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Amy Wilder – Model and Cosplayer – Get to Know Her Better…

Interview with Amy Wilder

By Michael Bradley

Today we are interviewing Amy Wilder, an extraordinary young lady involved in Steampunk Cosplay, the con scene, and professional modeling.  A photo collection follows.  You can click on the first picture and then arrow through them to see them full-sized.  NOTE:  This interview will appear in an upcoming issue of The WOD Magazine and an extended version will be podcast in the future by Patti Hulstrand on KWOD Radio.

Amy Wilder, Steampunk Cosplay

Amy Wilder, Steampunk Cosplay

Q.  Amy, thanks so much for this chance to get to know you better.  I first noticed you on a Steampunk site and reposted your picture on my blog with about forty other pictures.  Immediately, people popped out of the woodwork to let me know it was you in the picture, so you have some fans out there.  What got you involved in Steampunk cosplay and how long have you been doing it?

A. I guess you could say I was always a fan of steampunk style, though I didn’t hear the word till my first DragonCon in 2008… I thought it was just a cool way people dressed at cons, and for photoshoots. I discovered steampunk culture, and fell absolutely in love with it when I wandered into AnachroCon in Atlanta in 2013, and I’ve been immersed and obsessed ever since.

Q.  I was impressed that after working at Hooters for just a few years, you were selected as a candidate for their calendar and you made it all the way through.  How was that experience and was it exciting to be chosen from thousands of Hooters Girls nationwide?

A. Oh yes! That was my very first publication, and being one of just over 200 girls picked was amazing. I even had my own shot glasses, it was so cool. During my time at Hooters, I was also the regional “Hooters Girl of the Quarter” and a state finalist in their swimsuit pageant. I worked hard there, and gained a ton of modeling experience, but it was time to move on to bigger things. 🙂

Q.  You created your own Hooters Girl Superhero.  What gave you that idea?  That must have been a lot of fun?

 A. Oh goodness, that one WAS fun. Working at Hooters, I always joked that getting into uniform and doing that job made us superheroes, but one day while helping a friend buy fabric for one of her cosplays, I found a few yards of neon orange fabric on sale, and the rest was silly history.

Q.  You have two sides to you in pictures.  In your regular photos you’re the sweet girl next door with dreamy doe eyes and a pet cat.  In your modeling photos you transform into a sultry bikini supermodel with a bold look.  Do you feel different modeling or cosplaying than just being at home?  Do you take on the persona you are playing?

A.  I think I always feel like me… but there’s something about an awesome costume or outfit, and hair and makeup to the max that can bring out the sexy bombshell in anyone. I have tons of fun playing different roles and being different people in front of the camera… but behind all that, I still make faces and talk about my cat. 😛

Q.  Recently at San Diego Comic Con some haters criticized you for a skimpy outfit not being “Steampunk.”  I know many came to your defense.  Women wear less at the beach or at nightclubs but there are haters out there for cosplayers.  How do you react to this type of controversy?

A.  I think that cosplay and steampunk, just like anything else, attracts all kinds of people, and I’m never going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The outfit in question actually went over very well in person at SDCC, as I was able to explain the cheeky joke behind it. I just ask that everybody try to be a little kinder to each other and remember why we’re here. We didn’t get into steampunk to tell other people how to have fun, we got into steampunk to dress up in cool costumes, share our fantastical devices and mad ideas, and shoot each other with modded nerf guns. 😉

Q.  You work a lot with Thomas Willeford, one of the top Steampunk crafters.  Are you two friends?  How did you come to meet him and model his Steampunk outfits?

A.  Thomas is one of my all-time favorite people. I had been a fan of his work since I tried on a corset at my first DragonCon, his work is actually what first got me interested in steampunk. It wasn’t till years later that I got up the guts to introduce myself, and ask if I could model for him. But now I am one of his main spokes-models, an occasional apprentice in his shop, and consider him one of my dearest friends. Without his advice and support, I don’t think I would have taken my love of dressing up a step further and started modeling seriously.

Q.  You are tall but maintain a zero size and a curvy figure.  Do you have a strict exercise regimen and diet, or some other secrets to share?

 A. I have a workout regimen I stick to pretty faithfully including weights, body weight exercise, and tons of cardio. I like to think I’m strong enough to defend the innocent from petty villains, and fast enough to outrun a zombie horde… As for diet, I cook my own food when possible, and try to use fresh ingredients, but I eat what I want.

Q.  You are very young now, but like with athletes, models work long hours, have tough demands and a limited career length.  What are some of your long term goals, or are you taking it day by day and enjoying the current ride first?

 A.  Though I love modeling, my real hope is to finally get a workspace of my own set up and start designing. I actually studied fashion design and sculpture in college… I have a lot of ideas.

 Q.  You had a man sculpt you from scratch and recreate one of your Steampunk poses.  Who was that artist again?  That must have been very exciting?

 A.  Yes! Madsculptor! I was so honored when he chose to sculpt me, and he did such an incredible job! It is really an amazing experience watching your own visage come to life before your eyes. In fact, recently my likeness was also reproduced by famous pin-up artist Armando Huerta… As an artist myself, knowing I inspired someone else’s art will always be a big deal to me, and a huge honor.

Q.  As a southern girl from Georgia, do you have that Georgia Peach accent?  Does it get lighter when you travel and stronger when you go back?

 A. Nope! Actually, growing up with a dad in the Army, I have lived in every corner of the US, and been exposed to all manner of accents. I’ve been known to pick up the accents of people I am having conversations with… But no accent whatsoever to call my own.

Q.  You go to quite a few pop culture events and conventions.  As these have gained popularity, do you feel the security is adequate?  As an attractive young woman have you had issues with some of the inappropriate comments and touching that other cosplayers have experienced?

A.  I will be honest, I have never been harassed at a con… Maybe an enthusiastic suitor here and there, but always harmless and quite respectful. Of course I know that a skimpy, skin-baring cosplay is likely to draw more comments of the “misguided compliment” variety, but I’ve never felt offended or unsafe. In fact, I was THRILLED with the level of respect and politeness, (and the fantastic security that missed nothing) I encountered at SDCC, which I’d been warned would be a madhouse. The only times I’ve ever felt truly harassed at cons are when I have had to leave the con space in costume, I think sometimes the general public takes not understanding why I dress up as a license to be extremely disrespectful.

Q.  You have a fantastic look, so I am not surprised you were “found” by photographers.  Still, who was the first person to ask you to get involved in pictures?

 A.  The first modeling I ever did was at Savannah College of Art & Design for a fellow student majoring in photography. Corey Crowley (now Vampman Studios) approached me in the lunch hall simply because I was tall. I did tons of photoshoots for him, I gained a ton of confidence through that, and learned a lot about modeling, and how to act in front of a camera. I don’t know if I would have ever pursued modeling had I not done those fun shoots.

Q.  What would you suggest for others interested in getting into cosplay and into modeling?

 A.  Just do it, and do your best! Make contacts, attend events, and most importantly, HAVE FUN.

Q.  With all the travel you are faced with, what keeps you centered and so happy?  You always seem so positive.

A.  I guess that one is a weird answer, staying positive IS what keeps me so positive. We all have hard times, and get stressed or discouraged… We all have “everything is terrible, I’m terrible, and my goals and dreams will never work” moments… But I always try to look forward, see the silver linings, and hope for the best. Dwelling on something negative will never make it better, but reaching past, grabbing something positive, and running with it? That is what keeps a person going.

Q.  Who would you like to give shout outs to?  Great photographers, friends, supporters and others who have helped you on your path?

A.  Oh God… Everybody… can I say everybody? Every photographer who thought I was good enough to shoot with, every friend who encouraged me. Every designer who had me wear their work, every con organizer who hosted me. Every nice comment, every “like”, every photo share… Every person who recognizes me at a con, or doesn’t, but comes to introduce themselves anyway… You all keep me going! Thank you! ❤

Q.  Where can people contact you for photoshoots and other events?

A.  The best way to contact me is to e-mail me at AmyWILDERness@yahoo.com, or message me on my Facebook fanpage at http://www.facebook.com/AmyWILDERness. 🙂

Q.  Where can fans follow you online?

 A.  I am on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. You can follow me @amywilderness. 🙂

Q.  What else would you like to add?

A.  Thank you for interviewing me! Hope the read is enjoyable and that I didn’t sound too silly. 🙂


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The Parasol Protectorate Series – Review of the Series

I wrote this review of The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger for publication in the upcoming issue of the magazine The WOD.  If you are familiar with my book and movie reviews, I am usually accused of being more of a critic than a reviewer.  This time, you can experience my lighter side as I love this series.

The Parasol Protectorate Series

By Gail Carriger

 Book Reviews by Michael Bradley

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The problem you face when writing about a five book series is that you will obviously have some degree of spoilers as you explain the plot twists.  If you mention a character in book three, readers of book one obviously knows they survived books one and two.  As a result, I will discuss the author, series and quality first, then will have a big bolded all caps spoiler alert before we get into those types of details.

As a steampunk author myself, I have always been a fan of the genre, even before I knew it was a genre.  I grew up with Jules Verne and HG Wells stories, which at the time were simply science fiction written in the late 1800s.  Today, if you write similar adventures that occur during the Age of Steam – roughly 1830 to 1900 – that have a science fiction component, they are referred to as Steampunk.  The time period was thrilling because for the first time the labor of a man or a beast of burden such as an ox or horse were replaced by steam power.  Factories, trains, urban pollution, cotton looms, steam ships and other devices were like landing on the Moon for the first time.

Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger

The map of Africa was still blank in the middle and we were looking for the source of the Nile.  The sun never set on the British Empire, the major powers jockeyed for empires, magic and science were hard to distinguish, and the United States had the Wild West, the Civil War and Indian wars.  It is in this time period in which Gail Carriger writes her fiction series, the Parasol Protectorate.  Gail Carriger is the pen name of Tofa Borregaard who holds three degrees including a Masters in Archaeology and a Masters in Anthropology.  She has lived in both the United States and England and traveled enough to have a cosmopolitan view of things.  Her training and experiences definitely inspire her style of writing.

Gail Carriger has a very unique and clever idea in her first book Soulless, which introduces the main character, Alexia Tarabotti.  Alexia is born with no soul, hence the name of the book.  People with too much soul in her world might end up as vampires or as werewolves or even linger about for a time as ghosts.  To be soulless is very rare and basically makes her immune to those with the abundance of soul and even able to remove their power temporarily with her touch.  This concept alone is rife with conflict, but don’t expect the series to take you down the familiar path of vampires and werewolves seen in contemporary urban fantasy.


Instead, Gail Carriger is a master at weaving fashion, social morays, customs and humor into her novels.  Her character development and whimsical narrative style are superlative, telling the story in such a charming and entertaining fashion that you have difficulty putting the books down.  There is action, international intrigue, gadgetry and supernatural elements, but it is a world of fun, clothing choices and friendship, not a gory monster fest all too common in lesser literature.

I am a huge fan of Gail Carriger, and in limited correspondence through emails and her Facebook and blog site, I am a fan not only of her writing, but of her as a person as well.  You can stop here with no spoilers and rush out to buy all five books and read them.  You will have a great time and be sorry when they are done.

Gail will also be appearing at LepreCon 2014, May 8-11 in Mesa, Arizona.  Be sure to come by if you are in the area and meet this outstanding author.  Show your support if you are already a fan like me and queue up for the signatures for your books.


SPOILER ALERT – Released in just 2009, Soulless is the first in the five book series.  Alexia Tarabotti faces the challenge of being too tan and curvy due to her half-Italian heritage and suffers the further problem of being a well-read intellectual and opinionated woman in an era that does not always appreciate those qualities.  She suffers her step family, focuses on fashion and spends time with Ivy Tunstell, the delightful but fashionably challenged best friend.  Her soulless nature, though not well known, soon draws her into a world of intrigue with the werewolves, her friend the dapper vampire and the local hive, and even with Queen Victoria herself.  As if that is not enough to deal with, she encounters a particularly annoying werewolf named Lord Maccon.

In the second book, Changeless, we find Alexia married and now a noblewoman, the Lady Woolsey.  Her husband is off on business while a pack of werewolf soldiers camps on her front lawn.  Exorcised ghosts, an angry Queen Victoria and other dangers bring her all the way to Scotland to investigate matters and learn the truth about her own husband.  There is a particular incident at the end of this book that is definitely a cliff hanger for the third in the series.

In the third book, Blameless, Alexia separates from her husband in a scandalous way, even though she herself is – blameless.  Lacking her husband, she is back with her scornful family, the Queen fires her from her position, and someone begins to send deadly clockwork devices after her to kill her.

This is the one book I did not enjoy at first; neither did my wife who read along with me.  The reason is that the first part of the book loses the whimsical style of the first two and creates a more real and tense situation.  It almost had me put down the series, but having enjoyed the first two, I powered through this beginning.

About a third through the volume, it regained the usual more light-hearted style as Alexia travels, faces challenges, and her personal problems start to be repaired.  In the end, the third book is definitely worth reading and leads you on to the next two, but if I had to find a fault, it would be the early tone of the middle book.

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The fourth installment of the series is Heartless.  Alexia must once again solve a sinister plot to kill Queen Victoria and delve even farther into the mysterious past of her husband.  One of her sisters becomes heavily involved in the suffragette movement, while her cross-dressing friend Madame Lafoux is once again creating strange clockwork devices.  This is one of the more intriguing books in the series because the characters are already strongly established, allowing the author to focus more on subtleties and interesting twists along the way.


The final book, Timeless serves as a capstone and rite of passage for all the characters in the series.  Alexia is now relatively settled in to her new lifestyle, when a summons is received from an ancient vampire leader in Egypt.  This takes the reader off to the distant sands of the Nile Delta for more adventures with their beloved characters.

In Egypt, when all is done, it brings a satisfying end to the series, having told Alexia’s main story of life challenges and passing the torch to several other characters known to the reader.  As a fan, you sometimes want story series to go on forever, however, experience shows that telling a story too long causes some series to become ridiculous or forced.  As it is, the Parasol Protectorate thoroughly tells the start to end story of Alexia while leaving the reader with a sense of satisfied completion.

Congratulations to Gail Carriger for such excellent work in writing five such wonderful novels in this Steampunk series.  When I first started reading Soulless, I was told it was a “woman’s Steampunk novel” because it is from Alexia’s view and deals with fashion.  I would totally disagree.  I think everyone can enjoy the series equally.  I also appreciate how it is written with wit, an eye to history, great characters and action, but never descends to being tawdry or bloody in place of good storytelling.  I wholeheartedly recommend this series.

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New Issue of The WOD is out! Free Copy Here.

The WOD is a premier magazine on pop culture, science fiction and conventions.  The top story this issue is an interview with cosplayer Cassandra S. Kyle written by yours truly.  If you poke through the pages you will find some original fiction and a book review in there by me as well.  Please make sure to read all the great columns, including Hal Astell, Alfred Trujillo and Cara Nicole.  It’s a great publication by Patti Hulstrand.  To help her, feel free to frequent the advertisers and let them know you saw them in The Wod.

Click this to read in low density color:


Cassandra S. Kyle as Steampunk Catwoman with Michael Bradley at Phoenix Comic Con 2013

Cassandra S. Kyle as Steampunk Catwoman with Michael Bradley at Phoenix Comic Con 2013

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Keen Halloween Wrap-Up

I want to thank Daniel at Steam Crow for putting together the second annual Keen Halloween.


Daniel M. Davis is a Phoenix, Arizona illustrator and creator. He co-founded Steam Crow, which makes Good Monster Goods, with his wife Dawna. Daniel loves Halloween, monsters, movies and roleplaying games with monsters. Follow Daniel on Twitter or Facebookhttp://www.steamcrow.com/


I met a lot of really cool people and had some good friends stop by.  First, for friends – Patti Hulstrand, Mike Syfritt, Hanna Syfritt, Justin Hackert, Jeremy Jpool Colwill, Bonnie, Connie and many others.  As I started typing I realized it would be around thirty names, so please forgive me if I don’t list you.

Connie Galeener

Connie Galeener

Justin and kelly

Justin and kelly

New friends – Josiah from Zolgar’s Forge; Mary from Watto’s Wife; Ramsey Borrego the photographer from Flash in the Past Studio, along with Donna Dungan and Rain Bidelman; Megan Tistle and the other nice ladies at Dollipop Cosmetics who were across the aisle from us; Katy Spratt from Bookman’s; James and Rebecca Hicks of Lunasea Studios at http://lunaseastudios.storenvy.com/ that also publish Little Vampires at http://little-vampires.com/.

Rebecca and James

Rebecca and James

Dollipop girls

Dollipop girls

Thank you also to the many people who purchased copies of my books and those who purchased the hand-made jewelry and accessories made by my lovely wife Becky of susannespassion at http://www.etsy.com/shop/SusannesPassion.


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Cosplay Interviews

Each month I am interviewing cosplayers for publication and radio broadcasts in conjunction with Patti Hulstrand at The WOD and KWOD radio.  Last month Toni Darling was the headline article and this month Cassandra S. Kyle will be featured.  I am currently scheduling Cara Nicole, AZ Powergirl for recording and interview.  If you would like to join in and get on the schedule so your fan base can learn more about you, please let me know at eiverness@cox.net.  The interviews are very pro-cosplay and you will receive sample questions in advance.

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Latest Issue of The WOD Magazine

Get your online copy free here:

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Yours truly has a serial short story, movie reviews and other things in there this month.

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Toni Darling Interviewed On KWOD Radio

I am glad to have helped setup the interview between Patti Hulstrand, great friend and Editor of The Wod, ConNotations Newszine, and KWOD Radio (all of which I contribute writing to) and Toni Darling, known for Lady Thor, Lady Death, Halibel, and other cosplay roles.

Here is the radio interview:


Hailing from the Empire State, Toni Darling busted into the scene at the Zombie Bikini Contest in downtown Mesa, AZ in January of 2012. Without any fear, she dressed up as a cowgirl zombie and with that she paved a path of her own in the local geek community.

From the California conventions to the Arizona convention scenes, you have most likely caught a glimpse of this striking beauty always working it in front of the video camera. Toni is a hard working lady who enjoys helping the art world through her passion for cosplay.

She has promoted Kipsworld, Knightingail Comics, and Paolo Parente’s Dust through cosplay, most recently doing a cross-play of Thor and Lady Death. Along with her beauty, fun personality, and intelligence, her ambition has propelled her to the forefront of the geek community.

Pictures of Toni Darling:

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KWOD Radio Interview at Phoenix ComicCon 2013

Patti Hulstrand, the host of KWOD radio is broadcasting live from Phoenix ComicCon 2013.  She will be interviewing many bright stars among movie actors, TV actors, and great authors.  Then…after she interviews those people, she has been gracious enough to add me to the list as well.  I have appeared on her radio show once before and she was a gracious and captivating host.  I will likely be discussing the new anthology, Twisted Nightmares, just out last week in print form.

My new picture

Michael Bradley, Author

Remember, you can stop by booth #1629 at Phoenix ComicCon 2013 to say hello and get your autographed copy, right off the presses.  Thanks to Patti Hulstrand and all of you who give me your time and support.  It is much appreciated.


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Steampunk Airship Crew #6

Having just returned from the amazing Wild Wild West Con 2, the Steampunk Convention at Old Tucson Studios, I have to put up more Steampunk pictures.  I had a great panel with myself, friends Patti Hulstrand and Chris Wilke.  Kudos to Diana, Jason, and Noe on throwing a great convention that was tons of fun.  Built up some wife points when I purchased Becky the whole set of original Con versions of Lady Mechanika – yes Joe Benitez was there!  They were all signed and packaged, but he was nice enough to further personalize each “to Becky.”  There was also a booth selling amazingly well made corsets for just $60.  My wife went to get one, feeling a bit guilty after I had already spoiled her, but unfortunately they did not have her size in the color she wanted.

I met so many amazing new people there is not really time to list them all.  Thanks again to those who invited me out as a guest to speak on a panel about Steampunk and writing!  Thanks also to Davina and Kathleen, who were there at the panel, and purchased The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship!  I hope you enjoy it immensely!

Now, to the aircrew.  The ones in the desert are most likely from WWWC2.  I will be sprinkling them over time.  You are now ready to pick the crew and staff for your sixth airship in your burdgeoning fleet.  Do you want a merchant vessel, an explorer, a pirate ship, a military vessel, a ship for world domination, or other purposes?  Choose your crew wisely.  You cannot pick more than eight.

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Book Signing this Saturday at the Book Rack in Mesa!

I will be at The Book Rack in Mesa, Arizona this Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm signing copies of The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship and Twisted History.  Please come out and stop by.  Thanks to Patti Hulstrand for setting up this event, and thanks to The Book Rack for supporting local authors!

The Book Rack





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