Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Janine Ashbless: Blood And Stones

Today I've invited the awesome Janine Ashbless (aka Keris McDonald) to guest-blog about her major new novel In Bonds Of The Earth. So now I'll get out of the way and let her do the talking...

When I started writing In Bonds of the Earth, I knew I’d have to go to Ethiopia.
Well, to be precise, I knew my characters would. In Bonds of the Earth is the second in my trilogy The Book of the Watchers, an erotic supernatural thriller about fallen angels. My primary sources for the fallen angels and their offspring the Nephilim was The Book of Enoch, a truly hallucinatory text written in the 3rdt century BCE, quoted in the New Testament Epistles, but then excised altogether from the official canon of Biblical literature. For thousands of years it disappeared from Western Christianity.

But Ethiopia kept the Book of Enoch alive. Ethiopia has been, extraordinarily, a Christian nation since the 4th century—way before anywhere in the West become officially Christian. It’s a unique, heavily Jewish form of Orthodoxy, perhaps the closest imaginable to that of the Early Church (they don’t eat pork for example, they segregate the sexes during services, and the Holy of Holies in every church is focused not on a crucifix but a copy of the Ark of the Covenant). And they do include the Book of Enoch in their canon.


So at the end of the first book in the series, Cover Him With Darkness, Azazel has been freed from his imprisonment and vows to release all his brother Fallen Angels and wage war on Heaven.
I knew I had to take him to Ethiopia to find the first of his comrades. And I knew that that had to be Penemuel, Angel of the Written Word, just because I was so amused by this quote from Enoch:
And he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paper, and thereby many sinned from eternity to eternity and until this day. For men were not created for such a purpose, to give confirmation to their good faith with pen and ink.”
So I booked a twenty-day tour, which was eye-opening and awesome, even if it did result in terrible food-poisoning. Hey, it’s not every author who has literally bled for their book. Rectally.

Appalling mental images aside, I found the perfect location for Penemuel’s imprisonment; the subterranean rock-cut churches of Lalibela:
I have learnt my lesson. For Bk 3 in the series I’m using nice gentle locations … like the Norwegian mountains. In the middle of winter…
(BTW, there are more photos of Ethiopia, its amazing historical legacy and its wild Church art, on my blog)

Would you defy God, for love?

Broad at the shoulders and lean at the hips, six foot-and-then-something of ropey muscle, he looks like a Spartan god who got lost in a thrift store. He moves like ink through water. And his eyes, when you get a good look at them, are silver. Not gray. Silver. You might take their inhuman shine for fancy contact lenses. Youd be wrong.

Janine Ashbless is back with the second in her paranormal erotic romance Book of the Watchers trilogy: In Bonds of the Earth.

Unafraid to tackle the more complex issues surrounding good and evil in mainstream religion, Janine has created a thought-provoking and immersive novel which sets a new standard for paranormal erotic romance. The first in the series, Cover Him With Darkness, was released in 2014 by Cleis Press and received outstanding reviews.

In Bonds of the Earth is published by Sinful Press and is due for release on March 1st, 2017.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Devil's Highway is unleashed!

Today, at last, the paperback edition of Devil's Highway is properly in stock! As you may remember, it was originally slated for release on 1st February, but Snowbooks had so many advance orders they ended up switching publishers for a bigger run! So, at last, it's loose now.

Also, Snowbooks are now doing a special offer on ebooks: all their ebooks are now available at a reduced rate. That includes Devil's Highway, and Hell's Ditch too! For the full list of Snowbooks e-titles, go here! (The Devil's Highway ebook doesn't seem to be on Amazon just now, so you'll have to get it from the site, here.

And just to round it all off, here's that third book trailer...


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

More Black Road News: The Second Trailer!

And so here's the second trailer! Number three will be along soon...

More Black Road News: The Second Trailer!

And so here's the second trailer! Number three will be along soon...

The Black Road Website, and the first Devil's Highway Trailer

Been meaning to do this for while - I've set up a separate website for the Black Road series. It won't replace this blog (and I'll be blethering on about the books here as well) but I liked the idea of giving this story - which has been a long time in the telling for me, and is very close to my heart - its own online home. And it was good practice for me with Wordpress...

Another thing I got round to (always fancied trying it and had a little spare time over the past week) was making a book trailer for Devil's Highway. Three of them, in fact - all short, and hopefully building up in effect. Anyway, for what it's worth, here's the first of them...

The Obligatory Blowing Of Horns

Voting for the British Fantasy Awards closes on 1st March this year, and various other awards are gearing up to put together long- and short-lists. I hope to put out a few recommendations shortly, but in the meantime here’s a quick round-up of my own eligible work from 2016 (or as I like to call it, the Annual Obligatory Horn-Blowing)

I had two! The Feast Of All Souls and Devil’s Highway (although I’m painfully aware Devil’s Highway was only released in hardback in December and the paperback’s only just seeing daylight now.) Nonetheless, both are eligible works.

I only had three original tales published in 2016:
‘Wrath of the Deep’ in The Hyde Hotel
‘Between Angels and Insects’ in Tomorrow’s Cthulhu
‘And Ashes In Her Hair’ in Something Remains

That's all, unless anyone counts was my blog about Spectral Press as non-fiction – it seems to have ended up being read more than anything else I’ve done to date!

Right, that’s the horn-blowing out of the way… as you were. Happy Valentine's Day, and read good stuff.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Behind Her Eyes By Sarah Pinborough

The fab Ms. P.
Sarah Pinborough is an author whose career basically embodies the term ‘levelling up’. After emerging in the mid-2000s with a succession of pulpy supernatural thrillers from Leisure Books, she made her mark as a writer to be taken seriously with the award-winning and poignant novella The Language Of Dying. Since then she’s gone from strength to strength, penning (among others) a dystopian crime trilogy featuring the fallen angels (The Dog-Faced Gods trilogy) a brace of Victorian murder mysteries (Mayhem and Murder) with a supernatural tinge, the devastating novel The Death House and a first-class YA thriller, 13 Minutes. Throughout, she’s aimed higher, got better and better, and marked herself out as a name to watch.

Pinborough’s latest, Behind Her Eyes, has been spoken of as her breakthrough book, one that will propel her name in among the front rank of British thriller writers. And they may be right.

Single mum Louise feels as though her life’s stopped: it consists of her son Adam, her job as a doctor’s receptionist, the occasional joint and bottle of wine with her friend Sophia – and that’s it. Then she meets David – attractive, charming and sexy. Only one problem: he’s her new boss.

Louise begins an affair with David, but also – despite her better judgement – befriends his wife Adele. Trying to prevent her lover and her friend from finding out about about one another, Louise is drawn deeper into the secrets and lies of the couple’s marriage. Is David, her gentle and charming lover, a controlling and abusive husband? Or is Adele more than she seems?

Well, that would be telling.

The most frustrating thing about Behind Her Eyes – frustrating in a good way – is that it’s hard to describe why it’s such a good read without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure yet. That’s not just because of the plot’s twists and turns, although it has plenty of them and they’re done very well – there’s a reason #wtfthatending has been trending constantly about the novel. It’s more than that.

What drives this book is a simple, but very unwelcome and unsettling truth: you can never really
know for sure what goes on in someone else’s head. Your closest friend, your most intimate lover, your spouse of years or decades: they’ve all got secrets that you’ll never find out. You just have to make your peace with that and hope none of those secrets are dangerous. But in Behind Her Eyes, of course, they are.

Which is what makes it so much more than just another clever thriller with a twist: that uncomfortable truth is the book’s central theme and the motor that drives the whole story. The book cuts between Louise and Adele’s viewpoints, so we only ever see David from the outside, our view of him constantly changing. And while we spend a lot of our time inside Adele’s head, she’s constantly pulling the rug from under us: small wonder, then, that even David doesn’t know all her secrets.

Tautly written, beautifully constructed and with superbly-drawn characters, Behind Her Eyes is Pinborough’s best novel to date. I haven’t re-read it yet, but I suspect I’ll enjoy it even more the second time around, knowing what I know now.

 And, #wtfthatending?

Oh yes, indeed.