Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween horror

The dolls of Monster High were my inspiration:

like "Bratz" but for goths

So this was my Hallowe'en costume:

you can't see them, but those heels are ridiculous

complete with false eyelashes!
Yes, I went to a party dressed as a Teenaged Mummy ... ;-)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Is that daylight?

Hallowe'en party last night, surrounded by lovely ab-normal people and very happy about it too! Don't be normal, guys. Be you.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Guest Post: Cougar's Courage

Did I ever tell you I did a couple of years Shamanic Training? That might be a post for another time ... but it makes me extra pleased to have longtime fellow smutwriter (and fellow Samhain author)  Teresa Noelle Roberts on my blog today, talking about her upcoming novel release. Take it from here, Teresa!


"Logic says wait. Their bodies scream go. And their spirit guides are playing dirty."

Thanks for letting me visit your blog, Janine. I’m here to celebrate the upcoming release of my paranormal erotic romance Cougar’s Courage, the next installment of the Duals and Donovans: the Different series. (It’s book 3, though there are four Duals and Donovans titles out counting this one. Fox’s Folly takes place several years before the numbered books in the series. Don’t worry, it confuses me too!) Duals are shapeshifters, persecuted in the US for their abilities. Donovans are a powerful witch clan. But while Donovans are important secondary characters in this book, the book focuses on another flavor of magic-users: shamans. And unlike witches, shamans don’t have to be human…
Blurb: Toronto cop Cara Many-Winters Mackenzie is still reeling from her fiancé’s murder when her orderly life takes a turn toward the weird, complete with voices in her head and phantom bleeding wounds.
This violent awakening is the rise of her Different gift—a chaotic, Bugs-Bunny-on-crack magic that she must learn to control before it destroys her. There’s only one place to get help: her mother’s ancestral village, and a mentor who seems to have stepped straight out of the smoke of her erotic dreams.
Cougar Dual Jack Long-Claw reluctantly agrees to take Cara under his wing, though he’d much rather take the beautiful city girl into his bed. As he guides her through a crash course in shamanic magic, sparks fly—some sexy, some snarky. But when an ancient enemy attacks the village, they must work together to hone a magical weapon against certain destruction.
Common sense tells them it’s a terrible time to fall in love. Their spirit guides have other ideas. And shamans who don’t listen to their spirit guides are dead shamans…
Warning: Hot shape-shifting feline hero. Strong but shell-shocked heroine. Snarky, meddling spirit guides. And lots and lots of sex: angry sex, crazy sex, magical sex, and just plain sexy sex.
Excerpt: This sexy bit falls shortly after Jack, Cara, and another shapeshifting shaman fought off mysterious creatures that turned out to be loups-garous: sorcerers possessing wolves through a particularly nasty form of magic. Jack and Cara are both in shock.

Jack had dropped the blanket when he bolted for the door. Technically, he was dressed—at least, all the most interesting bits were covered—but the shredded jeans and exploded shirt exposed a lot of velvety bronze skin and sculpted muscle.

Cara tried to look away.

He gently but firmly pushed her face back toward him. “If you want to stare, stare. Lesson number two: denying harmless impulses makes good chaos turn bad.”

“The trick is figuring out which impulses are harmless.”

His hand was burning her face. She’d have a print of Jack’s hand on her jaw before long, from the heat of his touch.

She moved his hand away with her own, the one where she still wore her engagement ring. She tried to focus on the ring. Phil had been dead less than six months. Her body might be ready to jump into something, but it was too soon. Wasn’t it?

The contact surged through her like a jolt of electricity—a cliché, but it seemed appropriate. Every cell in Cara’s body went on alert. She heard distant music. Not angels singing, more like the bom-chicka-bom-bom soundtrack of a vintage porn movie, but it fit the erotic promise in that simple touch that, she suspected, hadn’t been intended to convey more than generic, instinctive flirting.

Moisture gushed between her legs. Her nipples perked painfully.

Her willpower and morals were out drinking whisky until their panties melted, and the pale memory of a dead man looked at the big, handsome, vividly alive man in her company and decided to join willpower and morals at the bar.

“Oh Powers,” Jack whispered, no trace of teasing in his voice now. “Did you feel that too?”

Before she could answer—before she could deny what she certainly shouldn’t be feeling, manage a last-ditch effort not to do something dumb—they were kissing.

Cara was doomed.

No, she’d been doomed even before he wrapped his arms around her, guided her to her feet and pulled her against him with a groan. Doomed before she got a good noseful of his scent, pine and fresh air, wood smoke and, despite being in wordy form, fur. Doomed before his mouth took hers, nothing polite or tender or gentle about it, but sheer, wanton need.

Doomed from the instant she woke to see him sitting next to her bed, looking like where he really belonged was in it. Doomed as soon as she’d laid eyes on him along the road. Doomed perhaps, as soon as she’d had that first erotic dream.

It wasn’t right, she dimly knew, to blame fate or magic or anything other than her own weakness and Jack’s impulsive behavior. His hands gripped her ass, cocking her hips forward so her heated sex pressed against his rock-hard thigh, while his lips and tongue and even his teeth did things to her mouth that sapped her common sense. The surprising heat of his body embraced her so she felt like she wore his aura of feline and magic. Her body, and perhaps their magic, made the choice for her.

Maybe for him too, because Jack, big, beautiful, arrogant Jack, was trembling against her like a teenage boy in the heat of his first time. His hands shook as they worked their way under her layers of clothing. They were cold on her skin, but only for a second. Then they turned hot, as if leaving trails of fire behind them as they journeyed up her body.

Cougar’s Courage will be released on October 29, but you can pre-order from all your favorite e-book vendors. And you know authors love it when you pre-order!  NB: New readers can start anywhere in the series. The main characters of Lions' Pride play important roles in the story, but my editor made sure the backstory would make sense to new readers.

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Kobo (we’re all a bit annoyed with them but Kobo owners need books too) / Barnes & Noble (Nook) / Samhain


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Incorruptible virginity

Warning: this post is creepy and a bit tragic. 'Tis the season to be ghoulish, after all.

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know I have a perverse fondness for mummies, and particularly for tracking down the corpses of "incorrupt" saints in Catholic churches across Europe.

Pictures here is the body of Blessed Imelda Lambertini, patron of First Communicants, who died in 1333 and was beatified in 1826. Her body is on display in San Sigismondo in Bologna, a church which almost never seems to be open, so I was pretty lucky to have the chance for this picture last year.

Her story is actually rather awful. A pious child from a very early age, she became obsessed with becoming a nun and her great goal in life was to be allowed to take Holy Communion - she'd been told that there was no greater ecstasy on this earth than receiving the very Body of Christ into oneself. "Tell me," she'd ask, "can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?"

Because she was too young to be allowed to partake, she could only watch, "weeping bitterly". Take it away, hagiographers:

"This great and deep love for the Blessed Sacrament caused Imelda to burn with desire to be united to her Eucharistic Lord. When others knelt before the altar to receive Holy Communion, tears filled her eyes and rolled slowly down her cheeks. “When, oh when will He come also to me?" she murmured. The nuns knew of this longing in her heart. They knew, too, her purity and piety. Yet in that country, First Communion was only for those fourteen years or older, and they could do nothing to help Imelda. They encouraged her to persevere in her love and to pray while she waited. The little girl tried to bear the pain this caused her. At holy Mass, she thought of the sufferings of Jesus, and begged Him to help her to carry this heavy cross of being kept away from Him.
To some, it may have seemed that Jesus was ignoring the pleadings of this tender loving soul but, in reality, He was merely purifying her love and her soul by these sufferings which He permitted her to endure. God only sends us crosses if we can benefit by them; if we don’t waste them. By patiently offering up her sufferings to Our Lord and humbly accepting His Holy will, she was meriting a higher place forever in Heaven and therefore a tremendous increase in her eternal beatitude.
And in reality, Imelda’s heart was not the only one that burned, with ever increasing intensity, for union. As her soul became more increasingly beautiful to God, His Own desire to be one thing with her became increasingly more difficult to restrain. Finally, He could wait no longer."

Ewwwwwwwwwwww... It's like a horrible religious version of Lolita.

So what happened was that in May 1333 little 11-year old Imelda was watching all the nuns at Mass, and in an overwrought state as usual, when there appeared around her a light and a vision of the Host descending toward her. The priest felt compelled to give her Holy Communion at last and the girl was so ecstatic that she dropped dead on the spot.

I remember what it was like being eleven, with all its hormonal highs and frustrations, and consider myself to have got off lightly. See: you can die of sexual excitement.

Her face is, btw, clearly and obviously a wax mask, not flesh at all. Bologna has a long and famous tradition of anatomical wax modelling. Contrast this with St Catherine of Bologna (died 1463, I've seen her several timnes but haven't been able get a pic of my own) : she's a dried, smoke-blackened mummy.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Eyecandy Monday

Oh boy, I am doing so much travelling this autumn ... up and down, in and out ... off to the World Fantasy Convention and several LARP weekends, and dragging my parents in my wake (but not to any of the above). My calendar has gone completely crazy. I'm not even going to start on what I had to do last weekend, just to touch base with everyone I'd promised to be there for...

If I'm looked glazed and confused, please cut me some slack!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Friday, 18 October 2013

Culture vulture

In the name of Culture, I bring you this mystery ex-cathedral gargoyle. Possibly a griffin. Possibly a demon. I'm pretty sure it's shagging the naked guy, though.

If I ever self-publish, I'm thinking of using this for the cover pic. There are no Naughty Bits in sight, so Amazon has to allow it :-)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Blurred Lines

My newest (waiting for publication) collection of short stories, Wild Enchantments, has undergone a name-change. It's also had the table-of-contents changed, because I dropped one story and substituted another.

I wrote The Sorcerer's Apprentice because I fancied doing something from the point of view of character I didn't like. I wanted to write a narrator possessed of a swathe of attitudes that I do not personally share, just for the fun and the challenge of it. I wanted to make him horrible, and at the end of the story I would turn the tables on him and smirk as he went down in flames. This is really common in the horror genre ... not so much in erotica. I've done it before (say, The Temptation of St Gregory in my first collection), but this time I wanted to push it bit further.

Possibly too far.

I think The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a hot, dirty story. But I felt less than 100% proud of it on, for want of a better phrase, an ethical level. Sure, it's supposed to be ironic. But I don't want to turn into Robin "I've always respected women" Thicke.

So I took it out and wrote another story which fits the same themes (Male-dominant BDSM) without being quite so negative.

Maybe I'm getting old. *sigh*

Anyway, here's an excerpt to show y'all how it opens. To be clear (and these aren't spoilers): the narrator is not meant to sympathetic and the girl in the cage is a sex demon in disguise, not a human being at all, and is completely happy with everything done to her. This story will probably not see the light unless someone puts out a call for revenge-fantasy erotica or something.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Mr Deverick kept a woman in the guest suite. In a cage.

Heh. I felt a bit weird about that, the first time I saw her. The mirrored wall slid back and behind it was a dark, windowless room. As Deverick stepped over the threshold the lights came on, and there were the bars beyond him, running floor-to-ceiling. The room was featureless except for the cage, and the cage was empty except for the girl. She was kneeling on the bare floor in a kowtowing position, her face to the hardwood inlay, her long blonde hair fallen over her hands. I could see a lot of bare skin, the colour of clover honey.
The room smelled faintly of pussy.

I thought: Fuck, is this a test? He hadn’t warned me. And I’m pretty sure some of the bugshit-crazy stuff he gets me to do is just to test me out.

This made me nervous, and I couldn’t help making a snorting noise. Like a laugh, only not really, because this wasn’t funny or anything. It was a bit creepy.

But the noise made her raise her head and sit back, and then it became creepy and hot—both at the same time. She was wearing a little pair of baby-pink panties and a T-shirt in the same colour, except that the shirt had been hacked off way too short, covering her nipples but showing a whole load of under-boob. She had big tits, see. And the bit about covering her nips wasn’t even true either, because the room was cold and I could see them poking through the thin cloth like light switches. Those trashy clothes made her look more fuckable than if she’d been naked, I swear. And as her eyes lit on Deverick in front of her, her expression went from sad and pouty to a hopeful little smile, all eager to please.

My cock did 0-60 in less time than it took my hand to reach up and pull nervously at my tie.

‘What’s on your mind, Dylan?’ my employer asked me. ‘Something funny?’

I cleared my throat, knowing that if he glanced in the vicinity of my crotch he wouldn’t have to ask. That girl was just prime T&A. Big tits, teeny little waist, wide hips flaring out below. Hair long and blonde and sleek, streaked with ashy highlights. Big wide don’t-hurt-me-daddy eyes that looked green even from this distance. And a mouth like …

I told my inner art critic to shut the hell up. ‘I was just wondering if they’re real, Mr Deverick,’ I said, trying to sound all cool, and totally failing. ‘Her tits, like.’

He lifted an eyebrow. Flicking a finger at the girl he spoke a few words in a language I didn’t recognise, and though he didn’t raise his voice it was clearly an instruction of some sort. Moving with a dancer’s grace she rose to her feet and came forward to the bars, allowing me to add Incredible Long Legs to my inventory of her assets.

The steel struts were placed far enough apart to allow an arm through—or, it turned out, a breast. She pulled up her T-shirt (WH-ZANGG!! went my heart, or at least my cock) and thrust herself forward so that a bar was nestled right in the valley of her cleavage, and her award-winning golden globes stuck through on either side. Her nipples stared at me.

‘Have a feel,’ said Deverick with a polite gesture.

Say what you like about my boss—and people do say some nasty shit about him, though only when they think he’s out of earshot—Michael Deverick knows a thing or two about perks for loyal employees. Some days, when he has so many women scrabbling all over him that even he doesn’t want them all, he lobs one to me. Today’s particular perks were … perky, to the max. In fact it was hard to believe that tits so majestic hadn’t been sculpted by some surgeon: heavy but without the slightest hint of droop, perfectly balanced, with provocative rosy nipples.

I moved in close. The girl looked up at me through her long lashes, either bashful or plain old nervous, and glanced at Deverick as if for reassurance. At the periphery of my vision I saw him nod.

She smelled like sex in a rose garden.

I cupped those boobies with a feeling of genuine awe. In this cool room, she positively radiated heat. I squeezed slowly, questing—in vain—for the over-firm bulge of silicon implants. I pressed them together round the bar and thumbed her nipples and rubbed her skin. I pulled and twisted and bounced those fabulous beach-balls, and to my surprise I felt her respond: a flush crept up her throat and her eyes darkened as her pupils dilated. Then she moaned, very softly: perhaps too softly for Mr Deverick to hear. It was like a secret between us.

My cock was like a fucking totem pole by this point. You could have held a war dance around it.

‘What do you think?’ he asked me. ‘Are they real, then?’ I could hear the smile in his voice.

‘Oh yeah.’ I gave her nips another tug and saw her eyelids flutter. I knew I should stop, having done the task requested of me, but my hands had a will of their own and my hard-on was voting with them. ‘They’re real alright. Is she Russian? I mean, I know you’ve got a line in luxury imports…’

He laughed softly. ‘No, not Russian.’

‘That language?’

‘Enochian,’ he said, and as I turned to look at him he winked.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Eyecandy Monday

It's definitely autumn. Time for a spot of Fall SAD ... and also to hew great swathes of hedge, since I ordered an extra garden-waste-bin from my council and now have only 2 days to fill the thing.

Autumn has its compensations...

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Game of ... oh dear god no.

With the inevitability of the sun rising, there is going to be a porn parody of Game of Thrones.

Game of Bones: winter is cumming. 
(link is to io9, and SFW)

The major differences seem to be:
  1. less incest (you're not allowed to do that in porn), 
  2. less blood (ditto), 

I'd probably be in the target audience demographic, if I hadn't seen this picture of James Deen as Jon Snow.


I have a headache.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Have I made a terrible mistake?

This is an excerpt from a 2-star review for Red Grow the Roses on
"It hurts me to say I didn't care for this book. At all.
I have read a couple of this author's other books [Heart of Flame, The King's Viper ] and REALLY LOVED them, but so much of this just wasn't for me. I like erotica, but I'm just not into shame, and rape, and whatever like that. I like sexy sex between two people who WANT it with each other. Sadly, that is only present here a small portion of the time. So the rest just made my skin crawl."

Ouch. Poor reader. I mean it - what a disappointment for her! - and I'm not in the business of trying to disappoint my readers.

Actually, I feel this is my fault entirely. The reader has started with two of my American publications - for Samhain and for Ellora's Cave - and she's really enjoyed them (AND written enthusiastic reviews online, which makes me feel worse). Coincidentally, they're the two novels I've written which are not straightforward erotica. They've got plenty of sex in them, oh sure, but the focus is on the growing love relationships, so they're technically romance despite the copious bloodshed and anal sex, and both have Happy Ever After endings.

Then the poor reader has (Yay!) tried one of my other books. And she's found out that my other novels just aren't genre romance. There is a HFN ending for trying-to-be-good-guys Reynauld and Amanda in Red Grow the Roses, I suppose ... but only after they've been horribly morally compromised and it's been made clear that they're inevitably going to get worse. We're talking about vampires here, guys.

So, the thing is ... should I have written the more optimistic and romantic stuff on my spectrum under a different name? Is it fair to lure innocent romance fans into the murkier depths of my erotic imagination?

Certainly other authors have made this distinction. KD Grace writes her genre romance as "Grace Marshall". Kay Jaybee is branching out into the sweet stuff as "Jenny Kane".

Should I have done the same?  Should I have had a "Janet Ashey" pseudonym?

And yet ... where do I draw the line between erotica and romance? I write what appeals to me at the time, and sometimes it's heavy on the emotion and sometimes it's heavy on the kink, and sometimes it's heavy on both. If anything, my romance is more likely to be angsty and doom-laden than my erotica. Wildwood has a blossoming romance relationship, but I'd definitely call it erotica. I'd put The King's Viper in sort of the same category, even though it's a lot more monogamous and the heroine's a virgin. Argh, does virginity change everything?

I'm all torn and confused!

Future publication Cover Him With Darkness is intended to be a non-erotica trilogy, by the way. It has kinky sex and domination, but it's all about the characters and how they relate (and  how they are trying not to get killed by each other). I may be getting deeper into the mire of confusion here.

I have to be philosophical about this, I guess. I tell myself:
1) It's too late now.
2) At least she didn't pick up Named and Shamed...

And BTW, at the World Fantasy Convention this year, I'm going to be on a panel that discusses precisely this topic.
SUN 11:00 am–Noon
By Any Other Name: What Makes an Author Change Their Byline?
These days even J.K. Rowling is doing it with a pseudonymous crime novel! Is it always a good idea when an author publishes their work under a different name? Is this solely a creative or marketing decision, or are there other reasons—and repercussions—when writers allow their work to appear under an alias?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Carpe Theos

This 3rd Century BCE bas-relief is in the Benedictine convent in Trogir, Croatia, looked after by the sweetest nun ever.

Let me introduce you to a Greek god you've probably never heard of: Kairos.
He's young, he's sexy, he's always naked ... and you've got to grab him.

Kairos is one of the personifications of Time. Linear, ordinary, inescapable, time is Chronos, depicted as an old, bearded man. Kairos is the opportune moment, the perfect chance. He is the god of "Carpe Diem." He runs in, intersecting with linear time, and runs out again. He has long hair at the front, because you have to seize him as you see him approach. He's bald at the the back though - because once he's passed you by he can't be grabbed. He is beautiful because beauty, like opportunity, is fleeting and must be taken advantage of without delay.

Kairos is the time that comedians and musicians know intimately:  the exact right moment to act.  He is the god at the heart of all drama and fictional action, as he is the defining moment in which everything can change. He is time as Right Now.

- Who are you?
- Kairos. I surmount everything.
- Why do you walk on tiptoe?
- I am always in a hurry.
- And the wings on your feet?

- I am quicker than the wind.
- Why do you clench the razor in your right hand? 

- To tell people I am sharper than the tip of the knife.
- Why does the tuft of hair fall on your forehead?

- Everybody who comes in front of me should grasp it.
- Why are you bald in the back?

- Who I overfly can never catch me again, no matter how he longs for it.
- Why did the artist create you?
- To remind people, stranger!
   Because of that I am a moral to everybody in this hall.
( Posidippos, 3rd Century BCE)

Sieze the day!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Eyecandy Monday

I'm back ... with a new obsession.
It's denim cut-off shorts.

 In particular it's denim short shorts, where the bum cheeks peek out below the fabric.

While away, I received an evening masterclass in short-spotting that will scar my innocent brain forever.

 Thanks, guys :-)

 No, I mean it: thanks! This has to be the basis for a story any day now...