We’ve got some amazing special guests and panelists lined up for the Vermont Steampunk Expo. We’re adding new guests all the time, please check back soon for more 2017 Vermont Steampunk Expo guest and panelist announcements.
David Lee is the principal artist at Hatton Cross Steampunk, located in Gloucester, Virginia His art has been featured in numerous art exhibits at Steampunk conventions, festivals, and art galleries throughout the US, Europe, and New Zealand. He has received multiple nominations and awards for his costuming and props. David had a minor role in the soon to be released TV show “Paradox City” as well as fan films “Trial of the Mask” and “Mask of Vengeance,” two Steampunk Star Wars fan films from Unruly Mile Films. In July of 2013, he teamed up with other authors, artists, and professional editors to found HCS Publishing, a non-profit publishing house dedicated to publishing high quality, great stories where the author is first. Visit HCSPublishing.com for more information.
Author Jessica (JM Lee) is an excellent literary guest with a wealth of experience. Her post-apocalyptic fantasy series: “The Novus Proprius Chronicles”, was published by HCS Publishing when she was only 13. It has quickly become a very popular and successful book series. She has been a literary guest at conventions throughout the US and Europe. She’s shared the panel guest space with such noted authors as Sheri Priest and Orson Scott Card. She currently has two of her three book series published with the third novel to be released by December of 2017. The former “teen author” is now 20 and a college student majoring in elementary education. Her goal is to teach young people and to inspire and mentor future generations of authors.
Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright and the award-winning author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels for adults and teens. Her Strangely Beautiful saga, beginning with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, hit Barnes & Noble and Borders Bestseller lists and garnered numerous regional genre awards, with new revised editions from Tor Books now available. Darker Still was named an American Bookseller’s Association “Indie Next List” pick and a Scholastic Book Club “Highly Recommended” title. Her new Gaslamp Fantasy saga, The Eterna Files and Eterna and Omega, is now available from Tor Books. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and she is a 4 time Prism Award winner for excellence in the genre of Fantasy and Romance. Her books have been selected for national book club editions and translated into many languages. A proud member of performer unions Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA, she lives in New York City where she is a licensed ghost tour guide featured on The Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum and has been featured in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. She crafts unique jewelry on Etsy for Torch and Arrow and she is represented by Paul Stevens of the Donald Maass agency and is active on Twitter @leannarenee.
Kelley Hensing I’m drawn to exploring the mysterious, like the strange house that feels larger on the inside than it measures without. The eyes that are watching you from the woods, or a shadowy figure at the end of a dark hallway. Art is a visual language that allows me to express my impressions, emotions and fears and turn them into a story. Art is my self therapy and obsession. It enables me to dig into life more deeply and uproot the boundaries of my perceptions. Creating things helps me traverse the light and dark edges of life. I graduated with my BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI in 2001. After graduating, I struggled through many formative years until I could finally consider myself a working artist. I learned the all important and humbling lesson that evolving as an artist is a life long commitment that never stops. With the hindsight of adulthood, I returned to school to focus more intently on painting and storytelling. I found what I was looking for in New York, where I earned my MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2010. Since then I’ve met mentors and fellow artists who have been a transformative force, while being surrounded by a richly diverse city. My first big show was at Last Rites Gallery in NYC in 2014, which was a long time dream come true. I also show with a number of other galleries, including Lovetts Gallery in OK. My freelance work includes oil paintings, commissions, gaming illustration, murals, airbrushing and other unique projects that I can’t pass up. I currently live and work in Brooklyn with my artist boyfriend and our spooky black cat.
Growing up in Toronto-Etobicoke, Ontario, Heather Ashford had a very multicultural upbringing. Having friends and classmates from different backgrounds, she learned early to see the world from many points of view. Heather was introduced to Steampunk by her partner Harbir Anand, after having spent a lot of time in other alternative communities. Finally with a reason to take her half-full tickle trunk of costumes to a full trunk, and the further on to second full closet, she dove into the Cosplay and historical elements of Steampunk. Along with her partner, Heather has made it a mission to represent RajPunk (a fusion of Victorian and Indian aesthetics evolved into a Steampunk future) in the Southern Ontario community, as well as explore other cultures in the Steampunk world. She has also become very adept at incorporating Saris and Salwar-Kameez into Steampunk Cosplay. Being of Western European descent, Heather has had to deal with discussions around cultural appropriation, acculturation, and respectful cultural exchange. She believes that a respectful approach to exploring and incorporating other cultures into your own portrayals is one of the main ways to make our world more multicultural and exciting. Heather has presented Steampunk panels and workshops at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Expo (GCSE), FanExpo, and Costume Con. She has also appeared in the Street Section Fashion Show at Anime North representing Steampunk.
After wandering around the Goth community for decades, indulging in his passions of history, alternative history fiction and speculation, tea, and costuming, Harbir Anand found the Steampunk community around 2005. At first, he felt very much at home and only through exploring the community further did he find geographical and cultural limitations in the greater community. Drawing on his North Indian heritage and his British Colonial upbringing in Kenya, he began fusing the more prevalent Western European aesthetics with Indian culture and perpetuated the style of RajPunk (a nod to the Indian Raj – a combination of Indian and Victorian elements). Pushing boundaries further he has explored Arabic, Chinese and Japanese cultures and how they would influence the Steampunk world. Harbir’s main interests are Tea, reading speculative fiction, and exploring the ideas of what these imagined futures look like over the entirety of the earth, and all its cultures. Harbir has presented Steampunk panels and workshops at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Expo (GCSE), FanExpo, and Costume Con. He has also appeared in the Street Section Fashion Show at Anime North representing Steampunk.
Paganaidd has been a student of the weird all of her life, treading the fine line between the real and the fantastic. Her mother and grandmother were both psychic and her grandmother was a medium. She first became a professional psychic when she was twenty. Although a lady does not divulge her age, she will tell you that it was some time ago. She has a keen interest in and a wealth of knowledge of 19th Century Spiritualism, Occultism and other esoterica. Under the name C.H. Alexander she has published one book, Night Draws In and has one Steampunk novel in progress. She resides on a mountain in Vermont with her husband and a menagerie of support animals.
Thom Truelove has been a promoter of events and DJ over the past two decades. He has been very active in the Goth and Steampunk scenes. At conventions such as Dragon Con and Steampunk Worlds’ Fair he has been a panelist and presenter on both speculative and science fiction along with esoterica, including Elizabethan magic and Freemasonry. Thom is the creator of Pandora’s Pets – a line of small sculptures designed as “feels agents” to help deal with worry and negative emotion. He is an artistic collaborator of Leanna Renee Hieber’s and they are working on a number of stories and novels together.
Countless hours of Michael Parodi’s youth were spent watching classic movies like “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “First Men in the Moon”, “The Lost World”, and “The Time Machine.” When not engrossed with the small black and white screen, he was enthralled with the novels and short stories of HG Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Robert A. Heinlein and Frank Herbert. These great works fostered Michael with a vivid imagination and he discovered at an early age that he also had a talent for costuming. It was an easy step to make the characters in his imagination come alive. Now, after over 50 years of passion and dedication, he has become an aficionado of fantasy and science fiction. Fluid with his work, Michael spends time on a variety of projects using several mediums. He is especially drawn to Steampunk because the Victorian aesthetic feeds well into the movies and books he loved the most in his youth. Drawing on thirty years of military experience, traveling around the world, and immersing himself into various cultures – he brings an extraordinary level of inventive detail to his creations.
Wheeler Stone is the owner-operator of Doc Stone Studios in Frederick MD, as well as owner-operator of the Key City Steampunk Festival in Frederick MD. He has been a leather artist for over 25 years and is recognized for his designs worldwide. Wheeler brings his art in leather as well as his propensity for fun and shenanigans. He will be imparting his knowledge and enjoying the laughter with you as he helps you turn your project into exactly what you want it to be..
Mickey Flint of of Two Gentlemen of Fortune ave the Full Steam Group has become a very recognizable figure in the Steampunk and cosplay community which he has been involved now for 8 years. You may have seen him in other personas and never even realized it, the ultimate compliment to a cosplay costumer. Founder of the Florida Steampunk Society, promoter of the Florida Steampunk Exhibition East and general Maker at large, you can say Mickey has seen a few things in the Steampunk community. When not in 1890’s, you can find Captain Mickey Flint leading the pirates of the Harbinger, a 500 bodied pirate crew he co-founded, or as a variety of Star Wars universe personas. Mickey’s company, Two Gentlemen of Fortune, specializes in custom leatherwork, costumes and prop building for actors, cosplayers, pirates and adventures of all types.