Hello, and thanks so much to Delilah for hosting me today! My name is Sidney Bristol, you might have seen me around here once or twice before, and I’m on a one-woman parade through the blogesphere!
You see, I’m celebrating the release of my second So Inked book, The Harder He Falls. The So Inked series follows a shop of female tattoo artists as they ink customers, engage in daring sexual encounters and generally get into mischief, trouble and end up in love. Since the heroine of The Harder He Falls specializes in Asian tattoos, specifically the Japanese style and tradition, I’ve been chatting up all sorts of traditional tattoo elements and the history that has created a very unique tattoo culture surrounding the style.
There are a lot of the Japanese tattoo elements you see across cultures. Flowers, the phoenix, tigers and dragons, those are things you see in different cultures, the Japanese artists just put their own spin on it.
And then there are the creatures that are uniquely Japanese.
The kirin is one of those. It shares some similarities with its Chinese counterpart, the qilin, but has evolved into a majestic, serene creature unique to the culture. You might have seen a few in art or illustrations and tattoos.
Kirin as a word actually means giraffe, but because that animal isn’t from the island nation, it’s believed they were crafted on images and descriptions of the giraffe in the beginning, but have evolved. It wouldn’t surprise me if the overall serene disposition of the kirin is based on the giraffe. But they’ve become more!
The kirin is depicted with the head of the Japanese dragon, the body of a stag, much of the time it’s covered in either fish or dragon scales, they have the legs of a horse and the tail of a bull. You can find them with either the horns of a stag or a single horn in the middle of their head. Kind of like the Japanese unicorn! It’s also said that they can fly and have wings.
Such a weird, conglomeration of creatures is actually one of the most powerful beings in Japanese mythology. More powerful than even the phoenix or dragon, but as peaceful as a butterfly. They’re so careful, that they do not even move unless it will bring no harm to any living creature. The kirin in mythology is the pet of the gods, and only appear in the lands ruled by just and virtuous leaders.
As a symbol, the kirin represents serenity and prosperity. You see it depicted as being in motion in most tattoos. It’s one of the lesser popular elements, but when you do see it, it’s often with flowers. As with everything in the Japanese tattoo tradition, the combination can mean different things depending on which flower it’s paired with.
The kirin is a strange animal, I’ll give you that. After doing the research for The Harder He Falls, I had to read up more on this creature. If you aren’t familiar with my So Inked series, I do a lot of chapter headings with tattoo facts and definitions. The mythology behind these animals is really neat, and if you’re the digging type, it’s something totally worth looking into.
What is a mythological creature that’s fascinated you? One random commentor will receive one digital ebook copy of Under His Skin, So Inked #1.
It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life. She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and belly dancing.
A woman who doesn’t have time for love…
A hot night full of hotel-destroying sex was all Kellie wanted from her client-turned-sex god. Between family and work, there isn’t room for love, just hot, sweaty lust. An arrangement for mutual gratification is exactly what Kellie wants, but every kiss, each mind-blowing orgasm twines her heart around a man she cannot have.
A man building a new life…
Quinton’s assumptions about the So Inked shop owner are turned on their head after one session under her tattoo machine. Kellie’s not the vandal he’s looking for, but she’s the woman he wants. In his bed, on the desk or under the stars, he’ll take her any way he can get her. But Quin has secrets and someone is out to destroy him. Someone who has their sights set on Kellie now.
Kellie shifted on the wooden bench, still restless. The evening breeze was cooler than normal thanks to a cold front blowing in. It was ridiculous that dropping into the nineties was considered a cool spell, but in the height of Texas summer, you took what you got. She swept her hair up into a knot and tipped her head back. The slight dampness of her skin, courtesy of the ever-present humidity, was a small price to pay for being able to sit outside. She’d shed the formfitting dress for jeans and a tank top and felt more like herself for it.
“How hot does it get here?” Quin plunked down their dinner and sat on his side of the picnic table. Behind him the food truck was starting to pack up.
“Can’t handle the heat?” It was too much to ask that the man be able to cope with everything. He’d sat through the tattoo yesterday without complaint, being a heat weenie wasn’t terrible.
His brilliant blue eyes stood out in the dim illumination of the parking lot light. “When you have A/C, why should you?”
“You do realize that it’s going to get at least ten degrees hotter and stay there, don’t you?” She unwrapped the tacos and inhaled the spicy aroma of peppers and onions mixed with tender beef.
Quin made a show of wiping his forehead with a napkin. “I’m going to melt.” Read the rest of this entry »