Hello and welcome to the 415 Ink: Rebel Blog Tour. I’d like to say I’m Rhys Ford, your host but the truth is, I am merely a stealer of space and time. Their space, your time. BUT I hope I can make it worth your while.
Because dudes, I’ve got a book I want to tell you about.
If you know me at all, you know I have a few tattoos and well, have a hardcore love for art. Skin art to be exact. It’s a difficult medium and well, there’s a culture surrounding it as well. Being a tattoo artist is more than a profession, it truly is a calling, or it is for the great artists, the ones who push at the boundaries of skin and ink and do fantastical things on a living canvas.
The 415 Ink series hopefully will capture a part of that culture and also showcase five foster brothers who have made their own family. Set in San Francisco, I will introduce you to each of the five in a series of books where they find love and in some cases, their true path in life. The first, Rebel, is about Gus, the true middle kid in the bunch, and the man whose love he’d won, lost and hopefully will love again.
As all of my blog tours, I want to present you with something unique at each stop as well as a giveaway. So, for each blog, I will give you a story (or part of a story as I’ve split most into two pieces) about a tattoo… involving a character from one of my series. Check out the blog stop list to get a sneak peek at the characters!
The giveaway? You’ll be entering to win a $20USD gift certificate to the online retailer of your choice!
Leave a comment to enter.
Now, onto the tales of tattoos and where you can find Rebel, on sale December 29th through Dreamspinner, Amazon and other fine bookstores.
Tokyo was a tangle of lights, metal, cars and a language Miki couldn’t understand to save his life, but the food was amazing and the crowds were incredible. They were scheduled to play four shows in Japan, sold out crowds in every arena but it was Tokyo that they’d been waiting for.
The night before had been… mind blowing. Miki couldn’t imagine how their lives could get any better. Standing on a stage — a legendary stage — for the sound check, he’d been humbled and driven into an anxiety spiral only broken when Damien placed his hand in the middle of Miki’s back, pressing between his shoulder blades.
“If we sell out, I’ll get that tattoo I’ve always wanted,” his brother whispered beneath the buzz of the amps firing up behind them. “Dave hook me up with this guy here in Tokyo that’s apparently this incredible tattoo artist. It’s really underground here but if you know a guy who knows a guy, they will ink you. I’ve already talked to him on the phone and I kind of want you to be there.”
“Where the fuck else would I be?” Miki snorted. “Even if we don’t sell out, do it. We’re fucking playing at Bukodan, D. The fact that we’re on this stage is… I don’t have any words, brother. Get the tattoo. I’ll be right there with you.”
His ears were still ringing and just like any large show, every time he turned his head, Miki heard a buzz, an audible kiss left in his hearing from standing in front of stacks of amps. It was an occupational hazard at times and he knew he should have worn the discrete earplugs Johnny tossed at him at the beginning of every show, but they dampened the sound of the crowd and Miki wanted to hear every damned last bit of applause and every shrieking cheer.
Because he would never play that stage again. Or at least he would never have that first time ever again and he wanted to bathe in the furious glee of the audience singing back at him and dancing to their songs.
The buzz was so fucking worth it.
Damien found a driver to take them, mostly by bribing the hotel’s concierge to find and someone who would bring them to the depths of Tokyo’s underground after the band’s chauffeur refused. The car was dinky and battered, but the young Japanese man who’d popped out of the driver’s side door had been delighted to meet them, asking for their autographs while holding up a bootleg CD of their first album. They’d thankfully signed it, and Damien asked one of the bellhops to grab their driver a band shirt from their storage area, sealing their friendship with the improbably named Stan.
“Maru Tattoos?” Stan said in a heavily accented English when Damien showed him the address he’d gotten over the phone. “You are going to get a tattoo? Here?”
“That’s the plan,” Damien responded. “I’m supposed to be there in an hour. Think we can make it?”
“I can get you there,” Stan promised. “Hard to park in the area but I will find a space after dropping you off and wait. You call when you’re done. I’ll give you my phone number.”
“It’s going to be hours,” the guitarist warned. “I don’t even know if it’s going to get finished today. It’s a back piece.”
“Then I will come to the place and if you need something, I will get it.” Stan pulled into an insane stream of traffic, waving his arm out the open window as he merged. “You will need lots of caffeine. It will help with the pain.”
“Well, I was kinda hoping for whiskey,” Damien muttered across the back seat to Miki. “But I guess coffee is the next best thing.”
Stan hadn’t been joking. The streets got smaller and smaller until even the small speck of a black car had a difficult time weaving in and out of the tight turns. They pulled up to what looked like a sidewalk and turned right, narrowly avoiding a placard with a dancing duck holding a pair of chopsticks on it. Miki grabbed at the strap dangling next to the window, gulping when it came off in his hand. Damien merely laughed then hooked his arm around Miki’s waist, holding on tightly while Stan made another insane turn. As quickly as they dove down into the narrow, dark alleys, the car came to an abrupt start, and Stan twisted around, grinning maniacally.
“Can’t drive more. Too tight.” Stan punched a finger forward, pointing down a walkway to the left. “See the red sign with the circle on it? That is Maru. You go there and I will come find you. You want coffee? Iced? I’ll bring some ika too. You will want something to eat.”
“That’s cuttlefish,” Miki muttered to Damien under his breath.
“Did I like it?” Damien whispered back.
“I do. But I liked the hot one better.” Miki dug into his pocket, coming up with a handful of yen. “Can you get the spicy one? Or the rolled sweet one? Those are good.”
“Can do.” Stan grabbed at the money. “I’ll come find you.”
A few moments later, Damien and Miki stood under a dimly lit array of paper lanterns, watching Stan’s little car zoom away, screeching around a corner and disappearing from view. Clearing his throat, Damien chuckled, nudging Miki in the ribs with his elbow.
“Think we’ll ever see him again?” He asked through a laugh.
“God, I fucking hope so. Because if not, we’re going to have to call up Edie and beg her to send someone to come out and get us,” Miki grumbled. “And she does not like getting those kind of phone calls. Remember what she did to Dave when he got caught in that manatee tank in Florida?”
“Dude, I think that had more to do with the manatee tank then the call coming in at three in the morning,” Damien replied. “But yeah, she was not happy. Well, hopefully Stan comes back and if not, we’ll just find someplace to drink. It’s almost ten right now, maybe we won’t even be done until breakfast time and it’ll be fine.”
There was barely enough room to walk and both of them had to duck several times to avoid a low-slung wire or lantern dangling in the way. Judging by the glass beer and sake bottles in wooden racks hung above many of the curtained doors, the alley was where someone came to drink. The boisterous laughter breaking free of one place was as familiar as any Miki’d heard in countless cities, but the food smells wafting from a walk-up yakisoba shop definitely was Tokyo, a rich blend of salty savoury with a hint of curry beneath it. His stomach grumbled a bit as they passed, Damien catching him by the elbow when Miki slowed to peer at the picture menu taped to the side of the shop’s open order window.
“Later. Or at least come back when I’m screaming in pain and need something in my mouth besides my own tongue,” Damien said, hurrying him along. “The shop’s just right there.”
“Fine,” Miki reluctantly agreed. “But you owe me some noodles. Maybe even a beer.”
“Jesus, if it’s not music, it’s food. You’ve got two tracks in that busy head of yours,” his brother replied. “Let me just meet up this Ichiro Tokugawa guy and I’ll cut you loose to get some noodles. Just… don’t pull a Stan. I want you there when he starts.”
“Dude, I’m not going anywhere,” Miki promised. “I’m here ‘til the end. And if this Ichiro guy screws up your tattoo, I’ll even buy you that whiskey… right before I call Edie to come bail me out of jail for murder.”
Rebel: 415 Ink, Book One
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something — it’s standing up for himself.
Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After years of running from his past, present and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, Karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on; a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating break-up three years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold onto. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.
Purchase 415 Ink: Rebel at…
Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rebel-by-rhys-ford-9200-b
Catch up with the stories and be sure to hit up each of these blogs for a chance to win at every stop! Check out the pairings preview and plan your visit!
12.28 It’s About The Book (Damien and Miki, Part One)
About Rhys Ford
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Harley, an off-kilter flower-faced grey and white cat-dog , as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people
Rhys’ Blog: https://www.rhysford.com