CONVERSATION WITH A DEMON
We’re excited to have a visitor today – the demon who stars in the latest release from Janine Ashbless, The Prison of the Angels, has stopped by to answer a few questions!
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INTERVIEW WITH AZAZEL
Your name: Azazel
The book you’re in: The Prison of the Angels (Vol.3 of The Book of the Watchers)
Your author’s name: Janine Ashbless
Your role: The fallen angel released by Milja Petak. Her demon lover. The great enemy of the Heavenly Host. The harbinger of the Apocalypse.
What was your favorite part of being a character in this book?
I love Milja! She saved me from my prison … But then she betrayed me … but then she saved me again … I would fight the whole world for her, but I wish she would stop being so complicated.
Do you get along with your fellow characters?
Hah! I love Milja, but she has this other would-be lover called Egan – a mere human at that – who thinks he can lay claim to her heart. We don’t get on. Well, I enjoy teasing him; he’s so easy to provoke!
Can you share one unusual or funny fact about you readers might not guess?
When I first started interacting with the human species, tens of thousands of years ago, my preferred form was that of a gigantic black goat. That is still remembered in a twisted way – look at the Tarot card of The Devil.
Do you think your author has portrayed you accurately?
I do not think she emphasized enough how tolerant and merciful I was, throughout, to mortals who got in my way. I have been extremely merciful to Egan, and I do not get enough credit for that.
What was the hardest thing you had to do?
Learn to understand Milja. Seriously … the last time I was free was five thousand years ago. Women back then were honored if I chose them as my lovers. They were proud to bear my children. Women now? They are so difficult to please! They want choice, and respect … I have had a lot to learn.
What problems do you have to face and overcome in your life?
Five thousand years imprisoned in a cave, tied to rock, parched and starving and unable to move, all because I’d had the temerity to take mortal lovers. That injustice has lit a rage in my heart that cannot be quenched.
What are you afraid of?
Being imprisoned again. The archangels Michael and Raphael are plotting against me.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
“Hotter than Hell”
What do you think readers will think of you?
Why should I care what anyone thinks of me? I am that which I am. All of Heaven is lined up in enmity against me, and I will not bow down or give in. So, readers? Pah!
Have you appeared in more than one book by this author? Did things get easier or harder for you?
I appeared in all three books in this series. There would have been no series without me! Ashbless made me suffer from start to finish, but let me tell you; freedom with any amount of suffering is better than no freedom at all.
From The Prison of the Angels:
The cold water flashed like white fire over every inch of my skin. It burnt my eyeballs and my lips and the inside of my throat, and beyond the white fire was a darkness so immense that it swallowed me whole.
I fell forever.
Something grabbed my wrist. Something so hot that it boiled away the darkness, so that there was suddenly light flashing in my eyes. I felt myself grabbed up bodily and lifted. I felt heat against my lips, blowing fire into my frozen lungs. I saw the wooden posts of a flight of steps, and then I pitched forward onto hands and knees in the shallow snow, choking up pond-water. In front of my blurred vision an inchoate swirl of darkness poured up the steps onto the lit porch and then disappeared. Unseen, something slammed against the door, a knock that made the house shake.
I was on the ground beneath the back porch of John’s house, I realized, shuddering.
Mama. Oh Mama. The thought seemed to come from nowhere.
Three times the knock sounded, and on the third the door burst open—outward, onto the porch—to reveal Egan in the lit room within; shaven, shirtless, and frozen mid-lunge for what I could only assume was a weapon of some sort.
I tried to cry out.
Grabbing his pistol he ran out barefoot onto the porch and looked around for enemies that were not there. Then he clattered down and pulled me up into his arms. I pressed my face to his neck and he carried me up the steps and over the threshold—not like a bride, but like a child he could hold tight against his torso, his wrists locked under my thighs. His skin blazed against mine. He hefted me into the kitchen and propped my ass on the table in front of the range.
“What the hell?” he demanded in a low fierce voice, sweeping locks of sodden hair back from my face. My hat seemed to have disappeared. “What happened, Milja? What were you doing out there?”
“Ice. I fell in the lake.” My jaw chattered. It was obvious I was telling the truth—I was soaked from head to toe, and after clasping me so close he wasn’t much drier himself.
“Feckssake, woman!” he growled. “What the hell were you thinking of?” He shucked off my coat, which lifted a sodden ton from my shoulders, then stooped to pull my boots off; ice-water spilt all over the floor.
I tried to strip off my gloves but my fingers weren’t capable of gripping anything.
“Come here, come here,” he said softly from where he knelt at my feet, grabbing my wrists and peeling away the useless gloves. He pressed my hands on either side of his warm neck, holding them there. They must have felt like ice-blocks to him, but he didn’t wince.
He looked like a knight kneeling before his queen, I thought. I could feel his pulse.
“I’ll go get towels, Milja. Are you going to be okay a sec?”
I nodded, though he probably couldn’t see it through the shuddering. He rose and hurried off, leaving me with the radiant warmth of the stove. I thought I should probably get the rest of my clothes off, but even after I struggled with my fly zipper my jeans seemed determined to cling to my bum-cheeks.
I heard the back door bang shut and I flinched.
Had he been gathering himself to come get Egan? Was he the one who had saved me from the black waters? Where was he now?
Egan came back in carrying armfuls of towels. “Alright?”
“I’m okay,” I told him, smiling through my shudders. He was still shirtless, and I could see the faint Ethiopian scars on his arm and chest.
He wrapped my hands one at a time in a towel, chaffed them dry, and then set them deliberately against the hard, hot wall of his torso.
Then he slipped all the buttons on my thick flannel shirt—the one I’d chosen this morning precisely because it wasn’t provocative or distracting—and he only slowed when he realized I was wearing just a bra-top underneath. My nipples stood in shamefully hard points under the stretch cotton. I tried to wriggle out of the long tartan sleeves of my shirt on my own, to spare his blushes, but everything clung like a freezing cold second skin and he had to help.
The shallow slash on my forearm wasn’t bleeding anymore, but each brush of his fingers felt like hot coals.
My wet garment made a slap as it struck the floor.
He draped a towel around my shoulders and another over my head. He started rubbing the water from my face and hair and scalp, his movements precise and gentle. For long moments I was buried in a soft darkness. I reached out, blind, to put my hands back on his bare ribs. I could feel his heart pounding beneath them, like a beast pacing a cage.
I have no idea when it all changed for him. When his grueling self-denial simply fell apart, like a garment worn and washed until the fabric was weakened beyond all use. All I knew was that he dropped the towel off my damp head, cupped my face in both his hands and—absolutely without warning—kissed me.
Milja Petak’s world has fallen apart.
Her lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has cast her aside in rage and disgust. The other contender for her heart, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, was surrendered back into the hands of the shadowy Vatican organization, Vidimus, after sustaining life-threatening injuries.
She has killed and she has betrayed. She is alone, homeless, and at the end of her tether – torn apart by guilt and the love she has lost.
But neither Heaven nor its terrifying representatives on Earth have finished with Milja.
Both her lovers need her in order to further their very different plans, and both passionately need her, though they may try to deny it.
Milja is once again forced into a series of choices as she uncovers the secrets Heaven has been guarding for centuries. But this time it is not just her heart at stake, or even the fate of a fallen angel.
This time, the choices she makes will change everything.
This time it’s the End of the World.
The Prison of the Angels is the third in the acclaimed Book of the Watchers trilogy, following on from Cover Him with Darkness, and In Bonds of the Earth.
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.
Buyer beware! If you like dark romance and a hard-won Happily Ever After, try “Cover Him with Darkness,” “Heart of Flame,” or “The King’s Viper.” If you prefer challenging erotica, go for “Red Grow the Roses” or “Named and Shamed” instead. All her other books lie somewhere on the spectrum between.
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: http://www.janineashbless.com/
Janine Ashbless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless
Sinful Press website: https://www.sinfulpress.co.uk
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/janine-ashbless-4/
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of their writing on Sunday. Be sure to visit other participants at http://www.wewriwa.com/ and read and comment on their #8sunday posts.
Spread the word: Twitter hashtag #8sunday
Set-up: When Kara arrived to open the museum, she found it unlocked–now the Chicago Arts Council is sending an investigator…
Sasha met Kara’s gaze. “I’ve never liked outsiders prying into my business.”
“I understand.” Kara considered her curator afresh. She’d hired Sasha herself three years earlier, after she’d been promoted from that job to director. Sasha was already highly regarded across the Midwest region for her artistic judgment and presentation skills. That she preferred women to men in her private life had no bearing on her value to the museum. Yet Kara had seen this skittishness from Sasha before. She desperately wanted to keep her private life private. They both knew if an investigator considered either one of them as a potential suspect, their private lives would be open to severe scrutiny.
A Heist? A Murder? It’s villain’s choice.
A special-order art theft? Tedious, but seamless – until small town museum director Kara Daniels calls in the experts. Furious her favorite trio of priceless impressionist paintings has been stolen from its traveling exhibit on her watch, Kara is determined to save not only the paintings, but her future in the art world. She’ll stop at nothing to entrap the thief.
Ted Springs knows the underbelly of the criminal world a little closer than he might like—but he’s turned it to good advantage, first as a police officer, and now as detective for the Upper Midwest Arts Council. His job? To guarantee the security of the valuable paintings in the Council’s traveling exhibits.
Heat sizzles when Ted and Kara collide—can they work together, before it’s too late?
Five stars at Goodreads: “The sex is hot and I loved the phone sex scenes. Never did I expect the ending. It was brilliant. The Heist is a winner!” Sheila G.
Five stars at Amazon: “Very hot…engaging, entertaining, funny and serious, well written and extremely enjoyable to read.” Donna H. “A true ‘romance novel’! Adriana Kraft at her best.” Mama
Kindle Countdown starts Monday, December 11, $.99 for two days!
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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the
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Mood Boards: Basilica City —
The World of “Chasing Sisyphus”
Seedy. Magnificent. Dangerous.
Those grimy big city vibes. The neon jungle with glass and concrete peaks like mountains over the horizon. Electric blue and magenta dreams, red and orange and that awful green that would make you sick if it didn’t signal a safe door you could walk through to get off the streets.
The urban sprawl is split in half by the Legion River, named after the brave Nova Legion troops who fought in the Zaddash War. During the day, it’s for tourists and pleasure cruisers. Late nights and early mornings, barges transport cargo to and from the resource towns in Outer Basilica. Trains run too — depends how you like to travel.
On the south side is the Memorial District. At least that’s what they called it before the city ripped itself apart. Now it’s lovingly known as “junkie town”, reeking of puke and piss and garbage. No place for a beautiful woman and respectable guy built like a brick shithouse.
The capital of Planet Basilica thrives under the thumb of high society. Home to the finest healthcare in the galaxy, attracting the wealthy as well as the merely affluent from all over. Spend your money, steal someone else’s money, it doesn’t matter.
In Basilica City, you play your cards right and you can have whatever you want.
But play them too right and someone will want you dead.
Chasing Sisyphus excerpt:
He couldn’t make out her face, but he sure noticed her tight silhouette as she walked by the Nova Legion statue. She seemed a little upmarket for the scene and, come to think of it, he didn’t remember seeing her leave. She was probably still there, waiting under the streetlamp like a femme fatale in those movies Keats kept on mute at his desk on a tiny TV.
Somewhere nearby, a door shut. At any other time, it would have been another pip of noise in a filthy district. But it was too quiet around here. Too few people to make a sound like that seem normal. Anywhere else, it would be the sound you shut out. Here, to Rhys, it was a dog whistle.
“Keats, I heard something,” he said. “Gonna go check it out.”
“Not a good idea, Carver. There’s a chase at the north end. Cap’s called the cars in. You got no backup.”
“Don’t need it. If the kid’s still here, he’s alone.”
“You’ll be in deep shit if the boss finds out. How do you even know it’s him?”
“We’ve been watching this guy for weeks. I got a feeling he’s onto us. Or, if not us, then someone else who wants him out of action.”
“Keats, I just know, all right? I’m going in. You got eyes on me or not?”
“Jeez! All right…where you heading?”
“Building two thirty-four on the corner. Going in via the south entrance.”
“CCTV’s busted on the west side, but I got eyes on the north exit. Actually, building report says the east and west fire escapes are busted, too. You keep the south door covered and your boy ain’t going nowhere.”
Weapon in hand, Rhys crept inside and shut the door behind him. It was dark. The only light came in from the street through gap-tooth blinds and dusty windows. It took a second to adjust.
Broken floor tiles and peeling wallpaper lined the foyer. A lamp hung from a wall, still intact. This might have been a nice place once, before the city’s worst years. Now it stood waiting for the official condemnation that would put it out of its misery. Like the rest of this district.
The stairs creaked under his weight, the ceiling creaked above him.
“Keats, we got residents here?”
“Negative. Power and water were cut off twelve years ago. Why, you see something?”
Gunshots exploded above. No time to answer. Rhys popped the safety and legged it up the stairs.
* * * *
Adria hadn’t counted on the tripwire. This kid knew someone would follow him home one day. He’d strung a line of empty soup cans across the apartment hallway. When she kicked that out, a hefty serving of iced water came down squarely on her head. Gooseflesh prickled her neck and shoulders. The muscles in her jaw seized in the cold. Against the shock, she scrambled to her feet, fired up to catch the stomping and crashing in the other room before it got away.
A figure ran past the doorway.
“Stop!” she yelled.
It rounded the corner. Adria gave chase.
She scanned the room. It was dim at best, thanks to the streetlights from outside, but she saw enough. Computer equipment and various peripherals lay strewn across the floor, some still plugged into a transportable battery in the corner, emitting tiny lights and numbers.
A window slammed shut. The glass shattered. Shards crunched and ground beneath Adria’s boots as she hurried in pursuit of her fleeing target.
When she stepped out onto the fire escape, two hands rammed her into the ladder. The whole balcony shuddered from the collision. Pain flared down her shoulder, but she kept her grip on the gun. She held it up with her good arm and fired.
She stumbled backward, clutching her burning shoulder, but the railing crumbled under her weight. Adria grabbed what was left of it with both hands as her footing slipped away.
It looked like a four-storey drop. Maybe five if she’d miscounted. Her legs dangled over thin air while from below came the clatter of broken pieces of railing, along with her gun, as they hit the concrete.
Overhead, her target stomped away on the rungs and disappeared onto the roof.
Adria’s shoulder raged. She tried to pull herself up, but couldn’t take the weight with just one good arm. Her feet kicked out, searching for a foothold, but the grill beneath had long withered away to slivers of rust and sharp edges.
Water and sweat dripped into her eyes. She swiped them helplessly on her sleeves and winced as rough seams grazed the skin. The railing creaked in her clammy grip. She could always let go. If she timed her landing right, maybe she’d get away with a broken ankle and a tetanus shot. Surely it only looked like a long way down.
Then she heard a gunshot from inside the apartment.
Bounty hunter Adria Yuan is hot on the trail of her final hit: a notorious hacker wanted by the city’s elite. With the reward, she can pay for her brother’s surgery and finally get out of Basilica City. Trouble is, her line of work’s not exactly legal, and she’s barely staying ahead of the cops who want her target, too.
Detective Rhys Carver may be a little unorthodox, but he’s a good cop. Born and bred in Basilica, he does his part to keep his city clean. As clean as it gets, at least. And with Adria suddenly in his sights, it’s going to take more than falling in love for him to let her go.
As the pair close in on their mark, they are unwittingly drawn into a high profile conspiracy that could thrust the whole of Basilica into chaos. Can Adria and Rhys set aside their differences, and their desires, to save the only home they know?
- Amazon: http://mybook.to/chasingsisyphus
- Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/chasing-sisyphus
- Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-sisyphus-the-basilica-conspiracy-jl-peridot/1127259716
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/chasing-sisyphus-the-basilica-conspiracy/id1298768446?mt=11
- Bookstrand: http://bookstrand.com/book/chasing-sisyphus
About JL Peridot
JL Peridot loves the city lights at night, especially when it’s raining and there’s a Gunship song on the stereo. She writes romance and erotica from her home in sunny Australia, where she spends way too much time browsing #synthwave on Instagram.
- Blog: http://jlperidot.com
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/jlperidot
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/jlperidot
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jlperidot
Thank you, Adriana, for having me on your blog!
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/jl-peridot/