Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Guest Post & Giveaway: Janine Ashbless - HEART OF FLAME
Hi Everyone. Please help me welcome Janine Ashbless to the blog today! She is here to promote her new fantasy romance, Heart of Flame. Today Janine is going to talk about the setting from the novel.
Heart of Flame – The setting:
Heart of Flame is set in the world of the Arabian Nights. We all know that setting from the written 1001 Nights and its TV adaptations, from movies like Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and The Thief of Baghdad and Disney’s Aladdin, and from games like Prince of Persia. It's a setting that embraces wonderful cities full of luxury and intrigue, forgotten temples of pre-Islamic gods, wicked viziers, heroic travellers, thieves and storytellers, camels and date palms and oases in the desert.
It's not the real 9th Century Arabia, of course. For a start there are the monsters: rocs soaring over the mountains, ghouls lurking among the desert ruins, birds that talk and giant fish that'll swallow you whole. And there's magic. Sometimes good, sometimes evil, always full of wonder and mystery. Statues that come to life, carpets that fly, rings of invisibility, caves that appear at an “Open Sesame!” This is an exotic fantasy Arabia of the mind, and especially the Western mind. The Arabia of Victorian orientalist painters. Romanticised, scrubbed-up, and simplified.
When I wrote Heart of Flame I did my research. My primary text was Philip Hitti's wonderful History of the Arabs, first published in the 1930s and a treasure trove of evocative detail, dramatic incident and scurrilous asides. But in writing my novel, whenever real history clashed with Arabian Nights mythology, the mythological version won out.
Scimitars for example – where would my hero be without his curved scimitar, as he fights off monsters or palace guards? But according to the Osprey books on arms and armaments, curved blades were a Turkish introduction which came in later on, with the ascension of the Ottoman dynasty. In the 9th Century, warriors carried straight swords. But oh, that would look so wrong! And what about water-pipes, and merchants serving tiny cups of intense black coffee? They're part of our mental picture of medieval Baghdad, though in fact they came in centuries later (tobacco from post-Columbian America, hubble-bubble pipes from India. Coffee originated in Yemen, yes, but probably got no further afield that early).
I couldn't leave that sort of thing out. The Arabian Nights just wouldn't be the same. Scimitars are as essential as djinn!
Oh yes, there are djinn. How could I forget to mention that? The story begins with a djinni abducting the most beautiful young woman in all the Caliphate...
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.
Janine will be giving away a PDF copy of her previous fantasy/erotic romance novella, "The King's Viper" to one randomly drawn commenter.The more comments you leave the better your chances of winning.
Leave a comment or question for Janine and include your email address.
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