So if you haven’t caught the podcast this morning, then this is also revealed in the show. For those that prefer to read… Here’s a summary of what my big secret pen name reveal.
My Big Secret Revealed…
So I’ve been a secretive dick for a while.
There was a reason for that.
If you’re up to date with the podcast or you follow me on socials you’ll know that I’ve been squirrelling away under a secret pen name.
This feels like the end of a long road of growth and change for me over the last year. Much of it thanks to Clifton Strengths, Becca Syme and Elli who coaches me on the regular.
But also the start of a new wave of ME. A better me, a bigger me, a more accepting of me ME.
I’m feeling stronger mentally which is why I’m ready to share.
In the summer of 2021, I read a sapphic young adult book and my mind shattered. I’d spent a lot of my childhood reading crime, or straight romance. We can all speculate on why that was the case, but why it happened isn’t the important bit. What’s important is the shift it created.
I wanted more from fiction. I’d seen myself in a book, I’d felt something about the characters for the first time in a long time. If ever there were a case to help one realise that the world needs your book, there’s some little girl or boy or non binary child out there in need of your words and your representation, let this be it. There aren’t enough words in the world.
But then the joy ran out.
Around April this year, I’d had enough. Everything I’d read was clean and sweet and mostly contemporary.
FWIW there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but I think we can all agree I am neither clean nor sweet.
I’m the kinda gal who would gut you in your sleep if you got in the way of my win.
Then I read Queen Takes Rose by Katee Robert and fell into the rabbit hole of fantasy romance. Steamy lesbian books and a whole romance world that was hot and spicy, dark and sweary.
It felt like home.
Like desire and chocolate and a beating yearn at my core… calm down heathens we’re not at the steam yet.
What it was, was the missing puzzle piece.
But that’s not what Sacha wrote.
I mean sure, Sacha wrote a lot of swear words in her non-fiction, a fair amount of dick jokes.
But her fiction had taken a beating. You all know I’d lost confidence, it took me four years to finish Trey, and while I love that book, it was fraught with mindset and anguish issues. I dragged myself over that finish line limping and bleeding.
The sales results reflected that. It was the end of an era of having not delivered what the market and readers wanted. I’d tried to ram too much into one series, too many mistakes were made. But we all learn.
This time things had to be different.
I took 1-2-1 coaching. I ramped up my writing speed to drafting a book in under three weeks. This was great. This meant I had more flexibility. But the first book I did that with was still a YA book.
Okay… but it was sapphic at least.
I didn’t want to focus on it. I will do something with that next year, but I realised I needed to do something else.
Somewhere along the way, I’d lost the joy of writing.
I’d forgotten that I came to this industry in pain. You only have to read the post I wrote announcing the fact I’d quit my day job – see the photo I included to know the pain I was in.
And still, I’d manage to lose the joy. I’d stopped letting my inner 2 year old play with words, mash them together in sticky fists and gnaw on half sentences cause they tasted good.
See, here’s the thing. What I learned through coaching, is that somewhere down the line, I’d stopped loving myself.
I was functioning.
I was existing to do the work, pay the bills, and keep everyone alive.
I didn’t love myself. I wasn’t proud of myself. I didn’t think I was worthy or valuable.
Now, I’m not going to open the can of worms that led me to that conclusion, it is what it is. Let’s just table it as a fact. Another reminder that what you see on the outside isn’t always a person’s truth on the inside.
If you feel this way, just know I see you.
Realising it shifted something monumental inside me. I was done hating myself. I was done letting other people’s judgments seep into my mind and influence my own judgment of myself.
I’m reading Happy Money by Ken Honda right now, and he said something last night that just fried my braincells.
“The bullies are just in their minds. The person who is really judging them is themself.”
I know. Re-read it. Take a second, I’ll wait. I shit the bed too.
Anyway, I realised that I needed to love me first. We all need to love ourselves first.
But to do that, I needed to be vulnerable.
Vulnerable with myself. I needed silence. I needed a moment to breathe and inhale and remember who I was, what joy was, and how to play again.
So I had to retreat. Do it in secret.
And at the time of writing the book, right up until the moment I sent it to the editor, I really thought that it would stay that way. That this was going to be a secret pen name for good.
But there’s a moment of letting go when you shove a book off to an editor. A separation of you the creator and the art you plied and mashed together with your pudgy fingers and it becoming a product and asset.
I’m sure that moment shifts depending on the person. But for me, it’s the moment I hand the book to the editor. It splits, much like giving birth I suppose, which is why writing and publishing is likened to childbirth so often.
Anyway. I sent the book off and realised I was free.
I’d done it.
And surprising no one, I felt lighter. Freer. Happier.
I’d written a book entirely just for me.
I wrote the kind of story I wanted to read. I’d rammed it with as much competition and dark heart steam as I could and you know what…
I fucking LOVE it.
I still love it.
When have you ever heard me talk about a book like that? At this point, I’m usually riddled with doubt and fear. Just look at the way I spoke about Trey.
No. This is different. This book is pure escapism. It’s fun. It’s not meant to be a literary masterpiece. It’s meant to whisk you away and keep you gripped to the pages, it’s meant to make you swoon and sigh and grin in sheepish delight. Because that’s exactly what I did writing it.
Which leads me to the reveal.
I’m keeping the pen name. I think it’s the persona I need to wear when writing these kinds of stories.
She’s like me, only more. Extra.
“Ruby Roe is the author of lesbian fantasy romance. She loves a bit of magic with her smut, but she’ll read anything as long as the characters get down and dirty. When Ruby isn’t writing romance, she can usually be found beasting herself in the gym, snuggling with her two pussy… cats, or spanking all her money on her next travel adventure. She lives in England with her wife, son and two devious rag doll cats.”
Why the name? Ruby is, for whatever reason, a name I’ve come across endlessly in the sapphic sphere. Roe is my step father’s surname and he was the one who tirelessly encouraged me to write “something naughty as it sells” so it’s a nod to him.
The book is called:
A Game of Hearts and Heists
This is the blurb:
Two enemies, one goal: steal each other’s hearts.
Scarlett Grey, disgraced assassin, is determined to get revenge.
Quinn Adams, medic turned-poisoner for hire, is her deadliest rival.
For years, they’ve stolen each other’s clients, sabotaged each other’s business, and occasionally… slept together.
When the Magician Queen offers an irresistible deal, Scarlett and Quinn are forced to work together. But this is not a simple job.
With an impossible heist ahead, they’re going to have to trust each other…
And that’s not easy when they both have secrets to hide.
Harder still when those secrets will betray the ones they love.
Now neither woman is sure if it’s a heist they want to win or a heart.
Two women, two deadly professions, and a romance that could be their downfall.
This is a steamy lesbian fantasy romance with enemies to lovers, a heist, found family, a secret royal, babes on bikes, and only one bed.
Two things as we round off this little jolly into my soul.
1. If this sounds like your sort of thing, and you’d like to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review or you’d like to be part of the street team, please let me know. This is a whole new venture. I need a team to help me launch. Email me on: email@example.com or DM me or whatever you like.
2. If it sounds like the sort of story you’d like to read, the ebook is on preorder right now. Paper and hardbacks will be coming soon. You can see the little munchkin here.
I have set up two socials for Ruby. Instagram and TikTok. But I haven’t quite decided on the platform I’ll be using yet. There will be a mailing list with smut, and dark hearts and free stories and gossip but again. It’s still brewing in my cauldron. But if you want to follow the adventure you can.
So that’s it. That’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been squirrelling away at.
No more secrets.
No more hiding.
That preorder button one more time: