Hi, reader friends, I hope you’ll help us welcome author Piper Vaughn to TNA today on the tour for the new collaboration with Avon Gale, Permanent Ink, book one in the Art and Soul series from Riptide Publishing. Piper’s talking graffiti today, and there’s also an awesome giveaway, so be sure to check out those details below.
Falling in Love with Graffiti
Hi, all! Piper here! Thanks so much for hosting me and Avon Gale as we celebrate our new release from Riptide, Permanent Ink!
Late last year, Avon told me a story that her tattoo artist had told her. During his youth, he was a shiftless punk and constantly in trouble—until he met an older tattoo artist who took him under his wing and became his mentor. Nowadays, he credits his mentor with helping change his life. The day she heard that story, Avon messaged me and said, “You have to write this with me!” and of course, since tattoos are near and dear to my heart, I instantly said yes.
We decided the young troublemaker in our romance would be an aimless skater with Peter Pan syndrome and an attitude problem, but I suggested he also be involved in graffiti/street art. And thus, our character Poe Montgomery was born.
Poe belongs to a crew of graffiti writers. His street name is Raven, and he and his best friend, Blue, are working hard to “get up”—that is to say, tagging everywhere and often to spread their names, and to become “up” writers, meaning their work appears regularly, is being recognized, and they’re actively writing. More than anything, they want to earn respect and accolades from the graffiti community and to hopefully someday reach the notoriety of street artists like Banksy.
I wanted to write about a street artist both because I’m intrigued by graffiti and also because I had a young cousin who was a gifted graffiti artist. Sadly, he’s no longer with us, but I think, had he continued, he one day might have achieved Banksy-level status. Even to this day, nine years after his passing, there are memorial tribute pieces to my cousin scattered around the city of Chicago. I wish I could share my favorite, because it’s beautiful, but for the privacy of my family, I won’t. Suffice it to say, his legacy lives on, and I love that his friends and the members of his crew still remember and honor him.
When I lived in Chicago as a pre-teen, I grew up in a neighborhood where graffiti mostly consisted of tags (stylized renditions of the writer’s signature) and didn’t do much more than mark different gang territories. In the 20+ years since then, some street artists out there, like Banksy and Shepard Fairey and Blu, have taken graffiti to a whole different level—frequently combining their art with social and political activism.
Now street art has made its way into expensive galleries and auction houses, and pieces by artists like Banksy have sold for over a million dollars. In major cities, you can even take guided graffiti tours. The question about whether graffiti is art or vandalism still persists, but over time, it’s slowly gaining more and more recognition as a legitimate art form.
Yeah, sometimes it’s about creating a pretty neighborhood mural or slapping up a crudely sprayed penis on the side of a building. But sometimes—might I even say, often—it’s about so much more than that. It aims to challenge perceptions. To inspire. Hell, in some cases, even to inform people about their rights as citizens and encourage resistance. It’s meant to make a statement.
There are as many different styles of street art as there are artists. And while researching this book, I fell in love with the artistry and aesthetics of graffiti, in the same way that Poe falls in love with the artistry of tattooing during the course of Permanent Ink.
Check it out—you might find yourself falling in love too.
About Permanent Ink
At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.
Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.
Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.
About the Authors
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.
As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.
Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.
At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.
To celebrate the release of Permanent Ink, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and a “Poe” coffee mug! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 12, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!