Guests of Honor
Please welcome our Guests of Honor to Philcon 2017.
Seanan McGuire was born in Martinez, California, and raised in a wide variety of locations, most of which boasted some sort of dangerous native wildlife. Despite her almost magnetic attraction to anything venomous, she somehow managed to survive long enough to acquire a typewriter, a reasonable grasp of the English language, and the desire to combine the two. The fact that she wasn't killed for using her typewriter at three o'clock in the morning is probably more impressive than her lack of death by spider-bite.
Often described as a vortex of the surreal, many of Seanan's anecdotes end with things like "and then we got the anti-venom" or "but it's okay, because it turned out the water wasn't that deep." She has yet to be defeated in a game of "Who here was bitten by the strangest thing?," and can be amused for hours by almost anything. "Almost anything" includes swamps, long walks, long walks in swamps, things that live in swamps, horror movies, strange noises, musical theater, reality TV, comic books, finding pennies on the street, and venomous reptiles. Seanan may be the only person on the planet who admits to using Kenneth Muir's Horror Films of the 1980s as a checklist.
Seanan is the author of the October Daye urban fantasies, the InCryptid urban fantasies, and several other works both stand-alone and in trilogies or duologies. In case that wasn't enough, she also writes under the pseudonym "Mira Grant." (For details on her work as Mira, check out MiraGrant.com)
In her spare time, Seanan records CDs of her original filk music. She is also a cartoonist, and draws an irregularly posted autobiographical web comic, "With Friends Like These...", as well as generating a truly ridiculous number of art cards. Surprisingly enough, she finds time to take multi-hour walks, blog regularly, watch a sickening amount of television, maintain her website, and go to pretty much any movie with the words "blood," "night," "terror," or "attack" in the title. Most people believe she doesn't sleep.
Seanan lives in an idiosyncratically designed labyrinth in the Pacific Northwest, which she shares with her cats, Alice and Thomas, a vast collection of creepy dolls and horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard. She has strongly-held and oft-expressed beliefs about the origins of the Black Death, the X-Men, and the need for chainsaws in daily life.
Years of writing blurbs for convention program books have fixed Seanan in the habit of writing all her bios in the third person, so as to sound marginally less dorky. Stress is on the "marginally." It probably doesn't help that she has so many hobbies.
Seanan was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her novel Feed (as Mira Grant) was named as one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2010. In 2013 she became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo Ballot.
Musical Guest of Honor
Bed & Breakfast is the eclectic duo of Bill and Brenda Sutton. These friendly, charming, entertainers-for-hire specialize in Irish pub songs and unusual modern folk/acoustic music from songwriters like Christine Lavin, Jim Stafford, Steve Goodman, and Harry Chapin. The couple also performs a number of original songs.
Bill is accomplished on guitar, mandolin, flute, penny whistle, and he's working on the violin and uilleann pipes. Brenda also plays guitar and whistles, but her forte is on the Irish frame drum called a bodhrán. Both Bill and Brenda are talented singer/songwriters with numerous credits and awards. They were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 2001. Bill won Pegasus Awards for Best Performer in 1986 and Best Techie Song for his uproarious country space song Stray Dog Man in 1989, as well as nominations in several other categories. Brenda garnered her share of Pegasus Awards as well, winning Best Song for Strangers No More in 2001 and Best Spine-chilling Song in 2002 for In a Gown Too Blue. She also plays with the award-winning Three Weird Sisters.
Artist Guest of Honor
Over a thirty year career, Don Maitz has produced imaginative paintings that have amazed a worldwide audience. The iconic pirate character he created for Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is his most widely recognized work.
Most Maitz paintings present a story to viewers, who respond to the enticement and allure of the image. Use of design and color shape a mood, enhanced by details which combine to entertain the viewer, and engage them with the visual experience. Most works are painted with oil colors, in the painting techniques used by the old masters. Sometimes, experimentation and innovation give rise to unique applications of traditional media.
Past clients have included the National Geographic Society, Bantam Doubleday Dell, Random House Publishers, Harper Collins Publishers, Watson Guptill, Warner Books, Sony Online Entertainment, Penguin USA, Joseph Seagrams and Sons, TV Guide, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers pictures. Maitz has twice won the Hugo Award for Best Artist. He has received a Howard Award, ten Chesley Awards from his peers in the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA), an Inkpot Award, a Silver Medal and Certificates of Merit from New York City's Society of Illustrators. Paintings have been exhibited at NASA's 25 Anniversary Show, in Cleveland OH, the Park Avenue Atrium, the Hayden Planetarium and the Society of Illustrators in New York City, NY, the New Britain Museum of American Art, CT, the Delaware Art Museum, DE, the Canton Art Museum, OH, the Florida International Museum and the South Florida Museum, FL.
Maitz artwork has enhanced products world wide, extending to books, magazines, jigsaw puzzles, mural wallpaper, limited edition prints, posters, calendars, screen savers, cards, and other merchandise. Two published books of his collected art work have sold out: First Maitz, and Dreamquests the Art of Don Maitz.
His images have appeared in the Spectrum annual publications, in Fantasy Art Masters (volume one), Infinite Worlds, and The Chesley Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: A Retrospective. Maitz has illustrated books by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, C. J. Cherryh, Raymond Feist, Alan Dean Foster, Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, and occasionally, his wife artist and author, Janny Wurts.
Maitz recently worked as a conceptual artist on two feature films: Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, and as a concept and production artist for Ant Bully.
Don Maitz is an artist member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA).
Janny Wurts is the author of Initiate's Trial and To Ride Hell's Chasm and thirteen other novels, a short story collection, as well as the internationally best selling Empire trilogy, co authored with Raymond E. Feist. Her most recent title in the Wars of Light and Shadow series, Initiate's Trial, culminates more than twenty years of carefully evolved ideas. The cover images on the books, both in the US and abroad, are her own paintings, depicting her vision of characters and setting.
Through her combined talents as a writer/illustrator, Janny has immersed herself in a lifelong ambition: to create a seamless interface between words and pictures that will lead reader and viewer into the imagination. Her lavish use of language invites the mind into a crafted realm of experience, with characters and events woven into a complex tapestry, and drawn with an intensity to inspire active fuel for thought. Her research includes a range of direct experience, lending her fantasy a gritty realism, and her scenes involving magic crafted with intricate continuity. A self-taught painter, she draws directly from the imagination, creating scenes in a representational style that blurs the edges between dream and reality. She makes few preliminary sketches, but envisions her characters and the scenes that contain them, then executes the final directly from the initial pencil drawing.
Beyond writing, Janny's award winning paintings have been showcased in exhibitions of imaginative artwork, among them a commemorative exhibition for NASA's 25th Anniversary; the Art of the Cosmos at Hayden Planetarium in New York; and two exhibits of fantasy art, at both the Delaware Art Museum, and Canton Art Museum.
In addition to to being an author and artist, Janny is an accomplished musician having won many awards as a bagpiper and an accomplished equestrian.