Guests of Honor

Artist: Rob Carlos | Editor: Susan Chang | Lifetime Achievement: CJ Cherryh

Media: Dragon Dronet | Filk: Ceclia Eng 

Author: Fonda Lee | Science: Mika McKinnon

 

Artist: Rob Carlos

Rob Carlos started his art career working as a digital graphic designer for a printing company in Florida, illustrating the D&D games he ran with friends and drawing and painting whenever possible. When that company folded, he started selling prints on his website (the worldwide web was a brand new thing at that point) and was asked to do some paintings for the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time TCG, starting his official professional work as a fantasy artist.

In 2001, Rob, Jean and their daughter Josalyn moved from Florida to the Seattle/Tacoma area, and discovered the convention world that exists up here. A couple of years later, a bookstore/art gallery in Kent, WA called “Browser’s Books” was displaying and selling work by local artist Amy Brown, and decided to add Rob to their walls as well. Browser’s Books became Rob’s home base for many years, and most of his paintings from that time started as sketches done there in the bookstore.

In 2007, Rob started showing his work at Norwescon, and other sci-fi/ fantasy conventions. For years, Rob concentrated on illustrating for independent and small-press writers and musicians. During that time, Add An Accent produced a line of pewter dragons and ceramic tiles based on Rob’s artwork. Recently, MGL licensing in London has chosen to represent Rob, and there should be many more new products to look forward to in years to come! Meanwhile, Rob stays busy doing both self-directed and commercial painting projects, drawing people’s personal dragons, and occasionally creating enormous murals for locations around Washington and Oregon.


 

Editor: Susan Chang

Susan Chang is a Senior Editor at Tor Books. She acquires and edits books for the Starscape middle grade and Tor Teen young adult imprints. After graduating from Vassar College with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, she began her publishing career at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she worked for nine years before moving on to shorter stints at Hyperion Books for Children and Parachute Publishing, a book packager. In January 2004, Susan got her dream job at Tor Books as acquiring editor for the Starscape and Tor Teen imprints.

Susan acquires chapter books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She does not acquire picture books, new adult, or adult books. Like many editors, she has eclectic tastes, and is open to be queried about anything and everything, not limited to science fiction and fantasy. For chapter books she is looking for high concept books or series with an educational hook; for middle grade, action and high-stakes adventure; and in young adult, stories that are thought-provoking and emotionally truthful. If you are interested in submitting to her, please follow Tor’s submission guidelines, which can be found here: https://us.macmillan.com/torforge/about/faq/

 


 

Lifetime Achievement: CJ Cherryh

I write full time; I travel; I try out things. The list includes, present and past tense: fencing, riding, archery, firearms, ancient weapons, donkeys, elephants, camels, butterflies, frogs, wasps, turtles, bees, ants, falconry, exotic swamp plants and tropicals, lizards, wilderness survival, fishing, sailing, street and ice skating, mechanics, carpentry, wiring, painting (canvas), painting (house), painting (interior), sculpture, aquariums both fresh and salt, needlepoint, bird breeding, furniture refinishing, video games, archaeology, Roman, Greek civ, Crete, Celts, and caves.

I’ve traveled from New York to Istanbul and Troy; outrun a dog pack at Thebes, and seen Columbia lift on her first flight. I’ve fallen down a muddy chute in a Cretan cave, nearly drowned in the Illinois River, broken an arm, been kicked and tossed by horses, fended off an amorous merchant in a Turkish tent bazaar, fought a prairie fire, slept on deck in the Adriatic, and driven Picadilly Circus at rush hour. I’ve waded in two oceans and four of the seven seas, I’ve seen Halley’s Comet from Australia’s far coast, and I want to visit the Amazon, the Serengeti, and see the Erebus volcano in Antarctica. I’ve seen the Northern Lights and experienced tornadoes and a small earthquake. I choose to live downwind of five active volcanoes, (one of which has just waked up) and directly atop the evidence of world-class cataclysms: lava flow and Ice Age flood. I love snow and cold and winter is my favorite season.

I see this planet as part of the whole universe: I’m stuck on it a while, and until I get the chance to get off it—(I want to do a flyby of Mars and take a look at Nix Olympica and the Vallis Marinaris, personally; and I want to see Titan and Saturn’s rings and the Red Spot on Jupiter)— I don’t plan to neglect where I am either, and I’m keeping a constantly updated list of wonders this planet has to see. Jane Fancher is my life partner and my writing partner. We share 3 cats and two fish tanks, a koi pond, and a garden that generally needs weeding.


 

Media: Dragon Dronet

As an artisan of the entertainment industry, Dragon makes things. From costumes and props to martial arts and stunts, Dragon’s work can be seen in movies, television, YouTube, and stage plays. Dragon and his production company, Renegade Effects Group, receive requests for hand-made, specialty items. These requests span multiple genres and include specialty armor pieces as well as the creation of multiple suits of armor for one production. His work (sculptures, weapons, props, and acting) can be found in Star Trek films, “Babylon 5 Crusade,” “Star Wars: The Old Republic” costumes, “Chronicles of Riddick,” and the purple belly police of “Serenity.” Dragon has worked with Master Armorer, Terry English (“Clash of the Titans,” “Excalibur”) on Mr Freeze for “Batman,” as well as the biker hounds in “Artificial Intelligence.” Dragon’s latest work has involved collaborating design ideas between the costume department and director to create functional, specialty costumes for Ridley Scott’s new mini series, “Strange Angel.” In addition to his craft, you can find Dragon himself modeling on the cover of Star Wars novels and Wired Magazine, as Darth Malgus for the “Star Wars: The Old Republic” video game, or performing in various television shows like “Teen Wolf,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “True Blood.”
Follow Dragon and Renegade Effects Group on their website: www.renegadeeffects.com 


 

Filk: Cecilia Eng

In the late 1950’s, Cecilia’s ballet career was cut short at the age of 3 or 4 when she absolutely, positively refused to play a mushroom in the Nutcracker Suite, taking a stand against racial profiling before she knew what it was. She never took to the piano lessons, much to her later regret (it would have made it much easier to write midi accompaniment for a number of Firebird Arts & Music CDs)! In grade school, when she asked to learn the flute, the adults consulted and decided her fingers would have trouble with the fingering and she found herself with a French horn and was told that it would sound much like a flute (not!). She learned to sing from Julie Andrews movies and Peter, Paul and Mary records and learned guitar from various family members. Harmony, she picked up from church hymnals when she found she couldn’t sing in the key everyone else sang, but noticed there were convenient harmony notes in the hymnal.

So when Cecilia discovered filk music in the mid-1980’s she was well-prepared by past artistic endeavors, and fell in with friends who wanted to sing about Dr. Who, Blake’s Seven, Star Trek, and songs about science fiction and fantasy books! She was soon writing lyrics and original music and performing at conventions across the US, Canada and England. Recording projects followed, first with Off Centaur and then with Firebird.

At the end of that decade, the local filk group was told that Firebird would no longer bring its product to convention dealer rooms, so Friends of Filk was created to keep filk music available in the local dealer rooms. The surplus funds from cassette and CD sales were used to bring music guests to the Pacific Northwest. Cecilia’s music as well as her ongoing volunteer work with Friends of Filk led to her being inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame at Filk Ontario in April 2013.

In spite of online downloads and You-Tube videos, Friends of Filk is still bringing CDs to our local conventions – it takes a few more conventions to make enough to bring in music guests, but the vision remains (even after cataract surgery and reading glasses)!

Her music can be found on two CDs, Of Shoes and Ships and Harmony in Practice. You can also download her 2015 Conflikt Guest of Honor concert online if you Google “Cecilia Eng Conflikt”.

 


Author: Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee is the author of the Green Bone Saga, the genre-blending epic fantasy series beginning with Jade City (Orbit)—which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Locus magazine, Den of Geek, Syfy Wire, and the Verge—and continuing in Jade War. Her young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer (Flux), Exo and Cross Fire (Scholastic) have garnered accolades and award nods from the Junior Library Guild, the American Library Association, the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and been named to numerous state and provincial reading lists. Fonda has been a finalist for the Nebula, Locus, and Andre Norton Awards, and has won the Aurora Award, Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award, twice in the same year for Best Novel and Best Young Adult Novel.

Enamored with science fiction and fantasy from an early age, Fonda wrote her first novel (about a young dragon and assorted magical companions on a quest for a magic pendant) in fifth grade during the long bus ride to and from school each day. Many years later, she cast her high school classmates as characters in her second novel, a pulpy superhero romp co-written with a friend by passing a graphing calculator back and forth during biology class. Fortunately, both these experiments are lost to the world. As a corporate strategist, Fonda advised Fortune 500 companies for many years before leaving a career in business to pursue her dream of writing stories about prizefighting in space, armored aliens, and magic-fueled kung fu.

Fonda is a black belt martial artist, action movie aficionado, and Eggs Benedict enthusiast. Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, Fonda has lived in Toronto, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband, two kids, and scruffy mutt now make their home.

 


Science: Mika McKinnon

 

Mika McKinnon is a geophysicist, disaster researcher, and scientist for fiction. As our friendly neighbourhood geoscientist, she offers tasting notes on rocks, tweaks party planning to enhance disaster preparedness, and obsesses over impending doom.
McKinnon scrawls equations and establishes plausible phenomena behind the scenes of in TV shows including Stargate, Star Trek, Madam Secretary, No Tomorrow, and [redacted]. When not lurking around set or tromping through the mud scaring bears, she ponders landslides on asteroids for Project ESPRESSO. Her writing appears in BBC, Wired, New Scientist, io9, Broadly, Vox, and more.
She shares her press passes (and the Twitter account @mikamckinnon) with a bevy of mischievous plush creatures.