Monday, October 10, 2011

Do you tattoo? - Kandy Shepherd

Have you noticed how mainstream tattoos are these days? It’s more a question of which celebrity doesn’t have a tattoo than who does. Forget rock stars, rebels and gang members—middle-class suburban women are apparently the fastest growing group of people getting tattooed.


I’m sometimes surprised at the otherwise conservative women I know who sport ink. One friend has an intricate design on her upper arm that incorporates her children’s names. Another, an inspirational quote in beautiful calligraphy on the inside of her wrist that lifts her spirits when she’s down. Another has extensive, intricate body art to commemorate milestones in her life—she’s running out of skin!
Me, I’m way too chicken to contemplate the pain and permanence of a tattoo. I shudder at the thought of the hour of needling it takes for even a small one. Not to mention the expense. (If I’m going to have needling, I’d rather it was the cosmetic, wrinkle-reducing kind!)


But that doesn’t stop me admiring a well-done tattoo—particularly on a hunky male body. I’ve noticed more tattooed characters in romances—particularly heroes with bold inked patterns that serve to emphasize their toughness and masculinity. I'm seeing them in urban fantasy, paranormal, military and some historicals. 

Book cover designer Kim Killion from HotDamn Designs says she’s seen an increase in tats on cover heros. “Tattoos are a sign of a bad boy which is appealing to some women. In historical books, tattoos can also represent status.”
Kim says she cringes when her models show up with ink to a cover shoot. “It’s not that I don’t like the tattoo, it’s just that what they have will never match the tat on the character for the cover. Nine times out of ten the ink has to come off and a new tat put on. Not easy.” She’s talking removal and replacement via Photoshop, of course! 
Kim also writes award-winning Scottish historicals as Kimberly Killion. “My heroes tend to wear ink, but it always has a meaning. The tat always has a story of its own.” Check out the Celt-inspired tattoos on her cover hero in His Magick Touch.
I’d got right down to the final draft of my contemporary romance The Castaway Bride, before I realized my hero Matt Slade needed a tattoo. He’d worked on building construction sites since he was fifteen years old. How could he not have ink? I gave him a magnificent eagle across his back. He’d rescued and healed an injured eagle and its soaring flight to freedom inspired him to overcome his difficult childhood and achieve heights he could never have imagined. It wasn’t a gratuitous tattoo but part of his story. And it’s hot!
I also gave a character in my romantic comedy for Berkley Sensation Home Is Where the Bark Is a prison-inked tattoo on his wrist that gave away his role in an identity fraud. Quite a different characterization!
I’ll leave the final word on tattoos to two celebrities famous for their ink.
“Usually all my tattoos came at good times. A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery.” Angelina Jolie 
“My body is a journal in a way. It’s like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist.” Johnny Depp


What are your thoughts on tattoos? Do you have one yourself? Have you had a tattoo you regret? Is a romance hero with a tattoo a turn-on or a turn-off? Should people think before they ink? I’m giving away a free e-book of The Castaway Bride to anyone who comments here over the next five days via a coupon for Smashwords where you can download the book in a format to suit any e-reader or PC. Be sure to leave your email address if you would like the free download.
The Castaway Bride is my first foray into the exciting world of indie publishing and is only available as an e-book at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and other e-book retailers. It’s on sale for the bargain introductory price of $0.99c




TashNz said...

Hi Kandy. I'm not brave enough. The thought of the pain puts me off. I know lots of people with tattoo's, some are nice others are just gross. I know one person who's working on his "sleeve" (covers the whole arm), he's told me the total cost once it's finished and I'm just like ... oh my gosh... the cost is thru the roof!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Tash, I'm definitely with you--my pain threshold is way too low for a tattoo.
I can only imagine how much a sleeve tattoo must cost--in both dollars and hours. Yet it seems to be very fashionable. Think I'd go for the fake glove effect...
Thanks for being first to make a comment!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Kandy! Can I just first say what a gorgeous cover that is for THE CASTAWAY BRIDE?

I'm a "cleanskin" as they say, and I'd like to stay that way. Too much margin for error! Plus, an ex-flatmate of mine went through years of pain getting his tatts removed. Seeing that was enough to turn me off tatts forever.

If you're after a bit of a giggle, check out this site for some grammatically and politically incorrect tatts:

Cheryl Leigh said...

Hi Kandy,
I agree with Vanessa. Beautiful cover!

I don't mind if someone has a small, tasteful tatt in a not so prominent place, but generally I'm not a fan of them. As for me, if I can avoid needles, I will!

Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka said...

I have two tattoos and will likely get more at some point. My ink has a lot of meaning to me and the pieces I choose say a lot about my personality. I love them.

Kimberly Killion said...

Interesting post, Kandy! I want a tat, I just want to make sure the one I get will mean something to me in ten years. Ya know!?

Congrats on the release! Hope things are going well.

Dina said...

I have 1, a small rose that I got with my daughter. It means alot to me as she has nw been passed 5yrs. would get another to add to her memory.

Anna Campbell said...

Nah, can't say I've ever been keen on getting a tattoo. I don't even have pierced ears! Fun post, Kandy. And I think KK did a BRILLIANT job on the cover of Castaway Bride. Hope you're shifting lots of books - it's a GREAT story.

Melanie Milburne said...

HI]i Kandy,
Tattoos? I have so many friends who have spent thousands of dollars trying to get them removed a few years later. I totally understand why people want them but they look awful a few years down when your skin starts to sag. But to each her own. I have pierced ears which were considered tarty when I was young, and so were painted toenail considered cheap. Now I feel naked without my pink toenails!
Love your cover and title by the way!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Vanessa, thanks for your nice words about the cover of THE CASTAWAY BRIDE. Kim Killion is so clever!

Had a real laugh at the ugliest tattoos blog! Some of those would be very hard to get off if you changed your mind. Thanks for sharing.

Kandy Shepherd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Cheryl, thanks for calling by.
Like you, I'm not a fan of needles so doubt there is a tat in my future! When I was younger I did consider it, but the prospect of pain put me right off.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Seleste, everyone I know who has a tattoo (or two!) has a story behind it and a significance to share. Like you, they have been chosen to reflect their personality.
So nice to hear from someone who loves their ink!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Dina, I am so sad to hear about your daughter. I can only begin to imagine the devastation of your loss. How wonderful, though, that your rose tattoo, continues to bloom for you with memories.
Thank you for sharing.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Anna, I didn't realize you didn't have your ears pierced either! I inherited some beautiful earrings and they just sit in my jewelry box. I doubt I'll ever get a tattoo, but I must summon the courage to get my ears pierced!
Thank you for your nice words about THE CASTAWAY BRIDE. I'm getting some excellent reader feedback on it. The cover is so lovely, isn't it? Kim Killion did a brilliant job in summing up the feeling of the story.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Kim, so great to see you here! Thanks for sharing the cover designer view of tattooed heroes. I know what you mean about the timeliness of tattoos! Gotta be careful that what they signify stays special in your life...
Note all the nice comments about the cover for THE CASTAWAY BRIDE--clever you!

Annie West said...

Hi Kandy,

What a fascinating post! Yes, they're so much more popular now aren't they? You see them everywhere. Some look eyecatching or intriguing and some just don't seem to fit. Can't see myself ever getting one - what if I changed my mind later on? What, me a wimp?

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Melanie, I used to be a beauty writer and at one stage interviewed a number of dermatologists about laser removal of tattoos. It really brought to mind that warning "think before you ink".
But on the opposite end of the tattoo scale, I wasn't aware that they faded. A friend of mine whose tattoo is on her arm and gets lots of sun exposure is having to have her tattoo re-inked.
I'm with you on the painted toenails--even in winter I have mine colored!
Lovely to see you here and thanks for the nice comment on my cover and title.

Helene Young said...

Gorgeous cover for Castaway Bride, Kandy! And I'm with you - way too daunted to imagine sitting still and having needles stuck into me...

Living in Cairns where, courtesy of the heat, the average person wears shorts and tiny t-shirts baring their body to the world, I'm amazed at the extent of some of the ink work. I also see just as many women as men with tatts.

I was amazed at how many of our Flight Attendants now have designs - more than the pilots I suspect!

But I do love a hero with a meanful tatt!!

Sonali said...

Hi Kandy,

Frankly im scared of needles. I would prefer remaining sick rather than getting shots. That is the main reason behind why i do not have a tat why i might never gather the courage to get a tattoo. But i love a man who can rock a tattoo. It most definitely is not a turn-off for me.

Sharon Archer said...

Hi Kandy, great post!
I find tattoos fascinating but haven't been tempted to get one myself. I do like a meaningful tattoo where the person has got one for a particular reason. But with some people it seems that once they've broached that barrier, the lose a bit of perspective or something... I've come across a couple of people who have so many that I think it starts to look cluttered rather than appealing! Like a house that needs to have a good clear out - but of course the tats are permanent so you can't change your mind!


Cathleen Ross said...

I'd only get a magical tattoo that gives me powers. Otherwise, no thanks. I like them on other people if they're done well.

Cathleen Ross said...

I'd only get a magical tattoo that gives me powers. Otherwise, no thanks. I like them on other people if they're done well.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Annie, so nice to see you hear. Of course you're not a wimp! How can I call you a wimp when I'm even too chicken to have my ears pierced!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Helene, how interesting that so many flight attendants at your airline have tattoos. They are definitely fashionable. So nice to know you like a hero with ink!

Kandy Shepherd said...

"I love a man who can rock a tattoo" -- well said, Sonali! Thanks for your comment!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Sharon, I know what you mean. I think it gets to be an addiction with some people and they get so many tattoos, each individual one doesn't get a chance to stand out.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Cathleen, a magical tatto that gives you powers? That's a new take on ink! Fascinating!