If Halloween weekend wasn't enough and you've still got a thirst for costumes and theatrics, local writers Megan Clark, Monica Drake, Delilah Marvelle and Jessica Morrell appear as Dangerous Women: Mistresses, Bitches & Clowns this weekend at In Other Words. Gypsy sounds from Vagabond Opera's Eric Stern bring the evening to a cabaret boil. Here's the breakdown.

MISTRESSES: Portland's queen of historical romance novels, Delilah Marvelle, revives the didactic women's novel of 19th-century London in Mistress of Pleasure (Zebra Books, 352 pages, $3.99—it's pulptastic!). If you take the free-from-male-power characteristics of Moll Flanders and add an overbearing courtesan grandmother, you get Maybelle de Maitenon, who resists her g-ma's sexual legacy until circumstance forces her to be courted by the very man she has long resisted.

The evening's other mistress, Megan Clark, is a local exotic dancer gone novelist—though she didn't stray far from the pole with her first book, the erotic Rescue Me (Kensington, 210 pages, $14). Clark follows Danielle, a budding photographer, in her search for inspiration, which leads her to Europe and a whole new palette of sexual exploits and exotic men with funny accents.

BITCHES: In her newest book, Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction (Writer's Digest Books, 304 pages, $16.99), Jessica Morrell walks writers through the process of creating believable, fully fleshed antagonists and anti-heroes—providing her readers with the know-how to make a B-word with the power of their very own minds.

CLOWNS: In Clown Girl (Hawthorne Books, 297 pages, $15.95), Monica Drake channels the reality of a modern-day lady-clown, Sniffles. Set in Baloneytown (that'd be Portland), the story follows Sniffles' struggles not only with her lovelorn feelings for fellow clown Rex Galore, but the devastation of a miscarriage and subsequent health problems. And, of course, there's the eternal question: Does a clown preserve her art, or sell out to the corporate circuit and clown fetishists? As Sniffles struggles with empowerment—balancing big-money clown gigs against her memories of art and love with Rex, she acts as a microcosm for the theme of the Nov. 15 reading—she is ultimately a woman liberated by her art.


Dangerous Women: Mistresses, Bitches & Clowns at In Other Words, 8 NE Killingsworth St., 232-6003. 4 pm Saturday, Nov. 15. Free.