Guest Post & Giveaway: Tattoos and Mistakes by Ruthie Knox, author of About Last Night

Posted June 2, 2012 by Shari in Book Tour, Excerpt, Guest Post / 42 Comments

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Tattoos and Mistakes

Hi, Delighted Reader crew!

I’m excited to be visiting today to talk about my June 11 release, About Last Night.

Shari said to talk about the tattoos, which is awesome, because I can start with an excerpt to get you familiar with my hero and heroine. This is a scene from early in the book, right after the hero, Nev, and the heroine, Cath, have had sex, oh, twelve hours after they met. We’re in Nev’s point of view—

Later, she lay on her stomach, and he stretched out beside her with one hand on her arse, studying the figures on her lower back. “Tell me about your tattoos. What do the numbers mean?”

There turned out to be four tattoos, each with its own small Copperplate numeral. The songbird came first, then a lit match, a book, and the intricate tangle on her stomach. All four images were interconnected with a matrix of lines and swirls.

“They’re my mistakes,” she said. “Each tattoo represents one of my worst mistakes. So I won’t forget.”

He traced the shape of the bird, wondering what she could have done to merit writing herself a memo on her body. “It’s a very permanent sort of reminder.”

She raised herself up slightly, catching his gaze and holding it. “They were really bad mistakes.”

She didn’t say Back off, but she told him all the same.

He tried a slightly different tack, wondering how far he could push her before she turned as fierce as she looked when she ran in the park. “What about the phoenix?” He slid one hand to her shoulder, picturing the tattoo beneath her collarbone. “It doesn’t have a number.”

Apparently this was a permissible question, as she relaxed slightly. “That one’s from when I decided to start over. You know, clean slate. No more mistakes. Phoenix rising from the ashes.” She gave him a small smile. “I was doing pretty well there for a while.”

Nev frowned, unhappy with the implication. “I’m a mistake then?”

“I don’t know yet. You have to admit, we didn’t meet under the most auspicious circumstances.”

“True.”

He did have to admit it. He didn’t have to like it. And it didn’t have to matter how they’d met. She was here, wasn’t she?

Cath didn’t feel like a mistake to him. She felt like a beginning. A clean canvas, ready to be painted. A gorgeous new idea.

She lowered her face to the pillow. “I’m trying not to think about it.”

“Want me to distract you again?”

“Yeah.”

He turned her over, kissed his way down her soft stomach, and spread her legs wide with his shoulders. No doubt he’d been someone’s mistake in the past. Perhaps more than one person’s, at that. But he wasn’t hers.

He’d simply have to prove it to her.

So, as you can see, this a book with a tattooed heroine. I can’t even remember at what point in the planning process I decided that Cath would have tattoos, but it was early. I do remember that I knew what all her tattoos were before I knew what they all meant. I also remember that there were certain stereotypes about tattoos that I wanted to resist. Yes, this is a bad-girl, rich-boy romance, in a manner of speaking. But Cath is a reformed bad girl, and her tattoos aren’t a symbol of how bad she used to be. They’re not there to make Nev curl his lip and look down on her for being such a party girl.

Cath’s tattoos are a record of her mistakes. They’re deeply personal—and they’re meant to be a flashing neon sign to the reader, and to Nev, that Cath is marked by her past. Deeply, irrevocably marked. She can’t forget, and she doesn’t want to forget. She wants to remember, always, so she won’t make the mistakes again. Cath has marked herself as a reminder: Never Be Stupid.

Except, of course, she keeps being stupid about Nev. She can’t help it, because, well, he’s wonderful.

“Wonderful” is not, perhaps, the most popular thing for romance novel heroes to be these days, but there you have it. He is. And from the beginning, Nev is fascinated with Cath’s tattoos. He’s a painter, and they’re art. But more than that, he understands from the first that they mean something, and he wants to know what it is. Nev spends much of the novel trying to learn how to interpret Cath—how to unlock her—how to appreciate her. He becomes a connoisseur of Cath. And in the process, slowly but surely, she relearns how to understand and appreciate herself.

What do you think about tattoos in romance? Are they overused, or do they have their place? Do you have one, and does it mean something? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

About Last Night, coming from Loveswept (Random House), June 11, 2012!

Sure, opposites attract, but in this sexy, smart eBook original romance from Ruthie Knox, they positively combust! When a buttoned-up banker falls for a bad girl, “about last night” is just the beginning.

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine — even her name turns him on — with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

LINKS

 Preorder/order links — only $2.99, releases June 11

 Amazon •  Barnes and Noble • iBooks

Book page at Random House • Book page at Goodreads

AUTHOR BIO

Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use. These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, came out with Loveswept (Random House) in February.

Ruthie Knox website •  Ruthie Knox on Facebook • Follow @ruthieknox on Twitter

I will drop by your site to chat with commenters at least a few times on the day the post goes live, as well as once or twice on subsequent days, with the exception of May 24–28, when I will be camping & won’t have access to the Internet.

GIVEAWAY

One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital preview copy of About Last Night. Winners will pick up their copy through NetGalley. Good luck to all! To enter, use the form provided below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!
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Denise Z
Guest
Denise Z

I think tattoos can be beautiful, but too often today they are trendy and people get them to just be “cool” without thinking about the consequences or the permanency. When I was very young I got one on my hand that later was a real issue with my professional life. I had it removed by laser, but there is a scar and it was very painful. So enjoy the art, make sure it is meaningful to you, and be sure to understand the consequences of its placement 🙂

Ruthie
Guest

I hear you, Denise. I know someone who got a sports tattoo with his high school player number on it. Can you say “short-sighted”? 🙂

Ailsa
Guest

Ooh, interesting! I won an early copy of this story, and absolutely love it, so it’s interesting to hear about the start of Cath’s tattoos.

~Ailsa

Ruthie
Guest

Thanks, Alisa. So glad you enjoyed it!

Elisabeth Barrett
Guest

I’m not a huge tattoo aficionado (in real life or in fiction), but when done well (in both instances), I think they can be compelling. I loved the rationale behind Cath’s decision to mark her body, and the tattoos really helped to create a very real picture of her character.

Ruthie
Guest

I’m shocked, Elisabeth. SHOCKED. 😉

Joanne B
Guest
Joanne B

I don’t have a tattoo but I love them. They can be beautiful, intricate designs and they mean something to the person who has them. Cath has found a way for herself to remember her bad mistakes and not to repeat them. Whatever works for you.

Ruthie
Guest

I like that sentiment!

Lynn A. Reynolds
Guest

I love tattoos in romance. They can be very sexy if not overdone. Some look more like a walking piece of artwork and it looks less sexy then. I don’t mind if they are on women or men as long as they are tastefully done. Me, I don’t have one. I can’t stand pain. Plus I’m one of those that is afraid of what would happen if the skin starts to wrinkle or sag. But I still wish I had the nerve to take the plunge.

Lynn
lareynolds0316@gmail.com

Ruthie
Guest

Interesting! You like the symbolic tattoos more than the artsy ones?

Lynn A. Reynolds
Guest

Hi Ruthie: Yes, I like the symbolic because they tell a story. I always love the why and the tale that goes along with the artwork. I also love to watch all the tattoo reality shows that are on. I consider it one of my guilty pleasures.

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

I enjoyed the post and learning more background of the book. I look forward to an opportunity to read this one for myself.

Tats have always been something that I don’t care one way or the other about in stories. In reality, I totally agree with many of the things said by earlier commenters. Military tattoos were/are the thing in my family as a way to affiliate and remember which I very on board with (as long as I’m not the one getting tattoo’d. ;D

Thanks for the post and good discussion question!

Ruthie
Guest

Thanks, Sophia! I like the idea of military tattoos. Haven’t had anyone in my family with one, but I find them interesting/attractive on others.

Leni
Guest
Leni

I don’t have a tattoo yet. If a character has ink I just look at it as a part of his/her description and think it is fine.

Ruthie
Guest

“Yet,” eh? You sound susceptible. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

Wendy/books4me
Guest
Wendy/books4me

I think tattoos are fine in books as long as they are done right…they can be sexy and if explained, can make a lot of sense. So far I’m tattoo free but in the next few years, hubby and I are thinking of getting ring tattoos. He can’t wear a wedding band due to his skin peeling (no matter what metal)!

Ruthie
Guest

Wedding ring tattoos would be neat! My husband keeps losing his. 🙂

Andie Wardlow
Guest
Andie Wardlow

I think tattoos are beautiful and meaningful…sometimes. I don’t think they are overplayed out in books though….maybe I’m reading the wrong books…who knows? I don’t have any tattoos…because I’m deathly afraid of needles…and I know I couldn’t sit still long enough. My boyfriend thought they were cool and got a tat every year on his bday from 18 to 27 now at 31 he regrets them…so I guess you should think long term before getting them.

andieleah78@gmail.com

bn100
Guest
bn100

I like to read about tattoos and don’t think they’re overused. I don’t have one.

Ruthie
Guest

Thanks for commenting!

Ruthie
Guest

Lot of people afraid of needles here! Interesting. I must be a pain junkie. 🙂

And super-interesting about your boyfriend. Sorry he regrets them — that must be hard!

Mary Doherty
Guest
Mary Doherty

I don’t have a tattoo, but my daughter and son do. My son’s name is Drake and I love the name even 25 years later. The guys in high school nicknamed him duck ( a male duck is a drake ). Well at 18 he had the word duck tattooed BIG across his upper back. Yep he did. Well at 24 he disliked it very, very much. Imagine that???? lol So now it is his daughters name and I must say it does look a lot better. How the tattoo artist was able to change duck to Payton and make… Read more »

Ruthie
Guest

Wow, “Duck” into “Payton”? I’m impressed with that tattoo artist. 🙂

Thanks — hope you like the book!

Julianne
Guest
Julianne

I don’t mind reading about tattoos in a book. I like seeing them on the book’s cover. I think they are sexy. I don’t have any tattoos myself, but I’d like to. 🙂

Ruthie
Guest

Go for it! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

Mimi Rose
Guest
Mimi Rose

I love tattoos. I like them on men and women. While some tattoos have a very special and personal meaning to some, I also like the tattoo that was done for the h*ll of it. I follow a couple of tattoo blogs and the artwork there is amazing. I am getting my first tattoo in the upcoming week or so as a present to myself for my 42nd birthday. Why my 42nd you might ask? I finally found the design and artist I want to do it. When a tattoo is in a book I think of it as part… Read more »

Ruthie
Guest

Good for you! Hope you love your tattoo.

My parents have been watching that tattoo reality show — have you seen it? It sounds like fun. 🙂

Hope you like the book!

Maureen
Guest
Maureen

I don’t have a tatoo but my daughter has two and when she was student teaching recently she had to worry about covering them up which is something we warned her about. I don’t mind them in a romance because I know so many people who have them. They have become a way of expressing yourself and I think can add some interest to a story.

Ruthie
Guest

Great comment! Interesting that it’s still necessary to cover them up in schools in this day and age. You’d think we’d be over it by now! 🙂

Mel Bourn
Guest
Mel Bourn

I love tattoos. I think they add depth to a person as well as the story. They can definitely be eyecatching as well as a conversation starter. I have 4 and will be getting more. They each have meaning to me. I also love tattoos on men. They can be very sexy.
Mel

Ruthie
Guest

Cool — four! I love them on men, too. They’re always intriguing!

Maria Pronounced Mariah
Guest
Maria Pronounced Mariah

I do not have a problem with tatoos but agree that those that get them should think very seriously before they get them as the are meant to be permanent. I have friends that are covered in them and others like myself without any. They are very personal and on the right person can be very sexy. My husband regrets the one he got when he was 20 but still wants to get another one that fits him more now.

Ruthie
Guest

Interesting that he could regret the old one but still want another. We’re always changing, eh? Thanks for commenting!

Amanda Grinstead
Guest
Amanda Grinstead

Thanks for the giveaway! I like tattoos in romance and while they might show up frequently in books, I think they have their place. The fact is that having a tattoo is becoming more and more common, so it’s not surprising that characters have them too. I have one myself. It’s a back dandelion fluff on my right shoulder with the fluff seeds travelling up my shoulder to the back of my neck. I like it because dandelions are whimsical and resilient; two important things to be in life. Cheers!

Ruthie
Guest

That sounds like a beautiful tattoo. Thanks for commenting!

Daisy Harris
Guest

Thanks for having me on the blog today! And for taking the time to review my book. 🙂

Daisy

Anne
Guest
Anne

Since they’re so common now, it makes sense for more book characters to have them. I think tattoos can be really appropriate on some characters particularly big, kick a$$ alphas.

I have none because there is nothing so meaningful in my life that I need to have a tattoo of it on me. It’s also not part of my culture. My sister has 7 or 8 and one is a truly HIDEOUS aries star sign on her calf. OMG, it is huge and ugly. I much prefer her celtic designs and flowers.

Ruthie
Guest

Is it bad that I hope you’ve told her?

StacieD
Guest
StacieD

I love men with beautiful tattoos. I think romance heroes with ink are very appealing. I don’t have any tattoos. I’m not opposed to them, I just can’t think of anything I want on my body forever.

Congrats on the new release!

Geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

YWLiang
Guest
YWLiang

I don’t mind tattoos, I love seeing hero half naked showing their tattoos on covers!
I have none but my daughter has a small tattoo on her left wrist 🙂

Thank you for the giveaway!