Monday, 2 February 2015

Ashe Barker - Special Guest

Hello Lily, and thank you for inviting me back to your blog to chat a bit about what’s new.

This is such a busy time for me because I have not one but two new releases to shout about, so it’s been all go trying to make sure they both get a good send off. Chameleon came out last Friday, and Red Skye at Night is out in a few days.

I think I need a lie down in a darkened room. With a stiff drink. Maybe two.

Chameleon is set in the dusty heat of Morocco, and Red Skye at Night is set in the Highlands of Scotland. Both locations are very different, and something of a departure from my usual Yorkshire moorland settings. The contrast is even more striking right now because of the cold weather we’re having here in the UK, and I understand in a lot of other places too.

I thought I’d share a picture of the scene now in my garden. A bit of desert heat would go down very nicely right now as I contemplate yet again having to dig my car out of a snowdrift. Even my trip across the Highlands for Red Skye at Night took place during the summer, so was a lot warmer.

Both these books were inspired by experiences I had on holiday, a chance encounter, maybe a visit to some attraction or other that sparked an idea. A what if…?

Here are a couple of the inspirational pictures in my holiday photos.

I don’t know about other authors, but since I started writing seriously I’ve been a lot more conscious of drawing inspiration from the places I see and the people I meet. I make notes, store them up for later.

I went to Scotland in the summer of 2013, and I knew all along I’d be transferring lots of the locations and experiences into a sexy story. The Highlands are such a seductive, dramatic place, the scenery so stunning I don’t see how I could have avoided it really.
My last visit to Morocco was a long time ago, but I remember the place well - the heat, the bustle, the peace and quiet of the mountains and the manic scramble of everyday life in the souks and bazaars, bartering, haggling for the best deals. I tried to recreate that sense of vibrancy in Chameleon.

Other locations I have loved and used in my stories are the Lake District in the north west of England where I spend most weekends in the summer, and Berwick in Northumberland, in the North East of the country. I have a story coming out in May which is set in Paris – my husband’s favourite city.

I have always known that strong, believable characters are essential for a good book. But I think the setting is almost as important, the reader wants to get a sense of the place and share it with the characters, actually be there with them. Because I tend to write about my favourite places I really want to do them justice, showcase them I suppose, and maybe encourage readers to visit themselves one day, if they could. Or failing that to feel they experienced the place anyway through my story.

Here’s an excerpt from Chameleon

An hour later, she bounced slowly over the dust track leading from the main road up to the farm that had been in her father’s family for generations. It was a large property, and prosperous, but her uncle, who now ran the place, seemed unwilling to invest in a proper access road. Her grandmother also insisted that things were fine as they were—those whom she wanted to see could find her well enough. Change and modernisation were not welcomed here in the mountains, and for her part, Fleur was glad of it.
The final leg of her journey took about fifteen minutes of cautious manoeuvring, easing her city-loving Opel between the pits and furrows of the unpaved road until eventually the low, white-painted buildings of the Mansouri farmstead came into sight. The place seemed to glitter in the midmorning sunshine, the light glinting off the roof-mounted solar panels and water system. Fleur pulled up about a hundred metres away and parked her car in the shade of a couple of olive trees. She would walk the rest of the distance and be glad that she had made the effort when it was time to leave and her vehicle was not baked to a crisp. She hated trying to drive when the steering wheel was too hot to touch with her bare hands.
She got out of the car and did not bother to lock it. There was no need here. She started to pick her way across the dry, hard soil surrounding the property to be greeted by a loud bellow coming from her left. She turned to see Agwmar, tethered beside an outbuilding, also benefiting from what shade was available. She smiled. Her grandmother refused to part with the elderly animal, even though his useful days were long gone. The Mansouri agricultural machine no longer used donkey power to haul the plough or transport produce to the markets, but this old boy continued to live out his days here, munching oats and languishing in the shade. Fleur turned and made a detour to say hello.
Agwmar lowered his head as she approached, his ears pricked forward to be tugged and tickled. He knew what to expect from her and nuzzled her pocket for the usual treat of a polo mint or perhaps an apple, if he was especially lucky. Fleur had not thought to bring any fruit, but fortunately for the donkey, she did have a packet of mints in the bottom of her bag. They may not have been scrupulously clean, but he seemed ready to overlook that failing on her part as he munched happily.
“So, old man. You had a lift home, yes? I am sorry I left you, but I had to drive that idiot Englishman. It could not be helped.”
The donkey tossed his head, which Fleur interpreted as a nod.
“Good, I knew you would understand. How is grandmère?”
Agwmar stamped his front hooves in the dust, seemingly irritated that the supply of mints appeared to be drying up. Fleur patted his neck, then flung her arms around him, burying her nose in his coarse mane. She breathed in the warm smell of him, the smell of her childhood, the aroma of comfort and security, and of timeless certainty. And now Agwmar evoked other memories too. She associated him with that fateful meeting on the mountain road, just a few weeks ago.
She had murmured to the faithful donkey the whole way as they had ambled slowly down the tarmac. She had complained to the faithful beast about the manners of some people as she had eyed the lone tourist parked at the side of the road, the man who had watched their progress every inch of the way. She had thought him rude and she was sure Agwmar shared that view, but at the last moment, the stranger had taken his sunglasses off and she saw his eyes. She had changed her mind then and simply thought him beautiful. She had said as much to Agwmar, who had not disagreed.
“He is gone, old friend. He left and he is not coming back. What am I to do now?”
The donkey nuzzled her shoulder, his low snuffling sounds sympathetic but offering no persuasive answers. He seemed to be as much at a loss as was she.

… and the blurb
A chance meeting, two strangers whose paths cross—in the same place at the same time, yet a world apart.

When mining engineer Ethan Savage spots the cloaked, veiled woman riding a donkey in the Moroccan desert, he can be forgiven for thinking that in some respects nothing much has changed in two thousand years. She wouldn’t look out of place in Biblical times. They pass, nod, smile politely and go their separate ways, two strangers a world apart.
But when, moments later, she rescues him from his crashed car, the first words she utters make Ethan realise that appearances can be deceptive. His little Berber peasant is not what she seems.

Shifting effortlessly between her traditional roots in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and her professional life as the Totally Five Star hotel doctor, Fleur is a human chameleon, able to adapt and blend into any environment. At first irritated then amused by the handsome stranger, Fleur knows the assumptions he’s made about her. As their paths cross once more at the luxurious hotel, she realises he, too, is not all he seems. This sexy Englishman holds the key to her most secret and sensual desires, dangerous yearnings she’s kept locked away for years. Now she has a choice to make.

Ethan is only in Marrakesh for a few days, then he’ll be gone and she’ll never see him again. No one will ever know, so surely it will do no harm? Can she pass up this opportunity? And once she’s trusted him with her body, experienced all he can offer, will she be able to return to her old life? Or will the sensual chameleon need to reinvent herself once again to fit into his world?

Chameleon Buy Links :

More about me:
I’ve been an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres. I still love reading, the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.

I tend to draw on 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.

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 a very grumpy cockatiel. 

I have twenty (at the last count) titles on general release, with several more in the pipeline. All my books feature BDSM. I write explicit stories, always hot, but they offer far more than just sizzling sex. I like to read about complex characters, and compelling plots, so that’s what I write too. Strong, demanding 

Doms are a given, often paired with new submissives who have a lot to learn.

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.

I love to hear from readers. You can find me on my blog, and on the Totally Bound site. I’m on Facebook, and twitter and now on Tsu as well. I’m on Pinterest too, and Goodreads

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