Guest Post: My Left Arm by Tagan Shepard

One of the best parts of running this website is hearing from authors I haven’t met before. Tagan Shepard reached out to me earlier this month to tell me about her upcoming release, Visiting Hours.

She was kind enough to agree to write a guest post.

Please welcome Tagan Shepard.

Pretty much everything you need to know about me you can learn from my left arm. I have a half sleeve covering my upper arm and a single tattoo on my inner forearm that spans almost from my elbow to my wrist.

Let’s start with the sleeve, because that’s where I started. The sleeve itself is new, I only finished it earlier this year. I did it to fill in around the first tattoo I got, inked in just a few months after I turned 18 and could legally get one. Because I’m a full on 90s dyke, it’s a labrys. Not just any labrys. That labrys. The one from Bound. It’s six inches long, taking up the majority of my upper arm. There’s a line in Bound where Violet says to Corky that she knows who she is, she doesn’t need to tattoo it on her arm. Well, at 18, living in the Southern United States, I needed to tattoo it on my arm. I needed to stick my middle finger in the air to the rest of the world and be loud and proud about my queerness.

These days, at a more mellow (though not necessarily more mature) 35, I don’t need a middle finger in the air. The world’s a different place and I’m a different person. I didn’t cover up my homage to 90s queer culture or my own brand of out and loud lesbianism, but I softened it by surrounding it with the other things that I love. My ‘arm of nerd’ as I call it. The other thing I’m out and loud about is my excessive nerdiness.

There’s the sign of the three brothers from Harry Potter, the paragon interrupt icon from Mass Effect, the question mark block from original Mario, a bright green 42 floating in a galaxy of stars for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The entire fleshy, painful to tattoo, underside of my arm is the 007 logo, with the first 0 done as the O from the original Octopussy poster. Roger Moore will always be Bond to me. RIP. On the back is the too-wide-at-the-hips sketch of Buffy that Giles made in the episode ‘Hush’ of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the fiery roman numeral II from my all-time favorite video game, Diablo II. At the elbow are three matched 8-bit keys and torii gates, in copper, jade, and crystal, from my favorite book, Ready Player One.

Corky’s labrys got the new coat of black it desperately needed after seventeen years alone on my arm. While he renewed it, my artist added some color to tie it in with the rest of the piece. A hint of yellow on the blade, some red in the background. I didn’t ask him to do it, but I trusted him when he pulled out the colors and I’m glad he did it. It pops rather than fading into the whole. It still defines me like nothing else on my arm ever could.

Nothing else except the last piece, right on the back of my shoulder. The Bella Books logo. I was going for my final sitting just a few days after I got the call from my publisher, accepting the manuscript for my debut novel, Visiting Hours. That moment changed my life monumentally. That phone call made me really feel like a writer for the first time.

So that’s my arm and that’s me in a nutshell.

What about the piece on my forearm? Well, that’s a story for another time…


Release Date: August 17, 2017

Alison Reynolds knows exactly who she is and what she wants. With a well-established career as a history professor, Alison is professional and, for the most part, strait-laced—the exact opposite of Dr. Jess Baker.

Jess is spirited, impulsive, and confident to the point of cockiness. A promising physician recently transplanted from the West Coast, Jess sticks out in her new home of Richmond, Virginia.

The two clash immediately and often. Jess is infuriating, unprofessional, and altogether too distracting. The more fate throws them together, the more Alison discovers that while their differences may be exciting, it’s the little ways they’re alike that are downright irresistible.

The book is available now on Bella Books. 

You can pre-order it on Amazon, which will be available on September 1, 2017.


Tagan Shepard has always spent quiet moments weaving stories in her head. It didn’t occur to her until recently to take the time to write them down. Now that she’s started, she can’t seem to stop. When not writing, she makes her living in a hospital laboratory.

She is a cardio junkie, history buff, and unrepentant nerd, happily wasting countless hours of her life on video games and science fiction/fantasy of every stripe. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her very patient wife and two rather surly cats.

Thanks Tagan! Wonderful meeting you and I hope Visiting Hours is a smashing success.



About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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1 Response to Guest Post: My Left Arm by Tagan Shepard

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: Written on the body by Tagan Shepard | I Heart Lesfic

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