Stepping back

Stepping back. A man sits on the edge of a cliff, his head in his hands. Far below him, the world stretches out, shrouded in mist.

Editing has been the beating heart of my life since 2015, bringing me a sense of drive and purpose that no other career previously offered me. I gave myself 5 years to build The Fine-toothed Comb up from paying hobby to a self-sustaining business, gathering clients, experience, and testimonials along the way. The COVID-19 pandemic …

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Editing the past to life – guest blog

Cover of Andrew Knighton's book: Ashes of the Ancestors against a background of glowing ashes.

History is made in the edit. That might sound absurd. Surely history is what happened in the past? It’s people, places, and events, the forward march of progress or the weary slump of decline. You can’t edit the world. But history isn’t the world. It isn’t even the past. It’s our understanding of that past, …

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In Cases of Murder – book review

Book and Kindle covers for the new book by Jan Edwards: In Cases of Murder. Text reads: OUT NOW! Laura Jarman's battered remains are found in a steamer trunk at Brighton Station - and a new case opens up for Bunch Courtney!

In Cases of Murder is the fourth Bunch Courtney novel by Jan Edwards, though the first I have read. As such, I approached it with a little bit of trepidation. I needn’t have worried about the backstory though; each book stands alone in terms of its central mystery. The characterisation is clear, the dialogue snappy, …

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Survivor’s Guilt

Image of Jay Faulkner with Dion, Simon and Tom. Sepia tones. There is a white crack on the picture surrounding Jay's smiling face and splintering out across the rest of us.

Everybody dies, there’s no getting around it, but we each hope to leave the world a little better through the lives we touch, the changes we enable and make, the children we bring up. If we are very lucky, friends and family members, sometimes people in the wider world, will reach out to tell us …

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Firewatch – game review

Firewatch

It’s been a while since I’ve played anything other than Blood Bowl 2, but when my Steam Deck arrived, I felt a powerful itch to get gaming once more. Coveted but previously unplayable titles like Control, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves were suddenly within reach, and I had a little bit of …

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When the Red Mist Rises – fiction

When the Red Mist Rises - fiction. Art by Sa Fonklor https://www.artstation.com/prints/art_print/eaLda/the-sickle

It’s the fourth week of the month, so we’re back in the realm of creativity. Read on for my latest piece of flash fiction. As usual, I’ve snagged an evocative image for inspiration: The Sickle, by Sa Fonklor. (With thanks to Eygló Daða Karlsdóttir for the heads-up. You always share such wonderful pictures!) I spotted …

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The Woods – indie book review

The Woods - book cover

‘If you go down to The Woods today, you’d better not go alone, It’s lovely down in The Woods today, but safer to stay at home…’ Hersham Horror has developed a modest range of short fiction and novellas over the last decade, always with an eye for quality, drawing upon fresh and upcoming talent. I’d …

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Barbarians at the Gate – fiction

Barbarians at the Gate. Image created by Midjourney with prompts by @SkevosMavros

How is it Hobby week again already? It’s crazy. Okay, well I’ve thrown myself off a bit after last month’s humungous story. Involving as it was to get into, I had no real intention of producing anything so big. This month I’ve returned to something smaller – a piece of flash fiction featuring Romans that …

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Editing Iolo

Editing Iolo - image of Darwin Finds Goliath (a piece), by Yoojin Rhee, rendered in monochrome with elements in colour overlaid, the child reversed and enlarged.

Some writers are cautious about handing their manuscripts over to an editor. They worry that their work will be taken away from them, misunderstood, judged unfairly or otherwise spoiled by meddling fingers. The first time can be hard, and if you don’t know what to expect, you might find yourself overwhelmed. As such, I thought …

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Ten Minute Warning – indie books #1

Ten Minute Warning - book cover. Pinkinsh stains that may or may not be blood on peeling wallpaper. Text reads Ten Minute Warning. Em Dehaney. (The book is held in a hand against a blue background, featuring hollow neon electrical sparks all pointing in towards the book.

It’s been a while since I found myself able to *read for pleasure, and the purchases I make at conventions have (perhaps) become emblems of support for people I like and admire, more than an active pursuit of new and exciting work. It’s not that I don’t genuinely want to read them, more that the …

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Dad and loving it!

Dad and loving it! Image of me as Nosferatu, with my 16yr old daughter pretending to be scared by me. Paint effect used.

My urge towards fatherhood kicked in about a year after we got married. The emotional high of that (truly spectacular) day had gradually faded, settling back into the warp and weft of history, and the comparative mundanity of a day-to-day existence stretched before us. Was that it, then? The game of life complete? Hm. A …

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Dadi’s Little Helper pt 2 – fiction

Dadi's Little Helper pt 2 - fiction

It’s supposed to be Personal week at The Fine-toothed Comb, but when I decided to remove the length restrictions on my flash pieces they started to grow wild and turn into short stories. Dadi’s Little Helper has been particularly vigorous in its demands; thrusting roots down in search of backstory, opening broad leaves for fresh …

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Treading water

Treading water - waters are deep and getting higher. Careful now...

If you’ve been following my business journey, you’ll know that I’ve gone from hobbyist to full time freelance editor through some tricky times. I kept my chin up and paddled – quietly confident and determined. Neither my skill nor my will has diminished, but savage waves have left my financial lifejacket somewhat deflated since I …

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The Private Life of Elder Things – book review

Private Life of Elder Things

There is a discomfort to Lovecraftian fiction that continues to fascinate readers and writers alike, a century after H.P. Lovecraft published his first story. The sense of cosmic horror he engendered through his writing brought him fame, but it’s the Mythos formed from his dread *pantheon that embodies his literary legacy. It has proven to …

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