Participants are a wealth of knowledge in a variety of fields whom we are blessed to have with us this year. We’ve done our best to bring you a cross-section of participants from the arts, sciences, and crafts. We think you’ll agree that between them all we can discover the meaning to Life, the Universe, and Everything!

  • Sequential Artist, Jennie Breeden
  • Writer, D. C. Fontana
  • Game Designer, Shanna Germain
  • Local Artist, Dain Q. Gore
  • Local Game Designer, Ben Woerner
  • Fan, Gary Swaty
  • Brian Abernethy
  • Austin Aslan
  • Dee Astell
  • Hal Astell
  • Inge Atkinson
  • Tom Blake
  • KellyAnn Bonnell
  • Kat Bretcher
  • Darryl Brown
  • Victor Bugg
  • Johnna Buttrick
  • Tommy Cannon
  • Alexander Canto
  • David Carroll
  • Jason Cazares
  • Steven Crompton
  • Rick Cunningham
  • Brian Duncan
  • Jenny Duncan
  • Quinn Duncan
  • Terri Finch
  • Michael Flanders
  • Art Gecko
  • Illeana Herrera
  • Lyndsey Hoffman
  • Jennifer Horning
  • Mark Horning
  • Sam Insana
  • Khurt Khave
  • Elizabeth Leggett
  • Erin Lewis
  • Mike Marron
  • Jen McAlonan
  • Eric McCollum
  • Melissa McCollum
  • Gerald David Nordley
  • David Riley
  • Valerie Ritchie
  • Emma Sansone
  • Paul Schmidt
  • Dennis Skotak
  • Eileen Smith
  • David Lee Summers
  • Ken St. Andre
  • John Wick
  • Scott Wilke
  • David Williams
  • Murray Writtle

Jennie Breeden is the creator of the autobiographical webcomic The Devil’s Panties. She has a BFA in Sequential Art from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Ms. Breeden has been updating her comic daily since 2001 with over 3,000 comic strips online and multiple graphic novels that are in comic shops and book stores around the world.

Via the comic she documents her adventures at comic conventions and in life. From pirates to taxes, kilt blowing to real estate and knitting to romance, life always seems to have something new in store: sometimes to the chagrin of Jennie, but always to the delight of her fans.

Visit her comic and watch Life and Art argue it out:

Writer, D. C. Fontana

D. C. Fontana has numerous credits as a writer on such diverse television series as STAR TREK, BONANZA, THE BIG VALLEY, HIGH CHAPARRAL, LONESOME DOVE, BABYLON 5, STAR TREK ANIMATED, STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION, STAR TREK DS 9, THE WALTONS, THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO, and DALLAS.  She has served as story editor on the original STAR TREK series, FANTASTIC JOURNEY and LOGAN’S RUN, as Associate Producer on STAR TREK ANIMATED and STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION, and as Producer on a series of science fiction comedy sketches for Galaxy Online.  She has written children’s shows, science fiction, Westerns, action adventure, mysteries, animation, and interactive games.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, the Writers Guild of America, west, and Writers Guild of Canada.

Dorothy was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in 1969 for her THEN CAME BRONSON script, “Two Percent of Nothing;” and she won a Filmcon (Science Fiction Movie Convention) Award for her STAR TREK ANIMATED script, “Yesteryear.”  Both her SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN scripts, “The Rescue of Athena One” and “Straight On ‘Til Morning,” were nominated for Filmcon Awards. In 1987 she wrote the two-hour premiere episode of STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION, “Encounter at Farpoint,” which was nominated for science fiction’s Hugo Award in 1988.

In 1997 and again in 2002 Dorothy was honored with a Writers Guild Morgan Cox Award for service to the Guild.  She was twice elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Guild and has served on many committees.  In August 2001 Dorothy was inducted into the American Screenwriters Association Hall of Fame.  In December 2006 she was inducted into the “SHE MADE IT” program of the Museum of Television & Radio (now The Paley Center for Media), a program honoring outstanding women in radio and television.  She has taught television and film writing at the American Film Institute since 1998.

Dorothy has published three novels, THE BRAZOS RIVER (with Harry Sanford), THE QUESTOR TAPES, and VULCAN’S GLORY, an original series novel.  A short story titled “Cut To: Murder” is included in the mystery anthology MURDER IN LOS ANGELES, published by William Morrow.

She has been married to Oscar-winning visual effects cinematographer Dennis Skotak since 1981.

D. C. Fontana is appearing courtesy of a co-sponsorship with the United Federation of Phoenix.

The United Federation of Phoenix is the southwest’s (and one of America’s) oldest Star Trek and science fiction fan organization, continuously operating since 1975. The club meets every two weeks at various locations around the Phoenix metropolitan area. As a group the UFP have picnics, go to museums, watch science fiction, see movies, play games, as well as other things. The UFP also have a monthly newsletter, Subspace Chatter, which highlights science fiction and sci-fi media happenings, as well as other events that pertain to fandom.

The United Federation of Phoenix will be celebrating STAR TREK’s 50th Anniversary with fandom at LepreCon this year.

For more information on the United Federation of Phoenix visit their website at

Shanna Germain is many things…

First and foremost, she is a leximaven of the highest order, exploring her love of the written word through a multitude of formats and styles. Shanna (pronounced like ‘Shaun’ with a sigh of pleasure at the end) also claims the titles of (in no particular order): girl, gamer geek, wanderluster, flower picker, tire kicker, knife licker, she-devil, vorpal blonde and Schrödinger’s brat.

With a whole lot of writing years under her belt (or her collar, depending on the day), Shanna’s poems, essays, short stories, novellas, articles and more have found homes in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, books and websites.

An Associate Fellow at The Attic Institute in Portland, OR, she has taught classes in writing, publishing, media and photography at a wide variety of places. She’s even garnered an award here and there, including a Pushcart nomination, the Rauxa Prize for Erotic Poetry and the C. Hamilton Bailey Poetry Fellowship. She keeps her ego in a tiny glass jar and feeds it drops of sea water and baby crickets so that it will never outgrow its cage.

Raised in upstate New York, Shanna spent her quarter-life crisis years in Portland, Ore. Her writing travels have taken her to places like Amsterdam, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Italy and Nicaragua. After a year-long jaunt on a wild island off the coast of Scotland, she has returned to the rain-washed streets of Portland, which she considers her forever home.

Currently the lead editor of Numenera and its follow-up products, Shanna’s other recent works include Bound by Lust (Harper Collins), Geek Love (Stone Box Press), and The Lure of Dangerous Women (Wayzgoose Press).

Dain Q. Gore is a current Faculty Adjunct at ASU and Phoenix College, completing his MFA in 2009. Having studied End-Times myths of his culture, he presents Bible stories mixed with Apocryphal and other controversial philosophies, such as the Tarot, in a humorous way.

His cast of absurd characters shifts between the religious and secular worlds to suit his own vision of the supernatural realm. His recent area of interest has included puppetry, emulating the humor and questioning of his paintings in a manic sculptural and often bawdy performance-based setting. His art has exhibited in downtown Phoenix since 2002 and as far away from Phoenix as Himeiji and Beijing.

He has performed puppetry part-time for the Great Arizona Puppet Theater since 2007, at both Adult Puppet Slams and the kid-friendly Imagine This!, having also constructed puppets that performed in his solo shows at Eye Lounge in 2010-2011 and Trunk Space in 2012, as well Phoenix Comicon in 2012-2015 and the Phoenix Art Museum. He is also a current contributor to the new Meow Wolf project, The House of Eternal Return, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

His most current investigations include merging paintings with his interest in puppetry, which refer to a childhood fascination with Bible stories told through puppets and their illusion of a subjectively formed, artificial reality.  This began with a solo show in 2014 at Hot Box gallery, The ECSTATIC TRUTH.

The puppets and wall pieces are not just flat: they are built up in puzzle-like pieces that include kinetic and dimensional features. The choice of material is reflective of the beliefs that still haunt him: impermanent, fragile, ever-changing, and not altogether full in form.

Ben Woerner, by day, is a mild-mannered husband, father, and marketing manager for his family’s business. By night he’s a game designer. Having run games for over a quarter century he finally began to design them. In August of 2014, he published World of Dew, a samurai noir roleplaying game and sequel to John Wick’s Blood & Honor. He’s also written for John Wick Presents in Blood & Honor and Wield, as well writing for Call of Catthulhu. He just published the first supplement to World of Dew called The Sound of Water. It is full of chapters from some of the industry’s hottest authors and artists. After that he’s thinkin’ of moseying over to the Old West for a bit, and then later download his avatar into a cyberpunk world. Maybe one day he’ll get to write about magical kung-fu kids who can save the world.

He’s a big fan of mitigated success and aspects in game design. He is an even bigger fan of his soccer playing daughter (she’s a keeper), his gruff, adorable, little man, and the loveliest of all women, his wife, Emily.

Email: if you would like to contact him about past or current projects.

Fan, Gary Swaty

Gary Swaty has been attending Science Fiction Conventions since the early 1970s. The first convention he worked was IguanaCon II, the 1978 Phoenix Worldcon. He worked Info Desk, Security, and did supply purchase runs during the Con. After that Gary confined himself to helping with Set-Up and Tear-Down at CopperCon and LepreCon until the 1990s. Sometime in the mid-nineties he was asked to be Filk Liaison to Phoenix metropolitan area conventions for the Phoenix Filk Circle. He was responsible for obtaining Filk GoHs and scheduling Filk Events at CopperCon and LepreCon from then until 2014. He handled Filk at Westercon 57/ConKopelli in Litchfield, Arizona in 2004. He has run Registration for HexaCon, World Horror, World Fantasy and DarkCon. He worked Ops at DarkCon ’95 and was a General Henchman at AniZonas 1 and 2 and ran Registration at AniZona 3. He was Chairman of HexaCon 16 in 2006 and Chairman of CopperCon 28 in 2008. He was Committee for Filk at FiestaCon/Westercon 62. He also helped administratively at RandomCon in July of 2010. He handled Filk at CopperCon 30 in September of 2010, at LepreCon 36 in May of 2011, at CopperCon 31 in September 2011, and at LepreCon 37 in April of 2012. He did the Pre-Con Filk Preparation for CopperCon 33 which he could not attend. He was Staff for Things Musical at MythosCon in 2011. He ran Program for CopperCon 34 in 2014. He provided sound equipment and was a Participant at the LepreCon 2015 — 41st Annual Science Fiction Convention.  Most recently he drafted the bid venue contract and was Bid Chair for Westercon 70 aka ConAlope.

Brian Abernethy

Brian is a member of the band Open Beta. He brings the thunder with his bodhran, setting the pulse for their music. He also sings lead and harmony at times.

Austin Aslan

Austin Aslan was inspired to write his debut novel, The Islands at the End of the World, while living on the Big Island of Hawaii. He earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. His research on rare Hawaiian plants located on the high slopes of Mauna Loa won him a pair of destroyed hiking boots, a tattered rain jacket, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He lives outside Tucson, Arizona, deep in the Sonoran Desert, where he pets scorpions and hugs saguaro cacti with his high-school-sweetheart wife and their two young children. Austin is pursuing a PhD in geography at the University of Arizona and thinking up new stories while conducting ecosystem resilience research atop the Peruvian Andes. He continues to write fiction and looks forward to the publication of The Girl at the Center of the World.

Dee Astell

Dee Astell aka Countess Chaos is a regular face at many conventions, including Wild Wild West Con, at which she’s the fashion show manager. She’s held the title of Steampunk Event Coordinator for a variety of conventions: Phoenix Comicon, LepreCon, DarkCon, FANtasm. She’s also run a host of maker workshops including teacup headbands, fascinators, along with steampunk frames and weaponry. She’s a popular set photographer for independant films, occasionally venturing in front of the camera for odd roles as well. She’s also a co-founder of the Arizona Penny Dreadfuls, which was her brainchild.

Hal Astell

While he still has a day job, Hal C F Astell is a teacher by blood and a writer by inclination, which gradually morphed him into a movie reviewer. He writes primarily for Apocalypse Later, his film review site, but also for others who ask nicely, such as the Nameless Zine for the Western Science Fiction Association.

In addition to being a film critic and author, he programs film festivals at a variety of conventions in Arizona and California, including FearCon, Wild Wild West Con, San Diego Comic Fest, LepreCon, DarkCon and CopperCon. He also screens submissions for a number of film festivals and has served as a judge on numerous occasions.

Inge Atkinson

Inge manages the promotional merchandising table for Open Beta

Tom Blake

Tom is a member of Ember Aeonic which is a new Indietronica band from Phoenix. With themes driven by philosophical alien technology from the future Melodic electronic music vocals are sung over a balance of old and new, simple and twisted beats, dreamy synthscapes and cutting sequences. Performances that incorporate improvised pieces, certainly not a ‘just press play’ act.

Originally created to perform an electronic equivalent of improvisational jazz, guitars and vocals were added after songs started developing organically. The music is created using synchronized analog modeling software instead of backing tracks and fixed waveforms to facilitate the original improvisational intent.

KellyAnn Bonnell

She is the creator and manager of the Pop Goes the Classroom Initiative. Mrs. Bonnell is an educational quality improvement specialist with over 20 years experience and a Master of Arts degree in ECE from Northern Arizona University. In addition to her work with them, she is a master coach for the University of Arizona After School Program Innovation, Reflection and Education Project. As a practicing artist, KellyAnn is a costume designer and soft form milliner.

Kat Bretcher

Kat has been making and designing costumes since 1996 and working in the fashion industry since 1997. She currently owns several businesses that sell and distribute costuming supplies worldwide. Her client list includes the New York Metropolitan Opera, Australian Opera Company, Baron’s Men, Blackfriars Theater and numerous theater and movie production companies.

Darryl Brown

Also known as Darryl Dawson, he has been writing professionally since 2009. His first book, the short story collection The Crawlspace, was published in October of that year. He is a Los Angeles native currently residing in Phoenix, AZ, where he works as a video editor for a local TV station. His occupation serves as the inspiration behind his horror novelette, If It Bleeds, available from Nightshade Publications. He will occasionally dabble in photography, listen to some old Yes or Genesis records, or take in a baseball or pro soccer game.