Halloween Look: The Black-Feathered Queen

As a regular cosplayer, I think being able to dress up as a character is perhaps my favorite part of Halloween. When I was younger (before I even knew what the cosplay scene was all about), I would agonize over what I wear come October 31st. Often I would want to do a cool costume, but was was too self-conscious to be able to go all out. I felt like there was an unspoken mold that I needed to squeeze into.

Now that I’ve been attending anime conventions for a few years, have the make-up and special effects tutorials of Youtube to rely upon for expertise, and a lot more self confidence under my belt, I can finally try out those over-the-top looks I always wanted to as a kid. The other day I tried out what I thought of as my “black-feathered queen” look. I’m pretty pleased with the results!

The Inspiration:

This look was inspired by the Instagram group @elysian.fantasy.artistry who does just incredible fantasy photography shoots. I’ve been following their work for a few months now, and they never disappoint.

I had the idea for how it would look early one morning before I headed in for work. I took a few minutes to (badly) jot out the details before heading out the door. At the time, I didn’t even think about a crown, but that was added onto the concept later.

How I Made It:

The black feather shoulder pieces I made for my female!Scarecrow cosplay for DragonCon this year. There’s a wonderful Youtube tutorial that walks you through how to make these with feathers, hot glue, and shoulder pads. Basically I used the yellow contacts from that cosplay and the feathered shoulders, then added the black face paint and feathers to my face, with a dash of gold sheen and gold glitter.

The headpiece was more of a struggle than I expected. I took an old New Years plastic crown we bought for a few bucks at Party City last year and tore off the purple fur that was glued to the base. Then I hot glued black feathers all around it in layers, similar to how I did for the shoulder pads. Once that was done, I found a few yellowish green feathers from an old Steampunk outfit I had and added them to it as well to give it some dimension and some height.

Needless to say, I burned myself a lot…

Final Thoughts:

It’s not perfect, and you can definitely tell this is a makeup test and not the final product, but I’m really happy with how spooky it looks! It should definitely be an eye-catcher when I wear it to a Halloween party in the next couple of weeks. What I’m most pleased about is that it didn’t cost me any additional money, though honestly I had the pieces lying around because I do cosplay. The gold sheen Kryolan makeup was actually something we just picked up at DragonCon a month or so ago at the Arda Wigs booth (for quite a good discount!)

Although I never intended for my love of cosplay to spill over onto my writing blog, I suppose it was only a matter of time. It’s a hobby that I’ve grown to truly love, so I’ll probably be posting more cosplay pictures and discussions here as I create/break/repair/attempt things, mixed in with my normal writing updates. This blog has been straight writing for (at least!) five years now, so maybe it’s time for it to stretch its legs a little.

Do you have any cool makeup looks or costumes you’re hoping to try out for Halloween this year? I’d love to see what you’re putting together!

Stay spooky, dearies! ๐Ÿ’€โค๏ธ

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My Love of Lore

I’ve been a long-time listener of the podcast series Lore. I forget how I first found out about it. My friends know that I write horror and that I love dark tales, so when I ended up having multiple close friends recommend it, I decided to check it out. Basically Aaron Mahnke will choose a particular topic or theme, and then explore it by beautifully mixing tales with history, and analyzing the topic with respect for the time periods he’s analyzing. He’s tackled changelings, werewolves, vampires, etc.

I was thrilled to hear it was going to get a series on Amazon, but I tried not to get my hopes up. The podcast series was great, but I wasn’t sure how well it could be transferred to a video series. I’m happy to say that after spending the last week watching all the episodes available, that my fears were mistaken. In fact, I would even say that the visuals add so much to the words that Mahnke puts to the episodes.

They do historical reenactments, portraying terrifying experiences and really making the viewer experience the same frightening beliefs that their characters do. Sometimes this gets to be very uncomfortable, especially since historically women were powerless or seen as property and therefore are truly at the whims of the people around them, no matter how disturbing their beliefs. They are also able to pull in historical scenes more often too, whether that’s through video clips that are available or historical documents that really bring the stories home. The series also doesn’t shy away from blood and gore, but they do switch to illustrations whenever they go to portray a gruesome scene, thereby showing the gore just as clearly but taking away the potential production costs.

And that artwork is simply gorgeous. The werewolf episode for example just had me giddy as a long-time werewolf lover. The art style changes each episode to better reflect the topic for the episode. It feels organic and fluid and matches beautifully with the topic of the episode. It reminds me of the switch to animation that you see in Kill Bill Volume 1, which I loved then and I still love now.

My only complaint is that the series was too short, though considering the podcast has over a hundred episodes, I think they have plenty to work with down the road.

The Angry Woman

Check out the scary ghost story that got posted up for HWA’s Halloween Haunts today! I may or may not have been the author for it, and it may or may not be based on a real experience that my friends and I had in New Orleans years ago.

“The Angry Woman” by Marlena Frank

If you liked this piece, hopefully you’ll consider adding my upcoming YA dark fantasy novella,ย The She-Wolf of Kanta, to your To-Read list on Goodreads.

Every day in October, blog posts will be posted by horror authors on HWA’s blog. They’ll be showcasing their love for Halloween, maybe with a snippet from their novels or a giveaway or two. So if you dig scary stories, be sure to check back each day!

Happy Hauntings, friends.

Trapped_WilliamsMeigs

“Trapped” by Darion on Flickr

In the Mood for Halloween

It’s finally October, one of my favorite months of the year! We’ve been busy getting our Halloween decorations up today, which of course meant cleaning up the mess that remained after convention season came to a close last weekend. I also forgot that we got a big bag of miniature skulls to put around the house. So those are going everywhere.

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What I also like about October is how everyone expresses their love of horror! All month long, the Horror Writers’ Association will be showcasing the work of its members in Halloween Haunts. Horror authors will be talking about Halloween, posting snippets of upcoming books, or even hosting book giveaways. Last year I gave away a copy of Not Your Average Monster Volume 2. My post will be up on the 10th titled “The Angry Woman” about our eerie visit to New Orleans and the frightening haunting we experienced.

I also just sent off the final round of edits for The She-Wolf of Kanta! Fortunately the second round of edits weren’t nearly as difficult as the first, but I always enjoy putting together some nice background sounds that make me think of the piece. Usually it’s best without lyrics so that the words don’t interfere with my thoughts. A wonderful app that I like to use is called myNoise. I first got introduced to them as a way to help concentrate at work, but since then I use the app constantly. I bought the full pack to access all their songs, so I can get new sounds as they release them. The great part about it is that you can overlap up to 6 noises at once, all set to their own individual settings. Below are the sounds I mixed to get the feel I liked for She-Wolf of Kanta.

The Huu chant gives some nice low melodic sounds mixed with wordless vocals that give the mix an ethereal quality. The Autumn Walk literally has a person’s footsteps going through dried leaves which I really love since I associate Mercy with that scent and sound. I also really like the cawing crows occasionally with a few cheerful birds, like an idealized view of the woods that Mercy wishes she could visit. Finally the Twin Black Lodges has a nice mysterious/spooky sound that’s hard to describe, but was apparently inspired from Twin Peaks. If you have the app, give this mix a listen and let me know what you think!

 

Dead Man’s Hill

So while I was out of town last week, the latest issue of The Sirens Call Publications eZine got released!

Not only is this whole issue FREE to read, but my story, “Dead Man’s Hill”, featuring some entertaining zombies, is contained within.

You know you’re not ready for Halloween to leave just yet.