Carolyn Kay

From an early age, Carolyn Kay’s been steeped in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction. She watched Star Wars at the drive-in and viewed Star Trek religiously with her parents. Legos and Star Wars figures were her favorite toys, and Madeleine L’Engle and Tolkien graced her bookshelves. It’s no surprise that she writes stories in a variety of genres, or that her first novel was an Avengers-Star Wars crossover fanfic. Carolyn melded two of her favorite genres – SteamPunk and fantasy – into a series titled Galessel’s Tale, set in the world of Ashelon, co-created with her husband, award-winning illustrator Chaz Kemp. In 2023, she released her first cyberpunk/military sci-fi novel, Gunpowder Geishas. She’s also authored multiple short stories across a variety of genres. A government drone, she carves out time to write in between the day job, belly dancing, fiber arts, photography, and herding two very independent felines. You can find her at carolynkayauthor.com and on most social-media platforms under Bewitchinghips. 

01:00 PM | Location: Boomer A

Tasty Dungeon Eats

Does it taste like chicken? Using the popular anime Delicious in Dungeon as inspiration, we delve into the depths of the D&D Monster Manual and discuss the tantalizing question: How would each beast taste, and what's the best way to prepare them? From succulent dragon steaks to crispy owlbear drumsticks, we'll use our culinary imaginations to envision the flavors and textures of fantasy creatures.

Moderator: Carolyn Kay

Panelists: Carolyn Kay, Michael "Gecko" Adams, Red Bard

Tracks: Anime, Fantasy, Pop Culture & Entertainment, General Interest

05:00 PM | Location: Boomer A

Celebrate the Weirdo

Scholar Paul Radin observed that most successful “primitive” societies readily tolerated eccentricity. In what ways do we “moderns” celebrate or censor oddball behavior? Do wild strains of thought strengthen culture, or threaten it?

Moderator: Jan S. Gephardt

Panelists: Carolyn Kay, Mark Alfred, Jan S. Gephardt, Mark Finn, Rubiee Tallyn Hayes

Tracks: Culture & World Affairs, Pop Culture & Entertainment

07:00 PM | Location: Embassy Hotel: Interior Courtyard - Atrium

Literary Beers

Join panelists in the hotel lounge for lively conversation. BYO beverages, please.

Moderator: -

Panelists: Rook Riley, Carolyn Kay, Michael "Gecko" Adams, Dara Fogel, PhD, Tracy S. Morris, A C Smart, Shai Fenwick, Kimber E Chessmore, Scott Zrubek, Chaz Kemp, Mark Finn, vickey malone kennedy, Stephen Patrick, Brenna Deutchman, Neal Hallford

Tracks: Meetup, General Interest, Writing & Publishing, Art

09:00 AM | Location: Embassy Hotel: Interior Courtyard - Atrium


Join panelists in the hotel breakfast area for intimate conversation. BYO coffee, please.

Moderator: -

Panelists: Daniel Erickson, Carolyn Kay, Mike Kennedy, Mark Alfred, Craig Wolf, Liz Campbell, David Rike, Sally Hamilton, Paul Carlson, Shai Fenwick, C.C. Caldwell, Kimber E Chessmore, Mel White, Madilynn Dale, Ela Evella, Kathleen M. O'Brien, Chaz Kemp, vickey malone kennedy, Elijah Farmer, Demi Gray, Brenna Deutchman

Tracks: Meetup, General Interest, Professional Development

Noon | Location: Sooner A

Yoda, the Space Wizard: High Fantasy in the World of Star Wars

Even though it's set in space, Star Wars has its share of knights, damsels, magic, and monsters. Join us in a discussion about the fantasy elements of Star Wars.

Moderator: Phillip Drayer Duncan

Panelists: Carolyn Kay, Phillip Drayer Duncan, Mrs. Babb, Johnnie Johnson, Ted Pennella

Tracks: Film & TV, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Pop Culture & Entertainment, Writing & Publishing

Noon | Location: Boomer A

Fantasy In My Sci-Fi?

Sure, why not? These days, fantasy elements are found in historicals, thrillers, political dramas, mysteries … the list goes on and on. Stories that borrow hallmark plot devices from other genres can delight us and create room for interesting series expansion.

Moderator: Selina Rosen

Panelists: Carolyn Kay, Trina Jacobs, Rhonda Eudaly, Selina Rosen, Chris Curtis

Tracks: Writing & Publishing, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Supernatural & Paranormal, Pop Culture & Entertainment, YA - Young Adult Fiction

03:00 PM | Location: University B

Agents of Chaos in Storytelling

Shakespeare’s Puck, DC’s Harley Quinn, Arcane's Jinx. Debate the indispensable character who shakes things up – the jester or class clown, even a wisecracking bad guy like Loki of Norse lore or Efnysien of Welsh mythology. Love or hate them, stories wouldn't be the same without the trickster.

Moderator: Chaz Kemp

Panelists: Carolyn Kay, Craig Wolf, M. Scott Carter, Chaz Kemp, Ash King, vickey malone kennedy

Tracks: Writing & Publishing, Pop Culture & Entertainment, Science Fiction, Fantasy