Lalibela: 8th Wonder of the World
Earlier this month, I interviewed Janine Ashbless, author of The Book of the Watchers series, over at my Sexy Librarian’s Blog-cast. We discussed her latest novel “In Bonds of the Earth.” One of the most intriguing points of interest for me, as I read, was Ashbless’ detailings of the incredible rock-cut churches in Ethiopia. I found myself holding the book in one hand while I searched online to see more of these ancient churches. During the interview with Janine, she told me that she’d actually traveled to Ethiopia for research because she needed to have a good place to stash one of her fabulous fallen angels. Here are some of the pictures she took on her journey to Ethiopia. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I did. I hope these pictures inspire you to head over to Amazon to purchase your own copy of Janine’s first book, Cover Him in Darkness, and while you are there, order a copy of In Bonds of the Earth.
Lalibela: 8th Wonder of the World
When I started writing In Bonds of the Earth (Book of the Watchers vol. 2), I went to Ethiopia to find a prison for Penemuel, the Angel of the Written Word. (Hey, I like travelling, okay? Writing’s an excellent excuse!)
I found my location in Lalibela, a small town with a breath-taking collection of eleven or so rock-cut churches, each hewn from a single block of stone during the 12th and 13th Centuries. These form a UNESCO world heritage site – easily up there with the Pyramids and Petra. As my guidebook says: “Lalibela’s obscurity is shameful.”
The sites of Lalibela are all steeped in symbolism – they provided a 3D map of the Holy Land so that medieval pilgrims wouldn’t have to make the dangerous journey to Palestine. This for example is the “Tomb of Adam”:
The churches are cut down into the rock surface, so that you wind through a maze of tunnels and gulleys from one church to the next.
Each is a living, functioning house of worship, and the singing of the priests is a constant aural backdrop.
The layout is labyrinthine; you definitely need a guide!
This is the entrance to the “Valley of Death” – a lightless tunnel hundreds of feet long!
The most famous church of all is Bet Giyorgis (“House of St George”) – check out this 360 panorama.
Oh … here is a pillar which is kept covered up because Jesus came and wrote a description of the entire history of the world on it, and the end bit is too scary for people to read(!):
And here is one of the tens of thousands of pilgrims who came here to stay for good…
Lalibela is an ancient and haunting place – just right for stashing a fallen angel, I thought…
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.
“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.
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: 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
In Bonds of the Earth will be available from all major online bookstores in both digital and print. Please contact Lisa Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.