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James R. Tuck gives Deacon some “FRESH INK” (Fourth-Wall Friday)

For all my new followers, today is Fourth-Wall Friday. Every Friday I host another wonderful author who has granted us a look into their world build and characters. Sit back and enjoy the show. I am trying to figure out what fresh ink I am getting next at James’ shop and I did not expect to have Deacon Chalk walk in. I am glad I am wearing black, because the drool won’t show up as bad if he decides to look my way. Welcome ….


James R. Tuck
used by permission


I walk through the door and all I see is red.

It covers every wall, blaring out at me, screaming at my eyes.

A buzzing fills my ears.

“Hey, how’s it going? What can we do for you today?”

I look down from staring at the art covered walls and see a young, thin teenager with spiked hair standing by the couch. His hair spiked messily over clear horn-rimmed glasses and a Doctor Who shirt.

Before I can say anything a big man stood up from the back of the large open room.

“My Sho-nizzle! C’mon back.”

Stepping through the opening between two four foot high half walls that divide the room from lobby to work area, I walk towards him. The teenager follows. The man, James, moves around the hydraulic chair he’s using as a desk, a tiny red laptop perched on a shiny metal tray. Boots, jeans, and a black t-shirt.

He’s dressed just like me.

Clasping outstretched hand, we both lean in, hugging like brothers.

We pull back and stand eye to eye.

The teenager watches us. “This is just really bizarre.”

The man smiles. “This isn’t weird, son. This, is Deacon Chalk.”

The teen looks at me. His eyes widen. “Oh.” He thinks for a second. “Oh!

James nods. “Yep. The main man himself.”

I shrug.

“Deacon, my son Conor. Conor, Deacon.”

I stick my hand out. “Nice to meet you.”

We shake.

My son would be this old now.

I clamp that down HARD. Fold it, push it aside.


James waves his hand toward the front of the shop. “Alright, back to work. Let us talk.

Conor smiles and walks back to the lobby area.

I indicate the walls. “I like what you’ve done with the place.”

“Really? I was a little worried you’d be pissed. I mean, that didn’t stop me, but it did pass through my mind.”

“It’s your shop now. You can do whatever you want. Besides, this is much better.”

I’m pretty happy with it.

This looks like a tattoo shop now.

Looked like a tattoo shop when I bought it from you.

I shake my head. “Nah. Those walls I built were rubbish. This is much better.”

“You’re knocking your Frankenstein seams on the drywall?”

“Hey! I was a tattoo artist, not a construction worker.”

“That was definitely not construction, more like con-fuck-tion.”

We both nod at the same time.

This feels good. The back and forth, the chit and the chat of two people who know each other pretty damn well.

I nod at the laptop.

“How goes the writing?”

“Working on a Lovecraft urban fantasy.”

“Not book 4?”

“That’s next. Book 3 just came out.”

“Yeah, Tiff picked it up. She liked it.”

“Good.” He picks up a sketchbook. “You wanna see your design?”

“Hell yeah.”

He hands it over to me. The page is filled with thin, red lines. They swirl and squiggle across the recycled paper, making big, loose forms. Over them is a series of darker lines, number 2 pencil lines, that sculpt and define the image, drawing its shape out of the chaos of the sketch.

It’s a Sailor Jerry-style pinup of a girl leaning on a pole. The banner under her feet reads POLECATS in traditional tattoo-style letters.

I look up. “I love it.”

“No changes?”

“Nope, run it.”

He nods. “I’ll get set up. Make yourself at home.”

I wander back to the lobby, grab a tattoo magazine, and sit on the leather couch.

I’ve just flipped past the third article on a different TV show with the word ink in the title. When the holy hell did tattooing go on television?

I’ve been out of the loop for a while since . . .

since . . .

I look over at Conor. He’s wiping down the jewelry case.

Fuck it. I’m not thinking about my family. Not here, not now.

The door chimes.

A guy who looks just a year or two older than Conor walks in. He’s also thin, but where Conor looks wiry, this kid looks damn near hollow. Sunken cheeks, jutting jawbone, eyes in deep caves under his eyebrows. If they weren’t steady, and his skin smooth and clear, I’d think he was strung out on some shit. He has a black portfolio clutched in skeletal hands and the shoulders of his t-shirt are stained blue gray from the shitty, black No 1 dye job on his shaggy hair.

Conor closes the jewelry case. “What can we do for you?”

“I want to talk to somebody about an apprenticeship.”

Oh, this should be awesome.

I put down the magazine.

Conor turns and speaks over the half wall where James can hear him. “Hey, there’s a guy here asking about an apprenticeship.”

James doesn’t look up from setting up his station for my tattoo. “Tell him to piss off.”

Conor turns back. “You heard that, right?”

The hollow kid puts his boney hand on the jewelry case, smearing fingerprints on the freshly windexed surface. “But I need to learn how to tattoo. I want someone to teach me.”

Conor shakes his head. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

“I think it needs to.”

James walks over in a clomp of boot on tile floor. “We don’t do apprenticeships.”

The hollow kid looks up. “But you didn’t look at my artwork.”

“Don’t need to.”

“I’d be an awesome tattooer! You’re afraid I’ll be better than you and take all your customers away.”

James laughs so hard spit flies from his mouth.

“You? Take my business? Fuck you, shithead. I’ve been at this for near twenty years, two fucking decades of shedding blood to get good at this game. You couldn’t catch up to me if you tried. My customers would never go to you.”

Anger makes the kids face dark. “But I  . . .”

James holds up his hand. The kid stops talking.

“How old are you?” James asks.


“Show me your ink.”

The kid blinks. “Wha . . . what?”

“Show me. Your. Ink.”

“I don’t have any.”

“You’ve been legal in this state for two years. Why not?”

“I only want to tattoo my art on my own body, so I’ll wait until I learn how and then get tatted up.”

Oh shit.

I can’t believe what I just heard.

The cap board on the half wall creaks under James’ hands as they clench and unclench.

His whole head is a dark shade of crimson.

“You arrogant little prick. Get out of my shop before I toss you out on your ass.” The words are seething, red hot with anger.

The kid steps back, looks at Conor. “Is he kidding?”

Conor shakes his head. “No, he’s not. You’d better go.”

The kid turns to the door. His hand closes on the handle and he turns. “You’ll regret being an asshole to me.”

“Being honest with an idiot ain’t being an asshole. Now, for the last time, piss off.”

The kid tries to slam the door on his way out but the weatherstripping softens it to a shush.

“Anyways.” James turns to me. “Aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with that shit anymore?”

I laugh. “It’s better than some of the assholes I run into on my job.”

“I know, I’ve written the stories.” He shakes his head. “You ready to get started?”

I stand up. “Sure thing.”

The second my ass clears leather on the couch my power kicks in and nearly drops me to my knees.

It swirls up inside my guts like a whirlpool of bumblebees, zinging and stinging between every organ and my mouth suddenly tastes like pennies smell and sour milk.

Which, for the record, tastes like shit.

My hand moves to the gun under my shirt and I look around.

James has his hands up. “Everything cool, mang?”

Through the window on the door I see a mop of cheap box dyed black hair hustle away.

I’m moving. “It’s all good. I just forgot something in the car. I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll be right here.”

The door chimes as I open and shut it again.

The bees in my guts become a hailstorm of stinging pellets inside.

My eyes scan, looking for the source.

It takes me about 2 seconds to find it.

Smeared in spit on the doorjamb is a symbol. An eye with an arrow pointing up and an X drawn through it. I lean in and the taste in my mouth gets worse. I swallow the gag that’s climbing up the back of it. I don’t know the symbol, but I know what it is.

Death magick.


Death workings and curses have a way of hanging around and spreading their taint like a deadly mold.  They tend to work to their bitter end long after the victim thinks himself safe. They’re like slowly ticking time bombs getting worse and worse the longer they sit, leeching out death and staining even the air around them until their victim is taken in whatever sick manner the witch or warlock imbued the spell with.

My hand pulls the knife out of my pocket, flicking open the spring loaded blade. It’s silver coated, shining dully in the sunlight, but the edge is finely honed, surgical stainless steel, and razor sharp. The doorjamb is made of cheap wood, soft and porous; a dig, a twist, and a flick of the wrist and I carve out the chunk of wood around the spit symbol. It burns my fingers as I hold it.

I owe James for a new doorjamb.

Not that he’ll let me pay.

But some little prick had laid a curse on his business, on him, on his son.

I’m going to shove this spell right up his narrow ass.

The kid’s almost at the end of the shopping center when I start walking after him. I don’t pull my gun. I want to, but it’s daylight and there are people around.

So I walk, with purpose, to catch him.

The end of the shopping center is a small gravel lot holding the dumpster and a few cars belonging to the employees of the business on the end. The kid’s nowhere to be seen. I keep moving.

Past the dumpster is a footpath that cuts through a small patch of woods on the outskirts of the neighborhood behind the shopping center. He had to have gone that way.

I step onto the path.

And am immediately knocked on my ass by a slathering, muscle-bound demon dog.

It knocks me sideways, it’s bulk driving me into a thin pine scrub, the green needles jab me in the face finding every inch of open skin to prick and poke. Thick claws dig into my chest and back as the hellhound tries to pull himself up my body, heavy square jaw snapping for my throat.

The damn thing weighs nearly what I do, crushing me against the pine and its body. I can’t reach my gun.

But I still have the knife in my hand.

A roar tears out of me as I shove, moving the beast back on the dirt, opening a gap between us.

I twist, the knife blade out. It catches the hellhound where hip meets belly, slicing open the skin. The creature yelps, high-pitched and shrill in my ear and its paws scrabble against me, trying to push off, to get away from the biting pain in its guts. Hot ichor splashes up my arm from the guts of the beast.

It falls aside as I push off the pine-scrub, landing heavy in the dirt and leaves. It climbs to four legs as I shake hellhound gore off my arm.

That shit burns like acid.

The hellhound looks at me with crimson eyes. It’s black fur is slick, matted with some vile fluid, and sticky shiny. Intestines trail the ground underneath it like an abandoned jump rope. It snarls through a muzzle of green flicked foam.

All hellhounds are rabid.

They’re not dogs, they just look like them. They’re actually minor demons from some level of Hell brought to this plane of existence and wrapped in rotten flesh. They stink like wet dog, if the dog is soaked in hobo piss.

Being enfleshed means you have two ways to deal with them.

Cast them out with an exorcism.

Or kill the sumbitches.

Guess which one I’m going for.

My hand draws out the .45 under my arm. It fills my fingers, the grip solid in my hand. It feels right. It feels like a part of who I am.

The hellhound growls.

It’s going to try again. I can feel it getting ready to jump, to leap, to grab my throat in its crushing jaws and drink my blood down its open maw. It’s fast, faster than hell.

But not faster than a .45 caliber bullet.

Not faster than my trigger finger.

The bullet hits it just under the nose as it leaves its feet, lunging toward me in an explosion of demonic fury. The bullet does it’s job, taking off the square skull just above the muzzle.

The hellhound drops and immediately begins to smoke, it’s corporeal form disintergrating in to brimstone.

“Lay down. Play dead. Good doggy.” No one’s there to hear my joke.

The bees start buzzing inside me again.

I turn and the kid is just a few feet up the path. He’s got his portfolio open and he’s reading. The words twist in the air, spilling mangled from his mouth, words not meant for human tongue.

It takes four steps and I’m in front of him.

I knock the portfolio from his hands. It flips through the air, paper spilling out of it. They’re thin parchment, vellum and papyrus, covered in gnarled lettering and obscene drawings done in black ink and a brownish tone that I’d bet dollars to doughnuts is blood.

He’s been carrying around a fucking grimoire.

My hand fills with his shirt, jerking him to his toes. “What the fuck’re you doing?”

“Get off me man!”

I shake him. “I don’t think so. Is that” I point at the grimoire, “thing something you found or something you made?”

He stutters.

I shake him again. “Answer the damn question.”

“I found it. I found it. I thought it was cool and then it let me do things.”

I shove him and he falls on his ass. “You brought a fucking demon to this world man. Don’t you understand the serious implications of that?”

“I’m an atheist.”

“You’re an idiot.” I have to stop myself from kicking his balls up into his throat.

“I’m a warlock.”

I step over him and point the .45 at his face. I’ve been on the other end of a gun. I know how big it looks when it’s stuck in your face. Like the bullet that could come out would tear the world in two.

He’s scared. Skin white, shaking, sweating, little muscles around his eyes and mouth twitching.

But he’s also, deep down, pissed off. I can see it all the way at the bottom of his brown eyes.

Somebody has fucked this kid up and it wasn’t me.

Most kids who dabble in the occult have emotional issues. Not the kids who try Wicca or paganism or any of the other alternative religions out there, those guys are usually just searching for Truth, but the ones who turn to Satanism and Black Magick? Those kids, nine times out of ten, come already fucked up. It’s the trauma in their lives, the scars on their souls that make them susceptible to the thermonuclear crack that is magick.

Dammit, I suck at this part.

I squat down, moving the gun away from pointing at him.

“What’s your name?”

His eyes narrow. “Why do you want to know?”

“Just tell me your damn name, kid.”


“You live in the neighborhood on the other side of the woods here?”

He nods.

“Gimme your ID.”

He stares at me, suspicious, but pulls it out and hands it over. The picture on his license makes him look like a child; shorter hair, clearer skin. The address is just around the corner. I put it in my pocket.

“Hey!” he says.

“Listen to me. I’m keeping your ID and I’m keeping that book. I’m going to send somebody over to your house today and he’s going to take you to coffee and you are going to go and talk to him.”

“I don’t need to talk to nobody.”

“Yes you do Randy. Doing magick NEVER ends well. This is real bad shit you’re messing with and my friend can help you. Believe me, you want that, because if you keep fucking around with demon shit then I’ll be the one to stop you.” My mind trips. I shake it off. “Do you want that?”

“I never want to see you again.”

“Good. Now go home, gather anymore of this shit you have into a trash bag, and wait for a priest to come to your door.”

“A priest?”

I nod.

“Aw man, I’m an atheist.”

“Shut up and get moving. He’ll be there in an hour or so.”

He stands and starts walking down the footpath. He doesn’t look back at me.

When he disappears I holster my gun and start gathering the loose pages of the grimoire. It’s sick shit and makes my power go jingle jangle inside my chest, but it’s a lesser grimoire, maybe a hundred years old and American. Kid is lucky he didn’t get a hold of one of the ancient European ones. Those fucking books are steeped in evil, taking on the aspects of the demons locking in their pages. One of those would have pushed him to the point of no return. To the point that I would’ve had to put him down.

Father Mulcahy will get him straightened out.

And he’ll find out where Randy got this book. If someone’s selling real occult items to people then I’ll be paying them a visit.

I smile at the prospect as I walk to the Comet.


“Damn mang, that was some trip to the car.”

I look down at my arms and shirt. I’m covered in a tacky layer of hellhound gut juice.

“Shit. Sorry. Let me clean up before we start.”

James waves his hand. “Bathrooms in the same place.”

I go in the first white door on the left, flick on the light, and am nearly blinded by the sun yellow color that the whole bathroom has been painted. I wash up in the sink, thinking about Randy.

Father Mulcahy answered when I called. I gave him the rundown and address and he was on his way there before the kid could get squirrelly and bolt.

He’ll save the kid.

He will.

I realize I’m just standing at the sink with the hot water running.

My chest is tight. After the last run in I had with some satanic witches recently and how everything got so damn fucked up, I really want . . . no I need Randy to be okay. I don’t know the kid, and truthfully, he seems like a pain in the ass, but he’s still human, still redeemable. I believe that. I have to.

I take a deep breath.

Let it out.

And wash up.


I step out and walk over to where James sits at his station. He pulls out a pair of latex gloves, slipping them on. I pull up the leg of my jeans, rolling it to my knee. There is a long strip of bare skin between the sugar skull on the back of my calf and the Batman tattoo on the front of my shin. He holds the stencil of the pinup over it.

It’s a perfect fit.

A shave and a lather later the stencil is in place and I’m sitting awkwardly on the adjustable tattoo chair so my leg is flat.

James hits the foot pedal, making the tattoo machine hum to life.

He looks at me. “So, everything okay from where you went outside?”

“For now, yes.”

“You don’t look like it’s okay.”

I’m still thinking about Randy, and demons, and all the shit that happened with Selene and her coven of witches, and all the pain and bloodshed and bullshit that came out of that.

I still miss her.

I look down at the design on my leg, the stencil waiting for a needle to commit it to my skin.

“I’m here for a tattoo, not a counseling session.”

“Pain is therapy.” he says.

He lays the needle into my skin with purpose. The first sting is the worst, hot and sharp and sucktastic. He pulls the line and it clears my mind of everything but the here and the now. Right this moment and my whole world is the tattoo. And it works. I settle back, giving in to the experience of getting tattooed and having a clear head.

Bring the pain.


The third book in a series is a strange animal. Writing it as an author you feel like you’re just getting your feet under you, that you finally have a handle on the characters, the plot, and the voice you’re going for. It’s both comforting and exciting at the same time. Promoting the third book in a series is even stranger. Some of you have been with me since book one (Thank you so much for your support!), some of you are new to the family, picking up the book because of the momentum of the series itself (Welcome to the party! Make yourself at home, mi casa es su casa.).

I am truly appreciative of your time and effort and love for the written story. I know that if you’re taking the time to review my book then you’re giving me a portion of your life and I worked my ass off to make sure I didn’t waste it.

Remember that if you ever need anything from me just ask and if I can I will make it happen. Even months after this book is out and the promo blitz is done you can call on me for an interview or a guest post. No guarantees except to try, but if I can I will.

Enjoy the book!

vampire-dividersmJames R. Tuck

James R. Tuck

James R. Tuck is a multi-published author of Dark Urban Fantasy, Crime Fiction, Horror, and Science Fiction/Fantasy. He owns Family Tradition Tattoo in Marietta, Ga and lives in the Atlanta area with his lovely wife, a cool son, a terrific daughter, and four kooky dogs.

He writes the stories that keep you up at night.



JamesRTuck author photo 2013-001

BLOOD AND MAGICK: Deacon Chalk Book 3

Taking out hellish creatures—not a problem. Armed with blessed silver hollow-points and the ability to manipulate magick, he’s ready for anything—except betrayal he never saw coming…

Deacon Chalk knows the biggest danger in fighting monsters is becoming one. Just another day at the office for your friendly neighborhood occult bounty hunter. If keeping three helpless were-dog children safe means battling a malevolent trio of witches by any means necessary, so be it. If that means partnering with a ruthless government agent to stay one step ahead of the allies and friends he must now suspect, he’s not going to cry about it. The only way Deacon can save humans and shape-shifters alike is to embrace a power beyond his imagining, putting his team at stake—and his soul on the line…

“. . . Chalk takes his gory demon-slaying business dead seriously, allowing readers to have both fun and high-powered action. This exciting and charmingly ridiculous installment will appeal to fans of B-movies and urban fantasy.” Publishers Weekly




Thank you so bloody much for being on the blog today, James. I am a huge Deacon fan (drool-factor x20)! It has been an honor… now about that INK…. 🙂

Fourth-Wall Friday

Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with your main characters? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears…

Interested in being part of Cabin Goddess’ Fourth-Wall Friday? I will soon be opening up my schedule from July through Christmas and have a few limited reserved Friday’s for special Fourth-Wall Friday spots (Sign ups for July – December 2013), such as book releases and tours. Contact me at [email protected] for more info. I hope everyone (authors and readers alike) takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done and enjoy a lot of amazing world builds!

Fourth-Wall FridayAllow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters get into trouble before you take a chance and talk to them…




  1. Oh my GOD this guy is practically our NEIGHBOR! Just in Marietta? I could TOTALLY have him do a tattoo for me! Oh that would be SA-WEEEET!!

    I bought this whole series in Kindle (had the last one from NetGalley, but bought it anyway, just to have the set), and will read it as soon as I can. I’ve been trying for weeks; it sounds like just my thing. And now… NOW I can try to make an appointment and receive some ink from DA MAN HIMSELF! Oh, I’m so excited about this!!
    Show me some love!

  2. Cool stuff! Makes me want to throw a bit of action into my coming 4thwall. I’m off to cyberstalk ya a bit, Tuck!

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