Author Guest of Honor: Elizabeth Bear
Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year, and hopes that this presages that she, too, will live to be eleventy-one. She is a native New Englander — Connecticut, Vermont, and now Massachusetts -- but did live in Las Vegas for seven years, and may frequently be found in Wisconsin with her step-cat and her partner, novelist Scott Lynch. Wherever she happens to be, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and climbing rocks. She shares her living quarters with a Giant Ridiculous Dog (he's a Briard) who enjoys one of those activities.
She is the author and coauthor of a number of novels and short stories in the science fiction and fantasy genre--most recently Range of Ghosts (Tor, 2012) and Grail (Spectra, 2011). She is also involved in the ongoing collaborative fiction project Shadow Unit (www.shadowunit.org), chairpersoned by Emma Bull.
She considers herself fortunate to have received a good deal of recognition for this delightful work, including two Hugo Awards, the John W. Cambell Award for Best New Writer (2005), and a Sturgeon Award. She has done instructor stints at Clarion, Clarion West, the WisCon Writer's Respite, and Odyssey, and is a regular instructor at Viable Paradise.
Artist Guest of Honor: W.J. "Bill" Hodgson
WJ Bill Hodgson began writing professionally for national magazines in Junior High, and his first published illustrations were technical drawings of NASA hardware, while still in high school. After getting hurt at the USAF Academy, he married his fifth-grade sweetheart, who gave him an art set for Christmas. He has since completed over 1,000 professional projects for books (especially romance novel covers), games, posters, etc. He lists as his "hobby" doing reverse-painted astronomicals on the back of glass, of which he has sold over 1,500 at conventions. Current projects include a screenplay, an illustrated novel, and a series of personal paintings for galleries. He lives with his wife (Sherrie, a veterinarian) and their 3 kids on a wiener-dog ranch outside Oklahoma City.
Fan Guest of Honor: Ron Vick
A bio...all authors should have some kind of a bio, shouldn't they? So here is some information about me...
I am a counselor/academic advisor at Wayne State College. I'm also the international student advisor, so I have a wide variety of duties.
To go back a little bit, before I began doing any writing, I need to briefly mention life before becoming a counselor. I married the love of my life, Janet, a year after graduating from high school and then preceded to spend approximately 14 years working as an automotive mechanic. I was a decent mechanic and had been to a school in Laramie, Wyoming, called Wyoming Technical Institute, for training. Along the way, Janet and I managed to have two children. Due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, I was forced to change careers. Not having been that great of a student in high school, and being a mechanic, those I sought help from in a state agency were reluctant to send me to college, but I convinced them to let me try.
That's where I began to write. I completed an undergraduate degree with a double major in Psychology and went on for a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling at Chadron State College. LOTS of papers to write! I discovered a talent for writing I didn't know I had. I could not tell you the mechanics of why something was not well written, but I could rewrite it and make it better. My first publication was in a refereed journal (the Nebraska Counselor) while in graduate school. At the end of my graduate program, and just prior to starting at WSC, I was the lead author on another article, published in the January 1998 Counseling & Values (ASERVIC) Journal. After joining WSC, I wrote another article that was published in the fall 2000 Journal of College Counseling.
When I started at WSC, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club was formed, and I joined with the group as one of the advisors. Over the intervening years the other advisors have all fell by the wayside and I'm the last one standing. My interest in writing fiction was fueled by my interactions with the Club, and I began writing science fiction and fantasy (what else?) stories. After winning the WillyCon short story contest for a couple of years, I stopped submitting to it. The authors who came over the years all said I had potential and should start sending my stories around the circuit. I'm not a prolific writer, and tend to spend a lot of time on each piece I write to try and make it the best I can. So I only have six stories completed, but I did begin sending them out and received several very nice, and some not so nice, rejection letters. Throughout this time, I enrolled in several fiction writing classes at WSC to improve my skills.
Then grandchildren came around, and I was so busy that my writing took a back seat. I kept telling myself I'd get back to the writing, but so far it hasn't happened. My one success was to sell two short stories to a couple of online magazines.
Then along comes the opportunity to have ALL SIX of my stories published. The WSC Press was interested in publishing my stories as a collection in a book! Thanks to Chad Christensen, my editor, we made a few changes to make them better and he was able to convince the Press to allow all six stories to be included even though the book would be longer than they originally planned. He was great to work with and I appreciate his help!
Having my stories published in Jeweled Fragments: A Collection of Short Stories has rekindled the flame and I hope to get back to writing again in the near future... I've missed it and would like to see what ideas I can come up with next! Who knows - I might have another book in me yet...
Toastmaster Guest of Honor: John Pershing
John has been attending conventions for over 20 years, starting with DemiCon 1 in Des Moines. He lives in Omaha and is part of the Omaha Science Fiction Education Society (OSFES) that puts on the OSFest convention.
When he is not helping with OSFest John likes long swims off the beach and puppy dogs. And guns, lots of guns. Seriously, if you want to distract him, start talking guns. Or beer! John loves his beer - and you can too. Ask him how.