Friday, 30 January 2015

Phenology - January

"January brings the snow;
Makes our feet and fingers glow."

Well, I am totally gutted. I was convinced I'd have a Snow Photo for January's roundup. The whole of the USA is buried in snowdrifts, as far as I can tell from the news. Northern Ireland is freezing to death and has had all the water cut off. Scotland is impassable ... even more so than usual. Twenty minutes due west of where I sit, in the same goddamn county, they are having Snow Days off school and happy snowball fights. What have I got? Nothing. Not a flake.

Well, there's some ice on the ponds:

Note the glorious sunshine.
What is going on? This is the second winter in a row that hasn't really happened. And it's not just been (relatively) warm, it's been sunny a lot of days - unheard of! I'll be out in my bikini soon, I tell you...

I've even seen the odd bold hazel catkin, which aren't supposed to be out for another month.

These are male catkins - "lambs' tails"
More conventional at this time of year ... well, remember those ivy flowers in October? They fruit in winter:

Which is why of course they are contrasted with holly berries in the carol The Holly and the Ivy. While certainly this song has a strong Christian message (the holly's features are all tied symbolically to the Passion of Christ), it also carries an older (and deeply misogynist) theme - holly is considered 'masculine' and superior in every way, whilst ivy is 'feminine' and basically crap.  Even birds won't eat her poisonous berries, it's claimed, except owls (which are Creatures of the Night).
Holly and his merry men, they dance and they sing,
Ivy and her maidens, they weep and they wring.
Nay, ivy, nay, it shall not be I wis;
Let holly have the mastery, as the manner is.
Here's another suspiciously feminine feature that's much more noticeable in the depths of winter: the Witches' Brooms you find on some trees:

Argh! Proof that witches have been flying overhead!

These balls of twiggy growth are the plant's reaction to stress (viruses, fungi, parasites etc) and are actually harmless to the tree, as well as providing miniature habitat for a lot of beasties.

One plant you will see still in glorious flower in January is the gorse:

There's a folk saying that "When gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season" - i.e. Never!

And the other January flower is of course the wonderful, magical snowdrop. As soon as last year's plants die off and everything looks dead, new snowdrop shoots spring from the cold earth. The Wheel of the Year never stops turning...

Which brings me, in my phenology log, full circle :-)

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

"Cover Him with Darkness is kind of a miracle."

My author copies have arrived (at last)!
There's been a sudden spurt (oh how I love that word, ahem) of reviews online for Cover Him with Darkness. And what reviews they are!

Vanessa Clark (V.C.) - quoted above - said:

"This book would be a page turner if it weren't for the writing that left me so breathless that at times I had to pause and take a break because it really is that exquisite. But then there were times that I couldn't just rest. I had to keep reading on. I was swept away by how daring this book is---how it's blasphemous, menacing, and just so dark."
Coffee Time Romance awards it a glorious 5 CUPS:

 "This fascinating take on angelic mythos is dark and gritty in a way that will suck readers right into the plot. The characters are well written and complex in nature. Ms. Ashbless does a spectacular job weaving the twists and turns in her story. I look forward to the next book in this promising new series."

And Night Owl Erotica makes it a Top Pick - yay!

"I fell in love with Cover Him With Darkness just from the synopsis alone. This book did not disappoint me at all. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. Cover Him With Darkness was a very well written book. Please read Janine Ashbless because her writing captivates you from the very first page. I am looking forward to reading what else she comes up with."

Thank you, everyone!

Amazon US : Amazon UK

This fascinating take on angelic mythos is dark and gritty in a way that will suck readers right into the plot. The characters are well written and complex in nature. Ms. Ashbless does a spectacular job weaving the twists and turns in her story. I look forward to the next book in this promising new series. - See more at:
This fascinating take on angelic mythos is dark and gritty in a way that will suck readers right into the plot. The characters are well written and complex in nature. Ms. Ashbless does a spectacular job weaving the twists and turns in her story. I look forward to the next book in this promising new series. - See more at:
This fascinating take on angelic mythos is dark and gritty in a way that will suck readers right into the plot. The characters are well written and complex in nature. Ms. Ashbless does a spectacular job weaving the twists and turns in her story. I look forward to the next book in this promising new series. - See more at:

Monday, 26 January 2015

Blue Monday

Every Monday I post a filthy excerpt for your entertainment!

Following on thematically from my guest spot last week at Shady Lady Fairy Tales, I thought I'd post an excerpt from
Gold, On Snow - my attempt at disemboweling  reworking Snow White. It appeared in Harlequin anthology Alison's Wonderland (ed. Alison Tyler).

I don't think I need to give much introduction except to say that it's told from the viewpoint of the spying witch. Svartalfar = "dark elves" = dwarves.

From his belt he brings out a key upon a thong, and unlocks the chest, setting back the lid.

It is full of gold. Not coin, but jewelry of extraordinary delicacy and beauty. The girl stands. See how the tip of her tongue wets her plump berry-colored lips: she is trembling with anticipation.  She moves into the center of the room, the circle formed by the seven svartalfar on their stools. Then one of them, his eyes the yellow of topazes, comes forward and unlaces her dress, dropping it to her feet then helping her step out.

Skin as white as snow. It is very nearly no exaggeration; in the lamplight she seems to glow.  I squirm with envy and with trepidation; she is absolutely beautiful. Perfect breasts, twin-tipped with pink. Perfectly curved hips. Perfect, flawless thighs. She is as smooth as marble taken from a riverbed, as a polished moonstone, as new-fallen snow. The only colors about her are in the soot-black hair upon her head, her gleaming dark eyes, her blood-red lips. I hear the svartalfar sigh.

They dress her from the treasure box. They come forward all at once, and work with the patient care of true craftsmen, neither getting in each other's way nor fumbling, their dark hands delicate and sure on her pale skin: a pair of elaborate earrings, filigree greaves that embrace her shins and calves, wristlets that attach to finger-rings by a web of golden links, spiraling armlets.  They catch up her hair in a crown of gold lace and drape her cheekbones in a mask of finely pointed mail. Then a collar of gold, and chains that hang down from it to rings that go through her nipples, pulling them up. Rings through her labia and her clitoris. She does not flinch; the invisible holes in her flesh must be old, and she well used to the jewelry. Her whole body is hung with arcs of delicate gold chain, pinned to her flanks by fine wires. Filigree wings attach flat to her shoulder blades. A plug is inserted deep between the snowy globes of her bottom and she bends and takes it with equanimity: when it is in place a gold tail stands in a curve like a cat's behind her, gleaming in the light of the fire.

See how they admire their own handiwork when they are done, standing back to revel in the full effect? They love artifice and they love beauty; she is now the perfect combination of both. Her lips curve with satisfaction under her chain-mail half-veil. She runs her hands gently, gently down her own body, plucking at the wires that pierce her flesh, circling her breasts and hefting their orbs to make the pendant beads dance. She rolls her rear to make her tail twitch. She shimmies her hips.  She loves her own body, dressed only in gold. She loves what they have made of her: a pagan idol.

To show her gratitude, she begins to dance for them. The svartalfar kneel back in their circle, eyes aglow, transfixed by her slender glittering form, and they beat time for her upon their thighs,  the seats of their stools, an upturned bucket. This dance is one she never learned in her father's ballroom. It is all pride and taunting, pleasure and lasciviousness. It is slow like the ooze of cream, then urgent as the shudder of an arrow striking home. She writhes her hips and rolls her buttocks and shakes her breasts until the dark elves look entranced, half-witless with desire. Even from my spyhole I can see the moist gleam on her inner thighs, the swelling petals of her secret rose peeking out when she bends to tease each of them in turn. They must be able to smell the perfume of her lust.

Finally one of them – it is the cook, the one I think of as the youngest – breaks. He pitches forward, grabbing her legs, planting hot kisses on her bare thighs. He drops his breeches and pumps the swollen member that rises from it frantically in his fist. The girl signals to the leader with a flash of her eyes, and suddenly they are all on their feet again.

There are treasures still waiting in the jewelry box, you see. They prize the youngest of their number from her, and clip more and longer chains to her nipple-rings and to the piercings through her sex – and the ends of these chains they keep in their hands, taut. Then they dress her in a harness such as I have never seen before; a device that straps about her thighs and stands proud from her mound: a phallus of gleaming gold, rendered in perfect detail to every fold and vein, horrifyingly oversized and twice as obscene arising from the narrow hips of this pretty girl.
She laughs. Then they bend their young cook on hands and knees and she crouches to impale him up the fundament. And as she rides him – and she is not gentle, she is not kindly, she buggers him like a soldier in a long war rutting his whore – the others hold the chains tight and pluck upon them, stretching her nipples and labia out and sending repeated stabs of sensation to torment them. Her breasts quiver, sweet prisoners of nipples that have turned dark and swollen. She slaps the muscular rump beneath her hands and squeals. The youngest svartalfar holds his own pintle and jerks it, groaning, the muscles standing up on his arm and shoulder – until she comes, shrieking and tearing at his ass-cheeks with her nails, and he spurts the thick jets of his seed over the floor.
That is too much for the other six. They release her from the harness, leaving their comrade to collapse with the golden phallus still buried to the hilt in his bowels. They unclip the long chains to make sure she will not become entangled and pull the cat's-tail from her anus. Then they ravish her, each desperate to take possession of their goddess.

Amazon US : Amazon UK

Sunday, 25 January 2015

It's science!

One of my fave of all the posts I wrote for Lust Bites was on the lure of the Evil Beard :-)

"Evil Beard Man is my Shadow. Evil Beard Man is the leather-clad fascist in my right-on liberal heart."

Friday, 23 January 2015

Shady frogs

More classic Frog Prince art coming at'cha...

Yeah, that frog is a bit creepy

Why? Because Madeleine Shade is hosting a guest excerpt from my story Too Much of Water over on her blog today :-)

Charles Robinson, 1911

Madeleine is an erotica author specialising in twists on fairy stories - as you might surmise from the blog title "Shady Lady Fairy Tales". So we have a lot in common!

Arthur Rackham
You can read the whole of Madeleine's Frosted: an erotic twist on Hansel and Gretel right here

Where does my title Too Much of Water come from?

Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears
–Hamlet, Act 4

Which might clue you in to the ending...

Read an excerpt NOW  

Fierce Enchantments (which includes Too Much of Water) at  Amazon UK : Amazon US 

Warwick Goble

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

This girl can ... a bit

... for about 20 minutes a day.

Oh yes, finally The Beast has taken up residence in my house (the corner of the kitchen was the only place it would fit). I have started on the long quest for fitness!

I'm not exactly ambitious. 20 minutes stumbling along at a max of 5mph - without falling on my ass - is my current daily goal. Let's see if it sticks, eh?

And here to give us all jiggly sweaty inspiration (either sporting or, ahem, "aesthetic"), is the fabulous new video from Sport England. Music by Missy Elliot.

Sport England "This Girl Can" from Somesuch on Vimeo.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Blue Monday - Ian Smith guests

Every Monday I post a naughty excerpt for your entertainment!

This week I am inaugurating my guest-spot Blue Mondays with an excerpt from Ian Smith's short story Interrupted Service, which is one of two stories he has featured in the Earth/Air/Fire/Water themed anthology Elemental Desires. 50% of royalties of this book will be donated to the Trevor Project, Diversity Role Models in the UK, Rainbow Youth in New Zealand, and Youth Line in Canada.

Interrupted Service is about what happens when  a volcano erupts in Iceland and the dust cloud grounds all flights from England. Frequent fliers Claudia and Michael have to find some way to entertain themselves while waiting...

Some time later, we were giggling and a little tipsy, hushing each other like kids. She opened her room door, then grabbed my hand and pulled me inside with her. The room was in darkness, lit only by the glow from the car park lighting outside her window.

“Time out, remember,” she giggled.

“I’m going to remember today for a long time,” I said. “It’s been unexpectedly brilliant.”

“Maybe it’ll be even better soon,” she said. Then she gently pushed me back against the wall and leaned against me for a hot and passionate kiss, with one of her legs between mine. She pressed her hip against my rapidly swelling erection and ever-so-slightly ground herself against my thigh.

Her hands clutched at my clothing, pulling my shirt out of my trousers. I pulled her blouse out of her skirt and slipped my hands up her back, feeling her ribs beneath the smooth, warm skin.

“What is it you Brits say?” She put on a dreadful cockney accent. “Get ‘em orf?”

“Yes ma’am,” I said, in my best John Wayne drawl.

We both giggled, kicking off shoes and slipping out of clothing in the dark, warm room. We raced over to the bed, threw back the bedding and collapsed into each other’s embrace. Her hands were all over my arms, chest and back as we kissed and giggled, rolling around the bed. I cupped her breasts in my hands and ran my lips and tongue over her puckered nipples as she ran her fingers through my hair.

“I’m not feeling tired yet,” she whispered.

“Neither am I,” I replied.

“Good, lots of time-out sex then.”

“Count me in,” I murmured, kissing her body as I slid down her tummy.

“Are you going to eat me?” she asked.

“I’d rather like to, if you don’t mind.”

She laughed. “Your British politeness, it’s great.” She put on a posh English accent. “Would you mind awfully if I fuck you, old sport?”

“Actually, I’m quite keen on that idea too,” I laughed.

She pulled me back up beside her, pushed me onto my back and sat astride my tummy.

She leaned forward and nudged my nose with hers. “Me too, Michael,” she said quietly, pressing first her pubic hair and then her surprisingly hot and wet pussy against my hard cock. “Oh, me too...”

I rolled us over so I was on top and held myself above her so I could tease her pussy lips with the tip of my cock. She was already aroused, hot and wet, and her lips parted easily. She reached down and held my cock with one hand, moving it around her body. I leaned down and kissed her as she rubbed my cock against her clit, then against her entrance. I pushed very slightly and she let go of my cock and put her hand on my bottom. I pushed again and felt her body start to open for me. I suddenly felt shy, anxious in case I was clumsy and spoiled the moment for both of us.

I paused. “I should use a condom.”

She stroked my face. “Probably, but I’m on the pill and I’d kinda just like you to carry on.”

We kissed deeply, then I gently slid into her and we both gasped quietly at the intensity of the sensation. She was a hot, soft, gentle pressure all around me, like having a huge firm tongue wrapped around my cock. She gasped and moaned, digging her fingers into my back and bottom as we moved against each other.

To start with, I didn’t move very much, staying deep inside her and just moving an inch or two back and forth. Then I slowly pulled out further each time, until I was almost all the way out, but pushing myself back deep inside her with every thrust.

She pushed her hips back at me as her hands raced over my back and shoulders, kneading, grabbing, her nails digging in. We kissed time and time again, ranging from gentle pecks to almost devouring each other, clumsy in our excitement. I nuzzled and nipped at her neck and upper shoulders with my lips.

When I felt I was getting a bit too close to losing self-control, I slowed down. “I got all distracted,” I said, “I was going to do something else first.”

I slowly slipped out of her, kissed her lovingly and stroked her face and hair, then slid down her body.

“Oh fuck, you’re gonna blow my tits off,” she giggled.

“That I must see,” I mumbled. It was difficult speaking clearly with my mouth plastered against her pussy.

She tasted hot, salty and fruity, very wet and slick, and utterly lovely. I explored her completely with my fingers and tongue, her swelling pussy lips, the little bud of her clit and finally the warm soft pressure inside her. I concentrated my tongue on the area around her clit and eased two fingers in and out of her. Her tummy and hip muscles started to tense, then her thighs started quivering slightly, and she grabbed handfuls of the bedsheet as tension built inside her. Her aroma and flavour got a little stronger too, which I found really exciting.

My probing fingers slipped in as deeply as I could reach, up to her hard, smooth slick cervix. “Oh, God, yes,” she moaned, then I felt her open up inside and she suddenly jerked rhymically, letting out short gasping moans as her inner muscles pushed downwards against my fingers and she lifted her hips to push her clit against my face.

I lay beside her and hugged her while my sweat cooled. As she breathed heavily, the occasional slight quiver ran through her.

“If all you Brits can do that, I’m dropping everything and relocating,” she panted. “You’re in deep trouble when I can move again, mister.”

“Does this mean you’re completely at my mercy?”

She giggled. “Oh shit, it does.”

Amazon UK : Amazon US

Ian Smith author page on Amazon UK : Amazon US

Sunday, 18 January 2015


My impulse purchase from a charity shop yesterday. £2!

I wonder who threw it out ... and did they ever write their book?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Fierce interrogations

Last week, thanks to a prize draw at Writer Marketing Services, and the divine Lucy Felthouse, I had a mini-blogtour for Fierce Enchantments. I'm slightly worried that it sounds more like an intensive therapy session than a promo exercise!

Mad? You call me mad, when I have the very power of life and death at my fingertips? I AM A GOD!

On Monday, for example, I was over at K D Grace's, talking about the voices in my head.

On Tuesday I was at Adriana Kraft's, talking about a time I sooooo desperately needed the comfort blanket of fairy tales. Yes, even the kind where the hero cuts off his horse's head...

On Wednesday I was confessing to Charlotte Howard how horrified I was to look back over my New Year's resolutions.

By Thursday I was strapped to the therapy couch while Jan Graham asked whether I really wanted to stay alive.

And Pinky Pollock took a shift at the mental thumbscrews on Friday. Yes, I said I wanted to be someone evil

Writers aren't all crazy, I assure you.
Well, I think not, anyway.
Well, I hope not...!

Mostly we put it into our twisted, wicked, scary erotica stories :-)

Amazon UK : Amazon US

Monday, 12 January 2015

Blue Monday

Every Monday I post a naughty excerpt for your entertainment. 

Since I ended 2014 with excerpts from my ten newest short stories, I will start 2015 with a flashback to the VERY FIRST EROTICA I had published, way back in 1998! My short story
Party Piece appeared in the Black Lace collection Sugar and Spice 2 (which is now apparently a collectable item).
Who could have guessed where it would all lead, eh...?

Callow young nobleman Leander is trying hard to get the attention of war heroine Allisandra:

"If my presence makes you feel tense then I must make amends. Drink this, for a start." She handed him the small glass and he reached for it, not because he desired the liqueur but because he longed to touch those velvet-clad fingers once more. But as their hands met the glass slipped; he grabbed for it and stopped it falling to the deck, but could not prevent the contents slopping out upon her bare thigh.

"That is cold," Allisandra said.

Leander bit his lip and stared down at the wet splash staining her leg. He felt light-headed; his limbs seemed to throb and buzz as if they were ready to explode. This felt worse than the moment before the cavalry charge at Moriens. There was only one cure, and that was action.

"Duchess," he said formally, "allow me." Without hesitation he slid to his knees on the deck and pressed his lips to her thigh. He heard the soft intake of her breath over the sound of his own blood pounding in his ears. Her flesh was satin-smooth and incredibly warm and he could smell her secret musky perfume. He kissed the sticky moisture from her skin, gentle as the breath of spring, using his tongue to lap up the bitter spirit. He moved without haste, and it seemed as dreamlike and terrible to him as that first charge into battle.

When every last trickle of the pungent liquid had been erased, he rose before her again, his colour high, his jaw set. She gazed up at him; her eyes were bright and her lips softly parted.

"How gallant," she purred.

He found that he was still holding the useless glass. He tossed it over her shoulder into the sea.

"My pleasure, Duchess," he said, almost with a groan. His scrotum was as tight as a clenched fist and his stones felt as if they were burning.

Her laughter was like the jingle of spurs. "And so charming! You are wasted amongst rough soldiers, Leander. Did you come here with a companion? No? I think I ought to find you a paramour tonight. It should not be difficult, with so many fine ladies here to choose from. It is such a beautiful night ... and you are so very handsome."

"Allisandra," he grunted. His member had risen up and was rearing from between his legs like a war-stallion, straining its long neck against the curb.

"Yes." She began to play with one of the silver buttons on his open jacket, the one directly over his left nipple. Leander shut his eyes for a moment. "You are a very handsome, lovely boy."

His hand snapped shut around her wrist. "Don't mock me, madame," he said, eyes narrowed. "I am no boy, for you to tease; I am a man."

"Prove that," she whispered, her lips describing brush-strokes of provocation.

He no longer cared for decorum. He took her captive hand and laid it over the hard mound of his erection, and it leapt beneath her touch, stamping and bucking with an impatience that threatened to damage the fine doeskin of his breeches. Her eyelashes fluttered and her palm and fingers moved to clasp his bellicose flesh.

"Oh," she breathed. "Now you are teasing me, my Leander. Such a great promise cannot be made, if it is not to be fulfilled."

Amazon US : Amazon UK (It's only available second-hand)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Into the Woods - movie review


I think George R R Martin learned everything he needed to know about author brutality from Stephen Sondheim.

Into the Woods is a luscious, witty, deceptively cruel movie based on the 27-yr-old stage musical. I watched the DVD of the Broadway production last night, followed by the new movie version on the big screen today, because there was a lot of media fuss about the differences and I wanted to be sure.

I loved it ... I'm just not sure at all that I like it.

For those who haven't seen any version, the musical falls into two halves (separated starkly by an interval in the theatrical version). The first act is a tapestry of interwoven familiar fairy-tales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel) linked by the story of a baker and his wife who are trying to break a witch's curse and so conceive a longed-for child.

The witch is played beautifully by Meryl Streep, who is a much better singer than I ever anticipated.

There are catchy, haunting songs with clever-clogs Sondheim lyrics ("while her withers wither with her") that I long to write down and steal. It's laugh-out-loud funny in places and I was rolling in my seat during the duet between the two dickhead handsome princes:

You know, of course, just how the stories are supposed to go ... and yes, by the end of Act One all the quests have been completed, the brides claimed, the monsters killed, the wishes fulfilled ... and everyone is going to live happily ever after. Huzzah!

Johnny Depp's paedophilic Wolf, btw, is practically a cameo. Thank goodness, because he is SO GODDAMN CREEPY.

Then comes Act Two, which fucks everything over in a character bloodbath of random and undeserved destruction that would do Game of Thrones proud. Every decision taken in the first half  turns out to have terrible consequences. True Love disintegrates as lovers stray. Happy-Ever-After turns to loss, despair and deep existential and moral uncertainty. It's one of the bleakest landscapes in musical theatre, and if it has a message that must be "No man is an island, and I don't mean that in a comforting way. Everything we do has the potential to screw things over for other people. And that will come back to bite you, because they are not islands either."

Before the movie release there was a lot of worry that it would be bowdlerised and Disneyfied. I can reassure you that those fears are (largely) unfounded. The narrator and baker's father have been trimmed out, to good effect. A few of the songs have been cut (for reasons of length, I strongly suspect) and the movie is indeed slightly less brutal than the stage version - in particular Rapunzel makes it out alive with her prince (whereas in the stage play she's so damaged by her upbringing that she goes insane and commits suicide), and Jack's mother isn't deliberately clubbed down; she is pushed over and smacks her head on a log instead. But by the end there are still basically only four characters standing, all bereaved and labouring under the witch's "screw you guys, I'm going home" curse that one suspects will see them make the same stupid selfish mistakes over and over again. It ends, after all, with Cinderella uttering the fateful words "I wish..."

This is what wishing got you last time. Will you NEVER learn?!

It's basically a family film in which the first half of the movie is for the kids (and the kid in all of us) and the second half is emphatically for adults. I still don't know if it works. The satisfying ending is in the middle, the ultimate ending is unsettling and painful.

I'll watch it over and over again.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2015! I hope everyone had a good New Year and has recovered sufficiently to face the rigours of the weekend :-)

I'm going to be taking a week off the blog in the hope of recovering my mojo and scraping together my few remaining braincells. See you all soon! My best wishes for 2015 - may it be better than 2014 in every way!