Halo Sama


Mistress of Ceremonies



Halo Sama has the funky cartoon style you’ve been craving! With her background in illustration, theatre and graphic design, Halo Sama battles through chronic illness every day to pull together inspirational elements from Nerdcore and Pop Culture to create a crazy and often humorous look at our world through her art.

LINKS:

Main Site: www.shonuffstudio.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/ShonuffStudio?fref=ts

Twitter: @ShonuffArt

Tumblr: http://shonuffstudios.tumblr.com

Instagram: @ShonuffStudio

Youtube Vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV51vHKypK8

Lauren Zakalik


Keynote Speaker

Lauren joined the WFAA team in January 2014 and is thrilled to bring you the news from Fort Worth, Tarrant County and beyond.

The award-winning journalist came to News 8 after more than three years as the lead investigative reporter for the ABC affiliate (KOAT-TV) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While there, Lauren uncovered a massive financial blunder by a state agency in which retirees received checks for money that wasn't theirs. Her work on that story led to legal action.

She started her career at WILX-TV in Lansing, Michigan. While there, Lauren was honored as her region's top reporter by both the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press.

Lauren's a proud graduate of the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and has a masters degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She loves international travel, learning new languages, college sports, staying active and cooking.


Tama Twins

Scribe of Tales and Feathered Fury have united as the Tama Twins: adventure-bound companions, dedicated to a thrift, shift, and thrive philosophy.

It is rumored these fated souls were brought together in the darkness of night to battle an evil that haunts the cosplay community… Procrastination *dun dun DUUUUUN!* Their bond was instant and infectious. The Tama Twins forged a guild with a small group of gifted artisans who battle this evil in unison. They meet regularly to plot their actions, to hold one another accountable, and to ultimately create wearable works of art (aka cosplay).

Along with their call to arms, Scribe and Fury have also become ambassadors (and merchants) of all things creative and nerdy, by passionately seeking inspiration for desirable products that are fun to make and affordable for those who are… rummaging for rupees. This quest has lead them through magical forests where they have harvested an assortment of fairies; into clock-towers where hats and keys were collected from vivacious tea parties, and under mountains where dwarves bestowed forge wisdom upon them. They have swapped recipes with alchemists, meditated with sea pigs, partied with unicorns, and wrestled ROUS’. They never know where they will go next or what they will bring back, but together they will scour the earth for the fun, the cheap, and the sparkly.

The Tama Twins will be hosting a workshop at this conference, but as they flow with the tides, the details will be firmed up in the month leading up to the event.
Elia Crawford

Elia Crawford is the artist of Elia in a Box Comics. She started the comics when she drew one strip as a show gift for a friend and was encouraged from then on to keep drawing them. 7 years later, the comics are still going strong.

She has published comics for her high school newspaper in San Angelo, Texas, for her university’s newspaper, The Shorthorn, and received the National First Place award from the Columbia Scholastic Press for her Allan Saxe comic strips.

Currently she updates her online comic weekly and is currently working on a children’s book and is brewing up a silly Viking comic series.
Elia also does videos on her art-oriented YouTube channel to promote drawing in everyday life, convention reports, and satirical art tutorials.

With a background in improv comedy, she wanted to bring that into a channel that combined her love for drawing and creating.

When not working around the comic business, she is a photographer with Tri-Focus Photography in Dallas which is another passion of hers and shoots anything from cosplay to weddings.
Marissa Lenti

When Marissa Lenti was 15 years old, she founded her own business, Mizza's Mods, which produced custom costumes, dolls, and accessories for almost 7 years. Although she's now much more well-known as a voice actress, she still sews and creates a multitude of unique and custom products that are sold and shipped around the world.

As a voice actress, Marissa can be found in popular FUNimation productions, such as her role as Mistress Sadie in One Piece, Ilse Langnar in Attack on Titan: Junior High, and Libra in Fairy Tail, as well as appearing in Assassination Classroom, Blood Blockade Battlefront, GANGSTA, Ultimate Otaku Teacher, & The Heroic Legend of Arslan, among others. She's also appeared in many video games, like Wasteland 2: Director's Cut & Heroes of Newerth. When she's not acting, she's casting & directing for ScrewAttack's most popular webshow, DEATH BATTLE!.


To learn more about Marissa, check out her website at www.marissalenti.com or follow her on Twitter (@LentiSoup)!

Beth Howard


Elizabeth Howard is, first and foremost, a huge geek. Whether it’s her continually relapsing World of Warcraft addiction or rewatching of Marvel movies, Beth loves all things dorky. Professionally, she is a graphic designer who lives in Ponder, TX and works full time at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. In addition to this full time position, she runs her own business, Wilde Designs, and acts as social media manager for magician and master electrician Daryl Howard. Beth graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design in 2006 and has been working steadily in the field since 2003.

Wilde Designs opened in 2007 and is the artist’s playground where she tries out new techniques in digital and traditional art as well as crafting mediums. Her most notorious works are the Barbie Murders photographic series, which are hanging in homes all across the United States and abroad. Most of her personal creative work focuses on pop (and particularly geek) culture. Because you can never have too many hobbies to take up your time, Beth also cosplays.

When she isn’t working or dressing up like other people, Beth spends her time at home with her husband Wes, her son Pike, and their three dogs.

Tracy Lawson

Once upon a time, Tracy Lawson was a little girl with a big imagination who was obsessed with telling stories. Her interests in dance, theatre, and other forms of make-believe led to a twenty-year career in the performing arts, where “work” meant she got to do things like tap dance and choreograph musicals.

 

Her greatest adventures in musical theatre included creating disco choreography for forty middle schoolers on roller skates in Xanadu, building cast members’ endurance during an extremely aerobic jump rope number in Legally Blonde, and wrangling a cast of amazingly enthusiastic teenaged tap dancers in Crazy For You. She can also spin plates on sticks while she tap dances. Just ask her. She’ll be happy to demonstrate!

 

Though teaching dance and choreographing shows was a great outlet for her creativity and boundless energy, Tracy never lost her desire to write. Faced with her only child leaving for college and her husband’s simultaneous cross-country job relocation, it seemed she’d found the perfect time to switch her focus. But fear not—she has maintained her ties to educational theatre by returning to choreograph a few shows a year at Bexley City Schools in Columbus, Ohio, so she can continue to nurture students and share her passion for putting on a great show.

 

The Cincinnati native now has to her credit an award-winning nonfiction history book, Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More: Explorations of Henry Rogers’ 1838 Journal of Travel from Southwestern Ohio to New York City (McDonald & Woodward, 2012), based on the writings of her great-great-great grandfather.

 

Fips and Bots was soon followed by Counteract (2014) Resist (2015) and Ignite (2016), three of the four installments in the young adult dystopian Resistance Series of novels.


Revolt, the final book in the series, is anticipated to be released in summer 2017. Pride of the Valley, a companion volume to Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More, is also in the pipeline for 2017.

 

In her spare time, she blogs about YA and classic dystopian books and hosts Between the Covers with Tracy Lawson, an author interview program on the Liberty.Me network.

 

Tracy, who is married with one college-aged daughter and three spoiled cats, splits her time between Dallas, Texas and Columbus, Ohio.

 

Tracy’s website: http://tracylawsonbooks.com

Resistance Series website and blog: http://counteractbook.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TracyLawsonAuthor

Twitter: @TracySLawson


Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam


Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam's fiction and poetry has appeared in over fifty magazines and anthologies both literary and speculative including The Toast, Clarkesworld, PRISM International, Lightspeed, and Everyman's Library's Monster Verse. She recently released an audio fiction-jazz collaborative album, Strange Monsters, with her partner Peter Brewer, centered around the theme of women's voices. She's been reprinted in French and Polish, for numerous podcasts, and on the popular science blog io9. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Program and created and curates the annual Art & Words Collaborative Show in Fort Worth, Texas. She is active on Twitter @BonnieJoStuffle and on her website www.bonniejostufflebeam.com.

Kathy Edwards McFarland

Growing up in Abilene, Texas, I found my urge to create confusing ... I'm not a "Western" artist.

I am me.

I began taking private art lessons in junior high with local professional artist Maisie Sirois.
I graduated Texas State University – San Marcos, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art – 1980. (Back then, the school was known as Southwest Texas State University.)

This helped establish one aspect of my abilities - layout and publishing. I enjoy visually communicating with readers and viewers. After college life, and with much struggle in the "real world," I developed a wide-ranging talent - from graphics and page design, to art education - from painting in watercolor to mixed-media and acrylic work. I became involved with the artist community through a weekly figure drawing group and local
art organizations. A major influence was the Artists League of Texas, later to be reorganized as the Center for Contemporary Arts.

After teaching private lessons (grade school through adult) out of my studio at Center for Contemporary Arts, I took over the Art Educator position at Boys & Girls Club of Abilene. A major
aspect of that job was developing lesson plans incorporating fine art and various cultural art examples.

I taught kids ages 6-12 at the three Boys & Girls Club sites weekly, during the school year and in both
summer program terms.

I am challenged by my physical disabilities and my desire to work against deadlines. (Hence my 7-1/2 year stint as Special Sections Editor at Abilene Reporter-News.)
Moving to Denton in 2008, when I married my guy Steve, opened a fresh creative environment to me. I have spread my wings, creating new, exciting works, and recently taken up teaching again.

Influences
Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec has been a stunning influence in my art. But I am also influenced by Henri Matisse's later works, Paul Klee, and many of my peers I've met and worked with at Center for
Contemporary Arts in Abilene – Clint Hamilton, Linda Murray, Tony Brown, Sarabeth Clevenger, and so may others ... I am continually inspired by new, exciting artists and their personal perspectives.

Bekah June

Bekah June is a professional freelance writer, editor, and mother of two very geeky boys. As a mother she spends time with her boys discovering art, science, and exploring the world around them. As a writer she specializes in business, social media marketing, and editing. She is a published occult author who has published her book Turning the Table: A Look at The Supernatural Obsession, first in a series of short nonfiction.

She is formerly the co-founder of Mad Raven Productions where she worked as the Editor and Public Relations Director. She now works with world-wide known metal radio show, The Metal Moose, as a social media marketing consultant and web content manager.


Aside from writing and editing, she is an avid supporter of her local art community. She is a macabre artist who brings to life the morbidity of the Victorian era. She participates in many group art shows in her art community.

Recently, Bekah June worked as a voice actress for a Steampunk web-series, Tales of a Broken Reality. She plans to do more voice work in the days to come.

http://bekahjune.com

Chelsea Mullin


Chelsea Mullin is a musician, sound designer,

​ and artist​
who lives in Denton, TX. Chelsea is a recent graduate of Texas Woman’s University, majoring in Drama. Chelsea comes from creative backgrounds on both sides of her family. With an artist mom and a musician dad, Chelsea has found enjoyment in art and music from a very young age. Although, Chelsea is a painter and photographer, her main artistic medium is photography. Chelsea loves to show others the world through her eyes with her photography.

 

​Chelsea has also worked in the mediums of acrylics, watercolors, pastels, and digital art. ​

​As a teenager, she was the youngest member of the Wichita

Falls​
Art Association.
​​ 
Chelsea has participated in art competitions and exhibitions, gaining awards for her
​art​
. Her work has been shown in Wichita Falls, Bowie, Denton, and Austin. ​


Recently, she was a part of the Aves and the World Project, which had an exhibition at Texas Woman's University. There she displayed photographs featuring birds taken in various places throughout Texas.

​ ​


Chelsea has been involved in sound design for theatrical productions since 2010, and has has acted as the sound designer for 18 productions, seven at the high school level, 10 at university level, and one at community theatre level. She has also developed an unproduced sound design for Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal as a semester-long project. 


​In the past, Chelsea has won awards for her sound designs. 


Marsha Wright-Reeves


Marsha Wright-​Reeves is from Wichita Falls, Texas​,​and is a full time Artist. She attended Midwestern State University from 1988 to 1992. She served as the President of the Wichita Falls Art Association from January 2009- to September 2012. She is primarily ​paints using ​oil, acrylic, watercolor and alcohol ink. She teaches art in her studio​, so she also works in a variety of other mediums. Some other mediums she uses are photography, stained glass, ceramics, ​and sculpture. She is always learning new techniques and exploring new mediums. Her work has been exhibited Burkburnett, Wichita Falls, Graham, Bowie, Henrietta, Breckenridge, Denton, and Fort Worth.

She painted two horses for the Downtown Wichita Falls Development corp. that were part of the “Mane Event” art project and are on permanent display in the Downtown Area. Just recently she was one of the featured Artist for the Art and Soul Festival in Wichita Falls. She created a coloring book for that event titled “Local Color” featuring local restaurants, stores, and gathering places in the downtown area.

Marsha co-illustrated two books for, NY author Gordie Little, “Sparkles and Shiner” 2013, and    “Marilyn and the Magic Closet 2016”. Marsha also wrote and illustrated her own children’s book in 2015, “The Adventures of Donavan and Davis."​

Tricia Skinner


Tricia Skinner is an Associate Agent at Fuse Literary and an author of urban fantasy romance. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan.

Pamela Skjolsvik

A curious thing happens when you have the audacity to call yourself the
death writer; people want to talk to you about death. A lot. This is all
well and good for those daring types of writers like Mary Roach or Jessica
Mitford, but for Pamela Skjolsvik it was initially problematic. Prior to
declaring her morbid writing intention of exploring death professions
during her first semester of Goucher College's MFA program in 2008, she
had little experience with death or grief, not to mention very little
social engagement with the living. It wasn't until after she finished the
two years of research for her first book that she was officially diagnosed
with Social Anxiety Disorder and went through four months of Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy through a research study at Southern Methodist
University. She no longer feels that she will die while speaking in front
of others.

Pamela Skjolsvik's work has been published in Creative Nonfiction,
Witness, Ten Spurs, The Moment, The Dallas Morning News’ Death Penalty
Blog and on her own “death writer” blog. Her first book, Death Becomes Us, won second place at The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference in 2013 and was published in 2015. In 2016, she was interviewed by Krys Boyd on NPR’s“Think” about her book. She is currently working on her first novel, Forever 51.

Cheerleader Karate School


 When the world is in peril from evil monsters and demons, it's up to the perky chicks and roundhouse kicks of Cheerleader Karate School!The new series, developed by Bj Lewis is more than punches, kicks and monster make up. It's intended to be a diverse female led program with strong, identifiable characters and situations. One of the shows leads is Gabriella Corvina, a 12-year martial arts student and actress who is just as good throwing a kick as she is delivering powerful drama or gut busting comedy. She is looking to share her story, the show and the reality that women can be just as strong, talented and successful as they want to be.

Chrystal Anne


Writer and Director Chrystal Anne is deeply interested in Eastern cultures and mythology. This is reflected in her book, Hell's Gate: Awakening, which was released in 2013. The first of a trilogy, its sequel is slated for release this Holiday Season. Currently, she is also working on the graphic novel version of Hell’s Gate and an up-and-coming project for a short film is in the works for 2017. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud for updates on the projects, as well as podcasts!


Rebecka Haskins-Hunt

Founder & Executive Director, Heroic Inner Kids


When Rebecka was told to do what is closest to your heart during a difficult time professionally, she was inspired. Never one to let things conquer her she took her passions to the next level, she founded Heroic Inner Kids to inspire and help others face difficulties. With a degree in Psychology, Rebecka is able to bring a unique combination of interdisciplinary experience to the organization. In just two years Heroic Inner Kids has managed to serve multiple local non-profits, partner with various national organizations and raise thousands of dollars in funds. She is now works with various conventions as an advisor and talent coordinator, with nonprofits and additional community members on projects, and other nonprofits as a consultant.

Charlie Trahan


Charlie Trahan is a student at Texas Woman’s University studying for a Bachelor of Arts

in Fashion Design. She began the program shortly after leaving Tarrant County College, in 2014, after completing her Associate of Arts. Charlie has has worked for Williamson-Dickies Manufacturing Company as a sewing machine operator gaining experience in the field. She previously worked for Wal-Mart as a Merchandise Supervisor and was elected to attend shareholders to meet with CEOs. During shareholders Charlie was featured in Wal-Mart One Magazine for her achievements. Charlie was also opening garment in the Senior Montage Fashion Show in 2016. Charlie wishes to advance her skills in fashion design and encourage young women to pursue their creative career no matter how big the obstacle or how hard the struggle. Charlie Trahan resides in Decatur Texas with her husband and two dogs.