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