|I'm still celebrating the release of my tattoo novella, THE ART OF DESIRE, in the new Bantam anthology, HOT NIGHTS, DARK DESIRES, with guest authors blogging about their own tattoo experiences!
My guest author today is award-winning Zebra historical author, Kalen Hughes!
When Eden emailed me about being featured as an “inked author” I jumped at the chance. I love talking about my tattoos. A bit of background: I got my first tattoo when I was 25. It was a triangular modern primitive piece that hung between my shoulder blades. It was done by Patrick Conlon, who’s become something of a name . . . a few years later I was ready to expand it. Pat and I took it from its smallish beginnings to something simply amazing that spans my back from nape to waist (the painting shown here is of my back). A year or so later Pat and I added my bracelet. The backpiece is easily missed, for all it’s massive size. I wanted something I could see, something that was a little more public.
For me, being tattooed is about making a statement of tribal association. Much like the tattoos of the Japanese Yakuzi. The tattoo both claims a place in the specific society, and declares one’s commitment to it, as well as sets one apart from the mainstream, declaring one once and for all a part of the “other”.
In my other life I’m an award winning poet (how’s that for a secret?). I think this narrative poem says it best:
The Body as Fact
The burning question of our generation is not what car to buy. And it’s not what soda to drink (though historians will view commercials, and tell you differently). The question is what to do with the instincts we posses when they are no longer useful: We exist, we love, bound up in want need pheromone induced spark lust love at first sight call it what you will crap. Psychoanalysis occurs because we're out of touch, need someone else to tell us what's going on in our ids. Our common answer is a return to the primitive. A return to the body
as art, the body as artifact, the body as fact. Expression becomes a form of body language, or maybe its the other way round. Septum, cock, lobe, hood, the places we pierce with rings and bars and bones trip off the tongue (which also gets pierced, dumbbells of varying gages clicking when we kiss). We add tattoos: Black geometric shapes, the occasional natural curve
or coloured enhancement. Patterns not seen in generations (except in faded paintings and dusty daguerreotypes) stretch themselves around biceps, slide across pectorals and cleave to shoulder blades. A parade goes past each day . . . Maori, Iroquois, Huron, Ibo, Iniut, Aztec.
See it on Haight, Telegraph, in Sidney , Grenich, Venice , Soho, in Harlem, Paris , Watts .
Ritual scarification, branding, you name it: Body as art, the body a canvas, our rituals open to the public: No hidden treatises, no papal summit to decide what’s what: An endorphin baptismal . . . mark yourself with the mark of Cain, the mark of the believer, the mark of the unbeliever. Self‑mutilation, self‑love, self-glorification. All together and at once tribal affiliations are becoming necessary—we’re bound together in hate, in joy, in apathy, in nihilism, in love. The instincts are intact . . . our biological hearts are more than ticking: Pounding in time under the streetlights as we pass.
Kalen’s debut novel, LORD SIN, was a Romantic Times K.I.S.S. award winner as well as a 2008 nominee for their Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Her follow-up novel, LORD SCANDAL, is out June 1st.
Visit Kalen's website for book news and updates, and fascinating info on period costuming!
Anyone who posts here and is new to Kalen's work will be eligible to win a copy of Kalen's debut book, LORD SIN! Check back on May 30th to see if you've won!