Wednesday, 31 July 2013

This is what happens when you have Troll Sex in public

Earlier this year I read out the Troll Sex scene from Named and Shamed to an appreciative and giggly audience at Eroticon. The result? John D bought the book and has posted a wonderful 5-star review online.

He says:
"I found it easy to empathise with the lead character, Tansy, and just adored her personality; she is no bland slut, merely providing a vessel for sex, but a person with a rich, colourful personality. I loved her and bought into her quest, and enjoyed every lustful experience she embraced with wild abandon."

"One day I want to be able to write a book as good, as erotic and as engrossing, as Named and Shamed."

Full review here

To be honest there are days I wonder why I don't just submit to the marketing gurus and write the same old Fifty-Shades-alike novels as every other writer - they sell like hot cakes, they are given shelfspace in supermarkets and feature in newspaper articles. They are successful and mainstream. Why do I bother writing something that's different? Something that has its own plot, and its own voice? Something not every reader will get?

And then people like John D remind me. And it's all worthwhile again.
Thank you.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Eyecandy Monday


Have I posted this picture before on an Eyecandy Monday? I know it's from a post Jo did...

I'm coming to realise that my memory is going. It's clearly filled up with too much writing stuff and basically whenever anything new from real life is shovelled in on top, it has a 75% chance of falling straight off again. Mr Ashbless is slowly coming to terms with the fact that just because he tells me something, it doesn't mean I'm hearing it. My mind is elsewhere. Off with the angels.

Life would be a lot more memorable if it followed fictional rules. Like if, every significant piece of information was flagged up by meaningful looks and dramatic weather. Or if there was, you know, less padding and repetition and redundant incident.

Oh, what the hell. The pic's worth seeing again, I reckon.
And as long as I can still write and follow the plot-arcs in Game of Thrones (I'm just fine with that sort of thing!), I don't really care that much.

Sunday, 28 July 2013


I'm probably going to finish my novel "Cover him With Darkness" today.
I've certainly run out of space on my wordcount.
I'm editing, tweaking, changing one crucial word here and there...

I may be doing this "churning out genre-books at a rate of knots" thing wrong.

Friday, 26 July 2013


I spent a few days in Montenegro earlier this month - researching the setting for "Cover Him With Darkness" of course - not on holiday or anything. Honest!

On the walls of the Old Town of Budva
"Where is Montenegro?" Well, you're not the only one to ask. My bank, when I rang them up beforehand, couldn't find it on their list of European countries. But I swear, go to Italy and head east, and after you've had a little swim in the Adriatic there it is: south of Croatia, and only about the size of Wales (or Connecticut, if you prefer). It's one of the nations of the Former Yugoslavia, but luckily escaped much of the horror of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

The walls of Kotor old town, and the shortest river in the country - 300m from source to sea.
 But it was famous at one point - I have a book by a British woman traveller published 1904 which says "The road out from Cattaro [Kotor] has been so often written of that it is idle to describe it once again, nor can any words do it justice."

25 switchbacks, and took 3 hours to ascend in a horse-drawn carriage. That's why.
Here's the view I took from the top:

Montenegro ("Black Mountain") is, well, mostly mountain. And a strip of Mediterranean coast. It's beautiful. It has the southernmost fjord in Europe (the Gulf of Kotor) and the tallest men, on average, in the continent (and boy are they proud of that! - the local tour guides couldn't wait to reel off the heights of their historical heroes and current politicians).

Once you get away from the coast, the landscape is Alpine.

The "city" of Zabljak (pop.1937)

And in the high mountains, incredibly bleak:

This is where CHWD starts out! Yeeeeeees!

It's overwhelmingly an Orthodox Christian country so I went in as many churches as I could (RESEARCH!!). I did get to see the Right Hand of St John the Baptist, but sorry no photo.

"You're from England?" said the priest. "Where's that? Somewhere near Ireland, right?" Snrrrrk.

The cliff-face monastery of St Vasilija (Basil) at Ostrog:

The mummified body of the Blessed Ozana: visionary, shepherdess and defeater of the Ottoman Navy:

I got permission. Never piss off any saint who looks like she could get up and eat your brains.

Of course the research wasn't all dry and ecclesiastical. I delved deep into the traditions of Montenegrin cuisine too:

And picked up this local guy who hung out with me for a couple of days...

So don't feel too sorry for me guys. It's a tough life being a writer, but I'm up to the challenges :-)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Impossible Spaces

Rarely do I talk about my Other Writing on this blog ... but I very much want to give a shoutout to Impossible Spaces, edited by Hannah Kate and published by Hic Dragones. It's a brand-new anthology of dark fantasy stories themed around looking-glass worlds and dimensions that can't really exist but intrude nonetheless into our reality - just the sort of meta-Lovecraftian theme that gives me the delicious horrors.

"Sometimes the rules can change. Sometimes things aren’t how they appear. Sometimes you can just slip through the cracks and end up… somewhere else. What else is there? Is there somewhere else, right beside you, if you could only reach out and touch it? Or is it waiting to reach out and touch you?
Don’t trust what you see. Don’t trust what you hear. Don’t trust what you remember. It isn’t what you think.
A new collection of twenty-one dark, unsettling and weird short stories that explore the spaces at the edge of possibility."

Plus, Hic Dragones are a pleasure to work for. They are based in the UK and are a creative writing and literature team who come up with workshops, conferences and (hopefully soon) murder-mystery games as well as publishing books.

Twenty-one stories make up this chunky collection, including one by British horror stalwart Ramsey Campbell, and one by ME! Except that I'm writing under my other name ... and there's no sex in my nasty urban horror tale, for which everyone ought to be grateful ...

You can buy the book in either paperback or Kindle/mobi/epub format, and amuse yourselves trying to identify me from my writing style alone.

Oooh - it's a CLUE!

Or you could cheat and read the author bios, I suppose ...

Buy links here (including Amazon)

Monday, 22 July 2013

Eyecandy Monday

Yes, I'm back from my travels!  I drove in gone midnight last night, hallucinating from sleepiness. Not smart, I know.

Hoorah: I didn't kill my parents during the trip, either accidentally (though I came alarmingly close at one point) or on purpose :-)
The house is still standing - and so is the blog :-)
I met some old friends I haven't seen in years :-)
I have a load of photos of Furrin' Climes to share :-)

Holiday weight gain: 8lbs

Fitness Plan: write

Monday, 1 July 2013

Eyecandy Monday

I'm taking a break from this blog for a couple of weeks. Some intensive research coming up ;-)

There is a possibility the blog won't be here next time I sign on. Apparently many people (though NOT me) have received notice from Blogger that adult-rated blogs with monetized links (and ONLY adult-rated blogs, which is pure discrimination) will be deleted from this month. Now, my blog isn't monetized ... in my opinion. I don't carry third-party adverts to any sites, sexually-themed or otherwise. I don't do reviews for money or freebies. I'm not even an Amazon associate. But the definition of "monetized" is vague - if I say "Look, my books are on sale at Sainsbury's!" or  "I've got a hot excerpt up on the Sh! site"- is that advertising? What about links to my books on publishers' sites and booksellers?

We are pawns in the hands of commercial bodies with their own agendas.

So, if this turns out to be my last post, thank you for reading, guys :-)
If it isn't ... then I'll be back mid-July. With photos :-)