Thank you for your interest in being part of Spooky Empire's Creator's Track. If you'd like to be a part of our roster in October, feel free to contact A.D. Sams at the e mail below.

When it comes to horror, you can't forget about the wonderful writers that help shape this genre. Our Creators Track focuses on these creative writers and their books.
At Spooky Empire you can meet popular authors and many new, up and coming writers. Don't miss out on scheduled signings and even some informative, fun, and interactive panels and seminars. If you're interested in taking part in our Creators Track, please contact Alisha Sams at Spots are limited, so please be sure to contact us early!

Spotlight Creators


Joel Potrykus is a Michigan-based screenwriter and director, hailed by The AV Club as, "one of the most interesting and unusual new voices in American independent film." His work has screened at the Lincoln Center for the Arts, the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, Cinémathèque Française in Paris, and the Munich Film Museum. His most recent films, The Alchemist Cookbook (2016), about a hermit experimenting with the black arts, and Relaxer (2018), about an apocalyptic Pac-Man challenge, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and were produced by Oscilloscope Laboratories, a company founded by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Relaxer recently won Best Actor at the 2018 Fantasia Film Festival and will have a wide release in early 2019 after touring the festival circuit.


John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, a righter of wrong, defender of ladies’ virtues, and some people call him Maurice, for he speaks of the pompatus of love. He is also the award-winning author of the urban fantasy series The Black Knight Chronicles, the Bubba the Monster Hunter comedic horror series, the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter dark fantasy series, and many other projects. He is also a cast member of the role-playing podcast Authors & Dragons, where a group of comedy, fantasy, and horror writers play Dungeons & Dragons. Very poorly. 


Amanda has a love of horror and borderline obsession with fictional serial killers. She frequently makes Hannibal, Harry Potter, and Dexter references in “normal” conversation. She is also a full-time psychology major. When not writing, Amanda can be found reading, playing video games, or watching shows and movies like Mindhunter, Hannibal, Harry Potter, or Dexter. Amanda currently resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband and two cats.


Amanda Fasciano was introduced to the world of horror at the age of 5 by her Father. Living in a haunted house at the time probably also helped propel her into the world of paranormal fiction. Now she masquerades as a simple receptionist by day, but at night her friends, husband, and 2 teenagers know to beware. They know what horrors lurk in her mind and that if they bother her they will be written into them. The first book in her Life After Series, Waking Up Dead, received a semi-finalist award for the Golden Quill 2018 Awards. Book 2, Dead Vessel, is now available and the third book, The Dead Show, will be coming in 2019.


Amanda Firestone is an Assistant Professor of Communication at The University of Tampa. There, she teaches media studies and digital identities, often focusing on monsters and monstrosity as a familiar way for students to access difficult course concepts. One of Amanda’s core research specialties is Vampires and the trajectory the creature character has taken in English literature from horror icon to “domesticated” romantic hero. She is the current president of the Lord Ruthven Assembly, a vampire and revenant enthusiast community, which is affiliated with the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.


Currently hailing from Chicago; Andrew Mikhail is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his work as the former guitarist of Chicago Deathcore titans, Oceano; as well as being the vocalist, songwriter, and founding member of American "Dionysian" band, Serpents. Aside from his musical history and travels with other well-known acts all around the world, Andrew studies philosophy and the occult, runs his own record label, and is a proponent of the now-popular style known as "method writing." Andrew is currently gearing up to hit the stage again to support the coming release of the latest Serpents album entitled, "Temet Nosce."


Arylias Nova is a Texas born SciFi/Fantasy and Horror writer currently living in Charleston, SC. Growing up she always made up worlds and stories, leading her to quickly find her calling in life as a writer. Currently she has the first two installments of her Stories of Ghardar SciFi series, Spark and Ignition, and is working quickly on the third, Combustion. As well as just releasing her fantasy novel, Awakening. Loving the horror genre herself, she put together a series of horror shorts in her A Peek Inside collection and her dark-humored novella series Parenting During the Apocalypse. Nova has also recently produced a short film, Anniversary, based off her short story.


Chris grew up reading science fiction books and while recuperating after an SUV versus bicycle accident, gained an opportunity to create one of his own. His first novel, The Hive, was released in 2009, followed by Red Moon in 2010, Star Pirates in 2011, and three more in the following years. A new novel of historical fiction titled A White Star in a Red Sky is pending publication. Berman’s background in military history, astronomy, and spaceflight strengthened his work while he took major leaps in creativity between each book he has written. Chris’s writing defies a set style in creating novels of hard science fiction, techno-thrillers, and alternate history, with each work a unique literary adventure. He holds a Masters Degree in Military History from Norwich University, in Vermont.


Chris Kullstroem, author of Making a Monstrous Halloween, Monster Parties and Games and Drawn to the Dark, is a life-long Halloween, horror and dark tourism fanatic. Always on the lookout for books on Halloween activities, monster games and travels that risk one’s immortal soul, she also enjoys researching and writing her own. She has researched haunted attractions, cemeteries, ghost tours and other forms of entertaining scare-based tourism in the United States, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Her writing and seminars focus on how entertaining scare attractions blend history, theater and social interaction, and what they can teach us about ourselves and the world around us. In 2004 Chris received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and English from the University of Connecticut. She completed her master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2013, concentrating on sources of our social selves. Her website is


Cynthia Lott is a Writer and Professional Researcher. She loves hearing life stories over a glass of good wine, preferably a nice Shiraz or Cabernet. A member of both Sisters in Crime, Inc. and International Thriller Writers, Inc., she also holds an MLS from UW-Madison and a B.A. in Creative Writing from LSU. THE FEATHERS is her debut novel (The Southern Spectral Series Book 1). THE IRISES (The Southern Spectral Series Book 2), its exciting follow up, is now available in paperback format. She is currently at work on her third novel in the series.


Dean Ray is the creator of the horror cinematic and comic universe "Strange Tales of Autumndale,” which serves at the backdrop for his current film Porcelain. Dean is also a Horrorcore music legend in the Orlando area. Currently, he is working on his next film and book in the series.



Born in nineteen something, Ed is the second oldest of 10 children. He was raised in the small town of Middlesex, NJ where he lived until moving to Florida in 1989. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Rutgers University - neither of which pertains to writing. Ed has been a child all his life, subscribing to the Chili Davis philosophy 'growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.' Formerly employed as a grease monkey, office cleaner, fast food manager, forklift operator, warehouse supervisor, sales rep, and automotive purchasing manager, he retired in 2016 after a 20-year career with Scholastic Book Fairs where he was responsible for finding books that will turn every child into a life-long reader. His second book, The Wandmaker's Guidebook, had a nine-week run on the NY Times Bestseller list, two weeks at #1! Two middle grade companion novels - Wandmaker and Wandmaker’s Apprentice (which won a 2018 Florida Book Award Gold Medal) - have been recently published.


Elizabeth Abbott is the co-author of "31 Tales of Hellview Cemetery" and "Tales of Terror of Tampa Bay". A graduate of Full Sail University with a degree in Screenwriting, she is also an accomplished editor of fiction and non-fiction.

Elizabeth is currently working on her first solo book due out in 2019 from The History Press. She would tell you more, but then she'd have to kill you.


Eric O'Dierno, PhD Parapsychology, is the founder of Memento Mori Paranormal Investigations based in Central Florida. He and his team of anomalous researchers look to find answers to help with the human condition- not just the thrill of the "hunt." He is excited to announce his first foray into the literary world with his book, "Einstein, Quantum Theory and the Pursuit of the Paranormal" which is making its debut at Spooky Empire this year! Many thanks to A.D. Sams and the entire Spooky Empire Team for again giving us the opportunity to meet and talk with fans of the Paranormal.


Erich Gamache is the author of How To Sell Your Soul, Monsters Are Waiting, The Tattoo and the recently released Panophobia: The Fear Of Everything. Besides writing sick and gross tales of horror he has acted in a few horror movies.


Gary D. Rhodes is the author of numerous books on horror film history.  He is the writer-director of the documentary film LUGOSI: HOLLYWOOD'S DRACULA.  His latest book is THE BIRTH OF THE AMERICAN HORROR FILM (2018). Gary has published on horror films for 30 years.


Indy McDaniel does the weird stuff.  From the Globally Acknowledged squishy horror of Black Melt to the bone-crunchingly fierce action of the Nadya’s Nights series, there’s no shortage of bizarre nonsense he won’t do.  He’s got body horror, he’s got werewolves with tentacles, he’s got killer space fungus, and he’s got some books about those things, too.  Commonly described as ‘that weird guy over there’, he’s all too eager to share his assortment of dark silliness with whoever’s interested.


James Bickert grew up at a drive-in along the Savannah river near Augusta, Georgia. He is the writer, director and producer of the feature films DEAR GOD NO!, FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS and AMAZON HOT BOX. His award-winning exploitation films have been distributed worldwide and broadcast on television in Thailand, Kosovo, CBS Europe and aboard Virgin airlines. James has made other films for distribution companies that ripped him off. He doesn’t put them in his bio but is more than happy to share that information over a beer. One of his goals is to help other filmmakers avoid the large distribution companies that did him wrong. He studied photography at Georgia Southern University, is co-owner of WIP Productions, LLC and currently lives on a hot pepper farm in Atlanta with his wife and daughter.


For over twenty-five years Keith (Keefy) Chachkes has been a curator of experiences, musicologist, erstwhile journalist, and digital marketing expert. He has been the owner and Chief Editor of Ghost Cult Magazine( since 2013. In addition to covering all forms of rock, metal, hardcore and indie music, Keith has interviewed luminaries such as Ozzy Osbourne, Devin Townsend, and The Misfits, and has photographed bands all over the world. A lifelong monster and horror movie enthusiast, he's still looking for something new to thrill him the way Dawn Of The Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did for him as a child.


After a successful twenty year career touring and recording with KISS, Alice Cooper, Stone Temple Pilots and many other artists, Ken Barr is now following his creative dream. writing books and making the movies he wants to see. More info at


Laura Perez is an author/publisher with Palmas Publishing. She spent fifteen working in Corrections and Victim Services while privately working on several novels. In 2010 she was given the opportunity to pursue two passions in life, writing and martial arts. She is a 4th degree black belt who loves to write fight scenes and act them out for realism. Through Palmas Publishing she has published three full length novels under her pseudonym, L.E.Perez, has spearheaded four thriller anthologies with a group of Indie Authors called The Thrill of the Hunt Anthologies and has helped her mother achieve her dreams of publication. Originally from New York, she made her way to Orlando, Florida in 2012. With a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a thesis shy of her Masters in Cultural Anthropology, she is an avid people watcher and finds all manor of things to write about here in Orlando, Florida. You can find her at the local theme parks enjoying a cup of coffee or an ice cream, or at the Central Library in Orlando, volunteering do do workshops for aspiring writers.


Leisa Clark has published on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic media, focusing on what happens when Androids become more human than humans. She has presented papers on "Sweeney Todd" and abject zombies in Carrie Ryan's "Forest of Hands and Teeth", as well as on "The Walking Dead" and how zombies have changed in media and literature over the past few decades. She has appeared in a "Walking Dead" panel at Tampa Comic-Con and on a "Rocky Horror Picture Show" retrospective at ICFA. In addition to various other theater jobs, Leisa has worked as a scareactor at two St. Petersburg haunted houses.


Mark Muncy is the creator of Hellview Cemetery, a charity haunted house in central Florida that was so infamous it was banned by the City of St. Petersburg. An author of horror and science fiction, he has spent more than three decades collecting ghostly tales and reports of legendary beasts. His bestselling book, "Eerie Florida" from The History Press in 2017. The sequel book "Freaky Florida" is premiering at Spooky Empire. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, on the remains of an ancient midden with his fiancée, Kari Schultz. Occasionally, he is visited by his daughters when they remember he is still there.


"Marni Joelen is a huge supporter of NaNoWriMo, leading the way this year as a Municipal Liason. With her short story projects, Henzo and the Drawn Cats and Dead Men Tell Tales, and her one-off comic, Sideshow, completed, she's turning her focus towards a new unnamed horror comic and a sci-fi dystopian novel,Null Set. She lives in Florida with her two cats, disguising herself as a sane member of society until further notice."


MAX BOOTH III is the Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine, the Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest, the co-host of Castle Rock Radio, a columnist for LitReactor, and the author of numerous novels, including How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers and The Nightly Disease, to name a few. As an anthologist, he is most well known for Lost Signals and Lost Films. He lives in Texas. Follow him on Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth.


Owl Goingback has been writing professionally for over thirty years. He is a Bram Stoker Award-Winning horror writer, and a Nebula Award Nominee. His traditionally published novels include Crota, Darker Than Night, Evil Whispers, Breed, and Shaman Moon. He is currently writing for DC Comics.


Richard Farsi is from Broooklyn. NY and is the father of two children and two grandkids. He is a retired Law Enforcement Officer (NYCDC) and currently lives in Lehigh Acres, FL. He is the owner of WC Records, LLC and CEO of Silent Scream Entertainment. He loves attending Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, ORlando and sets up his own scary decorations during Halloween for others to enjoy, including the building and managing of haunted houses. He has been a zombie fan from an early age and has always followed and respected the work of George Romero.
Richard has been a promoter for many charity events. He is a member of the band, White Crow. He loves Mustangs but his passion is Music and Entertainment.


With a degree in English but no clue what to do with it, Richard watched a lot of movies. Somewhere along the way, he decided to make one. Sugar, spice, and everything not-so-nice... AND THUS, A Buck Short Productions was born! Richard has been writing for nearly two decades and has published several works, none of which have sold over 1000 copies (womp womp womp). However, he has had success in recent screenwriting competitions (YAY!). Richard has hosted and appeared on several popular podcasts. Most notable appearances on Sweet Action Podcast and Shot, Chopped and Scored. "Hematolangnia" was his first film making venture and he couldn't be happier with the crew who decided to tag along on a flight of whimsy. Living with his main lady (his cat, Guinevere), Richard gets most of his inspiration from cheap beer and b-list movies.


When not building monsters out of spare parts in his lab, Rob X Román moonlights as a freelance writer and cartoonist. Sometimes scary, sometimes funny, but always seeing the world through someone else's eyes (he keeps them in a jar), you may have seen his prose and art published in magazines (Scary Monsters Magazine & INDY Magazine), comics (Jon Pay Private Investigator, Ripperman, etc.) and books (Dead Worlds: Undead Stories - a Zombie Anthology Vol. 3, Electric Frankenstein, etc.).


Sally Gage is an anthropologist from both Michigan and Florida with a focus on the migratory patterns of the North American werewolf. She has been featured on the Travel Channels Mysteries at the Museum, published articles on Sanguinarianism, Female Werewolves as the new final Girl and Joss Whedons Reavers as the new Vampire.  She travels the US with her pack of WerePups where she delights young and old with stories of werewolf folklore.


Sidney Williams is the author of a number of novels in the horror and thriller realm including the recent Disciples of the Serpent, the short novel Dark Hours and the Louisiana-set thriller Midnight Eyes. He’s also written books including When Darkness Falls, Blood Hunter, Night Brothers and Azarius. Additionally, he wrote three young adult horror novels under the name Michael August, and he has scripted comic books in the horror genre as well. All of his books have been released in audio and ebook editions from Crossroad Press. Sidney’s short work has also appeared in the magazines Cemetery Dance, Eulogy, Sanitarium and in diverse anthologies including Under the Fang, Demon Sex, Crafty Cat Crimes and Hot Blood: Deadly After Dark. Sidney teaches creative writing at Full Sail University with a focus on horror, mystery and suspense.


An award winning producer and writer, Tim Anderson is currently the Programming Coordinator for the Enzian Theater and the Florida Film Festival. Anderson spent the previous 20+ years writing about film and television for Film Threat,, Fangoria, Severed Cinema, The Hacker's Source and for 8 years as the DVD Managing Editor of and as co-host of “News from the Crypt” the official Bloody-Disgusting Podcast.


Victoria Nations is a horror writer and biologist, and lover of spooky, spooky stories.  She spends her time wading through swamps, and she writes about the weird creatures and characters birthed from that black muck. Victoria is a co-author of the blind round robin novel, "The Dark and Stormy Night."  She is also a contributor to the horror writer website, The MidnightSociety. Victoria lives in Central Florida with her wife and son, who indulge her love of monsters. Twitter: @Leaves_Cobwebs;;



Zachary Beckler is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter. His films have screened at festivals around the world, including Fantastic Fest, Shriekfest, NYC Horror Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival and Dead By Dawn Scotland International Film Festival. His credits include the short films Séance, Where Is Alice?, and his feature debut, Interior. Zachary is currently teaches in the Department of Film and Mass Media at UCF.


Track Organizer


A.D. (Alisha) Sams has worked with the Author/Creative Track for Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend for 7 years running and organized the track for 6 of those years. She is definitely a writer of southern fiction, probably a writer of dark, twisty things, and maybe a writer who hasn't quite decided where to hide the bodies. All of that is, of course, speculation. Or is it? Alisha currently lives in Atlanta, GA and is forever working on the elusive “end of the project”. She is the mastermind behind Blackbird House Studios, a collective frenzy of photography, illustration, graphic design, and publishing.