Spotlight & Giveaway: Blood on Borrowed Wings by Darren Stapleton


As you may know, I am the owner of a book editing company, Book Helpline. It’s time to show off another of the books my team and I have worked on.

One of the authors we worked with a while ago was Darren Stapleton. When I read his dark fantasy manuscript, Blood on Borrowed Wings, I immediately sat up straight: Wow, great language, great story. I helped Darren to further improve the book, and the result is now published!

Here’s the description of this dark fantasy novel:

Stay low. Keep moving.
After Drake Theron ditches his wings and military brothers, he turns mercenary to forget a horrific battle where so much more than lives were lost.

When women start disappearing from the Angelbrawl Arena, Drake is hired to stop the loss of life and profit. He thinks it is just another job. Business. But it turns into something far more sinister and personal when he is abducted together with the beautiful woman he is trying to protect.
He is drawn into a conspiracy that stretches from the acrid stench of the neon Lowlands slums to Nimbus City and the very top of society. On the run, betrayed by friends, used by his enemies and hunted by black-winged assassins, Drake has to confront his past and do the worst thing imaginable to survive: ask for help.

Blood on Borrowed Wings is science fiction noir. A fast-paced original thriller full of twists, fists, and feathers. It is set on Nimbus, a future Earth, a world divided, where the powerful and evil dominate the skies…and not only birds have wings.

Darren says: “My book has fast-paced chapters, crackling dialogue, dark humour and action to keep you guessing until the final twist. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.” I say: “Editing the book was a great joy, too!”

Win a copy of this novel (e-book). Fill out this form. You can enter the giveaway until April 30th. On entry per person. No need to follow the blog (but you certainly can, if you like). Share this post of Twitter or Facebook for an extra entry. Link to @leeswammes or (Twitter) or BookHelpline (Facebook).  Let me know in the comments that you shared the post.

You can find more information about the book HERE.

If you enjoy the book, why not leave a review on Amazon? A few lines with your thoughts would be lovely! Thanks!


Spotlight: Fathoming Summer by Klara Gitona

Fathoming summer

As you may know, I am the owner of a book editing company, Book Helpline. I’ve been quite quiet about it, but it’s time to show off some of things that have kept me busy.

One of our authors, who recently published her book, is Klara Gitona. Her novel, Fathoming Summer, is a fun story about a young woman who hitch-hikes around Europe during her summer holidays. The only thing she wants is to get from A to B, but the drivers who pick her up often have other ideas.

Here’s the description:

Shortly after the fall of the iron curtain, 18-year old Jana sets off from Czechoslovakia to spend the summer with her British boyfriend, Paul. Refused entry into the UK, this initial setback leads to a journey of discovery, as she embarks on a random hitch-hike through continental Europe and finds that the men she meets are somehow more interesting than sightseeing. Follow Jana on her journey as she begins to explore the fascinating world of men and her own waking sensuality.

This novel is free on Amazon this weekend, so download the e-book and enjoy the ride!

You can find the book here:

If you enjoy the book, why not leave a review on Amazon? A few lines with your thoughts would be lovely! Thanks!


Book Review: Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris

Between You & Me by Mary NorrisBetween You & Me: What it is about

The publisher says: “Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker‘s copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.

Between You & Me features Norris’s laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage—comma faults, danglers, “who” vs. “whom,” “that” vs. “which,” compound words, gender-neutral language—and her clear explanations of how to handle them. Down-to-earth and always open-minded, she draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as from The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. She takes us to see a copy of Noah Webster’s groundbreaking Blue-Back Speller, on a quest to find out who put the hyphen in Moby-Dick, on a pilgrimage to the world’s only pencil-sharpener museum, and inside the hallowed halls of The New Yorker and her work with such celebrated writers as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders.”

Between You & Me: What I thought

As soon as I found out about this book, I knew this was one for me. So when I got an amazon voucher for my birthday, from one of the freelance editors I work with at Book Helpline, I decided this was the perfect book to buy with it, and a perfect birthday present.

Since I’m an editor myself, I was curious to find out what an editor of the distinguished magazine The New Yorker had to say about our profession. I only know The New Yorker from their use of the diaeresis, the double dots on the second vowel in a word such as naïve. I had a fun email conversation with a Dutch author about this once; we researched it and found that The New Yorker is one of the very few publications that still uses it. The diaeresis is discussed in this book, I was happy to see.

Mary Norris starts off her story with her background: her education and her first jobs, and describes how she ended up, many years ago, at The New Yorker. Then she moves on to her editorial pet peeves and other nasty traps an unsuspecting writer may fall into. We also get a peek of her shelves in the office when she describes which dictionaries she preferably uses, and how the first dictionaries came into being. Her love for pencils and pencil sharpeners is described to some detail, too.

The beginning chapters had a certain logical order to them, about Mary Norris’s career and her first steps into the editing world. However, the later chapters seemed like a random selection of topics that interest her. Although I, too, found these topics interesting, for me the book fell apart a little at some point. Still, with her fun, no-nonsense way of writing, Norris managed to entertain me for all 230 pages which I read almost as fast as a good thriller.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 230

First published: 2015

I got this book: from an voucher that I received for my birthday

Genre: non-fiction, editing

Extra: See also the video’s that Mary Norris made, in which she describes some common spelling and grammar issues:


In Case of Emergency, Aim for the Head by Berti Walker

In Case of Emergency by Berti Walker


As many of you know, I have my own book editing company, Book Helpline. Today I want to show you one of the books that we recently edited and that came out last month.

In Case of Emergency, Aim for the Head by Bert Walker is a novel about a strange little town where the sheriff has plans of actions for all kinds of emergencies. When one of these emergencies emerges, the people of the town take it a little too far, with disastrous results.

Here’s the official blurb:

Paxton and his mother move to Lost Creek, to escape his violent father. The use of internet is frowned upon in this strange little town, where the local Sheriff has made detailed plans for calamities from zombie wars to holocausts. When Paxton, an avid gamer, has finally settled into a life without internet, calamity strikes and Paxton and his mother are suddenly at the forefront of the action.

Some people think editing is all about spelling and grammar, but with this book, I did a developmental edit. That means that I went through the manuscript and made comments and suggestions to do with the story line, the characters, the pacing, logic, inconsistencies, and other things like that. Not every self-publishing author goes for a developmental edit, although every (every!) novel does need one. In Case of Emergency was already very good, and it’s even better now! 🙂

This was a really fun book to work on. If it sounds like something you would enjoy, have a look at the Amazon page. The cover shows an armadillo, which features in an elusive way in the book.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished working on another few books. I hope to tell you about them in the near future! 🙂


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