Mediums across the aether have warned of there being many free flowing spirits at the inaugural Steampunk Empire Symposium. As a precaution, the Symposium has invited award winning, bestselling author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber to be a guest of honor and paranormal expert for the weekend’s convention.
Ms. Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre from Miami University, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She has adapted works of 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays such as Favorite Lady have been produced around the country. Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Futuristic / Fantasy / Paranormal Romance.
Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in her Strangely Beautiful series of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, was named a favorite of 2009 by 14 genre blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards for Best Fantasy and Best First Book, the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer’s Best Award (Young Adult category) and has been optioned for adaptation into a musical theatre production currently in development with a team that includes talent from Tony Award winning shows like Memphis, Wicked, Tarzan and more. In November 2011 Leanna launched Magic Most Foul, a new Gothic Paranormal Young Adult series with Sourcebooks Fire.
Guest Artist: Myke Amend
Myke Amend is a weaver of strange worlds in which darkness and the macabre, fantasy, speculative fiction, emotion, and even politics blend seamlessly into fantastic, surreal, horrific, yet serene and wondrous worlds of tranquil chaos.
His works are those of mystery and message, wherein he seeks to provide the viewer with endless new things to find within a busy sea of tiny strokes and intermingled thoughts, hiding visages and artwork within each element of every work, and in the empty space between.
Influenced greatly by Gustave Dore, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Gerald Brom, Derek Riggs, Salvadore Dali, Albrecht Durer, Pieter Brughel the Elder, a thing most commonly noted about Myke’s artistic style is his attention to detail and details within details, bordering on “neurotic”.
His illustrations have been published for Weird Tales Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Gatehouse Gazette, Kilter Magazine, and the art collection “Gothic Art Now”
Amend has commissioned artworks for many names in Steampunk Music, Entertainment, and Literature including Dexter Palmer, The Pickled Brothers Circus, Vernian Process, and Captain Robert of Abney Park.
Guest Speaker: Ay-leen the Peacemaker
Known throughout the greater steampunk community for her work with the popular site “Beyond Victoriana,” Ay-leen the Peacemaker is a leading voice on multiculturalism in steampunk. For the past few years, Ay-leen has been involved with the steampunk communities in the New York metro area and New England as a convention speaker and general rabble-rouser. Her upcoming published work will be included in the fashion anthology “Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style” from SUNY Press in 2012. She has also been interviewed about steampunk and its evolving subculture for many steampunk and sci-fi sites and for the books “The Steampunk Bible” (Abrams Image, May 2011) and “Steampunk: Reloaded” (Tachyon Publications, 2010).
Ay-leen currently lives and works in New York City. One of her many hats is running Tor.com Steampunk on Facebook and Twitter.
Journalist and writer Emilie P. Bush has written two Steampunk novels. Her first, Chenda and the Airship Brofman, was a “ripping good yarn!” and the tale was a 2010 Semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. New this year, The Gospel According to Verdu picks up the epic tale where Chenda left off – high in the skies. Coming in Spring of 2012, Emilie P. Bush teams up with illustrator William Kevin Petty for the first ever children’s Steampunk picture book : Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story.
Emilie P. Bush loves to laugh and makes the audience the stars in her wacky convention game shows: The Great Debate: Tesla v. Watt and the all new game Verne v. Wells. Only the audience can decide who’s right, and better yet, who’s FUNNY! Also, she hosts a gathering of kilt lovers – The Men Without Pants Party, and will host the first ever Steampunk Worship Service this Spring.
Steampunk Boba Fett
Steampunk Boba Fett (John F. Strangeway) is one of the most recognized figures in both the Steampunk and Star Wars fan communities. The idea originated in John’s lifelong love of Star Wars and in particular the cult figure of bounty hunter Boba Fett. He had the idea for a Steampunk variation for quite some time but lacked the resources to build the suit to match his vision. That changed at AnachroCon 2009, where he met Matt Silva of Penny Dreadful Productions. A few months later the two began work on the suit, which debuted at Dragon*Con 2009 to overwhelming acclaim. John and Matt are featured prominently in the PBS documentary “Four Days at Dragon*Con.”
When he’s not portraying Steampunk Boba Fett, John serves as PR/media relations representative for Penny Dreadful Productions. He also works with Dragon*Con Media Relations, appearing on Better Mornings Atlanta and 11Alive in 2010.
Lord Bobbins of Teslacon
Described as the Walt Disney of Steampunk, Lord Hastings Robert Bobbins III (aka Eric Jon Larson) is truly a master of the most splendid immersive and interactive conventions this side of the aether. Lord Bobbins utilizes his history in motion pictures and theatrics to bring imaginative delight to people of all ages. The Steampunk Symposium is delighted to have Lord Bobbins as a distinguished guest as he shares with all his expertise on a wide range of Victorian and Steampunk matters.