Panel of Judges for the 2018 Bjo Awards
Rigel Ailur
Rigel Ailur has published thirteen novels and novellas in numerous genres ranging from science fiction to romance, from fantasy to mystery.  Her work often crosses genres and includes several ongoing series such as The Tales of Mimion, The Vagabonds' Adventures and The Patel Family Chronicles.

Ms. Ailur's recent titles include the thriller Trillionaire, and Ahoy!, the second anthology of her pirates stories that span the ages and the globe—and beyond.  In A Little Piece of Home, set thousands of years in the future, an intergalactic worldship embarks on a voyage spearheading a new age of exploration.  And in The Last Abbot of Lin Duachaill, she and cowriter Michelle Markey Butler explore betrayal and conflict between cultures over a thousand years in the past.

The author of over sixty short stories, Ms. Ailur wrote for the Star Trek anthology Strange New Worlds 10 and for the Shadowrun sourcebook Seattle 2072.  Her online fiction includes "Azencer," a Mimion supershort piece of flash fiction at Daily Science Fiction, and "Deadly Hauntings" at Story Portals.

Ms. Ailur earned her degree in Journalism and German after which she worked as a technical writer and technical translator.  She also wrote for corporate newspapers and magazines.  She chairs the annual Scribes Awards for the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, where she's a longtime member.  She worked backstage at a local theater, which added authenticity to her romantic suspense novel, Masquerade.

Ms. Ailur
joins the Bjo Awards panel of judges for the first time in 2018.
Diana Botsford
In addition to writing, producing and directing for a wide variety of television series and films, Diana Botsford teaches screenwriting as an assistant professor at Missouri State University.  She has degrees in Screenwriting & Producing from Boston University and Creative Writing from Seton Hill University.  Prior to joining Missouri State University, she spent twelve years in Los Angeles in the television and film industry, followed by five years developing streaming media content and community-driven web sites for Microsoft.

Ms. Botsford's screenwriting credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, Spiral Zone and a variety of children's series for CBS, NBC and independent networks.  As a visual effects director, she has enjoyed the opportunity to play techno junkie while telling people like George Clooney how to stand in front of a green screen.  She has produced multiple series for television, such as the CBS series Harts of the West and Nightgames.  Her theatrical credits include visual effects directing and supervision for a wide variety of films, including Nightmare of Elm Street VI, Tank Girl, From Dusk Til Dawn, Terminator 2 and many independent films.  As associate producer for D.I.C. Enterprises and then later as VP of Family Programming for Kushner-Locke, she produced over 1,000 hours of animation for shows that included Inspector Gadget, Heathcliff, M*A*S*K Force, Spiral Zone and the Columbia/Tristar film Pound Puppies & the Legend of Big Paw.  Most recently, Ms. Botsford created and executive-produced the science fiction web series Epilogue, a Missouri State University production.  She has also served as executive producer on the Electronic Arts SF short Apollo, which was a recent selection at the Athens (Greece) International Science Fiction Film Festival.

Ms. Botsford's primary writing focus is on science fiction for a variety of media including books, film, television, theatre and comics.  In addition to her Stargate: SG-1 novel The Four Dragons (Fandemonium Books, 2010), and its sequel, The Drift (2012), her recently completed written work includes the SF novel Critical Past and the comic book series The Fracture.  She is oftentimes a speaker or workshop leader at various writers conferences and science fiction conventions.

Ms. Botsford
was a guest of honor at TrekTrax Atlanta in 2011 and previously served as a judge for the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Meldrena Chapin, Ph.D.
As an architectural gerontologist, Dr. Meldrena Chapin's research and design work focuses primarily upon culture change in long-term care.  While her specialty is culture change in long-term care, Dr. Chapin also works in the arenas of design for aging, hospice care design, organizational development, architectural programming and collaborative placemaking.

Dr. Chapin's conference experience includes working with the Environmental Design Research Association, The Mythic Imagination Institute and The Southern Gerontological Association.

Dr. Chapin is a Fellow of The Mythic Imagination Institute.  The Mythic Imagination Institute is an international organization dedicated to demonstrating how myth and storytelling can play in altering the modern world.  She has also been involved in The Southern Gerontological Society for several years as a presenter and attendee at their conferences and the related Student Mentoring Conference.  The Southern Gerontological Society is composed of professionals exploring issues, applications and answers to questions existing in the field of aging.  This group is dedicated to bringing gerontological research and practice together.  

Dr. Chapin has been involved in EDRA, the Environmental Design Research Association, for over a decade.  EDRA is an international interdisciplinary organization dedication to advancing and disseminating research pertaining to understanding the relationships between people and their environments.  EDRA annually hosts an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary conference designed as a venue for the dissemination of new research and to form collaborations between researchers, academics and practitioners.  Dr. Chapin served with her husband and fellow Bjo Awards judge Andrew Greenberg as co-chair of EDRA37, EDRA's 37th annual conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2006.

As a fiber artist, Dr. Chapin's works focus upon blending color, texture and form to create rugs, wall hangings and sculptural objects.  The majority of these fiber works are hand-woven on a frame loom; larger works are created on a four-harness floor loom.

Dr. Chapin
joins the Bjo Awards panel of judges for the first time in 2018.
Keith R. A. DeCandido
Keith R. A. DeCandido
has written for more than two dozen different licensed universes, including Star Trek (dozens of pieces of fiction, most recently The Klingon Art of War, which debuted at this convention in 2014), Stargate SG-1 (the new novel Kali's Wrath and a short story in Far Horizons), Firefly (the novelization of Serenity and an adventure for the Firefly RPG), Farscape (the "fifth-season" comics published from 2008-2011, written with series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon), Heroes Reborn (Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World), Sleepy Hollow (Children of the Revolution), Supernatural (Nevermore, Bone Key and Heart of the Dragon), World of Warcraft (Cycle of Hatred), Doctor Who (short stories in Decalog 3: Consequences and Destination Prague), The X-Files (a short story in Trust No One), Marvel Comics (two Spider-Man novels, a bunch of short stories and an upcoming trilogy) and tons more.  His original work includes the "Precinct" series of fantasy police procedurals, starting with Dragon Precinct in 2004 and continuing through half a dozen books and short stories; a cycle of urban fantasy short stories taking place in Key West that have appeared in Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav Weirdness Magnet, Out of Tune, Bad-Ass Faeries: It's Elemental, Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R. A. DeCandido, Buzzy Mag and Story of the Month Club; the Super City Police Department stories and novels (The Case of the Claw and stories in With Great Power and The Side of Good/The Side of Evil); and an upcoming series of urban fantasy novels based in New York City featuring a monster hunter named Bram Gold.  In 2009, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, which means he never needs to achieve anything ever again.  He has been doing rewatches of shows in the Star Trek and Stargate franchises for since 2011, as well as the 1966 Batman.  Mr. DeCandido is also a freelance editor, a second-degree black belt in karate, a veteran podcaster, a member of the Liars Club, an avid baseball fan and probably some other stuff that he can't remember due to the lack of sleep.  Find out less at his cheerfully retro web site at

Mr. DeCandido was a guest of honor at TrekTrax Atlanta/Treklanta in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and previously served as a judge for the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Andrew Greenberg
Best known for designing computer games and roleplaying games, Andrew Greenberg cocreated the Fading Suns roleplaying and computer games and was the original developer of White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade.  He has credits on more than 50 White Wolf products and more than 20 HDI books.  Currently helping develop's cutting-edge virtual world, Mr. Greenberg has also worked on products with other roleplaying game companies, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  His computer game credits include Dracula Unleashed, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Emperor of the Fading Suns, Warhammer 40K: Final Liberation, Merchant Prince II, Mall Tycoon, Dungeon Lords and more.  His most recent computer game credit is Railroad Tycoon Mobile and he is currently working on the Global Agenda MMO.  Mr. Greenberg regularly writes for publications as diverse as Prick Magazine and the Matthew Bender legal reference series.  He is also the organizer of the Southeast Interactive Entertainment and Games Expo (SIEGE).

Mr. Greenberg was a guest of honor at TrekTrax Atlanta in 2011 and 2012 and previously served as a judge for the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards in 2016 and 2017.
Geoffrey Thorne
Geoffrey Thorne is an American screenwriter, novelist and actor.  After a successful career as a television actor, including portraying police officer Wilson Sweet in the television series In the Heat of the Night from 1988 to 1993, Mr. Thorne began writing professionally, winning second prize in Simon & Schuster's sixth annual Strange New Worlds anthology with his story "The Soft Room."  Additional short stories include "Chiaroscuro" in the anthology Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Prophecy and Change, "Concurrence" in the anthology Strange New Worlds 8 and "Or the Tiger" in the anthology Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Shores.  His full-length Star Trek novels include Sword of Damocles, Winter of the Wild Hunt, Better Angels and Galatea's Cross.

Other stories he has written include contributions to Flying Pen Press's anthology Space Grunts, MV Media's Steamfunk anthology and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

As a screenwriter, Mr. Thorne has worked with Kickstart Entertainment to develop two of their properties, Of Bitter Souls and Sword of Dracula, for television.  He was a writer for season 9 of the USA network's Law & Order: Criminal Intent and multiple episodes of the Ben 10 and Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man franchises.

In 2014, Lion Forge Entertainment and NBC-Universal tapped Mr. Thorne to reboot the global fan favorite TV series Knight Rider in comic book form.  He is also the co-creator of Phantom Canyon, an audio drama from Pendant Productions.

Mr. Thorne
joins the Bjo Awards panel of judges for the first time in 2018.