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TitanCon 2017 Featured Participants


Rachael (R.B) Kelly

Rachael (R.B) Kelly

One of the aims of TitanCon is to provide a platform for local talent to showcase their work to a wider audience. R.B. Kelly is another local science-fiction author that will be joining us at TitanCon 2017, having won the 2014 Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair Competition for her debut novel Edge Of Heaven (published 2016). But in fact this won't be Rachael's first time at TitanCon, she was an attendee all the way back in 2011 and 2012. It is fantastic to hear that members of the TitanCon community are finding publishing success and we are pleased to welcome Rachael to this year's event.

Rachael's short fiction and non-fiction articles have appeared in magazines and journals around the world, and her short story Blumelena, was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2012. Her doctoral thesis, Mark Antony and Popular Culture, was published by IB Tauris in 2014. She lives and works in Belfast.

Edge Of Heaven

Danae Grant has a secret – the kind that could get a person killed, if it fell into the wrong hands. In the early twenty-second century, the habitable world is shrinking. The answer is Creo: a bi-level city that towers over the dust bowl of western France. Creo is the melting pot of nations, a Babylonian city of a thousand languages, where the dark streets explode with colour and violence. It's where you go when home is just a memory. It's where you go when you need to disappear.

But Danae can't stay hidden forever. The night she meets Boston Turrow marshal law is declared, and both their lives change irrevocably. Three hundred miles away, in the Réserve Naturelle de l'Auvergne, a dog-walker's gruesome discovery sets in motion a chain of events that will bring disaster in their wake. When the gates of the city close shut, they know the city is dying. Hidden from sunlight and fed air through ancient filters, the people of Creo have seen this kind of thing before. For a population of nearly 100 million, the implications are fatal – their plans for better futures turned to dust.

The secret Danae clings to may be the only answer to the new pestilence taking the lives of hundreds, but stepping forward is tantamount to suicide. Danae will have to make a choice: what will she give up to save the one glorious thing in an inglorious life?


Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long

Ruth Frances Long writes dark young adult fantasy, often about scary fairies, such as The Treachery Of Beautiful Things (Dial, 2012), and the Dubh Linn Trilogy - A Crack In Everything (O'Brien Press, 2014), A Hollow In The Hills (O'Brien Press, 2015) and A Darkness At The End (O’Brien Press, 2016). As R. F. Long, she also writes fantasy and paranormal romance.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale and suspense. The trees swallowed her brother whole. And Jenny was there to see it. Years later, when she returns to the woods where Tom was taken to say goodbye at last, she finds herself lured into a world where stunning beauty masks the most treacherous of evils, and strange and dangerous creatures await - creatures who seem to consider her the threat.

In 2015 Ruth won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children's Science Fiction and Fantasy for A Crack In Everything.

A Crack In Everything is the first book in a trilogy set in the world of demons, angels and fairies that exists alongside our own in modern day Dublin. She was a mistake. A crack in the order of the world... Chasing a thief, Izzy Gregory takes a wrong turn down a Dublin alley and finds the ashes of a fallen angel splashed across the dirty bricks like graffiti. She stumbles into Dubh Linn, the shadowy world inhabited by the Sidhe, where angels and demons watch over the affairs of mortals, and Izzy becomes a pawn in their deadly game. Her only chance of survival lies in the hands of Jinx, the Sidhe warrior sent to capture her for his sadistic mistress, Holly. Izzy is something altogether new to him, turning his world upside down.

Ruth lives in Wicklow, Ireland and works in a specialized library of rare, unusual and occasionally crazy books. But they don't talk to her that often.

You can contact Ruth via her website: www.rflong.com, @RFLong on Twitter, R. F. Long on Facebook, RFLong on Tumblr, RuthFrancesLong on Instagram.

Debbie (DJ) McCune

Debbie (DJ) McCune

Debbie McCune was born in Belfast and grew up in Carrickfergus. As a child she liked making up stories and even wrote some down, including a thriller about a stolen wallaby.

Debbie read Theology at Trinity College, Cambridge but mostly just read lots of books. She lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, daughter - and two cats with seven legs between them.

Writing as DJ McCune, Debbie's debut novel Death & Co. is the first of a three book YA / crossover series, published internationally by Hot Key Books. Adam is a Luman, and it runs in the family. Escorting the dead from life into light, Adam must act as guide to those taken before their time. As his older brothers accept their fate Adam clings to his life as a normal kid - one who likes girls, hates the Head and has a pile of homework to get through by Monday morning. When Adam gets a terrible premonition he realises that he must make a devastating choice, risking his life, his family and his destiny.

The story continues in Death & Co: The Mortal Knife (2014), the second book of the series. After breaking Luman law trying to stop a terrorist attack, Adam is looking forward to getting back to school and returning to normality. Unfortunately, Fate is standing in his way, and she goes by the name of Morta. Adam must weigh up what is most important: his friendships, school and being normal, or life as a Luman. There is only one place he can find the answers he needs. Adam must enter the Realm of the Fates and take control of a situation that is about to spiral dangerously out of control.

The third book Death & Co: Fault Lines was published in January 2016. The time has come for Adam to face up to the truth and challenge his destiny. When his father allows him one last opportunity to be a regular teenager and travel to Japan on a school trip. Adam could never have imagined that this alone would force his hand. But his terrifying premonition of a devastating tsunami due to hit Japan means he has to act fast and stop it before it happens. There's no going back now: if he saves thousands from a terrible fate, he must also risk the wrath of all Lumen... Is he man enough to take it on?

Debbie is currently finishing her first adult book, a fantasy crime set in a world hidden within our own. Watch this space!

You can read a sample of the prologue and first chapter of Death & Co. on the Hot Key Books website. You can find Debbie on Facebook and Twitter @debbiemccune.

Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald

We are thrilled to once again have Belfast's very own Ian McDonald back at TitanCon 2017. Ian is a science-fiction novelist best known for his BSFA award winning and Hugo nominated novels River of Gods (2004), Brasyl (2007) and The Dervish House (2010). Ian won the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for The Djinn's Wife (2006).

Ian McDonald was born in 1960, in Manchester, to a Scottish father and Irish mother, but moved to Belfast when he was five, and has lived there ever since. He therefore lived through the whole of the 'Troubles' (1968-99), and his sensibility has been permanently shaped by coming to understand Northern Ireland as a post-colonial (and so, in his view, de facto 'Third World') society imposed on an older culture. He became a fan of SF from childhood TV, began writing when he was 9, sold his first story to a local Belfast magazine when he was 22, and in 1987 became a full-time writer.

Ian has written 22 books, his first being the Locus Award winning novel Desolation Road (1988). Set on a partially terraformed Mars the novel outlines the history of a town called Desolation Road founded by a lone scientist and a collection of strays and castaways.

The Dervish House

Major themes of Ian's work include nanotechnology, postcyberpunk settings, and the impact of rapid social and technological change on non-Western societies. His 1990s Chaga Saga is particularly notable for its analysis of the AIDS crisis in Africa. River of Gods and it's companion novel of short stories Cyberabad Days (2009) is set in mid-21st-century India. Brasyl is set in the 18th and 21st centuries in Lusophone South America. The Dervish House (2010) took us to Istanbul, Turkey in the year 2025 and centred on the families that live in and around its titular house, it is at once a rich mosaic of Islamic life in the new century and a telling novel of future possibilities.

Everness is a YA series comprising Planesrunner (2012), Be My Enemy (2013) and Empress of the Sun (2014). The tagline of the series is "There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths." Everett Singh's father has left him with the most valuable object in the multiverse, a map of all the parallel earths called the Infundibulum, and now there are dark forces who will stop at nothing to get it. He's got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking. Everett needs all the help he can get from friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth and the crew of the airship Everness. Can this Planesrunner navigate the Heisenberg Gate between worlds, rescue his father and get the Infundibulum to safety?

Luna: New Moon

Ian's latest work is a trilogy of books that aim to do for the moon what his other work has done for India, Brazil and Turkey, which is to say write a thrilling story of the future that is rooted in the vivid realities of its location. The first book Luna: New Moon (2015) is described as Game of Thrones in space. It's a tale of corporate blood-letting and deceit on a massive scale set on a moon that, for all its lethal harshness, is described with such richness that you feel what it would be like to live (and die) there.

Ian read an excerpt from Luna: New Moon at our Literature Night in 2014 and it was a pulsating and exciting short story about a group of kids risking their lives in a game to run a short distance across the surface of the moon naked and without protection knowing they only have seconds to make it from airlock to airlock and not daring to blink because it will freeze their eyes shut which would mean certain death. It was brilliantly told with each step they took across the surface counted out and interspersed with fraught description of the danger and what was going through their heads, with the reading building in crescendo and tone as they got closer to the safety of the airlock or perhaps not making it at all.

The series continues in Luna: Wolf Moon (2016) and Ian is currently working on the conclusion to the trilogy.

Jo Zebedee

Jo Zebedee

One of the aims of TitanCon is to provide a platform for new local talent to showcase their work to a wider audience. Last year we welcomed a brand new science fiction author from just down the road in Carrickfergus, and we are pleased to announce that Jo Zebedee is joining us again at TitanCon 2017.

Abendau's Heir, the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy published by Tickety Boo Press in 2015, is a character-focused space opera. It follows Kare, the only heir to a galactic empire he doesn't want. His cruel mother, the Empress, at first tries to convince him, but when he refuses to take the Empire she turns on him and takes a vengeance that will resonate through the galaxy. Meanwhile his father's rebellion want a figurehead to stand against her, but Kare just wants to avoid the horrific future foretold for him.

Jo says that "what I wanted to do was to take the SFF trope of the 'chosen one' and ask what it would mean to be that chosen person. What would it do to their relationships, their friendships? Their sanity? I wanted to explore that against a classic SF setting, so there's plenty of action, FTL tech, some military scenes, and the backdrop of a big space opera world." Abendau's Heir can be categorised as grimdark and takes the characters, and the reader, to some very dark corners of the universe.

Jo had tried to write Abendau's Heir about three times when she was in her twenties but it never turned out close to the quality she had been hoping for. Then one summer, Jo's children were finally old enough to entertain themselves and she thought it's now or never. That she was about to turn 40 might have been another incentive!

Finally the book was finished, Jo was happy with it and naively she thought that getting it published would be the easy part. During the five years it took to find a home for Abendau's Heir Jo wrote six books, including the following two books of the trilogy and two stand alone genre novels based in Northern Ireland.

Jo says that she is very proud of the final result. "My editor, Teresa Edgerton, was amazing at shaping the book and pushing me to make it better. The result is so much more than I ever dreamed of."

The Inheritance Trilogy continues in Sunset Over Abendau (2016) and completes with Abendau's Legacy (2016).

Waters And The Wild

Jo has recently launched a new book published by Inspired Quill, Waters And The Wild, a dark fantasy set in the Antrim Glens. Amy was five when she vanished during a family trip, only to be found hours later, clutching a golden acorn and claiming to have visited fairies. Now she's eighteen, and the fairies are calling her back. While attending a wedding deep in the Antrim glens, the voices grow darker and their song takes hold. Not sure if she's mad or if the fairies are real, she flees, drawing well-meaning Simon into her fairy-fuelled road trip. To escape their hold, she must confront long-hidden secrets, and find a truth which may not be her's to unearth. But, even then, the fairies may not let her go...

Jo has also published a stand alone novel called Inish Carraig. The story is set in post alien invasion Belfast. Humanity has been defeated - pity the locals aren't listening. Belfast teenager John Dray struggles to survive in the devastated city, scavenging food and clothes for his younger siblings. Set up by the local crime lord, he's sent to Inish Carraig, a formidable alien prison. There, he uncovers a conspiracy which threatens Earth and everyone he loves. Inish Carraig is available from Amazon.

SFF World interviewed Jo to talk about the publication of Abendau's Heir. Jo is a regular poster at SFF Chronicles. There is a Facebook page for the Inheritance Trilogy if you'd like to know more about the books. Jo can also be found on Twitter.

Brutal Ballet

Bridie Mayfield Brutal Ballet

Brutal Ballet, a classical ballet company dancing to heavy metal was established in 2008 in Australia by dancer and choreographer, Bridie Mayfield. The company is now based in Northern Ireland, with dancers from all over the UK.

The reformed company's debut performance was at TitanCon 2014, which you can see in the video below, and read more about it in this BBC news article.

In 2015, Brutal Ballet put together an incredible visual performance using UV paint and a blacklight to create an eerie spectacle which meshed perfectly to the track Whitewalkers by Mastodon (a band who appeared as extras in the episode Hardhome by the way). Unfortunately, the white walkers do not show up so well on camera in the video below, it really has to be enjoyed in person.

Last year their performance featured Wildlings around a campfire and included a giant on stilts.

We are pleased to announce that Brutal Ballet will be back again this year with a new Game of Thrones inspired dance piece, I wonder what they will have in store for us this time...





Historical Fencing NI

Medieval Combat Group logo Medieval Combat Group

Historical Fencing NI is a collective of Northern Irish schools for the Historic European Martial Arts, teaching historical weapon techniques reconstructed from authentic period fighting manuals, and using modern protective equipment to allow safe and accurate recreation of historic fencing techniques.

The group acts as a northern body of HEMA Ireland to promote the growth and study of Historical European Martial Arts. HFNI Instructors at TitanCon are from Belfast-based Medieval Combat Group. The Group specialises primarily in the longsword and the messer (a single-edged short sword used by many peasants and townsfolk for everyday defense), and will be offering beginners workshops and demonstrations at TitanCon in the use of these weapons. They will also have a table set up with examples of equipment, examples of the period fighting manuals, and will be happy to answer questions about the martial arts of medieval Europe and the use of the weapons and the type of training that they do.

Please see the Medieval Combat Group website or Facebook page for more information.

Women Aloud Northern Ireland

Women Aloud NI is a multi-award-winning organisation which aims to raise the profile of the women's writing scene in Northern Ireland. A vibrant community with more than 300 members, Women Aloud NI welcomes women writers based in NI or from NI at all stages in their writing careers.

Women Aloud NI members will be appearing throughout TitanCon, starting with an introductory panel in the Middleton Room at 5 p.m. on Friday. Lively conversation is guaranteed as the panel discusses some of the challenges and rewards of being part of the women's writing scene. Women Aloud NI members will also be reading as part of Literature Night from 8 p.m. onwards, and participating in panels and the Great TitanCon Booksale on Saturday.

Jo Zebedee and Rachael (RB) Kelly will be appearing throughout the weekend as Featured Participants at TitanCon 2017. Other group members appearing on Friday only are as follows:

JANE TALBOT is an oral storyteller and writer. The beautiful North Coast area of Northern Ireland inspired Jane’s collection of dark faerie tales for adults, The Faerie Thorn and Other Stories [Blackstaff Press, 2015]. Stories from the collection were adapted for the stage by Big Telly Theatre Company, and the production toured the UK and Ireland April - June 2017. Follow Jane on Twitter @intrepidJane and on her website.

KERRY BUCHANAN is an author of historical fantasy, science fiction, and crime. She lives surrounded by animals on a farm in rural County Down, and says there could be no better inspiration for her novels and short stories than the views outside her window. Kerry has had numerous short stories published, both online and in print, including some that have won prizes, and is currently seeking representation for her fantasy trilogy, set in fifth century Britain. Website: www.kerrybuchanan.co.uk Email: cavetraveller@gmail.com

SARAH MURRAY is a science fiction and fantasy writer and has had writing published in The Slate Anthology. Her scriptwriting has won the SCSM Creative Writing award. She’s currently working to complete her MA in Creative Writing at Bangor University and plans to go on to study for her PhD. Sarah also performs stand up and puts the Fun in Funerals. Her Twitter moniker is @payperbacwriter and she can be contacted at sarah13.murray@gmail.com

LYNDA COLLINS writes mostly urban fantasy, blending modern day life with magic and mythological creatures. Her short stories have been included in anthologies in the UK and America. She is currently working on her first novel, involving a PSNI officer and the magical creatures of Ireland. She also writes a blog about living frugally in Northern Ireland. She lives in Belfast with her long suffering husband and two beautiful daughters.