Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Tour for Heart of Flame by Janine Ashbless (w/ GIVEAWAY)

For lovers of the fantasy genre there's a sexy and magical book that's just been released that I know you'll like.  Courtesy of Goddess Fish Promotions and Janine Ashbless I'm pleased to present to you blurbs and excerpts from Heart of Flame to make your mouth water.  Here's Janine to get us started off by talking about the qualities of a good erotic read.....

What qualities make for a good erotic read?

Good question! May I answer this from the point of view of a writer?

I think that no matter what the length of the piece – short story, novel, or erotic scene within a non-erotic work, there are two things necessary to effective erotic writing.

First of all, it should turn you, the writer, on when you do it. If you're penning by rote, it's really likely to show. It'll be empty: emotionally, dramatically, verbally. You need to pick exactly the right words for an erotic scene, so you need to feel it, just as when writing romance or horror.

Secondly, I think that what you need is drama. There has to be tension between the participants, whatever the relationship. Personally, I've never been much moved by long descriptions of physical gymnastics, or overblown attempts to describe the physical feelings of orgasm. And lovey-dovey we've-just-woken-up-let's-do-it-sex bores me, on the page. What I want to read and write about is tension between the characters. They want to have sex, but something is holding them back, or making them feel conflicted. Is this pressure internal and emotional, or external? What exactly are they risking? Does it make them vulnerable? Is it forbidden by their society? Is it shameful? Is it dangerous? Does one of the participants feel they hate or fear or distrust another? Is it about power? Is it about admitting love?

In summary: What is the barrier between them – and makes them give in to their desire? That's what I find hot, and it’s what want to read about!

So in Heart of Flame I have two heroines. Taqla the sorceress falls in love with a handsome stranger, against all her better judgement. She knows she can't trust him. She knows she must never give a man power over her life – not even let him know who she really is. But she can't help how she feels, and it's driving her crazy. Whereas Ahleme has just the opposite problem – she's under actual physical threat by her djinni abductor and, in the process of trying to fend him off, she has to learn a whole lot of stuff about her true desires.

That's two parallel stories, and they're both about conflict. Which is why I had so much fun writing Heart of Flame :-)

Heart of Flame by Janine Ashbless

And on the One-Thousand-and-Second night, Scheherazade told this story…
By day, Taqla uses her forbidden sorcery to move freely about the city of Damascus in the guise of an old sage. Her true identity known only by her faithful servant woman, Taqla is content with the comfortable, if restrictive, life that keeps her safe from the control of any man. Until she lays eyes on a handsome merchant-traveler. Suddenly her magical disguise doesn’t rest so easily on her shoulders.

When long-time widower, Rafiq, hears that the Amir’s beautiful daughter has been kidnapped by a scheming djinni—and that she will be given in marriage to her rescuer—he seeks the help of “Umar the Wise” to ensure he will be that man. Yet as he and the disguised Taqla set off, he senses that his prickly male companion is hiding something.

In a moment of dire peril, all of Taqla’s secrets are stripped bare—her fears, her sorcery and, worst of all, her love for Rafiq. Yet the princess’s life hangs in the balance, and there is no running away or turning back. Even though passion may yet betray them all...

Warning: Scary monsters and creepy ruins in the desert—check. Pagan gods that demand blood-sacrifices—double check. A handsome hero who looks good in a robe and even better out of it—oh yeah. Check, check and check. That’s worth a heroine dropping a veil or two.


“What manner of painting?” the Amir asked.

“Ah,” said the artist. “The boast of this scroll is that upon it are depicted all the most beautiful things that exist in the world, without exception.”

“Then it must include the Great Mosque here in Dimashq,” said Jamil with a little smile, “and my own daughter.”

“So it must.” The artist lifted the scroll over his head and let it unfurl all the way to his feet.

“Vizier?” The Amir was too dignified a person to get up and squint at a picture himself, so his highest official did the honors for him. He bent and peered at the middle ground, his brows furrowed.

“Where do you start? There is so much detail—cities, bridges, people. Oh—there! Yes, there it is!” He pointed at the scroll. “It’s the Great Mosque of Al-Walid! I see the minarets and the shrine of the head of John the Baptist! Such detail! You can even see the mosaics on the inner walls!” His expression of pleasure warped. “That isn’t possible. You could not paint such fine detail. And the trees there, the water—they’re moving!”

“The picture is magical,” said the artist, as if the vizier were a simpleton.

“Is it safe?” Jamil asked, frowning.

“It is only a picture, oh father of wisdom. Do you not wish to see if your daughter is depicted among the most beautiful things in the world?”

Jamil’s frown deepened.

“I will,” Ahleme said quickly. She itched to see the marvelous painting, and that it might include her made it irresistible.  She sprang to her feet.

* * * * *

Belatedly she plucked the jabbayah headscarf she wore around her shoulders and pulled it over her head, wrapping it to veil her lower face. Because, of course, the word that had revealed the true form of the ghouls had torn her magical disguise to shreds too.

Rafiq uttered a harsh laugh. “Why bother with that?”

“Don’t look at me.” She averted her face.

“Not a man at all then. A witch.”

Taqla clenched her teeth.

He laughed. “I knew, you realize. I’ve known—I’ve guessed—for a couple of days.”


“You talk in your sleep, you know. With a woman’s voice.”

Taqla’s jaw dropped. How was she supposed to have guessed she did that? “What did I say?” she stammered.

He gave her a guarded look. “Nothing clear enough to make out. But your voice is female. And once I noticed that…well, there were other things that catch the attention. You don’t make eye-contact when you talk, you don’t like to stand too close—and no offense, but you fight very dirty, like a woman does.” His eyes were as hard as a sword-edge. “I took you to the bath-house to make sure, but after that I thought that if it’s a disguise, it’s a very good one. Magic.” He said the word like it stained his mouth.

Taqla bit her lip.

“You’re the girl from the empty house, aren’t you? The watchman’s trull. I recognize that glare.”

* * * * *

A thin, high wail cut into their ears. They both froze, and Rafiq lifted his head. Taqla saw the color drain from his face.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“I think it’s the djinni killing Ahleme,” said he.

There was another noise, a roar, like a lion upon a desert horizon. Snow sifted down from the steep walls of the ravine at its note. Then a howl harsher than a falcon’s made Taqla’s blood curdle. The two, roar and howl, rose together in a cacophony.

“And that?” she gasped.

“That’ll be the other djinni.”

“There are two?” She struggled from beneath him into a sitting position.

“Apparently so.” Rafiq knelt up. “One wanting to sire his children on her, one wanting to stop it.”

The first thin scream echoed out again.

“They’ll tear her in half.” Taqla scrambled to her feet. “Come on. We have to try and save her, at least.”

He sucked his cheeks, but nodded and joined her standing. “How do we get there?”

“Like this,” she said, gritting her teeth and stepping away to give herself room. Then she changed shape. Not smaller than her own form, this time, but much bigger. It didn’t hurt so much as shrinking herself, but it hurt enough to make her cry out. The sound was musical as it left her throat. She shook out her copper-colored feathers and clawed at the snow, a perfect facsimile of the Senmurw-bird.

“In the name of God!”

“Get up on my back,” she fluted, “and hold tight.”


Janine Ashbless is a multi-published author of erotic romance and erotica. Her first book was published in 2000 by Black Lace and she currently writes for Samhain and Ellora's Cave among others. She’s always used elements of fantasy, mythology and folklore in her writing, with occasional forays into horror.

Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage, and any movie or TV series featuring men in very few clothes beating hell out of each other. She’s a roleplaying geek and can still sometimes be found running round in the woods hitting other geeks with a rubber sword. It is unlikely she will grow up anytime soon.

Janine lives in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two rescued greyhounds, and is trying hard to overcome her addiction to semicolons.


Samhain webpage for book:


Giveaway is for a PDF copy of Janine's previous fantasy/erotic romance novella, The King's Viper

-Giveaway is OPEN TO ALL.
-To be entered just leave a comment below, along with your email addy.
-One winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the entire tour, so the more tour stops you comment on, the greater your chances of winning.  For a list of tour stops go here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 1/13.


  1. Hiya, Scarf Princess! Thanks for having me here on your site today :-) I really liked the topic you asked me to write on ... So many people assume that writing erotic scenes/stories is just a question of describing mechanics ("tab A into slot B"), but there's a lot more to it than that, especially if you want to keep reader interest going over a full novel.

  2. Oh my, this story sounds absolutely wonderful. I can hardly wait to read it.

  3. Oh - very kind of you say so, MomJane!

  4. Loved the excerpt; it left me wanting more! LOL

    I'm adding this to my must have list.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. Tracey, that's the sort of thing that makes a writer feel like it's all worthwhile!

    Ack, sorry if I'm sounding incoherent. I've been proof-reading my *next* novel most of the day. My head is spinning!

  6. Thanks Janine for being here today and thanks to those who visited as well! Heart of Flame sounds like an amazing read and I hope everyone runs out and gets it. Good luck on the giveaway to all you commenters too!

  7. Great excerpt. This book looks great and would love to win and read. This is a new author for me and always looking for new books to check out. Thanks for the chance to win. Will be following along with the hop.