Saturday, 30 May 2009

A secret Affair


Woohoo! - I've been sent a PDF copy of Black Lace anthology The Affair (out November) so I can proof-read my story The High Ground (and sneakily read all the other stories in advance, heh heh). Proofs are password-protected and I had to sign up to a confidentiality agreement so that makes it feel quite clandestine. Of course I can't reveal any of the contents yet, but ooh look: 13 dirty stories - lucky for some - with Charlotte Stein starting us off. And I've read the first 3 pages of her story and if I don't stop right there I'll get nothing sensible done all morning.

Hot.

Pre-order on Amazon UK : Can't find it on pigging Amazon US yet

Friday, 29 May 2009

I say we take off and nuke the planet from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

I woke up yesterday all perky and keen to carry on with the climactic scene of the short story I'm working on. Then during my morning blog-trawl I came across this post on Ms Naughty's excellent blog. And I got really upset. I spent most of the rest of the day in painful monologues along the theme of "What the fuck is WRONG with Men? /Australians? /The Whole Human Race?"

It hit me particularly hard because it's a report about a team of sportsmen involved in a gang rape. And I happen to be writing a story about a team of sportmen involved in group sex with one woman. It's really hard to feel positive and sexy about a particular subset of humanity when what you actually want to do is take a baseball bat to their faces.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Victorian Kink - Candaules

This is a particularly mucky and tragic subject matter for a painting, and therefore just the sort of thing a Victorian artist would jump at. The picture above, King Candaules, is by our old friend Jean-Leon Gerome.

Herodotus tells us that Candaules was king of Lydia and had a particularly hot wife. So proud was he of her naked body that he insisted his favourite bodyguard Gyges cop a look while the King and Queen made ready for bed. Gyges was unwilling but Caudaules insisted - we're talking serious sexual kink here. So Gyges hid behind the bedroom door while the Queen undressed, and then tried to slip out, but the Queen spotted him. Sadly she was no fun at all: she summoned Gyges to a private audience and told him that in order to atone for shaming her, he either had to die - or kill the king and marry her. Gyges chose to commit regicide.

Personally I feel sorry for poor kinky Candaules, who nowadays would be a happy member of a cuckolding internet community. He did get a paraphilia named after him however.

Here's a painting of the same story by William Etty:

Monday, 25 May 2009

Eyecandy Monday

Progress on Red Grow the Roses has been arrested (Arrested - geddit? Oh, I'm just so funny I could slap myself) while I work on a short story for the first of the new Black Lace anthologies.

If you want to write a short for Black Lace, btw, the details of this year's anthology line are here. (You do have to have a vagina to write for Black Lace. Sorry, I don't make up the rules.)

Anyone though, however genitally equipped, can write for BL's sibling imprint Nexus, provided you have a talent for kink. Details of their 4 new anthologies are here.

Good luck!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Where's the Beef?



Busy this morning. Have to cook mushroom stroganoff for 10! Don't actually have a room big enough to sit 10 people so we're eating in the garden.

Friday, 22 May 2009

TED: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Orgasm



Goddamn Eloise Pasteur. She sent me a weblink to heaven. Well, one part of heaven as it would look to me*: the part that doesn't look like a Scottish island with no one else on it, or the Greek bit in Fantasia with the gods and fauns and stuff only with everyone going at it like rabbits.

This bit of heaven is called TED, which stands for "Technology:Entertainment:Design", but don't let the horrible title put you off. Every year they hold conferences to which really rich and influential people go (so that's not me!) and listen to short (18 min max) talks by clever, innovative and visionary people about their specialist subjects, but made accessible to non-specialists. Then they put all the talks up online for free so everyone can enjoy them. They want people to think about our complex world in new and clearer ways. Okay, so you could call it intellectual masturbation for liberals, but I'm strongly in favour of intellect, liberalism and masturbation.

I lose a lot of valuable writing time to TED. Thanks Eloise!

It's not at all stuffy, by the way. The talk above by Mary Roach** is a quick run-down of amusing and startling things revealed in orgasm research. She's written a book called Bonk: the curious coupling of sex and science that covers the ground in more detail. If you want to spread your net wider than sex, there's everything from SETI to dog-training. Try the demonstration of mind-boggling anti-gravity sculpture, or this awesome talk on the counter-intuitive truths about morality, and there's even music - although I warn you that Black Men Ski will be stuck in your head for days.

All the available TED talks here.

And out of interest - What would your heaven look like?



* If there is a heaven, I have very little chance indeed of getting in. Slightly less than, say, Chairman Mao.
** A glance at my bookshelf shows that I already have a Mary Roach book: Stiff, which is about the human corpse. A woman after my own weird heart, clearly...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Coraline - movie review

We didn't see it in the most favourable of circumstances, but Coraline jumped straight into "possibly the best film I've seen this year, so far" ranking. If it's not too late where you are, I do urge you to catch this gem of a movie.

Yes, it's a fairy story, but ... Adapted from the kids' book by Neil Gaiman, it bears all that author's hallmark themes: that childhood is a time of suffering, that geeks and girls are both really cool, that merciless ancient powers lurk round every corner and it's cunning and courage that'll save you, if anything can. And in the case of this particular movie, that mothers are scary. Really really scary.

I wouldn't take any child under the age of 10 to see this film, despite its family-friendly certificate. It would have given me nightmares for years, as a child. But then I am the sensitive sort.
;-)
The Plot: Coraline's mother and father have taken her to live miles away from her old home in an apartment in a spooky old house inhabited by eccentric adults. Buried in their work (they're both writers, ahem) and strapped for cash, the parents don't have much time or patience to spare for angry, bored Coraline or for domestic comforts. Her mother in particular is pretty grouchy and Coraline resents the fact she's not motherly in a traditional way (she doesn't cook, for example). Then Coraline discovers a tiny door that's been wallpapered over, and in the middle of the night this door opens on a magic tunnel that leads to a mirror version of the house, with mirror versions of her family. Everything is the same ... but different. Her Other Mother devotes herself to cooking wonderful meals, her Other Father is a bundle of fun, writing songs and building gardens that are all about how lovely their Coraline is. Both Other Parents are entirely Coroline-centred, and at first this narcisistic fantasy seems like heaven to the sub-teen. There's only one small catch: her Other Parents have shiny plastic buttons instead of eyes, and when they 'invite' her to stay with them forever, one of the conditions is that she's going to have to have buttons sewn to her eyes too.

So Coraline tries to run...

Visually, the stop-motion animation is a inventive, glittering delight. We saw it in 2D but it's also being screened in 3D which is probably even more mind-bending. A wise, clever, disturbing film that'll become a cult classic, I reckon.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Eyecandy Monday

For those of you who prefer a more masculine arse to that in the previous post:
[REDACTED]
Here's a roundup of some positive news:

For those of you wondering what happened to my Arabian Nights novel Heart of Flame, it has been read by the editor at CatScratch and she promises me a list of changes/corrections soon.

My short story The High Ground (the one starring Eric Stoltz, ahem) has been accepted for the Black Lace anthology The Affair, to be published in November this year. The High Ground is about a woman who thinks her husband is having an affair with his best friend's wife, so she decides to tell the best friend. Oops...

I've belatedly discovered TwoLips Reviews, which has very nice reviews of Wildwood: ("I love the blend of the paranormal and love; Wildwood is a fantastic journey, full of hot steamy moments, sometimes with over the top sex, and enough mystery to keep you wanting more.") plus Magic & Desire, Enchanted, and Lust at First Bite - thank you TwoLips!

And the indefatigable Lucy Felthouse has a nice review of Seduction up, describing it as "the hottest Black Lace title to date", plus there are a slew of reviews of Playing With Fire over here on its dedicated blog.

Oh, and this review of Frenzy showed up on Amazon:

"The 60 short erotic stories in this novel centered around the theme of sex that happens quickly or unexpectedly. My hands-down favorite was Pirate Treasure by Janine Ashbless. Two extras in a pirate movie hook up during the filming of a tavern scene, with no one around them the wiser. I re-read this story twice, it still elicited the same visceral reaction. Hot, hot, hot! Nikki Magennis contributed two very short-shorts, Madrid and Sweets, that read like beautiful erotic poems ... I loved Alison Tyler's own contribution, [...] about a man who's worked his way through all the waitresses at his favorite bar. The new girl knows he's bad news, but she also knows he'll be completely worth the trouble. With 60 stories to choose from, there were far too many I liked to mention them all. Even the few stories that didn't appeal to me personally were well-written. The majority of the stories are heterosexual pairings, with just a few gay or lesbian stories in the mix. I would recommend this book to friends based on the variety and excellent writing."

Friday, 15 May 2009

Oh Arse


Not a happy week in the Ashbless household. After 18 years working for the same company, Mr Ashbless has been told he's one of the 1100 IT people they're making redundant this time round.

Arse.

We've got several friends in similar positions. The IT industry seems to be dying on its feet. Don't go into computing, kids: stick to plumbing.

Anyway, we're not in the financial mire just yet, but it seems inevitable that we'll have to relocate. This is really upsetting for us. We love our house and the place we live. But I doubt we can stay put.

We're currently thinking New Zealand.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Rabbits in Mega-City One


I'm taking today off Red Grow the Roses, and dedicating it to tidying the garden and sorting my comics.

I've been reading weekly sci-fi comic 2000AD since I was 16 (and kept every issue). It's a bit of an odd fish: while not exactly aimed at adults (they still substitute fake swear words for real ones most of the time for example, Grud damn it) it has grown older with its readership and does tackle a lot of adult issues, often satirically. In the guise of futuristic and fantasy action thrillers it purveyed BDSM, fetishwear, nudity and ultraviolence to my teenaged years, and has shaped my imagination probably more than I care to know. ("See Nikolai Dante shag his way round the Nu-Russian Empire! Watch Celtic barbarian Slaine get it on doggy style with a nun! Gasp as the blood drips down Durham Red's vampiric cleavage*!")

Anyway, this week their flagship comic strip Judge Dredd has started a story revolving around the 2131AD Sex Olympics, which had me just about wetting myself with laughter. Taking swipes at Britain's Got Talent, family values and the teenage chastity movement on the way, it revolves around a crisis in the national champion's trouser department which leads to the first mutant participant in the sport ...

[click to expand]



Yes, there on the table is a bowl full of vibrators. You'll never see that in a Marvel comic, will you.

2000AD: buy it** for the teenager in your life. It never did me any harm...




*Durham Red is the vampire, not her cleavage. Her cleavage does not drink blood. I just wanted to make that clear.

** I have a postal subscription, but it's available in all newsagents in Britain, and not even on the top shelf. Elsewhere in the world you probably need a specialist comic shop. For some reason their website http://www.2000adonline.com/ is not completely functional.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Eyecandy Monday

So sue me. I think it's very hot indeed.

I was doing some research yesterday on Cage Fighting (oops - "Mixed Martial Arts" - you don't want to annoy anyone who knows 800 ways to kill you without even picking up a weapon) for one of the stories/chapters in Red Grow the Roses. It was very educational: I can now use phrases like "ground and pound" in a semi-knowledgeable way. And then I was relaxing late last night with a bit of channel-hopping and Lo! there it was on Freeview: The Ultimate Fighter! I didn't even know it was televised here, but such synchronicities are surprisingly common when you're writing, I find.

Gosh, it was interesting. I was most struck by how exhausting it was: by the end of the 5 minute bout the fighters were sagging in each other's arms like drunken dancers (while trying to knee each other. Slowly). One loser had to have 4 broken teeth pulled out of his gumshield with pliers. But I'm glad to report the good-looking guys won both bouts I watched.

Talking of Red Grow the Roses - have you seen the wordcount bar on the right? I started writing the book on , um, the 17th April, and I'm already officially a third of the way through! Holy cow!!! This is totally unprecedented for me. I'm not actually a very fast writer - if I manage 2000 words in a day it's quite exceptional - but what I have been this time is really consistent.

Here's to hot sweaty warriors of both genders...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Hunt for Gollum


Love The Lord of the Rings movies? On the edge of your seat waiting for them to produce The Hobbit? Well in the meantime ... have you seen The Hunt for Gollum yet?

It's a 40 minute fan-film, set in the gap between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, based on Tolkien's written notes and very very much in the style of the big budget movies. Fan films are usually ropey and risible: this one isn't. And it's not a piss-take. Made by an international crew using almost no money (under $5000) and filmed in North Wales and south England, the results are extraordinary. Apart from a single dodgey wig it looks just about flawless.

The plot: Aragorn is hunting for Gollum, who has left the Misty Mountains in search of the One Ring. This is the guy playing Aragorn btw. He's no Viggo Mortensen, but full marks for trying!


Because it does clearly breach all sorts of copyright laws the makers have also fallen over themselves to make it clear than this is a non-profit venture, and so far the Hollywood lawyers seem to have restrained themselves.

This blows me away. Not much makes me feel warm and gooey about human nature, but that so many people put so much time and talent and effort into a creative endeavour like this, out of sheer love for the story and someone's fictional world, just knocks my socks off. I'm in awe, especially after watching the "Making Of" documentary.

All you need to do is go to The Hunt for Gollum site and click on Watch the Film. My cranky old computer couldn't quite handle High Definition but did fine on High Quality.


Enjoy!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Liaisons - on sale now!

A new month, a new Black Lace short story collection - this one themed around Liaisons and published this week in the UK (pre-order for June 23rd in the USA). Wow - lookee there - the anthology kicks off with my story Roadside Rescue, but it also includes stories by Justine Elyot, Charlotte Stein (twice, the hussy), Alison Tyler and Portia Da Costa.

"Liaison" according to my dictionary means an illicit sexual relationship - or cooperation between military forces or units - or the binding or thickening agent of a sauce. All of which led to some very strange trains of thought while I was considering what to write ... Soldiers in bechamel, anyone?

But as it turned out, Roadside Rescue is about a woman on her way to meet her secret lover in a Scottish hideaway. This man has dominated her sexual imagination and life for years, ever since he was her professor at university. Only things don't go as planned, because when Sarah's car breaks down on a lonely road and she's picked up by local garage mechanic Gavin, it suddenly gets all complicated...

Here's an excerpt from near the beginning, where Sarah, wet through, has got into Gavin's truck. The scene with the garage and the hydraulic hoist and the engine oil comes later...




With everything secured he returned to the cab and jumped into the driver’s seat in front of her, hastily stripping off his waterproofs. Underneath he wore a white sweater and worn jeans, and the rain had got through to them too in patches. ‘Pass the towel!’ he said.

She handed it over. ‘Sorry, it’s a bit damp.’

His eyes flicked up and down her. Blue eyes, and the beginning of nice lines in his face. He probably wasn’t even aware that he’d done it, she thought, but she knew he’d taken in the way her wet dress clung to her and she blushed, smiling. He hesitated before speaking, but she didn't seize the chance to look away and break the moment.

‘Oh, I can cope with a little damp.’ His humour was gentle. ‘Wouldn’t be living up here if I couldn’t, would I now?’

‘I suppose not.’ She could feel herself glowing. His gaze dropped to her wet breasts and this time he was clearly conscious of where his eyes were resting.

‘But you’ll be wanting a hotel room now.’

She didn’t know what to say. He caught his lip in his teeth and waited. ‘Okay,’ she managed.

The tentative flicker in his eye died down. ‘Since you’ll be staying overnight, I guess.’

‘Uhuh.’

‘And we don’t want you catching your death.’

The moment – the something that might have been, the barely definable suggestion of possibility - passed and he turned away. Sarah watched as he dried off with the towel, rumpling his hair to dark spikes. The back of his neck was weathered brown, his broad hands ingrained with old oil. Her heart was suddenly thudding in her chest. She felt she had to say something, had to keep him talking, because she could feel Mervyn’s disapproval looming at the back of her head and if she let the conversation lapse it would come crashing in on her.

At that moment she saw her fingers touch the back of his neck. They’d moved entirely without conscious direction, and though he was the one who jumped she was damn sure he was no more surprised than she was. His skin felt silky-warm.

‘Those are cold!’ He laughed to cover the precarious moment.

‘Sorry,’ she whispered, feeling the prickle of his nape hairs under her exploring fingertips. His heat was irresistible. ‘I really could do with somewhere to warm them up.’

‘Oh? He took a deep breath. ‘Well, you know, I can think of somewhere…’

‘Go on then.’ She had no idea where this daring was coming from, but it seemed to be determined to press on, wilfully ignoring Mervyn’s thunderous glare.

‘Well … You mean that?’

‘Yes.’

He was galvanised. He scrambled over the back of the seats, sitting in the notch between the headrests - the cab was just tall enough – staring at her, his breath suddenly loud down his nose. His lower lip caught once more in his teeth, making his smile lopsided and wary. He still didn’t look like he believed what she was offering until she reached up and laid her hands on his thighs, framing the bulge of his crotch. He put his hands on hers then, stroking her fingers and up her wrists, his fingertips callused, his touch increasingly firm. She undid his belt, slipping the top button of his jeans then working down the fly over what was a growing bulge. He had to help her pull out the burgeoning length of his cock, which quickly swayed impressively erect. His shaft surged and thickened even as she ran her fingers down his length for the first time. She could smell the washing-powder perfume of fresh clothes on the heat of his skin.

He was definitely on the substantial side.

‘God yes,’ he said in an undertone as she tipped forward to take his blunt and eager bell in her mouth, tasting his salt: there was nothing floral about that. He felt hot on her cold lips. He wrapped his fingers in her wet hair, quite gently, pressing her down on his cock. She took it all the way to the back of my mouth and held it there, squeezing, until he groaned with pleasure.

Because that was how Mervyn liked it too.


Buy from Amazon UK : Pre-order from Amazon US

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Eyecandy Tuesday - and book winners

Someone looks happy ...

I hope ya'll had a lovely long weekend. I certainly did: tawny port, good friends, a Wild West gunfight in which I got to blow the heads off said friends, and some excellent home-made muffins. What more could you ask for? And oh yes: I woke at 6 am each morning to hammer out a thousand words or so of Red Grow the Roses before breakfast. Despite all my anxieties I am so into this story I just can't stop!

Book Giveaway results now, and I just want to say Thank You to everyone who offered to read and review one of my books.

Cora Zane and Gigi and Amy S get copies of Cruel Enchantment
Justine Elyot gets a copy of Wildwood
Madeline Moore, you get a copy of Dark Enchantment and I'll be quite happy with a review on Amazon.ca
Caffey and Erin get copies of Magic and Desire
Amanda, you didn't say which book you wanted so unless you have objections I'll send you a copy of Burning Bright

How to claim: you need to e-mail me at
janineashbless [at] fsmail [dot] net
(no spaces)
with your postal address. I hope you all enjoy your May reading, and I'll have my fingers crossed!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Merry Month of May Book Giveaway

Happy Mayday! And welcome to the 200th POST and my first Book Giveaway on this blog, which will hopefully put sap in your stems and ribbons round your Maypoles...

This is my Spare Book Box. Full, isn't it? So I have at least one copy of each of the filthy books listed below to give to readers. Free! For nothing! There's got to be a catch, surely?

Well, there is actually. Just a little one.

I need some more reviews up on public websites - particularly Amazon US and Amazon UK, but there's Barnes & Noble and LoveHoney and Waterstones and probably others. I want people looking at my booklists to have some idea of what they should buy and why.

So all I'm asking is that if I send you a book and you like it when you get round to reading it, that you put up a positive review on a bookseller's website of your choice. It doesn't have to be gushy unstinted praise (although that would certainly warm my ego) but something thoughtful and positive would be hugely appreciated.

All you have to do at the moment is drop a comment here telling me which book(s) you'd like, and which site you're likely to post the review on. No addresses, please. I'll be back on Tuesday (with some delayed Eyecandy) to sort out who got what.

And if you've already got all my books and keep them in gold-edged wipe-clean covers in a special velvet-lined box ... well PLEASE write me a nice review anyway: Authors love you for doing that!




Cruel Enchantment:

My first collection of short stories, all with paranormal, fairy-tale or fantasy themes. Black Lace calls it "a stunning collection of unique and breathtakingly beautiful erotic fairy tales. Seductive, dazzling and strange." Contains the infamous story about the dragon!! (and an undead story that is not to everyone's taste - you have been warned). Let's see ... there are Greek gods, rugged warriors, succubi, magicians, wicked stepmothers, a very scary teenaged princess and a whole bunch of medieval werewolves. Some f/f, F/m, spanking, non-human (obviously), threesomes, romance and an orgy.

Dark Enchantment:

This year's follow-up short story collection. Again, all have paranormal or fantasy themes. Black Lace describes it as "seductive and stylishly written stories that will tease, tempt and transport you to fantastic realms where dreams - and nightmares - can come true." There's a steampunk one, and a ghost story that Madellyne Ellis raved over, a djinn, a minotaur, Death .... and the Devil. M/f, F/m, cuckolding, romance, plus a femsub gangbang story.

Divine Torment:

This is a fantasy novel, but low fantasy (swords and sandals, not magic and elves). Black Lace describes it as "Like Gladiator set in a mythical realm" and that's pretty accurate. General Veraine is sent to hold a city against the oncoming barbarian hoard, and promptly falls for the forbidden high priestess of the Goddess of the Cruel Earth. Is she a divine incarnation or human? Will she return his passion? Will they ever get it together, since everyone in the city is trying to stop them? You'll like this one if you like: Spartans, ethnic tension, The Tombs of Atuan.

Burning Bright:

A direct sequel to Divine Torment, but can be read seperately as the two lovers have run away to a jungle realm and then been split up. Veraine, injured, has lost all memory of who he is and knows only that he must search out a woman he does not remember. She meantime has been captured by the inhuman Tiger Lords and must survive the cruelty and madness of their palace and bring down their reign.

I really want at least one decent review of this up on Amazon.com because at the moment there's a particularly poisonous review that claims "the entire book is about the heroine being tortured and raped as a slave" - which is an outright f**king lie. She doesn't get raped. Not once. I promise you, and I should bloody know. She has to go through some fairly scary and painful stuff, but so does he. My heroes are tough.

Wildwood:

A contemporary fantasy set in Britain's West Country. Avril is a landscape gardener torn between her sexy but bad (Boo! Hiss!) boss Michael (who wants something mysterious that is hidden in the wood on his estate) and the sexy but distinctly odd dreadlocked tree-hugger Ash who is trying at all costs to stop Michael getting into the wood. Both men are sorcerors, it turns out. And the wood is full of fairies. Really nasty fairies. What are they fighting over? Who will Avril choose? What the hell happens after the book finishes? You'll like this one if you like: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

Magic and Desire:

Three novellas: a romantic fairy story by Portia Da Costa, a high fantasy with dragons by Olivia Knight, and my story The House of Dust which is set at the dawn of civilisation, in Mesopotamia, and is about a priestess's descent into the Land of the Dead in order to bring back her murdered king. Quite dark, lots of femsub - again, a tough heroine who will endure anything to get what she truly wants. You'll like this one if you like ... uh ... The Epic of Gilgamesh, stuff by Mary Renault, that sort of thing.




1) You have to be an existing customer to post on Amazon.com or Amazon.uk but I don't know about the other sites.
2) You can post an Amazon review without revealing your real name/account/e-mail. Charlotte Stein showed me how to do that this week, so it's definitely possible.