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'The Haunted Pub'

The Haunted Pub - Giveaway

Contemporary Horror/Paranormal
Gay Fiction

When young cad Finlay Saunders spurns the wrong lover, he is murdered, his soul now tied to the place where his life ended. Though the building changes over the years, Finlay’s haunting of the living becomes so bad, that a priest is called in, trapping him in the wall of his ‘death room’.

Ninety-three years later, Finlay’s room is unwittingly reopened, and given to a twenty year old boy suffering from depression. His negative energy feeds Finlay's soul, and as soon as the first crackle of blaring rock music fills the room, his ghost is free once again to wreak havoc upon the living.

~ ~ ~

'The Haunted Pub' is set in Brighton, England.

Inside a typical (1930s built) Brighton pub...

My basic premise for the story was a pub run by hot rocker-type men, some of whom are gay, or have gay leanings, and then for a brash, kinky ghost to ‘wake up’ and start to play with them.
Yes, my ghost is a naughty, naughty boy. (That’s how he got himself murdered, after all.) Now his spirit is awake, hungry for energy, and he finds negative energy in abundance among the occupants. First, there’s the depressed emo kid, Fizz, who has a coming-of-age development when he meets and falls for Ash, a half Indian boy who sings in Ryan’s band.
Ryan, one of the long term bar staff, is desperately in love with Ginger, the gorgeous assistant manager who looks like a glam rocker. Then there’s Matt, the shy and cranky, heavy-metal loving chef, who seems to be locked in a bickering war with Sammy, another young bartender who's out and proud, and goads Matt whenever possible.
In terms of charged energy, the pub is a veritable melting pot for a naughty spirit!

There were so many colourful characters that burst to life in this story, but I have to admit my favourites are Ryan and Ginger. Ryan would be too modest to admit it, but he’s really the glue that holds the pub family together. He puts everyone’s needs before his own, and as a result he’s always been too afraid to admit his feelings for Ginger.
Since the ghost moved in, however, things keep conspiring against Ryan.

Read an excerpt and ENTER THE GIVEAWAY at Babes in Boyland!

Drawing will be at random, and shall take place 6pm UK time on Friday 26th April.

Adult Content

Horror, ghosts
Scenes of a sexual nature between men

Buy from ARe
Buy from Amazon
Add it on Goodreads

[ Author's note: 'Haunted Pub' is not a romance novel; it is a contemporary horror/paranormal. Though the author maintains in all her work a HEA/HFN ethic, because that's just how she rolls. Read the author's own review of the book here ]
New release ~ 'Rhys Has A Crush' by Melanie Tushmore

Free short story from Storm Moon Press

Add it on Goodreads

Download the story for free!


Nineteen-year-old wannabe rockstar Rhys spends his days hanging out and drinking with his garage band in his friend's house.

It's not like there's anything else to do in their boring home town.

Then Seb's older brother appears; a gorgeous vision in tight, black clothing, and long dark hair.

Rhys is instantly attracted, though his attempts to flirt with the mysterious Damien don't go all that well.

So Rhys resorts to a fail safe plan: steal Damien's phone number, and send him anonymous love-texts.

What could possibly go wrong?

Download now from Storm Moon Press


Lucky for me, Seb left his phone lying around his house. It’d been easy to swipe it, copy Damien’s number, and save it to my own phone.

But I wasn’t going to use my phone; I wasn’t that dumb. From the mall, I purchased a cheap model phone, and a pack of new SIM cards. Genius.

When I was home alone on Tuesday night, I set up my new anonymous, stalker-intent phone, and entered Damien’s number in.

I almost put a pet name in the ID – something like Lust God, or Sex On Legs – then I told myself to get a grip, and focus.

First part of operation ‘Entrap Damien’ had begun...

© Melanie Tushmore

See more of Melanie's books on Goodreads

Crucifox UK Word Glossary

For those who aren't familiar with Brit-speak, I've compiled a handy word glossary while writing the Crucifox series. If there are any other words you were confused by, let me know and I'll include them in the glossary!

Crucifox are from London, England. There are no 'cor blimey, guv'nor's, but there are lots of other words and phrases. Brandon is from Glasgow, Scotland.

Enjoy! (or "knock yourself out", as we'd say.)

Crucifox Word Glossary
Argy bargy – Fight, Drama, a 'to do'
Arsed – Bothered
Awright – Hello
Cabbie – Taxi driver
Chod, Turd, Poo, To 'take a dump' – Shit
Chuffed – Pleased (Not to be confused with 'Chuff' – Vagina)
Flat, Bedsit – Apartment
Gob – Mouth
Greasy Spoon – Café
Handy – Useful
Jo Ho – Jehovah's Witness
Knickers – Female underwear
Leary – Aggressive
Loo, Lav, Bog, Shitter, Bathroom – Toilet
Lift – Elevator
Nancy, Fanny – Wimp
Nick – Steal
Paddy, Strop – Tantrum
Pants, Kecks – Underwear
Pull, Pulling, to 'cop off'  – To score a date
Rolf – Vomit
Row, Barney – Fight, Argument
Sarnie – Sandwich
Scrap, Ruck, Tussle, Shillelagh's law, To 'deck someone' – Fight
Skint – Broke
Spliff, Jazz Fag – Joint, Marajuana
Tory – Conservative Political Party
Trousers, Trewsers, Strides – Legwear
Weed, puff, henry, ninebar – Marajuana
Whinge, Gripe – Complain

Crucifox Phrases
Argy, Eggy, To 'get a cob on' – Bad Mood
A bollocking, to 'tear them a new one' – A telling off, to have a go at someone
Betty swollocks – Sweaty bollocks
Bog Wash – Stick someone's head down a toilet
Do you want a belt in the gob? – Be quiet
Eh up – Hello / Check that out
Flapping – Fussing
Have a paddy / strop on – Throw a tantrum
Have it off / Cop off – A romantic encounter
If you can be arsed – If you wouldn't mind
Tit about – Mess about
Up the duff – Pregnant
You what? – I beg your pardon?

Crucifox Curse Words
Bollocks, Balls, Knackers, Nads, Goolies – Testicles
Bugger, Roger, To 'go in the back door' – Anal Sex
Chuff, Twat, Fanny, Flaps, Minge – Vagina
Dick, Prick, Todger, Tackle – Penis
Dickhead, Plank, Berk, Git, Twat, Tit – Idiot
Fuck, Shag, On The Job, To 'have it off'  – Sex
Wank, Toss – Masturbate
Wanker, Tosser – Masturbator

Brandon's from Glasgow
Aye – Yes
Away wi' ye – Go away / Be quiet
Eejit – Idiot
Eh? – I beg your pardon?
Hauld yer wheecht – Be quiet
Houe you – Hey, you
Nae borra – No bother
Scunnered – Drunk
Stander – Erection
Trewsers – Trousers
Wee – Small


No matter how hard I, or anyone else for that matter, tries to think of a good name for an indie company, The Sisters of Mercy beat us all to it a long time ago with their indie record label:


I am very pleased to welcome Azalea Moone to play Tush's Ten Questions! 



Azalea has a brand new release out, 'The Last Road Home', which I absolutely loved and, quite frankly, wanted to know more! If you love carnivals and handsome bad boys, step right up! 

Five Q's about the author

1. Who are you, and where do you come from?


Let’s see. I’m a 30 – something year old from Nebraska. It’s kind of boring here so I fill my time with writing hot M/M erotic romance. Oh, I guess it’s not all that boring, we do have a Carhenge. 





I don’t live anywhere near it, but I’ve been on a vacation just to see it. No, I live on the opposite side of the state, closer to Lincoln. It’s still boring here. I also have a couple of kids, a cat, and a boyfriend, so when I’m not writing, I’m usually pulling up the pants of the family and running the house.

2. What inspires you?


Fellow authors. Seriously, I have met some wonderful M/M romance authors online that really inspire me. I could name names, but the list would go on, and on, and on…

Music also inspires me. No matter the genre, the beat, or the meaning, a single song can inspire a complete story, or my life in general. It’s really been something I turn to for everything since I was little.

3. Describe your writing style in three words:


Sensual, slow, and hawt.

4. What's next in store for you?


A lot. Right now I’m pounding away at edits and working to sub a few manuscripts. I’ve really been interested in urban fantasy and you should see more of that genre in the future from me.

5. Read any good book(s) lately?


The book I just finished reading, Power Play: Resistance by Cat Grant and Rachel Haimowitz. The entire book is one great big mind fuck for both the readers and characters. It’s one of those that you have to know what’s going to happen next, though, and I’m anxious to read the next book.

Five Q's about the book

'The Last Road Home' 


1. What inspired the idea for your story?


It’s simple really. I spent about nine months on the travelling carnival and decided to write something involving the carnival.

2. The cover is gorgeous. Who are your two main characters?


The main character is Brett, who’s just left home to escape his parent’s conservative ways. So when his car breaks down several thousand miles away from home, he meets Ryan, a sexy bad boy type. Ryan is on his way to go to work at a carnival and offers Brett a job and a chance to make some cash. And… a lot more.

3. The story is set in a travelling fun-fayre. What made you choose this setting?


Again, I wanted something I was familiar with. Since a small scale like the one Brett and Ryan are on is like a little community, there’s tons of drama that I can tap into. Also, the lights, the sky wheel, the sounds, I think Brett is just as amazed by it as I was. 


4. Running away with the fayre; what's the appeal?


To get away. From what? Everything. I ran off because I was sick and tired of the crappy little town I was living in… oh, and I had my eyes on a certain guy. But after getting out there, I learned it’s not a vacation since you have to set up, tear down, be out all day in the heat, then deal with drama if you’re on a smaller show. But it’s awesome travelling, going to different towns, and seeing all sorts of different people.

5. If your book was a movie, what would your budget be, and who would play your characters?


It’d probably be one of those low budget, college elective movies. Seriously, though, some of those are the cutest and best gay flicks I’ve seen. I don’t really have anyone I’d desired to play Brett and Ryan so gimme a couple of hot college guys any day.

* * *

Thanks for playing Tush's Ten!



I blinked in shock as the bright red Honda pulled up beside me. “Hey, buddy, need a ride?” the driver called as he leaned out of the window.

The roaring engine awoke me from my daze. I hoisted my tired body from the ground, and grabbed my suitcase. “Sure.”


This was completely unbelievable. A dream come true. In all these hours, I’d never thought there would actually be someone out here, travelling in this God-awful heat.

Throw your stuff in and come on.” A smile spread on the man’s lips as he motioned to the back seat.


I threw my case next to his luggage and hurried to sit in the front passenger seat. “You’re a lifesaver, man,” I said, the words muffled as I slipped my shirt over my head.


He pulled out onto the road and a warm breeze from the open vents blew across my sweat covered face. I inhaled a breath of the musky air, wishing it was cooler than the outside air, before I hung my arm out of the open window.


Sorry, no air. You look like you can use a drink, though.” The man waved a bottle of water out to me and I accepted. “What are you doing sitting beside the road, anyway?”


The water was lukewarm as I chugged on the bottle. “Car. Broke. Down,” I said between gulps.

Oh, damn that sucks.” He shook his head. “So where ya going?”

Don’t know.” I wiped at the remains of water left on my lips.

God, I needed that drink. Now that the world didn’t appear foggy, I saw, in close range the man who had saved me from heat exhaustion.


His short, dusty blond hair ruffled in the wind. A cigarette hung from slightly parted lips—the breeze threatened to stifle it. He wore a sleeveless shirt, the sides torn down from the armpits, exposing his muscular arms and a peep of his slender stomach.


The man looked at me briefly before turning his eyes back on the road. “Are you a loner, then?”

Sort of.” I choked out, exhilarated by the thoughts of him running through my head.


Maybe it’s just the heat getting to me.

* * *

Check out more on Azalea here....

TheLast Road Home on TEB


How To Market Yourself In Social Media

How To Market Yourself in Social Media:

Tips for Using Facebook & Twitter

A quick how-not-to promote online:

Barge in without introducing yourself, slap your promo up without engaging with anybody, slink off quietly without a backward glance.

A quick how-to promote online:

Introduce yourself, say hello, engage in conversation, find common interests, be polite. Have fun!

Read more...Collapse )

review of the UK Meet 2012

Review of the UK Meet 2012


So, to Brighton! It was wonderful to catch up with the people I normally only get to chat to online, and a real treat to meet new acquaintances, too. I arrived with Lavinia Lewis, where we met reader Amanda, and writers Anna Martin and Tia Fielding. We joined in the informal meet in the hotel bar Friday evening, where there was lots of fun chat, then onto dinner. We chose The Lion & Lobster pub, just around the corner.

Back in the hotel bar, it was another fab chance to chat to those who fancied a late night drink, and it was a pleasure to chat with everyone. I only wish we'd had longer! Lavinia and I went back to our hotel, which was just around the corner.

This hotel has what I called the Austin Powers bathroom. Bet you're jealous!

(Note: no, I'm not actually sitting on the loo, as one of my --male-- friends asked. *rolls eyes*  )


An early start – and lots of coffee! – saw us all registering our names, then piling into the main room, a grand meeting hall in the hotel. We arranged ourselves around white clothed tables, which almost had me in mind of a wedding, all eyes to the front as the charismatic Charlie Cochrane took the reins, and welcomed us to the Meet. I have to say, the entire atmosphere felt very warm, accepting, and fun. A little banter in between the important messages was also very sweet, and smiles were never far from people's faces.

We started off with 'Novel Openings', a panel of writers sharing the first couple of paragraphs of a story. It was interesting to see how different people expressed their writing differently. A cool little snapshot of how writers start off, and draw readers in. Reviewer Jen also gave us her insight on what would interest her, as a reader. Great start to the Meet.

After a break for coffee and tea – and a sneaky biscuit for me – it was onto the next panels, and time to choose which ones to go to. This, for me, was a total surprise, as I hadn't realised there would be two separate rooms to visit, with dual panels going on simultaneously. I had a Crystal Maze style panic about which to choose, as I always want to absorb as much information as I can when the opportunity is there. Alas, I had to pick a panel, as walking out during a talk was frowned upon, and rightly so.

For me, I had to miss the 'Fanfiction' talk in favour of the 'Where do you get your ideas?' panel, mostly because I knew my writer chum Blaine D'Arden was on it, and I wanted to hear her speak. Listening to the panel was a lot of fun, and no one was doing any condescending lecturing; each writer was simply explaining how they got the idea for a specific story, which was like a 'behind the scenes' look. Doubly interesting if you knew the writer, and the story they had chosen, like Blaine D'Arden's The Fifth Son, which for me is one of my favourites, so it was a treat to hear more about it. (Incidentally, I was chuffed to bits to get my print copy of this book on the day, signed as well!)

Now, join me in damning my crap memory, and me for not taking notes as it happened, because when I try to think about each panel right now, I've kind of forgotten who was on which one... Suffice to say I was terribly excited – like a kid at Disneyland! – at seeing so many friendly faces/exciting new faces, and it didn't help my memory whatsoever. I will say that I did enjoy each panel enormously, and everyone who spoke had something interesting to say. I'm only sorry that I can't for the life of me write feedback or review individual speakers. Next time, I'm making notes! Live and learn.

The next panel was another choice; I could have gone back upstairs to the main room for a panel on LBTQ themes, but I chose to stay downstairs for 'Taking the plunge, the new author's guide to getting published', mostly because another writer chum, Becky Black, was on this panel, and I wanted to listen to her. The panel was great, a very good idea, and one I hope will continue to make an appearance at the Meet in various forms. Anne Brooke also gave some great advice, and people in the audience also had tips to share, and it was lovely to see the support offered and taken from all sides.

Break for lunch! Incredibly important, and I must say the hotel's buffet was fantastic. I love finger food anyway – vegetarian – and was pleased to see a lot on offer. Nice, relaxing lunch; I sat at a sunny table with Anna Martin, Tia Fielding, and Tia's sister.

After lunch, downstairs was the panel 'Tropes, keeping the genre honeymoon fresh', but I was due upstairs in the 'Online marketing' panel, as I'd offered to help give tips on how to use the dreaded Facebook and Twitter. Lucy Felthouse and Jordan Castillo Price led the panel, and did a fantastic job of introducing the concept of social media; important points like blogs, newsletters, and just generally keeping in touch with your readers in an easy, accessible way, without being pushy.

The underlying message was exactly the same as my own points for using Twitter or Facebook, and that is not to push your 'buy my book' slogan on everyone you meet without even saying hello, because a rude message won't reach readers. Manners and common sense are the only tools you need to get ahead online, the rest you can pick up. For those who are interested, I'll be posting my guide to using social media – Facebook, Twitter – in my next post.

Next, it was time to choose which panel to attend. I was sad to miss lovely Clare London speaking on 'The two edged sword: pitfalls of getting published', downstairs. I wanted to stay upstairs for the talk on 'Publishing, the way forward', as Ariel Tachna from Dreamspinner Press was leading the panel. Being published with Dreamspinner myself, meeting the DSP team and listening to what they had to say was important for me.

Really interesting points from Ariel, and the rest of the panel – DSP editor Anne Regan, and DSP writer Sue Brown – on e-publishing in general, and some of the different ways people are predicting the market will grow. I liked the optimistic approach to e-publishing, and the good points raised.

Then we had the bubbly and sharp Cameron Lawton (my new best friend!) who herself said she was on the panel to offer a different point of view, which was: be wary about rushing into self publishing. Cameron went on to give examples of her own self publishing steps – very generous of her to share this – and what she perhaps would have done differently if she'd known a bit more about the industry at the time, or hadn't been impatient. At least, that's the message which came across to me. All very good tips for budding authors, too.

This panel was very interesting, and I did enjoy it, especially Cameron's talk. I think, personally, this panel could have benefited from another angle to add to the self publishing topic; i.e. self publishing can be good, too. As ever, with panels, when people in the audience ask questions, the topic can stray a little, like any normal conversation, and go off in different directions. Mostly the chat galloped toward e-book publishing in general, and of course everyone was asking Ariel and Anne their views on the market and how DSP has developed since its start. (For me, I didn't realise DSP had launched a YA line recently. Now I know!)

Perhaps, in future, because the topic of self publishing is so vast – there were many self published authors in attendance, too – 'self publishing' could benefit from its own focussed panel, to give everyone more time to discuss this very important topic. Because self publishing is growing along with ebooks, and it would be great to see the whole topic represented; self publishing certainly isn't for everyone, but there's no harm in everyone knowing all the facts, is there?

That's my two cents!

So, tea break!

After tea, there were some one to ones for budding authors downstairs. A nice idea, I thought; possibly something to expand on in the future? Or even as an aside event? Upstairs was 'Buffet or Banter', which I didn't really understand, I must admit, but was basically different themed tables where you could join in the different discussions. By the time I'd worked out that each individual table was supposed to discuss one topic only, I'd already spotted Becky Black and Stevie Carroll, and wanted to chat with them. Also on the table, I'm pleased to have met Elin Gregory at last. As a table, we pretty much just chatted about what we fancied, which I really enjoyed. So, thank you everyone, for a good chat!

After the banter finished, key note speaker Jordan Castillo Price took the floor, and gave a wonderful talk on how she started out writing; her first forays into e-book publishing, sharing so many amazing stories and insights. Lots of food for thought, really enjoyable, and a very optimistic outlook.

Actually, all in all, there was optimism firing from all the panels and talks I saw, which I'm so happy about. It was a really good, buzzing atmosphere throughout the day, largely in part to the moving around and mixing things up. Really enjoyable. And the writers who were so willing to offer advice -- Jordan Castillo Price, Aleks Voinov from Riptide, and many more -- was very generous.

Meet captain Charlie took the helm again, and wrapped things up, highlighting the key points raised. Especially when discussing how the UK Meet had grown in only three short years, from a small meeting in a local library, to around sixty-ish people last year – my first Meet – to over a hundred this year, in a swanky hotel, with sponsors and prizes galore.

Almost a little scary, when you think about it, but a lot exciting.

A well deserved round of applause for the Meet organisers: Charlie Cochrane, Jamie Merrow, Clare London, Josephine Myles, Alex Beecroft; beautifully organised, jolly well done. Also everyone who spoke on panels, you all did such fabulous jobs, and I loved listening to what I heard. The people who donated to the swag bag, and raffle prizes. Dreamspinner Press, who offered and shared so much, which was a wonderful experience for me and the other Dreamspinner authors, I'm sure.

Another highlight for me, and I feel they deserve a special mention, was meeting the Polish writer duo, K.A. Merrikan, and Agnes Merrikan, who both looked super cool in their matching skull print dresses. Writers to watch, for sure.

All in all, I had the chance to speak with amazing and interesting people, you were all wonderful. I had an utterly brilliant time, and could have happily listened on and nattered with you all for the entire following week! Those that I didn't have a chance to chat with, or even chat longer with, I'm gutted about that, and really hope we can catch up next time, or at another event.

So there we have it, my thoughts on the UK Meet 2012.

Questions for you:

If you attended the UK Meet this year, what was your favourite panel? And how do you think it differed from last year?

Even if you didn't attend, have you been to writer meetings or conventions before? What do you like and/or dislike about them? Have you never been to one, but really want to go? If so, what puts you off going?


Price of Falling is Book of the Month!

I'm always so late to the party, but THIS time I'm only about halfway late ;p 


Sooooo this month, one of my book babies (The Price of Falling) is one of the BOM (book of the month) for the M/M Romance group on GR. 


If you're a member (which you need to be in order to view or discuss any topics) then swing on down and rate me or slate me! 


Links below:

M/M Romance Book of the Month folder

Buy Link for 'The Price of Falling'

What the reviews say...

"Ms. Tushmore writes with a realistic honesty that you don't see that often. She managed to capture both personalities of the main characters, and play them up in a way that left me wanting more, even after the book ended." 
~~ Max, Man Oh Man Reviews.


"Melanie Tushmore has crafted a remarkably sweet and romantic tale about two total opposites who discover they have more in common than just money. Mike and Jason find themselves, reluctantly and oh-so-bittersweetly, in love. I was drawn into Mike's life and world immediately, and utterly charmed by his naivety."
~~ T.A. Webb, A Bear On Books.

I'm thrilled to welcome author Anna Martin to my blog, to play Tush's Ten Questions!

I will admit, I hadn't come across Anna Martin's work yet, but the cover for her new release 'Tattoos & Teacups' caught my eye, and I read it straight away! Check out its gorgeousness below, plus an excerpt from the book and a chance to WIN WIN WIN!!!

Five Q's about the author

1. Who are you, and where do you come from?

I’m Anna! I’m 26; I grew up in a little seaside town on the south-west coast and I live in Bristol now, I’m a writer (and I just love saying that.) During the week I work in Marketing for a financial services company which is far less exciting than it sounds. I’m aware of the fact that it doesn’t sound very exciting in the first place. My favourite colour is red. 

2. What inspires you?

Oh, gosh, all sorts of things. I suppose music and places are my biggest inspiration. After visiting Seattle I felt much closer to the setting for Another Way, even though the city itself wasn’t a big part of the storyline. And Tattoos & Teacups is sort of my love story dedicated to Edinburgh.

3. Describe your writing style in three words:

Sexy, funny, sweet.

4. What's next in store for you?

Writing wise? I have the sequel to Another Way coming out in September, it’s called Of Being Yours and it’ll be published by Dreamspinner Press. After that… I’m not sure. I’m working on the beginning of two new novels but I don’t really know which one will become my full focus yet. One is a M/M/M story, the other is set in rural Somerset (where I’m from).

In my personal life I’m about to head up to Edinburgh for the FringeFestival in the next few weeks. It’s one of the biggest theatre festivals in the world and I’ve worked there for the past five years as a theatre technician and venue manager. I absolutely love it, it’s the highlight of my year!

5. Read any good books lately?

Good new books? Not really… To be honest I’ve been too busy to sit down and get stuck into something new! I re-read the Jurassic Park books (again) recently because I love them an unhealthy amount. It’s the one book I will recommend everyone read because it’s just so beautifully rich in character and plot and setting. That, and I love dinosaurs.

Five Q's about the book

'Tattoos & Teacups' 

1. What inspired the idea for your story?

I sort of had an idea about an older, stuffy professor character falling in love with a “wild child” younger man but wasn’t sure where I wanted to take it. Then when I was working in Edinburgh last year I decided I wanted to write something that was influenced by my love of the city.

Then NaNoWriMo came along and I managed to churn out 50,000 words in the 30 days (well, 29, but who’s counting?!) and eight months later here it is!

2. The basis for the character of Robert is traditional & perhaps a bit 'prim', while his love interest, Chris, is a vibrant, tattooed musician. Who would you say you identify with more?

Oh, Robert, for sure. He’s very secure in his intellect but very insecure in his outward appearance and how people see him, and that’s definitely something I drew on my own experience of. I never went about consciously echoing my own personality when I was writing him, but because he’s British I felt like I could use my own ‘voice’ as his rather than trying to adapt my voice for an American character. It was very liberating.

My biggest worry when the book was published was that people wouldn’t find it funny because even when I was editing it I was laughing out loud at some of the things Robert says. But from the feedback people have given me I think the humour came across!

[ Trust me, Anna, it's funny in all the right places! -- Tush ]

3. There's focus on tattoos in the story; did you do a lot of research, or are you into tattoos yourself?

I have quite a few tattoos myself and they’re all in the same Sailor Jerry, traditional Americana style that Chris has. Tattooing is an art form and I think society is starting to accept this. My tattoos all have very specific meanings as well as being aesthetically interesting – I like being able to document things with art on my body.

Flash for a trademark Sailor Jerry swallow.

4. What do you think draws people to tattoos?

Well, you do see a lot of stupid tattoos out there as well as some really amazing ones, so there has to be a range of reasons! Really, though, isn’t it a declaration of individualism? We all want to be seen as unique and tattoos physically mark us as completely one of a kind.

5. If your book was a movie, what would your budget be, and who would play your characters?

Ooh, good question! My initial reaction is to say Gerard Butler for Robert, of course, since Chris mistakes Robert for him when they first meet. But that would mean the joke was lost… you know, if they could find someone with a good Scottish accent who looked vaguely like Butler then that’d work for me!

And I think Jackson Rathbone could make a good Chris. He already has a few tattoos and the Southern charm thing going on. And he’s cute! Abigail Breslin would make a great Chloe (Robert’s teenage daughter) and Lena Heady would have to play Luisa (Chloe’s mother).

* * *

Tattoos & Teacups EXCERPT: 

ONCE, when I was on a trip to New York City, I stopped to watch a group of hip-hop dancers who were performing in the street. I was fascinated by the brash colors and thumping beat of the music, and the tricks and flips they performed with apparent ease. Although I stood back in the crowd—there were two or three people in front of me—I couldn’t help but be both impressed and intimidated as one of the dancers walked right up to the person in the front row, throwing his arms wide out to his sides and pushed his chest almost right up to the other man’s, shouting, “Boom!” Right in his face!

The sheer gall of the dancer made me smile, even as my stomach flipped at the idea of such confrontation. Much to my surprise, the other man, not the dancer, just laughed and made some funny noise in the back of his mouth, like he was rolling his Rs, and the dancer seemed to take this as encouragement to perform a backflip from standing, to the raucous approval of the assembled crowd.

Chris made me feel like that. Intimidated, and a little impressed. He was the same as that dancer in so many ways: loud, colorful, swirling into my life with a loud “Boom!” and disappearing just as quickly. Like those hip-hop dancers, though, I was left with the simmering feeling that I’d experienced something completely new, and I was irrevocably changed for it.

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