Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of 2016, a year in editing and reading

This year has been odd, in that the ratio of books I've edited are 1:3 for the books I've read for review purposes. This is excluding the fact that I've been binging on fanfiction for pleasure.

But I thought I'd give a bit of love to my clients and fellow co-op members, whose books have released during this year.

So, in alphabetical order, here we go...

It's always refreshing to see male authors head into writing strong female protagonists in fantasy, and this year I've had the experience of working with T.S. Adrian, who has just released Beneath the Silver Rose (Shadyia Ascendant #1). We meet a plucky courtesan, Shadyia, who becomes embroiled in world-shattering events that involve magicians and evil entities. Kudos to my husband creature who designed the cover.

Here it is, finally, the book I've been begging Sorcha to release for ages now. Actually, it's two books, but Valentine is pure awesome. Those who know me well will understand that I'm no fan of superhero narratives, but Sorcha is the exception. Valentine and Jory are polar opposites, and their hot/cold, push/pull relationship as they discover the limits of their D/s relationship is... Well, I needed a fan and a moist cloth for my forehead. This is all about a fall from innocence and redemption in a twisted, most certainly dark erotic fantasy read, with a strong narrative.

I have a soft spot for vampires. I admit it. Featured in this paranormal romance is none other than Magnus or M as he is better known from the Crooked Fang stories I've edited. In Hex Appeal Breck and Sands take turns to pair up their witch and vampire respectively, resulting in... Well. I won't lie. A lot of supernatural schmexxors. If you're looking for fangs meet magic, with a lot of ripped panties, then this one will most likely hit the spot. Extra Nerine points because they take us to Egypt in this one.

My year is incomplete unless I've edited an Amy Lee Burgess title. Sea Cursed is a dystopian fantasy with a strong romantic element that is set in a shared world – a great concept, BTW, and I think a different approach from the usual boxed sets coalitions of authors bring out. Here we meet witches Demetria and Logan, who have been sea cursed. This means that they need to get together and perform a great magical rite to protect their island from the rather "Creature from the Black Lagoon" type ravagers. Not only that, but the witches are up against a despotic esteemed leader who's hiding something that will have a huge impact on the lives of witches on the island of Galvateen. As always, Amy balances her romance with an engaging story, making this a worthy read within the fantasy romance genre.

DJ and I have known each other for years, and it is always a pleasure to work with him. Caresaway is a disquieting medical thriller set in an alternate future where a drug for depression creates a generation of psychopathic CEOs who don't care that they're sending the planet down the tubes. This novella is a quick read, and is partially set in South Africa, which is always enjoyable for me when I edit.

Initially Masha started out as a client, but when I set up the SFF writers' co-op Skolion this year, she became one of our founding members. Her writing is incredibly textured and magical, and though I've worked on some of her earlier titles, this year's release that blew me out of the water was The Babylon Eye. Set in the not-so-distant future, where cybernetic enhancements are a norm in a world where history has taken an unexpected course, the novel tells of Elke, a prisoner and erstwhile militant environmental activist, who is given a chance to gain back her freedom. At a price, of course. She's set on a course to track down and retrieve a cybernetically enhanced dog that's become lost on a station between worlds. What I particularly love about Masha's writing is the understanding she has of people and animals, and their relationship to their environment, no matter how strange it becomes.

I'm looking forward to when she releases book two, The Real, early next year. One of the benefits of being her editor is that I've already had my first taste of the next instalment of Elke's adventures.

In a similar vein to the writings of Cari Silverwood, Bought by Nicolette Hugo is most certainly classifiable as dark erotica. Set in Australia, this book dips into a m/m/f with an edge of danger that will certainly get the blood flowing to those hard-to-reach places.

I admit I did a bit of a double-take when Dionne queried me regarding a gap in my schedule for Tempering The Rose (which is book 1 of her The Rose of Nerine series – yes I'm well aware what my name is, LOL!). But there you have it. I don't claim exclusive rights to my name (though I'm more accustomed to seeing it discussed in context with a lily that grows in the bush here in South Africa). Tempering the Rose is the story of a young woman who's endured serious abuse, who discovered that she's The Chosen One to save a distant country. Only her vengeance may stand in the way of her fulfilling her role. Addy is not an easy character to like, but I get *why* she feels the way she does, and it's quite a ride following her adventures.

I'm no stranger to editing MG and YA fiction, and this year saw me working with South African author Christine Porter, who released book two of her Histories of Laenutia, Night of the Cologoro. Plucky Jeremiah – or Jerm as he becomes known – travels back in time to help his adoptive father, Morgan, vanquish the dread Cologoro. This is a charming, magical tale that is suitable for youngsters from ages 10 and up.

Cari Silverwood keeps me busy. No lies there. We've known each other for years and I totally blame her for corrupting me. She's also the reason why the #atleastimnotcari hashtag exists. But seriously, folks, if you want to see dark erotica done *well*, look no further. This genre-bending author often dips her toes in fantasy and SF too, so be sure to read the blurb before you buy to at least get an idea of what you're getting into. This year we're celebrating a number of titles for her: Needle Rain (fantasy), Wicked Ways (dark erotic thriller/SF); Wolfe (dark erotic thriller/SF).

When Cari writes the following as a disclaimer, do yourself a favour by taking note: WARNING: This is a dark romance and written to be disturbing.

You’ll find some graphic scenes of violence and sex within these pages, plus a smidgen of horror. Though the ending may be sweet, this is a very kinky, twisted, and dark story.

As a note: my husband creature did the cover design for Wolfe, so if you're ever in need of book cover design, feel free to drop me an email here. (I promise our rates are highly competitive.)

At present, I've got quite a bit on my plate, but if you are in need of manuscript assessment, developmental editing, a gremlin hunt or merely proofreading for your novel or novella, feel free to email me at I keep my rates affordable, as my preferred clients are self-published authors and small presses.

While I generally don't offer editing for standalone short stories, I do occasionally make exceptions. My preferred genres include SFF/horror, historical, romance/erotica, LGBTI. I do not take on religious fiction nor works that glorify gratuitous violence or abuse. Life is too short. No, I will not edit poetry.

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