Thursday, 1 November 2012

Editing Updates

Currently working on a literary edit of Dragon Isle (Vanx Malic 2) by M.R. Mathias. Next up is Half-Orcs 6 by David Dalglish.

I'm also working on the preliminary edits for Bane of the Liche Lord (Nameless Dwarf 5) and preparing the 5-book omnibus, The Nameless Dwarf for release this Christmas.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Uneasy Lies the Crown

I've just finished copy editing Uneasy Lies the Crown by N. Gemini Sasson. This is a skilfully written historical-fiction based on the Welsh uprising against the English which was led by Owain Glyndur. The book has a sweeping scope and the author selectively zooms in on incidents and characters in a way that is reminiscent of a Shakespearean history.

The characterisation is top notch, and the action is eminently human, spanning glorious eights and despairing lows. There are terrific portraits of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Harry Hotspur, Rhys Ddu, and particularly Owain himself and his wife, Margaret.

One of the best books I've edited to date.

Next up is a short from K. Gorman and then something out of the ordinary from Sibel Hodge.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Editing News

I've just finished edits for Sibel Hodge (It's a Catastrophe!) and Rex Jameson (Hallow's Ween).

I'm currently working on a non-fiction book by Victorine Lieske.

Paula is working on a copy edit for Curtis Hox.

Next week I start on a historical fiction by N. Gemini-Sasson.

As usual, please send all queries (even if you just have a question about writing or editing) to

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Legend of Vanx Malic

My last editing commission was the start of a fantasy series, The Legend of Vanx Malic, by M.R. Mathias. It's a departure from Mathias's Wardstone trilogy and his Dragoneers books, but retains the depth of world building and complex, flawed characters. Mathias's gift for language makes it a light and enjoyable read, and there's enough engaging action and good-natured humour to keep you fully engaged.

The cover art for this one is by the exceptionally gifted Anton  Kokarev, and shows Vanx on a haulkatten.

Check out Vanx Malic here:

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Best Fantasy and Best Novel

Congratulations to Moses Siregar for his novel The Black Gods War which has just won Best Novel and Best Fantasy in the eFestival of Words. I provided both content and copy editing for the novel fairly early on in the process. Moses is an extremely diligent and hardworking author, and he's utterly deserving of the recognition.

Check the book out here

Recent Edits -- David Dalglish; M.R. Mathias

I've just completed a copy edit for David Dalglish's The Broken Pieces, the final book in the Paladins series. I've also just finished a literary edit of M.R. Mathias's Through the Wildwood (The Legend of Vanx Malic).

As always, it's been a pleasure working with these two prolific authors, both of whom are always utterly professional.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Editing Schedule

I'm currently working on a literary edit of The Legend of Vanx Malic (Book 1 -- Through the Wildwood) by M.R. Mathias.

Next up is a copy edit of the fourth Paladins book by David Dalglish, and then I have commissions from Sibel Hodge and Rex Jameson.

Please email me with all your editing, proofing, beta reading queries and I'll do my best to slot you into a date that suits your schedule.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Angel's Breath by Valmore Daniels

Here's a new release from Valmore Daniels. I did a copy edit for this book, second in the series, earlier in the month.

My name is Richard Riley. All I ever wanted was to lead a normal life.

When I was younger, I made some bad choices that ended with me in prison. I served my time, and now I am trying to put my life back together.

But someone has framed me for a crime I didn't commit. They want me dead, and they're willing to kill my friends and family to get to me.

Even as I try to save the people I love, a dark and ancient power grows inside me. I can feel its anger rising.

If it gets away from me, it will rip everything in my life apart.

Amazon link

Saturday, 7 July 2012


Just finished a literary edit of Bottomland by Curtis Hox and I'm currently working on a copy edit Angel's Breath by Valmore Daniels.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Latest edit -- M.R. Mathias -- The Wizard and the Warlord

I've just finished a massive literary edit on The Wizard and the Warlord by M.R. Mathias. This is the third book in Mathias's Wardstone trilogy and is a truly epic tale.

The twists and turns, characterisation, and sheer breadth of world building in this series are astonishing. Those things, along with literally hundreds of character names, demons, and all manner of strange creatures, make it a potential editing nightmare. Suitably forewarned, though, I compiled a Wardstone dictionary during the first two sweeps of the text and was able to reference that throughout the final edit.

It's not very often I actually enjoy a book I'm editing. Editing, by its nature, is a very exacting process and I tend to hate whatever I am working on at the time. When I look at the finished books again some months later, my outlook has changed and I usually really like them. With this edit, however, I found myself enjoying the story and the humour at each stage.

I've worked on a few Mathias books now, and have read a couple of others. Without a doubt, The Wizard and the Warlord is his best work to date.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Editing and Hair Loss

When I started working as an editor, this is what I looked like:

This is what editing has done to me:

What is it that makes me pull my hair out?

Things like:

1. Use of the word "couple." I've lost count of how many times I've corrected this, but it's currently top of my list of naughties. "I'm going to get myself a couple beers." Yikes!!! Imagine if your character was called Queen Elizabeth II and she said, "My husband and I are having a couple friends over for high tea."

It's "couple of" always, and without exception (except!!! in dialogue or when using idiomatic voice for narration). Yes, people speak that way in the US, but it's never, never, never to be written, barring the exceptions above.

2. Word repetition: "I went to the door and opened the door. I saw a zombie standing outside the door with his rotting stump of an arm resting on the door. I shut the door on his stump, which was resting on the door, and trapped the stump between the door and the door frame." I think this one speaks for itself. Be careful, though, as it's almost never a good idea to just drag out the thesaurus and find synonyms for "door". Rephrasing, Governor, is what you need.

3. Capitalising every use of the word "king". "King Henry V" is fine. "I wondered if he might be a King" is not nice. Not nice at all.

4. Using "I" when you mean "me". I blame the schools for this one. We all thought it was terribly posh saying, with Her Majesty, "My corgis and I", but it's just plain wrong to say, "Would you like my gibbon and I to come to dinner?" Why? Take away the gibbon (yes, please do!). That leaves you with, "Would you like I to come to dinner?" Speaks for itself.

5. Not using a comma and a conjunction to join two independent clauses. Noooooooooooooh! If the clause could stand alone as its own sentence, with a subject and a verb, then it's independent. You could write two sentences, or you could join them using ", and", ", but" etc.

6. Using hyphens for em dashes, and en dashes for hyphens. I mean, I ask you!

7. Subject confusion. "The wizard tried to cast a spell. He hit him before his spell could affect him."

There are plenty more reasons for baldness, things like dangling participles, verb/noun confusion, pronoun avoidance, improper prepositions, inconsistent spelling and capitalisation.

I thought it might be fun, and perhaps even helpful, if I posted a few tips here, all of which are open to discussion. Most of the above are part and parcel of copy editing, which is what I'm paid for. It's actually rather enjoyable work.

Now I really must go pick up a couple bottles of Chateau neuf du Pape.

Style and Grammar tip of the day

"He is a man who ..." - A common type of redundant expression.

For example: "He is a man who is very ambitious." might be better written as "He is very ambitious."

"Vermont is a state that attracts visitors because of its winter sports." becomes "Vermont attracts visitors because of its winter sports."

(From The Elements of Style)

Be succinct, and stay away from pleonasms, tautologies, and word repetition.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Editing updates

Just finished: Transmission (literary edit) by Curtis Hox.

Currently working on: Camelot's Last Days (copy edit) by Chris Dietzel.