Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who Am I?

By Ashe Barker (Guest Blogger)

I just spent a happy half hour or so signing some swag for an event I’m at next week. Easy enough work, not rocket science and it makes a change from edits. Except it’s not, I have to really concentrate because when I sign things as an author I’m not signing my real name. I have to remember who I am. It’s a whole other identity.

I know this is common to a lot of authors, many of us – the majority I suspect though I’ve never tried to check – write under a different name. Some under several names. I call that ambitious, and impressive. So far I’ve just stuck to one pen-name, and that gives me enough to think about.

For example, although I have separate email addresses for my two personas, I only have one phone. Ashe Barker doesn’t get that many calls, but it has caused confusion from time to time. My local paper wanted to interview me, they called back twice before we all realised what was going on.

I have to keep my Facebook and twitter accounts very separate, and the two Wordpress blogs I run. One is for Ashe Barker in all her decadent glory, the other is for the parish council in the village where I live. The elderly ladies down at the church social probably don’t want to be treated to spanking excerpts or a discussion on the joys of figging. Or perhaps they do – I’m not especially familiar with the going-on down at the church social. Best not to risk it though.

Most people I know, my family, friends, colleagues who I work with a lot are aware that I’m an author of erotic romance. It raises an eyebrow or two sometimes, but has never caused me any problems so it wouldn’t be a major disaster to mix up my identities. It would be messy though, so I try not to.

The question of identity is one of the dilemmas faced by Freya Stone, heroine in my current trilogy The Hardest Word.

This is the story of a submissive who is mute following a childhood illness. Her attempts to negotiate with Doms have not gone well, and safe words are a real problem. In desperation she attempts to purchase the services of experienced Dom Nick Hardisty, whose blistering reaction makes it clear he is not for sale. He does agree to help her though, but on his terms not hers.

However the silent little submissive is hiding a secret. She won the lottery. The Euro-millions lottery. It was a rollover week and there was only one winning ticket. Nick knows she won some money, her fancy car and posh apartment give that much away, but he assumes she blew the lot straight away. As time goes on and their relationship develops, Freya finds it harder and harder to conceal her other identity. The sexy sub who strips and drops to her knees on command is also a multi-millionaire, an entrepreneur wanting to build her business empire and with the means to do just that. She even owns a racehorse. Freya’s forgotten why she ever kept all this from Nick, but as time goes on the truth becomes harder and harder to reveal. And when, inevitably, it does all come out, the results are explosive.

The third book in the series, Hard Choices, went on general release on 6 June. To celebrate, I’m offering a free ebook from the series to one lucky winner. Just leave me a comment below. Have you any stories to tell about mistaken identity? Or perhaps you have some advice for Freya on how she might tell Nick the truth? Did you ever pretend to be someone or something you’re not?

A winner of the giveaway will be selected at random next Wednesday, the 18th of June, and he or she can pick any book from the series.

I’d be delighted to know what you think of Freya, and of Nick – we authors thrive on feedback. I can be found on my blog, and on the Totally Bound site. I’m on Facebook, and twitter and I’m on Pinterest too, and Goodreads

Here’s the series blurb:

The Hardest Word charts the sensual journey of Freya North and Nick Hardisty. Unable to speak since early childhood Freya’s fortunes change dramatically when she finds herself holding the winning Euromillions Lottery ticket. Over forty million pounds richer, she still can’t buy the one thing she really wants—a skilled Master to train her in the fine art of submission. 

Her first ill-fated approach to Nick Hardisty, a Dom who comes highly recommended, earns her a punishment spanking at his BDSM club. From the outset Nick is able to find ways around and beyond Freya’s communication issues to release her innermost submissive instincts. Fascinated, intrigued, and hopelessly attracted to Freya, Nick does agree to train her, but on his terms not hers.

Freya moves into his home for one month. The deal is total obedience, and absolute submission. But while her body, and her emotions, are an open book, she doesn’t reveal to him the true extent of her wealth.

As their relationship develops and deepens, how long can Freya keep her secret from the powerful Dom who insists on total honesty from her in every respect? As her two separate lives threaten to collide, Freya is torn between the stern Master she has come to adore, and the opportunities her wealth provides, to grow into the strong, independent woman she longs to become.

And here’s an excerpt from Hard Choices:

I’ve managed to keep my hands off you so far. That won’t last much longer. And when I touch you, it won’t be just about helping you in and out of the bath. You do understand that, don’t you?”
These are the words I’ve been waiting for. My response—I arch my back to shove my breasts above the layer of soapy suds floating on the surface of the water, my wordless invitation as plain as I can make it.
He gets my message and leans in to nuzzle my neck as he trails the fingers of his left hand across my shoulder then down towards my breast. He uses his middle finger to make a circular pattern in the soapy water on the underside of the soft mound before slowly tracing the outline of my areola. I gasp and stiffen as the familiar tingle connects my breasts to my groin, then I relax as he takes my nipple in his fingers and caresses it lightly. His touch is all about arousal, almost a form of worship as he strokes my breasts reverentially. His right hand joins in the fun, and he presses my breasts together, the nipples now swollen and stiff, pebbling under his careful ministrations.
How long is it since you had an orgasm, Freya?” His words are soft, murmured into my ear.
I shrug, although I know exactly how long. It was that morning, the horrible day he asked me to scene with Dan and eventually ejected me from his house. That day, which started so beautifully—if you discount my failed attempt to master caning. That day that started with a lovely, erotic spanking then an intense orgasm, and ended in total disaster for me. So yes, I do remember. It might as well be tattooed onto the inside of my eyelids, the image is so vivid.
By my reckoning it’s about two weeks. Unless you’ve been playing any games of your own while you’ve been away from here. Have you, Freya?”
Current Dom or not, I know I can’t evade a direct question from Nick. I shake my head.
But you were at the club. No one there take your fancy? I know you had offers.”
Christ, he would. And if he’s been monitoring my movements he must know that I didn’t scene with anyone. Still, I shake my head.
What about a little DIY action at home? I know you’re a randy little slut, I can’t believe you’ve been going without for a fortnight.”
Well, I have. And even if I hadn’t I’m not sure that makes me a slut. But this conversation is getting beyond what I can manage with one hand or nods and shakes of my head. I try to sit up, intending to get out of the bath, but his arm tightens around me.
Stay there. I intend to end your little self-imposed famine now, Freya, if you want me to. Do you? Do you want me to make you come, my sexy little slut?”
I may not be his submissive, or so he says, but he’s giving a fair imitation of a Dom right now. I decide I must be a slut after all, and go with it. I nod as I relax back into his arms. He kisses my ear before reaching down with his left hand to slip it between my legs. He eases his way through my folds to find my entrance then circles slowly, his fingertip just inside my pussy. I turn my face towards his, subconsciously seeking his lips. He brushes his mouth over mine then deepens the kiss, plunging his tongue into my mouth at the same time as he thrusts two fingers deep into my cunt. I thrust my hips upwards out of the water to meet his hand, gyrating my body to increase the friction. He adds a third finger, and the motion of his hand quickens as he sets up an insistent rhythm.
For a moment I recall the ‘rules’ of our most recent such encounters, but surely none of that applies now. He said he’d make me come, and I’m taking him up on that offer. Now. It doesn’t take long before my pussy starts to clench around his fingers, and I reach up behind my head to tunnel my fingers through his hair. I’m writhing in the water, squeezing my inner muscles hard as I hurtle towards my climax. It hits me hard, and I jerk violently, knocking my sore arm in the process. I feel it, it hurts, but nothing’s going to derail this fabulous experience. I seem to have waited so long to feel his hands on me, in me again, as I shiver and tingle and soar through my orgasm.
As the tremors recede I sink back into the bath, before lying motionless at last but his hands are still on me. His fingers remain buried deep inside me, the other hand caressing my swollen nipples. He lifts his head, breaking the kiss at last, and I’m looking into his deep grey eyes. I smile, nervous suddenly. Have I done something wrong? I’m not certain of our ground rules anymore.
His answering smile dispels any concerns. “Christ, Freya, your orgasms are so fucking beautiful. I really will need to do that again sometime very soon. Will that be all right with you?”
I nod, and he smiles again, straightening now as he finally slides his fingers from my pussy, trailing them across my clit as he watches the reaction in my eyes.
He winks at me. “Ah yes, very soon. Now, your water’s going cold. Let’s finish rinsing your hair and get you dried off.”

Author Bio:

Until 2010 I was a director of a regeneration company in Leeds, in the UK, before becoming convinced there must be more to life. So I left, and at last I’ve been able to realise my dream of writing erotic romance. I’ve been an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres, and I still love reading historical and contemporary romances – the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.

In my own writing I tend to draw on settings and anecdotes from my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky character, any of these can spark a story idea. But ultimately my tales of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of my own lurid and smutty imagination.

When not writing – which is not very often these days - my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And most recently a very grumpy cockatiel. I’m a rural parish councillor, and I’m passionate about evolving rural traditions and values to suit twenty first century lifestyles.

I write for Totally Bound and now have twelve titles on general release, with several more in the pipeline. I’ve completed a fourth trilogy in the Black Combe ‘family’ which is due for release later this year. I also have a ‘May to September’ style novella out and a short story in the Paramour collection, as well as a stand-alone novel in the ‘What’s Her secret?’ imprint. Another short story in the Jolly Rogered anthology is due for publication in July 2014.

I have a pile of story ideas still to work through, and keep thinking of new ones at the most unlikely moments, so you can expect to see a lot more from me.

Buy Links:

You can get your hands on The Hardest Word trilogy from all the usual places:


Lisabet Sarai said...

Welcome back to Beyond Romance, Ashe! I know very well the confusion of trying to keep the two identities separate. Every time I do something online, I have to ask myself - am I logged in as Lisabet? Or as Elizabeth? Because Facebook and Google are dying to make those connections, and if they do, I'm in big trouble!

Unknown said...

Yeah, what Lisabet said. I'm still very separate and trying to keep it that way. I'm almost ready to reveal my other half to my real life Facebook friends and family, but still concerned it will impact my job. Good for you for, Ashe, for coming out. Sounds like a tasty book! I love that the heroine gets to be the one with money.

orelukjp0 said...

I don't know why Facebook and Google have any say in how many different accounts you have. Each account is separate and should not affect the other in an way.
I loved the excerpt from The Hardest Word. What an amazing idea. A mute sub. I can't wait to read more and see how Freya communicates with Nick.
Thank you also for the great giveaway.
orelukjp0 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This trilogy has been beckoning me for a while. As soon as I have a steady income, I'm sure to grab the other two books. :)

I've reached a kind of truce between my two names. I've decided I'm not going to advertise it at this time, but I'd like to in the future, depending on where I end up job-wise. However, I'm also not going to hide it. There's too much overlap between my writing groups and friends and readers, and I really can't maintain more than one Facebook profile. I only hide it because OTHER people think I should be ashamed of it anyway, not because I am. Still trying to figure out how much I want that to control me.

Anonymous said...

I'm Jean Valjean!

(Okay, I couldn't resist.)

Unknown said...

Great post. It totally resonates. Thanks so much for sharing.

Jana Leah B said...

Looking forward to this one. Thanks for the giveaway.

Penumbra said...

I'm new to the pen name game, so it should be interesting to see what happens :) Thanks for the giveaway.


Laura said...

I've read the other two books in the trilogy and I can't wait to see what happens because quite honestly I couldn't believe how Hard Lessons ended. The answer to your question to your question is yes - I have definitely pretended to be someone else. I never take it to far but boy, do I enjoy doing it! Thanks for having a giveaway.

bn100 said...

No stories to share

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Jaye said...

Now I can download all three - read them back to back!
I'm in a constant state of identity crisis. Not only my author's pen name, I have an anonymous pen name for my personal blog where I discuss 'the other' me. I'm starting to forget my real name some days!
Congrats on the trilogy.

Unknown said...

The only person I have ever been mistaken for is my mom. Especially over the phone. But that's about it. You're a new to me author, but these sound great. Thank you for sharing your craft with the world.

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