Today’s guest is a fellow Total-E-Bound author, Ashe Barker. Ashe began writing in 2010, and her debut book, Darkening: book 1 of The Dark Side series, is due for release August 9th.

Please join me in welcoming her, and feel free to leave a comment or two. 🙂

Ashe Barker - Darkening banner 6-27-13

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written – a lot. But only started on fiction last summer, and was lucky enough to find a publisher – Total-e-Bound, who were prepared to take on my first attempt. I can’t believe it, still. The thrill of getting an email asking for the full manuscript – surely a Good Sign – and then the follow up to say I was in.

Why? Why not, I suppose. Thinking back now, I suspect the idea, the wish, was nibbling around at the back on my mind for ages but I never had the time. Or other excuses, I daresay. Anyway, I’m self-employed, and business was decidedly slack towards the end of last year, so I decided now was the time to go for it, to try something new.

The idea of writing something actually formed in Nando’s, over a piri-piri chicken and macho peas. I was having lunch with a friend, and my daughter, and we were talking about that book, the one everyone read on holiday last year. The one that even if you hadn’t read it you knew what it was about. We’d all read it. All three books. We were fans.

And we got to talking about how you write a book like that. Would you need to have done all those things? Christ, who’d have the time? Or the stamina? What would ’im Indoors make of it all?

“No.no”, my friend was adamant. “The internet, that’s the place to go. It’s all there.”

And in that moment, I believed it could be done. That I could do it. I could see myself writing my own story. And that’s enough for anyone, I’d say. No stopping me after that. Four months later, The Dark Side emerged and was on its merry way to TEB.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

That I can do it when I like. In my own time. Where I like. It fits in. No commuting, no clocking on or off. Any deadlines are my own. If something else comes up, I do it. If I want a day off, I have one. But I don’t actually want many days off. I tend to write every day, or do something related, such as blogging, or reading other writers’ stuff.

Do you have a specific writing style?

This is my writing style. I tend to write it as I would say it if my reader/audience/listener was right in front of me. The Dark Side is written in first person, present tense, which I think gives it a directness, an immediacy. And that just seemed the natural POV to adopt.

What do you find is the hardest thing about being an author?

Coming up with the core concept in the first place. Once that’s crystalised for me and I’ve met my main players, the characters sort of take it over.

I also struggle with synopses, and could never produce on up front. Chances are I don’t actually know the ending when I set out, it unfolds. I’ve always been a bit like that, unplanned, an opportunist. Not knowing what the next step should be, but recognizing it when I see it.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

This is a hard one because I love a lot of authors’ work. I admire Nora Roberts for her sheer rate of production, and world-wide appeal. And she spins a decent yarn. I also love J.R Ward’s Black dagger series – never miss one. Sexy vampires do it for me everytime. Christine Feehan is another favourite, especially the Ghostwalker series. One thing I admire about all these is their attention to small detail, and the way they build and craft a scenario, developing characters and plots and sub-plots through story after story.

What inspired you to write The Dark Side?

Partly it was financial necessity – and I wanted to make my living doing something I actually enjoyed. And the opportunity arose. And I’ve much to thank E. L. James for of course. I went for the BDSM theme, and I’ve stayed with it since through other stories I’ve written, simply because it fascinates me. The wealth of possibilities, of motives, the psychological and emotional aspects as well as the physical. Phew…

Was there anything you found particularly challenging when writing The Dark Side?

Much of the time, particularly for the first half of the book, I was writing in a sort of vacuum. I’d no idea if it would ever be read by anyone but me. I didn’t know if it was any good, or if my storytelling style would engage anyone. I had one crisis of confidence after another. Then I’d read a bit back, and think it was okay. Probably. I’d tell myself I’d buy it – and over the years I’ve bought literally thousands of these things, so I do know what I like, at least. And I’d get back to writing.

I set myself the target of finishing it by Christmas 2012, and mid-way through December realized I still had a lot to do. So I pulled out all the stops, my daughter got no tea for days on end. And I finished it at just turned nine in the evening of Christmas Eve.

How did you come up with the title The Dark Side?

It seemed to fit the core theme. And it’s a play on the name of my main male character, Nathan Darke. I did much the same thing for the tie in too. That’s called Sure Mastery, and the main character is Tom Shore, who you meet briefly in The Dark Side.

If you were to give your book a Heat Rating, (lowest) 1—simmering, 2—sizzling, 3—on fire, or 4—blazing (highest), which would it be and why?

Well TEB, who are, after all, an authority, have rated it as Total-e-burning, and with a sexometer of 2. Who am I to argue?

What’s next for you?

The second and third books in The Dark Side trilogy are coming out over the summer, and Sure Mastery follows in the autumn, so I expect that’ll mean lots of promotional activity, and final editing. And funny looks from the family at Christmas, but I’ll weather that. Not sure how ‘Im Indoors is going to manage though…

I’m working on a third tie in now, and hoping to complete that manuscript by September. And I have a fourth in mind…

I think this is going to be a busy year. Or two.

Ashe Barker - Darkening cover 6-27-13

Book Blurb

Who knows where pain ends and pleasure begins?

The chance of a new life out in the wilds of the Yorkshire moors sounds too good to be true to shy musician Eva Byrne. Stifled and smothered within the cocoon of her brilliant academic career, Eva yearns for something different. Something real and exciting. Something she can feel.

Excitement. Passion. Pleasure. She finds that sexy, enigmatic Nathan Darke can provide all these and more when she moves into his home as violin tutor to his young daughter. But Eva’s sensual encounters with her demanding, domineering new employer quickly evoke her deepest fears, as he introduces her to the trauma of submission and marks her with his particularly dark brand of love.

But will Eva’s natural curiosity and thirst for new experiences be enough to withstand the sting of Nathan Darke’s exquisite touch? Will simple surrender be enough as he challenges her every inhibition, taking her on an erotic journey of self-discovery and liberation?

Excerpt (R)

I feel the hard table beneath my shoulder blades as I writhe under his skilled lips, his expert tongue and teeth, desperate for more. And he knows what he is about—he knows what I need and he has more for me. Opening his mouth wider, he takes more of my breast in and sucks hard, first one side then the other. He slides his free hand, palm up, between my shoulders and the table to raise me up, giving him easier access with his mouth, his tongue, his teeth. Gently grazing my now helplessly sensitised nipples with his teeth, he suckles me relentlessly, nipping slightly harder, just enough to hurt, maybe—I’m not sure where pain ends and pleasure begins now. What does it matter, anyway? He can do whatever he wants to me as long as he doesn’t stop.

He is no longer holding my wrists—he has no need to because I’m lying boneless under him, spread across his kitchen table, pleading wordlessly for…for what? More? Less? The ecstatic pleasure tinged with a hint of pain is so intense now that I can only moan, ride the waves of sensation pulsing from my breasts out through my fingers and toes, each wave bigger, heavier, more compelling than the one before until I am writhing with need.

“I can’t. Please, it’s too much…” Is that me? Or someone else whimpering nearby?

“Yes, you can, you are. Don’t fight it, sweetheart, come for me. Now. Come now.” His words—insistent, soft and low, seductive—are breathed into my ear before he returns to my breasts, nibbling and sucking mercilessly, building the tension, increasing the sensations coursing through every part of me, winding me tighter and tighter until I burst, screaming out loud as fireworks explode in my head, my groin, everywhere as the earth shifts beneath me. My inner core clenches violently, the wetness surely flooding across the table. I feel I am falling, floating as the tension is released and I hear myself moan in delighted satisfaction, drifting back down towards reality.

Me, the girl who can’t bear to be touched. Somehow—God only knows how it happened—I have just spent the last ten minutes spread out half naked on Nathan Darke’s kitchen table, his hands and mouth all over me until I totally lost control, and he watched me thrashing about in the throes of my very first orgasm, right in front of him. Christ! How wonderful, how intimate. How unlike me. And he’s achieved all this without so much as a button of his coming undone.

Raising his head to look into my eyes, which I’m sure must be still glazed from the enormity of what has just happened to me, he smiles tenderly, if that’s possible. He drops a light kiss on my lips, then stands and, still holding my gaze, he lifts the hem of my miniskirt to slide his left hand underneath, bracing his right hand flat on the table beside my head as he leans over me, his face inches from mine. He might be intending to kiss me again. Please.

Instead, after tugging down my opaque tights and briefs, he slides his fingers between my dripping folds to touch me, gently parting my lips and running his fingertips around the entrance to my vagina. It never occurs to me to protest. I think I might melt.

“Ah, honey, you are so wet, so ready for me,” he whispers, his eyes never leaving mine as he slips first one finger, then two inside me. I gasp and tilt my hips forward, parting my thighs instinctively to let him in. I can’t believe I’m doing this, that I’m letting him touch me like this.

“I want to fuck you. You know that, don’t you?” I can’t think of any sensible response to that apart from spreading my legs farther, but he apparently, incredibly, wants to talk! “Don’t you?” he repeats, sliding his fingers inside me to stretch and stroke the walls of my vagina. “Answer me, Miss Byrne.”

“Yes,” I manage to whisper, closing my eyes to savour the intense pleasure he is rekindling, the delicious helplessness as my body responds again, more powerfully still, to this even more intense stimulation.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you, Miss Byrne.” His voice is still quiet, but an edge of firmness has crept in too. He slides his wonderful, clever fingers out of my vagina, right out until only the tips are still there, gently circling my entrance, so lightly that I can hardly feel him anymore, before he plunges them back inside me, hard and fast. “Do I have your attention, Miss Byrne?” he asks softly as I jerk under him.

“Yes,” I whisper again, opening my eyes obediently. “What are you doing?”

“Am I hurting you?” His tone is low, gentle, the words whispered into my ear.

“No. No, that feels fabulous…”

“Mmmm, I think so too, Miss Byrne. You’re so hot and wet and tight, and I want to put my cock inside you, here…” A further deep and fast thrust with his fingers, to make sure I get his point. I do. I definitely do. “Deep and hard and fast, until you scream. I like it that you scream when I make you come. I want to fuck you until you can’t stand. With your permission, of course. Is that okay with you, Miss Byrne?”

God, yes, absolutely…

Buy Link: available for pre-order 6/28 at Total-E-Bound

SONY DSCAuthor bio

In 2010 I escaped the public sector in the UK, and started to write. Now I count myself among the lucky few who do what they love doing and manage to make a living out of it.

The Dark Side trilogy was the first completed piece, to be released from July 2013 by those lovely people at Total-e-Bound. This was followed by another tie-in trilogy, Sure Mastery, also in the Total-e-Bound pipeline.

I like to write about people, relationships, and the general cock-up and mayhem that is most of our lives. I often write about places I’ve known, and have a particular fondness for setting stories in the north of England where I live. But my tales of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of my own imagination. With a hefty dose of kink to keep it interesting. We all need to have a hobby. And the hotter the better.

I love to craft strong, sexy, enigmatic and dominant men who know their way around a woman’s body. And bright, sassy, self-reliant women to give them a hard time – in every sense of the word. I’ve loved reading erotic fiction for many years – historical, contemporary, fantasy, romance. Now I’m lucky enough to realize my dreams of writing my own stories. I hope others enjoy them as much as I do.

When I’m not writing my time is divided between my role as resident taxi-driver for my teenage daughter, best friend and wife to my lovely, long-suffering and sometimes bemused husband, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, tortoises. And Colin the hamster.

You can find Ashe at: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Total-E-Bound author page