So, we’re at the start of the Sins & Needles blog tour here. I plan to do a big wrap up when the tour is over but thought this would be interesting (hence the title). It was posted on Megan from The Book Asylum’s blog (stop by and say hello!) but I thought I’d post it here as well. There’s also an excerpt of SEXY TIMEZ at the bottom
Ten Interesting Facts about Sins & Needles
1. The character of Ellie is named after my old dog. She was the sweetest little thing, the perfect pup. She died at age 13 when she was hit by a car. My mom was hit by the same car too, but Ellie stepped between my mom and the wheel at the last minute, sparing my mom from critical injury or worse. This happened in Palm Springs, too. Ellie Watt is just as brave as Ellie the dog. Interestingly enough, Ellie the dog is named after a character from a book! Dr. Ellie Satler from Jurassic Park (I was WAY into dinosaurs – thought I was going to be a paleontologist).
Meanwhile, Camden McQueen’s name is taken from two people on my Facebook. One has a son called Camden, a name I rather liked. The other is my friend Behn McQueen (and yes, I realize Camden’s son is also named Ben). Hi Behn! Thanks for your name!
And, to make things come full circle, I named Uncle Jim after a dog that I don’t have yet! Ha, my partner Scott and I are planning to get a dog very soon and we decided a long time ago he would be called Jim.
2. The idea for Sins & Needles came in September 2012. On Dublin Street was flying up the charts and people were drawn to Samantha Young’s writing because it was a dark sexy and somewhat personal tale. I thought, I should write about the things that scare me, the issues that are dear to me and personal. I came up with the title first, then played with that until I had the story of a Con Artist and a Tattoo Artist who were joined by their misery in high school.
3. Palm Valley is a fictional town, but I’ve roughly based it around Twenty-nine Palms out in California’s High Desert. My parents have a condo in Palm Springs, so the area is pretty much a second home to me. I love the desert and have found something so terribly romantic and angsty about it. It makes the perfect book setting.
4. Even though I planned to write Sins & Needles in September, I didn’t really get it going until end of December. Then a bunch of personal crap happened (plus I lost 5,000 words) and suddenly I had three weeks to write, like 70,000 words. I did not leave the house. I barely bathed myself. I couldn’t even talk to people (just ask Scott). But I got it done. It helps that when I write, I actually plot out the book like a screenplay, scene for scene, so I’m able to write faster knowing exactly where I’m going.
5. When I write Javier, I can’t help but see Javier Bardem’s character in Skyfall. Doesn’t look a thing like him but man, do I love those bad guys who are totally mad yet charming, the ones you really can’t predict and you can’t help but be enthralled by. My Javier is a really interesting guy who you’ll see a whole lot more of when the prequel novella On Every Street comes out in the spring.
6. I have scars, on both my legs. They aren’t as bad as Ellie’s because they just occur around my ankles (thank god for ankle boots) and their origin isn’t as horrifying. I had casts on my legs from pretty much the day I was born until I was six years old. I learned to walk in casts. It’s prevented me from enjoying a lot of things in life and has certainly made my life a living hell (much as it has made Ellie’s) and yes, a lot of those flashback scenes did happen to me. But as hard as things have been for me (it saddens me that I can’t wear very high heels), I’ve slowly come to terms with it (as I should, since I’m in my 30’s now). Doesn’t mean I have an easy go of things but because my disability has kept me from a lot of sports and activities, it just meant I’d play by myself and create worlds in my head. I come from a line of writers in my family, but my affliction definitely helped shape me into the author that I am. My scars made me who I am and I’m OK with that, because I’m a bit awesome.
7. This book really makes me want a new tattoo. I only have two, a number ‘13’ behind my ear and the star symbol for the band Faith No More on the back of my neck. The 13th was in honor of Darkhouse, the first book I ever published, which I released on May 13th 2011. I’d love to get a Sins & Needles tattoo but I don’t know what yet. I have plans to get another EIT-inspired tattoo…something that Perry Palomino gets in an upcoming book. I want it before everyone else gets it lol (there’s boat load of people with “And With Madness Comes the Light” tats!
8. Speaking of tats…Sins & Needles is part of the The Artists Trilogy – I called it that because Ellie is a con artist and Camden is a tattoo artist. It took me a while to realize that the acronym is TAT. How about them apples?
9. The next book in the series Shooting Scars, should be released in the summer (I don’t like to keep people waiting longer than six months, plus there’s On Every Street’s release before that). It’s told in the dual POV of Ellie and Camden. Very excited about this!
10. In the book, I feature music from a band called Guano Padano. I fell in love with their music a few years ago and decided I’d love to write a book where the music was featured. Ta da! Here’s a Youtube clip for you to get an idea of how perfect a soundtrack it makes for Sins & Needles.
EXCERPT FROM SINS & NEEDLES
I turned the lawn chair around so that the high back was blocking his view of me. Then, after a quick look around at his neighbors and seeing only darkness from their windows, I shimmied out of my jeans. Unfortunately, I was drunk and had forgotten to take off my boots first. I fell over sideways onto the grass.
“What are you doing over there?” I heard Camden yell and the sound of metal tongs being placed on a rung.
“Stay back! I’m fine!” I yelled, hoping my voice wasn’t loud enough to alert the neighbors.
I thanked my lucky stars that my combat boots had a zipper and quickly unzipped them. Lying on my back, with my leg bent up to my head, I pulled off the jeans and tossed them to the wayside. Then I got on my knees and started to look for my ugly Peg pants. Where the hell did they go?
“Looking for these?” Camden asked from behind me.
Swallowing my pride, I turned around on my knees and looked up. Camden was holding the pants in one hand. He dropped them beside him and then walked over to me. He held out his hand.
“Come on,” he said gently, a shadowed intensity in his eyes.
I shook my head quickly. “No. I’m just in my underwear.”
“I can see that,” he said. “Let me help you up.”
My heart thumped loudly in my ears and I looked away from his face and straight ahead at his legs. “I don’t want you to see.”
Suddenly he was down on his knees and though there were a few inches between us, he was closer than he’d ever been. “I don’t care, Ellie,” he said determinedly.
I kept shaking my head, unable to form words, unable to tell him how I was feeling. I just wanted him to go away and leave me alone, let me get dressed in peace. I wanted to run. I wanted the darkness to swallow me whole.
“You know how I feel about your scars. They only make you more beautiful,” he whispered, now stroking the side of my face. His eyes were searching mine, begging me to open but the fear was so big and so damn real.
“You’ve never seen my scars.” My voice was barely audible, even in my own head.
“No, I haven’t. But I’ve seen what they’ve made you.”
His nose nudged the side of mine and maybe because I’d been thinking about it ever since Safeway, or maybe because I was buying some time, I leaned in and kissed him. This wasn’t the tender kiss of earlier. I had no wine bottles held above my head. This kiss was soft for a moment, then hurried. His lips sucked gently on mine, his tongue ravishing my mouth like he couldn’t stop himself. I was suddenly insatiable, each kiss reaching down into my core, making me want all of him, every part. A million thoughts flew past my head and then there was nothing at all. There wasn’t even Camden and Ellie. There was just this hot, primal, crucial need for each other.
Before I could stop him, or at least pretend to stop him, he was pushing me back until I was falling onto the grass. I reluctantly slid my knees out to the side, my legs coming into full view; my scars visible in the dark. He didn’t notice, didn’t care. He kept kissing me passionately, so hot, so sweet, as one of his hands disappeared into the back of my hair, cupping my head. He laid me on the ground, the hard grass tickling the sides of my ears, and that was the last time he was gentle. He straddled me and pulled my tank top over my head and tossed it aside. Then he leaned back and ripped off his own shirt. As if I wasn’t breathing hard enough already, squirming beneath his form, he looked better than I could have imagined. Here was the new Camden McQueen, shirtless, a tower of defined muscle and gorgeous, darkly dangerous tattoos.
There was a phoenix rising from the ashes along the swoop of muscle along his hipbones, a tiger/dragon hybrid flying up the side of his stomach, scripture peeking out of the top of his boxers. I’d seen only glimpses of them before, and now they glowed before me, lit by the hundreds of warm lights in his garden. He was like a living, breathing painting on an all-male canvas.
While you’re here, check out this AMAZEBALLS review from blogger-extraordinaire (and fellow Canuck) Giselle at the rocking Xpresso Reads — “Dark, gritty and sexy as hell” — 5 big stars. READ IT. BASK IN HER INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM. She RARELY gives 5 stars, so this review means a lot (glad you loved it Giselle!!)
There’s another review at Reading Books Like a Boss where the book is reviewed LIKE A BOSS — read HERE.
AND OF COURSE if you have ANY interest in music whatsoever, you’ll LOVE the playlist and musical inspirations for Sins & Needles on Reading in Winter’s blog. READ HERE. DO IT.