Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Look what the Italians have done! Chocolate crisp wafers ... drizzled with more chocolate. All the fun of crisps, but CHOCOLATE!!
I think they are called brigidini. And now I know why Bologna is nicknamed "La Grassa" - "The Fat One." Soon to be my nickname too...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Is that a gun in your hand or ...?

Carnal Machines: steampunk erotica is out now in the UK - which is a good excuse for linking to Lady Clankington's Cabinet of Carnal Curiosities, the website featuring the model above and her lovely little steampunk sex-toy.

The Sideshow says, regarding Carnal Machines:
"The entire collection is good, but I’d like to call out a few stories which I felt were exceptionally, ahem, stimulating. The Servant Question, by Janine Ashbless, recounts the story of a bored housewife and a man who tinkers with machines as well as his clients. Even though the ending is no surprise, it is still a pleasure to read."

Now, I'm going to be away for a few days - Mr Ashbless is working in Italy so I'm going to allow his nice IT company to send me out there and keep him company. In the meantime, please do amuse yourselves perusing this vibrator collection for discerning gentlewomen :-)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Rules of Romance

Okay, I write erotica and some erotic romance, but I've felt for a long time that I'm on shaky ground with the romance side of things. Writing simply what I like, I've often felt like I wasn't quite speaking the right language to editors and readers. I've felt like there were secret expectations that no one was telling me about.

So it was back to college for me at the weekend: learning the unwritten rules of writing category romance novels in a full-day intensive workshop run by Jessica Hart, who has written over fifty novels for Harlequin in the last twenty years. She was great.

Inside ten minutes:

"Romance novels are not, despite what you may think, stories about how two people meet and fall in love and overcome obstacles, in order to live happily ever after. They are about how two people, who are powerfully attracted to one another and may even be sleeping together, cannot bring themselves to say 'I love you.' Only when that finally happens does the story reach a conclusion."

"Oh," I thought, as the scales fell from my eyes and I saw the light. "Oh, right. Bloody hell. That makes sense."

There was much more of course. We did Standard Plot Hooks and Backstory Wounds and Incompatible Goals and Scene Functions and all sorts of stuff. And of course this is all based on the pared-down, 50K Mills-and-Boon-type paperback, not the big sprawling historical blockbuster or the tripped-out-crazy supernatural thriller. But it's still important stuff when it comes to writing the emotional tension of the romance thread. I can still apply these lessons to my own peculiar work in future, for that extra zing.

Which is good, because another thing I learned is that I'd rather saw my own head off with a breadknife than switch to writing category romance. I'm sorry to disappoint, but "The Italian Billionaire Surgeon's Secret Christmas Baby by Janine Ashbless" is just never going to happen.

No matter how much you beg.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sh! Do you want to know a secret?

Well, okay, it's not really a secret. In fact we want as many people to come along as possible. Rachel Kramer Bussel is coming to the UK and headlining a public erotica reading on 2nd July at Sh! the erotica emporium for women. As a contributor to Best Bondage Erotica 2011, which she edited, I will be reading from my story The Ingénue.

What's more, Justine Elyot, Jacqueline Applebee, KD Grace, Kay Jaybee and Carmel Lockyer will be reading too!
And there will be cupcakes and drinkies! I'm so excited!

There are a limited number of (free) seats and Sh! tell me there aren't many places left for booking. Oh - Because it's a women-focused business, you have to bring a female chaperone if you are a bloke.

So pass it on, and quickly:

Saturday July 2nd
Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium. 57 Hoxton Square. London N1 6PB  

Full details including contact/booking links here.

See you there!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

It's the The End of the World

Well, this is going to be my last post ever I'm afraid - because tomorrow the world ends. Well, technically it doesn't end until October 21st when God will destroy everything in fire, but tomorrow it all kicks off with the Rapture when all good Christians get whisked away bodily to heaven and for the rest of us there will be massive planet-wide earthquakes, graves being thrown open, rains of blood, the rocks crying out "No hiding place from the wrath of God!" etc etc - so I'm guessing Blogger will be down too.

What am I talking about? Well haven't you heard? - radio preacher Harold Camping has, through meticulous study of the Bible, worked out that Judgement starts on 21st May 2011. He guarantees it.

According to Genesis, when the flood occurred in the year 4990, God told Noah that in seven days he would destroy the earth. But Peter said: 'I know that one day for me is like a thousand years.' So 4990 plus 7001 years (the equivalent of seven days) equals 2011. Not only that, May 21 coincides with the 17th day of the second month of the calendar used during the Biblical flood.
He's been telling everyone to Save the Date. And loads of people believe him - well, there must be someone paying for the billboards and bus and subway advertising in cities all across the USA.

But wait - the good news is that when all those Christians go to heaven, there will be someone left to look after their beloved pets on earth! In an inspired move [Am I allowed to say that?] Eternal Earth-Bound Pets has assembled a crack troop of sworn atheists and will - in return for a hefty upfront fee - guarantee to rescue your pets in the event of the rapture.

"You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes, what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? 

Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward.  Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

(The EEBP founder adds, btw: "This will happen only if and when the Rapture happens. So we do not expect to have to do anything on Saturday.")

To be completely honest - and this may come as a shock to you, gentle reader - neither do I. In fact I'm wondering what all the believers are going to do on Sunday. Kill themselves like the Heaven's Gate lot? Phone the dentist and ask if they can have that appointment slot in June after all? With luck, maybe some of them will say to themselves. "That was complete horseshit. Biblical authority guaranteed it, but it just wasn't true. Damn ... maybe the rest of it is made up too."

But I very much doubt it. They'll find some excuse. "God was testing us." "He moves in mysterious ways." "It was our fault for not having enough faith." No matter how often God lets them down, people will believe anything rather than consider the possibility that Biblical "promises" are fiction. And the next time someone claims to speak with God's authority, they'll believe him too.
* * * * *
The world will not end, and I'll be back posting after Saturday. I GUARANTEE it, folks, on Flying Spaghetti Monster authority!
And if I'm wrong and it does, I'll have a lot more to worry about than looking a complete tit ;-)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Novel Sale! The King's Viper

YES!! (*Pumps fist in air*)

I'm so chuffed I could explode - because Ellora's Cave have signed up to publish my erotic romance The King's Viper.  I haven't got a publication date yet, but as you can see I've got a cover already.

And a bit of a blurb:

When Lady Eloise of the Isle of Venn becomes betrothed to the King of Ystria, she looks forward to a life of luxury and status at the royal court. She certainly doesn’t anticipate being shipwrecked on the way there in the company of the King’s assassin, Severin de Meynard, the most hated man in the kingdom. Nor does she anticipate them having to make their way back home to Ystria on foot, through hundreds of miles of enemy territory. Above all, she doesn’t expect to fall in love with the cynical, ruthless Severin on the way.

Yes, as you can tell it's one of my *ahem* "special" romances, where everyone has to suffer horribly for love, in between all the filthy wonderful sex. Expect tears, torture and frustration before the happy ending :-)

And if you haven't seen it, there was a sneaky sneaky preview excerpt posted over at Madelynne's blog a while back. More soon, thanks to Ellora's Cave!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Eyecandy Monday

Hey! - Surprise: an erotic fiction anthology from Racy Pages (edited by Tinder James and including both my blind-date story In Real Life and flash piece Cherry) has gone and won a bronze medal in the erotica section of the Independent Publishers Awards 2011.

I like to think I made a small but meaningful contribution to that :-)
Congratulations Tinder!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Morwenna Drake

I just wanted to let the world know that a RL friend of mine, Morwenna Drake, has just had her first erotic romance novel published. I'm so chuffed for her! Go go go girl! And isn't it just the prettiest cover ever?

Dark Night's Embrace is a vampire tale set in London:

Violet thinks that she has left her dangerous life behind. Once the unresisting victim of a powerful vampire named Julian, it took a force of will and a complete change of identity to escape him. Now, in her little London bookshop, she feels safe – but not for long. Julian has finally tracked her down and he wants something only she can find for him – the Phoenix Book.
On the verge of being trapped into servitude again, Violet is saved by one of her customers, Alex. As he rushes her to safety, she discovers she is not the only one leading a double life. The unassuming Alex is a vampire hunter and has been chasing both Julian and the Phoenix Book, in which lies the secret to destroying Julian and his type forever.
Caught between two old adversaries, Violet must keep her wits about her and not give into temptation with either with Alex or Julian, however much she might want to.

Buy from Red Sage (and she promises that her vampires are not sparkly, heh heh)

What's more, this is what she has to say on the home page of her website:
"I was introduced to erotica because of a friend writing it. You can check out the website of my inspiration, Janine Ashbless, here: http://www.janineashbless.com 
I instantly became a fan and, being a writer, I didn’t just stop at reading it…"

I got all teared up. I've inspired someone to become a published erotica writer? That's an accolade beyond price. Thank you, Morwenna!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Carnal Machines: flash slash

Wheeee! - it's my turn on the Carnal Machines blogtour, now that Blogger is finally working again. I've already posted an excerpt from The Servant Question, my contribution to this delicious steampunk anthology. So instead today I thought I'd write you my very first piece of slash fiction.

It's nice and short, so read it before the lawyers get me.

Just a Spoonful

The extraordinary apparatus looks a little like a see-saw, inasmuch as there are two people sitting astride it facing each other, although the parts are more complex and the brasswork emits a regular and rather charming poot of steam as it labours.  Mrs Banks is possessed of bounteous charms. Mr Banks would normally be described as having a dignified aspect, but both are currently naked and there is nothing dignified about his predicament.  In addition they both have their wrists bound behind them, and they are tethered together not simply by the matrimonial knot but by a pair of slender brass rods, terminating in toothed jaws at either end, that grip their nipples cruelly. They can neither pull away nor close upon the other without causing great pain.

The young woman standing over them is slim and, unlike her prisoners, primly dressed. Not a bead of sweat mars her brow despite her current exertions: she is practically perfect in every way.

‘You, madam,’ she says, raising the thin switch in her right hand once more, ‘are a disgrace. You reach out for political responsibility, yet take none in the realm of your own power. You are invisible, ineffective, unfocused. You are barely a presence at all.’ The cane slashes down across the swell of Mrs Banks’ bottom, not for the first time, and she shrieks and jerks forward. The brass rods stab her husband. Then the diabolical nature of the mechanism upon which they are mounted becomes truly apparent:  there is a phallus of stiff leather impaled between Mr Banks’ buttocks, and when his wife slides upon her saddle the motion is transferred by hidden and cunning means to that device, causing it to plunge in and out. He roars.

‘And you, sir,’ the young woman says calmly, ‘are worse. Mrs Banks is guilty of a benign neglect. You, on the other hands, are a martinet. A petty tyrant who undermines every good impulse and offers encouragement  to no one.’ The whip lashes out again, upon masculine buttocks this time.  When Mr Banks cries out and plunges, the glistening phallus that juts up from the apparatus into his wife’s spread sex spears her repeatedly, causing her to wail.

‘I have never,’ their tormenter continues in glacial tones, ‘in all of my years as a nanny, had cause to use the cane upon a child. It is their parents who need discipline. It is you, Mr and Mrs Banks, who need my firm correcting hand to realize the errors of your ways.’ She strikes out with the cool regular beat of a metronome, right and left, him and her, until they are squealing and shaking and wailing. ‘How long will it take you to realize the error of your selfish ways?’

‘Please, Nanny-!’

All the time, the two small wheels that jut from the body of the apparatus spin with a purring sound so faint it can hardly be heard above the dramatic hubbub. Both are composed of many small tongues of leather, and it is clear that they turn through a bath of fine golden oil. One laps incessantly at the pink bead between Mrs Banks’ open thighs; the other slathers the underside of Mr Banks’ tumescent member.

'You must learn,’ says the nanny, not even short of breath despite her continued calisthenics, ‘that everything you do causes others pain or pleasure. You are all connected. All responsible for one another. Do you understand this?’

The unbearable stimulation of her intimate pearl, the rigorous thrusting into her undercarriage and  - yes – perhaps even the sharp pain slashing across her generous behind, are too much for Winifred Banks.  Her screams no longer protesting but avid and wild, she comes to her sexual crisis. Her shudders, magnified by the machinery, ram home into George Banks’ impaled back passage and within seconds he erupts too, his emission jetting out with such force that it sprays his wife’s white belly and wobbling breasts.

‘Have you learned your lesson?’ asks the young woman, staying her hand. 'Will you be better parents from now on?'

‘Yes, Mary Poppins,’ sobs Mr Banks. ‘Oh yes.’

‘Excellent.’ She smiles, tightly. ‘Just as I always say:  a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.’

And you can catch up on the whole blogtour on the sites below, for excerpts, steampunk chat and story insight:
May 1  D. L. King
May 4  Jay Lawrence 
May 5  Kannan Feng 
May 11 Elias St. James (on D L King's blog)
May 12 Lisabet Sarai 
May 13 Janine Ashbless 
May 14  Poe Von Page

Buy at Amazon US : Pre-order at Amazon UK (out on 26th May)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Me heart Cox

 ... Also, me heart Goldacre, Ince and Singh. Which is why I was in the audience for the Uncaged Monkeys tour last weekend in Newcastle. An astophysicist, a doctor, a comedian and a mathematician. Three hours of funny nerdy science goodness in the company of some of my favourite men. :-)

I am prepared to accept that my taste in men is a tad unusual. I don't care.

Brian Cox talked about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the Higgs boson field and was ridiculously pretty and charming (though Mr Ashbless doesn't see it).

Ben Goldacre won the nerd sartorial prize (beating even Simon Singh's baggy cardigan) for appearing in a tanktop and untucked shirt. Brief discussion established that we all believe this is geek satire. It can't possibly be unconscious ... surely?

Anyway, I bought his book, which is completely awesome...

 ... and also a massive pain in the ass, because now I have ceased to have faith in any of the diet supplements I've been taking, which means that the bloody placebo effect will no longer work for me. And now I have a cold.

Feh. Bloody scientists.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Better late than never

Jenny turned me on to this track - It's very dark [abuse trigger warning], but I like it lots :-)

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Grief of the Bond-Maid - now flying solo

Look look look!

My Viking magic story The Grief of the Bond-Maid, previously collected in the Cast the Cards anthology, is now available as a solo download from Storm Moon Press! And it's a got a lovely new cover with futhark runes on it!

Sjofn the witch is on a quest to free herself from the control of the Hanged Man. She knows she cannot prevail alone, and so allies herself with a pair of warriors who have secrets of their own. As they fight their way through the obstacles set before them, her respect for their abilities begins to grow into something more—something she can scarcely admit to herself, let alone to them.

Priced at $1.99, it's available in a range of formats: PDF, LIT, MOBI, and ePub.

You can read an excerpt here.

I'm giddy with pleasure! (Also from smacking my head on the desk, because I wrongly thought it was due out next month ....)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Happiness is a hungry dog

Argh. What a weekend. Some brilliant things ...

But Troy stops eating. He lies in a sun patch and shivers. He can't move more than a few yards without being exhausted. I'd always said "I'll know when he's dying because he'll stop eating." Well, he has done now. Not even Thai chicken or cocktail sausages will pass his lips.

Hardass smutwriter falls to bits and blubs.

On Monday (it had to be a holiday Monday, didn't it? Dogs are never ill on the cheap.) we get him to the vet and it turned out he has "the temperature from hell," and that his racing heartbeat does not match his femoral pulse. The vet says, "This is actually very interesting. Unfortunately, in medical terms 'very interesting' is a Bad Thing. Really you're better off being as boring as possible."

Cue one enormous shot of antibiotics and another of anti-inflamatory painkiller. We've got no idea what's going on but we need to tackle that temperature.

By the next morning Troy's asking for food. Today he has an ECG to see what's up with his heart and it turns out - nothing. He's fine.

Happiness, I find, is a dog who wants to eat.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Eyecandy Monday

Damn, it's hard being a writer. There you are settling down for a hard day's pounding on the keyboards, and all these distractions come along...

And while I've got your attention, let me tell you about the Carnal Machines blog tour, which started yesterday over on editor D L King's blog :-)
Vintage-style naughtiness is promised!

May 1  D. L. King
May 4  Jay Lawrence 
May 5  Kannan Feng 
May 11 Elias St. James (on D L King's blog)
May 12 Lisabet Sarai 
May 13 Janine Ashbless 
May 14  Poe Von Page