ValleyCon 44 - Oct. 19-21 2018 | Ramada Fargo - Fargo, ND
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Past Guests of ValleyCon 33

ValleyCon strives to bring the best and most relevant guests featured in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comics, gaming and film & TV! These guests include Media Icons, Artists, Authors, Psychics and many more. Autographs are available at one of the industry's LOWEST price point ever. The guest will do panels, readings and demonstrations for your education and entertainment.


Denise Crosby

Media Guest

Best known for playing Tasha Yar on Star Trek the Next Generation, Denise Crosby has been acting since age 10. Her recent films are Born and Ripple Effect.

Denise Crosby created the role of Lt. Tasha Yar on one of the most popular TV series ever, "STAR TREK, THE NEXT GENERATION." She later returned to play Tasha's daughter "Sela," a role she helped create.

Denise co-starred alongside Fisher Stevens and Jennifer Tilly in the Fox series, "KEY WEST," and has played recurring roles on the acclaimed series, "NYPD BLUE," "THE X-FILES," and "LOIS AND CLARK: THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN." She has guest starred in numerous TV series, most recently, "EYES," "CROSSING JORDAN," "JUDGING AMY," "THE AGENCY," and "THREAT MATRIX".

She co-starred in Stephen King's classic film, "PET SEMATARY." Denise made her film debut in, "48 Hours", and went on to work with Blake Edwards in, "THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN", and "SKIN DEEP" with the late John Ritter. She teamed up with Quentin Tarentino in "JACKIE BROWN," and Mimi Leder in "DEEP IMPACT." Denise has worked in Indie films such as "MIRACLE MILE" and "THE RED SHOE DIARIES". She has just completed co-starring in a film directed by legendary director Tobe Hooper, "Mortuary" that has just been released this spring.

Denise received an Ovation nomination for Best Actress for her performance in "LAST SUMMER AT BLUEFISH COVE" directed by Dorothy Lyman. She has done numerous plays, most notably the role of Tamara de Lempicka in the acclaimed play "TAMARA". Richard Dreyfuss made his theatrical directing debut with Denise in "STOPS ALONG THE WAY."

Recently Denise has worn a different hat as Producer and Host of the feature documentary "TREKKIES" released by Paramount Pictures. The film reteams her with director Roger Nygard who directed her in the Indie comedy "HIGH STRUNG", written by comedian Steve Oedekerk. They have also worked together on the sequel, "TREKKIES 2" currently out on Paramount Home Video.

http://www.denisecrosby.net


Ernie Hudson

Media Guest

Born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Ernie Hudson is known for his roles as Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters, Stargate and the TV series OZ.

There are very few actors who can lay claim to a professional resume as long and varied as Ernie Hudson, but Hudson has always been a unique screen presence, capable of taking on any role. He was slimed when he co-starred as one of the "Ghostbusters" in two films; he played the simple-minded handyman Solomon in the box-office smash "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle", and currently stars as Warden Glynn in the critically acclaimed HBO series "Oz," now in it's sixth season.

There are very few actors who can lay claim to a professional resume as long and varied as Ernie Hudson, but Hudson has always been a unique screen presence, capable of taking on any role. He was slimed when he co-starred as one of the "Ghostbusters" in two films; he played the simple-minded handyman Solomon in the box-office smash "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle", and currently stars as Warden Glynn in the critically acclaimed HBO series "Oz," now in it's sixth season.

"The thing that altered my life the most was when my first marriage ended and my two young sons came to live with me," Hudson remembers. At the time, Earnest Jr. and Rahaman were 10 and 7 years old. "Thankfully, their mother had taught them how to cook and clean. They were very self-sufficient," Hudson jokes. "I sent them away one summer and the house fell apart." Being a full-time dad to his kids enriched Hudson in unexpected ways: "They did as much raising me as I did them," he explains. "I grew up without having a father, and I wasn't really sure what that role was. They helped me find it."

Meanwhile, Hudson was pursuing other roles just to put bread on the table: making a living, as an actor was now a necessity, not just a dream. There were parts in feature films like "The Main Event" with Barbra Streisand, "The Jazz Singer" with Neil Diamond, "The Octagon with Chuck Norris, and television projects like Abby Mann's acclaimed miniseries "King" and the highly-rated "Roots II." Hudson found himself alternating between film and television roles until 1983, when he was cast as Winston Zeddemore, the fourth member of the "Ghostbusters" team. The two "Ghostbusters" films, starring Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd, were huge box-office hits and gave Hudson a higher profile than he had ever known. He continued to work at a steady pace and began to get recognized on the street. "I was in New York City once and someone was on the street telling his friends 'That's that guy from that movie, you know that movie,'" he says with a laugh. After doing so many different kinds of movies, his fan base is very broad. "Black, white, young, old, people recognize me from a wide variety of movies. I haven't worked in just one genre, and my roles have varied as well.

Hudson's subsequent screen roles included parts in "Weeds" with Nick Nolte, "Leviathan," "Sugar Hill," "The Cowboy Way," "Speechless," "No Escape," "The Substitute," and "Basketball Diaries." When director Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential") was making "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle," he cast Hudson in the pivotal role of Solomon. "After 'Ghostbusters,' it was hard to get the dramatic parts I wanted," says Hudson. "Doing 'The Hand that Rocks the Cradle' reminded the studios of what I could do, and it reminded me of the fun I could have while acting. I loved making that movie." Another favorite role of Hudson's was in the thriller "Congo." "For a long time, I had been told that I wasn't a 'leading man' type, and I had started to buy into that. The character in 'Congo' was my Ronald Colman character, the man who ran the show. After I saw my performance in that movie, I felt really good about what I have to offer as an actor."

Hudson also co-starred as Officer Albrecht in the 1994 thriller "The Crow" opposite the late Brandon Lee. Although Lee's death, a result of an on-set accident, is still a painful memory, Hudson remains proud of the movie. "I'm so glad we got to finish it because it really shows Brandon's enormous talent," he says.

It is his role on "Oz" that has occupied Hudson's television work in recent time. Series co-creator Tom Fontana had worked with Hudson when he guest-starred on eight episodes of "St. Elsewhere" years ago, and cast him as Warden Leo Glynn, the fair-minded warden of the high-tech experimental unit of a maximum-security prison. Produced by Fontana and Barry Levinson, "Oz" is one of HBO's signature programs and is currently in its' sixth season. "It's a wonderful show to do because the actors are so good," Hudson enthuses. "It's a hard show to watch because of the brutal nature of prison life, but I do thinks it makes a very strong statement and the writing is very powerful. It's definitely one of the best shows on TV." Recently, Hudson won the International Press Academy Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series for his work on "Oz."

"Oz" also afforded Hudson a unique opportunity to get a chance to work with his oldest son, Earnest Jr., who played an inmate in several episodes in the third season. "I always told him that it didn't matter what he did for a living, but I knew my own career would influence what my kids wanted to do," he says. Both of his older sons got college degrees and are finding success.

As he continues with his career, Ernie Hudson has also successfully fought a nemesis that often derails performers – aging. "I was starting to get a lot of 'suit' roles a couple of years back," he remembers. Not wanting to be typecast, he's recently taken on more daring parts, including playing the cigar-smoking professional golfer in "Miracle on the 17th Green," a terrorist expert in TBS' highly-rated premiere film "Nowhere to Land," a psychotic mass murderer in the thriller "October 22," the President of the United States in the action film "Stealth Fighter," and the late James Jordan in the Fox Family telefilm "Michael Jordan: An American Hero. In his current roles, Hudson is as usual proving equally comfortable in any genre. He can be seen in Universal's "The Watcher," a suspense thriller starring with Keanu Reeves, James Spader and Marisa Tomei. He so-stars in the Castle Rock comedy "Miss Congeniality," with Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt, and Michael Caine.

As for his recent TV roles, he stars in the TV movie for A&E "Spenser: Walking Shadows," with Joe Mantegna and Marcia Gay Harden. He recently wrapped production on a CBS TV movie "A Town Without Christmas," where he stars with Patricia Heaton and Peter Falk, and guest starred in a special episode of "Touched By An Angel."

For someone with over 100 film and television credits on his resume, Ernie Hudson still considers his biggest challenges ahead of him. "Acting is what I do. At the beginning, it might have been out of necessity, but I love it, I'm fascinated by it. To me acting is a journey filled with incredible discoveries. Getting old will never be an issue for me as long as I can explore the parts I want to play.

When he's not working, Hudson likes to spend time at home with his wife and children.



Janny Wurts

Author Guest

Janny Wurts is the author of eleven novels, a collection of short stories, and the internationally best selling Empire trilogy written in collaboration with Raymond E. Feist.

Janny Wurts is the author of Traitor's Knot and To Ride Hell's Chasm and twelve other novels, a short story collection, as well as the internationally best selling Empire trilogy, co authored with Raymond E. Feist. Her most recent title in the Wars of Light and Shadow series, Traitor's Knot, culminates more than twenty years of carefully evolved ideas. The cover images on the books, both in the US and abroad, are her own paintings, depicting her vision of characters and setting.

Through her combined talents as a writer/illustrator, Janny has immersed herself in a lifelong ambition: to create a seamless interface between words and pictures that will lead reader and viewer into the imagination. Her lavish use of language invites the mind into a crafted realm of experience, with characters and events woven into a complex tapestry, and drawn with an intensity to inspire active fuel for thought. Her research includes a range of direct experience, lending her fantasy a gritty realism, and her scenes involving magic crafted with intricate continuity. A self-taught painter, she draws directly from the imagination, creating scenes in a representational style that blurs the edges between dream and reality. She makes few preliminary sketches, but envisions her characters and the scenes that contain them, then executes the final directly from the initial pencil drawing.

The seed idea for the Wars of Light and Shadow series occurred, when, in the course of researching tactic and weapons, she viewed a documentary film on the Battle of Culloden Moor. This was the first time she had encountered that historical context of that brutal event, with the embroidery of romance stripped from it. The experience gave rise to an awakening, which became anger, that so often, our education, literature and entertainment slant history in a manner that equates winners and losers with moral right and wrong, and the prevalent attitude, that killing wars can be seen as justifiable solutions when only one side of the picture is presented.

Her series takes the stance that there are two sides to every question, and follows two characters who are half brothers. One a bard trained as a master of magecraft, and the other a born ruler with a charismatic passion for justice, have become cursed to lifelong enmity. As one sibling raises a devoted mass following, the other tries desperately to stave off defeat through solitary discipline and cleverness. The conflict sweeps across an imaginary world, dividing land and people through an intricate play of politics and the inborn prejudices of polarized factions already set at odds. Readers are led on a journey that embraces both viewpoints. The story explores the ironies of morality which often confound our own human condition - that what appears right and just, by one side, becomes reprehensible when seen from the opposite angle. What is apparently good for the many, too often causes devastating suffering to the nonconformist minority. Through the interactions between the characters themselves, the reader is left to their own discretion to interpret the moral impact of events.

Says Janny of her work, "I chose to frame this story against a backdrop of fantasy because I could handle even the most sensitive issues with the gloves off - explore the myriad angles of our troubled times with the least risk of offending anyone's personal sensibilities. The result, I can hope, is an expanding journey of the spirit that explores the grand depths, and rises to the challenge of mapping the ethereal potential of an evolving planetary consciousness... explore free thought and compassionate understanding."

Beyond writing, Janny's award winning paintings have been showcased in exhibitions of imaginative artwork, among them a commemorative exhibition for NASA's 25th Anniversary; the Art of the Cosmos at Hayden Planetarium in New York; and two exhibits of fantasy art, at both the Delaware Art Museum, and Canton Art Museum.



Don Maitz

Artist Guest

For twenty five years, Don Maitz has produced narrative paintings containing fantasy, science fiction, and historical images. He has received considerable exposure as the original and continuing artist of the Captain Morgan Spiced Rum pirate character.

Don Maitz has produced outstanding work in exploring paths of fantastic realism. For twenty five years, he has produced narrative paintings containing fantasy, science fiction, and historical images. His career began with New York City book publishing. Don's artwork evolved within this market and has expanded into many other areas. He has received considerable exposure as the original and continuing artist of the Captain Morgan Spiced Rum pirate character.

Joseph Seagrams & Sons, The National Geographic Society, Bantam Doubleday Dell, Warner Books, Random House Publishing, Watson Guptill, Penguin USA, and Harper Collins Publishers are some of his clients. His work has been produced for the limited edition print market with images released by Mill Pond Press, and the Greenwich Workshop. His works are internationally recognized and acclaimed. He has twice won science fiction's accolade for best artist, the Hugo award. He has received a Howard award from the World Fantasy Convention, a Silver Medal and Certificates of Merit from New York's Society of Illustrators, and ten Chesley awards from his peers in the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. His paintings were included at NASA's 25th Anniversary presentation. He helped initiate the first ever museum showing of fantastic paintings at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut where the public broke all previous attendance records. His work has been included at the Park Avenue Atrium, the Hayden Planetarium, the Society of Illustrators - all located in New York City. His works were included in two large exhibits of fantastic art - at both the Delaware Art Museum and Canton Art Museum. These popular exhibits inspired a follow up show at each museum. The San Diego Maritime Museum, the Orlando History Center, and the Key West Custom House have enthusiastically displayed his pirate paintings in exhibitions pursuing that theme.

Don Maitz attended the Paier School of Art from 1971-75, where he graduated top of the class, since, his work has enhanced various published formats including: book, magazine, cards, record album, compact disk, poster, limited edition print, puzzle, collector plate, and computer screen saver programs. Two art books of his color paintings have been reproduced titled Dreamquests, The Art of Don Maitz containing ninety images from his varied career; and First Maitz a collection of paintings with the artist's insights and notes on technique. Both editions have sold out. Besides illustrating many book covers by authors such as, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, C. J. Cherryh, Raymond E. Feist, Allan Dean Foster, and Michael Moorcock, he illustrated a limited edition publication of Stephen King's novel, Desperation . Don also has illustrated two short stories and a British edition novel written by his wife, author/artist Janny Wurts. The May 1999 issue of "National Geographic Magazine" contains a commissioned pirate illustration that also appeared with other of his works on national television's Dateline NBC. His work is featured among ten artists in an art book titled Fantasy Art Masters . He has worked as a conceptual artist on an animated feature film titled, "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" for DNA Productions. Don also worked as a conceptual artist and production designer, also for DNA Productions, on "Ant Bully" a feature length animated film from Playtone and Warner Brothers due to be released in the summer of 2006..

In addition he served as guest instructor at the Ringling School of Art and Design in the 1985-1986 semesters and has lectured at colleges, universities, and conventions all over the United States.

He lives in Florida with his wife, Janny Wurts, the noted fantasy novelist and artist who paints covers to the books she writes. They share a studio home with four cats and three horses.