Sunday, 30 June 2013

Nine Years realtime ...

... how many D&D rounds is that?

4 dragons and the Goddess Takhisis on the mat...

Yesterday my Dungeons and Dragons group (3.5 edition in case you're interested, and of course you are) finished off the very final fight in an epic campaign that has taken us around nine years of gaming.

The final climactic conflict  - less than 10 rounds of magic-flinging and slaughter, with each "round" being about 6 seconds in character time, so we're talking about a minute tops in-game - took 14 REAL HOURS TO PLAY OUT.

We won, of course :-) Hooray! The world of Krynn is now safe from the nasty dragons and can go back to peacefully kissing the asses of the returned Gods of Good - who have got over their last genocidal hissy-fit, and decided to forgive us all.

In the real world, a decade's play on this one game has seen us collectively through house moves, new jobs, dozens of exciting new recipes, thousands of bottles of beer, several holidays together, and the DM getting married. We're older, balder, kinkier and [a little bit] wiser than we used to be, but we still bloody argue about rules interpretation. And you know what? I hope we're still doing exactly the same thing in another decade, and the one after that, and when we're all in our dotage. This is friendship.

My poor shapeshifted druid Kyron makes a ill-advised  - nay, fatal - decision about who to hit next.

What do we do from here on?
Well, we start on a Deadlands campaign. Because the only thing more epic than dragons is UNDEAD COWBOYS :-))))

Friday, 28 June 2013

Three Legs in the Evening

Gustve Moreau: Oedipus and the Sphinx (1864)

When the call goes out for an erotica anthology, there's almost always a standard set of restrictions: NO incest, NO bestiality, NO non-consensual, NO underage, NO scat or watersports.

So last week I wrote a story for a submission call, and naturally I chose the theme of Oedipus and the Sphinx ... because that's two Forbidden Topics (yes, he shags the Sphinx) right there already. Writing at the borderlines ... it's like picking a scab - how far can you push it before you regret it?

Oh dear.

I don't know yet if the story will be accepted by the editor. I don't know if it'll get past the publisher. But I was asked for a story that "told everyone it was written by Janine Ashbless," and it doesn't get much more Ashbless than that!

But it's probably a good job I ran out of space on the wordcount, because if I'd had another 1000 words it would have been even dirtier :-D

(BTW, my Sphinx is MUCH bigger than the one in the pic at top.)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

"Smut by the Sea" pics

Last Saturday I picked Jennifer Denys up and drove through the lashing rain and around herds of stray pigs to Smut By The Sea, the erotica event organised by Victoria Blisse in Scarborough Library.

Jennifer Denys taking the michael out of erotic romance tropes  :-)

There was fudge, enormous quantities of coffee, a book stall, a tombola (I won a pen: Jennifer won lube, grrr) and a purple lecture hall wherein there were MANY READINGS  by erotica-friends new and old:

Victoria Blisse, Lexie Bay, Ashley Lister (standing), KD Grace, Jennifer Denys.
Ashley's poetry was particularly dirty. In fact, as the day went on I realised that I had erred too far on the side of caution in picking my own reading.

This was the moment that I realised that Scarborough was actually shock-proof:

Slave Nano, the Duchess, the Red Queen

Slave Nano was launching the paperback version of his novel Adventures in Fetishland, with a little help from his friends, in glorious technicolour PVC. I will never look at yellow teapots ... or cupcakes ... again in the same way, I can tell you!!

After that foray into kink, I realised I had to up my game somewhat. So instead of reading from mostly-harmless  Heart of Flame I switched to scary-fairy Named and Shamed for the very last reading of the day. And very glad I am that I did, too.

Hiding behind me: Liv Honeywell and Domitri Xavier

Yorkshire can take anything you throw at it :-)

Anyway, since getting home I have been very much inspired to write something really rude again :-) I want to scare myself once more, as I did with Named and Shamed.

My only regret is that I didn't get a photo of the pig on the road....

Event Reportage from Jennifer Denys / Nano Vaslen / Victoria Blisse

Monday, 24 June 2013

Eyecandy Monday:

Okay, so, I watched the Superman movie Man of Steel, and this is the last thing I can remember clearly ... because I think my brain drowned:

Nothing important happened after this, right?

The wet trousers thing is preceeded by the bit where he bursts in and rescues the doomed oil-rig guys, and he's all beardy and hairy-chested and shirtless and HE'S ON FECKIN' FIRE, and it was the most stupid, glorious, wonderful, Bad Romance Cover moment that I wanted to stand up and cheer:

Man of steel, hair of asbestos

Then he went and got a shave and started to look like Superman, and suddenly I lost all interest. Either because he has a weird boney jaw, or I hate side-partings, or I'm just a sad facial-hair-fetishist. Who can say?

Still, I will always have the behind-the-scenes shots:

And the weird propaganda workout video:

That Zack Snyder... he has facial hair too. Hmmmm.
Goddamn, I'm a sick woman.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Black Horse

See, if I wrote a story about a Big Black Horse that wanted to marry the narrator, it'd cause outrage. Sing a song about it and that's just fine...

(Can you tell I'm writing a dodgey story right now?)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Too Hot for Scarborough

Since I'm off to Smut by the Sea this weekend, I thought I'd post a seasidey excerpt from one of my old stories. This is NOT the excerpt I'll be reading on Saturday - we were warned to "err on the side of caution" for the live event, and "don't make anybody cry".

So - an excerpt from Bear Skin, my novella in the Magic and Desire collection, which is still available on Kindle:

The East Wind didn’t bother with a vehicle; he simply picked me and my rucksack up and stepped off the edge of the roof, whirling me westward through the sleet. We landed on a sunlit beach; on the turf of the low cliff-edge above the sand, clumps of daffodils nodded.

The West Wind looked considerably younger than his brother; younger maybe than me. He had salt-tousled brown hair that hung in wet curls and he wore his wetsuit open to the waist and hanging down. His bare torso was tanned and toned and lithe. He wasn’t alone; his friends sat with him on the warm sand, tins of energy-drink in hand, their surfboards propped close by. They were the only people on the beach.

‘This is Hazel,’ said the East Wind, drawing me into their circle. ‘She wants you to take her East of the Sun and West of the Moon, brother.’ Then he was gone in a skirl of dry sand.

‘Why’d you want to go there?’ the West Wind asked.
This one was a cocky young beggar, I thought. I stood up straighter. They were all watching me and looking amused, but it didn’t matter to me anymore. I wasn’t ashamed. ‘Because I love Arailt,’ I said.
His lip curled prettily. ‘You don’t love him. You barely know him.’

I felt like he’d punched me in the guts. ‘I know him enough.’

‘Any idea what he was doing when he was out all day?’
I shook my head.
‘He was out hunting.’
‘Hunting what?’
‘His family.’

 I remembered the only words he’d ever let slip about his family: that they’d sold him to the Queen of Shadows. I remembered the smoke smell and the blood. I turned the words of the West Wind carefully over in my mind and then let them settle to the bottom of my skull. ‘I see.’
‘Does that make a difference to how you feel about him?’

 How could it not? ‘I love him,’ I answered flatly.
The West Wind smiled cynically. ‘You’re just afraid you’ve blown it, Hazel. You’re just scared you’ll never get a chance at someone that hot again, that you’ll have to settle for dross. You’re scared that it’ll never be that good with anyone else.’
My mouth was dry. ‘That’s not … No.’
‘Forget him, darling. Go home. Mourn, and recover. Fall in love properly with someone of your own sort.’
‘No,’ I said hoarsely. ‘I love him.’
The West Wind grinned, leaning forward, elbows on his knees. ‘Prove me wrong, and I’ll take you to my brother. The South Wind will be able to carry you there.’
I closed my eyes for a moment, breathing deep.
‘It’s my best offer,’ he added lightly.
‘If that’s what it takes, then.’
He stood with an insouciant grin. ‘You’ll love it, darling,’ he said, slipping the top button of my shirt. ‘Every inch.’
Slowly, with appreciation, he stripped off my shirt and threw it to one of his friends. Then he kissed me, his lips sweet and teasing, and while I was distracted they all closed on me. There were nearly a dozen of them, I guessed, though I hadn’t actually counted. I felt their hands on my back and rump and thighs. One knelt to slip off my shoes. Fingers unhooked my bra and and tickled my spine and explored the flat curve of my belly as they eased my jeans fly down. I shut my eyes. They stripped me naked, there on the beach, under the brittle spring sunshine. I would have been cold but the breeze had dropped to nothing and my whole body was blushing under the caress of those hands. The youths murmured and chuckled with pleasure with every discovery they made. They pulled me back on my heels, all my weight resting against three spare, warm bodies, while roaming hands explored me from head to toe, tugging my nipples and delving into the crease between my thighs. When I opened my eyes it was on a blur of floppy hair, narrow chins, lean muscular arms, hairless torsos. They smelled of the sea and their fingers tasted of salt.
‘Lift her,’ said the West Wind gently and they grasped my all down the length of my back and arse and legs, easing my thighs open as they raised me from the earth. I felt weightless, afloat on a sea of hands. Their hard arms and chests pressed against me. I tried to focus on the West Wind himself, who stood between my parted knees. He’d peeled his wetsuit down to his thighs by now and his cock stood proud in his slim hand. His scrotum was hairless. He looked so boyishly pretty that even at that moment I felt as if it were I leading him astray, but there was nothing innocent about his eyes. ‘Tell me,’ he said, stroking his lustrous prick until it jerked, ‘that this isn’t what you really miss.’ He stepped forward and pressed his flushed crown into the wet furrow that his friends had prepared for him, slipping it from clit to bum-hole and back. ‘Tell me it isn’t cock you want, darling.’ He shifted his hips and slid into me with a slight grunt. His friends were breathing hard, watching, fascinated. ‘Arailt’s cock,’ he growled, working his own deeper with measured thrusts, pressing up to me till I felt his fat charged balls on my cheeks. Each plunge lifted and dropped me in their hands, like a wave. ‘A big cock.’ He found my clit with his thumb. ‘My big cock. Feels good doesn’t it? Just as good. That’s what you want isn’t it? You enjoying that? You feeling that right inside you? You taking it as deep as you can, darling, oh yes, taking it good and proper now aren’t you? Oh yes, I like to hear that; you tell it like it is.’
If he said more than that I didn’t hear him. I was too busy making noises of my own. I came with my head thrown back and jammed between two hard male stomachs. They shoved fingers down my throat as I thrashed, as if to feel my cries.    

Afterwards they laid me on the sand and took it in turn to stuff their pricks between my lips and unload. They were young; some couldn’t hold out that long and spurted on my breasts and thighs. I regretted every one of the salt sea-spume ejaculations that I didn’t get to taste, but I rubbed them into my skin and licked my fingers and opened my mouth and my thighs for more. They had the vigour of youth too; several came back for seconds. The West Wind kept claim on my sex though; working me with fingers when he was resting. I was so wet I could hear the squelch of juices as he thrust.
I was encrusted with sand by the time we were done, my hair in sticky disarray, my limbs heavy as if I’d swum for miles.
‘Are you sure you still love him?’ the West Wind asked, sweet and low, his lips brushing mine.
‘Yes,’ I whispered. ‘Yes.’

I'm featured with my fellow readers here, btw.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Angels in Trenchcoats

Eric Stoltz as Simon the angel

Many many years ago I watched The Prophecy and fell for angel Simon. He wears a trenchcoat and comes to a Bad End.

The Prophecy is a fabulous, underrated little supernatural thriller, btw - you really should watch it if you haven't already. The angels are all totally badass. It's got Christopher Walken in as the grumpy monkey-hating Archangel Gabriel - and Viggo Mortensen as a thoroughly unpleasant Satan!

Seriously, what more could you ask?
Writing Cover Him With Darkness, I have to consciously avoid Prophecy memes.

Actually, Gabriel gets a rotten press as far as angel movies go. He/She turns up as the Big Bad in Constantine too ... which is not such a great movie but Tilda Swinton is eerily convincing:

John Constantine took the trenchcoat - Gabriel was left with just a vest and longjohns
And he's the genocidal enemy of all mankind in Legion.

Plate armour? That's so 15th Century, Gabriel.

So anyway, I'm now planning to watch the whole Supernatural series, and happily anticipate falling head over heels for this grungy chap:

Misha Collins as the angel Castiel

Wish me luck!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Eyecandy Monday

A little grace-gift from the universe: I was looking up the spelling of charia chairio chiaroscuro, for the novel, when I came across this on Wikipedia, of all places.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

300: Rise of an Empire


Yes, oh yes! Blood, slo-mo gymnastics and rippling abs alert!
There is a new "300" film scheduled for July next year - set before, during and after the events depicted in the first movie. Lots of seaborne battle action apparently, with the Persian commander Queen Artemisia getting a villainous role.

Gerard Butler is not involved, sadly, but nevertheless I am sooo looking forward to this!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Love-Death: Tristan and Isolde

Rogelio de Egusquiza: The Death of Tristan and Isolde (1910)
Last week I was lucky enough to listen to a friend (along with full orchestra) sing the aria Liebestod (Love-Death) from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. I don't normally like opera, but I can't deny that that was beautiful! It sounded a bit like this:

The story itself is a sort of spin-off from the Arthurian legends. It varies wildly in details (Wagner's version is rather different to any normal telling), but basically Sir Tristan (or Tristram) is taking Isolde (or Iseult, or Isoud, or Yseult) to her arranged marriage to King Mark(e) of Cornwall, they ingest a love potion and fall for each other, conduct an adulterous dooooomed affair which is eventually uncovered, and when they die are buried together and the trees over their graves entwine. Aww. All a bit like Game of Thrones then, but without the incest.

Arthur Rackham: How Tristram and Isoud Drank the Love Drink (1917)
It's been a pretty popular subject with artists over the years, being full of angst, sexual compulsion, fighting and moral drama (though few artists have had the guts to depict the actual shagging). Most of all, it gave Victorian and Edwardian artists an excuse to legitimately depict adultery, which would have been considered an impossibly low and offensive subject if not dressed up in romantic Arthurian guise.

John William Waterhouse: Tristan and Isolde (1916)

 Waterhouse's is probably the most famous depiction.

John Duncan (1912)

But Duncan gets reproduced a lot too.

Aubrey Beardsley (1893)

This is Beardsley - the juxtaposition of her head and his crotch is so NOT a coincidence.

Herbert Draper (1901)

Blog favourite Herbert Draper was bound to get a look-in!

Edmund Leighton (1902)

I think King Mark has spotted something going on...

August Speiss: Reunion in Death (1892)

Many of the painting focus on the deathbed scene. This comfortably (for the viewer) combines the romance and thrill of illicit sexual love with its socially-sanctioned consequence/punishment: death. All in glorious weepy detail.

Well, we can't have people getting ideas, can we?

Many more pictures here
There was even a 2006 movie, which I remember as competent but sadly lacking in sexual charisma or interest.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

My name in vain

"Janine" isn't actually my given name. But it still made me feel a bit weird (but in a totally good, flattered way) to find out that the protag Janine Archer, in Shanna Germain's new release from Mischief Books, Leather Bound, is named after me. Yes, this is official - Shanna has said she likes naming characters after writer friends!

Leather Bound is a post-50SoG BDSM romance, so right on the zeitgeist:
Janine Archer has everything she wants: a private house in the coolest part of town. A hot man to share her bed when she’s in the mood. And best of all, her dream job at Leather Bound, the bookstore that she co-owns with her best friend.

But when a beautiful man named Davian arrives at Leather Bound, looking for a book that doesn’t exist, Janine finds herself oddly compelled to track down the mysterious volume.

Perhaps it’s the book itself, with its compelling promise of sexuality. Or maybe it’s Davian himself, with his dark sensuality that pulls on Janine’s lust and heart with unexpected fierceness.

As Janine searches for the elusive book, other parts of her perfect life begin to change.
She discovers a sexual world she never knew existed, and follows its erotic lure into a secret underworld of submission and pleasure.
Excerpts and info about Leather Bound

Janine in the book isn't herself based on me, of course. She's not a tattooed cherry-redhead (that's her lesbian friend/business colleague Lily) - she's brunette. She works in a bookshop (I used to work in a library). But she does wake up on page one next to a TOTALLY HOT guy with long hair and a GOATEE, so I am still pretty damn proud of my namesake - she hasn't done too badly for herself! (And that's before the mysterious Davian turns up, of course.)


And naturally, I'm going to repay the compliment. The next short story I've got lined up to be written is definitely going to feature a heroine called Shanna.

Shanna the vampire hunter ...!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Eyecandy Monday - Blue

This morning I was feeling blue.
I am better, now.
Hooray :-)

Here are some blue-fabric pics to cheer the world up ...

Friday, 7 June 2013

Nerd East

Just some photos from the Nerd East mini-convention we went to last weekend.
There were stalls:

There was a comedy spot by Katie Logan of I Read Terrible Things, in which she righteously (with a little help from some friends) ripped the piss out of Fifty Shades of Grey.

"I can't read this sentence out loud - all the commas are in the wrong place."

It was extremely funny - although it was a bit of a pity it descended at one point into "Ewww: BDSM! - how disgusting! It's so oppressive!" Still, they are young. They will learn.

I did ask permission before taking photos. They may not have thought this through...

Mr Ashbless won the LARP fighting competition!! And I came home armed to the teeth:

Going shopping with your husband - what's all the fuss about?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Chasing angels

Revelation 4:7  "And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast was like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle." The Four Beasts in this vision of heaven are used by tradition in Christian iconography to represent the Four Gospel Writers, but since there is NO logical or scriptural authority for this, I've used them for something else altogether...

Writing-wise, I'm chasing down the last chapters of Cover Him With Darkness, and deep in some seriously violent conflict. There's blood everywhere, I tell you! And my secondary hero, having started out as the obvious Nice Guy, has turned into someone that I'm finding quite frightening.

Cleis, having asked me to write the novel on the strength of the short story, are taking a relatively hands-on approach to the writing process, which is fair enough. In April I sent them the first 20K, and my editor got back to me via a Skype conference with some feedback.

If you have ever written anything for public consumption, you will appreciate that I was nearly vomiting with anxiety at this point. My editor's suggestions in fact went as follows:

  1. "Can we have a prologue showcasing incident X, so that readers know what they are getting themselves into?" (Answer (after some thought) - Yes, I've figured out how to fit that into the book. Good call. Hellooooo, Four Beasts.)
  2. "Can you change the plot a bit to delay the two main characters having sex for the first time, and up the tension?" (Answer - Yes, yes, thank you. An erotic short story does not have the same structure as a novel. Crank up the frustration, boys!)
  3. "It's very fast-paced. Are you sure you can keep this up for three books?" (Answer - Well, I've kept it up all the way for one book. I'm pretty confident...)

See? No vomiting required.
I do like an editor who knows how to bring out the best in my work!

Let's see what she thinks of the next 20,000 words. Eeek!  :-)

Monday, 3 June 2013

Eyecandy Monday

She's back in my ... er ... arms!
Pinterest censored this pic from my account back in March because of the bare bum, much to my distress. I had no other copy! But now Nym Nix has refound it for me months later, just from my text description! Praise the Interweb!
And praise and thanks to the mighty, the wonderful Nym Nix!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

To a Scrotum

There's nothing like some Celtic poetry on a Sunday afternoon...
Jo sent me this link, for which I am very grateful :-)

(Although I am now slightly alarmed by the number of references I'm hearing these days to ballsacks stretching with old age. Just when I got used to the idea of greying pubic hair...)