Books I’ve Edited That You Need to Read

Well, this started out as a Facebook post, but then I realized it was too long and it really should be its own blog post. So, here I am.

I just finished editing a book. I’m going to go through my list of stuff to research before I send the manuscript back, and I got to thinking… After I edit a book, I tend to close up my laptop and think a bit about what I’ve been working on, give it all some time to sink into me so I can process it a bit before I send it back with my notes and editor’s letter. Anyway, so I’m doing this and I realized that I’ve edited some absolutely amazing books over these past few months, and I really want to toot their horns a bit.

So, here I am. I want to discuss some books I’ve edited that you really need to have on your radars. Some of these have published already. Some are set to drop soon. Some don’t have covers yet, but I still think you need to be aware of them. Those ones I will link to the author’s webpages.

Buckle up. Here we go.

It’s been a few months since I’ve edited this one, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and if I don’t get to read book two soon, I’m going to sneak up to Canada and shank Fletcher. Smoke and Stone is one of the most unique, complex, layered books I’ve ever read. It’s also Fletcher-style dark and different, with a magic and belief system that, quite frankly, blew my mind. Mixed with characters that you can’t really pin down on the morality spectrum, it’s just basically everything I never knew I always wanted to read. Fletcher holds nothing back. It’s thoughtful and grim, and it will absolutely make you uncomfortable in places, but I think that’s actually a really good thing. Fletcher has a way with challenging his readers, and keeping them engrossed in the story despite some of it’s more challenging explorations of deeper themes. This book is AMAZING.

Black Stone Heart is set to drop on April 1. I’m a HUGE fan of Fletcher’s work. The gray morality he works with in his books is nothing short of inspirational for my own writing. That being said, this is, hands down, one of the best books I have ever read, period, end of discussion. I’m not just saying that because I really, really want to read the next book soon and the best way to do that is to bribe an author with compliments (har har), but I’m being real here. This book is SUPERB. There’s the gray morality, the unique world, the complex history, the plot that unfolds slowly, drip by drip. I can’t… honestly I just can’t even tell you all the reasons this book is perfect. All I can say is that this book absolutely WILL win some indie book awards. I promise you, and you really, really, really need to read it to experience some of the best dark fantasy you’ll ever read.

Next up is Rob Hayes. Now, I edited this whole trilogy, but I’m only putting the cover for the first book up.

This is another series I really love, and let me tell you why. First, it’s character-driven. I really dig character-driven books. I like it when the character is just as complex and well-crafted as the world they are set in, and Rob really nails that here. Eska might take some time to warm up to, but that’s part of why I love her so much. She’s unflinchingly who she is, and she’s absolutely unashamed of that and your job, as the reader, is to either accept that or get the hell out of the way. I LOVE that.

Now, there are some things Rob really excels at here. To be honest, I learn a lot from every book I edit, and from Rob, I learned the art of plotting, and world building. His books are just relentlessly paced. I mean, buckle up, because there’s never a dull moment. However, none of it feels contrived. Nothing happens just to feel the space, and Hayes doesn’t shy away from emotions (Yes, this series made me cry actual tears). That being said, the world is just as textured and layered as the characters and plot. He put a whole lot of thought into every aspect of this trilogy and I was, quite frankly, just blown away by the artistry of the whole thing. And while I say that, I will also say that while this book is a whole lot of things, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by an author who has managed to be thought-provoking, dark, and fun at the same time.

So, amazing trilogy. Book one releases on March 30, and it’s just fantastic. Book two will drop in April, and book three in May. Hayes was a pleasure to work with, and I was beyond honored to be chosen to work on this project.

Author’s website

Next up is a book that doesn’t have a cover yet, nor a publication date, but I just finished editing it (literally, within the last hour) and I’m so… stuck on it, I guess… I just really want to say some things.

The book is Jesse Teller’s autobiography, and it’s the first nonfiction book I’ve edited. Now, to be completely honest with you, it also took me the longest to get through than I’ve ever taken to get through a book. This isn’t Jesse’s fault, and he’s been patient to a fault. Rather, it’s my freaking life. This book demands complete attention, and it fell on me right before a hip surgery (when I was dealing with crippling pain), then surgery, then a difficult recovery, an extended-stay houseguest to help with said recovery, a pandemic, and an earthquake and 300+ aftershocks. Life has really been something else, and through all that, through all my delays and all my, “oh my God I am SO FREAKING SORRY IT IS TAKING ME SO LONG” messages to him, he has been just… the picture of professionalism.

Anyway, this book.

This book is an autobiography, and I really hesitate to say more about it than that, because of spoilers and the fact that it’s literally his life and not my place to say a damn thing about it and privacy and etc. However, I do want to say one thing. I’ve really gotten to know Jesse throughout this editing process, and due to the content of the book and our conversations, I feel like I’ve gotten to know his wife, Bekah, a lot, too, and I feel like they both might be some of the neatest, most amazing people out there. Jesse has lived a really harrowing life, and this book is really raw and very open and honest regarding all the good, bad, and ugly. That being said, Jesse has a knack with pairing beauty and pain, and it really, profoundly spoke to me. This book never felt too dark, or hopeless, and I think that because, despite it all… despite all the hardships and all the pain, there’s a drive for life that feels hopeful throughout it all.

It took a whole lot of bravery for him to write this book, and even more to basically hand it to me and say, “edit my very personal life, please. Go ahead and pick through my soul.” He’s braver than I am, and braver than I could ever imagine myself being. Quite frankly, I almost feel like I’m standing in the shadow of a giant right now. I really hope this book drops sometime soon-ish, because there are some books that are important, and some books that profoundly move you, but it’s very rare that I find a book that does both as completely as this one did.

I often feel very honored to be chosen to work on projects, but this one really humbled me, and I just really want to bring attention not just to this book, but also to Teller’s other work. He’s an author that deserves a much larger spotlight, and I hope that by mentioning him, maybe I can help shine some light on him.

Author’s website.

This is another book I’m going to be a bit vague about. There’s no set publication date yet, and I’m not sure if he’s 100% comfortable with the title (for what it’s worth, I love it).

Anyway, there’s a novella dropping from one Peter Fugazzotto sometime soon, and you really, really need to be paying attention to this author. First of all, I love novellas. I think they are an underrated form of writing. A really good novella knocks my socks off. There’s an art to being able to write a shorter story, and still manage to pack the punch of a longer novel. Plus, there’s skill here. The author needs to meticulously pace ever aspect of the book, and know just how and when to add the perfect amount of emotion, character development, and world building to get me to feel invested and interested in a shorter amount of time.

Fugazzotto managed all of that. Quite frankly, he blew me away.

I’m really not much of a horror reader, but this one changed my mind about that. This is a story about a woman who loses her way, and through tragedy and terror, finds her purpose in her daughter, who mysteriously goes missing. Mix in a dash of mythology, a whole lot of eerie atmosphere, and some stunning prose, and you’ve got something really special on your hands.

What I loved most about Fugazzotto wasn’t just the absolutely PERFECT pacing, and the way I started to feel very real sympathy with a character I didn’t like much at first, but how he literally didn’t waste one word, one paragraph, or one syllable. Everything in this book needs to be exactly where it is. Everything. And by the end of this short jaunt through a horrifying Northern California coastal town, I was left gasping, profoundly moved, and wiping away tears.

It’s the first book by this author I’ve read, or edited, but it put him solidly on my radar and now I look forward to exploring all the other things he’s got out under his name. You should, too.

Okay, so there you go. I love my job. I love the creative people I work with on a daily basis. I’m honored to be able to tell you all about the genius works I’ve spend hours working on.

One Responses

  • I’ve read and loved Smoke and Stone, and currently am reading Black Heart Stone, also started Jesse Tellers Book. All have been awesome.

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