Con†Stellation XXXIV: Mensa (The Table)
14–16 October 2016——Huntsville, Alabama
This page is currently out of date and contains info on the 2013 Con†Stellation. For information about the current convention, please see the Main Page.
Larry Correia spent his formative years in El Nido CA where he tells us the cows far outnumbered the people. There being little of interest in El Nido, he shot a lot of guns and read a lot of books—both of which activities contributed strongly the the “formative” part of “formative years.” The latter interest led him to empty the local library by age 12. First came Louis L’Amour, then Terry Brooks, Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, John Dalmas, Frank Herbert, and more. In between the reading came the shooting—for pest control, for food, and for enjoyment; not all at the same time.
He followed his family to Utah and ended up going to Utah State University (instead of Cal Poly as he’d originally planned) where he converted to Mormonism. He also ended up in Alabama on his LDS mission. He says he was good at it, “Well, as good as somebody that looked like a young, hulking, terrifying James Gandolfini could be expected to do in a field where you randomly go up and talk to complete strangers.”
While on that mission he traveled to a lot of small towns in Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi and fell in love with the south. So, when he started the Monster Hunter International series he set it in the south and “made MHI a Southerncentric organization.” The humidity, however, drove him back to Utah. Besides the five-volume (and growing) MHI series, you can also check out his three-volume Grimnoir Chronicles (the 3rd book due out Summer 2013) and the two Dead Six books (with a third planned).
Though Kurt Miller has been an in-house artist before, he found he can more than hold his own as a freelance illustrator. His wheelhouse not only encompasses science fiction, fantasy, and horror book covers, but is wide enough to take in computer/console gaming, board games, military art, and other things that defy easy classification. He could show you his BFA (specializing in Visual Communication) from the Maryland Institute College of Art, but the art itself speaks louder than the degree. When not submersed in artistic endeavors, Kurt says his favorite thing is playing with his dogs.
Darrell Osborn is a Renaissance man—graphic artist, stage magician, and balloon artist. When not plotting complete world domination, he puts on a variety of magic shows in the Tennesse Valley area under his nom de stage "Doctor Osborn." These last several years he's also been sharing his balloon sculptures (lots more than just your basic balloon animals!), magic, and general madcap sensibility at conventions around the area—including Con†Stellation.
Stephanie Osborn is a former payload flight controller, a veteran of over twenty years of working in the civilian space program as well as various military space defense programs. Stephanie is retired from space work and has moved on to be a heck of a writer. She's been known to claim she's still fairly new at this "author stuff," but that's getting harder to take seriously all the time… just look at the body of her work. Her website—www.Stephanie-Osborn.com—lists a huge array of novels (some co-authored with the likes of Travis S. Taylor, Darrell Bain, or Darrell Osborn), short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and even a YA fantasy book. Stephanie was a major hit as our Mistress of Ceremonies at Con†Stellation XXX in 2011—so much so that she's become our semi-permanent MC :-)
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In addition to our Guests of Honor, and Mistress of Ceremonies we have a great lineup of other guests that keeps expanding. The list is updated as guests are confirmed.
Les Johnson describes himself as a NASA physicist, author, husband, father, and manager—though probably not in that order. At NASA, he's the Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville AL. He uses what he calls his spare time to write (popular science books/articles as well as science fiction), read (science fiction), and fulfill both the roles of husband and that of father to his two children.
Les's latest production—Sky Alert!: When Satellites Fail, due out 31 March 2013 from Springer Books—is another foray into popsci that examines in detail the topics of the modern world's dependence on satellite technologies, what could and would go wrong in a catastrophic loss of satellites, and how we can work to prevent or prepare for that. Before that there was Going Interstellar, co-edited with Jack McDevitt, which collected both fiction and essays on the titular subject. Then there's his science fiction novel Back to the Moon—written with Travis S. Taylor—the story of (not surprisingly) mankind's return to that body after decades of absence. He's also the co-author (with various others) of the non-fiction Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth, Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel, and Living Off the Land in Space: Green Roads to the Cosmos.
For us at Con†Stellation, Toni Weisskopf may be the epitome of a hometown
gal woman person hero made good. OK, so Huntsville isn't actually her home town, but she moved here with her family at age 12 and credits our fair city as the place she discovered fandom.
After graduating from Oberlin College she joined Baen Books (in 1987) where she rose through the ranks from editorial assistant to editor to executive editor. She took the reins as publisher after the death of founder Jim Baen in 2006.
Toni has kept Baen Books one of the leading publishers of sf and fantasy since then and shows no signs of slowing down. When you talk to her at Con†Stellation you can ask her about Baen's e-publishing program and how their philosophy on Digital Rights Management seems to be spreading; or about the stellar list of authors she's worked with; or about, well, just about anything to do with sf/f publishing. You can also ask her about fandom—she may be the consumate pro but she's also still a fan, and was one of the driving forces bringing DeepSouthCon back to Huntsville for its 50th incarnation last year. You can read more about Toni Weisskopf in a Locus Magazine interview or visit the Baen Books website here.
Melissa Gay describes her artistic interests as covering "Science Fiction, Fantasy, Gaming, Horror, and Speculative Fiction of All Stripes." Even a brief perusal of her work finds all of that and more, including some remarkably detailed botanical illustrations and darling children's art. Melissa has a BA in Studio Art from the University of the South (aka Sewanee) but claims that as a "very slow learner…all my illustration skills were absorbed on the job as I have gone along." Perhaps so, but however her skills developed we're happy for it. Her work has been featured by many companies (including Apex Press, DOJ/Hero Games, Evil Hat, Frontiers Nashville, Llewellyn Worldwide, Minigame Magazine, Mythopoeic Press, Phage Press, Rising Image Productions, and Third Eye Games) and snapped up by many private collectors.
You may be as likely to find Melissa in Gaming at Con†Stellation as in the Art Show. She says she's shy but loves to talk to people and welcomes your approach—whether it's to talk about art or reading or life in general, or to join her at the gaming table. You can find out more about Melissa at her website—MelissaGay.com—which includes a blog and plenty of examples of her work. You can see more of her work in various places around the web including blogs from other artists and Epilogue or hear an interview on this podcast.
L.R. Barrett-Durham considers herself a Jane Of All Trades. Her first novel, Never Trust a Sorcerer, is an epic fantasy self-published in September 2011. While working on the second book in her "Trust Series," Always Trust Your Honor, she met E.G. Glover who quickly became her co-author on a paranormal romance series. Together they finished the first volume, Fear the Beast Within, in just thirty-seven days; it came out just one day apart from Always Trust Your Honor. The second book of the "Fear Series," Fear the Thirst Within, was published in May 2012 while the third, Fear the Emptiness Within, is currently in work. The third book in the "Trust Series," Forever Trust Your Aim, is already out. Then there's Finding the Beauty Within, described as a full color Children's Classic inspired by Fear the Emptiness Within. The standalone A Twist In Time also available.
L.R. is a native of North Alabama and not only an author, but a freelance artist in several media. She illustrated the cover of each of her books; designs jewelry taken right from the pages of those books; and—along with E.G Glover—makes stained glass art inspired by fantasy and science fiction.
E.G. Glover's first novel, Fear the Beast Within, was published in January 2012 so he still considers himself rather new to "the novel-writing scene." E.G. says he flirted with shorter fiction in high school—writing poems and short stories—but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that his dream of writing a novel became a reality. Four short months later, he and co-author L.R. Barrett-Durham had two novels in print, when book two, Fear the Thirst Within, appeared.
An Alabama native, E.G. has said that one of his hopes with the "Fear Series" is to prove that a romantic story can be told with a male's point of view entwined, and still hold its romanticism.