Thursday, 31 March 2011

I'm Nice and Naughty

Oh yes I am. It's official - there's a mini-interview with me up on Oysters and Chocolate today, to celebrate my participation in their Nice Girls, Naughty Sex anthology. My story, Good Doggy, is about pet-play. Naughty, yes!

Nice? - well, you'll just have to trust me. Heh heh heh.

There are interviews with all the authors here, and you'll be able to find out what we all look like, who we want to have sex with, and what our mothers think of it all! Leave a comment or even drop us a review on Amazon ... Now that would be really nice :-)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

News (in briefs)

My livebox wouldn't work this morning and Blogger is arsing around - but Mr Ashbless fixed it! So here's a quick roundup before it all goes horribly wrong on me again...
  • The Grief of the Bond-Maid is going solo: My Viking/shamanic quest/threesome story is, along with the other stories in Tarot-themed anthology Cast the Cards, soon to be available as a download on its own, at a dinky little price. Details in due course!
Anna Meadows
Ashley Lister
Bonnie Dee
Carrie Williams
Claire Buckingham
Eliszabeth Daniels
Evan Mora
Giselle Renarde
Janine Ashbless (with my story Cover Him With Darkness)
Mitzi Szereto
Rose de Fer
Sharon Bidwell
Tahira Iqbal
Zander Vyne

More details at the spanking new Red Velvet blog

  • Secret Project! I've been asked to write a paranormal erotic novel for a new publisher. I don't know if it's going to happen yet, but if it does, it'll be the novel that links Wildwood and Bear Skin. And it'll be illustrated. I've got my fingers crossed!
  • Porn for Women: If the subject interests you, do check out Erobintica's blog, where she has an interview with porn director Erika Lust and a review of her book. 
Now I'm crossing my fingers and hitting the Publish button ...

    Sunday, 27 March 2011

    TftD: We all live in a Capital I ...

    This song haunted me throughout my childhood. It has to mean something, doesn't it?

    Yes, I've been indulging in some nostalgia shopping.

    And if you like your childhood surrealism to come with a dose of romance, there's this too:

    Friday, 25 March 2011

    Heaven and Hell: John Martin

    At the beginning of this week I paid a visit to the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, to see their John Martin exhibition. I hadn't previously been aware of his work, and I'm so glad I saw it!

     Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion

    Martin (1789-1854) was an extraordinary man - bipolar, a rationalist who specialised in religious scenes, a devoted amateur scientist: he achieved great success at the time as a painter, but would really rather have been an engineer! - who was derided by the art establishment for being too populist and entertaining. His paintings were Romantic in style: huge vistas of beetling mountains; vast and distant cities evoking a past of unimaginable grandeur; drama and destruction; lurid colours. And lightning - I lost count of the number of scenes taking place in an electrical storm. He painted Things Blowing Up (Pompeii and Herculaneum, Sodom and Gomorrah) and The End of The World, Heaven ... and Hell.


    Despite his current obscurity, he was an immense influence on the Pre-Raphaelites, on Victorian engineers, and on film-makers from Cecil B de Mille to Ray Harryhausen to George Lucas. I can see echoes of his style in modern fantasy paintings of lost or futuristic cities.

    This was one I was most impressed with - it doesn't show up well online, but in the flesh you can look right down those colonnades at the back, for about a mile.

    I've never seen a painter who gives a better impression of depth to his landscapes. They're huge in scale, yet so detailed it feel like you could fly into his vistas.Though you might not want to, given all the lightning and the falling rocks ....

    The Great Day of His Wrath

    The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

    The exhibition runs until 5th June. Entry is free.

    Wednesday, 23 March 2011

    This is what God looks like:

    As far as I'm concerned, anyway. He's a scruffy bugger but he's definitely looking better for having lost some weight. Also, dig that cardigan :-)

    Yes, filming of The Hobbit has finally started, this week! The first movie is due out in December 2012 (the world had SO better not end before the release date, thank you ancient Mayan prophecy, or I will be VERY ANGRY). That's over a year and a half for me to whip myself into a frothing frenzy of anticipation. And pray that the New Creation will live up to the first. And make fangirl noises a lot.


    Monday, 21 March 2011

    Eyecandy Monday - with Jenny Poussin

    WOW. I have sexy fans!

    The clip above was sent to me by the stunning Jenny Poussin, who enjoyed reading her copy of Dark Enchantment - yes, that's my book! - so much that she had a bit of an Uninhibited Moment. The full length version of this movie clip appears on her website (yes, I've seen it!)  and involves ... quite a lot less clothing.

    So: Janine Ashbless has now offically appeared in porn :-)

    I'm bowled over!

    Sunday, 20 March 2011

    Geek and Gamer Girls

    Well, it's definitely an improvement on the original ... but still an irritating earworm.

    Friday, 18 March 2011

    The Näck, naked


    If you were perusing my posts about Naiads, Nereids and Mermaids and thinking to yourself "Hmmph! Why's it always naked mythological women standing about in the water, eh? What about some men?" then you should get thee hence to Sweden for the 14th July. Because every year they hold a competion to crown the Näck (or possibly the Näcken ... my Swedish grammer is not what it might be).

    The Näck is a shapeshifting water spirit who makes beautiful music and lures young women and children to their doom. For some reason he's most active on Midsummer's Night, Christmas Eve ... and Thursdays, according to his Wikipedia entry.

    The modern version is usually a violinist, although at least one winner has been a saxophonist. And if you can play beautiful music whilst standing in a freezing Swedish brook, butt-naked in front of an audience, then you're a brave and talented man. I think this one even sings too!

    There's an eye-opening news report here ... in Swedish, I'm afraid. And some more photos here.

    Wednesday, 16 March 2011

    Emerald Islecandy

    A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

    ... I was a good blogger. Then I got distracted, to the point of not even doing my work. Apologies for being off the radar this last week, but that's what happens when Spring kicks off. A middle-aged woman's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of gardening and Ikea - and watching the last episodes of Spartacus: blood and sand all in one glorious block. But I will be back in the saddle shortly!

    Tomorrow it's St Patrick's Day, I believe, so I thought it was a good time to give thanks to Ireland for all the fine eyecandy she has gifted us over the years. Liam Neeson in hair extensions is the only thing I remember with any fondness from The Phantom Menace, for a start.

    Then there's Colin Farrell's eyebrows...

    ... Aidan Turner's eyebrows mad hair ...

    ... Jonathan Rhys Meyers' ... eyebrows. Okay okay, so I'm an eyebrow slut.

    ... Cillian Murphy's terrifying eyes and floppy hair. (See, I have range.)

    ... Pierce Brosnan getting deliciously crusty and grizzled as he ages. Oh, I like that!

    ... Stuart Townsend's impression of Bob Geldof...

    ... and St Bob himself, in his utter scruffiness.

    Any further suggestions? To my shame, I couldn't think of any blistering hot Irish sleb women (with or without awesome eyebrows), so I think you need to let me know.

    Monday, 14 March 2011

    Eyecandy Monday

    Boy do I have a special Eyecandy for next week. I'm still in a mild state of shock! In the meantime... 

    Sunday, 13 March 2011

    It's Spring

    It is, it is! I'm sure - Spring is here! Snowdrops and crocuses, birdsong and early morning light.

    I just love The Waterboys.

    Friday, 11 March 2011

    Sale: Cover Him With Darkness

    Down into the dark we go ...

    I can't tell you how pleased I am that Mitzi Szereto, editor of forthcoming Cleis anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe, has picked my short story Cover Him With Darkness as part of the lineup! It's a story of long-suffering, romance and a lover who may, or may not, be something truly awful. It's about love and compassion and terrible risk.

    The first time I saw him fettered there in the dark, I wept.

    I wrote this one one in the grip of a red-hot compulsion.

    I was only little: he looked huge to me. Huge and filthy and all but naked. I stared at the thongs, as thick as my skinny wrist, knotted cruelly tight about his broader ones. They stretched his arms above his head so that one hand could not touch the other, and they held his ankles apart. I felt a terrible ache gather in my chest. I pressed backward, into Father’s black robes.
        “Who is he?” I whispered.
        “He is a very bad man.”

    Red Velvet and Absinthe is published in paperback this September. The full list of authors should be revealed next month.  In the meantime, if you know any more, please do tell!

    Pre-order from Amazon US : Pre-order from Amazon UK

    Wednesday, 9 March 2011

    Ironclad - movie review

    Last week I happened to be talking about my beseiged-in-a-fortress fantasies. So that day I got mail from Chris:

    Go see Ironclad, Janine.  Kate Mara trapped inside a castle with 230 highly trained  men and a horde of barbarians outside.  Well, ok, not 230, more like 23, but hey, one of them is James Purefoy looking all rough and bearded.  Plus there's a giant scandinavian with his shirt off in the horde outside.

    Which was enough for me.
    Ironclad is a medieval movie about the siege of Rochester Castle by the dastardly Prince John. It actually covers an awful lot of the same ground as the recent version of Robin Hood with Russell Crowe, only on a tiny fraction of the budget and with the significant difference that Ironclad is not shit.

    Leave your authenticity hat at home, forgive it the ropey CGI in the distance shots, and it is a tough, engaging fight movie. Good versus evil. Might versus courage. Forbidden desire. A bunch of favourite middle-aged British thesps in costume. All those things I approve of. And James Purefoy in the lead role. I approve of him too.

    But be aware that it is really violent. I was frankly aghast that it got away with a "15" certificate: I have a nasty feeling we are drifting into American standards of censorship. Tongues and limbs get severed and in the battle scenes people get hacked up like so much meat. Realistic, maybe. I couldn't have coped at 15, that's all I'm saying.

    Of course, the big problem with it fulfilling my fantasies is that the weather is bloody awful. Man, it never stops raining in the Middle Ages. Give me deserts! Give me sun-bronzed warriors!

    Damn, I'll just have to write my own besieged-in-a-desert-fortress-by-barbarians fantasy. Oh look: I did. Several years ago. And you can buy it here. Or here. Sunshine (and sweat, and sex) guaranteed.

    Monday, 7 March 2011

    Eyecandy Monday - the Ramotaur

    While I was in Chamonix I spotted these posters for Icebreaker, which is apparently a New Zealand brand of winter sports clothing for people who get way obsessed with  provenance and labels.  If you buy one of their garments you can put the label number (the "baaacode") into their search engine and it will locate the actual Merino sheep who gave up its wool for you, or something. And they have a blog and an evolving corporate mission and stuff. It's all very earnest.

    I dunno. I just liked their Ramotaur mascot, and will joyfully add him to my Beasty Boys collection :-)

    Sunday, 6 March 2011

    Rome: totally nailed

    Mr Ashbless is a big fan of Rome: total war, which if you haven't come across it is a real-time 3D strategy battle game. Having conquered the entire ancient world playing the Romans, he is now doing the whole thing again as the Egyptians.

    I happened to walk in while he was explaining to a friend what his current battle was.

    "So at the moment I'm trapped in a desert fort with 230 highly-trained men, beseiged by barbarians."

    "Heh. You've just described one of Janine's sexual fantasies," said the friend.

    I opened my mouth to protest, but nothing came out. I had to walk away. It was, after all, a fair cop.

    But I will have my cruel revenge by showing them both this:

    Friday, 4 March 2011

    Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na ... Naiads!

    Hylas and the Nymphs: John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)

    [click to enlarge pictures]

    Rounding off our saucy survey of Victorian and Edwardian bathing beauties, we come at last to the genuine Naiads: classical spirits of freshwater wells, springs, brooks and pools. The most famous depiction has to be Hylas and the Nymphs above, which I was lucky enough to see for real at a Waterhouse retrospective in 2009.

    Hylas was a famously beautiful youth picked by Hercules as his armour-bearer and lover. They joined the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, but Hylas vanished when they stopped off for fresh water - he had been siezed by the nymph of the stream and pulled in. Hercules, distraught, quit the quest in order to search in vain for his friend.

    Here's another painting of the same theme:

     Hylas and the Nymphs: Henrietta Rae (1859-1928)

    Once again, nymphs are used to warn of the danger of water - however seductive and beautiful the ocean or river, it may kill you.

    A Naiad: John William Waterhouse

    No, you're not imagining things: all Waterhouse's nymphs do have the same face. He seems to have had very clear ideas about the facial archetype he wanted throughout his career, and you can read more about his models here.

    The Naiad's Pool: Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

    Actually I think this one may really be a Nereid, but I'm giving the artist the benefit of the doubt.

     The Water Nymph: Herbert James Draper

    Now this one's definitely a freshwater nymph. She's also, sadly, a bit cheesecakey. For which Klimt is the antidote:

     Water Nymphs: Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

    Klimt may have shared dates with traditional Victorian artists, but he ploughed his own unique symbolist furrow and no one can accuse his depictions of  women of being bland! Naiads as disembodied heads floating in the murky depths ... eek! Wonderful!

    The Water Nymph: John Collier (1850-1934)

    Collier's picture isn't bland either. I love the dark and distinctly unappealing water, and her reflection in it. Also her expression, which makes me think she's not musing upon raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens - unless she's planning to drown the latter.

    The Rhinemaidens:  Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

    Rackham is mostly known now as an illustrator of children's books, but he also did a series of pen-and-ink drawings about the Ring Cycle of teutonic myth. I have a postcard copy of the picture above, which I've cherished for years.

    Here are some more of Rackham's Rhinemaidens:

    The Rhine's fair Children, bewailing their lost gold, weep

    Siegfried and the Rhine Maidens

    The next picture is barely more than an excuse for painting some awesome boobies:

    The Water Nymph: Otto Lingner (1856-1917)

    But it's so attractive I think I'll  overlook the lack of context.

     The Nymphaeum: William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

    But this one has more cheesecake than a whole branch of the Cheesecake Factory. Like Draper, Bouguereau's output varied wildly, from the dramatic to the saccharine. Personally I don't like the Nymphaeum picture above. But I think this one is great:

    Nymphs and Satyr: William-Adolphe Bouguereau

    Look at those skin-tones! And I think that satyr is in serious trouble, despite their playful faces, given how his hooves are slipping on the muddy bank...