Although raised in the Crescent City, it wasn’t until Evelyn Belle found work in Charm City that the writing bug bit hard. That being said, even in her earliest memories, science fiction and fantasy have been an integral part of her life. Her enthusiasm for reading quickly led to an intense desire to write, and she produced her first short fantasy story at the age of five. With a strong foundation in fiction, folklore, mythology, and writing, she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology. As Evelyn worked professionally, writing became a pleasurable escape from teaching and hard research. She edited newsletters, penned histories, joined writing groups, attended workshops, collected oral histories, and wrote short stories. All of these things fueled her passion to write. By 2005, Evelyn had started her first young adult fantasy novel.
However, looming storm clouds abruptly altered the course of her life and writing with the devastating event and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In January of 2006, she spent weeks in her native New Orleans with local friends and family, researching and interviewing those directly affected. This experience wove its way into her writing and led to the creation of her novel, A Book of Spells for Dixie Cadmus, in which Dixie is whisked away from her New Orleans home to a magical world filled with new friends, enemies, and a dark secret that threatens to destroy the very fabric of her new community.
When Evelyn is not writing, she devotes her time to raising her two daughters and volunteering in community, educational, and advocacy organizations.
After years of creating stories in her mind, A. L. Kaplan finally took the plunge and put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard. Her first novel, Naidraug, explored characters who had been with her for decades. Now nearing completion of her second novel, Startouched, she is amazed at how far those mental tales have come—and how hard it really is to take a great story and capture it in words.
A. L. K. specializes in sci-antasy, bridging the future with touches of the magical, creating characters with exceptional abilities in worlds that are far from Utopian.
Always imaginative, she has a degree in fine art, taught for several years, and has perfected her creative talent by bringing two fine young ladies from concept, through development, and they too are nearing completion. When not parenting or writing, she manages props for two local theaters, and volunteers for several activities, primarily the Girl Scouts.
One spring day in 1974, while visiting a library, Donald McLean learned that human civilization had been destroyed by a virulent plague. That was the day that he stumbled across the George R. Stewart classic SF novel Earth Abides, beginning a life-long love of science fiction and fantasy.
Currently, Donald is working as a software engineer for the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. In his spare time, he is attempting to give back to his favorite literary genre by writing. His goal is to write at least one book that awes, delights or inspires the next generation of science fiction and fantasy fans.
Born in Baltimore in the late 1960′s, J. A. Warner escaped the confines of the deteriorating city for the drab safety of the Washington, D.C. suburbs before he was out of diapers. Sadly, he has lived there ever since. A year after his relocation, he began his career as an explorer when he followed the local garbage truck. To his great chagrin, he did not make it all the way to the dump, and so never found out where all the trash went.
Thwarted in his attempt to explore the wider world, he turned to the world of books. This stroke of genius was richly rewarded when he found adventure in the pages of J. R. R. Tolkein, among many others. Reading proved to be a perpetual distraction, successfully eclipsing any attention he might have focused on his school work. Despite this hindrance, he somehow managed to gain entrance to the local university, where he majored in Physics and Applied Mathematics.
J. A. turned his hand to writing after the birth of his first child. While initially focusing on his first literary loves of fantasy and science fiction, he has also written contemporary fiction and young adult works.
Rodney Weekes received his first inspiration in the writing world when he was eight, when he read his older brother’s collection of Marvel comics. These inspired him into both the world of superheroes and the art of storytelling. At age ten, he sketched a comic portraying superheroes of the Marvel and DC Universes, and four years later, he wrote fan fiction showcasing video game characters. These stories helped him build the foundation for original characters and story concepts.
He moved from comics to Greek mythology and novels from a variety of authors such as Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Octavia Butler. He also enjoys delving into tales from other media such as movies, video games, TV dramas, and anime. These stories show him the possibilities of imagination and how that imagination is the gateway to many fascinating worlds and characters.
His first opportunity to express his creativity to an audience was when he was given a short story assignment from his English teacher. The fruit of his labors was “Dreams,” which describes a teenage boy struggling with his insecurities in a unique way.
Rodney is currently writing a fantasy novel and a novella. He has also taken up writing poetry as a hobby and has published a handful of poems.
As a kid, C. Jenise Williamson had many heroines whom she found at the local library in Sandy Springs, Georgia, where her mother made her and her two brothers sit in its large room that was all air-conditioning and books. Afterwards the three of them hunted grassy curbs for soda bottles and turned them in for change to buy R.C. colas and moon pies then played spy games and had cowboy fights. By nightfall, she was sure Annie Oakley and Amelia Earhart commended her tom-boyish ways. These days, she sometimes writes of her southern days, but upstate New York is where she was riveted by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as no other book ever had. A mix of cultures both north and south, and a mix of genres both fiction and non-fiction are the forces that have led her to write about family relationships. So where is that sci-fi thriller coming from? She remembers when she first conceived of it and since then has been having a lot of fun writing it. She founded the undergraduate creative writing program at Bowie State University which has kept her teaching fiction and creative non-fiction writing since 1993. She teaches because she has to which is different from she writes because she has to.
Cindy Young-Turner has always been an avid reader and became fascinated by mythology and Arthurian legends at an early age. She quickly decided she enjoyed creating her own worlds and characters and set to work writing her own stories. She won her first writing contest at age twelve, a local contest calling for stories written in the style of Edgar Allan Poe.
Although she’s scaled back her dream of joining the revolution and changing the world, she counts her year as a VISTA volunteer at a literacy program in inner-city Baltimore as her most rewarding job. Currently shackled to the corporate world as a technical editor, she’s used her skills to become the Queen of Commas and the Dictator of Good Grammar. Writing fiction gives her an outlet for her creativity, and if she can’t change the world outright, maybe she can inspire people through her writing.
Cindy believes genre fiction can be just as well written and valuable as literature. The universal themes of love, hate, revenge, and redemption are present regardless of whether our characters live in the distant future, on other planets, or in fantastical realms. Her first novel, Thief of Hope, reflects those themes and shows that even a downtrodden pickpocket can become a leader in the fight against oppression.
Alan Zendell spent more than thirty years as a scientist, aerospace engineer, software consultant, database developer, and government analyst, writing really boring stuff like proposals, technical papers, reports, business letters, and policy memoranda. But trapped inside him all that time were stories that needed telling and ideas that needed expression, so with encouragement and cajoling from a loving baby sister he plunged into fiction.
Since then, he has written mostly science and extrapolative fiction, the genre he loved since he was nine. But his stories are about more than aliens and technical marvels. He creates strong, three-dimensional characters a reader can care about, because it’s people and the way they live and love that are important. It’s the things they believe in and how much they’re willing to invest to preserve them that make a story worth telling. It’s convincing interactions and well-researched credible plots that make a story worth reading.
And, of course, like any writer, Alan loves having an audience.