Saturday evening post: Recalcitrant demons and tattooed males

So I've gotten to that point in my latest work in progress where all the pieces have fallen into place, and I know exactly what's going to happen from here to the end...except for One. Little. Thing. It's a fairly crucial thing. My demon character Belphagor is supposed to have a plan that he unveils at the last minute to save the day in a certain situation. And now it's time for me to write that scene. But he won't tell me what it is. And people wonder why writers drink.

In lieu of actual writing getting done, I will now post some random tattooed males. This first one definitely has something young-Belphagorian going on:

Is this a cute boy or a hot dyke? Oh, who cares!

This one's just plain easy on the eyes:

And you may thank me for this one later:


Saturday evening post: Young Belphagor

Ooh. I just found my young Belphagor:

Isn't he sweet? Of course, he should have dark brown eyes, and young Belphagor had no tattoos, until...oh, right. You have to read the second trilogy to find that out. Sorry for the horrible tease. (notsorry)

To make up for it, here's a brief excerpt from young Belphagor's introduction to the world of Man:

“His skin is as smooth as a girl’s.” The angel watched him from the low light through the sheer-curtained window.

So that was how it was. On Earth as it is in Heaven. He had paid for his supper in Raqia in much the same way on more than one occasion. Belphagor gave them a winsome smile. He was not above playing whatever part was required to the hilt.

Bonus post: Friday flesh

And because I just happened to have some spare nekkid tattooed people "lying about," I thought I'd post a few bits of candy for everyone:

Personally, I don't think he's nearly as hot as Mateo, but...OMG...I'm typing right under his groin!

Seriously, though, I prefer this one:

And in keeping with the theme of my ume tattoo, this one's not too hard on the eyes either:

But this one is my favorite:

Sigh. Tattooed girls in love.

You may thank me now.

Throwing Chora

So an interesting thing developed while I was writing the Queen of Heaven series. The beginning of The House of Arkhangel'sk opens on a card game. It was one of the first images I had of this world: a den of "iniquity" in heaven, where an angel of the ruling House of Arkhangel'sk, disguised as a local in heaven's ghetto, played cards with a demon. I thought my demons should have a deck of cards more suited to heaven than earth, so I invented one that used the angelic orders in four suits for the cardinal elements, and called the game "wingcasting." (Don't ask me where the name came from. It's lost in the primordial soup of the book's beginnings. All I remember is that I was looking for Victorian card games, and something put this combination of words into my head, and it stuck.)

The game is played much like poker, but to make it more complicated, I added a twelve-sided die with a different animal representing one of the four cardinal elements on each face. The play of each hand is preceded by a cast of the die, giving one's opponent the opportunity to call out a symbol before it lands. If that symbol appears on the face, the casting player must surrender a card. If it doesn't, the opponent must increase his bet to continue to play.

This was all well and good, and deliciously impossible to win. My naughty demon Belphagor became a master player—through both skill and tricks—and beat the pants off my little angel. (Or rather, beat the pants onto her...well, you'll have to read it.)

Little did I know, there were other demons hanging around the slums of Raqia who used the cards for something else entirely. One demon in particular likes to keep things from me until she springs them on me at the last minute out of the blue, and she was busy turning this harmless little deck of cards into a much more useful tool. Thus the divination system called the Chora (for the choirs of angels depicted on the cards) was born. More than just a device for fortune-telling, it became a means of communicating between the spheres, when such practicalities as the Internet and cell phones could not be had in my late-Victorian Heaven.

Why am I telling you all this? Heavens, I don't know. You're the one who came to the blog; don't blame it on me. What do you want, pictures of half-naked tattooed men every day? Well...okay, then!

Oh, and I'll be blogging over at Here Be Magic tomorrow about plotting with the tarot.

Looking for Belphagor

Belphagor turns out to be much harder to find than Vasily...and I never thought I'd find Vasily. Sigh. But here's a model who has a certain Belphagorian look to him:

Is that a gun in his pocket, or...?

And here's another one; no tattoos, unfortunately, but he has a little something of Belphagor in the eyes. Interestingly, both of these models are Brazilian. Is Belphagor Brazilian? Who knew?

But if I could find a 30something, tattooed, cigar-smoking, pierced Robert Downey, Jr., he'd be perfect.

Whaddya think? Can you see any of these guys spanking Vasily? Ah, well. The search continues.

Of plum blossoms and body ink

Several years ago when I finished writing my first novel I started a tradition: each time I finished a book, I would get a tattoo. Blue moon tattooThe first tattoo was my blue moon. This was for my novel Blood Maiden, and represents a carving on a dagger that one of the characters carried (though hers had a blood moon instead of a blue), as well as representing the (erroneous) popular definition of a blue moon as the second full moon in a calendar month.

In addition, it represents my connection with my mother, who died when I was 14. In college I chose "Blue Moon" as one of my performance pieces for voice class, and when I went out for dinner with my father for my 21st birthday, I happened to mention it as I was ordering my first-ever alcoholic beverage with Dad, my new favorite: a rum screwdriver. My father stared at me for a moment and said, "that was your mom's favorite drink," and then when I mentioned the song, "your mom sang that in college." Ever since then, the image of a blue moon made me feel connected to her, so the tattoo seemed fitting. I don't drink too many rum screwdrivers anymore, but the tattoo is forever. ;)

Isis knot tattooMy second novel was Anamnesis, and for reasons too complicated to explain, Isis and Kali became symbols of the divine feminine for me during the emotional upheaval of writing that manuscript. So for Anamnesis, I created my own version of a tyet or "Isis knot."

The two Sanskrit characters framing it represent the bija "seed sound" mantras for Agni (fire): hum, and Kali: krim. With these three symbols together, I was invoking the ultimate in kick-ass goddess protection. After a thwarted assault by a stranger while I was walking home from the BART station one day after work, I felt I was in need of it. It has stood me in good stead ever since.

In 2005, I finished my first draft of The Devil's Garden. At the time, I thought a matching tattoo for the tyet would be appropriate: the djed. These are the two symbols carved on the pillars of pharaohs' tombs. I came up with a design for it, but was never happy with it. I even received tattoo gift money for my birthday from two dear friends who insisted I go and get it. But I just couldn't seem to get motivated to rework the design until I was happy with it, and it languished in a folder of "things to do."

After finishing up the final line edits for TDG last night, I decided to do an image search for Belphagor from the Arkhangel'sk books to go along with the Vasily images I found recently. While browsing tattooed models, I came across a tattoo of plum blossoms, and suddenly it hit me: the plum blossom sprig is the perfect symbol for TDG. It's the symbolic proof of the divine that Ume (whose name means "plum" in Japanese) receives from the Meer—and not just a plum blossom sprig, but one covered in snow. Like the symbols in Anamnesis that I later discovered were common in Middle Eastern mythology and religion, this detail was something I thought I'd invented, and yet while searching for plum blossom imagery, I discovered the blossoms often do indeed bloom while still covered in snow.

While I work on the design for my new tattoo, I've been looking at pictures of plum blossoms on the Web. Here are a few of my favorites:

[gallery link="file" orderby="ID"]

Hmm. The WP gallery insists on including the two tattoo pictures in this display. When I take them out here it deletes them from above as well. Ah, well.