Unmasking - 2 images side by side. A version of me with a soft white bear's head in a flat cap and coat, and a version of me where I raise my head to reveal the human face beneath.

There is no manual for life but a significant amount of people grow up feeling, not only that there is one (there must be!) but that every other bastard out there knows it by rote. A sickening, creeping certainty takes hold that this secret manual cannot be borrowed from a library nor purchased anywhere, and …

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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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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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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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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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