Many moons ago, I worked in the publishing industry. In possession of a BA in Linguistics from an elite women's college in the eastern US, I went to work for a small publisher in Boston, editing gay men's porn, predominantly S&M. (This item never featured in my college's alumnae news, rest assured.) I learned a great many things in that job, most of which one doesn't mention in polite company. Here, though, was the central lesson: Good writers write good books, regardless of the subject. A talented writer will take you into a genre you'd not otherwise consider and make you glad you went there.
Now, many decades later, I'm living in Phnom Penh. I mentioned to a friend that I'd love some part-time work. She recommended that I set up a gig on Fiverr, a web site that allows all manner of freelancers to offer their services in $5 increments. As my friend writes erotic fiction, she suggested that I offer editing services specifically for erotica. She's found it challenging, she said, to find editors who will take on sexually explicit manuscripts. I have no shame. I set up one gig to edit general text and another for editing erotica.
The amount of work that has streamed in via this site has amazed and delighted me. Between the two gigs, I've drafted and edited web site copy for a Mallorca construction company, promo copy for a boudoir photography studio, a non-fiction book on women's orgasm, marketing materials for a new app to connect fitness nuts with gyms and trainers, and an application essay for a seminary in California. I relish the contact with the customers around the world and the diversity of the things they write and care about. A few manuscripts have left me cold or put me off altogether, but thankfully, it's been only a handful.
The manuscript for Songbird was the longest submission I've received since resuming my editing career, and it was an absolute treat.
Solitaire is the plucky and far-from-angelic heroine who falls in with the Princeton-educated boss of a Mexican cartel. There's plenty of sex, violence and a collection of Spanish epithets you're unlikely to pick up anywhere apart from a Guadalajara fish market. The key, though, is the two edgy, intelligent protagonists drawn by a very savvy author.
AJ Adams deftly mixes black humour and verbal quips with the darkness and intensity of her subject matter. Arturo, the cartel boss, says of a dirty London cop, "I now owned Davis from dandruff to bunions, but I still didn’t trust him a fucking inch." This novel is escapism with brains. It's gruesome in places, and it's funny. The sex is torrid. It's a really well-crafted novel that stands far above most of the others in its genre. (And, I'm chuffed to tell you, it now has nary a comma nor an apostrophe out of place!)