A popular question that has been posed to be time and time again is how I get my ideas for books? The Dark Days series started as nothing more than a short story that didn’t know when to end. Mira, my nightwalker, stepped forward with a wicked grin, a wheelbarrow filled with attitude, and a story to tell. I was just lucky that I found a publisher so I could tell her tale of danger, betrayal, heartbreak, and a love that transcends fear and common sense.
As books flow from my keyboard, I’ve noticed that a number of stories have run parallel to my own life, and sometimes vice versa. No, I haven’t taken to running on rooftops, sucking blood, or dismemberment. (Though, I can appreciate a good fire.) When I started taking some mixed martial arts training, I found that Mira’s fighting skills became more complicated and diverse (See the sparing scene between Mira and Danaus in Burn the Night). When I got a new car, Mira started driving a spirited little sports car (See the car Mira drives in the short story for the Unbound anthology). And when I discovered karaoke for the first time, so did Mira (See a mini-story I wrote about vampires and werewolves singing karaoke at the Dark Room)
And then a few years back, I got my first tattoo. That was the start of an addiction that I was not expecting. I had tossed the idea around for years, but it took a final decision on a design and a little burst of impulsive energy to finally have it done. I love the beauty of the art, the permanence, the little image that instantly proclaims to the world something that is integral to my personality or even belief system. I love the buzz of the tattoo machine and the sweet mix of pleasure/pain as the tattoo is being done.
Unexpectedly, I became friends with my tattoo artist and his co-worker in the shop. I’ve had four tattoos completed and spent more hours sitting around the quaint, interesting shop, hearing some of the crudest jokes on the face of the planet and some “true” stories that have turned my stomach. There are times that the little tattoo parlor feels like a sweet niche hidden away from the world where I can kick back.
It was during my second visit that I revealed my career and that I had vampire novels published. After some jokes, one of the artists declared that I next needed to write an urban fantasy novel about a tattoo artist. He was joking, but the suggestion stuck with me like a tick buried under the skin. There were plenty of other books on the market already that focused on magical tattoos that came to life or bound someone to another person. I was more interested in the tattoo artist for this new series and what kind of a world would a tattoo artist live in if his skin art did have magical properties.
So after a lot of research, brainstorming, and some of the usual staring at the wall as I turned over strange ideas, I developed a new series centered on a tattoo artist in a world inhabited by more than just your garden-variety human. When vampires are your next door neighbor, werewolves wave to you on your morning jog, elves are running your favorite coffee shop, and your boss at work is an ogre, literally, you might need a little bit of an edge to get ahead. This is where your local tattoo artist comes in handy. Mix a potion into your ink, and your dreams could come true – for a price. Good luck, a love potion, or maybe you’ve got a nasty ex that needs hexing – you don’t seek out a witch or warlock (NEVER that) – you head over to your local tattoo artist.
The Tattoo Artist series focuses on Gage Powell, a tattoo artist with a past he has to hide if he wants to live, and his two employees: Trixie, an elf on the run, and Bronx, a troll with his own secrets. The first book, Angel Wings, is set to come out in June 2012 and is about how Gage’s good intentions blow up in his face when he tries to help a dying young woman. Before that, two stories will be hitting e-readers, giving a teasing look into this new world and the adventures that wait.
Come on over to Low Town and stop by The Asylum Tattoo Parlor. They’re open late Tuesday through Saturday, and the artists are happy to help all types achieve their dreams.
My questions to readers are: would you be willing to brave the needle if you could get amazingly good luck? Would you get a little ink if it meant achieving fame? Or do you have an ex that you’d like to curse with uncontrollable flatulence? Would that be worth some ink? And if you did get ink, what dream would you chase after?