Wednesday, 31 December 2008

While you're down there...

Normal service will be resumed in the New Year when I have recovered. I forsee a slew of steamy excerpts from my new collection Dark Enchantment - out January 8th! - order it now!

In the meantime, do you think that when Burne-Jones painted Pan and Psyche in 1874 he had any idea how suggestive of oral sex it looked?

Or is it just me?

Monday, 29 December 2008

Eyecandy Monday

Limited access to the Net this week - but I can still do Eyecandy!

I do have a habit of chopping the heads off my eyecandy blokes. This is not because I have a fetish for decapitation, or a need to objectify men (I can see them as sex objects with their faces on just fine, thanks), but because I have very particular and idiosyncratic tastes in male faces. The wrong face (too young - generally anything below 30 - too bland, too Twink, or Matthew McConaughey) totally turns me off. In fact most of my parameters are not even verbally definable. This gentleman just had the Wrong Eyes. Sorry, mate.

Friday, 26 December 2008

2008 in the rearview mirror

This is one of my favourite pictures of the many posted to Lust Bites last year. I thought he deserved another airing.

This is the best book I bought - a big art coffee-table book about The Orientalists, by Kristian Davies. (I did not pay that ridiculous 2nd-hand price!)

2008 was a terrible year for movies in my opinion - there were a lot of okay-not-bad ones (The Dark Knight, The Day the Earth Stood Still etc) but few that I really loved. Eloise Pasteur, friend and cinema-buddy, has a pretty full list of the films we saw together here. My top 5 favourites (and see how different our opinions are!) were (ranked by how enthusiastic I was after seeing them, not by their value as art):

The best new song I heard all year was this one:

The TV series I was happiest to discover was:

2008 was also sadly the year we lost our beautiful Forest to cancer. Still missed.

Here's to 2009...

Monday, 22 December 2008

Eyecandy Monday

"Where did that snowball go?"

New Black Lace author Charlotte Stein has just started up a blog of her own. She already has a short story in Lust at First Bite and more coming up in 2009 in the Seduction and Liaisons anthologies. I think she's incredibly talented and her writing is thoroughly entertaining, so even though this is a really busy time of year please do pop on over and say Hello and lend her your support!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Wishing you all a Merry Yule!

It's the Longest Night tonight ... make the most of it!

(And if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, why not stay up and see the dawn in for Midsummer?)

Saturday, 20 December 2008

"Grave of the Fireflies" - DVD review

As the credits rolled on this film I said to Mr Ashbless, "You know you didn't have to watch it all the way through."

"Yes I did," he said, slightly muffled behind his damp sleeve: "I couldn't believe that even a Japanese anime would spend an hour and a half showing you a small child starving to death."

Well now he does.

Grave of the Fireflies, much like When the Wind Blows, is an animated film that uses loveable cartoon characters to very gently tackle the unspeakably awful. You shouldn't be under any illusion that it's going to have a happy ending: the film starts with the ghost of a boy in cadet uniform telling you "This is where I died." You then see his death-scene (he starves in what appears to be a railway station), and cleaners root through his belongings and find a sweetie tin which they throw out into the grass, where bone-shards spill out of the tin. Among the fireflies that are a recurring motif of the picture, the ghost of a 5-year old girl rises up and joins her brother, smiling. Roll titles.

At least the ghosts appear to be happy.

The rest of the film is an extended flashback. Set in Japan right at the end of WW2, it is about two children, teenaged Seita and his little sister Setsuko. Their father is in the Imperial Navy, their mother is burned during the firebombing of Kobe and dies of her wounds. Seita tries his best to look after his sister, but in a country gripped by famine where even family members turn on them, she and then he inevitably succumb to malnutrition.

There's a much fuller description of the plot and context, and the firefly symbolism, over at Wikipedia.

This is a beautiful but bleak film. Very much in the same style as the gentle fantasy My Neighbour Totoro (released by Studio Ghibli at the same time) it shares a semi-rural Japanese setting, terrific animation and characters so sweet even my childproof heart was melted. The scenery is just beautiful, and even the horror is underplayed and veiled by the children's natural innocence and optimism.

This movie is yet another attempt to remind us all that every war causes indescribable suffering to the innocent on both sides. Do we really need to be told this again? Yes, unfortunately: over and over and over.

Absolutely recommended, but NOT for children.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


This is Eric Stoltz, currently "starring" as Miles in my short story The High Ground - first draft has been completed, and it should be prepped and subbed to Black Lace this week for their Affair anthology.

Yes, a hot ginger bloke ... (first seen and fancied by me in The Prophecy, which is btw full of wonderfully scary angels.)

Got an iPhone or an iPod Touch?

You can now download smutty books to it to read on the go, through Lexcycle Stanza - including my novel Wildwood, which is published by All Romance eBooks.

Just go into the Stanza app on your iPhone/iPod Touch.Punch the "Online Catalog" tab. Press the "plus sign" at the bottom right hand corner of the screen and type in the name "All Romance eBooks" and then add this url beneath it
Now press the "save button" on the top right hand corner of the screen.
You should then see an "All Romance eBooks" tab under "Online Catalog". Press the "All Romance eBooks" tab. You will now be able to download and read excerpts from the catalog. At the end of the excerpt is a link to purchase. Once you go through the purchase sequence, you should select the ePub version. Voila, instant book on your iPhone/iPod Touch!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Eyecandy Monday

These pictures were sent to me by Mathilde Madden and I was so grateful I just had to share. Unsettling, aren't they? - but ooh...
They're from some fashion photoshoot, believe it or not. A little bit impractical for everyday wear in my opinion, but very fetching.

And don't forget it's Man Candy Monday every Monday over at Erotica Cover Watch (and links beyond).

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Oh Bokhara

Anyone keeping an eye on my wordcount in the sidebar at right might have noticed that my WIP novel Heart of Flame has stalled this month at 60,000 words. That's because I have 3 short stories to write this month for various anthologies. I've actually written and subbed 2 (one to Cleis, one to Ravenous Romance) already and the big one (6000 words) for Black Lace is about half-done. If I can get that out of the way I'll only have one 6K story to write in January.

Not that I'm going to get it finished today (my in-laws are coming round) or tomorrow (2 sets of friends to visit). But there is a faint chance I'll get back to my poor novel for Xmas. Sod presents - I just want time to write!

So in the meantime I have stranded my hero and heroine in ancient Bokhara, as pictured, in the hands of an evil vizier. Is there any other sort, you might wonder?

And having researched Bukhara (modern spelling), Uzbekistan is now on my holiday wish-list!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

News - and Book Giveaway

Nice things. Nasty things. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster week on the writing front. Luckily the nice things are more important than the nasty ones.

First, I've signed a contract with Cleis Press for my short story Scorched, which is to appear in the anthology Playing with Fire: taboo erotica in April 2009. The anthology's theme isn't smoking (I don't think that's taboo. Yet.): it's couples who get up to things that push or break the boundaries of their relationship. That's certainly the theme of my story, which is all about a woman who is carrying on with the flat-mate behind her boyfriend's back - and what happens when he finds out.

Secondly, there's a really nice review of Wildwood over at writer Saskia Walker's blog. (Oh, and thereby hangs a tale...)

And thirdly, my author copies of Dark Enchantment have just been delivered. This collection of my paranormal and fantasy short stories is out in the UK in January (and the US two months later) but YOU CAN WIN A COPY NOW. How? Go over to Nikki Magennis' blog where she's interviewing me this week as part of her "writing that touches" series, and leave a comment on the post. A winner will be picked at random.

Good luck!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Eyecandy Monday

Lust Bites has finished. This is the first Monday in two years (barring holidays) I haven't gone straight to my computer on waking, just to check everything has loaded okay.

Now, sitting here watching the tumbleweed blowing through my Inbox, I know what the sound of virtual silence is.

My feelings are mixed. I am immensely proud of what we achieved over two years - I don't think we ever missed a scheduled post (though sometimes only by the skins of our teeth!) and I think it was a great magazine blog. I am hugely grateful for all the new doors it opened for me, for the talented people I met (including the ones I had stand-up rows with) and for the netfriends I made. I am very sad that it is over now.

And I am deeply deeply relieved. Running Lust Bites, even as part of a big team, was way more tiring than it looks from the outside. Take Olivia Knight's final post for exmple: it took her 5 hours to write and she was up till 2am. That's at the extreme end ... but it's not off the scale. The Frenzy post I did the day before took me 3 hours to collate.

Now I've got all this extra time on my hands. Let's hope I don't waste it all playing Spider Solitaire. There are other blogs to visit, other people's terrific erotica to read. And oh yeah ... writing to be getting on with.

I'd better go do some!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Birthday Post 2008

It was my birthday this week - and it snowed! I realise this might not mean much to those of you who live in the US, say, but believe me here in Land of Mud it's a big deal. A quarter-inch of white frozen stuff and we have multiple pile-ups on the roads, blocked motorways, cancelled trains and newscasters spouting doom.

Pictured in the remnants of the snow is a birthday present from a friend of mine: another lovely repro prehistoric goddess for my collection. This one's from the Cyclades in Greece.

Last year for my birthday I took a look back over the previous year just to check that I had been doing new stuff, taking in new experiences and achieving things. It seems particularly appropriate to do it again this year because today is the very last day of the Lust Bites collective blog. From now on I'm on my own...

So this year I:
  • Put a picture of my bare butt on the internet.
  • Visted Norway, Belgium, the Isle of Man, Syria and Jordan.
  • Got 3 stories published by Cleis Press.
  • Nearly got arrested for antiques smuggling by the Jordanian police.
  • Got into the Best Women's Erotica collection.
  • Was called "supremely talented" by Violet Blue (Okay, I'll shut up about it now, I promise).
  • Realised I had a serious kink for minotaurs.
  • Attended a sex expo and bought a dress I cannot wear in public.
  • Spent some time in conversation with a spanking-porn star.
  • Tried out a number of things I'm not talking about, but believe me they will eventually find their way into stories in one guise or another ... Life may not begin at 40 but mine certainly got its second wind at that point.
  • Was asked to write a romance novel.
  • Successfully fostered a couple of dogs.
  • Bought a house-plant that has not died (yet).
Not bad, eh?
Wonder what next year has in store...

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Best Women's Erotica 2009

Out THIS WEEK in the US and in the UK (though you have to wait until Thursday if you are British) - Best Women's Erotica 2009! This annual collection is edited by the glorious Violet Blue and I am soooo proud to be included.

I haven't had my author's copy yet so all I can promise is that it contains my archaeological story Ritual Space plus stories by 20 other authors.

Yay yay yay!
And look - you can find the whole of Violet's introduction to the book (with a sexual meditation on the Persephone myth that is very close to my own heart) right here - she calls me "supremely talented"!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Eyecandy Monday

In other December news, there is a lovely review of Lust At First Bite up at Dark Angel Reviews. Several writers are singled out for attention, and it includes lines like:
I haven’t read anything by Janine Ashbless that I haven’t liked. She’s a wonderful writer, no matter what the plot or characters are like.

Watch out - my head's swelling so much I won't be able to get my woolly hat on!
Overall the vampire anthology gets a whacking big 5 pixies (for quality of the book) and 5 restraints (for being mega-hot). Thank you Dark Angels!