[Unfortunately, Alethea Kontis won’t be with us (though we will still be having our traditional “In Celebration of Alethea Kontis Opening Dinner”).  However, Brian Keene will be joining us.  So imagine him in that outfit.*]

Another year, another Mo*Con approaches:  May 4th-6th (Cinco de Mo*Yo).    I both love and dread this time of year.  There is an excitement as Mo*Con is typically the opening to my convention season.  It’s like my kickoff party.  There is a dread as, well, with all the planning and detail work that goes into it, (and it’s strange how such a laid back con requires so much thought) my writing productivity drops to about nothing.  But it’s totally worth it.

A lot of writers have regular (insert their name) cons, ranging from backyard bbq/parties to full borne conventions.  There’s no easy way to describe Mo*Con.  Some call it the Necon of the Midwest.  Or compare it to a con suite convention, a convention room party for a whole weekend, except held in a church.  Its aim has always been to be small and intimate, yet be like a family reunion.

Mo*Con has a two part vision.  The first, inspired by many a late night at conventions, is to provide a forum for folks, namely my horror and fantasy writing colleagues, to get together and discuss some of the larger issues which affect our writing, our social conscience, and our spiritual lives.  We can have discussions and disagree (the whole point is to disagree), yet listen to one another in a spirit of respect.  The second is that too often the artist is underappreciated and we wanted an occasion to spoil a few.  This year’s line up includes:

“Apex Publishing Presents … Mary Robinette Kowal
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey Tor, 2010). In 2008 she received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2011, her short story “For Want of a Nail” won the Hugo Award for Short Story. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. She is the Vice President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit www.maryrobinettekowal.com. Photo © 2010 Annaliese Moyer
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Mary SanGiovanni has a B.A. in English, with a concentration in Writing, from Fairleigh Dickinson U., and an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill U. Mary lives in NJ with her son. Some of her favorite things include video games, movies, books, long baths, art, Asian food, lilacs, dollhouses, woodworking, singing, salsa dancing, and butterflies. She is of Italian and Irish descent. She is left-handed. She believes in God, the Devil, angels, demons, ghosts, fairy folk, aliens, karma, ESP, telepathy, worm holes, other dimensions, Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, love at first sight, Roswell, monsters, and the American Dream, because life’s too short and boring without them.
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Nate Southard’s books include Scavengers, This Little Light of Mine, Red Sky, Just Like Hell, Broken Skin, and He Stepped Through. His short fiction has appeared in such venues as Cemetery Dance, Black Static, Thuglit, and Supernatural Noir. His short story “Going Home, Ugly Stick in Hand” received an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Horror. A graduate of The University of Texas with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film, Nate lives in Austin, Texas. You can learn more atwww.natesouthard.com.
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Publisher Guest of Honor: John Edward Lawson
John Edward Lawson is the founding editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press. For eight years he has successfully released books classified as “unpublishable” by other publishing houses. Recently RDSP added two new imprints: Guide Dog Books for nonfiction, and Imaginary Books for children’s literature. As a freelance editor he has edited eight anthologies, worked on the National Lampoon books, and spent four years as editor-in-chief of The Dream People Literary Journal of the Bizarre. As an author John has published ten books and over 400 works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction around the globe. He lives in Maryland with his wife and son. You can spy on him at www.johnlawson.org.
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Artist Guest of Honor: Mike Altman
Mike Altman growing up never wanted to be anything but an artist… well, ok, maybe Batman for a while. Altman uses simple line work and bold colors to illustrate a sometimes complex message. Altman’s work can be laced with symbolism, satire, spirituality, and double-meaning. And then sometimes he just paints a picture of a blue cow that is… a blue cow. Altman’s work has been exhibited in Jacksonville, FL, Knoxville and Nashville, TN, Bloomsburg, PA, Montclair, NJ, New York City and most recently Indianapolis, IN.

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We’ll be debuting a few projects at this year’s Mo*Con, not the least of which are The Miseducation of the Writer, an anthology of essays by writers of color edited by myself, Chesya Burke, and John Edward Lawson. And a portion of the money raised at Mo*Con will be given to the Carl Brandon Society. Lastly, a strange thing has happened with Mo*Con.   Besides the fact that the bulk of the convention involves us continually rolling out food and drinks to facilitate great conversations, it has its own metric about whether that year was a successful con.  It’s probably the only convention where people measure it by how well they feel loved.  You have to experience it to understand.

*In case you have trouble imagining this, allow me to help with a visual (he posts so many political-career-ending pictures of me, I’m scared to do a Google image search of myself):