Friday, 29 August 2008

In the Woods

I'm giving away a copy of Wildwood over on Lust Bites before the week ends - get on over and enter the draw by commenting on the post.

In keeping with the woodland/pagan theme of my novel, here's a photo I took while on holiday last year. So, it's hardly the Wicker Man. But we were in a fairly remote area on the west coast of Scotland, and we'd stopped to take a walk in a Forestry Commisssion woodland by the side of the only road going up this particular penninsula. It was an unusally pretty little wood and the path led down to the beach of a sea-loch where you could pick up garnets tumbled among the pebbles.

This was in the wood. I'm not sure if the whole wooden mushroom thing translates overseas, but basically they are garden ornaments and you can find them on sale in car boot fairs up and down the country. My guess is that someone doing some chainsaw work in the wood had knocked out this mushroom in a moment of whimsy.

And then passing walkers had come along and, for no logical reason, offered it money as if it were a shrine to the local god. (The white object is a piece of sea-worn glass.) There is an instinctive - if facile - paganism in the British I think. Give us a fountain or a well or, it seems, a wooden mushroom in a forest, and we can't stop ourselves offering up money.

So what did Mr Ashbless and me do? We left a coin of course, and went on walking.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Dark Angel Review #2

Whoop! Another awesome accolade from Dark Angel reviews - this time for Wildwood!

Becky Gaede says:
"I loved every element of this story."

And: "The erotic scenes between Avril and Michael, and also between Avril and Ash, were some of the hottest I have read."

And: "The only disappointment was that this story ended too soon."

Read the full review here!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Quickie Seduction

Quick - my visiting family have headed out Even Further North to visit relatives for the day, so I have a moment to show you the cover for the Seduction anthology that has just gone up on Amazon. It's not due out until February I think, so this is advance notice! My cuckolding story Honey Trap is included.

My thoughts on the cover? Well, the model isn't White. Hoorah and About Time, and why couldn't I have had appropriate cover models for Divine Torment and Burning Bright?

Now I have the rest of the day to get my proof-reading finished. Have to get it done!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Proof at last...

I've got them in my hands - the proofs for Dark Enchantment! Whoop!

Not a single change was requested to my manuscript as handed in. And having read through the proofs once I can see only a few peripheral alterations* (My wayward grammar has been whipped into official shape, and a number of "cunt"s have become slightly more decorous). Do you know what this means? - Finally I have managed to get a full-on Minotaur story accepted by Black Lace!** Yep. After all these years!

Gosh. I have finally learned to fly under the radar.

Rather unfortunately my family are visiting this week. Believe me, close reading of pornographic proofs with one's parents and a 5-yr-old nephew hanging about the place is rather tricky. But I've got to do it somehow...

*Well, they got my name wrong on the title page. But it's not the first time and at least I have a chance to point it out before going to print, unlike in the 2nd ed. of Cruel Enchantment!
**Not to mention the story about the Devil. And the gang-bang story.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Losing Sleep

Here's a spare Kay Nielsen picture I had left over after my Lust Bites post on Bear Skin. It shows the moment in the original fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" in which Mr Bear says that the curse has come home to roost and he must now go marry the wicked troll woman. His human wife begs him to tell her where he will be, so that she can search him out.

I had a few fairy-tale books when I was little with these sort of illustrations - very arty and sexy, and full of languid feminine-looking men (a sort of proto-Manga look), though I don't remember all the boots being quite that pointy. Those illustrations siezed my imagination and had a huge effect on me. They led me on to Angela Carter in the end, I suspect.

More modern children's illustrations tend to be bright, cartoony and aimed squarely at kids. What a waste, and what a pity. Who are they going to inspire?

Anyway, this week I have:

  • Signed the Best Women's Erotica 2009 contract for my story Ritual Space.
  • Written my bio/blurb for a ghost story anthology.
  • Started to panic about getting my Misbehaviour story written in time.
  • Woken at 3.15am on Tuesday night and been unable to get back to sleep because my brain was churning over the plot for Heart of Flame. This was actually a real blessing - one of the gift moments I am so grateful for as a writer. It means my subconscious is engaged with the story. In the remaining hours of the night I mentally sorted out 4 or 5 scenes for the novel which I had previously been vague upon. But I can't write them yet! Misbehaviour first.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Vampires Under Cover

Thanks to some nifty detective work by Kristina Lloyd (thanks Kristina!) we have a sneak preview of the cover of Lust at First Bite, the Black Lace vampire short story anthology. At time of writing this cover isn't even up on Amazon, but the book's due out in the first week of November and I think it should be a great collection.

Mmmm. Nice cover...
My contribution is the 2nd-ever vampire story I wrote: The Blood of the Martyrs, set in Venice and featuring a Christian vampire (thus allowing me to have a pop at two targets at once, the cynical might say!).

And here for your delectation is the first ever vampire story I wrote. It's not long:


‘Trust me,’ he says.

I trust you.

‘You know I love you. With every beat of my heart.’


He ties me to the bed and pours kirsch into my navel. Lapping the liqueur, he kisses his way up me. I quiver at each sweet impact. His mouth is like fire. He kisses my nipples and they tingle, burning. Runnels of kirsch trickle down the soft swells to pool on my breastbone. I cry out with need.

He slides his body over mine, mouth cherry-sticky, cherry-red. As his teeth shear into my flesh I realise: he has no heartbeat.

© Janine Ashbless

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Enchanted: Bear Skin excerpt

From my novella Bear Skin:
(NB - You should really read this Lust Bites post first, because this follows directly on from the extract there.)

He kissed me on the lips and then the throat, biting and licking the line of my neck as I offered it up to him. It didn’t occur to me to be afraid of his teeth. I was lost in his kisses in moments, forgetting eventually even to stroke his prick. He didn’t seem to mind; he slid to his knees before me, pulling out of my grasp and setting my bum firmly against the sofa-back. He kissed his way down over my bare shoulders as he eased aside the spaghetti-straps of my slip, and then his mouth was on my breasts and I forgot to breathe. The darkness was total but now my blind eyes were filled with crimson stars as he ate his way in honeyed kisses across my breasts, suckling at my nipples, breath hot on wet skin. I grasped his head, running my fingers through his short hair, raking the nape of his neck. The silk dress ran down my legs like cool water. Then he stooped to the taut line of my belly and he was nuzzling up against my mound and parting my thighs and I had to let go of him to grasp the leather and lean back, opening for him, almost on tiptoe. His tongue was sweet fire. He lifted my left thigh and draped it over his shoulder – all the better to eat me with.

Arailt: a stranger pressed between my thighs in the dark, his tongue taking possession of my clit and my mind. A man whose face I couldn’t picture. A man I’d never even seen. I thought I’d melt on that hot, avid mouth. I thought he’d lick me away like an ice-cream. But I didn’t go quietly into dissolution though I’d lost all ability to construct a sentence; my evocations were half poetry and half blasphemy and all helpless surrender, as the inky darkness turned to pulsing crimson and then the stars in my head went nova.

Almost as soon as I was done he stood, scooped my up bodily and dropped me over the sofa-back onto the padding below. Then he stepped over in one stride and descended on me, urgent now. It wasn’t graceful, our coupling; in the blackness we tangled our limbs and fumbled for access, gasping and giggling and heaving until somehow I guided him into me, and after that he knew exactly what he was doing. He did it hard, just as Lynn had warned - and it was so good. I arched beneath him and bit his shoulder and urged him on with whimpering cries. I had one leg up the sofa-back and one foot on the floor and my head hanging over the side, jerking with every thrust: What after all was the value of decorum, there in the dark? What was there left, here in the dark, when all that was familiar and normal belonged to the daylight? – Certainly no regret or guilt or fear anymore: only his weight and the friction and the smell of our bodies and the need and the pleasure and the igniting fire of orgasm.

The fire consumed us both.

When we’d finished gasping Arailt slid from me and dropped with a thud to the carpet. ‘Jesus,’ he whispered, cradling his hot face on my heaving breast. ‘I want to do that again.’

I dissolved into spluttering laughter.

‘What’s so funny?’ His tone was comically offended, but he ran his hand accurately down the length of my abdomen until he could sink his fingers into my muff.

‘If you can do that again I’ll-’ The words caught in my throat as his fingers circled my clit.

‘You’ll what?’ Raising himself, he explored my throat and face with his lips until he found mine and planted a questioning kiss there.

‘I’ll be very very happy,’ said I in a small voice.

He chuckled. He had a rich and deeply dirty chuckle. ‘I didn’t say right now. Or here.’ Standing, he pulled me up. ‘There’s a lot more room on the bed, for a start.’ He slid my arms around his neck. ‘Come on, you wee slip of a thing. I’ll carry you up.’

‘Wee slip?’ I mocked, wrapping my legs around his waist. ‘Oh, the big man reckons he can carry me all the way up to bed…’

He didn’t even catch his breath. ‘No problem. Except…’ He took my bottom lip in his teeth and tugged it gently. I moaned. His hands, which had slid under my bottom to support my weight, took a lascivious squeeze. ‘Except that I might have to stop and put you over the top banister and fuck you there,’ he added.

Enchanted is in the UK shops now! If you're quick you have a chance to win a free copy by getting over to Lust Bites before Sunday 10th August and leaving a comment on the Bear Skin post. A winner will be drawn at random.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Wildwood out now!

At last - Wildwood is published in the UK this week! My contemporary paranormal has taken a long time to find its way out of the woods into the light of day, but it has finally staggered out into public view blinking and picking twigs out of its hair.
To be in with a chance of winning a free copy, nip over to Lust Bites before Sunday 10th August - there's a post all about Wildwood and if you leave a comment you might win a signed copy of the book. Good luck!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Good Twin, Evil Twin

Just a picture of Olivia Knight (on the left) and me having a writers' meeting in an Oxford pub garden. Or having a few drinks, anyhow. Same thing, really.

All rumours that we went off to Bruges together for a dirty weekend are totally unfounded - Olivia went on the Friday and came back on Monday, and I arrived on the Monday thus missing her by a few hours. Strange world. So anyway, we thought we'd swap gossip back on British soil.

And if you think that hat is bad you should see my other one.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Dark Angel Reviews

Dark Angel Reviews have been reading the Black Lace paranormal novella collections - and they love 'em!

First of all Magic and Desire (including my novella The House of Dust) got a 4 pixies out of 5 rating (= "this was really good and left me wanting to read more very soon").
Becky Gaede described HoD as "a truly magical read" and said I had "a wonderful mind" - read the full review here.

Then the new collection Enchanted (out this week!) got the ultimate accolade - a Dark Angel Recommended Read which is, like, 6 out of 5 (= "something we will re-read again and again and rave about to everyone").
Amanda Haffery describes it as "one of the all time best [anthologies] I've ever read" and says of my novella Bear Skin: "Hazel and Arailt are red-hot and the passion that broke loose when they were alone together - It was like someone hooked them up to dynamite." Read the full review here.

So thank-you, you Dark Angels!