Program Participants and Biographies

Here is a list of the confirmed program participants as of May 21st. The names are alphabetized by last name.

Jeanne Adams writes award-winning romantic suspense, fantasy/paranormal, Urban Fantasy and space adventure that’s been compared to Jack McDevitt and Robert Heinlein. She also knows all about getting rid of the bodies. Both traditionally and indie published, Jeanne has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. She teaches highly sought after classes on “Body Disposal for Writers” and “Plotting for Pantzers,” as well as “How to Write a Fight Scene” with her pal Nancy Northcott. Website: ; Twitter: @JeanneAdams Instagram: @JPAGryphon ;

Lisa Adler-Golden (she/her) has been the Programming Head of Balticon since 2018 and is the Program Division Head of DisCon III, the 79th Worldcon.

Day Al-Mohamed is an author, award-winning filmmaker, and policy executive. She is co-author of the Young Adult novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, is a host on Idobi Radio’s “Geek Girl Riot,” and her most recent novella, “The Labyrinth’s Archivist,” was published July 2019 from Falstaff Press. Her films have been seen both nationally and internationally and her latest documentary, The Invalid Corps, is currently showing on Alaskan Airlines. She is an active member of Women in Film and Video and a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.  However, she is most proud of being invited to teach a workshop on storytelling at the White House in February 2016. A proud member of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 24-01, she lives in Washington DC with her wife, N.R. Brown and guide dog, Gamma. She can be found online at and @DayAlMohamed

D.H. Aire has published 17 books and has 2 scheduled for publication in 2020. His love of history and archaeology found expression in his writing of his epic fantasy/sci fi Highmage’s Plight and Hands of the Highmage Series. He is a member of SFWA and an Indy author. Follow him at: Twitter @dare2believe1, Facebook (Dare 2 Believe), and

E.C. Ambrose (Elaine Isaak) writes knowledge inspired adventure fiction including The Singer’s Legacy fantasy series, The Dark Apostle series about medieval surgery as by E. C. Ambrose, and the Bone Guard international thrillers as by E. Chris Ambrose. Her latest releases are Bone Guard Two: The Nazi Skull and The King of Next Week from Guardbridge Books. Her short stories have appeared in Fireside, Warrior Women and Fantasy for the Throne, among many others, and she has edited several volumes of New Hampshire Pulp Fiction. Elaine has taught at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, as well as at conventions and writer’s groups across the country, and judged writing competitions from New Hampshire Literary Idol to the World Fantasy Award.  In addition to writing, Elaine creates wearable art employing weaving, dyeing and felting into her unique garments.  To learn about all of her writing, check out

Chris Apple

Laurence Arcadias is a French/American animator working in the United States. She has directed and written several short films including Tempest in a Bedroom, which was short-listed for a César Award, the French equivalent of an Academy Award. Her previous work includes being an illustrator and animator for French television programs, and she directed an animation show which was awarded the prize for Best Short Animation TV show at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. She was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the French government and became Animator in Residence at Apple’s Advanced Technology Group. She is now the chair of the Animation Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and is the co-lead of an art/science collaboration where students produce animations based on NASA astrophysics research.

Catherine Asaro has written more than 25 books in science fiction, fantasy, and near-future thrillers. She earned her doctorate in chemical physics and master’s in physics, both at Harvard. Her works The Quantum Rose and The Spacetime Pool are both Nebula® Award winners. Among her other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the AnLab from Analog Magazine and the RT BOOKClub Award for “Best Science Fiction Novel.” Her most recent books are Undercity (Baen) and Lighting Strike, Book II. Her latest book, The Bronzed Skies, came out from Baen in 2016. A former ballet and jazz dancer, Catherine has performed on both coasts and in Ohio. As a musician, she performs at various cons and jazz clubs. She has appeared at cons and other venues as a Guest of Honor or author guest in the US and abroad. For more information, see her Facebook page at

Thomas G. Atkinson has been making and wearing costumes since the 1970s. His costumes range from Star Wars and Star Trek re-creations and original designs to Renaissance festival garb, Doctor Who, Lot’s wife in high heels, “Spaceman Spiff,” and his own science fiction and fantasy projects. He has costumed himself and others, including matching outfits with his Star Wars art car. He is also Masquerade Director for the Shore Leave con.

Brick Barrientos hosts the movie trivia game show Silver Screen Test. He won a national championship in College Bowl and was a one-day champion on Jeopardy. Brick has been regularly hosting the Balticon trivia contest and can be found all over Maryland winning pub quiz trivia cash. He is the proud father of a daughter who is also a science fiction fan and may also have a cat.

Dr. Harold Bob

Art Boorman

Joshua Bilmes is the President of JABberwocky Literary Agency, which he founded in 1994.  His clients include NY Times bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson, Charlaine Harris, Peter V. Brett, Jack Campbell, Elizabeth Moon and Simon R. Green, multiple Compton Crook Award winners including Moon and Myke Cole, current Hugo Award finalist Suzanne Palmer, and dozens of other top names in the sf and fantasy genres.  His first convention as a pro was Balticon in 1989, and in early 2018 he did his best deal ever for a debut author, Nick Martell, whom he had met at Balticon the year before.  He watches lots of movies and lots of tennis when he isn’t reading manuscripts.

Jamaila Brinkley writes historical fantasy as well as contemporary romance and urban fantasy. Her Wizards of London series features thieves, duchesses, witches, and more indulging in mayhem and romance in Regency England. Jamaila lives outside Baltimore, Maryland in a house that is perpetually under renovation with her husband and twin children. You can find out more about her books and her opinions about pretty much everything on her website at, hear random thoughts from her on Twitter (@jamaila) or see pictures of her lunch on Instagram (@jamaila).

Charlie Brown is a writer and filmmaker from New Orleans. He is the author of three novels including Fate’s Stiletto and Vamp City (as C.D. Brown) and Looking Back On Sodom and one short story collection (as Charles D. Brown); he has made two feature films: Angels Die Slowly and Never A Dull Moment: 20 Years of the Rebirth Brass Band. His fiction has appeared in Conium Review, Oddville Press, Writing Disorder, Jersey Devil Press, The Menacing Hedge, Aethlon, and in the anthologies Dimensional Abscesses and Nocturnal Natures. He has taught/teaches college journalism, composition, and media production..

Peter Bryant is a producer, podcaster, artist, game designer, and writer. As a game designer, artist, and writer he has developed professional material for R. Talsorian Games, Tri Tac Games, Dilly Green Bean Games, and Chapter 13 Press. Outside of RPGs he has released Rogue Chess and is in heavy development on the new version of Cube of Death with TSR Games due to Kickstart in early June.

As a podcaster he is the host of a live broadcast video series called the MythWits ( where his team interviews industry guests every week, provides on-location con coverage, and talks all things geek related.

Peter is the Director of New Media for TSR Games and produces the MythWits, Game School PodCast, and the Cube of Death PodCast.

Have You Been Flashed? Stephanie Burke is a USA Today best selling multi-published, multi-award-winning author, master costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.
From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, up to sexually confused elemental fey and homoerotic mysteries, all the way to pastel challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all and hopes to do more.
Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subject of writing and world-building, a sometimes teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, and a costumer. She is a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching more and varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.
Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multicultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

Rodger Burns

T.J. Burnside Clapp has been active in SF fandom for over 40 years. She has served on convention committees all over the northeast and midwest US since 1976; has been a competitive costumer, masquerade director, and judge; has edited fanzines, drawn illustrations, and written articles and fiction in multiple SF and media publications; and is probably most well-known as an award-winning filksinger and songwriter who has been a concert performer and a musical GoH at dozens of cons worldwide, formerly with her musical trio Technical Difficulties and sometimes with her husband Mitchell Burnside Clapp (with whom she has produced three geeky and musical grown children). T.J. and Mitchell currently reside in Arlington, Virginia.

Gaming, writing, costuming, crafting, and cooking. All these drive Mildred Cady. She is also the Librarian for the Metamor City podcast and one of the hosts for the new Lightbulb Rangers podcast.

Dr. Kenneth Carpenter is the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Operations Project Scientist and the Ground Systems Project Scientist for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and a member of Goddard’s “Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory”. He has a PhD. in astronomy from Ohio State University and enjoys photography and is an enthusiastic fan of all things Joss Whedon, Star Trek and Disney. Carpenter credits both Star Trek and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, which he attended as a child, with fueling his desire to work for NASA.

The Cheshire Moon rises over the landscape, smiling down as only a trickster the size of a planet could smile. Caught in that sliver of moonlight, a guitar string, a swath of blue hair, a bow. A guitar melody drifts across the evening, along with the sweetly sinister counter melody of a careworn fiddle, a pair of faces are found, smiling along with the moon above, the music beckoning you closer….

Cheshire Moon is the musical collaboration of Lizzie Crowe and Eric Coleman. Come join in the fun! Listen to their music on their website:

Cheshire Moon’s internet presence also includes:

Doc Coleman dreamed of being an actor, of making movies. He dreamed of going to space. He didn’t dream hard enough, and ended up working in IT.

But he had a way with words, and he still wanted to tell stories.

Figuring that you don’t get better at things you don’t do, so he set about getting better at writing.

Doc’s stories have appeared in The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences’ Tales from the Archives, the Way of the Gun Bushido Western Anthology, and the Steampunk Special Edition of Flagship magazine. He is the author of The Perils of Prague, the first book in his series The Adventures of Crackle and Bang, and the short story collection The Shining Cog and Other Steampunk Tales.He is the show runner for the Balticon Podcast, and a narrator and a voice actor.

In his spare time, Doc is a gamer, an avid reader, a motorcyclist, a home brewer and beer lover, a fan of renaissance festivals, and frequently a smart-ass. He lives with his lovely wife and two cats in Germantown, MD.

A full-time author and Parsec Award winning podcaster from Houston, Texas, Paul E. Cooley produces free sci-fi, suspense, and thriller fiction, essays, and reviews available from and iTunes.

Jean L. Cooper is an editor for Changeling Press. With twenty years’ experience editing romance and erotica, she has also worked with Liquid Silver, Loose Id, Hartwood Publishing, and others. She edits historical nonfiction for Shortwood Press.

Robin Corbet is an astronomer conducting research on binary star systems containing black holes or neutron stars, where the incredibly strong gravitational and magnetic fields result in the production of X-rays and gamma rays.

Robin obtained a PhD in high-energy astrophysics from University College London, and continued his astronomical research in Britain and Japan before moving to the United States. He is now a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, based at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where he works with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Robin has also explored new approaches for undertaking the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). At the Maryland Institute College of Art he co-teaches the astro-animation class, and he seeks ways to build bridges between science and art.

Meriah Lysistrata Crawford is an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a writer, editor, and private investigator. Among her publications are short stories in several genres, essays, poems, digital multimedia projects, a variety of scholarly work, and the co-written novel The Persistence of Dreams. Meriah has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine, and a PhD in literature and criticism from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Tamara Curry

Keith R.A. DeCandido writes fiction. His recent and upcoming work includes the Marvel’s Tales of Asgard trilogy, A Furnace Sealed (the first book in his new urban fantasy series about a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who fights monsters), Stargate SG-1: Kali’s Wrath, Orphan Black: Classified Clone Report, Mermaid Precinct, short stories in Nights of the Living Dead, Baker Street Irregulars, Aliens: Bug Hunt, and the launching-at-Balticon TV Gods: Summer Programming. In addition to his fiction, his classic TV rewatches appear twice weekly on He is a second-degree black belt in karate, and plays percussion for Boogie Knights.

Douglas Dluzen, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He is a human geneticist, who studied the genetic contributors to human aging, cancer, and hypertension. Currently, his research focuses on the biology of health disparities in Baltimore City, including how socioeconomic factors influence onset and pathology of cardiovascular diseases. He also examines the human microbiome as it relates to health outcomes. He teaches evolutionary biology, genetics, and scientific thinking and occasionally blogs about his work and his science fiction writing on his website. He contributes to the “Science News and Information” blog for the speculative fiction magazine Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores. You can find him on Twitter @ripplesintime24.

Sam Droege grew up in Hyattsville, Maryland, received an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland and a Master’s at the State University of New York-Syracuse. Most of his career has been spent at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the Bioblitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and works on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently his team is running an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, developing tools and techniques manuals, along with online identification guides for North American bees at , reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program, and producing public domain hi-resolution photographs of bees, insects, and flowers @USGSBIML.

Scott Edelman has published nearly 100 stories in magazines such as Analog,Postscripts, and The Twilight Zone, and in anthologies such as Why New Yorkers Smoke, Crossroads: Southern Tales of the Fantastic, and MetaHorror.

Many of these have been collected in the books These Words Are Haunted, What Will Come After (a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Memorial Award), and What We Still Talk About, plus his most recent collection Tell Me Like You Done Before (and Other Stories Written on the Shoulders of Giants), which assembles homages to all his influences, and is available from Lethe Press. He has been a Bram Stoker Award finalist eight times.

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 has been a four-time Hugo Award finalist for Best Editor.

Gary Ehrlich stalks the hallways of Northeast conventions and assorted filk conventions. In mundania he is a mild-mannered structural engineer for a major trade association, representing them on material design standards committees and at building code hearings. At cons he can be found on a stage or in the filk room, offering songs of space flight, lunar colonies and hyperspace hotels. Gary is a three-time chair of Conterpoint, the DC area’s incarnation of NEFilk, the Floating Northeast Filk Con, has filled other roles for Conterpoint and for 1997’s Second Concerto, and is currently Balticon’s Director of Filk and Other Musical Mayhem. In April 2012 Gary was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame for his contributions to the filk community.

Gadi Evron is just here to help out. He is Division Head for Events for Discon 3, the 79th Worldcon.

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, (Red Adept Publishing), the Starswept YA sci-fi series, (Snowy Wings Publishing), the Flynn Nightsider YA dark fantasy series (Crazy 8 Press), and Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon, a YA steampunk fantasy (Page Street Publishing).

Daniel M. Ford was born and raised near Baltimore. He is the author of  the epic fantasy series The Paladin Trilogy (SFWP/Podium) and the Jack Dixon novels (Body Broker and Cheap Heat).

Colette Fozard

John L. French  is a retired crime scene supervisor with the Baltimore Police Department Crime Laboratory. As a break from the realities of his job he began writing science fiction, pulp, horror, fantasy and, of course, crime fiction. His books include the Bianca Jones series, The Last Redhead, The Magic of Simon Tombs, and (with Patrick Thomas) The Santa Heist. He is the editor of Mermaids 13: Tales from the Sea; With Great Power … and Camelot 13.

Dr Gandalf (Eric J. Fleischer, MD) is a recently retired ophthalmologist and ophthalmic surgeon, practicing in Riverdale, MD and at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He is an assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at Georgetown Hospital and has spent much of his career educating ophthalmology residents.

Along with his wife Halla (Balticon 35’s Artist Guest of Honor), Dr G. has been attending Balticon for over 40 years. After winning first place master costumer at Balticon 16 in 1982, he decided to quit costuming while he was ahead and moved into other aspects of the convention. He has been the art show auctioneer and BSFS Books for Kids charity auctioneer for many years. 

Dr G. also works on the technical side of Balticon, recording the Masquerade, Parody Plays, Guest of Honor speeches and other events in the convention’s main tent, doing the post production on the videos, and creating DVDs of the events. The DVDs are available for purchase. The proceeds from the sales help support Balticon and BSFS.

Pam Garrettson grew up in Maryland, and got her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She did her graduate research on breeding waterfowl through Louisiana State University.  Since 2000, she has worked as a wildlife biologist for the Division of Migratory Bird Management, and is an avid social dancer in her spare time.

Pamela Gay is an astronomer, technologist, and creative focused on using new media to engage people in learning and doing science. Join her as she maps our Solar System in unprecedented detail through citizen science projects at, and learn astronomy through media productions like Astronomy Cast.

Since 2008, Henry S. Gibbons, Ph.D. has been a Research Microbiologist at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command – Chemical Biological Center, the Army laboratory charged with developing and testing non-medical protections against chemical and biological weapons.  His group has employed a combination of genomics, bioinformatics, synthetic biology, and classical microbiological techniques to develop new techniques for characterizing biological and chemical threats.  His group recently utilized microbial genetics and synthetic biology to create new, genetically tagged or “barcoded” strains of Bacillus thuringiensis for use as anthrax simulants and paired those strains with specific PCR-based detection assays to enable their tracking in the environment. Beginning in 2015, he co-chaired the DoD-wide technical working group that developed a standardized, validated method of inactivating B. anthracis spores by gamma-irradiation and currently serves as vice-chair of the Biological Select Agents and Toxins Biorisk and Safety Review Panel for the DoD.  He is a member of the Chemical Corps Regimental Association’s Honorable Order of the Dragon, and in 2019 was awarded a Service Chiefs’ Fellowship from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.  In addition, he has authored or co-authored 27 primary scientific publications.

Val Griswold-Ford is the author of the Carter’s Cove novel Winter’s Secrets. She is also the author of the Dark Horseman novels Not Your Father’s Horseman, Dark Moon Seasons and Last Rites, all from Dragon Moon Press.  She is the co-editor (with Tee Morris) of the memorial anthology Tales of the Tesla Ranger. She is also the co-editor of The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy: the Opus Magnus (with Tee Morris) and The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy: The Author’s Grimoire (with Lai Zhao), also from Dragon Moon Press, and has self-published the short e-novella Snow and, most recently, the short story “Convoy.”  She has published several short stories in various anthologies online and in print, and is owned by two cats.  She lives in New Hampshire with said cats.  You can find her at or on Twitter as @vg_ford.

Javon Goard is a Ph.D. student in Informatics at Indiana University, Bloomington. Goard obtained a B.A. in Sociology with Honors from the University of Maryland, College Park and his Masters in Informatics from his current institution. Goard’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach in studying aspects of videogame culture by working in the domains of Sociology, Informatics, and Media Studies. His current work focuses on African American/Blacks within the fighting videogame community. His blog,, bridges the gap between academic discourse and personal anecdotes discussing a wide range of topics from gender, race, economics as they relate to virtual spaces.

J.L. Gribble writes the urban fantasy/alternate history Steel Empires series, which includes Steel Victory, Steel Magic, Steel Blood, Steel Time, and Steel Shadows. Her other jobs include medical editing, Netflix watching, cat snuggling, and blogging for You can find her at

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 and ran the Hugo Awards Ceremony in 2012. Professionally, she is a social dance historian who may often be found in musty library stacks researching dance from the 16th to the early 20th century, which she teaches internationally at workshops and dance events.  She mostly lives in Moscow (when there isn’t a global pandemic) and enjoys DJing blues and waltz evenings.  She blogs about dance history at Capering & Kickery (

Eric Haag, PhD, is Professor of Biology and Director of the Biological Sciences Graduate program at the University of Maryland, College Park. For nearly thirty years, he has conducted research on the evolution of animal reproduction and the genes that regulate it. After growing up in the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada, he sought a flatter, colder habitat. This led him to Ohio’s Oberlin College, where he studied music composition and biology, and then to Indiana University, where he earned a Ph.D in molecular, cell, and developmental biology in 1997. During postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he began a long-standing project on the evolution of self-fertile hermaphroditism in nematodes. This work was supported by decades of effort by biologists around the world to develop one particular worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, as a focal “model species.”  In 2002, Haag launched his lab at UMD to systematically compare the genetic control of sexual development in multiple Caenorhabditis species (both self-fertile and “traditional” female-male). An early discovery was that the superficially similar self-fertility that evolved independently in closely related species is generated by quite distinct genetic circuits. That is, there is more than one way to become a hermaphrodite. In addition, the lab recently reported an unexpected rapid loss of thousands of genes from the genome as a consequence of this shift. In 2015, Haag’s group began to study the only self-fertile vertebrate, the mangrove killifish. This fascinating little fish is also capable of changing sex in adulthood, and is unusually well-suited to lab life. Overall, this research highlights the fluidity of sexuality in animals. The implications of this for our own species remain unclear, but are fascinating to ponder. The Haag Lab’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. You can read more about  its recent work here:

Inge Heyer, PhD, has spent decades developing a unique expertise in astronomy communications across a variety of settings, including college classrooms, K-12 schools, informal educational settings, professional scientific journalism, and science fiction venues. Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, she completed her secondary education there before accepting a scholarship to attend Tenri University (Japan), where she studied Japanese. After later earning an undergraduate degree in Astronomy and Physics from Smith College, she earned a master’s degree in Astronomy from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and a PhD in Science Education from the University of Wyoming. In addition to her professional work as senior data analyst at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Dr. Heyer also served as the public information officer at the Joint Astronomy Centre. She served as deputy press officer for the American Astronomical Society for many years. She has earned Shodan in both Judo and Karate, and serves as guest science blogger for Dr. Heyer currently teaches astronomy and physics at Loyola University Maryland and co-authored her first astronomy textbook in 2018. And if you have ever wondered how those beautiful Hubble images got into science fiction series like Babylon 5 and Star Trek, Inge is the troublemaker who instigated this…

Kim the Comic Book Goddess is an ambulance driving serial balladier, multi-instrumentalist, and lapsed podcaster from NorthEastern Pennsylvania. She records music and essays as Comic Book Goddess Productions that are sometimes hard to classify and, frankly, rarely mention comic books any more. She produced a 2009 Parsec Finalist for Comedy/Parody Podcast, “Geek Pantheon and Your Moment of Kim,” and has contributed to finalists in other categories. Rumors of intense ethereal whooshing and her connection to the SSDWC, the Secret Society for Delayed World Conquest, cannot be substantiated, as the SSDWC does not exist.

Kimberly G. Hargan is a retired professional alien. (That is to say, a former U.S. diplomat, so in his career he was an alien wherever the U.S. government sent him.) His wife and daughter were both aliens, but now they are naturalized. However, there is no naturalization process for pets, so our cat remains an alien.

Melissa Hayden: After spending the day undercover as a bookkeeper shuffling paper in the mundane world, my evenings and weekends are spent enjoying journeys through fantasy worlds created by others and myself. Along with reading for fun and blogging about books at My World…in words and pages, I work as a freelance content editor in Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, some Science Fiction, Paranormal genres (Adult and YA) at I also enjoy photographing in my spare moments at Spellbound In A Flash.

Morgan Hazelwood (she/her) is a querying fantasy writer, as well as a blogger and vlogger of writing tips and writerly musings. She enjoys taking pictures of the sky, reading a good book, and ambi-verting from her living room. She’s also a voice for the fairy-tale audio drama Anansi Storytime and other StoryForge Productions. She’s been known to procrati-clean her whole house and alphabetize other people’s bookshelves.

Larry Hodges is an active member of SFWA with over 110 short story sales, including 32 “pro” sales, including ones to Analog, Escape Pod, Compelling Science Fiction, and 18 to Galaxy’s Edge. He has four novels, including When Parallel Lines Meet, which he co-wrote with Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn, and Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, which covers the election for President of Earth in the year 2100. He’s a member of Codexwriters, and a graduate of the six-week 2006 Odyssey Writers Workshop, and the two-week 2008 Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop. In the world of non-fiction, he has 17 books and over 1900 published articles in over 160 different publications. He’s also a professional table tennis coach, and claims to be the best science fiction writer in USA Table Tennis, and the best table tennis player in SFWA! Visit him at

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. is Principal Lecturer in Vertebrate Paleontology at the Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on the origin, evolution, adaptations, and behavior of carnivorous dinosaurs, and especially of tyrannosauroids (Tyrannosaurus rex and its kin). He received his Bachelors at Johns Hopkins in 1987 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1992. He is also a Research Associate of the Department of Paleobiology of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and serves on the Scientific Council of Maryland Academy of Science (which operates the Maryland Science Center (Baltimore, MD)).

Scott Huchton

A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton (also writing as S. A. Huchton) has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. She is a three-time finalist for Parsec Awards for her podcast fiction work, and was the first place winner for Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Sandy competition in 2012. Her work spans science fiction, fantasy, New Adult Romance, Young Adult titles, Steampunk, Contemporary, and various other varieties of stories. She is greedy and likes all the genres!

When not writing, Starla designs book covers for independent authors and publishers at, and also provides audiobook narration for authors such as Kevin J. Anderson, Lindsay Buroker, and many more.

Julayne Hughes is a freelance writer and editor with 25 years’ experience. Her short stories have been published in anthologies (Paradise City, Dimensional Abscesses), magazines (FlagShip), and podcasts (The Melting Potcast and others). She has edited in a wide variety of genres for small publishers and independent authors such as Scott Roche, Scott Sigler, and Keith Hughes. Julayne is also a professional pianist and teaches music at a private college. She lives with her husband and cat in their southeast Michigan dream home, where their adult daughter occasionally deigns to visit.

An author and podcaster, Keith Hughes has participated in and won National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at least six times. He hosts a quasi-daily podcast where he talks about a variety of topics on his commute. You can find more information about him and his works at, and he can be reached on Facebook (Keith Hughes, Penslinger), Twitter (@edgizmo), and Google+. His time travel adventure, Timehunt: Borrowed Time, is available as an ebook and paperback on Amazon, with the sequel due out later this year.

Michael M. Jones lives in southwest Virginia with too many books, just enough cats, and a wife who acquired the remote control in the Marriage Accords of ’98. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including F is for Fairy, Constellary Tales, and Robot Dinosaurs!. He is also the editor of Scheherazade’s Facade, and Schoolbooks & Sorcery. For more, visit him at

A.L. Kaplan’s love of books started as a child and sparked a creative imagination. Born on a cold winter morning in scenic northern New Jersey, her stories and poems have been included in several anthologies and magazines. Her most recent publications are her debut novel, Star Touched, and “Wolf Dawn,” a short story. She is the Maryland Writers’ Association’s Vice President and holds an MFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. When not writing she indulges in her fascination with wolves. This proud mother of two lives in Maryland with her husband and dog.

Anna Kashina writes historical adventure fantasy, featuring exotic settings, martial arts, assassins, and elements of romance. Her “Majat Code” series, published by Angry Robot Books, UK, received two Prism Awards in 2015. She is a Russian by origin, and a scientist in her day job, and she freely draws on these backgrounds in her writing. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Matthew Kasson

Kim the Comic Book Goddess is an ambulance driving serial balladier, multi-instrumentalist, and lapsed podcaster from NorthEastern Pennsylvania. She records music and essays as Comic Book Goddess Productions that are sometimes hard to classify and, frankly, rarely mention comic books any more. She produced a 2009 Parsec Finalist for Comedy/Parody Podcast, “Geek Pantheon and Your Moment of Kim,” and has contributed to finalists in other categories. Rumors of intense ethereal whooshing and her connection to the SSDWC, the Secret Society for Delayed World Conquest, cannot be substantiated, as the SSDWC does not exist.

Veteran film critic Daniel M. Kimmel is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award, given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He was a finalist for a Hugo Award for Jar Jar Binks Must Die… and other observations about science fiction movies. His current reviews are at, and his column on classic SF movies appears in Space and Time magazine. He was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award for best first novel for Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood, and the Bartender’s Guide. In addition to some two dozen published short stories, he is also the author of the novels Time on My Hands: My Misadventures in Time Travel and Father of the Bride of Frankenstein.

Lisa Kincade

R.F. Kuang’s novel The Poppy War is the winner of the 2019 Compton Crook Award. Ms. Kuang is the Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominated author of The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic (Harper Voyager). She has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge and is currently pursuing an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. She also translates Chinese science fiction to English. Her debut novel The Poppy War was listed by Time, Amazon, Goodreads, and the Guardian as one of the best books of 2018 and has won the Crawford Award and Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She starts her PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale in the fall.

John LaPolla, Ph. D. is a Professor in the Biological Sciences department of the Fisher College of Science & Mathematics at Towson University. We know virtually nothing about the symbiosis between Acropyga ants and their mealybug “cattle.” Investigating the biological aspects of this complex symbiosis has become a major component of my research program. In collaboration with Drs. Ted Schultz & Sean Brady (National Museum of Natural History) and Dr. Joseph Bischoff (National Institutes of Health-GenBank), several important studies are planned over the next several years.
Biodiversity Studies: I have employed the replicable “ALL” (Ants of the Leaf Litter) protocol to examine patterns of ant diversity across South America. In collaboration with Dr. Ted Schultz (NMNH) and doctoral student Jeffery Sosa-Calvo (U Maryland-College Park), my research project will continue gathering and examining leaf litter ant data from Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil and Peru. Over the next three years, we will complete on-going studies comparing the Guiana Shield fauna to the rest of South America to extrapolate patterns of endemism and identify areas of conservation concern.
I am also Lead Scientist for Conservation International’s Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring in Suriname. This project involves periodic ant sampling at Raleighvallen in the Central Suriname Nature Reserve.

Grig “Punkie” Larson was born in Cyprus on British soil, grew up in Northern Virginia, finding fandom through D&D, FanTek, and Rocky Horror. He works as a Linux systems administrator by day, and by night he’s an open source advocate and works for the DC Rollergirls. A staple in VA/DC/MD science fiction and anime fandom since the 1980s, he’s been a panelist, moderator, emcee, actor, sketch writer, narrator, convention runner, and podcaster. In 1993, his first book, The Saga of Punk Walrus, became a cult classic. Since then he’s been published in Gateways, several short story anthologies, and written several sketches and spoofs for various acting venues. Trolley was his first published steampunk/horror novel in 2011. Space B!tch is his first dark comedy sci-fi, published in 2015. Currently, he is the writer for the hit comedy drama podcast This Kaiju Life.

Bill Laubenheimer is a survivor of a nearly thirty-year tech career in Silicon Valley, the center of the universe for his profession. Coaxed into fandom by their wife, Bill found they liked it and the people in it quite a bit. At their first convention, Bill quickly found the filk room and can often still be found there, singing, writing, and performing original numbers.

Bill Lawhorn is the co-chair for the DC in 2021 Worldcon bid committee being run by the Baltimore Washington Area Worldcon Association. He was the co-chair of the BSFS/WSFA sponsored World Fantasy Convention in 2018. A DC metro area fan, he also writes reviews for SFREVU.

Chris Lester

Emily Lewis is a high school Latin teacher in Northern Virginia and frequent performer as a member of Sassafrass. Since she recently moved to VA, you may know her from the Boston branch of Sassafrass, but she sings with whatever branch she happens to be near at the time! In addition to singing, Emily is an avid SciFi/Fantasy fan, an active Swing and Salsa dancer, and an ice hockey player.  She is also an energetic sponsor in Junior Classical League at both the Virginia and National levels.

Dr. Ralph Lorenz worked as an engineer for the European Space Agency on the design of the Huygens probe to Saturn’s moon Titan, and then as a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona and the JHU Applied Physics Lab.  He is the Mission Architect of the NASA Dragonfly New Frontiers Mission.  His activities have centered on exploring planetary landscapes and weather, especially on Mars and Titan. He has made several TV appearances, is author or co-author of several books including Lifting Titan’s Veil, Spinning Flight, Dune Worlds, and Space Systems Failures.

Archer Losely, Competition Lead for RoboCup Rescue RMRC (Rapidly Manufactured Robot Challenge), has been herding cats (and budding young scientists) for the past two years. With an iron will, and a handy hammer driver, he gamely challenges them to new heights of (miniature) robotic excellence! He teaches art and canines in a valiant attempt at keeping his sanity.

Andrew Love has Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics and works as an engineer in Maryland. He has given talks about the science of science fiction, reasoning skills, general relativity, the likelihood of alien life and other topics to a wide range of audience; many of his talks are available online here (and last year’s talk is available on Youtube here  He’s married to the children’s author, Pamela Love (author of last year’s A Staircase for the Sisters, A Loon Alone and several other books).

Monica Louzon is a writer, editor, and poet whose publications include the science fiction story “San Cibernético”, which appeared in the anthology The Internet Is Where The Robots Live Now, and speculative poem “Reflections in Space”, which was published by New Myths. She co-edited the anthology Catalysts, Explorers & Secret Keepers: Women of Science Fiction, and her nonfiction paper “Mara Jade, Frontier Woman: Agency in Star Wars and Influencing the Transmedia Franchise” appeared in Women’s Space: Essays on Female Characters in the 21st Century Science Fiction Western. She founded the Museum of Science Fiction’s open access, peer-reviewed Journal of Science Fiction and was its first managing editor. Follow her on Twitter @molo_writes.

Mike Luoma writes and publishes science fiction and comics, narrates audiobooks, creates the long-running Glow-in-the-Dark Radio podcast, and curates the Adult Alternative music mix on radio out of Burlington, Vermont. His Vatican Assassin introduced BC, a killer for the New catholic Church whose story unfolds in Vatican Ambassador and Vatican Abdicator. His new novel in the Adventures of Alibi Jones, Alibi Jones and The Star Seeds of Earth, is being launched at Balticon. Info at /

Nick Martell

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy & more for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, and Falstaff Books. Series include Darkhurst, Assassins of Landria, the Chronicles of the Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms, Deadly Curiosities, and the Night Vigil. The Spells, Salt, & Steel, Joe Mack Adventures & Wasteland Marshals series, and Iron and Blood are co-authored with Larry N. Martin. She also writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance as Morgan Brice, including the Witchbane, Badlands & Treasure Trail series.

Arkady Martine’s novel A Memory Called Empire is the winner of the 2020 Compton Crook Award. Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. She is currently a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she works on climate change mitigation, energy grid modernization, and resiliency planning. Under both her names she writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda, and the edges of the world. Arkady grew up in New York City and, after some time in Turkey, Canada, Sweden, and Baltimore, lives in Santa Fe with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw. Find her online at or on Twitter as @ArkadyMartine.


James Mendez Hodes (he/him) is an ENnie Award-winning analog game writer, developer, editor, professional GM, and cultural consultant. You might know him from 7th Sea, Scion, Thousand Arrows, or various articles on the Internet complaining about racism. His content specialties include hip hop, West African and Afro-Atlantic religion, comparative martial arts, and gaming with kids. He studied religion, dance, and English literature at Swarthmore College; and has a master’s degree in Eastern classics from St John’s Graduate Institute. He lives in the greater New York metropolitan area on traditional Lenape land. Hear him complain about racism at, or on Twitter at @LulaVampiro.

Madison “Metricula” Roberts (she/her) is a singer-songwriter, clown, guitarist, and entertainer from Raleigh, NC, with sets of material tailored to both all-ages or 18+ audiences. Her music ranges from pop-folk, Americana, and Peter, Paul & Mary style campfire classics and has been featured on The FuMP, Marc Gunn’s Geek Pub Songs, and more! Metricula is a regular fixture as a guest and performer at sci-fi and fantasy conventions like DragonCon, RavenCon, illogiCon, ConGregate!  You can cozy up with her at the Nerd Music Campfire and relive the summer camp nights of your youth with sing-a-longs and smores, but nerdier! Stream tunes from her debut EP, “Songs for Gamers” for free online or pick them up via Bandcamp.
Metricula is also a founder of the Social Justice Bards, a group of livestreaming musicians and artists on Twitch. You can catch her live (for free!) online doing music or hosting Nasty Woman Knitting Circle, where she knits… adult novelty items.
In her muggle life, Metricula is a scientist, DIY enthusiast, and avid coffee-drinker. She’s totally not mad that the cat loves her spouse, Richard, more than her. Follow her online basically everywhere as @metricula or find her hub at

Scientist, author, film producer, choreographer, cat lady, and so much more. Dr. Valerie J. Mikles is a  PhD astronomer with a passion for writing and creative arts. I’ve traveled to telescopes around the world as a black hole hunter and returned home to Maryland to work on  weather satellites for NOAA. I am author of the New Dawn sci-fi series and recently released a stand-alone queer sci-fi novel, The Qinali Virus.

Terry Mixon

John Monahan is a science writer and long-time science teacher in Baltimore City. He has taught at both middle school and high school, and has had the opportunity to integrate science fiction into his science curriculum and teach courses in writing science fiction. In addition, he is the author of the book They Called Me Mad: Genius, Madness and the Scientists Who Pushed the Outer Limits of Knowledge.

John is a long-term resident of Baltimore and is a graduate of Towson University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in professional writing. Currently, he blogs on his Mad4Science blog at

Tee Morris has been writing for over a decade, his first novel, MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana, becoming the first novel to be podcast in its entirety. He went on to write Podcasting for Dummies, its Third Edition written with Chuck Tomasi released in 2017. In 2011, Tee returned to fiction with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, penned with his wife, Pip Ballantine. In 2018, they released the Books & Braun Dossier, a collection of short stories written in the Ministry universe spanning nearly a decade of steampunk. Tee kicked off 2019 with Twitch for Dummies, the first how-to guide for streaming content released in the mainstream market.

Lee Moyer’s (Guest of Honor) award-winning work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, London, Santa Fe, and Helsinki; and featured in Communication Arts, China’s Top Artist magazine and 7 Spectrum collections.
He was a docent at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, Art Director for EA, Lead Artist for Dungeons & Dragons, and co-creator of games 13th Age and Cursed Court.
Lee illustrated book covers for Seanan McGuire, Kim Newman, and Iain Banks; and world-premiere posters for Stephens Sondheim and King, Tori Amos, 6 Laurel & Hardy films, Call of Cthulhu, et alia. His essay “The Elements of Illustration” is widely read and he is a popular speaker.
Lee Moyer’s web site is

National bestselling and award-winning author Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with writing and science fiction at an early age. It’s a love affair that has grown ever since. In 2012, Mrs. Murphy published the first book in what would become the Order of the Seers sci-fi trilogy.  Mrs. Murphy has since published nine novels and short stories. Her latest title (and first fantasy), The Wolf Queen was released in October 2018. Mrs. Murphy is currently writing the second book in her Wolf Queen duology and completing the 3rd book in the Ellis and The Magic Mirror early reader chapter book series.  Mrs. Murphy lives and writes in her hometown of Washington, DC with her husband, two children, and the family dog, Yoda. To learn more about the author and her upcoming projects, please visit her website at

Lee Murray is a multi-award-winning writer and editor of science fiction, fantasy, and horror (Sir Julius Vogel, Australian Shadows) and a three-time Bram Stoker Award® nominee. Her works include the Taine McKenna military thrillers, and supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra, co-written with Dan Rabarts, as well as several books for children. She is proud to have edited thirteen speculative works, including award-winning titles Baby Teeth: Bite Sized Tales of Terror and At the Edge (with Dan Rabarts), Te Kōrero Ahi Kā (with Grace Bridges and Aaron Compton) and Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror. In February 2020, Lee was made an Honorary Literary Fellow in the New Zealand Society of Authors Waitangi Day Honours. Lee lives over the hill from Hobbiton in New Zealand’s sunny Bay of Plenty where she dreams up stories from her office overlooking a cow paddock. Read more at She tweets @leemurraywriter

Ali Nabavizadeh, PhD, is an assistant professor of anatomy in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. His research investigates comparative anatomy and evolution of musculature and feeding mechanisms in herbivorous dinosaurs as well as other large herbivorous vertebrates, including dicynodonts and elephants.

Chidumebi Njoku-Browne

Artist by day, blogger and podcaster by night, Nuchtchas (nicknamed Nutty) (Artist, blogger, podcaster, gamer, roleplayer, and self professed “Geek Queen”) produces the Nutty Bites podcast and the Intro to Ghibli Podcast, she is also a regular host on presents Beyond the Wall: A Game of Thrones Podcast. Currently based in Ontario, Canada, with her partner in crime (co-host) Tek, and Dragon pal Rory. You can find her artwork and podcasts at

Bob Oliver is a professional historian with some 25 years of experience, 17 with the U.S. Air Force. He has been a sci-fi/fantasy fan since the 1970s, and has been a player of RPGs and board games for more than 30 years. He currently serves on the board of the Games Club of Maryland and sits on the organizing committee for the annual EuroQuest gaming convention.

Dr. Eleanor O’Rangers is a clinical pharmacist by training, with a subspecialization in cardiovascular pharmacology. Eleanor maintains an active interest in microgravity pharmacokinetics/dynamics and has contributed to the National Space Society’s publication, Ad Astra, writing on space medicine and pharmacology-related topics. Eleanor also volunteers at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where she has been a docent since 1995. She considers it a privilege to educate the public on the history of U.S. aviation and spaceflight and is particularly delighted by engaged tour participants, especially children.
In addition, Eleanor is President of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Cold War Historical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving oral histories of those who participated in Cold War-related activities in the region. For more information, please see:
In her non-space-faring life, Dr. O’Rangers has worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the cardiovascular therapeutic area; currently, she is a medical director/strategist for a number of pharmaceutical industry clients in various therapeutic areas.

Karen Osborne is a Nebula-nominated writer, visual storyteller and violinist. Her short fiction appears in Uncanny, Fireside, Escape Pod, Robot Dinosaurs, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a member of the DC/MD-based Homespun Ceilidh Band, emcees the Charm City Spec reading series, and once won a major event filmmaking award for taping a Klingon wedding. Her debut novel, Architects of Memory, is forthcoming on August 25 from Tor Books. Karen lives in Baltimore, MD, with two violins, an autoharp, five cameras, a husband and a bonkers orange cat. You can find her on twitter at @karenthology.

Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series (Too Like the Lightning, Seven Surrenders, The Will to Battle; Tor Books) explore how Earth culture might evolve in a future of borderless nations and globally commixing populations. Too Like the Lightning won the 2017 Compton Crook Award and was a 2017 Best Novel Hugo finalist, while Ada won the 2017 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She teaches History at the University of Chicago, studying the history of radical ideas such as atheism, materialism, radical science, deism, atomism, and magic, mainly in the Italian Renaissance, and the Enlightenment.  She composes fantasy, SF and mythology-themed music, and performs at conventions with the filk group Sassafrass. She also researches anime/manga, especially Osamu Tezuka, and has worked as a consultant for many anime and manga publishers. She blogs for, and writes the philosophy & travel blog

L. Penelope

Marvin Pinkert is Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Marvin has a passion for using pop culture as a pathway to understanding history. Among the projects he has brought to JMM are Zap! Pow! Bam! (the story of Jewish comic book authors and illustrators), Project Mah Jongg, Paul Simon: Words and Music, and the upcoming Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini. Before coming to Baltimore five years ago, Marvin was the founding director of the National Archives Experience in Washington, DC, and earlier, Vice President of the Museum of Science and Industry in his hometown, Chicago. Marvin earned his B.A. at Brandeis, his M.A. in Japanese Studies at Yale and his M.M. at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Sarah Pinsker‘s debut short fiction collection Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea was published by Small Beer Press in  2019, and her first novel, A Song For A New Day, was published by Berkley in 2019. She is the author of the 2015 Nebula Award winning novelette “Our Lady of the Open Road.” Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind” was the 2014 Sturgeon Award winner and a 2013 Nebula finalist. She is a multiple Hugo & Nebula finalist, and has also been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, Locus, Eugie Foster, and others. Her fiction has been published in magazines including Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, BCS, Lightspeed, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Uncanny, among others, and numerous anthologies. She lives in Baltimore with her wife and dog. She can be found online at and on twitter and instagram @sarahpinsker.

Jennifer R. Povey lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog, and written RPG supplements for several companies. Her most recent novel is Araña, a space opera romp that echoes Star Trek and golden age science fiction.

Nobilis Reed is the creator and host of the Nobilis Erotica podcast, the best speculative fiction erotica podcast in the known universe. He is the author of several novels, numerous short stories, and the occasional audio drama.  He is also the producer of the This Kaiju Life podcast, which is written by Grig Larson and inexplicably cleaner than his other podcast. His most recent release is Monster Whisperer, Second Class, the sequel to Monster Whisperer.

Dustin Tyee Richardson is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a background focused on severe and persistent psychopathology, as well as, trauma. Mr. Richardson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. He is currently a registered supervisor with the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists in Maryland. He currently works as the Clinical Director for a Title V Urban Indian Healthcare Program and as a counselor in private practice. He has experience in community-based advocacy with Native American populations and has a focus on Urban Native Americans. He primarily works with Native Americans, first responders and LGBTQ+ identifying individuals. Mr. Richardson is a Blackfeet descendent.

Margaret Riley, AKA Shelby Morgen, is Publisher/Editor in Chief of, which publish Sci-Fi/Futuristic, Dark and Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Action Adventure, BDSM, and Guilty Pleasures (Contemporary) Women’s Erotic Romance, short stories and novellas. See full submission guidelines:

Dave Robison is an avid Literary and Vocal Alchemist who pursues a wide range of creative explorations. A Brainstormer, Keeper of the Buttery Man-Voice, Pattern Seeker, Dream Weaver, and Eternal Optimist, Dave’s efforts to boost the awesomeness of the world can be found through his work at Wonderthing Studios. His current projects include: Archivos (,, a story mapping and presentation tool, Manifest ( a board game combining the positional strategy of chess with the fantastical diversity of Magic: The Gathering, and developing his Shattered Worlds story and game universe (

Some creatures feed on blood and revel in the screams of their prey. Scott Roche craves only caffeine and the clacking of keys. He pays his bills doing the grunt work no one else wants to take, bringing dead electronics back to life and working arcane wonders with software. His true passion is hammering out words that become anything from tales that terrify to futuristic worlds of wonder. All that and turning three children into a private mercenary army make for a life filled with adventure.

Roberta Rogow is a long time Fan and Filker, who also writes mysteries, often twisting history. Her most recent book, Eyes of Lorr,  is a noir mystery  set in a far future, somewhere Out There, where humans cling to a small sector of a distant planet.. Roberta was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 2013. When she is not writing, filking, or attending conventions, Roberta is a retired Children’s Librarian, living 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. Don is the author of the Scattered Worlds Mosaic, book reviewer for Analog, and co-author of the space opera web serial The Rule of Five.

Ken Schrader is a science fiction and fantasy writer, a shameless Geek, a fan of the Oxford comma, and makes housing decisions based upon the space available for bookshelves.

Chooch Schubert: Father, husband, musician, audio engineer, podcaster, gamer, and overall technology geek. Party member of the So Many Levels realplay D&D podcast, and releasing music as The Art of Falling.

Viv Schubert started podcasting in 2007 with her husband Chooch. She lives in New Mexico with her family, and can be heard chatting with wondrous people about A Game of Thrones on the Beyond the Wall Podcast (est 2011). She also gets to tag along on Christiana Ellis’ So Many Levels Podcast of her live play Dungeons & Dragons sessions.

Melissa Scott was born in Little Rock, AR, studied history at Harvard College, and earned her PhD from Brandeis University in comparative history.  She has published more than 30 original novels and a few short stories, most with queer themes and characters, as well as tie-ins for Star Trek: DS9, Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Star Wars: Rebels, and Rooster Teeth’s gen:LOCK.
She won the Campbell Award in 1986, and won Lambda Literary Awards for Trouble and Her Friends, Shadow Man, Point of Dreams (with the late Lisa A. Barnett), and Death By Silver, written with Amy Griswold.  She won Spectrum Awards for Death By Silver, Fairs’ Point, Shadow Man and for the short story “The Rocky Side of the Sky.”  Her most recent short story “Sirens” will appear in the forthcoming Retellings of the Inland Seas.
Her most recent novel, Finders, came out in December 2018, and she is currently working on the next novel in the series.

Vivian Shaw wears way too many earrings and likes edged weapons and expensive ink. She was born in Kenya and has lived in Britain and the United States. Her debut urban fantasy trilogy starring Dr. Greta Helsing (Strange Practice, Dreadful Company, and the forthcoming Grave Importance) is published by Orbit Books, and her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny magazine and is forthcoming in Pseudopod. In her spare time she makes jewelry, collects vintage cookbooks and fountain pens, enjoys being a space nerd, and writes fanfiction (pen name: Coldhope). She lives in Baltimore with her wife, the author Arkady Martine.

Dr. Raymond Sheh, Research Professor at Georgetown University, Guest Researcher at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and member of the Executive Committee of the RoboCup Federation, has been working in AI and robotics, and participating in RoboCup, since 2003. His research focus is on trusted autonomous systems and his passion is in spreading the joy of research into intelligent machines to the next generation, while his superhero alter ego fights to avert the next AI winter.

John Skylar, PhD, is a virologist, life scientist, and author incapable of keeping his mouth shut. His nonfiction writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, Mashable, and other venues. His fiction has appeared in Perihelion SF, Strange Bedfellows (Bundoran Press), The Future Embodied (Simian Publishing), and many others. He also writes for pharmaceutical companies and video games publishers from his base of operations in New York.

Hildy Silverman was the Editor-in-chief of Space and Time Magazine for 12 years. She is a short fiction author whose recent publications include, “My Dear Wa’ats” (2018, Baker Street Irregulars II: The Game’s Afoot, Ventrella & Maberry, eds.), “The Lady of the Lakes” (2018, Camelot 13, French and Thomas, eds.), “Sidekicked” (2019, Release the Virgins, Ventrella, ed.), and “Divided We Fell” (2020, The Dystopian States of America, Bechtel, ed.). Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous legal and medical professional journals and blogs. In the mundane world, she is the Digital Marketing Manager for Oticon Medical US.

Alan Smale writes alternate and twisted history, science fiction and fantasy. His novella of a Roman invasion of ancient America, A Clash of Eagles, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and his series of novels set in the same universe, Clash of Eagles (2015), Eagle in Exile (2016), and Eagle and Empire (2017), are available from Del Rey. Alan has sold 40+ pieces of shorter fiction to Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Abyss & Apex, and numerous other magazines and original anthologies, and his non-fiction science pieces about terraforming and killer asteroids have appeared in Lightspeed. Alan grew up in England, and has degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford University. He currently performs research on black holes and neutron stars at the Goddard Space Flight Center, with over a hundred published papers. Check out his Web site at, or follow him on Facebook/AlanSmale or Twitter/@AlanSmale.

Chad Eric Smith, a native of Washington, DC, is a musician, writer, film director, activist and an award-winning actor.  In 2014, Smith co-wrote and starred in his film directorial debut, the short vampire comedy “Dark Therapy,” in which he received the Gold Peer Award in the “Acting on Camera – Fiction Male” category from the Television, Internet & Video Association of DC (TIVA-DC). In 2015, he starred in the two-character, critically-acclaimed 8-episode web drama on YouTube entitled “Counselor,” starring opposite Curtis Cook (House of Cards). For his performance, Smith received a 2016 IndieCapitol Award nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’. Most recently, Smith wrote and directed the short sci-fi, drama “Rumination,” which is currently on the film festival circuit and has won several awards coast to coast. He is a member of the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction writers support group.

Jose Smith is a member of GCOM and primarily hosts heavy economic game sessions.

Bud Sparhawk’s short works have regularly appeared in Analog SFF and anthologies published by eSpec Books. A collection of twenty of his self-proclaimed “best” short stories published in the last decade was launched at Balticon 17.  His latest novel was released in early 2019. He has previously published three print novels; Shattered Dreams, Distant Seas, and Vixen as well as three print collections; Non-Parallel Universes, Sam Boone: Front to Back, and Dancing With Dragons.  These and other of his e-Books are available on Amazon. He has been a three-time novella finalist for SFWA’s Nebula award.  A complete bibliography can be found at: Bud also writes an occasional blog on the pain of writing at

Spence is the owner audio maven of Resonant Moon Audiobook Solutions and has been helping narrators perfect their stories since 2017. They can be heard on Game School, Nostalgia Pilots, and Penny for a Tale podcasts. They are also one of the founding fibermancers behind Wyrd Creations, making various crocheted accessories, and occasionally does aesthetic word arranging to make stories. Spence has been creating funny voices since 2006. Alignment: Lawful Evil. Preferred class: Cleric healing injured party members and saying “I told you not to do this, but did you listen? Noooooo, never listen to your healer.”

Wen Spencer (Guest of Honor) is the author of more than a dozen science fiction and fantasy novels including the Elfhome series. She’s the 2003 winner of the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the 2002 winner of the Compton Crook Award. She lives on the Big Island of Hawaii in the shadow of five volcanoes, one of which made her life very interesting in the past year.
Wen Spencer’s web page is

James ‘Jay’ Stilipec, a.k.a. ‘Jazmine Cosplays,’ is a non-binary, gender-fluid cosplayer and Transgender Ambassador for LGBT HQ.  Jay portrays strong female characters at conventions in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, and they are a panelist for various crossplay and LGBTQIA topics.  They are a member of The Finest G.I. Joe Costume Club and was featured in their annual ‘Girls of the Finest’ calendar, which raised money for K9s for Warriors.  They also work with Foundation 4 Heroes, a volunteer cosplay group that promotes the superhero in every child through doing the right thing, choosing healthy habits, and never being a bully.  Jay is a 20-year U.S. Navy retiree who works in Maryland teaching entry-level military broadcast journalists of all the services.

Patricia Ann Straat received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in biochemistry. She then spent six years at the Department of Radiological Sciences at Hopkins, first as a postdoctoral fellow, then as an assistant professor. During her subsequent 10 years at Biospherics Incorporated, she was Co-Experimenter of the Viking Labeled Release experiment, one of three life detection experiments that landed on Mars on NASA’s 1976 Viking Mission, and was a Member of the Biology Team at JPL during the Viking mission. Prior to Viking, she also participated as a Team Member on the Infrared Spectroscopy experiment on board NASA’s 1971 Mariner 9 Mission to Mars.
Following Viking, she became a science administrator at the National Institutes of Health, retiring in 2001.  Hobbies include horses and fox chasing, dog agility, woodworking, and photography. She recently published a book titled To Mars With Love, a behind-the-scenes story of the development and implementation of the Labeled Release flight experiment with all its challenges, trials, and humorous moments.  Visit for more information, reviews and articles about the book.

Jim Stratton is a chameleon. By day, he is a mild-mannered government lawyer, and lives with his wife and children in southern Delaware. He began writing his tales 20+ years ago, and has he’s been forging his dark alter ego of genre fiction author through publication of his tales and poetry in roughly fifty venues over the years, including nine appearances in the various incarnations of Nth Degree Magazine. Most recently, he has appeared in the anthologies Dead Souls (2009), Rum & Runestones (2010), Fantastic Futures 13 (2013) and Bad Ass Fairies IV- It’s Elemental (2014), and will be appearing in the next issues of Nth Degree Magazine (#27) and the Best of Nth Degree Anthology due out soon. His final reveal will come with publication of his novel, The Dokkalfar’s Ploy, when he will emerge into the light, triumphant.

Beth Morris Tanner is a long-time fan and occasional writer living between DC and Baltimore. She works in higher ed IT and has a random selection of hobbies including genealogy, photography, cooking and brewing.

Jay Targaryen (Special Guest) began cosplaying way back in 2000. After attending their first convention at Otakon 1999, and seeing all the fans dressed up, it became Jay’s mission to join their ranks! While coming a long way since the days of purple hairspray and hand-me-down denim jackets, the genuine love for cosplay hasn’t diminished at all. Sticking mostly to the sidelines for many years, in 2008 Jay joined Leigh Targaryen for the first time on the stage at Balticon and took home a Best is Show masquerade award! Since then, Jay and Leigh have been inseparable, winning many awards, costuming entire ballet shows together, and eventually getting married and working on their happily ever after. When not in the limelight of cosplay, Jay also organizes and runs the cosplay department for Magfest, as well as judges, hosts and helps with multiple other cosplay contests on the east coast.

Leigh Targaryen (Special Guest) entered the crazy and wonderful world of cosplay in 2005. Her first attempts at costumes were all hand sewn for fear of the dreaded sewing machine. Despite that, she won two major awards in the beginner category of the Masquerade and Hall Contests of Katsucon in 2006. Since then she has self-taught herself to use a machine and has branched into other aspects of costume creation. In addition to Leigh’s costuming ability, she is an accomplished dancer of many styles, which she uses to her advantage in Masquerade and Dance Off. She joined forces with Jay Targaryen in 2008 and together they have won many costuming and performance awards. They have also created over 500 costumes throughout the years for various dance companies and performances. They are now a happily married couple, partly in thanks of the Hawaii trip they won from the 2012 AUSA masquerade.

Ronald Taylor, PhD, is a senior bioinformatics scientist with the NCI-funded Institute of Systems Biology Cancer Genomics Cloud (ISB-CGC) project, which helps cancer researchers integrate their data with large public omics data sets stored in our cloud platform, and to perform large-scale analytics on such. See for more information.

TheGameMechanic is a community-focused Twitch Partner who has built his platform around strategy games, viewer engagement, and teaching others. You can find him at, and

Mary G. Thompson

You usually see John Tilden (or JT as he gladly goes by) as the coordinator for the Heinlein Blood drive, but he is sometimes moderator or panelist on Heinlein or related panels. John is the current Treasurer for the Heinlein Society and recognized as a Charter and Lifetime Member. He has enjoyed attending and participating  with BSFS at Balticon since the mid-90s. John has published several poems in small press and had a poem used in the PBS show Earthscape. He works for the federal government to pay the bills. Please stop by the Heinlein Society fan table during the con and sign up to donate blood with us if you can!

Arthur Trembanis is an oceanographer at the University of Delaware where he develops and utilizes advanced autonomous systems to map and explore oceans and lakes around the world filling in blank spots on the map. His passion for exploration has led to discoveries ranging from ancient shipwrecks to modern aircraft and unraveling environmental mysteries along the way. When he isn’t chasing robots around in the field he enjoys travel with his family and mentoring the next generation of environmental roboticists.

Jason Tuell is the Director of the Eastern Region, National Weather Service, and Lead of the North Atlantic Regional Team, NOAA/Department of Commerce.

Ryan Van Loan is a debut fantasy author who served six years as a sergeant in the United States Army Infantry (PA National Guard) where he served on the front lines of Afghanistan. His debut novel, The Sin in the Steel, was purchased by Tor Books publication as a series and hits shelves 07.21.2020

Mark L. Van Name is a writer, technologist, and spoken word performer. He has published five novels (One Jump Ahead, Slanted Jacki Overthrowing Heaven, Children No More, and No Going Back), as well as an omnibus collection of his first two books (Jump Gate Twist); edited or co-edited four anthologies (Intersections: The Sycamore Hill Anthology, Transhuman, The Wild Side, and Onward, Drake!), and written many short stories.  Those stories have appeared in a wide variety of books and magazines.

As a technologist, he is the CEO of a fact-based marketing and learning services firm, Principled Technologies, Inc. He has published over a thousand articles in the computer trade press, as well as a broad assortment of essays and reviews.

As a spoken word artist, he has created and performed five shows: Science Magic Sex; Wake Up Horny, Wake Up Angry; Mr. Poor Choices; Mr. Poor Choices II: I Don’t Understand; and Mr. Poor Choices III: That Moment When.

Erik Vance is a Science Writer / Staff Editor at The New York Times and author of Suggestible You.

Although Michael A. Ventrella tends to be best known for being “that guy who predicted the Hodor plot” he’d rather be known for his witty novels, including Big Stick, Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs For President, and Arch Enemies. He’s the editor of the Baker Street Irregulars anthologies with NY Times Bestseller Jonathan Maberry as well as the Tales of Fortannis fantasy anthologies and his most recent, Release the Virgins! His short stories have appeared in other anthologies, including The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Archives, Rum & Runestones, and Heroes in Hell. On his web page (, he interviews other authors, editors and agents. In his spare time, he is a lawyer.

Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr) and two art books (Illuminia: The Art of J.P. Targete and Fantasy Art Templates). Her stories have appeared everywhere from Asimov’s to the anthologies of Zombies Need Brains. The former editor of Crescent Blues and current author interviewer for, she co-edited the six-volume, 40th anniversary World Fantasy Con anthology Unconventional Fantasy. Learn more at

Doug Warden

Brent Warner works in the aerospace industry as a thermal engineer. (Translation: he does heating and air conditioning in space.) In his spare time, he likes to do calligraphy and barbarian interlace.

Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019. Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers.She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls.. She has won the ACT Writers and Publishers Award four times and twice been awarded the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her most recent novella is Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Press).

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

Jennifer Weller, PhD

Christopher Weuve is a professional naval analyst and wargame designer. He spent six years at the Center for Naval Analyses (where he learned the Combat Information Center of a Burke-class destroyer would make an excellent starship bridge), and then five years on the faculty of the US Naval War College. After a decade as an intelligence analyst, he’s now back to designing wargames for the Department of Defense.
Outside the day job, he’s a founding member of BuNine (David Weber’s Honorverse analytic visualization team), and was an editor for House of Steel: The Honorverse Companion, in which he also co-authored (with David Weber) the “Building a Navy in the Honorverse” chapter.
As both an avid science fiction fan since before he was old enough to read and a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval War College, Chris spends his free time analyzing Real-World™ naval warfare and how similar subjects are represented in science fiction. He is (to the best of his knowledge) the only person ever interviewed (twice!) by the journal Foreign Policy about science fiction warships. He still describes himself as an Iowan, almost three decades after he moved east.

Steven H. Wilson is an author, blogger, and podcaster. He created the Mark Time and Parsec Award-winning podcast series The Arbiter Chronicles, as well as authoring Taken Liberty and several other novels and novellas in the Arbiters universe. His other works include the novel Peace Lord of the Red Planet, short stories for Crazy 8 Press’s ReDeus series, and contributions to Sequart Press’s Star Wars essay collections. He has written for DC Comics and Starlog, and is publisher for Firebringer Press, which offers tales of science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal by Mid-Atlantic authors. He and his wife, Renee, co-founded Baltimore’s Farpoint convention in 1993.

John Wiswell (@Wiswell) is a disabled writer who lives where New York keeps all its trees. His work has appeared in Nature Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, and Weird Tales, among other places. His newest story is “Gender and Other Faulty Software” at Fireside Magazine. He’s been visiting Maryland since he was one year old and loves Baltimore like a second home.

Alex Wittenberg: Longtime comic book fan and Trekkie, in fandom over 20 years, dedicated filker, devoted Jew, and occasional panelist. Works as a museum publicist by day, RPs in his spare time, and thinks being a Mets fan is a good idea.

Batya “the Toon” Wittenberg is, in no particular order: a successfully transplanted New Yorker, a practicing Orthodox Jew, a happily married woman since 1999, a certified master of Pun Fu, an enthusiastic cook and foodie, a founding member of filk group Lady Mondegreen, a fanfic writer, a habitual online and tabletop roleplayer, and in no particular order.

L. Marie Wood is the bestselling author of 4 novels and over 130 short stories. Her short story, “The Ever After” was part of the Bram Stoker Award Finalist anthology Sycorax’s Daughters. Wood has been recognized in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Vol. 15 and as one of the 100+ Black Women in Horror Fiction.