Monday, 30 January 2012

Eyecandy Monday

Oh, I feel rough! A weekend of sleep-deprivation and massive carb-intake will do that to me. Also, being repeatedly chased up and down the grounds of a country house by an Indescribable Monstrosity. And now it's snowing and I have to drive hundreds of miles home before this evening when I have a game to run...

I think I am going to sit and look at this nice picture, of  a sunny sea and a naked man, until I feel better.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I say, Jeeves - it's a bally shoggoth!

I'm away this weekend, at a 1920s Call of Cthulhu LARP. I confidently expect scones, cucumber sandwiches and Unspeakable Horrors, with perhaps a side-order of Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Irresistible Offer

Here's an irresistible offer for those of you who live in the USA.  Irresistible: erotic romance for couples, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, is now in stock at Amazon (it's officially launched on Feb 14th). And it includes my sweet and loving (yes! be amazed!) story Repaint the Night among many others.

Now Rachel is doing an AMAZING Buy One Get One offer! If you order or pre-order Irresistible as a paperback or ebook, she will send you a FREE SIGNED COPY OF ANY ONE OF HER IN-PRINT CLEIS PRESS BOOKS! All you have to do is forward her your receipt or a photo of it to irresistibleantho [at] gmail [dot] com with "BOGO" in the subject line, and your choice of book (if you want it autographed to someone else, just say it in the email). She'll send those books out by February 8th.

Full details, including anthology line-up, available freebees and the book foreword, here.

This frankly awesome offer is only open until JANUARY 31st, so get your skates on! And, due to postage costs, it's sadly only open within the USA.

Little excerpts from each story can be read here too!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Burns Night Eyecandy

I know, I know, it's not a Monday - but it's Burns Night and I couldn't resist the guys in kilts.

I've had a wee thing for kilts since I saw Rob Roy shagging in his, many years back:

Fine scenery they have up there...

Anyway, the thing about kilts is that they combine a theatrical majestic vibe with tease. Therefore ... popular with romance readers and gay men.

They come in leather...

They come in practical canvas...

They come a bit too long ...

They come with big burly Scotsmen in them ...

They come with long-haired Ashbless-magnets in them...

But hell, as long as they come ...!
So lift a dram of Scotch to the "wee, sleekit, cowering, timorous beasty" hiding behind the kilt, and maybe he'll come out to play...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Eyecandy Monday - Tansy

You know me and hair. The first thing I picture about any new character is their hair. So when my protagonist, Tansy, in my just-sold fairy novel Named and Shamed,  describes herself this way:

"Most men get no further than some reference to Amazons, because at six foot tall and with a rack like this I can't help but invite the comparison. Add to that my red hair—not an insipid ginger but ferociously bright metallic waves—and pale skin that explodes into freckles all over my shoulders and arms at the first touch of summer ..."

... I had to go looking for a visual model.


And this is pretty good for the hair and freckles. I like this face a lot!
Hello Tansy!

Goodness, research ... It's such hard work ... maybe I should apply for a grant ;-)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Joy of Books

This is just the most amazing thing I've seen on YouTube. It's incredible what you can do with enough coffee in your bloodstream...

Friday, 20 January 2012

Book review: Immoral Views

I have seen the future of erotica. Or at least, what I hope is the future of my erotica... and it is ILLUSTRATED!

Sweetmeats Press, a relative newcomer to the scene, first pinged onto my radar screen with The Candy Box, which is part fiction (two novellas) and part fascinating memoir. What makes Sweetmeats stand out from other erotica imprints is that the texts are illustrated. Really well illustrated. Scorching hot pictures, XXX-rated, that take the story to a whole new dimension of heat. [See pics at bottom of post]

I love that. I'm a really visual person. My own stories are always played out as movies in my head before I translated them into words. I love graphic novels too. So hell yes, I want to see pictures with my smut!

Now Sweetmeats have published Immoral Views, a new collection of short stories on the theme of exhibitionism and voyeurism, with a great line-up of author names.

The Circus by Kay Jaybee - When Carrie is bought a ticket for a circus-themed BDSM show, she finds that the line between audience and participant is somewhat blurred...
Lots of fun with female exposure and submission.

Inside Looking Out by Lexie Bay - Izzy becomes fixated on watching her sister's handsome boyfriend fuck, and throughout her sexual encounters over the years, she's always trying to recapture that special feeling. Over a decade later and on another continent, she meets him again... 
A mixture of intensely romantic and dead kinky!

Alloted Views by K D Grace - Rose discovers night-time intruders in the next door vegetable allotment, having a good hard go at some fertility magic...
Earthy, evocative, well-written and a great story for gardening fans :-)

Painted Pussycat by Rebecca Bond - Innocent Poppy starts with one little tattoo and then is initiated into the Circle of Ink where she discovers her true self...
A fairytale (ordinary girl becomes beautiful princess) with tattoos and threesomes.

Caught in the Act by Lucy Felthouse - A young policeman becomes obsessed with the practice of Dogging, and eventually tries it out for himself...
Hot, dirty, and funny. The only story in the collection with a male protagonist, and interestingly the one requiring least suspension of disbelief.

It's quite noticable, I think, that the collection has a real UK vibe to it - not just in language but in setting. The stories are upbeat, warm-hearted and - except for the last one, which has no romantic element - what I'd describe as written for a female readership. "Alloted Views" stood out for me as the most unexpected because of the magical realism elements, but for sheer horniness I particularly enjoyed "Caught in the Act."

But if you're in London this weekend, you don't have to take my word for it. Come and hear the authors reading extracts from their stories instead! It's all going on at the wonderful Sh! emporium on Portobello Road, on Saturday.

And finally, full disclosure: This week I signed a contract for Named and Shamed with Sweetmeats Press. I couldn't resist - I just so want to see my fairies, witches, trolls and  illustrated in glorious black-and-white!
Brace yourselves for the filthiest fairy book ever...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


So this is what I was doing on New Year's Eve :-)  UV rocks!

(This photo put up to memorialise the only time in my entire life that I've worn a minidress in public.)

Monday, 16 January 2012

Eyecandy Monday

I'm a big fan of National Geographic magazine, and this is a fine picture of of a cougar resting after a hunt ;-)

There's not much rest for this writer though, however tired. Having finished and subbed fairy novel Named and Shamed, I am back on the short stories. I've got three already promised to anthologies, and plan to complete my new collection of fantasy shorts this year. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines...

THE BIG NEWS!!! Vampire erotica novel Red Grow the Roses is OUT ON KINDLE IN FEBRUARY!  
I'll put links up when the cover art is available, and when someone has managed to fish the cover-copy out of Amazon's shredder. Careful with those fingers...

The blog tours are over, prizes are being dished out to competition winners, but Heart of Flame is not forgotten yet. Sizzling Hot Books has given it 4 stars and says: "it’s a fantastic read for any genre lover. Heart of Flame gets better and better as the tension builds page after page."

Full review here

And a HUGE thank you to Jeremy Edwards, Justine Elyot, Kate Pearce, Shanna Germain, Charlotte Stein and Adrian Tchaikovsky for supporting me on my Red Letter blog tour, despite all the Internet gremlins. And a big shout-out to Goddess Fish Promotions who put in such brilliant work organising the other blog tour.

But oh am I glad to be back to writing  fiction!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 12

Eugene-Alexis Girardet (1853-1907): The Almeh

Dance dance! The Heart of Flame Blog Tour comes to an end today, with a bonus post I wasn't expecting - the first chapter is up to read (it's very short) at Renee Bigby Presents First Chapters.

Back to normal service on Monday! I have so much to tell you!

P.S: what's an almeh? Well, according to Wikipedia:

Almeh (Arabic عالمة `ālma, plural awālim, from علم "to know, be learned") was the name of a class of courtesans or female entertainers in Arab Egypt, women educated to sing and recite classical poetry and to discourse wittily. They were educated girls of good social standing, trained in dancing, singing and poetry, present at festivals and entertainments, and hired as mourners at funerals.

and according to the extremely snotty American Cyclopaedia of 1873:

 Almeh (properly alimeh, pi. avalim.) an Arabic name given to the better class of public singers and dancers in Egypt, and sometimes erroneously applied also to the lower prostitutes and dancers, the ghawazi. The almehs form a separate social class, live together in companies, and often earn very large sums by their songs, dances, and improvisations, which are almost always of a lascivious character. Their services are generally called into requisition at banquets, marriages, and other festivals. - The ghawazi are a much lower class, including both male and female dancers, who travel from place to place, and exhibit in the public streets their dances, which, like those of the almehs, consist of lascivious movements of the body. The female ghawazi are prostitutes of the lowest class; yet a respectable Arab may without disgrace marry one of them who has abandoned her profession. Though the two classes are alike in the licentiousness of their lives and occupations, a sharp distinction exists between the almehs and the ghawazi, the former pandering to the higher orders of society, while the latter (considered by many actually a distinct race of gypsies) address themselves to the populace.

I love finding out this sort of stuff!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 11

Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) : The Roc's Egg
[click to enlarge]

Whee - I found an Orientalist picture with a fantasy theme! (Orientalists are usually staunch realists. Although, technically, Vedder is counted as a Symbolist rather than an Orientalist. *sigh* Don'tcha love these neat genre boxes we have to put people in?)

Today I'm over at Reader Girls talking about the allure of fantasy :-)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 10

Jean-Leon Gerome: Arnaut Blowing Smoke at the Nose of his Dog (1882)

Look - a greyhound! :-D

What would you ask for, if a djinni gave you three wishes? My answers are over at Basia's Bookshelf today. And - surprisingly - they don't actually include "another greyhound."

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 9

Dudley Hardy (1867-1922) : The Caravan

Today I'm over at Asian Cocoa's Secret Garden, talking about the setting for Heart of Flame. Which, coincidentally, I'm returning to as I write a short story today...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 8

Charles Bargue (1825-1883): An Eastern Coffee House

Today I'm over at Anita Philmar's blog. She asked me "Where did you get the idea for Heart of Flame?" and I tried desperately to remember. Man, I need more coffee in my life!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 7

Antonio Garguillo (C19th - no dates listed) : The Message

I chose a picture of someone saying something that causes terrible trouble, because today I'm over at We Fancy Books ... and they asked me to write about the not entirely uncontentious topic of  negative reviews. I did my best not to come across as a bunny-boiler, I swear!

But I probably failed.


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 6 - COMPETITION!

Gustav Bauernfeind: The Gate of the Great Umayyad Mosque, Damascus (1890)

The Red Letter Blog Tour draws to a close, with a BIG interview over at the blog of Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the gripping Shadows of the Apt fantasy series. He dared ask me about the politics of setting Heart of Flame in the Middle East!
Okay - competition time!
Do you want to win a book? Not one of my books! This one in fact:

Beautifully illustrated by Jan Pienkowski, this is contains 6 of the Arabian Nights tales and the framing story of clever Shahrazade. It is suitable for children! (In as far as the 1001 Nights  can be - there's a certain amount of adultery and murder in the stories.) And it can be yours for free!

Okay ... to win it, you need to check out each of the posts in the Red Letter Blog Tour in order and find the red letter in the text.
  1. Jeremy Edwards
  2. Justine Elyot
  3. Kate Pearce's blog is still down - I'm sure she's even more frustrated than I am - so the letter is this one.
  4. Shanna Germain
  5. Charlotte Stein
  6. Adrian Tchaikovsky  (Sorry, you'll need to look in the comments for the answer to that one)

Got the 6 letters? They spell the first name of the librarian who asks my hero and heroine a fiendish riddle, in Heart of Flame.
E-mail me at janine [dot] ashbless [at] yahoo [dot] com with this name. I'll draw the winner randomly.
You've got until Friday 13th - good luck!

And me? I'm going to finish my next novel and send it off today.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 5

Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932): The Manicure

I'm late ... I was up until 2.15am spell-checking, and slept through my alarm! So ZOOOOOM to -

  • Charlotte Stein's blog for the Red Letter Tour - and try a lurid but lovely drink. Why is a ba-na'na' not a banana?
  • Books Read 'n' Makeup Done - and discover my New Years Resolutions. My sanity does not appear to be bearing up well, it must be said...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 4

Jean Leon Gerome: Harem Women Feeding Pigeons in a Courtyard (1894)
[click to enlarge]

Oh, I just love Gerome's work! His paintings make me feel like I could walk straight into them and be there.

Today ...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 3

Rudolph Swoboda: The Carpet Seller (1885)

*sigh* We have hacker problems, I'm afraid. There have been a slew of hits on romance sites this week (WHY?!), including some I'm due to be guest blogging on. But we soldier on!
  • Today the Heart of Flame blog tour has me guesting at Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess. She asked me to say what I thought made for a good erotic read. Well, maybe it's not the answer anyone was expecting!  Again, leave a comment over there if you want to be included in a prize draw for an e-copy of  The King's Viper.
  • The Red Letter Blog tour should see me over at Kate Pearce's blog, but she's been having website problems. I'll link to this once everything's sorted.
And backing up my own website has suddenly shot to the top of the insane list of Things To Do This Week...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 2

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902): Arabian Nights

Look - I can do magic ;-)  Today I'm in two places at once!

"For those aspiring writers who want to learn about escalating tension, definitely check out this book. With each passing chapter, the situation seems to become more dire for our hero and heroine. Will they succeed or will they give up, accepting failure?

Heart of Flame is a story of bravery, of djinni, gods, ghosts and magic and the search for love. I enjoyed this book, and if you’re a fan of fantasy with a good dose of romance then I think you’ll like it too."

Monday, 2 January 2012

Heart of Flame blog tour - Day 1

Frederick Arthur Bridgeman: The Siesta (1878)

Oh my goodness, it’s January 2012 already! The partying has finished and we’re all probably feeling hungover, literally or emotionally  - and here I am to bang on about my Arabian Nights novel Heart of Flame. Don’t  worry:  I’m going to be gentle with you – at least to start with, heh heh...

First, let me tempt you to come on over to Jeremy Edwards’ blog for a little lie down on the Sofa of Pleasure.

That post over at Jeremy’s is the first in my Red Letter Blog Tour. Follow that tour this week and look for the Red Letter buried in each post. Note them down, and at the end of this week you’ll have a chance to win a mystery prize!

Feeling invigorated now? Concurrently with the Red Letter Blog Tour, I’m going to be touring all over the place on the Heart of Flame blog tour, which has been arranged by Goddess Fish – starting today over at Carrie Ann Ryan’s, where I’m talking about balancing strong heroes and heroines. Follow that tour, post a comment on any one of those blogs in the next two weeks, and you’ll be entered into a draw for a different prize – in this case, a free e-copy of The King’s Viper.

Good luck! See you around, I hope!
More tour links tomorrow!

Heart of Flame on sale from Samhain

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Take a deep breath...

... because my two blog tours for Heart of Flame kick off tomorrow. Yes, two.

So, for the  next couple of weeks I can promise Victorian Orientalist art, prize giveaways, and me wandering all over t'Internet talking about subjects that may (or may not) have anything to do with my novel, and slowly going more and more bonkers...

Pop by this blog each day to find out my next stop!

"I am just going outside. I may be some time." - Captain Oates