Author Panels at StarFest

These are the authors and their panels that will be presented at StarFest this year!

Kevin J Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson is the author of 140 novels, 55 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists; he has over 23 million books in print in thirty languages. Anderson has coauthored fourteen books in the Dune saga with Brian Herbert; he and Herbert have also written an original SF trilogy, Hellhole. Anderson’s popular epic SF series, The Saga of Seven Suns, as well as its sequel trilogy, The Saga of Shadows, are among his most ambitious works. He has also written a sweeping fantasy trilogy, Terra Incognita, accompanied by two rock CDs (which he wrote and produced). He has written two steampunk novels, Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives, with legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. He also created the popular humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., and has written eight high-tech thrillers with Colonel Doug Beason.

He holds a physics/astronomy degree and spent 14 years working as a technical writer for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He is now the publisher of Colorado-based WordFire Press. He and his wife, bestselling author Rebecca Moesta, have lived in Colorado for 20 years; Anderson has climbed all of the mountains over 14,000 ft in the state, and he has also hiked the 500-mile Colorado Trail.

Scott Beckman

Scott is the independently-published author of the epic high fantasy novels Wings of the Sathakos, Pantheon, and The Fox and the Blade. He is a lifetime resident of Colorado who currently lives in Denver, where he drinks a lot of espresso, plays arguably too many video games and sings a healthy amount of karaoke.

David Boop

David Boop is a Denver-based speculative fiction author. His debut novel, the sci-fi/noir She Murdered Me with Science, is back in print from WordFire Press after a seven-year hiatus. Additionally, Dave is prolific in short fiction with over fifty short stories and two short films sold to date. In 2017, he edited the weird western anthology, Straight Outta Tombstone, for Baen. While also known for weird western series, The Drowned Horse Chronicle, he’s published across several genres including media tie-ins for Predator, The Green Hornet, and Veronica Mars. His RPG work includes Flash Gordon, Rippers Resurrected and Deadlands: Noir for Savage Worlds.

He’s a single dad, Summa Cum Laude creative writing graduate, part-time temp worker and believer. His hobbies include film noir, anime, the Blues and Mayan History. You can find out more on his fanpage, or Twitter @david_boop.

Tonya DeMarco

Tonya L. De Marco is a costume designer, cosplayer, published model and published author. She lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Growing up reading about the wonderful characters and places created by authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R.Tolkein, and Frank Herbert, Tonya turned to costuming as a way to immerse herself more deeply into those fantastic worlds. Her love of the written word also encouraged her to pursue a writing career and she has several short stories published. Tonya is a member of the Horror Writers Association.

Tonya enjoys modeling, especially in her cosplay creations, or as a pin-up. She has been published in several magazines, GeekXGirls website and Facebook page and is also a model for Rob Sacchetto’s Zombie Art. When she isn’t sewing or writing, Tonya enjoys spending time finding fast and dangerous adventures.

Betsy Dornbusch

Betsy Dornbusch is the author of several fantasy short stories, novellas, and novels, including the Books of the Seven Eyes trilogy. When she’s not writing or speaking at conventions, she reads, snowboards and goes to punk rock concerts. Betsy and her family split their time between Grand Lake and Boulder, Colorado.

Amity Green

Amity Green is an award-winning author of dark urban fantasy novels and horror stories. Her debut novel, Scales, was published in 2013, and her short stories appear in numerous anthologies. The Witcher Chime, her first horror novel publication, was released on July 31, 2016. A Colorado native, Amity resides in Manitou Springs where she is currently working on book 3 of her Fate and Fire trilogy.

James Hunter

James A. Hunter is a Colorado native, an active member of the SFWA, and a fantasy author with nine titles available. He’s also a former Marine, combat veteran, and pirate hunter, not to mention a member of The Royal Order of the Shellback — ’cause that’s a real thing. Currently, James is a stay-at-home Dad — taking care of two crazy-pants kids — while also writing full time. When James isn’t working, writing, or spending time with family, he occasionally finds time to eat and sleep.

You can find out more about James at his website:

Or, you can follow him on Facebook at:

Kevin “Ike” Ikkenberry

Kevin Ikenberry is a life-long space geek and retired Army officer. A former manager of the world-renowned U.S. Space Camp program and an executive with two Challenger Learning Centers, Kevin has a broad background in space operations. He is the author of the best-selling science fiction novel Sleeper Protocol and the military science fiction novel Runs In The Family. He is an active member of SFWA and an alumnus of the Superstars Writing Seminar.

Carolyn Kay

Carolyn Kay
Carolyn Kay enjoys writing about an eclectic variety of things, and imagining what normally inanimate objects would do if given life. She is currently collaborating with award-winning illustrator Chaz Kemp on the World of Ashelon, a series of novellas set in a steampunk fantasy world. When she’s not writing, she can be seen dancing with Batavia, a tribal fusion belly dance troupe, knitting or playing with her beloved cats. You can catch up on her latest shenanigans at

Chaz Kemp

Bram Stoker Award finalist Chaz Kemp embraces an Art Nouveau style that incorporates vibrancy and color into fantasy and steampunk art in a way that is rarely seen. As an illustrator, the influence of Alphonse Mucha is evident in his award-winning work that combines the artistic energy of the Roaring 20s with the untamed possibilities of steampunk and fantasy. You can find his work at or better, become his patron at:

Sam Knight

A Colorado native, Sam Knight spent ten years in California’s wine country before returning to the Rockies. When asked if he misses California, he gets a wistful look in his eyes and replies he misses the green mountains in the winter, but he is glad to be back home.

As well as being Distribution Manager for WordFire Press, he is Senior Editor for Villainous Press and the author of five children’s books, three short story collections, two novels, and more than two dozen short stories, including two media tie-ins co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson.

A stay-at-home father, Sam attempts to be a full-time writer, but there are only so many hours left in a day after kids. Once upon a time, he was known to quote books the way some people quote movies, but now he claims having a family has made him forgetful, as a survival adaptation. He can be found at and contacted at

Eytan Kollin

I am hoping my name matches the name and/or picture above. That being said I was born in a place you probably don’t care about in a year getting far enough away I don’t want to remember, (just kidding, it was 1967). I could tell you about what I do other than writing but, seriously, why would you really care? Let’s get to the author part!

I write novels and short stories with my brother Dani as well as on my own account. We wrote the Unincorporated Series published by Tor. We have been nominated multiple times and won the Prometheus Award once. Love the gold coin. Although we have been published in deep thought, hard SF we just finished a novel that is Steampunk YA. We are also published in the latest 5 X 5 anthology with Wordfire Press and will have a compilation of short stories called Grim Tales of the Brothers Kollin later this year. I have finished my first solo novel, Balancers and may have a publisher nibbling at it. I have been fortunate in selling a “solo” novel to Baen called Benjamin Franklin: Wizard for Hire. The solo is in quotations because I have been honored to join a group of authors in creating a shared world of which this novel is only a part. I am almost halfway done with the manuscript and with luck it should see publication next year.

Rebecca Moesta

Rebecca Moesta (pronounced MESS-tuh) is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author with more than 35 books to her credit. She wanted to be an author since she was twelve, and much of her writing focuses on teens. Her solo work includes novels in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Junior Jedi Knights series, short stories, nonfiction articles and ghost writing. She has edited three Young Adult anthologies in the Fiction River Series for WMG Publishing.

With husband Kevin J. Anderson, she wrote the Crystal Doors trilogy, fourteen Young Jedi Knights novels, the Star Challengers trilogy, six movie or game novelizations, lyrics for two Roswell Six rock CDs (ProgRock Records), a Star Trek graphic novel (DC/WildStorm), the nonfiction book Million Dollar Professionalism for the Writer, two Star Wars pop-up books and original graphic novel Grumpy Old Monsters (IDW).

Moesta is the co-publisher of WordFire Press.

Kal Spriggs

Kal Spriggs is an Amazon bestselling science fiction and fantasy author. He currently has four series in print: The Renegades space opera and space exploration series, the Shadow Space Chronicles military science fiction and space opera series, the Fenris space opera series, and the Eoriel Saga epic fantasy series.

Kal is a US Army combat veteran who has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives in Colorado, and he is married to his wonderful wife (who deserves mention for her patience with his writing) and also shares his home with his infant son, two feline overlords, and a rather put-upon dog. He likes hiking, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors, when he’s not hunched over a keyboard writing his next novel.

Peter J. Wacks

Peter J Wacks was purportedly born in California sometime during 1976. He has always been amazed and fascinated by both writing and the absurdity of the world in general. Throughout the course of his life, he has hitchhiked across the States and backpacked across Europe on the Eurail. Peter writes a lot and will continue to do so till the day he dies. Possibly beyond.

He is a bestselling cross-genre writer who has worked in various capacities across the creative fields in gaming, television, film, comics, and most recently — when not busy editing — he spends his time writing novels. He began in the creative fields as a child actor and model, most notable as an extra on Revenge of the Nerds and Thunder Alley. At age six he began writing short stories and was first published in high school (1992), a time in which he was also a top-ten honorable mention for the NCTE award (1993).

In gaming he was the lead designer and storyline writer of Cyberpunk CCG, a consultant for Allegiance, and both a writer and editor for multiple books in the Interface Zero line. After the Cyberpunk CCG project he spent a month in L.A. as a consultant for the T.V. show Alias, helping the studio determine the viability of converting the show into a CCG. In the mid 2000’s he decided to focus on his original passion, writing stories, once more. His first novel, Second Paradigm, was published in 2008.

Peter’s first comic, Behind These Eyes, garnered a finalist spot for the Bram Stoker in 2012. Currently, he has published 5 novels, 4 novellas, and appeared in 16 anthologies. He has been a panelist, guest speaker, and Guest of Honor at a combined total of over 250 conventions, trade shows, organizations, and colleges – including GAMA, Mensa Colorado, and UCLA. When he isn’t working on the next book, he can be found practicing martial arts, playing chess, drinking Scotch or IPA, or fighting with swords.

Shelly Wright

As a young, vicious reader, Shelly Goodman Wright spent most of her time either in the restricted reading section of the library or scribbling away in journals. Shelly’s first novel, A Light into the Darkness, earned a Puddly Award in 2013 and in 2015 was nominated for Family Fiction’s top ten books. In 2016, she completed and published her third novel in the Twisted Roots series and started teaching creative writing classes at High Country Home Educators. Currently she is working on an apocalyptic romance which can only be described as a cross between Left Behind and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Shelly lives in Colorado with her husband Tim, three daughters, two dogs, and three guinea pigs.


Authors Reveal All!

Hindsight is 20/20,000 words of wasted time. Hear from those that went there first. Learn from their mistakes. And laugh along with them as they recount the missed opportunities on the road to success. With Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin Ikenberry, David Boop and Betsy Dornbusch.

Brainstorming and Unblocking

Imagination. Creativity. Where does it originate from? How do you kick the muse into gear? And what happens when she kicks back? Learn tricks, techniques and work-a-rounds from authors who have found the music of the mind, and just as suddenly, heard it stop. With Kevin J. Anderson, Betsy Dornbusch, James Hunter, Shelly Wright and Amity Green.

Building My First Light Saber

#1 international bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson talks about his journey from small-town fanboy to major bestselling author, best known for his work in Star Wars, X-Files, Dune, Batman, Superman, and many other universes…and now publisher of WordFire Press.

Combat in Fantasy and Science Fiction

A perennial favorite. Kal Spriggs takes the audience through the ins and outs of writing realistic combat in speculative fiction. This year he’s joined by Betsy Dornbusch, Eytan Kollin, Chaz Kemp and Kevin Ikenberry.

The Completely Unexpected Media-Tie In Panel

Join our panel of Tie-in Titans as they discuss Predator, Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Star Trek, Star Wars, Superheroes and more! With Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Sam Knight, Peter J Wacks and David Boop.

Cyberpunk VS the SOA Genre

RPG Lit is a fast growing genre. Shows like Sword Art Online, Log Horizon and .Hack are prime examples. How are these different from Neuromancer, the Matrix and Ghost in the Shell? Take the dive with panelists David Boop, Peter J. Wacks, Carolyn Fritz and James Hunter.

Diversity and Putting the Punk in Steampunk

The 1800’s happened everywhere, not just in upper-class Britain. Come explore ways you can add diversity to your steampunk stories and costumes, and chat about what ‘punk’ really means in Steampunk.  With Peter Wacks, Sam Knight, Tonya DeMarco, Carolyn Fritz and Chaz Kemp.

Politics, Religion and the Military – Worldbuilding Blocks

There are an infinite number of possible worlds, and on them, infinite societies needing to be created. While there may seem like only two sides to every conflict, our own world has a rich history of social diverse structures to draw from. Our panelists discuss a few you can draw from. With Kevin J. Anderson, James Hunter, Eytan Kollin, Shelly Wright and Kevin Ikenberry.

Steampunk Character Creation

Have you ever wondered how authors come up with characters? Not everyone’s lucky enough to have a crazy Uncle Ned or Cousin Betty to base one on. Come hang out, and help us develop a spunky Steampunk character in this interactive panel. With Tonya DeMarco, Sam Knight, Chaz Kemp and Carolyn Fritz.

Supporting Casts and Creatures

Let’s hear it for the bit part players! It’s not enough to write compelling heroes. No, you need a cast of sidekics, monsters, fools, mentors and mirrors. How to chose the right supporting characters to help (or hinder) the star! With James Hunter, Kal Spriggs, Tonya DeMarco, Amity Green and Scott Beckman.

Villains, Masterminds and Ne’er-do-wells

Time to give the bad guys (and wicked ladies) their due! A hero is only as good as the obstacle in front of them. How does one make the antagonist powerful enough to challenge the protagonist without going too far? Dance with the devil in the pale moonlight courtesy of Kal Spriggs, David Boop, Tonya DeMarco, Scott Beckman and Peter J. Wacks.

Why Do I Need an Editor? (The Self-pub/ Indie panel)

Self editing. We all think we can do it. But should we? What tricks does the writer mind play on us? For the writer striking out (mostly) on your own, this is the panel you need before you post that short story, chapter sample, or book! With Rebecca Moesta, Betsy Dornbusch, Tonya DeMarco, Scott Beckman and Sam Knight.

The YA Protagonist – From Creation to Adulthood

Has every teen hero been explored? What are publishers looking for? Is it okay for your characters to age? Explore the unexplored regions of Young Adult fiction with Rebecca Moesta, Peter J. Wacks, Sam Knight, Amity Green and Shelly Wright.