Saturday, 28 February 2009

Nexus Confessions

February is nearly over. It happens that this month saw the publication of the sixth (and sadly final) volume in the Nexus Confessions series. Nexus is of course Black Lace's twin imprint - aimed at men and famous for its specialisation in the kinkier side of smut, with spanking, pony girls and dressing up galore. Did you even know they did short stories?

The Nexus Confessions volumes aren't aimed purely at the fetish market though: they're all about the sort of naughty "true confessions" that appear in the readers' letters pages of adult magazines. The sort of things that leave you wondering "Could it be true? Would anyone really dare do that?" So you won't find the Janine Ashbless name in these volumes. Or the names of any other writers who are ex-members of Lust Bites. Oh no no no no. No no no. 'Cos these are anonymous confessions, see? Say no more.

Virgin of course believes in sexual segregation. Based on my *ahem* extensive reading of these volumes I am able to let you know the differences between their smut aimed at men (let's call those M books), and their smut aimed at women readers (W books):

  1. M anthologies contain some stories told from a male point of view. They're still in the distinct minority but at least there are some. As someone who likes to read male POV I find this rather refreshing.
  2. There are a lot fewer dominant or Alpha males in M books. And an awful lot more dominant women, some of whom are downright mean.
  3. Male narrators in M stories quite often have perfectly ordinary genitalia or are even (gasp!) under-endowed (see previous point).
  4. There are quite a few naughty young minxes ("I suppose I've always been what you'd call a bad girl") and overweight women with large bottoms in M books. In W books the POV heroine is usually more aspirational.
  5. In W books women are conflicted, constrained, and long for something beyond their horizons - something that it turns out can only be provided by the sexual encounter with the Man. In M books women are happy, straightforward, and love sex - any time, any place, anywhere - without worrying about what it means or what it will lead to. (I can't decide if this idealised view of women is sweet or a damning indictment of how neurotic we are in real life. Both, I suspect.)
  6. You can have golden showers in M books. Don't even try getting that into a Black Lace story.
So there you go: Nexus Confessions - recommended for lighthearted, straight-to-the-point smut with plenty of dirty, naughty, gleeful bang for your buck.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

After the Fire

Odalisque with a Slave, or, The Writer Having Finished her Manuscript Corrections Falls into a Coma
by Ingres (1780-1867)

Heart of Flame (now standing at 91,000 words) is done, wrapped up and put to bed - with strict instructions not to get up again, not even for a drink or a wee.

Thank goodness.

Okay, so on Valentines day I was a guest at a wedding and someone asked me what the hardest part of the wrting process was. Bolstered by alcohol I enthused "Oh ... None of it really ... I enjoy all of it." Oh how I lied! Or possibly I'd just forgotten.

I find the manuscript correction really hard and wearing. I'm not talking about proof corrections, when the galleys come back from the publisher: at least by that late stage there's usually been a 5-month gap in which I haven't read the book and it feels fresh. Plus the publisher has accepted it so at least you know that the work isn't a complete bag of shite. No, I don't enjoy doing proofs but I don't mind it.

I'm talking about the bit where you've written the novel and then you have to go back through and read it, every word and every punctuation mark, looking for logic problems, plot holes, typos, repeated words in a paragraph and repeated phrases from chapter to chapter. Did she lift her hands over her head when they were tied behind her back (Ouch!)? Did he have to be carrying rather more luggage in his pockets than the average Sherpa can manage to lift? Did she "squeal like a pig" every time she had sex? (Okay, I promise I didn't use that simile even once!) Its or It's? Peon or Paeon or Paean? (Yes, they all mean different things and spellchecker won't tell you if you've used the right one) Then you do it again. And again. Without a break. And all the time you're wondering whether you haven't just wasted 7 months of your life because you've no idea whether it's publishable anyway.

I read Heart of Flame through three times after finishing, and actually reached a point where all the text became so familiar that it achieved a sort of timeless singularity where all the dialogue was going on simultaneously in my head and I could no longer tell whether there was any logical progression from one part of the story to the next.

That's the point at which to stop. Just before you get to the stage where in an attempt to preserve your sanity you decide you no longer give a crap.

But it's lovely when it's over ... and you can start thinking about doing some proper writing again.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

It's Mardi Gras!

Time for all good Catholics to take off their clothes and eat pancakes. Or something.

These guys were in my Satyrs folder. I'm not sure they are satyrs but I think they look great. And I'm still going through the corrections for Heart of Flame so I need cheering up. At 11.30 last night I found a plot hole: the characters had skedaddled from a dangerous place leaving all their baggage behind - only they really really need to have something from their baggage with them three chapters further on.


Sunday, 22 February 2009

The promise of Spring

There are snowdrops in my garden ...
Oh how welcome they are, here in Land of Mud.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Victorian Kinkery

It's been ages since we've had some pervy Victorian art, hasn't it?

This picture is called The White Slave and is by Ernest Normand (1859-1923) . Swarthy Eastern potentate, naked white girl with splendid bottom ... it's the sort of thing that would make a decent upright Victorian couple secretly come over all peculiar in the art gallery... and in the case of some people rather more upright.

I've been delighted to find this website here: ArtMagick ,which is a gallery of 19th century artists and poets - some gloriously obscure - illustrating a "magic world of romance and pictured poetry". I want to live in these paintings!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Experimental e-book out now

It's the miracle of e-publishing! - I only subbed my short story Quarantine in December, and it's out already as part of the Ravenous Romance sex 'n' science anthology Experimental ... plus you can buy it as a solo publication!

My story is, I admit, a romp:

"Tessa and Lee might work together in a high security biohazard lab, but they just can't stand each other. Then a potential exposure incident means they're thrown together into a quarantine room for 23 days. Just the two of them, all alone, in a tiny claustrophobic space with no distractions. They're either going to kill each other - or have to find some other way to work off the tension ... "

This is the first time I've been purely e-published and I must admit I'm struggling slightly to come to terms with it. All I've got to show is a webpage. No hefty paperback in my hand. No addition to my ego shelf. No book to show Mr Ashbless thus justifying my sitting round all day playing Spider while he goes out to work ... This is weird! Perhaps other authors who've been e-published could help this poor Luddite out with words of wisdom...

Of course the great advantage of this format for the reader is price: the whole anthology (15 stories) is $4.99, or $1.99 for Quarantine as a standalone.

Vorsprung Durch Technik I suppose...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Eyecandy Monday

It's not smut - it's culture! The gentleman wearing the novelty bodywarmer is a famous flamenco dancer, Joaquin Cortes (now a UN cultural ambassador for the Roma people, I believe), and that picture is straight from one of his tour posters.

(I have actually watched a flamenco show - in Spain - and it certainly wasn't the worst couple of hours of my life.)

Here's Joaquin in the bare-chested, long-sweaty-hair-swinging action for which he is famous - so Come Dancing!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Lady Writer Discovers KoRn Shock Horror!

Okay, over Xmas I happened to catch some KoRn videos. I thought this Spinal Tap-esque one - Twisted Transistor - in particular highly amusing:

If you like the song (which I do, lots) here's the audio version without any of the goofing around, plus the lyrics. It's about teenaged despair I believe ... and how music and masturbation gets you through. Ah, those happy childhood years, how fondly I remember them...

Turn it up to 11!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Magic and Desire giveaway

Today's giveaway book over at Random House is Magic and Desire. 3 novellas: The House of Dust by, er, me (bdsm journey into the Sumerian Land of the Dead), Ill Met by Moonlight by Portia da Costa (contemporary romance with a fairy) and The Dragon Lord by Olivia Knight (fantasy quest with dragons). To enter the draw follow the top link in the right hand column of this blog. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Jade Writer of the Year

Did you hear that muffled Ka-boom? That was my ego exploding. And what a mess...

My editor at Black Lace tells me I've been named Writer of the Year at Jade: The International Erotic Art and Literature Magazine! Unfortunately I can't see this directly for myself because Jade is a subscription-only PDF download. But I can give you in full their review for Dark Enchantment. I couldn't actually imagine higher praise than this:

Janine Ashbless
Paperback £7.99
ISBN: 978-0-352-34513-4
Black Lace
JADE rating: 10*/10

"This is without doubt the most erotic book this reviewer has ever had the pleasure to read. The author has put together a collection of eleven short stories which push the bounds of written erotica to heady new heights, her narrative prose is quite without compare. There is not a single story here which one could describe as tame or weak and the publisher is to be congratulated for not only discovering this fine talent, but in having the courage to publish her body of work in this single volume. It is true to say that this book would have been a ‘must have’ even at twice the price. I defy any man or
woman to read this superb collection and not to find themselves stirred to the point of lubrication. How one writer can produce story after story to such a very high standard is awesome - she puts other writers to shame. There are not enough superlatives to describe how I felt about this collection; sensual, sexy, erotic, by turns both dark and exciting, enticing, breathtaking. Believe me, if you love reading great erotic literature then you simply have to add this to your collection. I just hope that Black Lace can urge the author to pen another equally fine collection soon, as nothing else now compares. The very best."

Thank you Jade! You're awesome!

Not only that but the adorable Dark Angel Reviews have just given Dark Enchantment "5 Pixies". Becky Gaede says: "The book has something for everyone" and "There is one story in here that isn’t for the faint of heart..." Can you guess which one she's talking about? Bwa-hah-ha .... The full review here.

Now I'm going back to scraping congealed ego off the wallpaper. And grinning to myself.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Eyecandy Monday

They're fighting it out for books ...

I do hope you're all entering the Random House Book Draw every day! (see right hand column) Today's free copy is my new story collection Dark Enchantment, so go sign up for a chance to win.

What else are Random House up to? Well, if you're in the UK you can win £50 off a Valentine's meal at any Strada, Bella Italia or Cafe Rouge restaurant in the draw here.

And until the 14th February you can get 30% off Black Lace etc by using VALENTINE9 at the checkout (UK delivery only, free if over £25-worth).

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Wildwood review from Lucy Felthouse

"Wildwood combines sex, the outdoors, the supernatural and British myth and legend - some of my favourite things..."

Lucy Felthouse has posted a very lovely review of Wildwood on her website. And she's added it to so I owe her at least a chunk of my soul.

(I tried posting a nice review of someone's novel to Amazon and it wouldn't let me, so I bow in awe before those more competent than I.)

Thank you Lucy!


Friday, 6 February 2009

Superheroines In RSI Peril

British Fox - saucy superhero

Do you think you, as a writer of erotic fiction, have got it bad*? Are you gritting your teeth with exasperation as you write another f/f scene and try to disambiguate "her mouth" from "her nipples" yet again? Then spare a thought for the poor overworked writers of AIF!

AIF is Adult Interactive Fiction - Adult as in naughty, and Interactive Fiction as in computerised text adventures. You know the sort of thing: the computer says "You enter a large dark room. In the room is a pedestal on which stands a mechanical device with a lot of wires. Chained to the pedestal is a naked woman. From the shadows comes a nasty growling noise." Then you are free to examine or interact with any of the described features in the room, in any order you like (and if you Examine the woman, interact with various bits of her body) and it's up to the writer to have anticipated every likely permutation and have written a coherent storyline to take you onward.

My friend Lucilla Frost, award-winning AIF writer, has sent me an e-mail bemoaning her lot:

"Of course, the problem with a Superheroines-in-peril story is, well, they're superheroines. Thank god I gave them multi-syllabic names so I can call them Jen, Jenny, Jennifer and Ellie, Eleanore. But there's still too much "she licked her pussy" - these being superheroines does this mean she has a super stretchy neck (or tongue)? or has the author just changed character again? The scene I'm grinding away at (and I don't mean grinding in a fun way :-( ) involves two characters, both women (so six slots, plus two sets of breasts), four items of furniture (a bed, a chair, a desk and a bath (which can be full, part full or empty of water)), three toys (a dildo (hurrah, we have a tab), a strap and a set of handcuffs), four positions (standing, lying, sitting, bent over), and there are two-and-a-half types of 'interaction' (lick, rub and screw) (plus since I'm writing this there is also 'spank' and 'beat').

So if I was consigned to hell and this was my task I would have to write unique sequences in which each of the characters used each of the interactions on each of the target areas in each of the possible locations (and don't forget the floor) in each of the positions with/without the handcuffs being worn. And good form would also suggest that there be a 'for the first time' 'again' and 'default'. Plus masturbation. And now I'm going to go kill myself. Except they'd probably send me to hell.

The code for Navy Fox's pussy is now over 2000 lines long (although many of these consist of a single curly bracket). It's a good thing I'm borderline obsessive."

I'm actually off to spend the weekend with Lucilla. We plan to talk about writing smut, drink a lot of gin and watch some old-time Doctor Who - The Horror of Fang Rock. Poor, poor us!

*The honest answer to that is "No, actually."

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Seduction - out this week

Two lovely bits of news today...

The first is that Seduction is published in the UK this week (in fact Thursday 5th Feb). It's the first of the new Black Lace short story anthologies (to be followed by Liaisons, Misbehaviour and The Affair, this year). No paranormal or historical I'm afraid, but a whole lot of HOT contemporary erotica from both sides of the Atlantic. Writers whose work appears include Sommer Marsden, Kristina Wright, Charlotte Stein, Rhiannon Leith and Portia Da Costa. And Seduction opens with my story Honey Trap. Here's an excerpt:

Astrid is on holiday in the Middle East with her husband. While he goes scuba-diving she goes off for a daytrip inland with Marcus, an American tourist...

There was a café out at the main entrance. By now it was the full blaze of noon and we were desperate for shade, so we went inside instead of taking an exterior table. There were a few other customers but it was so dark after the daylight glare that I could hardly see. Marcus led me right to the back of the room where the tables were unoccupied and we sat on a cushioned bench against the wall. There was an open window to my side, covered by a rattan blind, so we had a bit of a breeze without having to suffer the sunlight. A waiter came over as we were looking at the menu, and Marcus ordered a cup of coffee and a tea.

‘Excuse me!’ I protested. ‘You didn’t actually ask me!’

‘Did you want a coffee?’ he said, clearly not believing that I did. He was right too; I couldn’t cope with the thick black stuff they served in tiny cups.

‘I wanted a cold drink!’

He called out to the retreating waiter, ordering a couple of limons.

‘Hoi! You did it again!’ I didn’t know whether to laugh or be annoyed by his overweening confidence.

‘You’ll like it. They just liquidise a whole lemon with icing sugar and water – very refreshing. And I asked him to make sure it was bottled water.’

‘That’s not the point, Marcus,’ I hissed. ‘You should have asked. Female choice, remember?’

He crooked an eyebrow. ‘You’re right; choice is powerful. But surrendering the power to choose … that’s powerful too.’


‘It’s another order of power altogether.’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘I’ll show you.’ His teeth gleamed in the dimness. When he spoke again his voice was lowered. ‘Lift your skirt up.’

I stared at him, my heart beginning to thump.

‘Lift your skirt,’ he repeated, leaning in ever so slightly. ‘I want to see your thighs.’

I looked down at my legs. Sunlight shining through the little hexagonal holes in the blind lay in bright specks all over my white skirt.

‘Show me.’

The table shielded me partially from the rest of the restaurant. I put my hands on the fabric and began to gather it slowly, revealing my knees. Why not? I asked myself. They were knees, that was all.

‘Good. Now, all the way.’

Very slowly I pulled the skirt right up, almost to my crotch. I wasn’t showing him anything he couldn’t see on a poolside, I reasoned, but it wasn’t the reasoning part of my mind that was in charge. The light-spots on my pale thighs were blinding white.

‘Very good. Well done.’ His voice sounded thicker. ‘Now, do you feel that?’

I felt something all right: my knickers were full of heat and wetness, my clit was pulsing, and my entire lower body felt heavy and swollen. Marcus put out a hand very carefully and stroked his fingertips up my thigh. I bit my lip.

‘You don’t believe this is powerful? See what you’ve done to me.’

Very tentatively, not looking at him and trying not to move my upper arm in an incriminating manner, I stretched my fingers out to touch the fabric of his trousers. I found it tented. A foray discovered the thick ridge of his erection, as hard as bone, straining up against the cloth. Staring across the room with my mouth dry and my panties awash, I felt dizzy and disassociated, helpless under the tide of my arousal.

Buy at Amazon UK : Pre-order at Amazon US

The second piece of news is that Random House (our parent company) is giving away a different Black Lace book EVERY DAY UNTIL VALENTINE'S DAY! Today's book is Enchanted, the paranormal novella collection featuring my werebear story Bear Skin (and The Three Riddles by Olivia Knight), and to be in with a chance of winning you just need to enter your details here. There'll be a different erotic book tomorrow, so make sure you enter every day.

Good luck!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Eyecandy Monday: Mitchell the vampire

I know: I've said over and over that vampires really don't do that much for me. I don't like vampires. I don't like vampires. But ye gods and little fishes I DO LIKE this vampire!!! Bite me! Bite me please!

This is Mitchell (described by one bitter character as "your friend. You know: the one with the face."), played by Aidan Turner. He's Irish. He's trying to give up the whole killing people thing. He appears in the new BBC3 series Being Human, which is about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living together in a house in Bristol. I know that sounds like a really bad Rentaghost-style sitcom, but although it's wittily and sharply written it's also pretty dark with a fair amount of blood, the deaths of innocents, and a nasty vampire conspiracy to take over the world.

Here's a look at Mitchell's character in action:

What a shame the series is languishing almost unseen on BBC3 when drek like Demons gets plastered all over primetime terrestial. There is no justice.

But if you go to the official Being Human website here, not only can you find out more but you can also watch all the aired episodes on your PC. Hoorah for public service broadcasting!

EcataRomance review - Dark Enchantment

Time for the Happy Dance -

EcataRomance have published a short but incredibly sweet 5 star review of my short story collection Dark Enchantment! 5 stars is a "very rare, extraordinary read".

Their reviewer says: Savor her story gems one at a time or devour the entire collection at one sitting but make sure you have someone close by to help put out the flames.

Read the whole thing over at their Sensual website.

Thank you EcataRomance!