Ariadne, I Love You

Jude is dragged out of Alt Country obscurity, out of the dismal loop of booze and sadness baths and the boundless, insatiable loneliness, to scrub up and fly to Australia for a last, desperate comeback tour. Hardly worth getting out of bed for—and he wouldn’t, if it weren’t for Coreen.

But Coreen is dead. And, worse than that, she’s married. Jude’s swan-song tour becomes instead a terminal descent, into the sordid past, into the meaning hidden in forgotten songs, into Coreen’s madness diary, there to waken something far worse than her ghost.

Praise for ariadne, i love you

Publishers Weekly – “Ashley-Smith (The Attic Tragedy) uses this eerie, ambiguous ghost story to explore the fraught relationship between artist and muse and the thin line between love and obsession… The result is multilayered, atmospheric, and thought-provoking.”

Aurealis Magazine, #141 – “Sensual and deadly, enticingly sinister.”

Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters and Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell – “Ariadne, I Love You, by J. Ashley-Smith, is my favorite kind of horror story: intimate, whip-smart, and relentless. The protagonist is in many ways a terrible human being: selfish, directionless, blind to the needs of others—and totally sympathetic, at least to this jaded reader. He is also doomed, which comes as no surprise. The mechanism of that doom is a surprise, though, and a delightfully awful one. More stories like this, please.” 

Kaaron Warren, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award – “Ashley-Smith makes the reader feel like a sick voyeur in Ariadne, I Love You, as he takes us on a road trip through a diseased, obsessed, restless, haunted soul. Highly recommended.”

Robert Hood, award-winning author of Peripheral Visions: The Complete Ghost Stories, and Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead – “J. Ashley-Smith has created a superbly written tale of love and haunted passion, with a poetic ambiance that leaves this reader both sympathetic and unsettled.”

Angela Slatter, award-winning author of All the Murmuring Bones – “A haunting tale of desire and madness and what might—or might not be—love. Ashley-Smith weaves a compelling story of music, bone, and nightmare.


Lynda E. Rucker, award-winning author of The Moon Will Look Strange and You’ll Know When You Get There – “Fallen-on-hard-times musician Jude has always loved Coreen, even when she was his best mate’s girl, even after she was dead. But this is no conventional love story nor is it a conventional horror story. J. Ashley-Smith has an eye for the right precise detail that illuminates characters who seem to live and breathe well beyond the bounds of his evocative prose. Ariadne, I Love You is a powerful novella of enigmas and delusion and madness, of the lies we tell others and ourselves, and of the darkness at the heart of love. This is the kind of oblique, unsettling fiction I’m always looking for and too rarely find; I highly recommend it.”

Simon Strantzas, author of Nothing is Everything – “J. Ashley-Smith deftly blurs the lines between real and nightmare, love and obsession, in this haunting novella of aged rock stars, unrequited devotion, and the unassailable power that the past has over us. In here, guilt, grief, and regret leave an opening for worse things to tempt us in the buzzing darkness. You’ll feel Ariadne, I Love You whether you want to or not.”

 J.S. Breukelaar, author of The Bridge – “A nuanced and numinous rock ’n’ roll Gothic about the distances—in time and space—that a broken heart will go to terrifyingly reassemble. You might begin J. Ashley-Smith’s condensed riff on the abyss of student longing, artistic burnout and unresolved grief, on the train. You almost certainly will continue reading while stirring the pasta and eating it, and halfway through your meal you will look up from your second glass of wine and wonder where the hell you are.”

Keith Rosson, author of Folk Songs For Trauma Surgeons and The Mercy of the Tide – “Ashley-Smith understands that ghost stories are, most importantly and at their core, about people, and with Ariadne, I Love You, he’s crafted a haunting, ambiguous, confident and ghastly tale of eternal love.”

related materials

Ariadne, I Love You – audiobook

Ariadne, I Love You – audiobook

Huzzah! The top-secret project is revealed! I’m a great devourer of audiobooks, so loved every moment of making this. Thrilled it’s now out in the world. If you like creepiness injected directly into your ears, then check out this audio extract. And if you like that,...

Online launch: Ariadne, I Love You and The Bridge

Online launch: Ariadne, I Love You and The Bridge

talking bridges, witches, wombats, and the dangers of the male gaze J.S. Breukelaar and I hung out to read from and discuss our latest releases, Ariadne, I Love You and The Bridge. You can check out the full video of the launch below.  

StokerCon 2021

StokerCon 2021

readings, panels, and a cat makes its debut... I had such high hopes for getting to real-life cons this year, but COVID put paid to all of them. Though I would have loved to connect with more people in person, I had a blast at StokerCon 2021, which had an exceptional...