John Johnson

John JohnsonJohn Johnson shot his first film, Zap, in 1988, when he was eight years old. By the time he’d finished college, John had completed five feature length films, one television series (20 one-hour episodes), and 44 short films.

After finishing school, John went back to his old high school to teach videography for two semesters. This was a class that he had helped create with the School Board in 1995 as an independent study. The class then grew to have two full sessions of over 55 students.

Johnson, as well as being an award-winning writer, is now an award-winning filmmaker as well as the founder of Darkstone Entertainment, an independent film company based out of Charlottesville, VA.

Johnson has seven features now available all over the world. From FYE, Turner Classic Movies, and Amazon Prime to Netflix, Johnson’s films can be found worldwide on DVD and streaming. He has another eight features being released on these platforms in the next two years.

To this day, Johnson has completed over 169 films. His remake of Plan 9 is his most popular film yet and has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Fangoria, and on over 200 websites.

Also on the roster, Johnson is working on turning the cult video games The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour into a television series. Production of the series closed in late 2016.

Future work for Johnson includes House of Horrors—a monster mash up on a very dark and gritty scale pitting all of the famous monsters against one another, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, and the Mummy. House of Horrors is projected to start production in late 2018.

 

Mark Wandrey

Located in rural Tennessee, Mark Wandrey has been creating new worlds since he was old enough to write. After penning countless short stories, he realized novels were his real calling and hasn’t looked back since. A lifetime of diverse jobs, extensive travels, and living in most areas of the country have uniquely equipped him with experiences to color his stories in ways many find engaging and thought provoking. His current works include the Earth Song series (space opera), Turning Point (zombie apocalypse), and the Four Horsemen series (mil-SF).

 

Donnie Sturges

Donnie SturgesDonnie Sturges, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless… in a world of criminals who operate above the law. When he’s not fighting crime, you’ll find him trying to be creative. Formerly a web comic writer and creator for The Draconia Chronicles and Psycho Dreamatic, as well as a film and board game reviewer for sites like CHUD and the now defunct Guy.com, Donnie keeps his creative passions alive as a producer, actor, and writer. He’s currently serving as an independent film and series producer for Darkstone Entertainment, while also providing his acting chops for several Darkstone projects, like The Lovecraft Chronicles and the upcoming 7th Guest series. His main outlet for the artistic demons screaming in his head is the up-and-coming web comic The Adventures of Baby Skeletor, which is an ongoing series based on the life of an infantile sorcerer Donnie has been forced to document ever since he found the tiny bonehead left on his doorstep.

 

Kelly Lockhart

Kelly Lockhart has been a regular presence on the convention scene since he was a teenager back in the mid-80s. Over the years, he has done a little bit of everything in fandom: running costume contests, art shows, consuites, computer gaming rooms, working with the media, helping out with parades, overseeing convention operations, co-chairing a Worldcon bid, serving on multiple con committees, and being a panelist and moderator on countless panels.

Professionally, he is the managing editor for an alternative weekly newspaper back home in Chattanooga as well as a consulting editor for Baen Books. Additionally, he is the founder of both the very popular Robot Battles competitions and the Southern Fandom Resource Guide online convention calendar.

In 2008, he was presented with the Rebel Award at the DeepSouthCon for lifetime service to Southern Fandom. He has also been awarded with a Murrow Award (named after legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow) for excellence in broadcast journalism, several Associated Press journalism awards, and a display case full of Addy awards for both radio and print advertising design.

While he now works almost exclusively in print, he has spent the better part of the last thirty years working in radio and television, as well as dabbling now and then in theater and film as an actor, director, composer and screenwriter, though thankfully not all at the same time.

An active presence on social media, he spends his limited amount of free time writing and performing original music around his hometown, trying to herd his five cats, playing an occasional round of golf (badly), and continuing his lifelong quest to find the perfect brand of whiskey.

He also is rumored to own more tropical shirts than Weird Al Yankovic, as he is almost never seen not wearing one.

 

Chris Kennedy

Chris KennedyA bestselling science fiction/fantasy author, speaker, and publisher, Chris Kennedy is a former naval aviator and elementary school principal. Chris’ stories include the Theogony and Codex Regius science fiction trilogies and stories in the Four Horsemen military sci-fi series. Get his free book, Shattered Crucible, at his website, chriskennedypublishing.com.

Chris is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores. Called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions, and writing guild presentations, and he has published six authors under various imprints of his Chris Kennedy Publishing small press. Find out more about having him talk to your group at chriskennedyspeaking.com.

Chris lives in Virginia Beach, VA, where he manages the curriculum for sailors learning to maintain the Navy’s F-18 Hornet. He is the holder of a doctorate in educational leadership and master’s degrees in both business and public administration.

Follow Chris on Facebook at facebook.com/chriskennedypublishing.biz and on Twitter at @ChrisKennedy110.

 

Denise Clemons

Denise Clemons is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, The Rehoboth Writers Guild, and serves on the Board of the Eastern Shore Writers Association. Denise has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in journals, chapbooks, and anthologies. Her panels and workshops at science fiction conventions focus on how to use food in character design and world building.

 

R.S. Belcher

R.S. Belcher

R.S. (Rod) Belcher is an award-winning newspaper and magazine editor and reporter.

Rod has been a private investigator, a DJ, and a comic book store owner and has degrees in criminal law, psychology and justice and risk administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s done Masters work in Forensic Science at The George Washington University, and worked with the Occult Crime Taskforce for the Virginia General Assembly.

The Grand Prize winner of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Anthology contest, Rod’s short story “Orphans” was published in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 9 published by Simon and Schuster in 2006. It was his first professional fiction sale.

Rod’s first novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, was published by Tor Books in 2013. The sequel, The Shotgun Arcana, was published in 2014 and the third book in the Golgotha series, The Queen of Swords, is scheduled for publication in June of 2017. His novel, Nightwise, was released in August, 2015, and his latest book, The Brotherhood of the Wheel was published by Tor in March of 2016. Sequels to both books are forthcoming.

He lives in Roanoke, VA with his children, Jonathan and Emily.

 

Chris Shrewsbury

Chris Shrewsbury has been attending conventions and cosplaying for almost thirty years. Growing up in West Virginia, he’s attended, volunteered at, and been staff at literally dozens of cons along the east coast.

While studying Speech Pathology and Deaf Education at Liberty University, he became a nationally certified sign language interpreter and has worked with many notable entertainers, educators, and government officials. He also served a tour in the U.S. Navy as well as teaching both hearing and hearing-impaired students at the pre-school through university levels.

In recent years, Chris has developed a progressive degenerative neurological condition affecting mainly strength, balance, and increasing pain levels, causing him to spend increasing amounts of time wheelchair-bound. Also known as Rolling Thunder Cosplay, he is a vocal advocate and encourager of the disabled, especially within the fandom convention and cosplay communities. Still an active cosplayer, many of his costumes incorporate his disability. For one of his more notable creations, Chris built a detailed mobile replica of the TARDIS around his wheelchair, earning him first prize in the Doctor Who division at North Carolina Comicon 2014.

Chris is a past member of the 105th Squad, the largest costuming organization in North Carolina. In addition to cosplay, he is an avid convention guest, panelist, writer, prop fabricator, costume judge, and is currently volunteer staff at Fayetteville ComicCon and Accessibility Coordinator at Animazement.

 

Gray Rinehart

Gray Rinehart writes stories and songs, and his first novel is forthcoming from WordFire Press. He is the only person to have commanded an Air Force satellite tracking station, written speeches for Presidential appointees, and had music on The Dr. Demento Show.

During his rather odd USAF career, Gray fought rocket propellant fires, refurbished space launch facilities, “flew” Milstar satellites, drove trucks, processed nuclear command and control orders, commanded the largest remote tracking station in the Air Force Satellite Control Network, and did other interesting things. His fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He is a contributing editor (the “Slushmaster General”) for Baen Books, and a singer/songwriter with two albums of mostly science-fiction-and-fantasy-inspired music. His alter ego is the Gray Man, one of several famed ghosts of South Carolina’s Grand Strand, and his web site is graymanwrites.com.

 

Charity Ayres

Navy veteran married to an active Navy sailor living in Hampton Roads, VA. Charity has written articles and short stories for Yahoo! Voices, Wilde Times website and other publications. Loki Bound is her first published novel with her second book in the series released September 4th, titled Loki: Hell Bound. She has also written the first in a series of Young Adult novels, Secret in the Wings and her first Epic Dark Fantasy, Ice Burns, was released in August. Charity was featured in the 83rd Writer’s Digest publication for her inspirational story What’s Left Behind: Daddy’s Girl which is a tribute to her father who passed away in October 2014 from a blood cancer known as MDS with 5q deletion. Loki: Hell Bound is dedicated to him.

Charity has a Bachelor’s of English Education and Master’s of Creative Writing. She is currently working as a high school English teacher where she teaches that villains in stories are often more interesting than heroes and terrifies her students with massive amounts of reading and writing.

Charity can be reached via her website, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page and loves to hear from readers. For other events that Charity is participating in or workshops she’s teaching, please sign up for her email newsletter through her website.