My author copies of Fierce Enchantments have arrived!
In case you don't remember, this is my third collection of erotic short stories. It's published by the lovely Sweetmeats Press and, yes - there are review copes available if you get in contact with me...
Here's the Introduction wot I wrote:
"I love writing short stories. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing novels too, and penning Named and Shamed (published previously by Sweetmeats) was a whirlwind ride of filthy delight for me. But there’s a special pleasure in writing a collection of short stories, perhaps because of the technical challenge. I have to think about crafting variety across the whole book, not just in erotic action and plot, but setting and vocabulary and viewpoint. Each story is a different facet of the whole, and I want that jewel to shine. Male and female points-of-view? Emotion and outrageous filth? First and third person narration? Fantasy and SF and historical and fairy-tale? Check, check, check and check.
I love a challenge, me.
And I love my erotica to be challenging in and of itself. I delight in skating close to the thin ice, and I want to make worlds that are as convincing as they are surprising. I hope you find these tales immersive and enchanting in their fierce way, but take my advice – don’t trust the narrators, at least until they have earned that trust. Don’t ever just swallow whole what they have to say.
Too Much of Water is based on Ivan the Terrible, Russian folklore and the fairy-story The Frog Prince, told in the coldest voice I could muster. Bolt Hole in contrast is burning hot - a post-apocalyptic zombie story drenched in sweat and despair and need, with just the faintest glimmer of hope. The King in the Wood is based on a the central myth in Sir James Frazer’s vast speculative anthropology text The Golden Bough (1915), which I read decades ago in the college library when I should have been writing essays; Frazer’s work is mostly discredited now but it was a rich source for my fervid imagination. The Last Thing She Needs is a story of traumatized vampire hunters and BDSM. I think there are far too few tales out there told from the point-of-view of the DS bit of that acronym, and I wanted to explore the paradox of the conscientious sadist. Sycorax, a re-telling of course of Shakespeare’s Tempest, employs one of my favourite devices: the tale written from the eye-level of the monster, where horror lurks between the lines. Knight Takes Queen is an Arthurian story, set in a chivalric world where modern notions of BDSM have never been articulated and sex is never simply innocent fun. At Usher’s Well is based on a ghostly Scottish ballad that I first heard sung by Steeleye Span. I’m not usually a huge fan of melancholic or downbeat erotica but it does have its moments, and I worked quite hard to keep the grisly details implied rather than explicit! The Military Mind is a riotous space-opera gang-bang, and all I’m saying here is that I adored the movie Aliens from the moment I saw it, my first adult-rated film. And after that brutal pounding, we switch to a gentler gear for the last two stories. A Man’s Best Friend was inspired by the very old TV series The Water Margin, but my version of ancient pseudo-China is fantasy without any historical basis. And The Merry Maid is pure playful fun, a riff on the fairy-tale formula of three brothers seeking their fortune.
This is my third collection of erotica tales (following Wild Enchantment and Dark Enchantment) and I’d like to thank Sweetmeats Press for believing my vision and giving me my storytellers’ voice again. Pull a seat up to the fire and let’s begin. Just remember, you don’t have to believe a word I say…"
“These ten deliciously diverse stories reveal a vivid, wide-ranging imagination—one is struck by the sheer breadth of Ashbless’ inventiveness, her natural gift for story-telling honed to acute sharpness with rigorous intellectual focus and well-practiced craftswomanship. Covering all the archetypal bases from folk ballads, myth, legend, and fairytale to futuristic sci-fi, well-researched historical fiction, contemporary horror, paranormal thriller, and post-apocalyptic action-adventure, there’s something for everyone in this wondrously abundant, cerebrally and erotically stimulating, perpetually entertaining collection.” – Erotica for the Big Brain
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