In the flesh

It's amazing how small actions can result in big consequences. When I first began writing the Vampire Academy series and created an intricate tattoo system for that world, I had no idea that those designs would catch on so quickly among readers. It just wasn't anything I'd ever thought about. I never expected those tattoos to show up on T-shirts:

And certainly not--permanently--on people's bodies:

My awesome readers have gotten pretty creative with the designs, and I've had a lot of fun seeing them show up at my signings. Nonetheless, it's left an impression on me to be careful what I do in books. You never know what might come of it. So, you'd think I would've thought twice before writing this piece of dialogue in Bloodlines, in which Adrian describes his dream tattoo:

"I want it to be a skeleton on fire on a motorcycle. With a pirate hat, and a parrot on his shoulder. A skeleton parrot. Or maybe a ninja skeleton parrot? No that would be overkill."

I shared that passage with someone shortly after writing it. She looked at me and said, "You know this means people are going to get real tattoos made of this, right?" No, I hadn't known that. It had never crossed my mind. Neat geometric designs are one thing, but did I want to be resonsible for someone getting an on-fire pirate skeleton motorcyclist tattooed to their body? It was a dilemma, and I had to decide if that comic value was worth keeping in the book.

I decided it was.

Hopefully, any readers who are excited by that tattoo concept (and honestly, who wouldn't be?) will stick to temporary ones or T-shirt designs. Don't get me wrong--the skeleton's cool. And, I'm secretly itching to see someone make it. I'm just not sure some people will think it's cool when they're eighty and can't get it off their bodies.

In the meantime, Arcane Vault seems to have read my mind about wanting to see how this tattoo would actually look. So, they're having a contest that requires no needles whatsoever! You artistic types now have a chance to win some hot prizes and make Adrian's tattoo come to life. The details are on AV's Facebook page, but I'll repost here for your convenience:

We want you to design Adrian's tattoo.

You can use any medium you want: paint, pencil, pen and ink, photography, Photoshop, pasta... (You get the point right?). Once we have received all the entries our panel of judges will select the top 3 images and post them in an album on our Facebook page.

Then, it’s your turn. The design that receives the most "likes" will be the named the winner and will receive a very cool Arcane Vault prize package.

We will begin accepting entries this Wednesday (Aug 31st) and the last day to submit your entry will be Friday Sept. 16th. Fan voting for the final 3 will begin the following week and will run for 1 week after that.


- This contest is open to all fans, domestic and international.

- There is no age limit.

- We have no preference in what medium you choose to use.

How to submit your entry:

Please send your entry to: and include the following information:




Title of your piece:

Best e-mail address at which to contact you:

Disclaimer and other assorted notes:

- Please note that all entries must be appropriate for all ages (in other words no nudity or crude language).

- Photographers: You must own the rights to all your images and have written releases from any and all models.

- All likeness must be original and may not purposely represent any celebrities, sports figures or otherwise "famous" individuals.

- Initial judging will be done by a panel of individuals chosen by The Arcane Vault; their choices will be final.

- This contest is purely for entertainment value and is not in any way associated with Richelle Mead or Penguin Press.

If you have any questions or need any additional information please feel free to e-mail us at any time. Good Luck!

You heard them! Get out your pencils/paints/Photoshop, and good luck. :)


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