Wednesday, 18 November 2009

This is Me...

... Well, no it isn't, obviously, except in my more pathetic fantasies ... The ones I don't write about. But I am off to Angkor Wat.

Yes, I've got nearly 3 weeks skiving from useful work of any kind, while touring round Thailand and Laos and Cambodia. I'm all set. I've started on the malaria tablets and had my rabies shots and even blagged a swine-flu innoculation yesterday. I'm all a-quiver with excitement, and ready to swing on creepers and run into walls and go "Oof".

But I won't be able to get online. Aargh - 3 weeks with no blogs and no mail!

When I get back on about 7th December I will be year older (though I doubt any wiser) and have plenty of photos to inflict on you - as well as the usual eyecandy. Plus I will be able to judge the winner of my book cover competition!!! So don't forget to enter that - closing date is the 2nd December.

Look after yourselves. See you later.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Eyecandy Monday

This is going to be the last Eyecandy Monday here for a couple of weeks, so I've been struggling to decide which picture to post. I like this one because it looks like it has a story. A dirty story ... that I need to write.
(Not that I'll be doing much writing in the next few weeks!)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Bull

In my  short story collection Dark Enchantment there is one (perhaps my favourite) called The Red Thread, which is all about Theseus and Ariadne and the Minotaur. Blogger and writer Billierosie really liked that story too (you can read her Amazon review here) and we exchanged some e-mails on the subject. The upshot is that she has tried her own hand at writing an erotic story based on the Minotaur theme. It's called The Bull, it's about how the Minotaur was conceived by his mother Pasiphae and you can read it on her blog as of this weekend. Careful now - it is a dark story which conforms to all the mythic details, so not for the faint-hearted or easily offended.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Biffy Clyro

I was originally going to post something completely different, but then I came across this music video and it made me so happy that I had to share it. I mean - PIRATES! - and a beardy sweaty cute Scot! What is there not to like? Even the song's alright. Biffy Clyro are currently poised to be the Next Big Thing here, I gather, and have a new album out.

BTW there's nothing wrong with your sound settings - the video opens in silence.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Feeling Xcited

Okay, so I don't imagine anyone is terribly surprised to hear that I've started subbing short stories to Xcite books. I'm not the only poor distressed ex-Black Lace author to follow Adam Nevill to pastures new!

My  first ever Xcite short, Shot to the Heart, has been accepted for Sex, Love and Valentines, which is due out in the UK in January 2010 - just in time for Valentine's day, of course. It's a story about shopping for lingerie, and the mischief that can lead to. (OMG I've written a sex 'n' shopping story! What is happening to me??) Nor am I the only BL name to appear between those covers: I have it from the horse's mouth that Justine Elyot, Charlotte Stein, Shanna Germain and Primula Bond are also featured within. Anyone else I should know about?

(Not meaning to reignite an old argument, I'm actually happier writing for anthologies where male authors are not excluded.)

Of course, some people at Xcite get their very own press release! Plus Xcite books have been featured on the Alan Titchmarsh show, which will mean zip to anyone who lives outside the UK or is under 40, but makes my brain bleed. Sex and Alan Titchmarsh? Owwwww....

Oh - just a reminder that the Misbehaviour anthology (which includes my messy story The Icing on the Cake) is available now from!  Short excerpt here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Fairy Tale Lust

It's been a month for short stories - writing them and having them accepted. It's makes me very happy to announce that I have a short story called Sleep Tight coming out in Fairy Tale Lust, edited by Kristina Wright. It's due out in Spring 2010 from Cleis, and this is my first time writing for Kristina and her first time editing an anthology. (This is a totally separate fairy-tale anthology from Alison's Wonderland, btw, also due out in May 2010. Hooray, hooray, fairy tales are back!)
Sleep Tight is a contemporary riff on Sleeping Beauty. I shall say no more about it at the moment!

I don't know the official lineup of authors yet, but on the grapevine it seems that I'm sharing this pleasure with such a lovely familiar group of writers that it feels like I'm off to the sort of party where we'll stay up all night talking: Craig J Sorensen, Charlotte Stein, Jeremy Edwards, Justine Elyot, Saskia Walker, Alana Noel Voth, Shanna Germain and Dayle Dermatis, among others. What a book!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Eyecandy Monday

Happy Eyecandy Monday once more - and a special welcome to anyone who found their way here via Filament magazine. This nekkid manflesh is for you!

(Filament has been sending round an e-mail circular which has a direct link to my review of Issue #2)

I've quite a lot of happy news this week, but my happiest is that Mr Ashbless is back home after 4 weeks training in the US. He fell in love with the San Francisco area a bit, I think! He got to see giant redwoods and sharks and a haunted house too, so I am totally envious. But smiley.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Heart of Flame cover art competition

Sharpen your pencils and boot up Photoshop - my Arabian Nights romantic adventure novel Heart of Flame is approaching publication as an e-book and I need YOU to create me a cover.

Yes, CatScratch Press have launched a competition to find cover art for my book - and I get to choose the winner! And if that's you, then you'll be paid $175 for use of your work. Honestly, I'm more excited than a whole carload of Labrador Retrievers on their way to the beach.

The competition rules (format, legal etc) are over at the CatScratch blog, but I'm taking the opportunity here to give you some ideas for inspiration. A cover is a vital part of a book - fairly or unfairly, sales are made on the strength of it, so it needs to be intriguing and attractive and to reflect the contents. Whether abstract or iconic or a detailed painting, this cover must say Arabian Nights to the reader.

Here's the plot summary:

Taqla, a young sorceress disguised as a man, has been hired to assist handsome Rafiq on a dangerous quest.  Ahleme, known as "the most beautiful woman in the world", has been kidnapped by Yazid, a rebellious djinn, who plans to coerce her into becoming the mother of his child.  Taqla and Rafiq must find Ahleme before this child - this abomination -  can be conceived.

As the unlikely pair race across the desert,  a dangerous encounter with ghouls strips Taqla's magical disguise away, leaving both her face and her emotions bare to Rafiq's scrutiny. Burdened by this unwelcome revelation, the two struggle to continue their quest, though their relationship grows more strained with each passing hour.  It is only when Taqla is nearly killed that Rafiq begins to view her as something more than just a means to an end.  Yet Taqla's past experiences and fear of being diminished by marriage cause her to remain aloof. 

Will Taqla's fierce independence soften enough for her to see Rafiq through eyes less jaded?  Or will their approaching battle with the djinn kill them both, rendering the argument moot?

The cover doesn't have to be complicated, just effective. This sort of thing works really well for a certain author.

Feeling ambitious and want to have a go at depicting the characters? Here are some of the pictures I used as inspiration when writing (although of course you may not manipulate these photos directly as they belong to other people), which may help you too. Click to enlarge.

Rafiq, my hero, is a merchant-traveller in the style of Sinbad. In fact, think Sinbad and you can't go wrong. He probably looks a bit rougher than this by a few chapters in! He wants to rescue and marry Ahleme and thus become heir to the Amir of Damascus. He's certainly not expecting to fall in love with a sorceress on the way...

Taqla, my heroine, is a sorceress. She has spent her whole life hiding this fact from the outside world, and when she ventures out from the safety of her home she shape-changes into male disguise. She agrees to help Rafiq in his quest much against her better judgment, but is terrified of letting him past her emotional defences.  She has striking green eyes and wears many different rings, one on each finger.

Yazid the djinni is the antagonist of the story. He abducts Ahleme and wants to father a magical child on her; he has a fierce temper and an awful lot to learn about human women.  His skin varies from white to blue depending on mood, and sometimes an ancient script can be seen tattooed on his skin. I had this TV genie in mind when I wrote him, only better-looking and with no beard.

Ahleme, the victim whose abduction kicks off all the action, is feted as the most beautiful woman in the known world. She's young and frightened and forced into a situation beyond her control. Will she be able to fend off Yazid's advances for long enough for her to get rescued? I haven't got a particular face in mind for Ahleme, but this one is in the right ballpark - she's half-Somali, half Arabic.

More ideas needed? The two main protagonists visit medieval Baghdad, the ghoul-haunted ruins of Ctesiphon, Bukhara, a huge swamp, several deserts (one of which is pale green) and the snow-covered mountains of Kashmir, and they ride a metallic silver horse across the surface of the sea. There's no magic carpet though!

I am happy to answer any questions here in the comments section about the novel's contents and details. But to enter you need to go to the catScratch blog where you will find formatting details and the address to send your art - don't send it direct to me.

So go on - Please! - Make me a cover! And if graphic art is not your thing, please pass the news on to friends who might be interested.

Closing Date is 2nd December, Midnight CST


Thursday, 5 November 2009

I have an Announcement

... to make on Friday. It's got me so excited I couldn't get to sleep last night - And I'm really hoping it will get some of you excited and inspired too. In fact I want to tell you right now, but I promised Friday and Friday it will be. I'll just have to squirm and twitch and grin to myself for another day.

So just make sure you swing by here on Friday 6th November, and bring any artistic friends you have with you, too!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Affair - out now in the UK

Blow the trumpets and wave the flags one last time - this really is the last Black Lace anthology to be published in 2009/10 and possibly - we have no idea what's going to happen to the imprint - forever.  The bright side is that it's available now in the UK and will be released in the US etc ... um ... sometime in the next couple of months. So buy it as a collector's item!

Subtitled A Black Lace Collection of Thrilling Assignations (yes, the Amazon picture is wrong, bless my soul), this anthology is themed around illicit relationships and features stories by Charlotte Stein, Portia Da Costa, Shanna Germain, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Gwen Masters and Justine Elyot. Oh yes, and ME with my story The High Ground. Which is about two couples who know each other through their orienteering hobby.

Orienteering is officially the least sexy subject on the planet, according to the internet. I know this because when I put "sex orienteering" into my search engine (with NO filter) it didn't come up with any rude pictures for pages! Orienteering is strong enough to cancel out random porn!

Actually, there's not much running going on in The High Ground. The story is about Jill, who thinks her husband Dan is carrying on with her friend Fiona. So she goes and confides in Fiona's husband Miles, who is a cold 'n' scary lawyer and a fellow runner. The two hatch a plot to catch Dan and Fiona in flagrante. But things don't go quite as Jill expects...

‘You messed up my times that day,’ Miles said softly.

‘I’m sorry,’ I mumbled. I could feel the ghost of his eager cock in my empty palm.

‘You never...?’ His question hung on the air.

‘I love Dan,’ I said. ‘He’s my husband. I want to keep it that way.’

‘And he loves you. I promise you that. I know him, Jill.’

‘Then how could he do this?’ I demanded, the confusion bubbling up in my breast. ‘How is it that I’m not enough – that everything we have isn’t good enough for him?’

Miles shifted in his seat to face me. ‘Well,’ he said, so softly that if you didn’t know him you might even mistake it for gentleness; ‘I can understand, I guess.’

‘That’s horrible!’

‘I mean, I love Fiona, but that doesn’t mean that when I’m with you, Jill, I don’t feel the need – the very strong need - to wrap you around my cock.’

A jolt went through me, like electricity. ‘This is so not a good time,’ I whispered.

‘No?’ He lifted his fingers to my face, stroking my temple and the line of my cheek, brushing my lips softly with a touch like the feather of a fallen angel. I trembled under his caress as his fingertips dipped to my throat. Oh, I could so easily see him as an angel of sin: he was all cold fire and magnetic superiority. But I could see something else too, overlaying the first vision: the skinny ginger kid he must have been once, alone in the playground, far too clever for his own good. His voice was low and hypnotic. ‘Then when would be a good time for me to do this?’ he asked, leaning from his seat to kiss me.

Our lips were warm together. It was the Christmas kiss all over again, though inside me now as then the effect was rather more like Bonfire Night. For a moment it was almost chaste – then his tongue was on mine and everything was all heat and melting and yielding; my mouth opening to his, my breast quivering under the sweep of his fingers as he sought beneath the claret coloured fabric of my blouse for my heartbeat. A little whimper escaped my lips as he released me to draw breath. It was a helpless animal noise, the sort that cannot help but provoke the predator. He smiled.

‘I love Dan,’ I breathed. It was my mantra.

‘I know.’ His fingers deftly slipped the top button of my fitted grey waistcoat, the main barrier between him and my nipple; I wasn’t wearing a bra beneath that red blouse. ‘You love him, and you want to fuck me.’

The whole 2009 set of Black Lace anthologies is available now, and they all feature my stories:

The Affair Pre-order at Amazon US : Buy at Amazon UK
Misbehaviour - Pre-order at Amazon US : Buy at Amazon UK
Liaisons - Buy at Amazon US : Buy at Amazon UK
Seduction - Buy at Amazon US : Buy at Amazon UK
Sexy Little Numbers - Buy at Amazon US : Buy at Amazon UK

Monday, 2 November 2009

Eyecandy Monday

I do realise this picture will not be everyone's cup of tea (and can only fuel the debate that's been going on over at Billierosie and Neve Black's places, lol). But it trips my switches for both "woah - hot" and "aaargh - completely freaky". I found it via Danielle de Santiago's blog but it originates in a French AIDS safety campaign. And there's a version with a woman and a giant spider too...

I've never written man/scorpion sex. But I did write some scorpion-man sex in my novella The House of Dust:

Then I see them, because when they move they generate a flickering light like the dance of distant lightning. There are four of them, scorpion-men, bigger than oxen. Their rear parts are the bodies of scorpions and from the front grow the bodies of men. All parts are covered in black chitinous plates, and when those plates rub together the light flickers into being, illuminating their staring faces. Venom-laden tails arc high over my head. There are no words spoken here. They take me from him and rip from me my torn and filthy dress.

(The House of Dust can be found in Magic and Desire.)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Mein Herr

So it turns out that my parents have never seen Cabaret. "NEVER SEEN CABARET??" I said, aghast. "But it's a classic!" So I sat them down last night and we watched it together.

Today we're going to see Up.