young Adult Fiction E-book at the 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for her ghost story, The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak, and in 2017 she has founded a new educational project, the Enlightened Rabbit Scholastic Society: https://enlightenedrabbit.wordpress.com/. She blogs about East Asian language and literature at http://icepinepalace.wordpress.com and http://sunrisesintheeast.wordpress.com.


Gribble, JLBy day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. 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). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.


Elektra 11-21-2010Elektra 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, reviews movies for buzzymag.com & edits science fiction for various and sundry. When not freelancing or appearing at science fiction conventions, she travels the world judging cat shows. She is a member of SFWA and a recent graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Her latest story “Two Horses,” can be found in TV Gods: Summer Programming, edited by Jeff Young & Lee Hillman. Elektra lives in Delaware with her husband, Mike, and the well over a dozen cats of BlueBlaze cattery. She can be found on Facebook (Elektra Hammond), Twitter (elektraUM), LiveJournal (elektra_h), and building up her website at http://www.untilmidnight.com.


Rob Howell is a reformed medieval academic who draws upon those skills and resources for his stories and settings. He has also been an IT professional, a cook, and a soda jerk. Originally from Houston, Texas, he dutifully followed his parents as they went from there to Hillsboro, Texas, then to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and finally to Wichita, Kansas. Along the way, they discovered about the only way to keep Rob quiet was to give him a book. Unfortunately for them, it turned out he could read quickly, so they had to give him lots of books. He latched onto the Hardy Boys series first, and then about anything else he could reach. Without books, either he or his parents probably would not have survived. Possibly both.


Walter Hunt is a science-fiction and historical fiction writer. His first four books were set in the “Dark Wing” universe and were published by Tor Books; they are now available in the Baen e-Library. His 2008 novel A Song In Stone concerns Rosslyn Chapel and the Templars; his 2014 novel Elements of Mind (soon to be republished by Wordfire Press) is about mesmerism, a 19th-century pseudoscience. In 2015, his first novel in the “Ring of Fire” universe, 1636: The Cardinal Virtues, written with Eric Flint, appeared from Baen Books; two more books are under contract. He is a baseball fan and an active Freemason, currently employed by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as the librarian for the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Masonic Library. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife.


Irvine, AlanAlan Irvine is a professional storyteller based in Pittsburgh. He performs at schools, libraries, museums, and festivals throughout the region.He particularly loves ghost stories – his Irish Ghost Stories at the Pittsburgh Irish Festival are standing room only every year. His Pittsburgh Walking Tours are highlighted in Lonely Planet’s USA guide book. He has several CDs of incredible stories (probably on him right this minute if you want to buy one!) His recording of the Irish epic “The Cattle Raid of Cooley” recently won the Storytelling World Gold award for Best Story for Adults. He wrote and directed The Compleat Guide to Murder and Mayhem by Will Shakespear and The Murder of Gonzago for Brawling Bard Theater. Both plays have been performed at the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival. Alan is currently working on a middle-grade fantasy novel. Oh yes, he also teaches Sociology at Robert Morris University.


Larry Ivkovich is a former IT professional and the author of several published science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories and novellas. He has been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction. His debut urban fantasy novel, The Sixth Precept, was published in 2011 by IFWG Publishing, and his fantasy novel, Blood of the Daxas, was published by Assent Publishing in 2014. He is a member of two local writing/critique groups—the Pittsburgh Worldrights and WorD, and lives in Coraopolis, PA with his wife, Martha, and cats, Trixie and Milo.


Paul Jessup  is a critically acclaimed/award winning author, poet and playwright. He has appeared in many different magazines, anthologies, and has a few books placed out in small and large publishing houses alike. Notable publications include short stories in Clarkesworld, Apex, Fantasy, PostScripts, Pseudopod, and a lot more. Also author of the surrealist space opera, Open Your Eyes (Apex Books), and the short story collection Glass Coffin Girls (PS Publishing).


Katerinsky, AlAlan Katerinsky has been a fan all his life, but started attending conventions in 1972. He is the son of First Fandom’s Rickey Slavin, and is full of old-timey anecdotes, among other things. Al has had several short stories and poems published, as well as a book chapter in A Handbook of Research in ICT Policy. With Herb Kauderer, he co-hosts the Internet podcast Orthopedic Horseshoes. Formerly a National Science Foundation Scholar at SUNY Buffalo, and later a Security Research Analyst at the FTC, Al currently teaches Computer Security and Information Assurance at Hilbert College.


Kauderer, HerbHerb Kauderer is a retired Teamster who grew up to be an Associate Professor of English at Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Along the way he wrote a super low-budget indie film that somehow opened opposite ‘Iron Man 3’ at the local arts cinema. He has sold about 25 short stories, 1000 poems, 9 poetry collections, and a lot of other stuff, much of it related to SF/F/H. He has not missed a Confluence in over twenty years.


Keith, BillWilliam H. Keith, the Confluence 2014 Guest of Honor, has published over 100 novels, mostly military SF and geopolitical thrillers, and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list several times–unusual for the mil-SF ghetto. During his career, he’s written thrillers with Stephen Coonts, a spy novel with a real DoD spy, and an SF comedy with B-5’s Peter Jurassik. He is perhaps best known for his extremely alien aliens, though recent works have focused more on the technological singularity, mega-engineering, and the remote future. He lives in the woods of western Pennsylvania with his editor wife and numerous non-human sophonts.


Koscienski, BrianBrian Koscienski developed his love of writing from countless hours of reading comic books, losing himself in the different worlds and adventures within the colorful pages. He had minor successes early in his career by getting a few short stories published in independent ’zines, but found more success in partnering with Chris Pisano. As a writing team, they have had stories, articles, graphic novels, and poetry published, as well as two novels, The Shattered Visage Lies by Post Mortem Press and The Devil’s Grasp by Sunbury Press.


Jamie Lackey  lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cat. She has over 120 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the Stoker Award-winning After Death…. Her short story collection, One Revolution, and her science fiction novella, Moving Forward, are available on Amazon.com.  She read submissions for the Hugo-winning Clarkesworld Magazine for five years and was an assistant editor for the Hugo-winning Electric Velocipede from 2012-2013. She served as editor for Triangulation: Lost Voices in 2015 and Triangulation: Beneath the Surface in 2016.  Her debut novel,  Left Hand Gods, is available from Hadley Rille Books.  In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking.  You can find her online at www.jamielackey.com.


Lee, Mary SoonMary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh where she is working on an epic fantasy in verse. The opening poem, “Interregnum,” won the 2014 Rhysling Award for best long poem, and the first book of the epic (“Crowned,” Dark Renaissance Books, 2015) has been nominated for the Elgin Award. Several of the poems may be read at http://www.thesignofthedragon.com.


Levenson, BartonBarton Paul Levenson has a degree in physics. Happily married to poet Elizabeth Penrose, he confuses everybody by being both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat. His work has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, ChiZine, Cricket, Cicada, the New York Review of Science Fiction, and many small press markets. His novel The Celibate Succubus is available from Barking Rain Press, and can also be purchased through amazon.com or BN.com. Barton was banned from entering the Confluence Short Story Contest again after winning first prize two years in a row.


Liebe, TimTimothy 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, Theseus, and Hercules, and in Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic series, 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 still helping to co-write The Tortall Companion Guide.


Ludwigson, BreaBrea Ludwigson, a recovering technical writer/editor and intermittent poet, is an unabashed fan of the Oxford comma and inveterate critic of the greengrocers’ apostrophe. Her main contribution to the science fiction world is keeping Bill Keith’s office and website running more-or-less smoothly.


McPhail, Mike USAFAuthor and graphic artist Mike McPhail is 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, 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. www.defendingthefuture.com In 2015 he added the title of small-press publisher, as the co-owner of eSpec Books LLC (www.especbooks.com).


Sean McWilliams is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at West Virginia University. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton and Columbia Universities and at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and his B.S.’s in Physics and in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. His research is in theoretical astrophysics, with an emphasis in gravitational-wave astrophysics, including current and future experiments from the ground and from space. He was part of the team that made the first direct detection of gravitational waves, from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light-years away.


Meierz, ChristieAward-winning author Christie Meierz writes space opera and science fiction romance set in an empathic civilization on the edge of a dystopic Earth empire. Her published works include her PRISM award-winning debut novel, The Marann, and her most recent book, Farryn’s War, which was released in September 2015. Christie now lives in Pittsburgh with her mathematician husband and an assortment of stuffies. When she’s not writing, she writes about writing on her blog, Meierz Musings, and Facebook, where she welcomes comments and friend requests. Find out more at christiemeierz.com.


Heidi Ruby Miller uses research for her stories as an excuse to roam the globe. She’s put her experiences and studies to paper in her far-future Ambasadora series and into her two new thriller series. In between trips, Heidi teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program. Ambasadora was her thesis novel there. The multi-award winning writing guide Many Genres, One Craft, co-edited with Michael A. Arnzen and based on the SHU program, was named #5 in The Writer magazine’s Ten Most Terrific Writing Books of 2011.

In 2012, Heidi created the Dog Star Books imprint for Raw Dog Screaming Press. Her formal memberships include The Authors Guild, International Thriller Writers, Pennwriters, Littsburgh, PARSEC, and SFPA. Heidi lives near Pittsburgh with her award-winning writer husband Jason Jack Miller. Follow their adventures at their lifestyle channel Small Space, Big Life.


Jason Jack Miller knows it’s silly to hold onto the Bohemian ideals of literature, music, and love above all else. But he doesn’t care. His own adventures paddling wild mountain rivers and playing Pearl Jam covers for less-than-enthusiastic crowds inspired his Murder Ballads and Whiskey Series. He wrote Hellbender as a student in Seton Hill University’s prestigious Writing Popular Fiction program, where he is now a mentor and adjunct instructor.

When Jason isn’t writing, he’s with Heidi, his wife, either in Paris looking for old Camus articles in the bouquinestes or in the Cinque Terre trying to taste ALL of the focaccia. And for the other 183 days a year he plays the role of Mr. Miller, mild-mannered science teacher at a high school just outside Pittsburgh. Tweet him @jasonjackmiller, follow him on Instagram @jasonjackmiller, or email him at jasonjackmiller@gmail.com.


Oberndorf, CharlesCharles Oberndorf is the author of three science fiction novels and five shorter works. A recent story, “Another Life,” was chosen for Best SF #15, edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. He is currently at work on two thematic sequels to that story as well as stories set in the Hundred Worlds milieu of “Oracle” and “Writers of the Future.” Charlie is also working on a biographical novel about Abe Osheroff, a carpenter who fought in the Spanish Civil War, built a community center in Mississippi during Freedom Summer and housing for a farm cooperative in a contra-infested region of Nicaragua in 1985. Charlie lives with his wife. He teaches English at University School in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Grant and of a major fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. A video put out by CPAC featuring Charlie can be found here: http://www.vimeo.com/21115821.


Mark Painter has worked as an electrical engineer and has practiced law in the field of disability rights. He served in elected office for 17 years, culminating in a stint in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, but they let him out early for good behavior. After retiring from politics, he returned to his first love, writing fantasy and science fiction, and sometimes nonfiction. His work has appeared in Weird Tales and Travel + Leisure. He also produces and hosts The History of the Twentieth Century podcast.


Thomas R. Peters  is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. His early career included serving as Technical Illustrator at Interstel, subcontracting to NASA, supporting several projects related to the Space Shuttle. Tom has provided art work for almost every version of Traveller, including MegaTraveller, Traveller: The New Era, Marc Miller’s Traveller, and GURPS Traveller. In addition to his illustrations for Traveller, Tom has provided art work for West End Games, Game Designers’ Workshop, and FASA, and was part of the design team that created Crimson Skies.  His completed computer game projects include TESLA BattleTech and Red Planet, Microprose’s MechCommander, Hasbro Interactive’s Axis and Allies: Iron Cross, and Microsoft’s MechAssault.

As a freelance Illustrator, he has provided cover paintings for acclaimed authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe Companion 1 and 2, as well as two of their chap books. He has worked with SF author Allen Steele on the visual and functional design of the spacecraft in Steele’s novel Spindrift. Tom currently lives in Illinois, just west of Chicago, with his wife, Diane, and 4 particle systems that seem to resemble cats.


Pisano, ChrisChristopher J. Pisano was discouraged from reading H. P. Lovecraft by his 10th grade English teacher. Being naturally disobedient, Chris has been a fan of Lovecraft and all Gothic written things ever since. As a writer, he had a few successes with poetry before teaming up with Brian Koscienski and forming Fortress Publishing Inc. The newest Fortress release, TV Gods, an anthology that pulls mythological entities into our favorite TV shows, was released in May 2014. The Devil’s Grasp, a fantasy novel by Christopher J Pisano and Brian Koscienski, is slated to be published in September by Sunbury Press


A.M. RycroftA. M. Rycroft is a dark fantasy and horror author, blogger, and writing coach. She is a Pittsburgh native, an alum of the University of Pittsburgh, and Kennywood enthusiast. She published her first full-length dark fantasy/horror novel last year (Into the Darkness), and followed it up with a dark fantasy/vampyre novella (The Taming) in June. Her work has been compared to the works of David Eddings and Stephen King.


Schweitzer, DarrellDarrell Schweitzer is the author of about 300 published stories, and three novels, The White Isle, The Shattered Goddess, and The Mask of the Sorcerer. Some of his collections include Transients, Refugees From An Imaginary Country, Nightscapes, The Emperor of the Ancient Word, and the recent Awaiting Strange Gods, his first collection of explicitly Lovecraftian fictions, from Fedogan & Bremer. His work has appeared in Twilight Zone Magazine, Amazing Stories, Galaxy, Interzone, and many anthologies, including the Black Wings series. He has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award 4 times (and won it once) and was also a Shirley Jackson Award finalist in 2009 for the novella Living with the Dead. He was co-editor of Weird Tales for 19 years, and has edited or co-edited anthologies, including Tales from the Spaceport Bar (with George Scithers), Full Moon City (with Martin H. Greenberg), Cthulhu’s Reign, The Secret History of Vampires, That Is Not Dead, and Tales from the Miskatonic University Library (with John Ashmead). He has published books on Lord Dunsany and H.P. Lovecraft, written much non-fiction for The New York  Review of Science Fiction and elsewhere, and is also the author of a classic in its field, The Innsmouth Tabernacle Choir Hymnal.


Harlan Ellison once proclaimed, “From what I’ve read of Jay Smith, he is either a great scam-man liar or a born writer.” Given that the competencies for both jobs are largely the same, Jay may likely be both. Jay Smith is an author award-winning audio dramatist responsible for the Parsec Award-winning horror series HG World, the Parsec finalist The Diary of Jill Woodbine as well as the pulp adventure serial Hidden Harbor Mysteries. Jay’s books include the gamer-geek satire Rise of the Monkey Lord and the novelization of The Diary of Jill Woodbine. His latest novel is the geek noir thriller The Resurrection Pact. Jay holds a Master of Fine Arts from Seton Hill University and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. jaysmithaudio.com


Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning writer who is the author of ten books and about 100 published short stories. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Czech, Spanish and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Shadowed Souls, and Best Horror of the Year. She is also the co-editor of the Chiral Mad 4 anthology with Michael Bailey. She lives in Ohio, has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Goddard College, and is faculty in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.


Sparhawk, BudBud Sparhawk has published one mass market paperback novel: VIXEN (Cosmos, ISBN 978-08439-5945-1, 2008) and two print collections: SAM BOONE: FRONT TO BACK (Foxacre Press, 2001) and DANCING WITH DRAGONS (Wildside Press, 2008). He has three e-Novels available through Amazon and other channels. His novel DISTANT SEAS is available from Amazon and other booksellers as trade paperback and eBook. Bud has been a three-time novella finalist for the Nebula award. His work has appeared in two Year’s Best anthologies: YEAR’S BEST SF #11 (David Hartwell, editor) and The Years Best Science Fiction, Fourteenth Annual Collection (Garner Dozois, editor). Bud’s stories appear frequently in Analog Fact/Fiction, Asimov’s, as well as in four Defending the Future and other anthologies, publications and audio books. A complete complete bibliography can be found at: http://budsparhawk.com. He resides in Annapolis and writes a weekly blog on the pain of writing at budsparhawk.blogspot.com.


Taylor, John AlfredJohn Alfred Taylor: 85 year-old Professor Emeritus. Been writing poetry, science fiction and horror for half a century.  My collection, Hell Is Murky: Twenty Strange Tales, may still be available from Ash-Tree Press.  Latest publications: “Blow, Winds, and Crack Your Cheeks,” ASIMOV’S, January/February 2017.  “Plaisir d’Amore,”  ANALOG, March/April 2017.  Wife and I owned by a cat.


Dr. Bob Tesla has been hosting Midnight Monster Movies with Dr. Bob for 6 seasons now and there are no signs of stopping! We started in 2012 at the Grandview Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, and ran 2 seasons there before moving up to the beautiful Gateway Film Center on the OSU campus. Dr. Bob and Nurse Feratu have shown movies ranging from VAMPIRE TICKS FROM OUTER SPACE to CALL OF CTHULHU (with a live band!) and everything in between! We try to bring back the gimmicks made famous by William Castle and make movies fun again! Nowhere else will you see Christopher R. Mihm’s THE GIANT SPIDER with a giant spider puppet attacking the audience! Step back into the theater and EXPERIENCE a movie! Find out more at www.MidnightMonsterMovies.com.


R. K. Thorne is an independent fantasy and sci-fi author whose addiction to notebooks, role-playing games, coffee, and red wine have resulted in many words over the years. Her romantic fantasy novel Mage Slave debuted summer 2016, followed by the second volume Mage Strike that winter. The final volume of the Enslaved Chronicles trilogy is planned for late summer 2017. A military sci-fi series is also in progress and planned for early 2018. Rebecca independently publishes her work and writes full time. She’s read speculative fiction since before she was probably much too young to be doing so and encourages everyone to do the same. She lives in the green hills of Pittsburgh with her family and two gray cats that may or may not pull her chariot in their spare time.


Lawrence Watt-Evans has been a full-time writer for almost forty years, with fifty novels and well over a hundred short stories to his credit, as well as assorted essays, poems, comic book scripts, and so on, mostly fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  He lived in Pittsburgh from 1974 through 1977, but now dwells in Takoma Park, Maryland, just outside Washington DC.  He’s best known for the Hugo-winning short story “How I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers,” the Obsidian Chronicles trilogy, and the ongoing “Legends of Ethshar” fantasy series.


Wendland AlbertAlbert Wendland writes science fiction and teaches at Seton Hill University in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction, which promotes genre fiction exclusively (SF, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, YA). His SF novel, The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes, was published by Dog Star Books, and he’s currently working on a prequel. He’s published a study of science fiction, several articles on SF, and a chapter in the writing anthology Many Genres, One Craft. He’s interested in astronomy, geology, film, graphic novels, landscape photography, and “the sublime.”


Weuve, ChristopherChristopher Weuve is one of the founding members of BuNine (David Weber’s Honorverse technical support team), and currently serves as BuNine’s President and Designated Extrovert.  A professional naval analyst and wargame designer, Chris spent six years at the Center for Naval Analyses (where he first noted that the Combat Information Center of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would make an excellent starship bridge), and then five years on the research faculty of the US Naval War College, specializing in the use of wargaming as a research tool. Outside the day job, he was the “military expert” for the Discovery Channel’s “Curiosity (Alien Invasion)” show, and is (to the best of his knowledge) the only person ever interviewed (twice!) by the journal Foreign Policy about science fiction warships.


Jeff Young is a bookseller first and a writer second – although he wouldn’t mind a reversal of fortune.

He received a Writers of the Future award for “Written in Light,” which appears in the 26th L.Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Anthology. He’s been published in: Realms, Neuronet, Trail of Indiscretion, Cemetery Moon, The Realm Beyond, eSteampunk, and Carbon14. Jeff has contributed to the anthologies By Any Means, Best Laid Plans, In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, Fantastic Futures 13, Clockwork Chaos, and the upcoming anthology The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson. He is the editor for the Drunken Comic Book Monkey line for Fortress Publishing as well as the anthology TV Gods. He has led the Watch the Skies SF&F Discussion Group of Camp Hill and Harrisburg for fourteen years.


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