Thursday, 23 February 2017

Guest post from Janine Ashbless

I am delighted to welcome my lovely friend, Janine Ashbless talking about the challenges of writing the second book in her erotic romance/ supernatural thriller series.

Writing Book Two

In 2014 my erotic romance/supernatural thriller novel Cover Him with Darkness was published. It ends with my heroine Milja having freed the fallen angel Azazel from five thousand years of imprisonment. Not being the sort to let a grudge lie, he swears (to Milja’s great alarm) to release all two hundred of his captive brothers from wherever they are hidden around the world, and lead them in a war against Heaven. THE END.

This week the second part of The Book of the Watchers is published, and I’m currently busy writing the third and final volume. The story was conceived as a trilogy since the beginning, but it’s the first time I’ve written in this way and it’s been an interesting experience as a writer.
In Bonds of the Earth isn’t just about pushing the plot forward; it’s where I start to drill down into the characters. As a Pantser, it was a voyage of exploration for me as much as for the readers; as I wrote Book 2 I took everything in Cover Him With Darkness and pulled it apart, asking “Is this strictly true or does someone have a hidden agenda?” “Why did they do/say that?” “What is the backstory to this?” “What is missing here – and why should that be?”

So for Azazel, the fallen angel, I ask what he was like before he took human form – what are angels really like when they’re not trying to look like us? How do they relate to each other? What rules govern their behavior? How are the loyal, “good” angels different to the fallen, “bad” ones?

For Milja I wanted to know more about her backstory. In Cover Him With Darkness she has a close relationship with her father and is devastated when he dies – but her mother is long dead and she doesn’t mention her. I had to ask myself, why should that be? In In Bonds of the Earth it becomes increasingly clear that this is more a case of SHE REALLY DOESN’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT HER MOTHER, NO WAY, NO HOW. There is something weird going on here, but as the narrator Milja is hiding it (and all won’t be fully revealed until Book Three of the trilogy, I’m afraid).

For wannabe-love-interest Egan Kansky, it’s about secrets. He reveals one – that he works for the Vatican, and he’s there to recapture Azazel – at the end of Cover Him With Darkness. He’s got more, both professional and personal. In fact, Egan is a never-ending pit of secrets; every time Milja thinks she’s got to know the real him, another floor falls away beneath her feet. They succumb to temptation whenever they’re together, but then he backs off leaving her distraught. He loves her, but he’s terrified of letting her close. Oh boy, I went to some dark, dark places following these clues.

And Uriel … oh, my favourite loyal archangel … sarcastic, snobby, vain, and sexually frustrated despite all his high ideals: what the hell is Uriel planning? Because he’s too smart to be just standing idly by while his enemy Azazel is running round fomenting a second War in Heaven. Uriel is definitely Up To Something.

Maybe other authors plot everything out in advance, and never come cross any surprises as they write. But for me it’s about treating the story as a reality with its own existence. I’m just the one who asks the right questions, works out what the truth has to be, and types it up ;-)


Thank you, my lovely. Good luck with your book – sounds fab. Details/blurb/excerpt etc are below.

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. You’d 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.


“I will free them all.”

When Milja Petak released the fallen angel Azazel from five thousand years of imprisonment, she did it out of love and pity. She found herself in a passionate sexual relationship beyond her imagining and control – the beloved plaything of a dark and furious demon who takes what he wants, when he wants, and submits to no restraint. But what she hasn’t bargained on is being drawn into his plan to free all his incarcerated brothers and wage a war against the Powers of Heaven.
As Azazel drags Milja across the globe in search of his fellow rebel angels, Milja fights to hold her own in a situation where every decision has dire consequences. Pursued by the loyal Archangels, she is forced to make alliances with those she cannot trust: the mysterious Roshana Veisi, who has designs of her own upon Azazel; and Egan Kansky, special forces agent of the Vatican – the man who once saved then betrayed her, who loves her, and who will do anything he can to imprison Azazel for all eternity.

Torn every way by love, by conflicting loyalties and by her own passions, Milja finds that she too is changing – and that she must do things she could not previously have dreamt of in order to save those who matter to her.

In Bonds of the Earth is the second in the Book of the Watchers trilogy and the sequel to Cover Him With Darkness.


I was giving my long-dreaded presentation on the anniversary footbridge to Misters Ellis, Singh, Constanzo and Mackenzie…when Azazel walked in.
Oh hell.
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” I said loudly, lurching around from behind my desk, grabbing Azazel’s arm and spinning him back to face the door. “Not here, come on, please,” I implored through clenched teeth.
If there was one thing I’d learned by then, it was to not ignore warning dreams. If I’d paid them more attention from the start, things between me and Egan might have gone very differently back in Montenegro…
No, better not to think of Egan, not when Azazel was around. One guy at a time was quite enough to wrap my head around. Especially this guy.
He humored me though, this time, letting me pull him out of the meeting room and through the open plan office without resistance. We attracted a lot of stares, but there was nothing I could do about that except hold my head high.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
“Out. Anywhere.”
“You’re so impetuous.”
I didn’t need to glance up at his wicked smirk. I could feel it burning its way into my breast.
Bryce, the beardy guy in my new team who’d shown me the ropes of the job and seemed just a tiny bit too eager to talk every morning, stood up from his cubicle to intercept us. “Milja, is everything okay?”
“It’s just fine,” I rasped, towing Azazel faster.
“She’s insatiable,” my demon lover confided with a helpless shrug to my colleague as we swept past.
Bryce stared, mouth open.
“Goddamnit,” I muttered, and Azazel chuckled.
Sometimes it was hard to remember that he’d risked everything to save me.
We reached the doors at the end of the room and I pushed through, past the lobby with the elevators and into the concrete stairwell of the emergency stairs beyond. The only people who came here were smokers on their way to the roof, and it looked empty for now. My panicky momentum fizzled away and I swung to face him.
“What are you doing here?”
“What do you think?” he countered, taking my face in his hands.
“Azazel—” But he cut off my protests with his hungry kiss; a kiss that lanced through me all the way to my core. I gave up resisting, and speaking, and almost breathing, as his lust rolled over me in a hot wet wave. I slid my hands around his neck and tangled my fingers in his messy hair, pulling myself into his embrace. His body was hard as rock, his hands heavy on my waist and hips. The yearning for his touch that smoldered in my flesh day and night woke to a roaring heat.
I’d missed him. His skin, his smile, the peppery scent and salt taste of him. The sweetness of his lips and the harsh rasp of his stubbled chin. I’d missed him so much—like an addict missing her hit.

Author bio:

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. 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'.

Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and - for five years of muddy feet and shouting - as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.

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


Janine Ashbless website:
Janine Ashbless blog:
Janine Ashbless on Facebook:
Sinful Press website:



In Bonds of the Earth will be available from all major online bookstores in both digital and print. Please contact Lisa Jenkins at for any further information.

1 comment: