Thursday, July 26, 2018

All Screwed Up by AJ Adams Pre-Order and Get A Juicy Discount!

What readers say about AJ Adams

“A.J. is a talented writer. With a dark imagination.” 

“...awesome dark romance between less than perfect people...”  

“I can always count on her to weave a fantastically well written story with in-depth, precisely developed characters that are meticulously flawed, yet always have that redeeming quality." 

"There is just something mesmerizing about AJ Adam's style of writing that reels me in every time, even when I start out hesitantly due to a different genre outside my favorite normal."

All Screwed Up

Sexy, sassy adult model Lacy Desire is in deep trouble. Having walked out on her abusive photographer ex and wrecked a major deal, he and his underworld backers are out for revenge.  Lacy decides only one man can save her: Rex Winslow, the super hot money launderer for the Disciples MC.  His rep for violence and mayhem doesn’t worry her because she knows a secret that will keep him in line.

Rex Winslow, tenth Viscount Ravenshurst and financial guru to the Disciples MC, is about to pull off the deal of a lifetime that will restore his family name and fortune. When Lacy turns up and blackmails him into helping her, he’s furious. Worse, her troubles bring the Horde, rivals to the Disciples MC, crashing in on his deal. Handing her over will fix it but cold-hearted practical Rex discovers he’s fallen head over heels. Can he give her up?

Pre-Order and Get A Juicy Discount!

All Screwed Up is yours for $2.99
Regular Price $3.99 

About AJ Adams 

AJ Adams writes twisted love stories set in the violent world of the Cartel, Camorra, Belial's MC and Prydain.

AJ Adams novels are self-standing and although some feature the same families, you need not read them all - but it would be awesome if you did.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

All Screwed Up Like and Share volunteers


I am looking for help promoting All Screwed Up, my next book.

What it involves:
  • You get 4 email messages over the month of August with links.
  • You choose a couple of these to Like and Share on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
That's it!

If you want to help me, sign up. Anytime you change your mind, you just tell me and I take you off the list. And once August is over, I delete the list, so you won't be stuck with endless email.

All Screwed Up Like and Share volunteers

* indicates required

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Should I switch from first person to writing third person points of view? Plus a review of Dark Experiments (Forever and a Night, #2) by Lana Campbell

I write in first person point of view (I/me/my) is where the character tells you what’s going on directly.

I was shit scared he’d throw me to the pack, so when he stood up and walked me round the side of the house, away from everyone else, my legs went all shaky.
Chloe, from The Bonus
In my novels, you get the story as told by my girl and her man. She gets a chapter and then he gets a chapter. (Except in Beast, where the story is told by Wynne).

I love first person because it’s so immediate. Apart from the pure whammo of personality, you get to see what my girl and her man are thinking, their inner fears, and you can see them fight with themselves as they grow.

Also, as my novels have a mystery as well as a love story plot, and my girl and her man go off and do a lot of things without the other knowing, it made sense to switch viewpoints from chapter to chapter.

I love the way you can show an incident through two sets of eyes.

Like when Chloe discovers Kyle was married before...
     “He said you were some sort of devil, and that you’d killed your wife, and that you’d kill me too.”
     I knew the moment I said it that I shouldn’t have. The stupid thing was that I did it because I thought that wank biscuit Raj had made it up just to scare me. Kyle never said anything about a wife, nor did anyone who came to see him. There were no pictures, not one, and by this time I’d gone through all his stuff. Mostly because I have this neat thing but also because I’m a nosy cow, and spring-cleaning gave me an excuse to get into everything.
     So I thought it was a windup. But it wasn’t. The moment the words were out of my mouth, Kyle’s whole body tensed. Then he got goose bumps and pulled away from me. The second I saw that, I knew what it meant. It was all true. Suddenly, I was cold to the marrow.
Of course, Chloe is petrified. She’s convinced she’s up for the chop, just like Kyle’s wife was. It leads her directly into action, which moves the plot forward. 

You'd think Kyle was a total arse, however, then he tells it from his point of view. 
     I was such a self-centred fucktard that it never occurred to me to talk to her. I took it for granted that she knew I would look out for her, but how could she? Chloe’s never been treated right in her life. I should have known she’d expect the worst.
     When she said one thing that caught me on the raw, I acted out like a whiny-assed kid and blew her off. “Let’s get some shut-eye.” Then I ignored her big, frightened eyes and pretended to sleep. She should have ripped me a new one, but she didn’t. I don’t think she could. God help me, I think she was afraid of me.
So I love what the double viewpoints do. However, the flip side is that too much is dull.

And that’s the bit that worries me. I’m never sure if I’m showing too little or too much. And feedback from readers is totally contradictory! Not enough, some say. Too much, say others. Haven't even thought about it, is a common response. Just right, has also been said. So I guess it’s a matter of personal taste.

The other problem is that having two people tell one story is quite complex in terms of planning. I need to track plot threads very carefully, and make sure that it all hangs together cleanly.Over 85,000 words and sometimes more, it's quite a project.

Practice makes perfect and the book I’m writing now, the story of Rex and Lacy, a follow-up to Helpless, is hanging together well. I’m being totally ruthless about cutting out background and focusing on keeping the story moving forward.

However, while I love being AJ Adams, I am painfully aware that it means I can only produce one and a half books a year. I have lots of ideas, and I am very keen to produce four books a year.

So I’ve been wondering if I should make a change and move on to third person point of view (she/he) where you stand outside the story and look in.
It was all there, just as she’d suspected. This was pure gold. Cassidy heaved a sigh of relief. It had been a long shot, but it had paid off.
Murder in Moscow, by Storm Chase
There is a limited version of this where you see the thoughts and actions of just one character and an omniscient version where you see the thoughts and actions of many characters.

Third person is less direct, there's less dramatic impact of personality, but it would make planning the novel a lot easier. It might save me over a month just in layout alone.

In part, I've already made a decision. For my sweet romance, as Ellen Whyte, I think I’ll move to third person for my next book. Sweet romance is much easier in terms of plot, and I think the comparative simplicity means I won’t be sacrificing too much by switching.

But I’m not sure if third person would work well for AJ Adams. Would you love it if I switched? Hate it? If you’ve thoughts on this, I really would welcome your input. So let me know?

Review: Dark Experiments (Forever and a Night, #2) by Lana Campbell
A medical thriller with fangs
This is rather an unusual crossover in terms of genre, being a medical thriller along the lines of Robin Cook, but with vampires thrown in.

I can’t stand Robin Cook and medical thrillers in general but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It’s well written and nicely paced.

I love the vampire world Lana Campbell created. It’s rich, fun and we learn about it as the story unfolds, so as a reader you kind of slide into it.

I liked Tiffany and Christian as well. They’re real people, with their little quirks and irritations. If you’re looking for trope, you won’t find them here!

As I said, medical thrillers aren’t my thing and so I skipped the bits that were devoted to injections, discussions of blood etc. However, I suspect fans of the genre will love those beautifully written details.

As a side comment, I can see Dark Experiments translating very easily into a film or television show. In some ways it reads like a John Grissom book where the author has set it out so it will be a snap to adapt to a shooting script.

If you’re looking for a good read, I’d recommend this. Also, while it’s the second story in a series, it reads brilliantly as a standalone.  You need not worry about picking this up and ending with a cliffhanger or other loose ends. Def recommended.

Monday, June 4, 2018

#CockyGate, #TiffanyGate - It's A Scummy Business. What You Need To Know Before You Dive Into The Romance Industry

In the last few weeks, we've had CockyGate, with Faleena Hopkins trying to trademark single, everyday words in order to ban her competitors from the market, and quietly harassing and bullying other authors as well.

Now we've added #TiffanyGate with Chance Carter manipulating the review system and simultaneously #Bookstuffing and running a click-to-the-end scheme in order to cheat the Kindle Unlimited programme.

If you haven't already, read the excellent When #Cockygate And #Tiffanygate Collide by David Gaughran  For live updates, click here to go to twitter #GetLoud

It's pretty damn sucky behaviour. However, if it's putting you off joining the industry, do please think again.

Romance writing is big business, with the US market alone being worth over US$1 billion.  As you might expect, this brings out the worst in some people. But the Faleenas and Chances are a minority.

I'm unknown but I've reached out to Cari Silverwood, Kitty Thomas, and Tymber Dalton in the past. They are best selling authors, big hitters in the romance industry, and they took the time to reply.

The romance author community is like that. At some level we compete, but actually, it's much more of a cooperative affair than you might think.

I have a small secret author group that I check in with several times a week. We have mutual moans and rah-rah sessions - that kind of support is totally necessary if you're a creative. We also share insider news of what's new, what's no longer working, and other industry information. 

My experience is perfectly normal; poke a romance author and after she giggles, she'll no doubt have her own stories of being helped and of helping others.

The message is: don't give up the dream!

It is daunting to write and it's hard to make a career out of it. If you're starting out, I strongly suggest you hook up with other romance authors and go for joint promotion projects.

The idea is this: as there are millions of excellent books out there, it's hard to be visible. Rather than work alone, you promote with a bunch of friends in order to get extra eyeballs.

This month I'm working with two groups, one with Love Kissed Promotions and one with Words Turn Me On.  With Love Kissed every member gets a media packet and posts on her own. With Words, there's group email and coordination.

They're both worth your time but let me tell you about the one below, because I think it's a typical good experience about the industry.

I've known Monica Smith who writes hot, sexy urban romance for two years or so. Because of the time difference, we hardly ever talk publicly on FB but we message each other on a regular basis. Monica is one of my author support friends. A few weeks ago, she shared some promo companies with me that she'd found useful. That saved me hours and hours of work, finding new leads!

Nanea Knott has been a pal since we did a cross promo on viking stories a couple of years ago. I can't for the life of me remember who organised that, but Nanea has been bouncing in and out of my FB timeline and my Messenger ever since. She's tonnes of fun, always cheery, and a prolific writer, which I find inspiring.

I met Bella Jeanisse a few weeks ago through Donna and Stephanie of Words Turn Me On. They were promoting her book, and I signed up to review. I enjoyed her writing and now we're in a couple of groups together. Also, as she's a dark erotica author, and I write dark-ish novels, my bet is that we'll be cross promoting over the next few years.

Samantha Jacobey was introduced to me by a reader who likes both our books. Yes, readers hook up their favourite authors together!  Isn't that cool? Samantha was running a giveway (come to think of it, I think I owe her something for that) and when I got into this, I found out that she too works with Donna and Stephanie. Small world, right?

As for Nicole Austin, L.A. Remenicky and Lindy Hudis, I don't know them yet, but I expect we'll see more of each other after this. It's a massive industry but the romance author community is surprisingly small.

Joint promotion is good for your sales and it will help you make friends. It's a double win.

So, if you're put off by the nasties you've been hearing about recently, do think again. All big business has its bullies and cheats, but if you want to get into romance, you're going to find most people are decent and helpful.


Check out this romance collection, and read them all FREE with KU!

Looking for a sweet read? His Laughing Girl
Yearning for hot and sexy? Sins of a Housewife 2
A touch of fairy dust? Sassy Faerie Princess
Dangerous Cartel hotties? The Bonus
BDSM love in the MC? Double Dominance
Brand new erotic romance? Quench
Brand new rocker romance? Guitar God
Paranormal suspense romance? Saving Cassie
MC and action? Captive

Read It On KU Read It On KU Read It On KU
Read It On KU Read It On KU Read It On KU
Read It On KU Read It On KU Read It On KU

wTMO hostedby.jpg

Monday, May 14, 2018

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Encourages Piracy, And This Is How To Fix It

When I wrote about #cockygate making some new authors nervous about titling their books yesterday, I mentioned that the barriers put up by Amazon and other big book companies have led to widespread piracy.

This led to some questions - and accusations. Answering the latter first, I'm not anti-Amazon, anti-American etc etc. I was describing the situation as I see it.

I forgot that many people don't travel and have little idea of life outside the US/UK/EU. 

So here goes...

We don't have a national library system; we're a developing nation. We do have bookshops.

Best Sellers from MPH, one of Malaysia's biggest bookshops
An average paperback price is RM45-RM70, which is US$12-US$18.

Note: a latte in Starbucks/CoffeeBean costs RM12 or US$3 so for us, books are a luxury. Not everyone can afford them.

We see Amazon Kindle offers 1,400,000 books for RM40 or $10. They advertise everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, blogs are constantly harping on how wonderful KU is. It's also in newspapers and on television talk shows, dramas and news channels.

The message: KU is glorious.

We look at all the pretty toys, and we want them.


Problem: many of the best sellers listed on Amazon aren’t sold in shops here. And almost none of the KU books are available.

So we go to Amazon.

We say, "KU is awesome! Sign me up!"
They say, "KU is only available in 15 countries. You're not on our list."

Fact: Amazon KU is available in 15 countries, meaning 180 countries get to look but not touch.

We say, "I have a credit card, verified by Visa."
They say, "Nice. Now, get lost."
We say, "I can transfer the money. In Dollars."
They say, "No."
We say, "I've been an Amazon customer since 1996. I buy paperbacks from you. I send gifts to my friends in the US and UK and Spain."
They say, "Thank you for shopping with us!"

So we get angry.  We feel slighted, discriminated against, dissed.

And we keep seeing the shiny toys and we're told we're not allowed to play.

So when a shop opens up in the mall and offers us the top 200 best sellers at once, for half the price of a latte in Starbuck/CoffeeBean, we say, "Why not? We tried and they told us to f* off. So we'll f* them. Gimme, gimme, gimme!" 

We don't care that the shop is owned by an organised crime syndicate because we're angry.

We don't consider that handing over tonnes of cash to criminals is a bad idea because we're getting our revenge.

So after a decade or more of raking in oodles of cash from ordinary people who'd normally never consort with criminals, the syndicates are so damn rich that they can bribe police, immigration officials, and god knows who else. Crime rockets.

Also, we've lost a little of ourselves because piracy has become normalised.

We know what's right, we want to do right, but we're locked out.

So, want to deal a death blow to piracy and organised crime?
Take our money.

It really is that simple.

Note: Barnes&Noble, iTunes, and other shops won't talk to us, either. Kobo will but the last two books I bought from them didn't show up in my reader, and they don't answer customer service email. As for Smashwords, ask me about them some other time. 

Some book piracy facts
The Guardian thinks 4m or 17% of all online ebooks are pirated. Article here.
Russia puts book piracy at 25-30% - and people don't even realise they're buying illegal books! Article here. 
Africa has a $1 billion dollar publishing industry, and it suffers hugely because of normalised piracy. Article here.

And now, as I said yesterday, I have a foothold left in Europe so I'm bloody lucky to be let into KU. So, I leave you with the usual SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION! 
(Note: if you're locked out, and you want to read my books, drop me a note, okay?)


Sunday, May 13, 2018

After #Cockygate, do you need to trademark/copyright your book titles?

This post is written for young authors, or new authors living in non-kindle countries, who are worried about #cockygate leaving them open to lawsuits and being blocked by American sales platforms like Amazon.  Also, there are tips on creating a unique title.

What is #CockyGate?

Faleena Hopkins who sells novels on Amazon is making lots of claims, including that she alone has the right to use the word 'cocky' in a book title. She's been bullying authors, threatening to sue them, and telling Amazon that her rights have been infringed.

For a short time, authors who had books with the word COCKY in the title on Amazon had their books taken down. Also, because Amazon uses a lot of automated tools, readers who'd used the word in totally unrelated book reviews also found their opinions censored.

Although Faleena is sticking to her guns and making more and more wild claims, Amazon has put the banned books back up, and is restoring the reviews. She's also being challenged legally. (More about that below)

Now, if you're thinking that you have to register your book titles, or that you need to hire a lawyer before you can publish your romance novel, don't worry. You don't need to panic, and you don't need to shelve your dream of becoming a romance author.

Some Industry Perspective
Romance publishing is worth some $1 billion a year in the USA alone. That's lots of lovely $$$ and so everyone is after a slice. While most people are nice, there are a few Faleenas out there.

For those of us who don't live in the US/UK/EU, getting our books out is particularly difficult because Amazon and the other big companies set up barriers that limit our participation severely.

These barriers have had some sad consequences, including the normalisation of piracy in many of our communities. Also, I suspect it has had a knock-on effect on our everyday safety, with pirated goods enriching organised crime gangs.

Disclosure: I'm extremely fortune in having a European base (for now) that lets me get around some of those barriers.

Publishing After CockyGate
I'm not a lawyer, but I've been a full-time writer and columnist for over 20 years. Basically, you need to consider these points:

It's nearly impossible to secure the rights to a single common word. If anyone could get the rights to use a single word, you can bet your boots that some crafty bugger would have claimed the words, King, Queen, billionaire, love etc etc and then demanded tonnes of $$$ from anyone who used those words.

Under very special circumstances, you can get some limited rights to a word and challenge people for using it. For example, you can use the word apple anywhere you want, but if you tried to make Apple computer products, you'd be in hot water. (more on this further below)

Book titles are not necessarily unique. Romance publishing is as old as the hills, and as there are zillions of titles, there's going to be lots of overlap.  It took me a few seconds to find four books called The Lost Heir and there are probably tonnes more.

That's perfectly okay because readers aren't daft. They look at the cover, the author and they read the blurb before they buy.

You'll never understand all the laws. When it comes to publishing, every country has it's own take on what's allowed and what's not. Some countries don't give a damn what happens in our industry, and others are super hot on what you can and can't do.

Companies like Amazon are so huge, that they make their own rules. These are often just as contradictory and confusing as national laws.

You can consult lawyers, but finding one in your country that knows the ins and outs of our niche market will be a challenge. If you're living in a society that's very litigious, then work with an established publishing house.

If you are intending to make your career as an international romance author, this is the rule of thumb that will work for you no matter where you publish: Intentional misleading is a no-no.

If you write a book called The Lost Heir, you're going to have a unique cover and your own name, right? So that's fine. Go ahead and publish. But if you pinch GA Henry's cover and call yourself GA Henry and pretend that you are s/he, that's a different story.

Keep it honest and you'll probably be okay.

Tips For Creating A Unique Title
Until recently, I didn't think too much about the uniqueness of my titles. (That's the thing about publishing, it's a lifelong learning curve!)

#1 Either have a longer title, or create a series to set your book apart. I like short titles because they're easy to remember. However, it means they're more likely to be less than unique.

I lucked out when I wrote the first AJ Adams, The Bonus, because it was unique. Since then, I see Alice Lingard has also used it. It's not going to confuse anyone, but I think it helps that I have a series listed, The Zeta Cartel Novels.

#2 When you have your title, search for similar books. I used to search Amazon but that isn't the smartest thing to do. For one thing, they hide titles from their search results. For another, they don't list books that are no longer in print.

That's how I didn't discover there's another Prydain series published in the 1960s until after I'd published Beast, The Beast and the Sibyl, and Fletcher! Now I search Amazon and Goodreads to see how unique my brilliant title ideas are.

#3 Lean In.  If you discover your title is overused or you think there will be some confusion, ask fellow romance authors for opinions. The community is generally speaking supportive and people like Faleena are very rare indeed. So lean in when you need to.

Learn From CockyGate
I'm learning a lot from this #ByeFaleena train wreck, and if you're planning on working in the industry, you should read up.

For an excellent overview of the drama, check out Jenny Trout's post, Don’t Do This, Ever: Faleena Hopkins Cocks The Whole Entire Fuck Up and check out Courtney!!! Milan on Twitter.

For a short and simple overview in text of how US law works when it comes to trademarks for book titles, read this post by Mark Knight, a US based Intellectual Property lawyer and author.

If you have video, then you should definitely watch this interview with Kevin Kneupper, another US Intellectual Property lawyer who explains why this is such a legal tangle, and how Amazon and other companies tend to react over issues like this. Kevin wrote the challenge to Faleena, so he's a hero in the community :-)

I hope this helps. PM me on Facebook if you have questions, and I'll do my best to answer - or at least send you a link or two.

You might also hit Twitter and look for the hashtags #CockyGate and #ByeFaleena. You can find me on Twitter here, but please be patient with me because my Twitter activity has been limited to lurking rather than posting. I'm learning the ins and outs of posting there as we speak.

And now, I leave you with some SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Am I spying on you?

Have you heard of this new GDPR thing coming out of the European Union? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is supposed to give EU people control over their personal data.

Rumours are that it will have a huge impact on newsletters, so some authors are worried. I have to say, I’m not. And not just because I live in Malaysia.

The rules are written in legalese and I find them incomprehensible. However, from the very little I see, I think they are meant to force companies to give people what they sign up for and not muck them about.

What they don’t want:
o       You signing up for a newsletter about soap and being sent stuff about cars and loans.
o       You being faced with pre-ticked boxes that commit you automatically to pesky 'special offers' and other dodgy extras.
o       You signing up and having your data given away or shared with God knows who.

I don’t do that.  

If you're reading this, I have no clue who you are. Blogger does tell me how many people view this post and what country they are from. That's it.

You see that Follow By Email box on the top right? If you pop your email into that, blogger sends you a note every time I write a new post. 

When you do that, most blogs will show your blogger link to the sidebar. People only see your blog or your public profile. Learn how to manage that, here.

I don't show your link in the sidebar, because I think you should be private. I can if I want click through some stuff in the background and then I see your name and your blogger photo - but I don't bother.

If you want to get special offers nobody else gets, you have to sign up for my newsletter. This is what happens:

You Double Opt In To Protect You
When you sign up, you get an automated email asking you to confirm it really was you doing the typing.

Why do I do this? Because there are abusive individuals out there who harass others by signing them up for hundreds or thousands of newsletters. My double confirmation is to prevent some nut from hassling you.

I Don’t Collect Extra Information
When you sign up for my newsletter, you tell me your name and email address.  I don’t know anything else about you. Also, you can choose not to tell me your name, and just give me your email address.

MailChimp tells me if you open my newsletters all the time or just sometimes but I don’t look.

I Don’t Share Your Information - Ever
I write to you once in a blue moon about my books, and that’s basically it. I don’t share your email address with anyone, ever.

Actually, it’s a bit more than that. You see, your name and email are guarded by MailChimp. I can get a list if I want, but actually, I don’t even look.

The only time I know you get my newsletter is when you hit Reply and speak to me privately over email.

Your Privacy Matters
I have this approach because I hate it when companies bugger me about.  Like last month I discovered Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airlines have secretly taken the super personal private data I gave them to book airline tickets, and sold/shared it with their marketing partners.

As a result, I was inundated on my birthday by email and notices. I’m steaming angry about this because keeping my birth date safe is an integral part of preventing ID fraud.

Hopefully they’ll get hit by the GDPR but I doubt it. Big companies never stick to the rules.

Also, I once signed up for an ARC and found the author was signing me up to over 20 of her friends’ newsletters. My email box was jammed for months with email from people I’d never even heard of.  

So I take the approach that if I hate it, you will too.

Unsubscribing Is Easy
If you change your email address, or GASP, get bored with me, each newsletter comes with an unsubscribe button.

If you hit it, I get a notice that says, “X left your mailing list”. This sends me into a tailspin of doubt and despair but it won’t kill me. Probably :-)

I don’t mess about with asking you to change your mind; you want out, that’s your right. 

If you have questions, email me privately by hitting Reply.

Anyway, that’s all from me. I’ll let you know when I have the new book set up. In the meantime, do pop your email into the Follow This Blog box or come and see me on my personal timeline on Facebook.

Also, before I go, I want to say THANK YOU! You’ve all been super amazing with your support and I really appreciate it. Without you, I would not be writing.  

So muahs and see you all in 2 weeks or so.

Ellen aka AJ