| James Lowder has worked extensively on both sides of the editorial blotter. As a writer, his publications include the bestselling, Prince of Lies and Knight of the Black Rose, short fiction for such anthologies as Shadows Over Baker Street and The Repentant, and comic book scripts for Image, DC, and Moonstone. He has written a collection of essays about the popular novels and HBO series Game of Thrones. As an editor, Lowder has directed book lines or series and has helmed such critically acclaimed anthologies as Hobby Games: The 100 Best, Curse of the Full Moon, the Books of Flesh trilogy, and Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Claire Davis was UW-Waukesha’s 2012 Outstanding Alumna. Her first novel Winter Range was listed among the best books of 2000 by the Washington Post, Chicago Sun Times, Denver Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Oregonian and The Christian Science Monitor, and was the first book to receive both the PNBA and MPBA awards for best fiction. Her second novel Season of the Snake, and her short story collection Labors of the Heart were both released to wide critical acclaim. She teaches Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho.
Ben Merens is a public speaker whose focus is the Art of Listening. He is the author of two audio books, People Are Dying To Be Heard and Uni-Tasking: 25 Tips For Better Listening. He talks about how to listen to yourself, those you know, and strangers. His presentations center on stories that help bring out the key issues that go into being an active listener. Additionally, Ben is a veteran journalist of 30 years who has just completed a 21-year run as a talk show host at Wisconsin Public Radio. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife and daughter and plays acoustic guitar when time allows.