Our Editors

Michelle Barker, Senior Editor

Michelle Barker, senior editor and award-winning novelist

Michelle is an award-winning author and poet. Her most recent publication, co-authored with David Griffin Brown, is Immersion and Emotion: The Two Pillars of Storytelling. Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in literary reviews worldwide. She has published three YA novels (one fantasy and two historical fiction), a historical picture book, and a chapbook of poetry. Michelle holds a BA in English literature (UBC) and an MFA in creative writing (UBC). Many of the writers she’s worked with have gone on to win publishing contracts and honours for their work. Michelle lives and writes in Vancouver, Canada.

Preferred genres: literary, contemporary, historical fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction.

Contact Michelle for a sample edit

David Griffin Brown, Senior Editor

David Griffin Brown (Septimus Brown) is the founder and senior editor at Darling Axe Editing

David is an award-winning short fiction writer and co-author of Immersion and Emotion: The Two Pillars of Storytelling. He holds a BA in anthropology from UVic and an MFA in creative writing from UBC, and his writing has been published in literary magazines such as the Malahat Review and Grain. In 2022, he was the recipient of a New Artist grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. David founded Darling Axe Editing in 2018, and as part of his Book Broker interview series, he has compiled querying advice from over 100 literary agents. As an editor, he pays special attention to structure, relationship arcs, and voice. David lives in Victoria, Canada, on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

Preferred genres: literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, mystery, young adult, and romance. 

Contact David for a sample edit

Katie Zdybel, Associate Editor

Darling Axe associate editor Katie Zdybel

Katie's first collection of short stories, titled Equipoise, was shortlisted for the 2018 HarperCollins | UBC Prize for Best New Fiction. She is the recipient of a 2019 and 2021 Canada Council for the Arts award, the Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award, the Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction award, and was publisher-nominated for a Journey Prize as well as two National Magazine Awards in fiction. Katie is an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine, and has worked on PRISM International’s editorial board. As a manuscript editor, she enjoys working with character, theme, and imagery. 

Preferred genres: literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, poetry, and middle grade.

Contact Katie for a sample edit

Amaryah Orenstein, Associate Editor

Amaryah Orenstain, associate editor and founder of Go Literary

Amaryah, founder of GO Literary, is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. As a literary agent, she knows what acquisitions editors and other agents are looking for in a manuscript, proposal, or query letter, and can help give your work its best shot at publication. Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant at Brandeis University Press. She holds a BA (McGill), MA (Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University) and a PhD (Brandeis University). She lives in NYC.  

Please note: Amaryah cannot offer representation to anyone she works with in an editorial capacity. 

Preferred genres: literary and commercial fiction, historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and young adult.

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Vida Cruz, Associate Editor 

Vida Cruz is a Filipina editor, artist, and award-winning writer born, bred, and based in the Philippines. Her short stories have been longlisted for the British Science Fiction Award and are published or are forthcoming in Strange Horizons, PodCastle, Expanded Horizons, and various anthologies. A Clarion Writers Workshop graduate, Tiptree fellow, and Writers of the Future contest winner, Vida is the author of Beyond the Line of Trees, an illustrated short story collection. She lives in Manila with her family and ten rambunctious dogs.  

Preferred genres: own-voices, fantasy, horror, romance, YA, novellas, short story collections.

Contact Vida for a sample edit

Dola Basu Singh, Associate Editor

Fiction editor Dola Basu Singh

Dola Basu Singh is an award-winning author and well-established freelance editor. She has been helping authors win contracts and publish bestsellers since 2015. Two of her clients won the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish 2019 contest. Dola has won editor’s choice awards from literary reviews in the sub-continent and India, and she has published a book that helps writers self-edit their fiction. A professionally trained fiction editor and member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), UK, Dola lives in Punjab, India, with her family and other animals. 

Preferred genres: own-voices, literary fiction, romance, mystery, thriller, and fantasy. 

Contact Dola for a sample edit

Tyrell Johnson, Associate Editor

Ty Johnson, bestselling author and associate editor

Tyrell Johnson is a bestselling author and editor. His debut novel, The Wolves of Winter, was an Indie Next Pick, an Entertainment Weekly Must Have novel, a Vogue.com winter reading selection, and an instant national bestseller in Canada. His second novel, The Lost Kings, was selected as a New York Times Editors' pick and was chosen as a New York Times best crime novel of the year. He received his MFA from the University of California, Riverside, where he studied fiction and poetry. As an editor, Tyrell loves looking at the whole picture of a novel and helping authors create their best story with the most intriguing and believable characters possible.

Preferred genres: literary fiction, thrillers, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, YA. 

Contact Tyrell for a sample edit

Eve Porinchak, Associate Editor

Eve Porinchuk, author and associate editor

Since earning a degree in psychology and biology from UCLA, Eve has spent much of her time in and out of jail—teaching creative writing to incarcerated teens. Her critically acclaimed book, One Cut­—a haunting true story with a juvenile-justice bent—launched Simon and Schuster’s YA true crime line (which Eve co-created). A former agent with Jill Corcoran Literary, she speaks at conferences all over the country and teaches courses at UCLA on all things publishing. A highly collaborative developmental editor, Eve prides herself on whipping manuscripts into submission-ready shape, and has guided countless aspiring authors on their paths to publication.

Preferred genres: children’s books (picture books, middle grade, young adult), true crime, thriller, literary and commercial fiction, contemporary, mystery, horror. 

Contact Eve for a sample edit

Joanne Machin, Associate Editor 

Joanne Machin, Darling Axe Associate Editor

Joanne Machin is an author of contemporary #ownvoices adult romance and is represented by the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She’s also a bookseller at her local indie bookstore, Brick and Mortar. Joanne Machin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in English Language and Literature. As an editor, she’s worked with bestselling indie authors. She especially enjoys helping historically marginalized authors hone their writing, especially when it comes to fine-tuning their voice and developing narratives and characters that hook readers in.

Preferred genres: romance, women’s fiction, contemporary, YA, science fiction, fantasy.

Contact Joanne for a sample edit

Tara Gilboy, Associate Editor 

Tara Gilboy, Darling Axe Associate Editor

Tara Gilboy is an award-winning short fiction writer and author of the middle-grade fantasy Unwritten and its sequel Rewritten. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and teaches for San Diego Community College District. She's also worked as a fiction editor at Straylight Literary Magazine, served on the editorial board of PRISM International, and mentored for the PEN Writers in Prisons Program. As an editor, she pays particular attention to plot, structure, and character arcs.

Preferred genres: middle grade and young adult. 

Contact Tara for a sample edit

Brendon Goodmurphy, Associate Editor 

Brendon Goodmurphy, Associate Editor

Brendon is a graduate of the MFA creative writing program at the University of British Columbia, where he studied fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and screenwriting, and also served on PRISM International's editorial board. As a queer writer, Brendon is eager to work with and support writing that engages with LGBTQ2S+ topics and characters. Where Brendon shines as an editor is in helping find the soul of a story and working closely with the writer to bring it to life on the page. In addition to editing, he also writes audio productions based on top nonfiction books for Blinkist. He is currently finishing his debut novel, a queer coming-of-age story with roots in climate change. Brendon lives in Berlin, Germany.

Preferred genres: literary fiction, young adult fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, historical fiction, and stage plays. 

Contact Brendon for a sample edit

Kate Lee, Associate Editor 

Kate Lee, award-winning author and associate editor for the Darling Axe

Kate is an award-winning author who has published poetry, flash fiction, and short stories along with six picture books including Santa’s Suit (Campbell Books), a bestseller translated into seven languages. Kate followed up her MA in Creative Writing (Chichester University, UK) with a PhD (Southampton University, UK) and has a special interest in maps in children’s fiction. As a developmental editor and mentor, Kate offers a calm, experienced, and supportive approach to help writers shape their narrative and develop their craft, with an emphasis on pace, structure, character, and point of view. Kate reviews picture books for IBBY UK as a volunteer and is passionate about diversity and inclusion in children’s literature. 

Preferred genres: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, YA, historical novels, literary fiction.

Contact Kate for a sample edit

Heather Tekavec, Associate Editor 

Heather Tekavec, Associate Editor for Darling Axe Editing

Heather is the award-winning author of fourteen books for children and teens. She has won awards and honours and been reprinted in thirteen languages, but the most fun was seeing her books featured in Macdonald’s Happy Meals across Canada. She took her editorial training through SFU (Vancouver) and Queen’s University (Toronto) and works with books for children, youth, and adults. Speaking in schools, tutoring English, and working in libraries have kept her engaged with readers of all ages. She loves helping writers build dynamic characters that tell their own stories and trimming away the extraneous bits that bog a story down.  

Preferred genres: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, religious fiction, historical fiction, romance.

Contact Heather for a sample edit

Carmen Craig, Associate Editor

Carmen Craig - Technical editor for the Darling Axe - Manuscript development and editing services

Carmen is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabe from Hiawatha First Nation and an award-winning short fiction writer and poet. She holds an MEd with a focus on language revitalization and a BA with honours in linguistics from the University of Victoria as well as a diploma in creative writing and English literature from Camosun College. As a Michi-Saagii Nishnaabekwe, Carmen understands dibaajimowin or story as a measurement of reality and an important way to share knowledge. In her editorial process, Carmen aims to support writers to share their truths so that they can be heard by those meant to hear. Carmen lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, in the territory of the WSÁNEC and Lkwungen peoples.

Preferred genres: literary, Indigenous fiction, historical fiction, memoir, true crime, mystery, and stage plays.

Contact Carmen for a sample edit


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