Orison: An Editor’s Perspective

As Nine Muse Press kicks off our Orison release week extravaganza, I thought I’d take a look back at the journey with this book.

The job of an editor is a strange one. After all, any decent word-processor can catch spelling or grammar errors.  My job is to cut away the excess verbiage, the clumsy sentences, the lazy cliche, drag away all that obfuscates the luminescence of the author’s vision. If a scene is in the wrong place, if the pacing is off, if a character is redundant, if the ending is weak, if the opening is slow…these are the places where I come forward with ideas to improve. They are only ever ideas; the author has the last word. But I see the potential in a manuscript. Once I get it, the work has just begun.

I do not sell my services. That is to say, I don’t work as an editor for an hourly rate (though it would doubtless be more lucrative). I only edit books that Nine Muse Press accepts for publication. If I’m doing my job right, the author may struggle with whether to strangle or hug me at any given moment.

Perhaps I should take a step back and relate why fantasy matters to me. When I started reading as a child, the fantasy genre was my first love: a common story with gawky, socially-awkward and shy girl. It swept me away to misty mountains, to faery bowers, to the Mines of Moria and the snowy woods of Narnia. I will read fantasy till I die.

It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that the protagonists were almost never like me: that is, a girl who was neither beautiful nor magical. Though there were a few notable exceptions, they were usually male: callow youths or hardened swordsmen.

When I first read Orison, I was intrigued. Calushain felt real to me, those who peopled it felt real too. There was one secondary character named Story that I fell hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Story was not beautiful nor magical. She was an ordinary girl who had been dealt a rough hand, then been given an extraordinary chance to change her life forever.

We decided Orison would be the second novel that Nine Muse Press released. And then Daniel and I started scrubbing away at the book to make it gleam. If we were content with just releasing a pretty good book, we could have published it three or four months ago. That is, a book with no errors or typos. But it would not be the book it is today.

Today, I am privileged to announce that on the last day of February in the year two thousand and fourteen, Daniel Swensen’s Orison will be a reality and you will be able to download it to your very own e-reader. Paperbacks are next, fear not, ye fellow Luddites of mine. We have so many wonderful things in store for you this week.


Every day, there will be a brand new post from a Nine Muse Press Affiliate blogger that celebrates a different character in the book. Be sure to check them all out this week, as they will have a ton of exclusive, never-before-released content. I have them listed below for your reading pleasure this week.

Sunday, Feb. 23: Ruth Long and Wrynn at 6 pm EST

Monday, Feb. 24: Angela Goff and Dunnac at 2 pm EST

Tuesday, Feb. 25: Lisa V. Tomecek-Bias and Ashen at 2 pm EST

Wednesday, Feb. 26: Tracy McCusker and Camana at 2 pm EST

Thursday, Feb. 27: Emmie Mears and Story at 2 pm EST

Friday, Feb. 28: HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

This book represents a tremendous amount of work and love and I am terrifically proud to be a part of its inception. My most sincere gratitude to my NMP partners, Paul and Tina Ramey. And, to Daniel, for sharing your world with us.


Finding Wonderland

The lead-up to the wedding this year was a whirlwind, sparkling little moments whirling by and popping like bubbles in champagne. It was a series of fortuitous events, parties and showers and faces I hadn’t seen in years. My parents threw us a big engagement party, where Michael regaled them of the tale of how he met me eating ice cream. There was a lovely shower hosted by my godmother Julie, where I was introduced to the joys of Prosecco + Limoncello and lively conversation. There was a gorgeous bridesmaid tea with a half dozen flavors of homemade muffins hosted at my mother’s house with the help of her lifelong friend, Nancy.

Then there was the wedding shower hosted by my cousin Kay and Aunt Sharon. No one would tell me anything about this shower’s theme, but at this point I was just along for the ride. My mother did ask me what I was going to wear (answer: my polka-dotted tea dress and red heels and a vintage hat with veil courtesy of my bestie and matron of honor, Catherine). We rode up to my aunt’s house and there was an air of barely suppressed excitement in the car.

Imagine my shock when we arrive and the first thing I see is this:


Yes, that’s a reference to Flamingo croquet.

And this:


Yes, that’s a marshmallow bunny Peeps glued to the sign, in front of an actual rabbit hole.

You see, one of the strange parts of writing a blog is that you usually do it in a bit of a vacuum. You throw your songs, your stories, your words out there into the universe. It’s a bit like blowing bubbles into the wind: they are beautiful, but they float away to who knows where?

I knew vaguely that a few family members read my blog, but I had no idea that they knew how much it mattered to me, how the whole theme encompassed so much of who I was. So this was my reaction.


Especially once I saw the extent to which my cousin Kay had immersed herself in the theme.


So I got inside the door and the whole house was decorated like Wonderland. The first thing they did was place a pinafore (apron) and a proper bow on their Alice.


The decorations were imaginative and exquisite, a collaboration with all three ladies, though my mother’s creative hand was clearly seen.



There were caterpillars and mushrooms and playing cards and all the ladies wore hats, even my littlest cousin. There were beautiful tea treats, not the least of which was the Eat Me Cookies made by my Aunt Sharon.


Oh, and there was tea. Pots and pots of tea, in all the flavours you could want for a proper Mad Tea Party.


Alice had her special garden chair, where she opened her gifts and was quizzed on Alice in Wonderland trivia.


The whole day was magical. I felt so loved, so flattered, so understood. And it reminded me that sometimes Wonderland is closer than we think; we only need look.

Infinite gratitude to my whole family who helped create this special day and all the days surrounding the wedding, with special thanks to my cousin Kay (the Hatter), my Aunt Sharon and, always, my dearest mother.