Remember the story about the troll who lived under the bridge—yes, well, that twit didn’t have to pay rent.
Owner and operator of Bits and Pieces, and resident expert on charms and glamours, Elsa Karr is a witch with a sour frown and a list of things to do as long as Thor’s hammer. Top of the list is saving her father’s shop from ruin. If she isn’t trying to claw her way out of debt, she’s arguing with her cat, Fenris, or shoveling carts of cake into her gob. She’s not interested in romance or the vampire who rents the flat above her shop. All she wants is a little peace and chocolate–fine, all right! All right! The vampire is kind of screw all cute. (Curse him.)
The disgraced son and heir of the Wingates House vampire clan and a mad-man to boot, Marshall Ansley spends most of his time working and dodging his mother’s phone calls. Marshall is beyond family. He’s beyond everyone, actually. Don’t be daft, he especially doesn’t do…Christmas. But behold, the plague brings an original flavor of annoyance this year when his boss tasks him with acquiring the account of a recluse fey and her upcoming Gothic clothing boutique, Sinister Stitches. That is the ONLY reason he’s bothering with his shrewish landlord. No, that’s it. No…really. Fine, if you insist, the witch might be a tad bit…all right, she’s adorable. (Damn her.)
Scrooge meets Scrooge. Dominant meets Dominant. Tempers…spark. In each other, they may unfold a tale that only comes to pass on the darkest of nights.
~ Bewitching BT
Sophie Avett’s Sinister Stitches Dress Fitting Interview, guest-starring Jennifer Blackstream’s Princess Irina (One Bite)
My characters are either naked or dressed to kill. Given they’re all monsters stalking the city of New Gotham’s twisted, cracked, and cobbled streets, the criminal wardrobe is part of the job description. Rockabilly princesses, corpse brides, leather queens…my city is full of them. Where do they get their menacing threads?
There is a boutique hiding out between the fractured, narrow store-fronts lining the foggy docks. The shingles are ribbed and black. Washed, peeling paint and displays offering views into wicked leather and lace studded glam. The mannequins are ghoulish beauties stitched together from whatever was left from the last fool to cross one of the sinister witches.
Push open its shabby, frosted front door. Tiny white flakes of paint will pepper the wind like spectral dust. The minute you set heel onto waxy polished oak floors and step into the candelabra fire-light you know…
This is where the magic happens.
Welcome to Sinister Stitches
“…apparel for a wicked fairy tale.”
A spicy trinity of black magic sisters breathe star-dusted dreams to life with their gothic apparel boutique. They are schooled in the old ways of “fabric-bending” by the Needlewitches of old. With this knowledge, they’ve created an entire line of clothing that all share the same basic design element: one-size fits all. Each garment will magically tailor itself to its wearer once worn. There might be some “twirling” required, but a vampire’s steady hand should turn every wardrobe change into a stolen moment.
Care to take a peek at what the Sinister Stitches has to offer?
Check out some of the questionnaire Jennifer Blackstream’s Princess Irina from One Bite was asked to fill out after she wandered into Sinister Stitches.
THE WITCHES WHO STITCH QUESTIONNARE
Please provide the witches with your name: Princess Irina
Please provide the witches with the following:
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: [ ] Short and Sassy, [ ] Medium and Modern, [X] Lush and Long
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Skin Tone: [ ] Ghoulish, [x] Snow White, [ ] Cina-baby, [ ] Mochalicious, [ ] Dark Chocolate, [ ] Other:__________
Please provide the witches with your measurements and body-type.
a.) Height: 5’9”
b.) Body Type: [ ] Skeletal, [ ] Lean and Tender, [X] Lean and Tough, [ ] Ripe and Edible
Do you have any extra extremities? Place an “X” to all that apply.
[ ] Horns or [ ] Halo
[ ] 20 ft. of Hair or More
[ ] Gills and Fins or [ ] Hooves
[ ] Wings (Span: )
[ ] Tail (How many: )
How many heads do you have?
Just the one on my shoulders. I leave the head collecting to my ambitious other half.
Do you have arms and legs? If so, how many?
Yes, a pair of each.
How dead are you? [x] Living, [x] Undead*, [ ] Astral Form
What is the occasion? (Ideas include: Wedding, Funeral, Sabbath, etc. Oh, and seduction is a valid occasion. The more details, the better.)
I’ve promised my husband to have a word with the leshii to see if I can’t get them to make a formal political alliance with us. We’re attending a lovely dinner with a dear friend of mine who happens to live with the leshii. Not a small gathering, but not a grandiose ball either.
What’s the occasion setting? (Beach, haunted castle, grand ball, etc.)
We’ll be visiting the leshii in their forest abode.
Will you be running for your life at some point in the evening? (Helps with shoe selection.)
It is very likely. Despite my warmth for the leshii, there is always the possibility they will not find Kirill’s single-mindedness as charming as I do.
Will you be set on fire? Better yet, will you be setting other people on fire?
No. Fire will be the least of my worries among forest dwellers such as the leshii.
Will you be grave-robbing? (Dirt is a dressmaker’s tedium.)
Definitely not. My husband has very firm feelings on the matter. If there’s any grave-robbing to be done, he can bloody well do it himself.
Is your neck a dinner plate?
Do you hope to be naked at some point in the evening? (All right, dirty birds. Such questions are actually intended toward the weres and shifters in regards to their transformations.)
My body will remain in the same shape throughout the evening.
Describe your last brush with Death in two sentences. (Helps us plan for the unexpected.)
Ate a poison apple. Was locked in a glass coffin.
Do you need a secret compartment for weapons, wands, tampons, etc.?
Yes. I must be able to reach the dagger strapped to my thigh as quickly and subtly as possible. One on each side would be best, since I have not seen the seating chart.
What are your three favorite colors?
Blood, Coal, Dusk
What two colors rattle your kettle?
Please pick a style that you feel embodies you the best. If none apply, feel free to surprise us by providing your own brilliant description in the “other” slot.
[ ] Rockabilly Starlet: This is for the spoonfuls of sugar. The good-natured and naughty girl next door types. Candy is the business and fairy tales are ultimate. More often than not, her head is in the clouds and her nose in the book. Our dreamers.
[ ] Leather Queen: This is for the warrior princesses. The type of girls who give boys a run for their money and wear tight jeans just watch the little vampires come undone. Hands for fighting and these heels for ass-kickings. Our protectors.
[X] Medieval Mistress: This is for the no-nonsense girls. The ones who know better because they’re ten steps ahead. They’re schemers—they might be shy, or they might not be. More importantly, they’re selective. Our wisdom.
[ ] Gothic Dame: This for the mysteries. The ones no one can quite make heads or tails out off. She’s a mixture, a melting pot of sugar and sinister. She might be Rockabilly Starlet one day, or a Medieval Mistress other days. Our sisters.
[ ] Other: _____________________
Who is your favorite fairy tale villain?
If you could be any fairy tale princess, who would it be?
Now, tell us the twit you hate most.
My stepmother. She’s dead now, so I feel better.
Anything else you’d like to add…
After many barrels of chocolate, a dash of magic and furious sewing…
Sinister Stitches’ Medieval Mistress,
Astrid Dweyer presents Princess Irina’s Completed Dress
A slender vampire with miles of oil-black coils wound at her feet like a snake is seated demurely in a sweeping emerald taffeta evening dress. She uses the tip of her twisted bone wand to pull down purple tea-shades down her slender nose: I’m Astrid and I’m Sinister Stitches’ reigning Medieval Mistress. Apparently, I’m also the only one who still has any bloody sense in this godforsaken city. Honestly, I’m not sure how I got roped into this. But I digress, let’s get down to the knitty and stitchy shall we?
The dress is black because who the bloody hell treks into a forest wearing white?
The collar is low because men are impatient creatures—vampires incorrigible.
It is detailed with Trodfolk (troll) lace, frog clasp fastenings, and the bustle skirt flares from the waist in sleek waves of black Moonbane satin imported from Avalon’s glittering shores.
The swath of enchanted fabric can act as a cape, cloak and is dirt-resistant. That being said, if he simply must eat right now—do take care with blood stains.
Note that the short pencil skirt is equipped with slits at the thigh for easy weapon retrieval and freedom of movement. Once again, if he insists that he must…eat right now, bring the dress back to us and we’ll stitch it back together. It will be free. But questions WILL be asked. And all the nitty gritty details will be REQUIRED. Thank you.
The red tale is emblazoned with naga snake skin gold print. It fastens with a hook for easy adjustment and disposal, but it would be a shame to lose it as it’s riddled with several mini-compartments for all sorts of poisons, lock picking tools…a nail file.
Sinister Stitches recommends paring this dress with a short white fox fur-lined cloak, a pair of brocaded lace tights and your best hunting boots.
IMPORTANT BULLETINS from THE PIXIES:
Fancy a tour of New Gotham? Check out New Gotham’s Survival Guide! It might save your life! (Link: http://sophieavett.weebly.com/new-gotham-bonus-content.html)
For more information about Sophie Avett’s New Gotham novels and Sinister Stitches series and recent release, ‘Twas the Darkest Night, please check out her website: http://www.sophieavett.weebly.com.
For more information about Jennifer Blackstream and Princess Irina’s adventure in One Bite, please check out her website: http://www.jenniferblackstream.com
Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_24455141_woman-in-black-and-red-lace-dress-and-flowers-on-stone-outdoor.html’>kasanka / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_24238171_fashion-portrait-of-a-woman-in-black-lace-with-red-flowers-on-stone-background.html’>kasanka / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_23261093_mysterious-girl-in-black-lace-dress-from-fairytale.html’>kasanka / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
” “Pardon the interruption, Ms. Karr, but are you ready for dinner?”
She forced her hand to her side and tossed a flat frown over her shoulder. “Indeed,
Leaning against the door frame, Marshall was the picture of bloody elegance. Black
slacks with a matching vest. A deep wine shirt. He’d left the top buttons undone. It was rich
simplicity, and he wore it sickeningly well. Damp, disheveled locks drifted over his eyes as he
peered at the blue marble on the coffee table with interest. She breathed in deeply, thoroughly
appreciating the combination of his sandalwood body wash and amber cologne. His mouth
quirked and she swallowed twice before she could speak. “Huldra, I—”
“And then be done with it, Elsa.” Ingrid reminded her firmly, but added in her signature
sultry burst of frost. “Otherwise, enjoy. For both of us.”
Marshall lifted his eyebrows slightly and Elsa flushed and snatched up the speaker. She
tapped the orb and it died into a mundane glass marble. “Ignore her. Besides, I’m ready.” She
levered herself out of the chair and tossed the ball back in her bag. It clanked and rattled, circling
until it dropped deep into the depths of the magical pocket.
He reached out for her hand. “Come here.”
She draped a black fur stole over her forearm and eyed his palm with suspicion. “Why?”
“I mean you no harm,” he promised.
Time stilled between them. She searched his expression and found nothing but the steely
shrewd regard of a predator. Her feet felt heavy, leavened. She did not come to any man’s beck
and call. Never. Never again. She offered her hand, but did not budge an inch. If he wanted her
cooperation, he would appeal to her on her terms.
Marshall did not hesitate to take the distance between them, coming to stand so close,
so quickly she back-stepped and the back of her shins bumped the chair. Snowy blue eyes were
almost black in the shadows. His cool slender finger closed around her wrist and he hauled her
against the solid wall of his chest, his embrace sealing around her like a coffin.
“Stubborn little witch.” He yanked and something popped. She hardly noticed. She
was gone. Yearning for the individuals folds of the thin skin stretched across his bottom lip,
wondering whether each individual wrinkle was a crevice of flavor. What would he taste like?
Her tongue snaked out to tease the line of her mouth and she found it a poor substitute for his.
Marshall showed her the writing on the small tag he’d apparently pulled from her dress.
“Twirl to activate skirt,” his voice rolled over the words in a deep murmur. It vibrated it in his
chest and her naked shoulders tensed as she stifled a shudder. He took a step back and guided her
around. Slowly. So very slowly. He studied from hooded eyes. He savored. Without reserve or
One time around. Then two. Then a third. Every time their eyes would meet, her skin
grew warmer as desire deepened the snowy depths into a profound sapphire blue. Her knees were
weak, but as he drew her around faster and faster it didn’t seem to matter. Nothing seemed to
matter. He became her only point of focus in a world quickly blurring beyond what she knew.
Beyond what she could readily understand.
Magic. It crackled to life, sparking across the textile and thread. Energy tickled her naked
thighs and the limp silky material puffed and inflated into a billowing bell of smoky black tulle.
“What …” Unfamiliar excitement danced in Elsa’s veins and she reveled in the fabric twirling
about her. Wispy and light. Akin to smoke and shadows, the bottom hemmed by a ring of gray
Marshall finally drew her to a stop and she mopped her hair back out of her face,
breathless. He didn’t immediately close the distance between them again, and Elsa couldn’t
control her legs as they carried until the hem of her large skirt covered his slick black dress
shoes. They stood enthralled in the moonlight. Pale light beating down them like a blessing.
“Beautiful,” he whispered and backed away toward the door, drawing her along with him.
Tethered to him by their entwined fingers, Elsa couldn’t help but feel like somehow,
someway, Marshall had finally caught her. ”
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About the Author & Links:
Sophie Avett is kind of a nerd. Like not even one of the cute, hip ones everyone brags about nowadays. More like the socially awkward hippie who eats way too much bread and dreams about being a dragon from behind towers of mythology books. Um…yeah. Picture old, tattered paperbacks and comic books–mostly Batman and Wonder Woman–dwarfing a tiny desk, with just barely enough room for the troll who writes there and the 70 pound hell-hound that insists of laying it’s wet nose on top of her bare foot.
Granted not the most exciting existence, but she tries to make up for it by writing romances populated with her own peculiar ilk of paranormal beasties. Trolls, wyverns, the obscure Nordic brownie–she likes to keep things interesting. And bloody. (And mostly naked–but, we’ll keep that bit between us.)
Sophie Avett loves to hear from her readers. (Hi, mom.) So if there’s something on your mind, feel free to leave a message after the scream.
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