Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Want to review for me? Get Dirty Dealings!

Do you read reviews? Choose books based on reviews? I'm on the fence about reviews as I tend to ignore them, but there's no doubt that they mean a lot to many readers. Also, sales sites like Amazon tend to favour books that have reviews. So in 2021 I'll be asking for reviews. 

Want to hop on board? If so, you can join my private ARC team

Alternatively, keep an eye on this blog for notices.

This month, I'm putting Nats and Quique up, Dirty Dealings, the third Zeta Cartel novel. 

Warm-hearted Natalia Truelove will do anything for family, so when her ex-father-in-law is sent to prison, she shelves her restaurant plans and manages the family pub. But when she runs foul of a local gangster, and her niece is targeted, the gloves are off. As the police won’t help, Nats embarks on a lethal game: blackmailing the Zeta Cartel’s top hit man to do her bidding.

Enrique ‘Quique’ Ramas is having a bad time. Back in Mexico his marriage has fallen apart and his wife has made him a laughing stock by cheating on him. Now he’s in London and out of his depth with a complex commercial deal. To make things worse, Natalia Truelove, a chef and pub manager, is blackmailing him. Quique is ready to commit murder and he’s pretty sure who his first victim will be.

Dirty Dealings is an enthralling tale of deceit, murder, cartel violence and finding love in the darkest of times. It is the third Zeta Cartel novel, and can be read as a standalone.

WARNING: Dirty Dealings is the lightest of my novels. Although it's a cartel story, it's not a dark romance. The sex is light and consensual. Yeah, I know. I was feeling romantic when I wrote it :-) So, if you like the sound of it, please do sign up.

See you soon and stay safe!

Hugs, AJ

Saturday, November 7, 2020

I'm a dark romance author, and I don't hide my identity - here's why! :-)

Seeing the budget is out (Malaysia) and the election over (USA) let’s get back to important stuff: dark romance books 😊 You may have noticed that dark authors tend to hide their true identity from the public, whereas I’m right in your face about it. So, here’s the story about that.

I’ve been a creative for over twenty years. I sold my first feature to the New Straits Times back in 1996 and my first magazine article to Cleo a few months later. Between 1996 and 2016 I sold more than 3000 articles to publications in over 12 countries.  I also wrote and sold some short stories.

In 2013, I went back to school and took a Masters in Counselling. I already had a degree in psychology, so that was me going back to my roots.

In 2015, I was finishing my studies and writing Katz Tales, a sweet feel-good newspaper column under my own name, a tech column under a pen name, and dark romance as AJ Adams. I also had a legacy in erotica writing as Storm Chase.  

I kept my lives separate because that was how good marketing worked. So, one day I’m sitting in a workshop when this woman says, “Ooooh, I know about you. You write books. Under a different name!”

The smirk said it all. I knew exactly what the nasty cow was up to.

Of course, the others in the room were curious.

“You write books?”

“What do you write?”

The nasty cow was hoping I’d blush, stammer and be embarrassed. BIG MISTAKE! I’ve had my person and my work picked apart by strangers in public for decades, so I am incredibly hard-nosed.

So, I beamed at the cow and squealed, “Ohmigod, you’re a fan? AWESOME!” Then, at the others, “I write dark romance. That’s really violent stories about the cartel with seriously filthy dirty pornographic sex scenes.”

In straightlaced Malaysia, this was gobsmacking information.

And because I’m a bitch, I said to the cow, “Which of my books do you like best? The Cartel stories or the Storm Chase erotica?”

She backed off and never came near me again.

But it did make me think. Women are often shamed for writing romance, it’s an equality issue, and I didn’t want any future hassle. I might have hidden my writing or stopped (Ha! NEVER. But technically, it’s an option) but I decided an in-your-face attitude would fix it.

I put my pen name on my personal social media, linked all my profiles very clearly and for good measure cross-posted. Anywhere you look, you see the whole me.

Marketing today is quite different and we’re moving increasingly away from using separate pen names for every genre, so that’s working out okay. As for my various lives, there will be gossip but frankly, I don’t care. I am who I am and people can choose whether to like that or not.

So, that’s why I plaster my various names all over this timeline. Do let me know what you think.

Have a happy day! And please do ready my books. Start with Helpless by AJ Adams and then move on to the Zeta Cartel novels, starting with The Bonus <3





Thursday, October 8, 2020

Creating Dark Romance Characters And Getting Started

Hi everyone!

I hope you're all safe and well in these crazy times. With the lockdown and being shut in, I finally got my act together and learned to improve my video making. The thing is, when I got it figured out, I wasn't sure what to talk about!

So I asked on Facebook and CJ asked, how you get your ideas? 

Therefore, here we go! Here's how I went about creating Spirit and Coop and kicking off Ruthless Sinner, the 6th Zeta Cartel novel by AJ Adams.

Please do drop in and see me on FB. You can find me here.

Go straight here to see Ruthless Sinner by AJ Adams on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Ruthless Sinner, the latest Zeta cartel novel, drops on 29th May 2020

I hope you're all well and safe in these difficult times. We've been in lockdown in Malaysia for 57 days now. Amazingly, I haven't killed my husband yet and he hasn't killed me.  We're watching ancient black and white films, and the cats are keeping us on our toes in terms of Tummy Rubs and Treats.

BUT I'm writing because it's ready! Ruthless Sinner, the latest Zeta cartel novel, will go live on Friday 29th May 2020.

Ruthless Sinner will be on KU. If you want to buy it, you get the special low price of 99 cents. <3

Please do share with your friends!
In 24 hours, I put it up to $1.99. The day it goes live, the price will be $2.99.

As always, I'm looking for help to get the word out. Could you please share the book link on your social media? 

I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I think Coop is my new favourite hero 😊

Otherwise, enjoy and hope to see you all soon.


Ruthless Sinner

Determined to get her mother the healthcare she needs, drop dead gorgeous Spirit Westcott works as a stripper, not caring that it cements her reputation as the Beauview village bad girl. But when Spirit falls foul of John Cooper, the newest member of the notorious Zeta Cartel, she loses her job.  Furious, Spirit confronts Coop–only to discover his secret drug lab. When Coop decides to save her, by disappearing her and keeping her captive, Spirit is less than impressed. However, she quickly learns that Coop has an even deadlier secret, and one that may drag her into the abyss. 

When dangerous, single-minded John Cooper learns his best friend was murdered, he resolves to exact bloody vengeance. The knowledge that his prey is a Zeta, one of Mexico's most dangerous cartels, doesn’t stop him. Coop joins the organisation, only to discover that finding his prey won't be easy. To his annoyance, sexy Spirit Westcott is also a spanner in the works. After embarrassing him in public, Coop suddenly finds himself saddled with her as an unwanted captive. Then, just as things couldn't get worse, a killer starts to pick off Beauview village girls. As Coop is drawn further into the cartel, he is forced to make decisions that may cost him his life–and that of his love.

Ruthless Sinner is a gripping tale of vengeance, murder, cartel violence and finding love in the darkest of times.

Buy Ruthless Sinner at your favourite store: Amazon, Kobo and more

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Why I wrote Dark Hunter and why I write my novels

Buy Dark Hunter
Dark Hunter differs from the other Zeta cartel novels.  In the other novels, Kyle, Arturo, Quique and Jorge are thoroughly human. They love their family and friends. They just happen to be career criminals. Rip, the dark hunter, is different.

When we first meet Rip we see him track and catch his prey. When he gets to his victim, we see he is so filled with pain from loss that he has overloaded. He is human, but he is not in control. He is insane from grief.

Then, as he starts his murder, evil consumes him. Rip calls it his monster. It rushes in and by the end of the first chapter the human part of Rip has been burnt out completely. The bit that is left looks human but there is nothing inside. Rip is basically an empty vessel for the monster, a beast that lives for the hunt.

That's why I started the book with the quote from Nietzsche, “Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Rip stared into the abyss and it rose up and consumed him.

Most of my characters are pretty dark. After writing about Kyle the enforcer, Arturo the cartel boss, and Quique the hitman, I wanted to write a story about a hero who is all monster. A man with no humanity. So, Rip was born.

As for Morgan, she is blueblood Cartel. She grew up with violence, she knows exactly how it works and she can see its deep dark seductive power. But she made a moral decision and turned her back on it.

It takes incredible strength to do that. Morgan did it and she expected to be rewarded with a civilian life rich with ordinary blessings like a marriage, children, friendships – and a general absence of gore, blood and violence.

But she miscalculated. Because she is in a small town and everybody knows her history, she is not accepted. When we meet her, Morgan is essentially existing in limbo.

Now when the monster meets Morgan something very interesting happens. Rip does not become human because of Morgan's goodness. He is incapable of that. He simply sees her as a toy, an interesting thing to play with. And as a bit of camo so he can pretend to be human because the cartel don't like monsters.

Morgan is terrified of the monster until she sees that he has absolutely no intention of hurting her. She knows it's not a kindness in him, that it’s only because it would spoil his game. Morgan is not fooled into thinking the monster has any humanity.

Then Morgan does something very remarkable: she reaches into the abyss and tries to search for the human. She hopes to find the man Rip was once.

When Rip realises what she is doing, he tells her to stop because he knows there is just no human left. Morgan does not give up. She also starts telling Rip how to protect himself from the cartel. This is necessary because the monster has been living outside of human society for so long, that he has forgotten even the most basic social niceties.

With Morgan teaching the monster how to survive amongst the very flawed humans that are the cartel, she hopes this will reawaken the human in him.  The thing is, Rip learns to mimic the cartel, but he remains a monster. The only person he has feelings for is Morgan.

Morgan is a good person and she never really understands the truth. At the end of the novel, she thinks that she has brought Rip back into the fold.

So, Dark Hunter is a bittersweet romance.

Like I said, Dark Hunter is the least accessible of my stories. Rip is not lovable, but he has three things going for him. The first two are easy to see: Rip is very brave, and he has an excellent sense of humour - a nasty one because he is a monster. The final positive is that he is self aware, seeing he is a monster, and he also knows Morgan is a force for good. Most monsters destroy their antithesis, but Rip recognises she is his superior.

Morgan I'm afraid is also not very lovable. I feel that is my fault because I'm not very fond of moral people. I never did like Fanny Price; I always preferred Mary Crawford.

My Morgan doesn't preach or anything, she just quietly does what she knows is right. Maybe if I had her running around in circles and having agonies of thought and emo attacks, she would be more accessible. But Morgan is ex-cartel. She'd be damned if people saw her flinch!

She's also not beautiful. There is a strong push to having pretty heroines because romance is about escapism and a large number of readers crave to read about beauty. Also, sweet feminine heroines are currently popular because of the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Asia and the religious Right in the USA and Europe.

So, would it have killed me to make Morgan pretty and much more interested in clothes and feminine stuff? No, but this is where my writing ethos comes into play.

When you write, you have ask, "Okay, what do I want out of this? Do I want financial success? A piece of art? To help people with advice or maybe just to entertain?"

I write because my creative journey teaches me about myself and other people. Living with Rip helped me see into the darker parts of my character. It was the same with creating Morgan. She helped clarify a few ideas to me. 

It may seem a little odd to be writing about my dark pornographic pulp fiction novels in this way, as if they are True Literature, but I spent a year and a half writing this book. I wrote and rewrote and thought about it, sweated over it, and then I did it all over again.

When I re-read it last week, I could see all the flaws in it because well that's what authors do. We're like software engineers; there's always one more tweak to make, and that leads to a total overhaul of the product. Honestly, it's a disease.

Anyway, writing for myself means that sometimes I am developing characters and situations that do have broad appeal (Helpless sold super well as did The Bonus). Dark Hunter was not one of those times but that's okay.

I'm very glad I wrote it and I think that's what matters. At the end of your 120k words and months of sweat and tears, you ask yourself, “Was is it was a good experience?” and I have to say, “It was worth it.”

So, there you go. If you have comments, brickbats or whatever, I'm always interested in hearing from you

Buy Dark Hunter on Amazon, Kobo and other shops