The Lords of the Wind by CJ Adrien

The quality of work was outstanding. The Darling Axe did a terrific job of correcting (or should I say improving) my writing to publishing standards. I was also extremely impressed with the style guide and character summaries, something no other editor has done for me in the past. Most impressively, they took an active interest in my work and have continued to follow my journey after their work was done. That is the mark of a truly exceptional editor. I will absolutely hire the Darling Axe for the sequels!

C. J. Adrien
Author of The Lords of the Wind (2019)

Silencing Rebecca, a novel by Nikki Vogel

I have had the pleasure of working with both Michelle and David. No matter the genre, they approached each novel with complete focus. Every comment and suggestion they provided improved my manuscripts, from the big picture to the finest detail of word choice.

Nikki Vogel
Author of Silencing Rebecca (Thistledown Press, 2022)


Baddass(ish), a YA novel by Jaymie Heilman, editing client of Darling Axe

David's feedback on the first 5000 words of my new YA novel was incredibly helpful. His critique helped me see what was working well and what remained to be done, and I was especially impressed by his insightful takes on Gen Z teenagers' lives and perspectives. He provided excellent suggestions on big-picture issues like plot and on finer points like gestures and dialogue tags, and I know the book's opening pages will be stronger because of his critique.

Jaymie Heilman
Author of Badass(ish) (Ronsdale Press, 2023)
Author website

Legacy Witches #1 Legacy Witches  Cass Kay

The Darling Axe proofreading service is so worth every penny. This is the second time I've purchased the three-proofreader package, and the attention to detail, character voice, author voice, all of it levels up the work. I'm very happy.

Cass Kay
Author of Legacy Witches (2022)
Amazon author page

The Attica Turkey Shoot: Carnage, Cover-Up, and the Pursuit of Justice By Malcolm Bell

I found Amaryah’s editing to be unexpectedly astute and helpful; it often left me asking myself, why didn’t I think of that? She is equally adept on big questions of structure and the minutiae of, e.g., finding the right word or tense.

Malcolm Bell
Former NY State prosecutor and author of The Attica Turkey Shoot: Carnage, Cover-Up, and the Pursuit of Justice (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017)
Amazon author page

Always Yours, Bee Mia Hayes

After years of writing fiction, I knew I needed a strong editor to guide me through the process of writing a memoir. I wanted someone who understood not only the mechanics of developing a great story, but also the personal nature of memoir. Katie Zdybel's developmental edits delivered on both. She saw things—themes, plots, and feelings—that I was too close to notice, and she helped me make them shine while maintaining my own unique voice and story.

Mia Hayes
Author of Always Yours, Bee (FinnStar Publishing, 2021) 
Author website

The Hitchhiker in Panama, Love and Wanderlust, by romance author and sailor Liz Alden

I greatly enjoyed having David read my manuscript as my proofreader. He was knowledgeable about the subject matter and made excellent suggestions that improved my writing, but were also enjoyable for me to read. It's always nice to get compliments on your work! He was very responsive and accommodating to my schedule. I will definitely be contacting David for projects in the future.

Liz Alden
Author of The Hitchhiker in Panama (2021)

I worked with Michelle through all the stages of editing for my novelette Childhood. Without a doubt, her input pushed me to create the best work I could. But for me, it was not just about corrections and edits. I feel I've taken one (or more) grad-level courses in fiction development because of her help, benefits that will last far beyond Childhood. I highly recommend her editing services and look forward to working with her again on my next project.

Greg Schaffer 
Author of Childhood (2019)
Amazon author page

Dead by Sunrise, a mystery in Forks, Washington, by Richard Ryker

David was both professional and personable throughout the editing process. He provided insight into character, plot, and other areas that went well beyond what beta readers or other editors could offer. From our ongoing communication to the comments he made about and within the manuscript, I felt like he cared about the success of my novel as much as I did. I definitely plan on using him again.

Richard Ryker
Author of Dead by Sunrise (2019)
Amazon author page
Warriors of the Sacred Garden by Elena Landa

Once I finally finished my manuscript, I knew I needed professional guidance, and that’s when, after a lot of searching and editing trials, I found DarlingAxe.com. I began my improvement journey with editor Katie Zdybel. Katie’s insightful advice during the developmental edit opened my eyes to my blind spots. She coached me through weak areas, bringing them to my attention and guiding me through the underdeveloped parts to strengthen my writing. I’m very grateful for having met Katie and for her excellent assistance in the preparation of my first novel and the sequel which is in the making.

E. I. Landa
Author of Warriors of the Sacred Garden (2020) 
Amazon author page

The Magician by Sonia Rao

Dola has the unique talent to understand what exactly is the story you want to tell and help you tell it in your own voice. And she gets into her reader-shoes as easily to make sure the story is gripping and well told. A total 360-degree approach. I am an editor myself, and Dola is one of the very few people whose editorial feedback I trust, and my writing is all the better for it.

Sonia Rao
Author of The Magician (2019)
Goodreads author page

The Amazing Adventures of Waldo by Tashawn Blount

David delivered exceptional editing services quicker than any editing professional I've ever seen. He provided honest feedback, giving me a clearer understanding of what my readers would be experiencing reading my novel. I enjoyed working with David and I truly believe he helped make my book better than it was before. 

Tashawn Blount
Author of The Amazing Adventures of Waldo (2019)
Amazon author page

Beyond Poetry by Nathan Jarelle (edited by Katie Zdybel)

For months, I struggled to find an experienced editor after writing Beyond Poetry. I stumbled across Darling Axe during my search and was fortunate to meet Katie Zdybel. I did my research and felt a bit insecure at first; she was quite accomplished and I was just another nobody with a dream and a manuscript. I sent Katie the prologue to my book and fretted for a few days until she got back in touch with me. The feedback she provided was so incredibly positive.

Katie is professional, patient, and very easy to work with. She understands the craft and is so good at helping you to understand the foundation of a good story. I've learned so much under her tutelage, and I'm not sure my book would've been any good without her help. In other words, Katie is wonderful, you'll love her!

Nathan Jarelle
Author of Beyond Poetry (2022)

A Vintage Tale by M M Marks

I had stalked Dola over various writing and reading platforms before I approached her for editing my manuscript. She was extremely patient with me throughout the editing process of my debut novel. She invested extra efforts to understand the soul of the story. Our long discussions about several pertinent plot points helped me make my story better suited for readers. Her suggestions and opinions come from an honest place and she has the incredible capacity to never let preconceived notions color her understanding of the writer’s point-of-view. I would describe Dola as objective, diligent, and open, with great technical understanding of her job. Best wishes to her for all her future endeavors. I hope to work with her again.

M. M. Marks
Author of A Vintage Tale (2019)
Goodreads author page

The Ghost Ship by Andrew Gray - Book Cover

David’s incisive and comprehensive advice on my short story was invaluable. He identified character and story issues I hadn’t seen. It helped me take a promising but muddled piece to the next level, from rejection to its eventual publication.

Andrew Gray
Co-author of The Ghost Line (Tor 2017)

Relentless by A. F. Edgecombe

I searched the internet for a company that would proofread/edit my first novel Relentless before I submitted it for publication to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. After my research, I found the Darling Axe was the most reasonable online agency, and they offered to proofread a few pages of my manuscript before I committed to them. I found this to be an invaluable service. I was immediately impressed when I received feedback from Dola Basu Singh with all of her edits, which I found to be on point. I then agreed to have her proofread my entire book. I know it might have been daunting for her since this was my first novel, but she did a fantastic job. She saw errors that I inadvertently missed and corrected a lot of my grammatical mistakes. She also was extremely encouraging to me as a new author, and I really thank her for her professionalism and thoroughness. I would recommend Dola and the Darling Axe to any author in need of a professional edit of their manuscript.

A. F. Edgecombe
Author of Relentless (2020)
Amazon author page

Book cover for Picking up the Pieces by Scalzo & Magee

I believe that Michelle Barker’s editing of my non-fiction book proposal as well as my book – Picking Up the Pieces, Moving Forward After Cancer – were major contributing factors to the book being chosen for publication by both a Canadian and US publisher! Michelle is a delight to work with. She is keenly aware of the reader’s perspective and the need for clear writing. On many occasions, her additions helped my prose “sing”. It is my pleasure to recommend her as an editor.

Kathy Scalzo
Co-author of Picking Up the Pieces, Moving Forward After Cancer 

Ex Factor by Varsha Dixit

I had the pleasure of working with Dola on several manuscripts and I was very impressed with how she caught even the minute structural and grammatical flaws in the manuscript. She is detailed, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to work with. My novel Ex-Factor, which Dola edited, won a prize in the Amazon Kindle Pen to Publish contest, 2019. More power to Dola and editors like her. I look forward to working more with her.

Varsha Dixit
Author of Ex-Factor (2019)
Winner of Kindle Pen to Publish 2019
Goodreads author page

Visual Research Methods: An Introduction for Library and Information Studies, edited by Shailoo Bedi

David is an exceptional editor! His care and attention to detail made my work much stronger. Not only did David edit to ensure grammatical correctness, he also read my work for content consistency. I also appreciated David’s clear and detailed explanations of his edits and suggested changes for me to consider. I have another writing project on the go and will definitely be sending it to David.

Shailoo Bedi
Author/editor of Visual Research Methods (2020)

Book cover for Denise Marchessault's British Columbia From Scratch: Recipes For Every Season & Magee

Michelle Barker was my writing mentor for my cookbook. From book contract to final manuscript, Michelle was with me every step of the way, providing critical feedback, thoughtful suggestions and grammatical editing. When an instruction or anecdote didn’t translate well, Michelle helped me work through alternative phrases and concepts. When I faltered, her swift wit often had me laughing at my computer. Creative and tenacious, Michelle coaxed the very best from me.  I can’t imagine writing another book without her heartwarming counsel and unwavering support.  

Denise Marchessault
Author of British Columbia From Scratch: Recipes For Every Season

Types of Canadian Women by K I Press

It’s daunting to transition from poetry to fiction, and I was grateful to have David’s careful editorial voice soothing me through the anxiety of first readership.

K.I. Press
Author of Types of Canadian Women

Lost Sun Brenda Gates Spielman

Dola Basu Singh did a superb job of proof editing the final draft of my science fiction novel. She worked quickly but thoroughly, catching even minute mistakes that had made it through multiple edits on my part. She was pleasant to work with, and kept me appraised to the status of my project. She definitely improved the professional presentation of my book. I look forward to working with her again.

Brenda Gates Spielman
Author of Lost Sun (2020)
Amazon author page

Exploring the Next Frontier: Vietnam, NASA, Star Trek and Utopia in 1960s and 70s Myth and History, by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell

Writing is a solitary activity that only works well when it isn’t solitary. You need smart people to help you fix your stuff and that’s what I’ve found with Darling Axe. Top-notch pros who will provide an extra pair of eyes and, most importantly, extra, experienced brains. Writing is solitary, but we only succeed together. Darling Axe is on your team and they’ll make you better than you thought you could be.

Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
Author of Exploring the Next Frontier: Vietnam, NASA, Star Trek and Utopia in 1960s and 70s Myth and History and editor of and contributor to multiple academic volumes. Aspiring novelist.

Last year, I finally finished my first manuscript. I asked friends and family to take a look, and I mostly received positive feedback. In querying literary agents, I usually received requests for partials or fulls only to be ultimately declined. I knew I needed an objective eye to take a sharper look to find the inconsistencies, plot holes, and other issues that I would struggle to see in my own work. Enter Vida Cruz, who went line by line, chapter by chapter—she offered constructive criticism that really improved the manuscript in its entirety. The dialogue is more believable; the relationship arcs are stronger. I feel confident now that I will land representation. Once I’ve written my next book, I’ll hire Vida again!

Natalie Zeigler
Author of Haunted 

Katie has just edited my novel for me. It's my first novel so I was keen to work with an excellent editor who could also inspire and encourage. Katie over-delivered on all fronts. She edited my novel in a kind, compassionate, but constructive manner, and all her feedback resonated with me. She was able to identify many areas where I could improve the voice, the flow of the story, and the character evolution. And in all cases she was able to provide practical ideas as to how I could work on each of these issues to create the best novel I can. She also wrote a feedback report on the novel to provide a balanced view and top-down feedback on where the structure could be improved—it's an inspiring piece of work which is written beautifully with wonderful wisdom throughout. I'll be working with Katie on all my writing projects looking forward, and I can wholeheartedly recommend her incredible editing services.

Simon Turner
Fiction writer

I am a novice writer, and Michelle is editing my middle grade book. When I think about the first draft I sent her and my most recent draft, I can only say what an amazing editor she is. She has a keen eye for plot, inconsistencies, timeline, and for character development. She is completely honest and sometimes it hurts, but I have learnt so much, and hopefully I’m a better writer now. Most of all I appreciate that when she suggests improvements, she balances it with encouraging comments. She is always positive and makes me feel like I can do it and will get this book published.

Judy Muchowski
Fiction writer

David has helped me hone two novel manuscripts with his invaluable insights. Particularly adept when it comes to creating vivid characters, he has encouraged mine to gain dimension and come to life. He isn’t afraid to be honest and thorough in his critiques, but does so in a way that is always supportive and encouraging. He is a joy to work with.

Hejsa Christensen
Fiction, creative nonfiction, and travel writer

Michelle Barker first took on a short story of mine five years ago when I was just a novice writer. Since that time, and due in part to her editorial expertise, I have had several stories published in online quarterlies and literary magazines. Michelle’s the best: a keen eye (without being harshly critical); helpful, astute comments; prompt returns of edited manuscripts. For these reasons, I continue to solicit her skills.

Nancy Branch
Sherbrooke, Quebec

The Darling Axe Novel Development and Editing Services