Testimonials

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)
CJAdrien.com


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



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

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


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



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)
AndrewNeilGray.com



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
KIPress.ca




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 Tamalinn Found (Glass House Press, forthcoming 2019)
NikkiVogel.ca


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