It’s an absolute pleasure to have one of my favourite writers on my blog today. Please welcome Janine Ashbless as she talks about her new release, In Bonds of the Earth, the 2nd instalment of her Book of the Watchers trilogy. I asked Janine why she chose to write about angels, and here’s what she had to say.
“The story as I know it isn’t told from the point of view of the guys in the white hats. Azazel is one of the damned. Which means, I guess, that I am too.”
— In Bonds of the Earth
I’m no stranger to using mythology in my erotica and erotic romance. I’ve taken inspiration from Celtic, Greek, Islamic, Hindu, French, Persian, East European and Ancient Sumerian myths and folklore lore … and that’s just off the top of my head.
And since my first Medusa story in my very first collection back in 2000, my subtext has been “The gods are a right bunch of bastards.”
But with my Book of the Watchers trilogy about fallen angels, I got to grips for the first time with Judeo-Christian mythology. Now I come from a born-again Protestant family background myself, so in many ways I was familiar with the tropes – but I also discovered I had a lot to learn.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. – Genesis 6: 1-2
Now isn’t that just crying out for an erotic novel spin-off?!
Angels (the “sons of God,”) are intermediaries and messengers between God and humanity. We are made, according to the writers of Psalms and Hebrews, “a little lower than the angels.” So they’re presumably better than us, or more powerful, or both. They can appear in naturalistic human form (like they did to visit Lot in the city of Sodom) but according to Ezekiel’s crazy visions of heaven, and The Revelation of St. John, they’re not naturally humanoid – they’re described in terms of wings and eyes and wheels turning within wheels, flames and chimerical animals.
Yet clearly, when human, they’re capable of human lust. Now that is a writer’s dream – the warring instincts of the spiritual and the physical; obedience to God versus personal desires; the fraught relationship between angel masters and human wives and children; the whole question of free will and original sin. In fact, Biblically, angels have a pretty poor track record of obedience (just like humans!). Since Satan is held in Christian belief to be a former angel, clearly they are capable of rebellion. He’s supposed to have led legions into the Fall from Heaven!
Now that’s really interesting.
Imagine you’re an angel. You’ve been in the actual presence of God and know all its manifold joys. You know first hand His omniscience, His glory, His justice, all the infinite riches of Heaven. And yet, despite having no hope of winning any fight with Almighty God, you choose to rebel.
You. Choose. To Rebel. Anyway.
That’s fascinating, from a writer’s point of view. Characters with complex backgrounds, conflicting desires and warring motivations are irresistible. Add to that the theme of angels and humans engaged in sexual relationships and trying to understand each other despite all their differences, and well… I may have found my perfect subject matter.
(Also, when I’m looking for inspiration, this sort of thing doesn’t hurt )
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.
In Bonds of the Earth Blurb:
“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.
In Bonds of the Earth Excerpt:
I was giving my long-dreaded presentation on the anniversary footbridge to Misters Ellis, Singh, Constanzo and Mackenzie…when Azazel walked in.
“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.
“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.
Buy In Bonds of the Earth Here:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bonds-Earth-Book-Watchers-ebook/dp/B01N6W7EL4
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bonds-Earth-Book-Watchers-ebook/dp/B01N6W7EL4
Sinful Press: https://sinfulpress.co.uk/product/in-bonds-of-the-earth-by-janine-ashbless/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-bonds-of-the-earth-janine-ashbless/1125264279?ean=9781910908082
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bonds-Earth-Book-Watchers/dp/1910908088
In Bonds of the Earth will be available from all major online bookstores in both digital and print. Please contact Lisa Jenkins at email@example.com for any further information.
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)
Find Janine Here:
Janine Ashbless website: http://www.janineashbless.com/
Janine Ashbless blog: http://janineashbless.blogspot.co.uk/
Janine Ashbless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless
Sinful Press website: https://www.sinfulpress.co.uk