The author hot seat specials are designed to help readers get to know both popular, and up and coming authors, a little better. The questions are broken into sections - About your writing, about you, fun stuff and finally. Some of the questions are easy, other may need a little more thought and some may cause our author friends to hesitate before answering—still, they all answer.
Today we welcome Janine Ashbless to the hot seat as she talks about her new release, Fierce Enchantments. So let's get started.
Welcome Janine, please tell us about your latest book. What was your inspiration for writing it, is it part of an ongoing series, the characters, the genre etc?
Fierce Enchantments (published by Sweetmeats Press) is my third volume of erotic short stories, following on from Cruel Enchantment (2000) and Dark Enchantment (20009). Ten deliciously dirty yet literate tales, all fantasy of one sort or another - fairy tale, historical, zombie apocalypse, mythological, even SF. Most, but not all, are pretty dark and there are a lot of BDSM elements.
About your writing:
How many books have you written during your career so far and which is your favorite?
I’ve had three volumes of short stories and eight novels out in paperback so far, along with loads of short stories. I love them all – it’s very hard to pick. My latest is always my favorite, which is a healthy way of looking at it, I guess!
Have any of your books received negative reviews and how did you handle the situation?
All books receive negative reviews from someone. I’ve had a few reviews of my erotica saying I’m too filthy and even sick in the head. My response is to laugh and post the worst rants online as badges of honor – it’s way better than being considered bland and just the same as every other writer.
Do you believe in writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?
I don’t believe in writers’ block. I believe in writer’s procrastination.
What is the one genre you would never write and why?
Chick-lit. It bores the ever-living crap out of me. But that’s okay – we all like different things and that’s just fine.
Have you ever written a book that you’ve regretted publishing and why?
I sometimes wish The King’s Viper had been longer. I deliberately wrote it as a tight and focused novella … but I think I could have taken it further if I’d put my mind to it, and it has one of my favorite heroes.
If a reader said they wanted to write a book, what advice would you give them?
“So what’s stopping you? If you want to write, do it. Don’t waste time asking for advice.”
Tell us what a typical day in your life is like?
In theory I write full time, working from home. On an ideal day I’ll get up and make a cup of tea, write for a couple of hours in bed, get dressed, walk the dogs, do Facebook/blog/e-mail things, write some more in the evening. How I long for days when that actually happens…
What sort of things put you in a bad mood?
Anything going wrong with my computer will send me into a frothing panic – I feel so out of control when it comes to computers and web stuff. They are some weird form of tech-magick.
Do you have a bucket list and what’s one thing you still want to do that you haven’t done?
I do have a bucket list. I’d love to go to Burning Man!
What makes you laugh?
“Q.I.” Do you get that in the States?
What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not telling you!
Do you like to read and what are you reading at the moment?
I like to read travel books in particular, but don’t have much time to do it. I’m currently reading “Collapse: how societies choose to fail or survive” by Jared Diamond. It’s brilliant but unnerving.
If you couldn’t write anymore, what would you do instead?
That’s not a question I want to contemplate. One of the things writing does for me is hold off my natural tendency to depression. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive without writing.
If you could go out with one famous person who would it be and why?
Gerard Butler, for a torrid one-night-stand. He looks like he could cope.
Do you have a habit that drives your partner/friends/family nuts and what is it?
I don’t dare ask, but …. I can never find my glasses when it’s time to leave the house. That must be pretty aggravating.
In your opinion, what makes a person attractive?
Intelligence. Long hair and a bit of a beard too, if it’s a man.
What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
I’ve been to Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant for lunch, and ALL of the food there was magically strange – I remember the bright green snail porridge. And a cup of tea that was cold on one side of my mouth and hot on the other!
Would you rather have a classic 1969 convertible Mustang or have the use of a beach side condo any time you want?
Oh, the condo, easy. I’ve no interest in cars.
Would you rather survive an apocalyptic event (yes, even a zombie apocalypse) or die instantly without knowing what happened to your family and friends?
Wow. Interesting question! My willingness to survival an apocalypse depends entirely on the survival of my loved ones, I believe. I don’t think I’m motivated enough to opt for survival on my own. Yep, I’ll pick a quick death.
Thanks for being here and answering the hot seat questions, Janine. Now let's have a look at Fierce Enchantments.
Blurb for “Fierce Enchantments”
Inside the covers of this, Janine Ashbless’ third collection of erotic short stories, you will find delight and terror and lust - and perhaps even unexpected tenderness.
The wayward daughter of Shakespeare’s sorcerer Prospero; a runaway slave who becomes king only for as long as he can stay awake; a servant girl whose three dead lovers return for one last tryst; vampire-hunters haunted to the point of madness by what they have been through; warriors in a desperate future war for the survival of humankind – and one very dangerous frog prince – all appear in this collection of erotic stories that will take you to the edge and then pull you over into the glittering darkness beyond.
Weaving worlds of fantasy, Janine Ashbless draws from fairy stories, history, myth and the darkest depths of her imagination to bring you tales of passion and desire that will enchant, shock and dazzle you.
Excerpt from “Fierce Enchantments”
(from the story A Man’s Best Friend)
“Rest with our ancestors, husband, and be at peace,” she whispered, setting the blue pot among the others. Xhai stood and moved away, giving her space to pray. He looked out across the darkening landscape and the blue gloaming. Early stars were emerging in the west. The evening was still, no breeze stirring the grass. He could feel his heartbeat, thudding in his chest.
When Tsulin had finished, he helped her replace the grave slab. Her face was pale in the shadows, but he had heard no weeping. They walked away a little.
“I didn’t know you’d had children,” he said softly.
She ran her hand across her head. “They were both born too early, and only half-made. One the second year, one the next, and then the soldiers came and took him away for the Emperor, so I never had a chance to give him another.” Her voice sounded hoarse. “I must have spoken to a widow-woman when I was small, my mother says, and been stricken barren. Now I have passed the widow’s curse on, to my children. To my husband, who is dead of it.”
The weight in his chest was jagged now. “No!” he protested. “You did not kill him; war took him. It is an insatiable thing. I have seen a thousand thousand men dead upon the battlefield—do you think your little curse did that?” He wanted to grab her and shake her. He wanted to seize her face and kiss it. “You did not curse him. Liwan spoke of you often, and always with love. He longed to return to you. You were a joy to him.”
Tsulin turned to him in the blue dusk. He could hear her breath, fast and shallow. She laid a hand on his breast and his heart crashed against it. She tangled the fingers of her other hand in the still-damp ends of his long hair. He clasped her around the waist, before he could think about it, and she pressed against him, panting. His blood was roaring in his veins, and he was filled with both delight and the terror of teetering upon the edge of doing her a terrible wrong. The scent of her hair filled his head, driving out thought. Her body was pliant under his hands and he couldn’t tell if he was pushing her away or pulling her to him.
Then she reached down and grabbed his cock through his trousers, and his whole world fell apart. He didn’t need to see clearly to clasp her face and lift it, covering her lips with his kiss. She moaned into his mouth, her open palm writhing across the hardness of his shaft, and he staggered, pushing her back across the grass. Both her hands were suddenly at the drawstring of his trousers, pulling frantically, as he kissed her and kissed her and the breathless dusk whirled around them.
It was only when she bared him that he really believed it. Only then that he knew what he was doing. He laid her down in the long grass and yanked open her jacket to reveal those luscious breasts, soft as peaches. The scent of her skin was intoxicating; the ripe swell of her flesh beneath his mouth and the stiff pucker of her nipples drove him out of his senses. He sucked upon her even as his hands tore at her trousers, jerking them down over narrow hips, pulling off one of her boots and hurling it away in his haste to open her legs.
He found her sex, moist and open and soft. There was no question of finesse. Her hands scrabbled at his cock and balls, pulling him to her, squeezing his shaft like it was a spear and she was ready to kill someone with it. So he stabbed her to the core and felt her gasp and heave beneath him. Her heat was all around him, wet and slippery and exquisite; her legs embraced his hips. For a moment he froze, not daring to move. He felt her arch her spine, and heard her growl as she bit at his jaw.
“Yes!” she gasped.
It was like a fight to the death. Her body heaved beneath his. She was slighter and softer and so much weaker than him, but she refused to go limp. He was thrusting with all his weight, but still she fought him, her body growing more and more rigid as he drove in and out. And he didn’t want to hurt her, didn’t want to defile her, but he couldn’t stop, couldn’t tear himself away from the hunger of her mouth, and the fingernails that bit into his clenching buttocks, and the wet hot incredible need of her sex, the need of her body, the need of her lost days and her stolen love.
Until she start to shake, clamped rigid and locked around him, and she jerked and cried out like something dying, and then for a moment he paused because he thought that somehow he was hurting her, and then he knew he was going to die too; he could feel his death pouring through him like a red tide from his balls all the way up his spine. It was coming, coming, coming—he jerked out of her, desperate to spill on the green grass, but he’d lost control of this long ago and he erupted all over her belly and thighs.
Oh, he thought, as he fell through a star-filled void. I had forgotten what it’s like. How good.
Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure – and that’s “fantasy” in the sense of swords ‘n’ sandals, contemporary paranormal, fairytale, and stories based on mythology and folklore. She likes to write about magic and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.
Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000, and her novels and single-author collections now run into double figures. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology Geek Love.
Her work has been described as: "hardcore and literate" (Madeline Moore) and "vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love." (Portia Da Costa)