Go, Cowboys! Ooh Rah!

My life is pretty damn surreal and amazing, if I do say so myself.

In the course of researching and writing 50+ books over the  past 9 years or so, I’ve met some pretty fabulous people, from cowboys, to military, to restauranteurs, who provide me with inspiration and fodder for my stories.

Sometimes, all of those folks collide. And sometimes I get really cool stuff too! Case in point… the lovely folks I met from Oklahoma through Joseph’s Fine Foods in Drumright while researching my cowboy book set at OSU in Stillwater through one of my Army contacts who was then a student there. Add to that one of my old USMC contacts who happened to be a door gunner on a CH-53 and deployed to Afghanistan and you’ve got the makings of a really cool freaking story of how in 2013 a romance writer from NY ordered an OSU Cowboys Pistol Pete flag from Amazon and shipped it to Camp Bastion to be flown in a helicopter appropriately called a ‘Super Stallion” over the Helmand Province during combat operations for Operation Enduring Freedom. The crew reportedly ‘had a little excitement’ during that flight.

Hand to God, it’s all the truth. I’ve got the documentation and the flag and the pictures to prove it. With that, I am proud to wish the OSU Cowboys all the luck in the world this Saturday in their game against Iowa State. It’s a lucky flag. That helo crew can attest to it. 🙂

The OSU Flag aboard  a USMC CH-53 over Afghanistan

The OSU Flag aboard a USMC CH-53 over Afghanistan

The flag & certificate signed by the crew -Aircraft Commander, Co-pilot, Tail Gunner and 2 Door Gunners.

The flag & certificate signed by the crew -Aircraft Commander, Co-pilot, Tail Gunner and 2 Door Gunners.

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Iowa State Cyclones

#RWA2014 San Antonio, TX – What I did on my summer vacation

My trip to San Antonio, TX was hot (well over 100 degrees daily), interesting, amazing, exhausting, eye opening and unforgettable. I went from meetings with industry professionals at the conference at the Riverwalk, to culinary adventures in Market Square, to a video filming for Amazon Kindle Love Stories and Kindle Worlds, to absorbing local color at the Cowboy Dancehall.  I now know there are more cowboys and tortillas (for breakfast lunch and dinner) in the state of Texas than anywhere else, that Prickly Pears are purple and that you can indeed have bull riding, dancing and live music all simultaneously under one roof. All in all, there were many things learned, new friends made, and old ones revisited and it was well worth the trip from NY and the time spent away from the WiP. Below are a few highlights in pictures.

The River Walk San Antonio TX

The River Walk San Antonio TX

Prickly Pear Margarita at the Kensington Dinner

Prickly Pear Margarita, Kensington Dinner, La Margarita

Bella Andre & Cat Johnson Kindle Worlds Video Shoot

Bella Andre & Cat Johnson Kindle Worlds Video Shoot

Cat Johnson Kindle Love Stories Interview

Cat Johnson Kindle Love Stories Interview

Cat Johnson at the Alamo San Antonio TX

Cat Johnson at the Alamo San Antonio TX

The Alamo

The Alamo

Cowboy Dance Hall PBR Bull Riding

Cowboy Dance Hall PBR Bull Riding

PBR Touring Pro San Antonio

PBR Touring Pro San Antonio

Live Music Cowboy Dance Hall SanAntonio

Live Band, Cowboy Dance Hall, San Antonio, TX

Barnes and Noble and the Case of the Stolen Nook

Just when you thought it was safe… BAM! more WTF-ery hits but this time, it’s not so bad for me because you know any publicity is good publicity. 😉

So here is the PDF to explain what I’m talking about.

Barnes and Noble and the case of the stolen Nook

FYI, the post on the Barnes and Noble Book Blog went up and was removed within about an hour on Friday night, but not before the romance community exploded all over Twitter and Facebook about it.

But we all know things on the internet can never totally disappear, now can they…

July 19th Week In Review – Books and Bologna

YES, JOSEPH’S FRIED BOLOGNA IS REAL!

Eat BolognaYesterday a reader in Oklahoma reported being stopped in a store and questioned where she got the Joseph’s Fine Foods shirt she was wearing. The women said to her, “Do you know that’s mentioned in a romance novel?”

My reader said, “You don’t say? And I’m sure the author Cat Johnson and the owners of Joseph’s will be very happy you recognized the name.” Which is when the reader exclaimed, “It’s real? We thought it was a fictional restaurant.”

After a good laugh, my reader explained it was very real, and just down the road. She gave them directions, told them to try the bologna sandwich and if they were lucky, there might be some cool swag there too. The women explained they were from Enid, OK and were here in the Stillwater/Drumright area for the night. They had just read my ONE NIGHT WITH A COWBOY, and loved it, and had every intention of hitting up Joseph’s today before they leave for home.

How freaking cool is that?!? The power of the promo ‘ho is strange. And this truth is stranger than fiction moment wins as my OMG Moment of the Week. On to the next…

Alpha Bad Boy Bundle

Running a close second to highlight number one above is this… This week marked the official release of our ALPHA BAD BOYS bundle and I’m thrilled to announce it hit #1 at All Romance site wide, and though ranks change hourly, I’ve seen it at #5 at Barnes & Noble and #12 at Amazon, both site wide. Very cool!

The price is about to go up so if you want this bundle filled with 7 full stories from 7 authors for the 99 cent intro price, get it now. I’m truly not being coy by not telling you when the price will go up. It is because I’m not exactly sure. Coordinating 7 authors has been a monumental undertaking and I’ve heard everything from Saturday (as in tomorrow) to next Monday for the price hike and I don’t want anyone angry at me if I promise one date and it turns out to be another. All I can tell you is if you want it, get it now.

Amazon for Kindle

Barnes and Noble for Nook

Smashwords (Multiple formats)

All Romance eBooks (Multiple formats)

Kobo

What will next week bring? God only knows, but I can’t wait to find out!!

Cat

It’s July 4th! Military Gift Ideas for All!

It’s the 4th of July. The year is half over and there are only 173 Days left until Christmas!! And in the rodeo world, this holiday is also sometimes called Cowboy Christmas. So that leads me to a question… Have you started gift shopping yet? LOL

Whether the answer is yes, ma’am, or hell no, are you crazy, woman?! you all know how I like a theme, so I have compiled a list of patriotic items that I’ve purchased in the past month or so. Enjoy!

Uncle Sam Dress on Military Romance Author Cat Johnson  Inflatable Uncle Sam 

UNCLE SAM!!

This is Uncle Sam’s holiday and boy do I have a few doozies for you! A “one-size-fits” all “dress” from China bought on eBay that was too short for even me, at not quite 5′ tall to wear as a dress, so after the picture (Above) was taken, I bunched it up around my waist and made it a tank top for the Book Obsessed Chicks Bookclub BBQ Beach Party I attended last weekend. My shirt/dress would have looked great next to my inflatable Uncle Sam I purchased on Oriental Trading .com. He was actually in the car during the party, deflated in the box, but I wasn’t on my ‘ho game that day.  FYI, for that party I carried a stars and stripe beach bag and made red, white and blue star cookies for the dessert buffet, and my swag giveaway for the goody bags was red, white & blue striped Cat Johnson logo beach balls. Told you I like a theme.

Got Heroes Cat Johnson Beach Ball

GRENADE PAPERWEIGHT!

This is one of those things that nobody needs but it is so frigging cool I had to have it. It’s a real “pineapple” hand grenade (no longer operational, of course). I bought it and some flags off a website. The grenade sits proudly in my writing room. The flags are currently in Afghanistan where plans are to have them flown before they are returned to me. Cool, huh?! (The ‘secret squirrel’ patch was just for fun, a gift for one of my military consultants!) There’s one more gift I recently bought for one of my guys–a USMC bible. Small in size so it can be packed for deployment, imitation leather bound and embossed with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and his name and delivered in a gift box. It’s sold for all the branches of the service and would make a great gift for any current or former military person in your life.

Cat Johnson's Hand Grenade PaperweightUSMC Bible

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you so far. Not a bad start to your holiday shopping list. No?

For those celebrating, have a safe 4th of July. For all of my guys currently deployed and working a 12 hour shift today in uniform and in the heat–I love ya and I thank you for all you do.

Cat

Corsets Live and in Action!

I had such a good response to the Corset 101 post, I decided to do a quick follow up with pictures and invite one of my blogger friends famous for her corsets at conventions to share her pictures.

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty in a Corset 2 Kitty in a corset Kitty tutu RT 2011

MY GUEST KITTY KELLY ON HER OWN CORSETS (Pictured above)

The Here Kitty, Kitty and silver and black corset are steel boned corsets (also me sitting on the floor-it can be done!).  The black with metal chain is a fashion corset-which I cannot wear.  lol It left me with horrible bruising and didn’t hold up the boobs for very long.  lol 🙂


KittyKelly
www.thesmuttykitty.com

Cat Johnson in a US Flag Corset at RT 13Cat Johnson in a Camouflage Corset at RAGT 12

Pictured above, my steel-boned American Flag corset (worn to the RT 13 gala with my combat boots in support of The Boot Campaign) and my green camouflage fashion corset with matching boots at RAGT 13.

CORSETS 101: LESSONS OF A CORSET VIRGIN

My journey from corset virgin to a corset-clad vixen began a few years ago. I started attending romance book conventions and noticed the proliferation of corsets and eventually I started to feel left out. So not knowing what the hell I was doing I bought my first one. I bought it online so there was no trying it on. I ordered the size suggested for my measurements and got scared when I tried it on and realized how tight it was going to be, so I chickened out and reordered the next size.

blouseI bought an underbust corset, not knowing what I was going to wear under it. As you can see from the picture at left, you NEED something to wear with an underbust style corset.  Though now that I see this adorable  I wanna be a pirate wench Edwardian Off Shoulder Cropped blouse, I want it. Only 28 bucks too! Thanks to Hips and Curves for the use of the images in this post and for the following suggestion regarding what to wear with an underbust corset–“You can add a tank top for a Steampunk look, or a lacy bra by itself or with a sheer blouse.”

So basically, much like I buy wine because I like the label, I bought that first corset because it had a leopard print. And I’ve never worn it… Yet! I say that because I did just try it on with an ivory tanktop and it looks great so stay tuned.

Anyway two more corsets later, both of which I have worn out in public, I feel a little better versed in the world of corsets, though I’m still learning and expect there is much more I have yet to discover. I’ve seen some steel boned ones sold for hundreds of dollars, and I’ve seen some fashion ones on sale for as little as $19, and there are any number of corsets available for every price point in between. All I can say is I can tell the difference in the quality of the construction between the lower end and the higher end corsets, but it’s up to you to decide. I own one of each and I wear them both equally.

Here is a quick list of a few things you might want to know before making your first purchase…

Sizing  This is the tricky part. Read the description carefully on how it’s sized. Consult the websites SIZE CHART. In my experience I’ve found some are sold (the fashion ones usually) as Small, Medium, Large, Ect. And some waist-training steel boned corsets are based on waist size in inches but are meant to be ordered by waist size minus a few inches in anticipation of it being tightened. If you order online, make sure to read all the info but more important, make sure it’s returnable! Look for sites with No Hassle Return Policies.

Steel boned (waist-reducing) corsets   My 3rd corset purchase (the American flag one I wore to RT ’13) was on of these. These are the real deal. Think Scarlett O’Hara hanging onto the bed post. Now I know why she was fainting all the time because you can lace these suckers tight and actually take inches off your waistline. Or we modern women can wear them more comfortable and a little looser and enjoy our evening out. It comes with nylon lacing. I’ll admit I’m not that brave and I don’t order mine 4 inches smaller than my waist size like suggested on some sites. I tend to order just like an inch smaller, but that can be risky if you order too big as well.  Then there is too much material and you can’t lace them tight enough. I could have ordered my steel-boned smaller and been just fine. So like I said, look for a good return policy until you learn your size.

No Privacy Panel

Fashion corsets  My 2nd corset purchase (the camouflage one I wore to RAGT ’13 and to AAD ’12) was a fashion corset. It has plastic boning and no privacy panel and the lacing is a ribbon, and not nearly as substantial as the laces in my steel boned one, but it works and looks great and gets plenty of compliments. As long as you realize what you’re getting, I see no problem.

Corset with Privacy PanelPrivacy panels  This is that extra strip of fabric that runs beneath the lacing in the back and prevents your bare skin from showing. My fashion corset does not have a privacy panel, my steel boned one does. I guess it all depends on your level of comfort with bare skin, but honestly, my boobs are so out there in a corset, no one is worried if a few inches of my back is showing. The red Satin Jacquard Corset shown above right has no privacy panel so a bit of sexy back peeks through the lacing. Compare that to the black corset to the left, which does feature a privacy panel to provide added coverage.


Length
 I’m tiny, not even five feet tall, so I’m short waisted and I have to make sure to not choose a long corset. Some are short and some are long and they will usually note that and include measurements in the description so be aware when choosing one.

In addition to a CONSTRUCTION link on the detail page that describes the materials used in the creation of the garment, the corset pictured at the left includes this text in the description to indicate the length…

Adelaide Luxe Long Line Steel Boned Corset

“Corset is long length, providing added support at the lower abdomen (perfect for women who are tall or those with a long torso).”
Long Torso Corset

That’s enough info to get you started, so go shopping and maybe get yourself a corset because next post I’ll cover how the hell you get yourself into one! It was an eye-opener, I can tell you that!