Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Lamia

The Lamia in Greek mythology is a tragic and terrifying female monster who eats children, and thanks to Keats she has been credited with a serpentine nature. You can see just how scary she is in this picture by Waterhouse (1905) - look! look! the vile demon is about to ... give him a BJ!

The Lamia below is by Draper (1909). She looks a bit pissed off. Perhaps the knight didn't reciprocate the favour.

Friday, 29 January 2010

DVD review: The Drifter

Finally ... I got my hands on the gay porn DVD I'd been yearning for!

And it turned out to be a bit of a surprise.

Why did I choose The Drifter? Well, first and foremost for Logan McCree, who's the guy with the tattoos. He's German and he's hot and I even like the beard (and he sports a mohawk in one flashback scene, woohoo!). I go all gooey for the tattoos. Secondly, well - call me a total girly, but I like some characterisation in my porn, and this is a film with a semi-autobiographical plot, having been written by McCree:

Philip (McCree) flies in to Vancouver to meet his boyfriend, only to find the rat screwing another bloke.  So Philip takes off into the forested wilds, and after a few days suffering from the rain and cold he begs shelter at a cabin owned by Michael (Vinnie D'Angelo: big and cute and cuddly), who is straight ... or at least, in serious denial. He's, like, the nicest guy in the universe: if I was lost in the woods I'd want to meet him too. Anyway, they hang out together for a few days and there are a bunch of flashbacks as they tentatively let each other know about their sexual histories. When Michael finds out that Philip is a "fag" he throws a bit of a wobbly, but it's clear they've made a connection by then, and the whole film ends with the BEST and most beautiful love-making scene I've ever watched in any movie, porn or mainstream. And I do mean love-making: without any dialogue they manage to convey the flow of emotions and the thrill of exploration, and the shift from fear to trust.

Well. It turned out to be a romance, didn't it? A romance with tons of hardcore cock 'n' ass action, but definitely a romance. And not only onscreen: as Vinnie explains (slightly incoherently) on his blog, this was where the two main stars fell in love and became boyfriends. It's just so goshdarn sweet I don't know what to say.

Other good things: it's well shot and looks beautiful - the scenery as well as the sex. All the blokes (the two protagonists don't get it together until the end, so there are a lot of sex scenes involving other people ... blimey, it sounds like one of my novels...) are pretty good-looking, so long as you like them big and buff and stubbly. There's none of that horrible gurning at the camera you get in straight porn. In fact, altogether, it's a quality product. You even get (as an extra) the full-length m/f/m scene from Michael's flashback, if you feel ready for some female body.

Bad bits: well, like all porn I found the sex scenes (particularly that first one) just too long. Sorry, but if the sight of an orifice being plugged hasn't rocked my socks inside 4 minutes, it isn't going to do it after 20. But hey, that's porn in general.

So, if you fancy a full-on gay pornflick with heart and art, I totally recommend The Drifter.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Oh fudge!

Danielle has been asking for people to cook their favourite recipes for him, so I thought I'd share my recipe for chocolate fudge. It's simple and it's completely awesome - try this and your tastebuds will pass out with pleasure, I promise! And no, it's not low-carb...

Technically this is tablet (the Scottish variety) and not fudge, because the end result should be hard to the touch but have a melt-in-your mouth texture. I've also used it as a crispy fudge topping for a chocolate cake.

You need:
1lb sugar
half a pint milk
real full-fat butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (NOT drinking chocolate!)

  1. Butter a clean non-stick metal tray.
  2. Put sugar and milk in a deep pan - it's going to expand a lot as it cooks. Warm, stirrring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved. 
  3. Add a knob of butter and the cocoa. Bring to the boil.
  4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The mix will darken and the noise it makes will change - it will start to make a soft "blat blat" sound as the bubbles burst.
  5. It's ready when a small drop of the mix, tipped into a bowl of cold water, forms a firm cohesive ball instead of dissolving into the water.
  6. Take off the heat. Beat with the wooden spoon. This bit is hard work ... just keep beating.
  7. Eventually the mixture will start to feel "rough," or "gritty", as crystals start to form.
    Pour out onto the greased baking tray. Cut into squares before it cools.
  8. When cold, store in an airtight container.

(If you don't boil it long enough it will turn out softer, if you overheat it will turn to toffee. And if you don't pour it out as soon as you feel the roughness develop, it will set solid in the pan...)


Monday, 25 January 2010

Eyecandy Monday

Sometimes people do the sweetest things.

On Thursday Violet Blue had a piece called "Kink up your Kindle" in the San Francisco Chronicle website. She was recommending all sorts of erotic fiction for the electronic reader, and included among the many familiar names was a recommendation for:

Saskia Walker ("Kink" and "Unleashed") and Janine Ashbless ("Dark Enchantment"), a duo of erotic lit talent from the UK.
Actually, the UK is filthy with -- filthy writing. Wonderfully, excellently filthy, the kind of dirty story writing that makes you think they might have invented the stuff. Recently populating Kindle with delicious digital distractions is UK erotic publisher Black Lace, with a roster of talents nasty-but-nice enough to make your Kindle blush.

Isn't that lovely? And then Alison Tyler ("the world's most prolific and favored erotica author" - it's official!) sent me the link because I'm unlikely to to be reading Bay Area papers and she wanted to make sure I didn't miss it. Like I said, sometimes people are really sweet - and it makes your day.

Thank you Violet, and Alison!

Dark Enchantment is available in/from/for
Amazon US : Amazon UK : Kindle

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Things to Say During Sex

[click to enlarge]

Bleurgh ... I've got 5 hours motorway driving to do today. Maybe I'll be able to come up with a title for my new story.

But at least I'll get to see Mr Ashbless tonight.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Love Me Slow

I'm currently writing a short story for an open call, and at the start it gave me serious trouble. It's not the theme: the theme's great. It's not the plot: I know what the story ought to be. It's not the level of heat: that's been left for the writer to decide. It's the stipulation that there must be a strong romantic core to the story.

Now I'm not a romance virgin. Bound in Skin was a romance novella. Heart of Flame is a romance-adventure novel. But I've never written a romantic short story, and you know what? - I'm not sure what one should look like.

You see, for me romance is something that takes time to develop. It's about a relationship. Characters need to interact, to conflict with each other, to discover obstacles and ways to overcome them. My personal opinion is that if your eyes meet across a crowded room and you both go ZAP ... then that isn't love: that's lust, no matter how you dress it up with palpitating bosoms and histrionic emotions. Someone once said "love is lust frustrated" and I think there's a lot in that, cynical as it sounds*. Certainly in all my novels my two protagonists spend most of the book not being able to get their hands on each other - which is why it ends up being love and not just sex.

So I believe romance generally is suited to a long fictional form. It gives the characters time to discover each other, and the reader time to fall for the characters. Encapsulating a relationship within the confines of a short story - now that's going to take some serious craft. It's not impossible, of course, but I have had to wrestle with it.

What do you think? Do you know any great short love stories? Have you written in this form? Or am I just not romantic at heart?

* though I'm certainly not denying that love can develop after sex. Ask Mr Ashbless.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Here we go - the very last set of photos from my holiday in South East Asia. ("Thank goodness!" you may well be saying.) Today's are all about the Temples of Angkor, in Cambodia, which deserve a post to themselves. We start, above, with dawn at Angkor Wat. It's the most famous of the temple complexes but far from the only one - there are supposedly over 900 monuments in a 300 km square area! We only had 2 days to see some of the highlights.

And ... sshhh! ...  I'm going to let you in to a secret: Ankgor Wat itself was my least favourite. Yes, it's huge and impressive. But it's so open and so well-restored that I felt it was sort of sterile. I liked the other temples better, in their different ways.

Ta Prohm, for example. That's the famous "jungle temple" where they've left some of the encroaching trees in stitu so there's an atmosphere of ruination and loss. Forgive me - I took a lot of tree photos. I'm a bit obsessed. This one above's a kapok.

This is the famous "Tomb Raider" tree - it's a strangler fig I believe - from between whose roots Angelina Jolie emerged in the first Lara Croft film. She'd be lucky to fight her way out, these days, through the queues of tourists taking snaps...

Another tentacular kapok. They're just awesome. Okay: enough with the trees, Janine.

Okay, maybe just one more. This photo was acutally taken in the monastery/university complex of Preah Khan, which we spent a couple of hours crawling over - it is a sprawling place of tiny passages and fallen masonry and interlocking rooms. You can really let your explorer fantasies loose there!

Some history - the monuments of the Angkor area were built between the 9th and the 13th centuries by the kings of the Khmer Empire. The earliest temples are Hindu, the later ones Buddhist, though this is a country where the two have fused to a great extent, since.

This picture of me was taken at the Bayon, which is just stunning - it's a temple built in the shape of a mountain, with 54 peaks each with four facets, and on each is carved the beautiful smiling face of the Buddha of Compassion.

Here in contrast is some Hindu carving from Banteay Srei, which is small and pink and pretty and covered in elaborate carvings. I picked this picture because it looks like there's something naughty going on in the middle there.

One final piece of carving - and a puzzle for you. Click on the photo above to enlarge it - There, in the second decal down: see that? Is that or is it not a stegosaurus? Proof that the medieval Cambodians knew what dinosaurs looked like....

Monday, 18 January 2010

Eyecandy Monday

I don't care if the colour isn't real; I love this picture.

The littlest things give rise to stories. Back in September I went shopping for underwear. Now I'm not normally very good at shopping (A friend told me: "You shop like a man, Janine.") but I needed some quite specific undergarments for my Wild West saloon-girl costume that I'd be wearing. So I trekked round every single lingerie shop in the city centre - the posh ones, the cheap-n-cheerful highstreet ones, the one that sold sex toys at the back, and - of course - Marks and Spencer (with deeply depressing results).

But I also went into a couple of department stores: the really old-fashioned kind of shop that sells wigs right next to stacks of Wedgewood crockery: the kind of shop I've avoided for decades, because my dad used to work for one and that's where we were dragged to do all our shopping when I was 11 because we got a discount. And I found that they have amazing lingerie departments, full of elaborate garments by foreign labels, in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colours. Clearly, beneath the staid middle-aged crust of Britain there are a lot of women wearing extraordinary frillies. Really expensive designer ones at that. It was a revelation!

I went home and I wrote Shot to the Heart a few days later - in which my horny protagonists go slightly crazy while buying lingerie. It sort of wrote itself, really. It's a reminder to me to keep my eyes open whatever I'm doing, because it might just be the seed of inspiration.

The full line-up for Sex, Love and Valentines, in which Shot to the Heart appears, is as follows:

Heart-Shaped Box by Justine Elyot
Exposure by Kat Black
Beer Bottle by Jeremy Edwards
Continuity by Shanna Germain
No Stopping by Landon Dixon
The Stocks by Roger Frank Selby
E620 by Lucy Felthouse
Crush by Primula Bond
A Weekend Retreat by Izzy French
Better Than Chocolate by Amelia Thornton
Dr Charm by J. Manx
Shot to the Heart by Janine Ashbless
Served, on Wheels by Sue Williams
Neighbours by Elizabeth Cage
Dirty Boy by Charlotte Stein
Tongue Craft by Alcamia
Molly’s New Mistress by Lilli Lace
The Ex Factor by Sophia Valenti
Katy Keene, Teen Detective by Lynn Lake
Nightcap by Elizabeth Cage

Now doesn't that look like a perfect Valentine's Day gift?
Buy from Amazon UK : Buy from Xcite (will ship worldwide)
And also available as a PDF download

Excerpt from Shot to the Heart just below, in case you missed it...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sex, Love and Valentines - out now!

Yes, Amazon UK has finally got its act together and new anthology Sex, Love and Valentines is now in stock (and also available from the publisher Xcite - will post worldwide).

My short story Shot to the Heart is my first appearance for Xcite, so I'm very pleased. I wrote a horny, giddy story about a horny, giddy couple out shopping together for Valentine's gifts. (Hah! - that makes it my first "shopping 'n' fucking" story too, I now realise!) Here's how it opens:

‘Hold on,’ I said suddenly, my attention caught by a window display. ‘I’ve got to buy a Valentine’s card.’ Grabbing Oliver by the hand I pulled him into the high street card shop.

'Um. Wait a minute.’ Oliver had every right to look bemused. ‘Is this for me? Because if it is, you’re not supposed to buy it in front of me.’

‘Of course not, silly!’

‘And if it’s for someone else, then that goes double. Not to mention ... Who? And Why?

I grinned at him as I skipped backwards down the aisles of cards, enjoying being the one to tease him, for once. I was in a skipping sort of mood.  We’d been going out for two months now and I’d persuaded him to take a day off from his computer and come into town with me. We were going to have lunch and go to the museum - his idea – and then go on to the Cirque Du Soleil show – my idea - in the evening. And I was crazy-in-love with this stocky tousled-haired man with the sharp eyes and the five-o’clock shadow that started at ten in the morning.  Not to mention the beautiful big cock and that incorrigible sexual appetite. I wonder if his parents knew, when they named him Oliver, that he would grow up into a boy who was always Asking For More.

Now he grabbed me, behind a display of teddy bears all clutching plush scarlet hearts. We were dressed up against the chill outside but even through our winter clothes I could feel a warning hardness pressing into me. ‘Who is it?’ he growled, nuzzling my ear and making me giggle helplessly. ‘Are you being a naughty girl? Am I going to have to put you over my knee?’

I squealed in protest and pushed him away, blushing because I’d been inadvertently loud and I could see other customers glancing in our direction. ‘Shush!’ I told him, unfairly, even as the blush worked its way right down between my thighs. Was it a serious suggestion, I wondered? I knew he liked to give my bottom the odd smack in passing, just to show his appreciation of a tight pair of jeans or a short skirt riding up, but that was all. Was he the sort of man who was into spanking girls? I’d always thought of that as sort of freaky, but right now the idea of Oliver laying me over his lap and holding me down, able to do anything he liked to my bottom and to the crack between my cheeks and to my exposed pussy, was so naughty and scary and unexpected that it filled me with a giddy excitement.

He knew that. He could see it in my eyes right at that moment; he knew my sex had suddenly grown all hot and puffy and slick. He caught my wrists. ‘Who’s it for, then?’


And if you want to know who the card is for, and what sort of mischief they get up to further down the shopping list, well ... you'll have to buy the book!

Buy at Amazon UK : Buy at Xcite

Friday, 15 January 2010

Be Afraid - World Horror Convention here I come!

Oh my goodness. The things I say "Yes" to...

I'm going to be at the World Horror Convention in March - not just as a fangirl but as an author. *Breaks out in a cold sweat* 

I'm going to be doing a public reading! It's not just me, though: there are four of us from Black Lace: Olivia Knight, Mathilde Madden, Kristina Lloyd and myself. We've got a 2-hour slot on the Saturday night to read filthy excerpts from the dark and paranormal end of our writing portfolios. Attendees can expect werewolves, vampires and the restless dead. In fact I'm pretty sure wicked Lord Montague from my Cruel Enchantment collection is going to have to get an outing - if only because it's the only context I could read that story out loud without getting beaten by a mob appalling people.

I am an old-fashioned horror fan: I love James* and Lovecraft and Machen and Ligotti, and it's going to be amazing to mingle with other fans and writers. But I've never done a public reading before. I'm immensely excited and just a bit terrified. If I meet Tanith Lee I'll probably faint.

All credit goes to Mathilde, who organised everything. Oh oh oh oh!!! (fades off into incoherence...)

* M R, not Henry

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


While I was searching the web for vampire pictures, I came across the artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), who definitely qualifies as being a Kinky Victorian, despite being French. The "vampire" picture at top is actually an illustration of a passage in Dante's Inferno (can't think which bit off the top of my head ... Eloise?), and very much in the style of Dore. That's Dante and Virgil looking on *ahem* disapprovingly in the background.

Bouguereau had an interesting range of subject matter for his paintings. He did a lot of yucky sentimental pictures of cute kids, which you can go find for yourself if you are interested. He did a lot of soft porn masquerading as classical/fantasy/allegorical pictures of nymphs etc:

He did some, um, Catholic porn. I sent this picture below to Billierosie because she was posting  a number of articles about bondage art. She retaliated by leading me into reading about Structuralism, the rotter. ;-)

And sometime Bouguereau just did straight soft porn. I mean "nude studies". It sounds so much more respectable when you call it that, doesn't it? I'm not knocking him, though - he used his influence to open up important French art institutions like the Academie Francais to female painters, so good on him.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Eyecandy Monday

It looks like the snow may finally - finally - be thawing. It's been nonstop since mid-December. I have never seen weather like this, leastways not here in the Land of Mud. Obviously they are made of sterner stuff in New York!

Though beset by blizzards, the lovely Danielle de Santiago has voted me a "One Lovely Blog" award. Now that's going to keep me warm for days. Thank you Danielle!

I think I'll pass the compliment on to ...
Faces of Us
Sex is Not the Enemy.

Keep warm!

(And one way to do that is get a copy of Jeremy Edwards' new novel, which is offically released today. The party for Rock My Socks Off is going on here.)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Oglaf update

[click to enlarge]

Slap me for being sexist - I'd assumed that the awesome and demigod-like web cartoonist Oglaf was a bloke. It turns out she's an Australian called Trudy Cooper, who also writes a graphic novel called Platinum Grit. And there's an interview with her here on Yuhmm.

(The strip at top is even more amusing if you are currently reading the collected Savage Sword of Conan volumes, like wot I am.)

Friday, 8 January 2010

Paloma Faith

It's not my usual style of music, but this song's been stuck in my head since December.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


As promised, though somewhat delayed, here's some pictures I took on holiday in Cambodia last year. Be warned - if you deliberately avoided reading my post on Auschwitz, you probably want to give this one a miss too.

Okay, so we flew out of lovely Laos into Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. Phnom Penh is not lovely - the poverty, dirt and rampant corruption are right in your face. Mind you, I did myself no favours by deciding to read some books on the local background. There seem to be only 2 types of book written about Phnom Penh: those about the sex trade and those about the Khmer Rouge regime and the genocide in the 1970s - both of which make you want to hand in your resignation from the human species and join one with something more positive to offer the planet. Cockroaches, say.

I'm not suggesting that tourists should avoid the place. Cambodia is a country bravely trying to haul itself out of the shit accumulated by a political regime so awful it beggars belief. It has a lot of positives going for it - but the shit's pretty deep, especially for the many landmine victims begging on the streets.

This is our Cambodian guide, pictured in front of the Royal Palace. He's a year younger than I am, I think, which made him seven years old when Pol Pot and his regime took power. He and his family were marched out into the countryside, as were all urban dwellers. His father was executed for being a dangerous intellectual (he was an engineer). He was seperated from his mother and put into a children's work-camp, where he survived starvation by eating snails out of the ditches. His two little sisters both died.

In three years, eight months and twenty days up to a third of the Cambodian population was wiped out, by their own government, through execution and very deliberate starvation.

This is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It looks like a high school because that's exactly what it was before the Khmer Rouge turned it into prison S-21. Political prisoners (that means doctors, teachers, monks, foreigners, anyone who could read or spoke a foreign language or wore glasses) were tortured for "confession" here before being taken out to the Killing Fields for execution. The top floors were wired with mesh to stop prisoners commiting suicide.

This is a translation of the rules which were written up on the walls for prisoners. You can click to enlarge and read, but actually this was the thing I found most difficult to cope with - more so than the bloodstains and the bones, even.

The Killing Fields site (only the most notorious of many mass graves) lies on the outskirts of Phnom Penh and looks like an orchard once more. Possibly around 17,000 were killed here - mostly bludgeoned to death - and buried in pits like the excavated one pictured above. When you walk around you can see bits of bone and rags of clothing sticking up out of the soil, still.

This is the memorial stupa built to the victims. It is filled with skulls.

I'm glad I saw all this as part of our Cambodian visit. History is not all pretty romantic ruins, and not to face it would have been an act of cowardice. But I still feel churned up.

Next (and final) set of photos: the temples of Angkor.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Eyecandy Monday - with vampire muses

A rather special, bumper Eyecandy Monday today, to celebrate the fact that on New Year's Eve I finished the first draft of  vampire novel Red Grow the Roses.* Yay and Double Yay!

So here for your delectation are some of the photos I've been using as models for my six vampires. These are the muses who have kept me company and provided me with inspiration.

Top of the post and top of the food-chain is Reynauld, who is the boss vampire in the book and an interfering control-freak Alpha. He's actually one of the Nice Guys - which means that pretty much everyone hates him. Even I can see that he needs a good slap. Which he gets ... and then some.

This is Estelle, whom nobody would ever describe as one of the Nice Guys. Hard as nails and twice as sharp, she gets off on hurting big brawny men.

This is Jason, who is the youngest vampire in the city and not the sharpest tool in the box. I think I'm going to have to change his name, cos I've realised that True Blood  beat me to "Jason = malleable blond horndog. " Damn.

This is Wakefield (the picture is actually Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, but he's a dead ringer for what I had in mind). Poor Wakefield just wants to be left alone. Unfortunately he makes one itty bitty mistake, and brings the whole world crashing in on all their heads. Everything that hits the fan is his fault.

This is Roisin, who is so old she's losing her grip on material existence and turning into something that isn't even recognisably a vampire.

And this is Naylor, who is a shit. Don't mess with him.

So that's what I've been doing for the last 9 months. Now for revisions. Anybody got any suggestions to replace "Jason"?

*or, Six Vampires and a Chicken Joke, as I have been calling it privately.

Saturday, 2 January 2010


Well, it looks like at least one modern Western nation has decided to face the second decade of the 21st Century by retreating to the 12th. The Republic of Ireland has brought into effect a blasphemy law making you liable to a fine of 25,000 Euros for commiting blasphemy against ANY religion. Yes, that's right - any religion. Presumably including Satanism. You can be fined 25K for HURTING SOMEONE'S FEELINGS by saying or writing that what they believe is a load of shite.

Way to go, you fucking morons.

Think it doesn't matter in a wider context? 
Islamic states are lobbying at the UN to make defamation of religion a crime internationally. Ireland has voted along with the other EU States against this, because Islamic States can use blasphemy laws to justify religious persecution. These Islamic States can now point to a modern pluralist Western State passing a new blasphemy law in the 21st century.

Atheist Ireland is making a stand against this insanity by publishing a website containing 25 blasphemous and illegal quotes from a number of famous people like Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Mark Twain,  Pope Benedict XVI,  and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

This is the link to the quotes page (though it may be down intermittantly because they're getting a lot of traffic at time of writing).

Go Atheist Ireland!

Condom simulacrum at top via vitriolic but highly entertaining science/atheism blog Pharyngula.