Category Archives: RT2016

And She Returns…

My goodness, I haven’t posted anything since before RT, have I? Bad romance writer, NO new MacBook Pro!

No, seriously, no new MacBook Pro. I was going to buy one this weekend with my royalties because my existing laptop is 1) over eight years old and 2) was a refurb when I bought it, but as it turns out I need to use my income for other writing-related expenses — namely, a cover (more about that later), sponsorship and attendance for Wild Wicked Weekend, and to pay off my half of an upcoming trip.

So the new laptop will have to wait another month. Which sort of sucks, but that’s adulting for you.

Anyway, back to RT — I decided to drive from Dallas to Vegas instead of flying because I was in the mood for a roadtrip (and er, I had a lot of shit to bring). Said road trip was gorgeous, and I learned that it is geographically noticeable when you cross from Texas into New Mexico and New Mexico into Arizona. At the TX/NM border the landscape immediately changes from flat plains to gorgeously colored mesas, and at the NM/AZ border it immediately turns into scrubby desert with the occasional mountain until you get to Flagstaff, at which point you’re definitely in the mountains. Lovely, and I’d like to do it again with Ramón if possible.

Vegas itself is the neon-lit adult funland that it’s always been, so no real news there. The Rio was perfectly serviceable as a hotel, although I did hear that the route from the hotel rooms to the conference area was referred to as “the Hallway of Doom” due to its distance. Let’s just say that I hit 10K steps on four different days and leave it at that. Much fun was had with the lovely LD Blakeley as my roommate, and we attended some nifty panels, hung out with great folks like Kenna Nauenberg and Alex Gordon, and of course attended the amazing Cirque du Punk party on Friday night.


Kenna, LD, and myself. I was yelping, “I have a waist, I have a waist!” when LD was lacing me up.


Lady Amphitrite before the nails and corset went on, because those were saved for last, you betcha.


Two erotic romance writers loose in Vegas. I’m surprised we didn’t get into more trouble.

Photo courtesy of Michael Patrick Gleason

Competing in the CdP costume contest (picture courtesy of Michael Patrick Gleason). I cannot adequately express how much I love this costume.

The other big event of RT for me was the Book Fair on Saturday. I didn’t sell a lot, but I did get to see sights like this:


My life is so hard.

Sunday was spent tidying up, trying to get everything packed (or in LD’s case cursing UPS for their extortionate charges to ship stuff to Canada), and hanging out with fellow Evernight author Khloe Wren and awesome cover model Michael Gleason:


After this LD and I looked at each other, said, “Let’s get out of the hotel for a bit,” and went for a cruise up and down the Las Vegas strip during which we spotted many crimes against good taste, what we suspect is a genuine murder hotel, and a gigantic and truly scary gift shop.

The next day I dropped LD off at the airport and headed home (including a white-knuckle drive during a severe thunderstorm in the Texas Panhandle) to get back to work on all the WIPs I need to finish toot sweet. I also tried to finish a short story for Evernight’s Dark Captive anthology, but the damn thing blew up on me and turned into a short novel. So, um, yeah, look for Do No Harm this summer from Belaurient Press!

In other publishing news, I sold the German language translation of Trickster to Me and the Muse Publishing in Germany, I’m currently waiting on a decision from Juno Publishing in France as to whether they want to publish Empress of Storms in French, and a very good friend of mine will be releasing a hot and hilarious new M/M erotic novelette on Tuesday which I will be helping out with on promo (trust me, you want to read this). The current work queue includes (counts on fingers) Cross Current (Olympic Cove #4), Behind the Iron Cross, Prince of Scoundrels (Two Thrones #2), Do No Harm, and Trickster: All In. That should be enough to keep me going for a couple of months, don’t you think?

Mermaid crown progress pics

It’s official — I love Worbla thermoplastic because this shit is da BOMB. I deliberately wanted the crown to look a bit rough and organic (twisted spines between the fins, etc.) so I didn’t worry too much about smoothing out the surface apart from a layer of wood glue. If you do want a smooth surface you can use wood glue, gesso, or air-drying clay (NOT SCULPEY — you bake this and the entire thing will melt), or apply some craft foam instead. Tried it on and loved it. Loved it even more when I put on a layer of gold paint in the garage and it looked like gold foil. Yay!

If there’s another costume event next year, I’m going as Lady Amphitrite again, but I’m going in her battle gear. Hee, hee, hee…



75% of the way there, costume-wise

CostumeTest01Okay, for those of you following along at home, this is the chemise, skirt, corset, and bustle of my Steampunk Mermaid costume, plus trident (the pole will be painted gold tomorrow along with the crown once I finish it). And yes,that’s my cello in the background.

I couldn’t put on the whole thing (wig and makeup) because the cats picked that moment to go completely apeshit and start hissing and fighting all over the place, but this gives you an idea of what I’m working with. It’s not very clear unless I spread the skirt, but those are sparkly blue tulle fins on either side, and the white and gold rope trim close to the bottom of the skirt covers the marking line where I was supposed to put a bottom ruffle before I found out that 1) I didn’t have enough blue satin material and 2) the bustle material simply wouldn’t work that way (note for costumers — if you ever work with a foil material, be aware that you’ll need to stabilize it somehow, either by using a lightweight iron-on interfacing or doing a zigzag stitch along the edges, because that shit will tear apart at seams at a harsh word if it’s not reinforced). Que sera, sera. At least the trim looks nice, and I have pretty white fishnet stockings and gloves that will finish off the piece.

Shoes? Pewter granny boots. Totally steampunk.

The corset, by the way, will be covered in a teal hologrammatic scale fabric (shown below), but I’m literally just tacking it to the corset so I can do that any time between now and Friday. Now that I have the actCostumeTest04ual clothes done I need to get a move on and finish the crown tomorrow so that I can vacuum up the metric ton of blue glitter that’s been shed all over the house from the tulle trim (I found some in my eyebrows this afternoon. I ask you).

The bustle, despite being made in that shreddy foil material, turned out to be gorgeous. There was a drape section in the pattern that went across the front of the skirt, but I didn’t make it because 1) I ran out of time and 2) I didn’t really want to add more mass to that particular area of my body. I’d like to take a crack at doing a proper bustle skirt and matching jacket one of these days, especially now that I have the pattern for it. And I pointed out to Ramón that my corset comes in three other colors, including maroon. Seeing as he loves me in a corset and we just got our tax refund, I may be getting some pressies soon, whee.CostumeTest02

Further Notes From Costume Construction

  • Chemise01I’d completely forgotten the hell that is slippery/synthetic fabric and the pain in the ass that it is to pin and cut accurately. The chemise at left had me channeling curse words from Sumerian.
  • Speaking of the chemise, it’s actually off the shoulder, but I had to pin it onto the hanger in order to get the picture. It looks better in person, I swear. Not thrilled with the sparkly tulle trim — I wanted it to be puffier and more drag queen-esque, but couldn’t figure out how to do that.
  • Sometimes you have to say “hell no” to a pattern and go your own way. I do not need three rows of ruffles and a ruched front on this skirt. I’m going to be sweltering as it is — I don’t need to add “passing out from heat exhaustion” to the evening.
  • Especially since I will be wearing (from skin outwards) a bra, panties, nylons, fishnet stockings, the chemise, bustle skirt, corset, wig cap, wig, and crown. And pewter granny boots. I suspect I will need someone to pry them off my feet by the end of the evening.
  • Since I’m not making extraneous ruching, however, it means I can use the extra fabric left over from the bustle fabric to make a single ruffle around the bottom, mainly because it turns out I don’t have enough of the skirt fabric to do so.
  • Do you know what’s the easiest way to gain a cat’s attention? Rustle paper. Do you know what sound you make when cutting out patterns? I swear, half of my day was spent turfing cats off the cutting table.
  • Glitter is indeed the herpes of the crafting world.
  • All the skirt sections sans ruffle have been cut out and will be sewn together in the morning. With any luck I may finish both skirt and bustle tomorrow night. Then I just have to do the crown, paint the trident pole gold, tack down the scaly fabric on the corset, and we’re ready to rock.

#RT16 Cirque du Punk Costume So Far…

What I have purchased so far:

  • 5 yards of pale teal crinkled poly fabric (chemise)
  • 1 yard of silky white poly fabric (chemise)
  • 5 yards of metallic teal and gold striped fabric (bustle skirt)
  • 5 yards of deep teal satin fabric (bustle skirt)
  • gunmetal underbust corset
  • 1 yard teal hologrammatic fish scale fabric to cover underbust corset
  • golden trident
  • Worbla for crown
  • blue/green long curly wig
  • brilliant blue contacts
  • white fishnet stockings
  • white fishnet gloves
  • false eyelashes
  • Maybelline eyeshadow set in Shimmering Siren
  • Nyx thick eye pencil in Milk
  • Nyx single eyeshadow in Turnt Teal
  • Nyx thick eye pencil in dark blue (have no idea of the color name)

What I still have to get:

  • wig cap
  • wig head for styling wig/creating crown
  • white sparkly tulle for shoulder poufs, damn you RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • flat side pearls and paua cabochons for crown
  • craft foam for crown

On the plus side, I will be wearing this costume again to various cons and events, I can assure you. But man, that’s a lot of stuff for one evening.

Well, then!

As of yesterday, Empress of Storms earned approximately $6,092 in royalties for Q1 of 2016. Not only is this a career high for quarterly royalties, it’s also a career high for any individual title from me, and has paid for Wild Wicked Weekend, my upcoming appearance at RT 2016 (plus my awesome steampunk mermaid costume), and part of our new furnace. As Carl the Groundskeeper from Caddyshack would say, I’ve got that going for me.

Even better, the sales don’t seem to be slacking off any time soon, so hopefully this trend will continue because we still need to fix the foundation and put in new flooring and windows (right now the house is echoing with rapid fire knocks as the roofers tear off our old shingles and put on new ones in advance of the storm we’re supposed to get tomorrow. Thank Cthulhu for homeowner’s insurance, that’s all I have to say). In the meantime, I’m hard at work on Palace of Scoundrels, and since cover artist Jay Aheer has now been signed exclusively to Evernight Publishing I’m going to take a crack at doing the cover myself. I showed the draft cover to L.D. Blakeley a couple of days ago and her response was, “LOVE!” so I think I’m on the right track. Once I’ve got everything ready for edits and loading into various sales outlet I’ll do a cover reveal, promise.

Of course, if you want to see the cover earlier you can always sign up for my mailing list. It’s super low traffic, and subscribers get first crack at covers, sneak peeks, and swag giveaways.

In other news, I’m about a third of the way done with my RT costume, and I picked up eye makeup, press-on nails, and false eyelashes last night to complete the look. I also popped for blue contacts — they’re not super obvious, but look nice enough. It was fascinating to see myself with blue eyes (my real eye color is brown), because the resemblance to my blue-eyed blond brother became much more marked. Now if I can just finish the chemise, bustle skirt, and crown by April 9th, I should be ready to roll.

And The Corset Training Begins

SMermaid01 So my lovely steel-boned corset from Orchard Corset arrived today, and I may have been squealing like a 6-year-old because, while I intend to cover it in a temporary skin of hologrammatic turquoise fish scales for costume purposes, it wound up going damn well with my costume color scheme as is. According to the website it’s grey, but it looks dark teal when put next to the costume fabrics, which is perfect for my needs. I was going to leave it in the scale skin for future costume events, but it’s just so pretty I may take it off so that I can wear it to other things.

Then again, I may not have to. Did I mention that corsets happen to be one of Ramón’s fetishes? When he found out he was going to have to lace me up daily so that the corset would be seasoned before RT2016, his eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. If I play my cards right, I may get some more of these in different colors over the coming months, tra la.

So anyway, we put it on. First off, I was absolutely delighted that it did indeed fit my heroically sized frame and that the modesty panel in back covered everything but an inch-wide gap. I’m not worried about that since it will be closed once the corset is properly seasoned.

SMermaid03(An aside — seasoning, or breaking in, a new steel bone corset is important because it allows the corset time to adjust to the shape of your body, reducing the chances of popped stitches or warped busks, and it also allows your body to adjust to the idea of compression. Satin corsets like these should be worn for a few hours each day for a week, while cotton or brocade corsets can take two weeks. For more information on seasoning, here’s a useful video from Orchard Corset.)

Secondly, I discovered that I need to pull this down just a tad because the waist is sitting a little high, which shoves my boobs up right under my chin. That being said, I was extremely impressed at how comfortable it was to wear. I could breathe, I wasn’t being uncomfortably pinched anywhere, and man did my posture improve. Also, I got one hell of a kiss from Ramón after he finished lacing me up.

Thirdly, I need to make sure I wipe all the dust off my mirrors before taking future pictures. That’s a NASA t-shirt under the corset, by the way. Gotta make sure my geek cred is current.

RT Costume Preparations Continue Apace

MermaidWigSo, yeah, I kinda changed my mind about what I wanted to wear to Cirque du Punk at RT’16. Since I write a lot about sea gods, water mages, mers, selkies, and the like, i thought it would be more appropriate if I showed up as a steampunk mermaid (Lady Amphitrite, Queen of the Seas and one of the big draws on the circus midway).

Thanks to the ease of internet shopping I purchased Worbla thermoplastic, a blue-grey corset, and a golden trident last night. Today I picked up sixteen yards of assorted fancy fabric for a frigging steal (and also for my costume). Then I went to the Dallas Vintage Shop (oh, my God, it’s where good costumers go when they die), came a little, and bought the nifty wig shown in the picture. I was going to get an Ariel long curly red wig, but then I saw this beauty and simply couldn’t say no. In my heart, I think I may well be a drag queen.

The rest of the evening was spent sorting through two different pattern packages and cutting out the pattern for a pale teal off-the-shoulder chemise that will form the base of the costume. My underbust corset will get an outer layer of shimmering turquoise fish scale fabric, and sometime this week I’ll be making a deep teal steampunked mermaid skirt with a metallic striped gold and teal bustle. And when the Worbla gets here I’ll be making myself a spined golden tiara encrusted with pearls, paua shell cabochons and rhinestones.

Why, yes, I go a bit overboard when it comes to costuming. But by God you are not going to be able to miss me at RT this year.