The photo shoot for Queen of Hearts is on Monday. I'm excited, I'm terrified and I'm hoping that it goes well. Why did I decide to do a photo shoot? Two words: Stockphotos suck. And my excellent cover designer that I am SO excited to be working with requested original images to work with.
And thus...photo shoot.
I looked and looked and looked online. I looked forever. I looked at places on the internet that no one should go, deep into uber-nerd territory, cos-play domains, D&D costuming warehouses.
Here's what I learned: there are only two types of Queen of Hearts costumes: the Disney version, which I hate, and the slutty naughty Halloween version, which I hate EVEN more. Not only that, but I needed a costume that was royal looking, black&white&red, and also could be a warrior-type outfit. The fact of the matter was, it didn't exist.
I was going to have to make my own, or at the very least adapt one. Finally I found a costume called, don't snort your milk now: "Lady Von Blood". Here is the original costume.
It's that typical "Elvira tramp meets ol'-Southern-curtains trainwreck" look, but it had some good bones- especially the military cut of the shoulders, and the possibilities of turning the dress into a coat. For awhile it seemed like this costume was cursed. First, it was out of stock. Then, it was mailed 4 WEEKS late. Then, and this is a REAL tragedy, and not because of the costume, but our dear friend who was set to do the sewing work on it had a very large house fire two days after Christmas. She's okay, in fact, in the true nature of her bright spirit she's downright chipper and already back to her full time job of being a blessing to everyone she knows. That's true Terri, right there. Obviously, she could not do it, seeing as everything she owns is getting oxygenated downtown, and uh, she has bigger things to worry about. So, I had to find someone who could sew in a hurry! The first person I asked wasn't able to do it. And the second person was also not able. We were on such a short timeline! I was out of options until Karen suggested Katie. Um, DUH! Katie, who makes amazing Halloween costumes every year for her and her hubby- why hadn't I thought of that?
I brought it over to Katie's house today and explained the problem. She looked at it for like ten minutes, and then we were off. Katie also understands my book very well, seeing as she is a test reader, in fact, besides Ryan, she was the earliest test reader.
To start with, she sketched it out. In case you didn't know, and I didn't, Katie at one time wanted to be a fashion designer. Just using colored pencils, she banged out this sketch that helped us move forward with changing the costume into something much better. I was amazed! Where did you COME from?
Katie, it turns out, does magic, and helped me (read: let me play with stuff) turn the world's ugliest drunken coven witch/non-sparkling vampire costume into an awesome Queen of Hearts warrior/royalty dress.
The first step was getting rid of this HIDEOUS skull fabric. I used Katie's special fabric scissors and was able to cut away these rocker skulls and cheap occult lace. Oh, did you think that was flowers? Me too. Nope, it's neon purple biker skulls. Classy.
We could not get that into the trash fast enough. The next step? The collar. The collar is very important because there is a very high chance that the collar will show on the book cover. There is something iconic about the checkerboard fabric that so often adorns the Queen of Hearts, and we needed to have that. This was all Katie. I found the fabric at a small store in Nebraska with Ryan's mom, and had brought it back here. Here is the collar before. (You don't need to say it. I know I look awesome in this picture. I am obviously NOT the model. We were just seeing how it looked on someone.)
Katie, using fabric glue and tape, covered both sides of the collar with the fabric and ribbon, and then added these gorgeous hearts at the tips.
While she did all the hard stuff, I worked on the sash, which Katie sewed from a super long piece of white fabric. We cut out red felt hearts and used fabric glue to attach them the sash, which will go around Erin's waist.
After we finished the sash and the collar, we put it all together to see what it would look like. Since we didn't have anything to put under it (Erin is wearing a full petticoat), we put Katie's wedding dress under it, just to see. So it will look sharper, but here it is..... TAADDAAA!!!
I think it looks pretty close to our original sketch, actually....
And it's going to get EVEN more fierce from here on out. Erin's petticoat will push out the bottom of the dress to give it that royal look. She has some black leather boots to wear under it, and we are getting ahold of some black fingerless gloves to give it a more "warrior" type feel. The crown that I have for her is flipping fantastic (thank you ebay!), and with a sword strapped to her back, she'll be ready to go!
From this to this in a matter of hours....
Katie, you are the Queen of my Heart today!