Ten Interesting Facts about Sins & Needles

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.


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 BOSSread 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.