PANELISTS

Michael C. Bailey

Author

Michael C. Bailey has been a professional writer for 22 years. He left the journalism field in 2013 to focus on his creative writing, and has since released two ongoing series — the YA superhero title Action Figures and the humorous fantasy The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot — along with the urban fantasy trilogy Well-Behaved Women. His work has also been featured in two anthologies: The Final Summons – An Anthology of the New England Speculative Writers, and Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology. When he’s not writing, Michael is a stage combat performer, director, and choreographer with the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

Raffael Boccamazzo

Psychologist

Raffael Boccamazzo (more affectionately known as “Doctor B”) is a doctor of clinical psychology and the clinical director of Take This, the first mental health nonprofit dedicated to serving the game industry and game community. He has served in this role since 2015 overseeing many of Take This’ educational and public-facing programs, also applying his perspective as an autism self-advocate. Outside his work with Take This, Doctor B is an expert on the applied use of tabletop role playing games in clinical and learning settings, and is the co-creator of a pantheoretical model on their applied use. He is also one of the chapter authors of Video Games and Well-being: Press Start and co-authored Gardens of Fog – a best-selling, mental health-themed, charity, adventure module for Dungeons & Dragons.

Samantha Bryant

Author

Samantha Bryant believes in love, magic, unexplainable connections, and second chances. She loves lonely beaches, untamed cliff tops, and sunlight through the leaves of trees. From Kentucky and living in North Carolina, she left her heart in Alaska. She’s tougher than she looks and softer than she likes to let on. Best known for the Menopausal Superhero series, she also writes other feminist-leaning fiction. 

Amanda Cherry

Author

Amanda Cherry is an author, actor, wife & mom loving life in the suburbs of Seattle, WA. She’s an alumnus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas whose biggest claim to fame is having once co-starred with a Gecko in an insurance commercial.

As a queer, disabled author of urban & contemporary fantasy, space opera, and role play games, Amanda is drawn to stories that center people whose experiences and points of view are too often erased. She loves magic, mayhem, clever villains, unlikely love stories, and marginalized folx coming into their own power.

Amanda’s debut novel, Rites & Desires was released in 2018 and her sophomore work The Dragon Stone Conspiracy in 2021. Her short stories have appeared in Cobalt City Christmas: Christmas Harder and several editions of Mad Scientist Journal. She was on the writing team for the tabletop role play game Acute Paranoia and was a finalist in the 2018 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Amanda is an award-winning screenwriter and served as a story consultant to the SyFy Network Docu-series Looking for Leia in which she was also an on-camera participant. Her nonfiction writing has appeared across the web in such sites as ToscheStation.net, ElevenThirtyEight.com, and StarTrek.com.

She is a member of SFWA and Broad Universe. Amanda is represented by Claire Draper of the Bent Agency (literary) and Melissa Baldauf of Big Fish Northwest (performing).

Lisa Coronado

Twitch Streamer

Lisa Coronado is an actress, writer and gamer. You can find her on Z Nation as Dr. Merch, Twin Peaks and on Strowlers as Pepper Jones. She also streams on twitch as HeySmallz here: https://www.twitch.tv/HeySmallz

When not working she enjoys reading, tacos and a good ol’ Irish whiskey.

Nate Crowder

Author

Creator of the Cobalt City Universe, Nathan Crowder is an author, superhero geek, and award-winning karaoke singer living in the great Pacific Northwest. Pre-pandemic he was frequently spotted in the Bohemian wilds of North Seattle at coffee shops, dive bars, or on the hunt for weird candy. He also once got in a fight with his much larger cousin over whether Green Arrow was a real superhero or not. Online, he resides on Twitter @NateCrowder or at www.NathanCrowder.com.

JD Cunegan

Author

J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard, scratching a pencil over a piece of paper, or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.

Karen Diem

Author

Karen Diem is an independent fantasy author who loves RPGs, animals (especially big dogs and fat cats), music, and superheroes. Karen is a voracious reader in multiple genres and appreciates all the authors who feed her habit. She plans to return the favor by writing and releasing books until someone can evade the booby traps and pry the keyboard from her. And the backup keyboards.

She’s married and lives tucked away with a family that subsists on peanut butter sandwiches far more often than may be healthy. In her previous life, Karen was a nonfiction author and a number of less interesting things, though she did receive some minor awards for the nonfiction. Politically, she votes for the Oxford comma.

Todd Downing

Author

Todd Downing is the primary author, worldbuilder and designer of over fifty roleplaying titles, including ArrowflightRADZAirship DaedalusGrimmworld, and the official Red Dwarf RPG. He has written for stage, screen, comics, videogames, audio drama and the book trade, in a career spanning three decades. Downing is the writer of the indie horror feature film The Parish, the author of the Airship Daedalus pulp adventure novels, and retro-’80s sci-fi adventure Calico Kids. He lives in a three-generation household in Port Orchard, WA, with humans, felines, and chickens.

Jeff Elkins

Author

Jeff Elkins is the author of 10 novels including a series about homeless superheroes who protect cities from otherworldly monsters entitled The Defense of Reality. When he is not building simulations for a training company, Jeff podcasts and edits other authors’ work as the Dialogue Doctor. 

Jeremy Flagg

Author / Designer

Jeremy Flagg is the creator of the dystopian superhero universe, CHILDREN OF NOSTRADAMUS. Taking his love of pop culture and comic books, he focuses on fast paced, action packed novels with complex characters and contemporary themes. He continues developing the universe with the Journal of Madison Walker, an ongoing serial set two hundred years in the future.

Jeremy spends most of his time at his desk writing snarky books. When he gets a moment away from writing, he binges too much Netflix and Hulu and reads too many comic books. Jeremy, a Maine native, resides in Clinton, Massachusetts and can be found in local coffee shops pounding away at the keyboard.

 

Sofia Hahn

Author

Sofia Hahn is an avid writer (and reader) of all genres of romantic fiction. Her debut contemporary romance novel, “Disengaged,” launched in March of this year. Aside from contemporary, she also has full-length historical, superhero, and paranormal romance stories in the works. She writes from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and zoo of rescued animals.

Trish Heinrich

Author

T.L. has been obsessed with stories about female heroes ever since she put on her first pair of Wonder Woman under-roos and spun around. After realizing that fear of failure had been holding her back, Trish became her very own hero and participated in National Novel Writing Month in 2015.

Since then, she has braved the constant attacks of her nemeses Inner Critic and No Time, in order to achieve the impossible: An artistic life with two kids!

T.L. was one of the co-creators of the superhero comedy web series “The Collectibles”. She’s also one of the masterminds behind Superhero-Fiction.com, a one-stop-shop for superhero books, and is one of the hosts of the Geekorama podcast.

Debra Jess

Author

A Connecticut Yankee transplanted to Central Florida, Debra Jess writes science fiction romance, science fantasy, superheroes, and urban fantasy. She began writing in 2006, combining her love of fairy tales and Star Wars to craft original stories of ordinary people in extraordinary adventures and fantastical creatures in out-of-this world escapades.

Her new series Heroes of Andromeda from City Owl Press debuted in the fall of 2020 with Andromeda’s Rebel. Book 2, Andromeda’s Pirate, will debut summer of 2021.

Blood Surfer, her first superhero novel, won the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award for Best Paranormal and Futuristic. A Secret Rose, the sequel, won the Maggie Award & Golden Leaf Award for Best Novella. Her short stories have appeared in Heart’s Kiss Magazine.

Debra Jess is also a graduate of the residential writer’s workshop, Viable Paradise and you can often find her on the Codex Writers Forum. 

When she’s not writing, Debra happily plays fur mommy to Martin, the vampire kitty, and Lily, the tiger kitty. You can follow her adventures with Martin and Lily on social media, or you can subscribe to her newsletter.

Amanda Kahl

Author/Artist

Amanda is the primary writer and sole artist for Age of Night.  She lives in a cabin the woods of Maine where she works on AoN and many other freelance art projects.  Between drawing and fending off bears she enjoys cooking, listening to music, watching movies, analog gaming, exploring the outdoors, and playing with her son and her cat.  For a while she lived in Georgia, where she learned a lot of amazing things about drawing, life, and the magic of friendship and earned a degree in Sequential Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Franklin Kendrick

Author

Franklin Kendrick loves to write about creepy places, epic quests, and characters who put themselves in danger to uncover buried secrets. His bestselling The Entity series combines all of this into a tale of terror where things are not always as they seem, and keeping the lights on is not an option.

For lighter fare, he also enjoys writing about superheroes kicking the pants off evil super villains.

Franklin lives in Maine, which is one of the scariest places in the United States – not just because of the locals! When he’s not enjoying boiling helpless lobsters and sucking out their delicious meat, Franklin is writing furiously wherever and whenever he finds himself. Aside from writing, he also spends his time working for television and collecting action figures.

Matt King

Author

Matt King is a superhero fiction author from Chapel Hill, NC. He spends his days dreaming up a connected universe of stories about characters suffering through problems we all face, only with world-altering powers thrown into the mix. He’s the author of the Circle War trilogy, Prism, Atalanta, and the forthcoming Glimmer.

Alicia McCalla

Author

Alicia McCalla writes Superhero Fiction, Supernatural Thrillers &  Fantasy Fiction for readers who love to read Sistas with Skills, Swords or Superpowers. Visit her at www.aliciamccalla.com to sign-up for free reads, updates, “Read by Author” audiobooks, cool merchandise or just to talk about strong women with super powers. 

Michelle Monárrez

Author

Born and raised between the border cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Monárrez grew up in a bilingual and diverse culture. With a passion for the written word, she set out to pursue a career in Fiction writing and graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a BA in Creative Writing and English.

Monárrez considers herself a Mexican-American writer. Her roots and Fiction Crafting training in both countries gave her voice a unique flavor. Her writing aims to deliver stories placed in American settings that echo her Hispanic heritage through diverse themes, unique descriptions, and the use of magical realism. 

Laura Mowery

Author

Laura Mowery has had her nose in a book since she learned her ABC’s, so it’s no surprise that she pursued a career as an author. She grew up obsessed with stories, especially any that included supernatural or otherworldly elements. She also loved to get swept away on romantic adventures. Now she gets to combine the two and write about what she loves; suspense, superpowers, and steamy romance.

Laura lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two cats and a dog. If she’s not writing, you’ll find her adventuring with her husband, eating tacos, drinking local craft beer, or curled up with a book.

Nancy O’Toole

Author

Nancy O’Toole is a sleep-deprived author, podcaster, blogger, and librarian living in Central Maine. Her body of work includes The Red and Black Series, a series all about a nerdy girl turned superhero, and The Lady of the Watchtower, a collection of fantasy short stories and fairy tale retellings. On her off hours, she spends her time reading, watching anime, cooking (poorly), and taking way too many cat pictures. She is also the co-host of One For All: A My Hero Academia Podcast.

Lana Pecherczyk

Author

Lana Pecherczyk is an award-winning paranormal and fantasy romance author from Australia. She makes a mean chocolate cake and is a fan of ‘pro-caffeinating.’ Basically, if it’s got swoony men, strong women and page turning action, then she’ll write it because she loves to read it. She also wins love by daylight and fights evil by moonlight.

Christa Tomlinson

Author

Christa Tomlinson is a pop culture loving, anime watching, nerdy fangirl who lives to read and write romance. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Christa currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

Dennis R. Upkins

Author

Dennis R. Upkins is a speculative fiction author, a journalist and an equal rights activist. His first two young adult novels, Hollowstone and West of Sunset, were released through Parker Publishing. Both Upkins and his previous work have been featured in Harvard Political Law, Bitch Media, MTV News, Mental Health Matters, Geeks OUT, Black Power: The Superhero Anthology, Sniplits, How to Love Comics, OUTvoices, and The Connect Magazine.

Christopher J. Valin

Author

Christopher J. Valin is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. His award-winning work has included novels, short stories, comic books, screenplays, and non-fiction books and articles. A lifelong science fiction and comic book fan, he created the “Raptorverse” as an homage to his favorite superheroes from childhood.

Cynthia Vespia

Author

“Original Cyn” Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy stories about outcasts and anti-heroes saving the day. 

Cyn received a “Best Series” nomination for her fantasy trilogy Demon Hunter. She is the author of the superhero urban fantasy Silke’s Strike Force and has been published in anthologies such as Skelos Press andDark Eclipse. Her characters are designed with depth and real vulnerabilities to give heroes a challenge and villains a purpose. The worlds Cyn creates mix fantasy, magic, and the supernatural while exploring the theme of “success through struggle.” She’s expanded this theme into personal development books and guides.

Darren Watts

Author

Darren Watts is the former president and co-owner of Hero Games, publisher of Champions for the 5th and 6th Editions. He got out of the owning things business a few years back and returned to freelancing, where he now writes for games like Sentinels of the Multiverse, Star Trek and Doctor Who.

Lou Wilham

Author

Born and raised in a small town near the Chesapeake Bay, Lou Wilham grew up on a steady diet of fiction, arts and crafts, and Old Bay. After years of absorbing everything, there was to absorb of fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi she’s left with a serious writing/drawing habit that just won’t quit. These days, she spends much of her time writing, drawing, and chasing a very short Basset Hound named Sherlock.

When not, daydreaming up new characters to write and draw she can be found crocheting, making cute bookmarks, and binge-watching whatever happens to catch her eye.

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