The final Con†Stellation is over 🙁
😀↪︎ But, join us for Not-A-Con 2018!! ↩︎😀
😀↪︎ To be held 19–20 October ↩︎😀
We will be transforming the Con†Stellation pages into a history site
Please bear with us as that transition will take some time
Con†Stellation XXXV: Horologium (The Clock)
13–15 October 2017——Huntsville, Alabama
|GoH: Mary Robinette Kowal||Artist GoH: David O. Miller||MC: Toni Weisskopf|
Mary Robinette Kowal is an award-winning author, a professional puppeteer, and a voice actor. Her debut novel Shades of Milk and Honey was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, while two of her short fiction works have been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Short Story—"Evil Robot Monkey” in 2009 and “For Want of a Nail” in 2011, which won the Hugo that year. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies, plus her collections Scenting the Dark and Other Stories and Word Puppets. Her latest novel, Ghost Talkers, was released in hardback August 2016 and is also available as an e-book. It will be released in paperback August 2017.
Kowal is also an award-winning puppeteer. In high school, puppetry was a hobby, but she “never thought of it as something you could get paid for.” At East Carolina University she took an art degree, minoring in theater and speech. While performing as Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, she learned that a professional puppeteer was at the show. It was a turning point. With over twenty years of experience, she has performed for LazyTown, the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures, and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award for an American puppeteer.
Her puppetry career consumed much of Kowal’s creative energy for over ten years. Although she wrote in high school and college, it wasn’t until her brother moved his family to China that she began writing again. Like Lewis Carroll and J.M. Barrie, she started writing children’s fantasy as a way to stay connected to her young niece and nephew. Reminded of how much she enjoyed writing, she began submitting short stories and made her first sale in 2005—her first professional sale in 2006.
When she isn’t writing or puppeteering, Kowal brings her speech and theater background to her work as a voice actor. She is a member of SAG/AFTRA. As the voice behind several audio books and short stories, she has recorded fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She describes voice acting as “puppetry, without the pain.”
Kowal lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Sometimes she even writes on them. You can find out more about her at her website, check her out on YouTube or follow her on Twitter at @MaryRobinette.
|From the FAQ on Kowal's website: Q. How do you pronounce your last name?|
|A. Co-wall, with the emphasis on the first syllable. It’s like Kowalski, without the ski. As I understand it, my husband’s grandfather Americanized his name when he came over from the Ukraine to make it easier to pronounce.|
David O. Miller bills himself as a "freelance Art Director, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Educator" but those categories—wide-ranging as they are—still don't tell the whole story. For instance, they don't mention his abiding interesting in gaming as a player, an artist, and a businessman (as part owner of Dark City Games which publishes old school "Programed Adventures"). He's also the current President of the Long Island Retro Gaming Group and an enthusiastic wargame terrain modeler.
After taking a BA in Graphic Design/Illustration at Eastern Kentucky University, David worked as a graphic designer for various companies in Kentucky, including a TV station and a major advertising agency—where he eventually became a supervisor over a large art department. In 1987 David moved further south and took a job as Art Director in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center/U.S. Space Camp. About that he says: "I was a child during the race to the moon and because of that my heroes were all astronauts. The job at the Space Center was an amazing time for me. I was very fortunate to meet and work with several of my heroes including Alan Shepard and Buzz Aldrin. It really was a dream job."
Still, David really wanted to be an illustrator. Not long after moving to Huntsville his efforts to find freelance illustration assignments started to pay off. Soon he was freelancing for many RPG game companies such as TSR, GDW, White Wolf Publishing, Steve Jackson Games, West End Games, and Wizards of the Coast—as well as Baen Books, DoubleDay Science Fiction and Military Book Clubs, Topps, and Inkworks.
David left the Space and Rocket Center in early 1991 to freelance full-time. It was at this time he met his future wife at a science fiction convention in Chattanooga TN. Julie and David were married in 1993 and he relocated to Long Island, NY. In addition to creating art, he teaches courses at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, NY. His very popular Adobe foundation classes include Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. He teaches classes in digital painting as well. David also keeps a busy schedule teaching science fiction/fantasy themed drawing workshops for young adults at libraries all over Long Island.
Though he was a great friend and asset to Con†Stellation while he lived in Huntsville, David's most enduring contribution to our convention has been about 3 decades of designs for Con†Stellation T-Shirts, which you can see at this retrospective. You can learn more about David and see many other examples of his art at his website.
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 with a degree in anthropology, 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. You can talk to her at Con†Stellation about most anything to do with sf/f publishing—including the stellar list of authors she's worked with (David Weber, David Drake, Mercedes Lackey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Eric Flint, Wen Spencer, and Larry Correia just to name a few)—but her fannish bona fides are just as strong as her professional ones. For instance, she was one of the driving forces bringing DeepSouthCon back to Huntsville for its 50th incarnation in 2012. Back on the pro side, Toni compiled and annotated (with Josepha Sherman) the definitive volume of subversive children’s folklore, Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts. For Baen she’s edited three original hard sf anthologies: Cosmic Stories: Adventures in Sol System, Cosmic Stories: Adventures in Far Futures, and Transhuman, with sf author Mark L. Van Name.
In addition to being nominated 4 times for the Best Editor (Long Form) Hugo, Toni has won the Phoenix Award (for the pro who has done the most for Southern Fandom), the Rebel Award (for the fan who has done the most for Southern Fandom), and the Rubble Award (for the person who has done the most to Southern Fandom). Winning the Phoenix, Rebel, and Rubble (administered by her “friend” Gary Robe) made Toni the first winner of the Triple Crown of Southern Fandom awards. Most recently, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has selected Toni for the 2017 Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award (for "distinguished contributions to the science fiction and fantasy community").
The widow of Southern fan and swordmaster Hank Reinhardt, she is the mother of a delightful daughter, and lives in a hundred-year-old house full up with three cats, two dogs, and many spears. Taking care of them, house included, consumes most of her spare time, but she is also interested in space science and takes part in the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. You can read more about Toni Weisskopf in a 2007 Locus Magazine interview or a a 2014 Q&A by David Rapp on Kirkus Reviews; or you can do what Toni would prefer and visit the Baen Books website.
GoH, Con†Stellation V: Andromeda, 1986
GoH, Con†Stellation XXXIII: Coma Berenices, 2015
Orson Scott Card is probably best known for his sf novels Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, but he has written in many other forms and genres. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977—the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelet version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog. Card's early sf won him the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the 1978 Worldcon while he supported his family primarily by writing scripts for audiotapes produced by Living Scriptures of Ogden UT.
His writing ranges from traditional sf (The Memory of Earth, Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus) to biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel & Leah) and from contemporary fantasies (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys) to books on writing (Characters and Viewpoint, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy). His "Tales of Alvin Maker" series (beginning with Seventh Son) reinvented medieval fantasy in an American frontier setting.
For more information, visit Card's Hatrack River website.
Artist GoH, Con†Stellation XVI: Eridanus, 1997
Randy B. Cleary was born and grew up in North Carolina, ending up in Huntsville when he moved here for work after graduating from NC State. Well, the first time here—he also worked stints in Raleigh and Atlanta before moving back to Huntsville in 1998. Randy says he became a fan long before he discovered fandom, but he’s done tons in the latter starting with neighborhood sf-themed clubs while still growing up. He's been active in NASFA (including stints as President and Program Director) and Con†Stellation while in Huntsville (both times), and helped found the Atlanta Science-Fiction Society (becoming their first President) as well the GA-Filk convention while living in Atlanta. Randy’s an accomplished fan artist whose illustrations appear regularly in diverse fannish publications. His work has also been used on awards, buttons, hats, and t-shirts. His strong graphic style and precise technique are used to illustrate a wide range of sf, fantasy, and horror themes “with the occasional hint of humor” as he puts it. Randy has been the head of the Con†Stellation Art Show for the last many years.
Randy is a member and past regional director and of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. Since the early 90’s, he has attended several conventions a year, including a few Worldcons. For various conventions he's been a co-chair, an Artist Guest of Honor, masquerade judge, art show director, auctioneer, party thrower, and general helper. He’s also been active at various times in APAs—including the Southern Fandom Press Alliance—and the Southern Fandom Confederation (as President and newsletter publisher). Not surprisingly, all this fannish activity resulted in a well-deserved 2009 win for the Rebel Award for service to Southern Fandom.
GoH, Con†Stellation XXV: Cygnus, 2006
While David Drake was studying at Duke Law School, the Army changed his immediate career path to a choice between interrogator or grunt. Dave chose interrogator. He was assigned to the 11th Cav, the Blackhorse, and spent much of 1970 riding armored vehicles through jungles instead of slogging on foot.
During his service, Dave learned new skills, saw interesting sights, and met exotic people who hadn’t run fast enough to get away. He returned to Duke, completed his law degree, and became Chapel Hill's Assistant Town Attorney while trying to put his life back together through fiction that made sense of his Army experiences.
Dave describes war from where he saw it: the loader’s hatch of a tank in Cambodia. His military experience, combined with his formal education in history and Latin, has made him one of the foremost writers of realistic action SF and fantasy. His bestselling Hammer's Slammers series is credited with creating the genre of modern Military SF.
He would rather be a moderately successful lawyer with a less interesting background.
Dave lives with his family in rural North Carolina. You can learn more about him at david-drake.com.
AGoH, Con†Stellation XXXI: Perseus, 2012
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 examples of her work. You can see more of her work in various places around the web including blogs from other artists and Epilogue.
MC, Con†Stellation XVI: Eridanus, 1997
Les Johnson is a physicist, a science and science fiction author, and a NASA technologist. His most recent book, On to the Asteroid, with co-author Travis Taylor, was released by Baen in August 2016. His story "Spreading the Seed" appears in the November 2016 anthology Science Fiction by Scientists: An Anthology of Short Stories. Les’s previous books include Back to the Moon, Going Interstellar, and Rescue Mode (all for Baen) and Living Off the Land in Space, Solar Sails, Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, and Sky Alert: When Satellites Fail (Springer Books). He is the Senior Technical Adviser for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville AL, where he serves as the Principal Investigator for the Near Earth Asteroid Scout solar sail mission that will launch in 2018. Les has numerous peer-reviewed journal publications and was published in Analog. He is a member of the National Space Society, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, The British Interplanetary Society, The World Future Society, and MENSA.
Artist GoH, Con†Stellation XXV: Cygnus, 2006
Theresa Mather has been a professional artist since 1989—creating fantasy works featuring a variety of unusual creatures. Best known for her pieces painted on feathers and stone, integrating her paintings with the natural colors and textures of the surface, Theresa draws much of her inspiration from the world around her. “When I need inspiration, I go hiking somewhere,” is what Theresa tells those who inquire. Theresa and her husband Barry Short reside in Cedar City UT, where the many nearby national parks give her plenty of opportunity to find inspiration.
Theresa chooses to work outside of gaming and publication, preferring to exhibit and sell her work at convention art shows across the country. She enjoys the freedom this gives her to paint whatever she desires, allowing her paintings to be truly her creations.
While she does have some formal art training, Theresa suggests that those curious about this aspect of her background simply rent and watch the movie Art School Confidential, which parallels her experience quite well. She's learned that when it comes to creating art, classrooms are no substitute for simply doing the work. Theresa exhibits at over 70 shows each year and is the recipient of numerous awards, including Popular Choice Best of Show at the 2002 Worldcon. You can find out more about Theresa and see examples of her art on her website.
Artist GoH, Con†Stellation III: Ursa Major, 1984
Since space artist Mark Maxwell's program cover for Con†Stellation I, his work has been seen around the globe, and occasionally off it. From multiple exhibitions at the Smithsonians Air and Space Museum to the first art exhibit in earth orbit aboard Space Station MIR, Maxwell's work for NASA and numerous other space agencies and private space companies have kept him busy along with his work in sf and game publishing. As a member of both the LOIRP Team (Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project) and the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, Maxwell earned merit badges in Techno-Archeology and Space Piracy. When he's not pushing pigments or pixels around, he's often found experimenting with loud, low frequencies on a Fender Jazz bass. Maxwell is a Fellow of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.
Artist GoH, Con†Stellation XII: Orion, 1993
Fan GoH, Con†Stellation XVII: Hydra, 1998
See David O. Miller's info as this year's Artist Guest of Honor, above.
MC, Con†Stellation XXX: Corona Borealis, 2011
MC, Con†Stellation XXXI: Perseus, 2012
MC, Con†Stellation XXXII: Columba, 2013
Science Guest, Con†Stellation XXXIV: Mensa, 2016
Stephanie Osborn, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery, is a veteran of more than 20 years in the civilian space program as well as various military space defense programs, with graduate and undergraduate degrees in four sciences: astronomy, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. She is also "fluent" in several more, including geology and anatomy.
Stephanie now concentrates on her writing and has authored, co-authored, or contributed to at least 30 books, including the celebrated science-fiction mystery, Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281. She is the co-author of the Cresperian Saga book series, and currently writes the critically acclaimed Displaced Detective series, described as "Sherlock Holmes meets The X-Files," and its pulp-bestselling prequel series, Gentleman Aegis, the first book of which won a Silver Falchion Award. She released the paranormal/horror novella El Vengador, based on a true story, in 2013 as an ebook. Currently she's launching into the unknown with the Division One series, her take on the urban legend of the people who show up at UFO sightings, alien abductions, etc. to make things…disappear.
In addition to her writing, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery now happily "pays it forward," teaching math and science through numerous media including radio, podcasting, and public speaking, as well as working with SIGMA, the science-fiction think tank. She also possesses a license of ministry, has been a duly sworn, certified police officer, and is a National Weather Service certified storm spotter. Stephanie can be contacted from her website. Her Facebook fan page is www.facebook.com/SFAuthorStephanieOsborn, and you can follow her on Twitter at @WriterSteph.
SPECIAL NOTE: A lengthy interview of Stephanie is available at this link.
GoH, Con†Stellation XV: Aquila, 1996
Stanley Schmidt began selling stories while in grad school, and continued freelancing while teaching physics, astronomy, and science fiction at Heidelberg College. He has contributed numerous stories and articles to magazines and anthologies, and edited a dozen anthologies.
As editor of Analog, he was nominated 34 times for the Best Professional Editor Hugo, winning in 2013. He has been on the Board of Advisers for the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, and an invited speaker for museums, universities, and scientific associations. With a varied background as musician, photographer, traveler, naturalist, outdoorsman, pilot, and linguist, he has published six novels, hundreds of editorials, and books on converging technologies and writing about aliens. He has been a Worldcon Guest of Honor and a Nebula and Hugo nominee for his fiction.
In 2012 he retired from editing and now lives in the North Carolina mountains, doing more of his own writing, hiking, etc. A new novel, Night Ride and Sunrise, was serialized in Analog, and will be available from FoxAcre Press at Con†Stellation. You can find out more about him on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website (including a more complete biography).
MC, Con†Stellation XXVI: Ophiuchus, 2007
Bio not currently available. In the meanwhile, you can check out en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_S._Taylor, www.baen.com/bookdata/catalog/author/name/tstaylor, and authors.simonandschuster.com/Dr-Travis-S-Taylor.
MC, Con†Stellation X: Draco, 1991
Fan GoH, Con†Stellation XXXI: Perseus, 2012
See Toni Weisskopf's info as this year's Mistress of Ceremonies, above.
Michael J. Allen is a cross genre author of science fiction and fantasy novels. Whether it’s young men fleeing cannibalistic aerobics instructors and alien death machines in his Scion space opera series, mixing Cherry-Coke-addicted dragons and sniper rifles in his Bittergate modern high fantasy books, or slinging guns and spells in his recently sold western fantasy Fey West, he’s always trying to bring the kinds of new and different things to genre fiction that he’d like to read himself. You can find out more about Michael at his website, or check his Facebook page, and follow him on either Twitter (@TheDScribbler) or Instagram (@TheDScribbler).
Julie Cochrane was born in Ohio and begin crafting her first stories when she was five years old. She made her first attempts at novels in Social Studies and English classes. Cally’s War with John Ringo was the first manuscript she ever finished. Sister Time and Honor of the Clan soon followed, also with John, for Baen Books. She has a degree in psychology from Georgia Tech, where she also studied chemistry. Hobbies include database programming, martial arts, Irish language and music, and fantasy role-playing games. She has one grown daughter and lives in Atlanta GA.
Louise Herring-Jones (Amy L. Herring) writes mainstream, historical, and speculative fiction as well as nonfiction. Her science fiction, dark fantasy, and light horror stories have been published in anthologies, including "Michaelis and the Dew Shades" in Fae Tales of the Mediterranean (Futurefire.net Publishing, 2016), "Tender" in Life on the Rez (Tree-Lion Press, 2016) and, coming soon, "Shootout at Paint Rock" (in a Pro Se Press anthology) and "High Ground" with illustrations by Melissa Gay (Thunderchild Publishing). As Amy Herring, she is a veteran reporter for The Daily Dragon Online, the news voice of Dragon Con. With her husband chainmail smith and digital artist Bryan Jones, she serves as co-municipal liaison for the Alabama North region for National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo"😉). She practices law in Alabama and is an advocate for privacy rights, First Amendment guarantees, and other constitutionally protected freedoms.* For additional details and links, visit her author's website at www.louiseherring-jones.com.
*No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.
Taylor S Hoch is the author of The Curse of the Dullahan/Prospero Clydesdale O'Shaughnessy YA fantasy series with four books out and a fifth due out in 2018. When she isn't writing novels, she's a songwriter and musician. She has published two albums of Americana music and her third album will be released in November 2017. Her songs play on over 16,000 radio stations worldwide and on radio networks such as the BBC and RADI.
Hoch spent most of her adult life traveling extensively in the U.S. working as a restoration carpenter and contractor on historical landmarks and playing her songs at music festivals. She holds master's degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing, as well as undergraduate degrees in English and Liberal Arts. She is the mother of two handsome and amazing young men, and she lives in rural Tennessee with her wife of twenty years, a couple of farm dogs who prefer air-conditioning to doing their jobs, a fluctuating number of cats, a gargoyle named Aloysius, a clan of gnomes, and about thirty chickens. She is DM extraordinaire for the exclusive Gamera Gang, and an avid sf/fantasy fan.
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. As a child, his parents discovered about the only way to keep him quiet was to give him a book. Without books, either he or his parents probably would not have survived. Possibly both.
Howell says he decided to write professionally when he discovered he was too educated for most jobs, and not quite educated enough for a few. Fortunately, he had always written and had always wanted to emulate Forester, Tolkien, Weber, Drake, Parker, Chandler, and Francis. Now he can.
Bryan Jones is a chainmail smith and digital artist who proudly hails from Huntsville AL, the "Rocket City." He grew up in a computer-literate home long before computers were cool and enjoys transferring his imagination into digital space vistas. On the other end of the space-time continuum, Bryan is a fan of Renaissance Faires and medieval combat, translating that interest into chainmail creations that will delight any fair lady and her knight in shining armor. You can find out more about Bryan at his chainmail/jewelry/art website.
Fan GoH, Con†Stellation XXXII: Columba, 2013
Darrell "Doc" 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 and around the Tennesse Valley area under his nom de stage "Doctor Osborn." These last many 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. You can find out more about Darrell on his website or on his Facebook page.
Dan Thompson was born in Texas but grew up in the Midwest. He recently retired with over four decades of combined military and civilian service with the U.S. Army. He graduated from Athens State College and is a member of several community organizations including a writing group (the North Alabama Science Fiction and Cake Appreciation Society), the Huntsville Plastic Modelers Society, and the Star Trek fan group Potemkin Pictures. His hobbies include scale modeling, writing (fiction and non-fiction), and digital publishing. He now occupies a good deal of his time with Thunderchild Publishing, a small company (Facebook link) he started to preserve vintage science fiction and historical military fiction.
Wes Yahola is the next best thing to a lifelong Memphian, having bounced around from Raleigh to Midtown to the University Area to just at the eastern fringes. His high school days got him started on the strange path of radio, which brought him through the night to his place as a producer and co-host on the Drake in the Morning show on 98.1 the Max. He can also be heard playing rock songs in the middle of most Saturdays on that same radio station.
A lifelong reader who began devouring comics before he could understand all the words, Wes has long been a fan of fantasy and science fiction, and also enjoys thrillers and books about history. Once in a while he’s written stories of his own. He’s been playing games even longer, enjoying new and classic board games, card games, and tabletop RPGs. Once in a while he’s designed and written his own games, too. All this came together with the publishing of his first novel—The Artifice Conspiracy from Black Oak Press, a fantasy thriller involving spies, sabotage, rebellion, and the unleashing of a powerful weapon of magic. You can find out more about Wes on his website.