A busy year – so far!

I’ve realised it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog so I thought now would be a good time to update you all on what I’ve been busy with here at Calico Editing.

2022 has been a very busy year so far. I’ve had lots of children’s picture books that I’ve been busy working on, several children’s chapter books and also two novels. One of these novels is by bestselling author Gill Paul (I’m currently rereading what may be her final draft of novel number 12 and it’s fabulous!) and the other novel is by a new author Danielle Jata-Hall who runs the popular PDA-Parenting social media accounts and often stands in for Jodie Isitt over on the incredibly successful The Nurture Programme.

Working on such a wide variety of manuscripts has been fabulous. I’m always amazed by the fantastic talent and diversity within the work I get to read, and this year has been busier than ever which has meant I’ve been able to enjoy even more books than usual!

I can’t list them all here as I would be here all day, but some of the books I’ve worked on are now published and doing brilliantly.

One of the authors who I have been working closely with is Stacy C. Bauer who launched an incredible new series of books last year called Young Change Makers. This year, she has worked tirelessly to expand her series, as well as being an incredible inspiration to other authors with offering various tutorials and insights into what it takes to be successful in this difficult market. Young Change Makers feature incredible children from around the world who have gone the extra mile and created some amazing things. Every time I work on one of these books I’m blown away by these children.

Another author I’ve enjoyed working with again on several projects this year is Vicky Weber. Like Stacy, Vicky devotes a lot of her time to encouraging other authors to follow their dreams. Recently, Vicky has been given a fantastic role as a children’s book agent. I just know that she will be the perfect person for this job! Maya and the Stage Fright is one of Vicky’s books which has been published this year and it is so wonderful – it shows children that having nerves before a performance is normal, and gives them tips on how to overcome them. The illustrations are beautiful and the tone perfect.

I was delighted to work with a new-to-me author Barbara Pinke who came to me with a request to edit her chapter book series Magilicious Journeys. I was immediately intrigued by this series as it includes travel, magic, food, problem-solving, teamwork, excitement, facts, recipes… the list goes on! The stories are fantastic and I really enjoyed working on them. Then… Barbara came to me with a new idea, this time a picture book. I always love it when authors try a different genre and I

get to see a different side to their writing style. When I first read Pesho The Fish who Wanted to Swim With the Stars I was delighted – Barbara had a real talent in the picture book market too! We worked on this book quite a lot together, helping to bring the determined character of Pesho to life. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful with rich colours, twinkling stars… my own daughter – June – loves reading this book!

Another author who has branched into a different genre this year is Kirstie Watson.

You may have enjoyed her Witch’s Cat books? If not, then you must check them out! The Witch’s Cat and the Cooking Catastrophe has over 2,000 Amazon reviews and is a fabulous read about a rather excitable, but very clumsy cat. This cat is loved so much by Kirstie’s readers that she decided to develop Cat further and create a chapter book with him as the main character. When I read the first draft I was blown away; this story was fabulous! Cat has become an even bigger character and there’s more disaster and chaos which leads to a very funny story… a new character features too – Puppy!

Gill Paul’s latest novel The Manhattan Girls was published this August. It was last summer when I read the first draft for it and it’s wonderful to see how much readers are enjoying reading it. The Manhattan Girls features four very strong women in the 1920’s Dorothy Parker, Peggy Leach, Jane Grant and Winifred Lenihan. I have to admit that the only one of these four that I’d heard of was Dorothy Parker, but after reading the first draft of this manuscript, I felt like I suddenly knew all four of them inside-out! Gill’s research is incredible and the way she crafts her stories can never fail but to pull you in. Now working on novel twelve, I’m currently enjoying reading her latest draft and very much looking forward to when she announces what it is about later this year! You’ll love it!

My 13-year-old enjoying The House at Strone.

Claire Nielson may be a name you’ve heard of, or perhaps you’d recognise her from TV shows such as Fawlty Towers and Taggart? Earlier this year, I was very privileged to have the honour of working very closely with Claire who ventured into a new, exciting part of her career – becoming a children’s book author. Her story The House at Strone was based upon her own childhood adventures from when she and her siblings went away to a family home for the summer holidays – alone, no parents! The story is full of excitement, fun and mystery… it has a lovely tone to it which makes me nostalgic and reminds me very much of the likes of Enid Blyton. Working with Claire on the development of her story and also with marketing her book, was a sheer joy and was very much celebrated with a number one bestseller flag on Amazon during her launch week in May this year. Claire, I am delighted to say, is working on her next book – The House at Glasgow.

My 3-year-old daughter and others enjoying Anna Smither’s Yoga session.

This summer, something very special happened – my children got to not only meet one of the authors I work with (whose books they have devoured) they also got to take part in a special yoga class with her too! This was an incredibly special moment and one I will always cherish. Anna Smithers is an author who I’ve worked with for several years… first, on her Yogi Superhero books which introduce the world of yoga to children in a calm, easy-to-follow way, and then in her new adventure of writing a book all about the importance of trees. Her latest book Tree Full of Wonder is a beautiful story which has been incredibly successful.

Over the next few months, I am looking forward to working on more manuscripts and celebrating the success of the authors I am lucky enough to work with. It is always such a joy seeing a book in the hands of a reader. I know how much hard work goes into each and every book I work on – whether it’s 300 words or 130,000 words, each one has a lot of passion and devotion ploughed into it.

What a year!

I am writing this blog post whilst thinking back to the year we’ve all just gone through… it’s been one crazy year! We’ve had various vaccines, new Covid variants, hybrid schooling/working… but one thing which has been consistent for me has been books.

Some weeks I may not have known whether my children would be being taught at home or at school, I may not have known whether that cough was a cold or Covid… but one thing I did know was that books would provide the perfect escapism for many of us.

Over the last twelve months, I have worked with many incredible authors and illustrators. I have seen first-time authors become best-sellers, and seen well-established authors gain even more amazing 5-star reviews in the nation’s newspapers. I have also worked with authors who are just starting out with their manuscripts and are hoping to publish next year, and this makes me really excited, 2022 will be another year with many wonderful books to enjoy.

I have certainly been kept very busy over the last year with many authors sending me their manuscripts. I’ve loved the diversity that each manuscript brings and how much talent I can see in the authors’ writing. I’ve read books about solving mysteries, fighting Covid, standing up to bullies, appreciating nature, loving yourself, coping with family changes, inspiring others, tackling anxiety, saving the planet, magical islands, birthday surprises, talking animals, unicorns, clumsiness, magic spells…

Several of the authors I work with have won awards, had their stories read by royalty, appeared on national television and had top publishers sign them up. I’ve also enjoyed celebrating the smaller wins too; an author who had their very first 5-star review from a reader they didn’t know, an illustrator who was commissioned to design a follow-up book, an author who found the courage to show me her work despite feeling very anxious. I’m proud of all my authors and their incredible stories. It’s hard to pick out just a few to share with you…

A firm-favourite author of mine whose manuscripts I adore working on is Stacy C. Bauer.

This year has seen Stacy step into a different genre, and it has been a pleasure to work with her and watch her flourish in this genre too. Stacy has created a new series of books, Young Change Makers, all with inspiring children at their hearts. These books include real children who have carried out real acts of kindness and generosity. When editing these manuscripts, I have been blown away by the talent and kindness that the youngsters have shown… from children who have fought blizzards to clear the snow off the vehicles of healthcare workers’ cars whilst they’ve been at work, to children who have raised many hundreds of thousands of dollars to help those in need… these books are bursting with inspiring youths. Stacy’s next manuscript is due to land on my desk at any moment and I can’t wait to see how incredible the children included in it are. 2021 may almost be over, but you can be sure that 2022 will be another successful year for this author who devotes so much of her time to helping other authors too.

This year has also enabled me to continue working with best-selling author Gill Paul who has published another fantastic historical fiction novel this year.

The Collector’s Daughter is an emotional read, taking the reader on a journey of discovery through the memories of Lady Evelyn Herbert who was the first person to step inside Tutankhamun’s tomb. I adored working on this in its early stages when Gill Paul first began writing it, and I have loved reading all the fantastic reviews that have been streaming in from around the world for this book. I’m also very excited to have been working on the next novel from Gill Paul, The Manhattan Girls, which will be published in 2022… didn’t I say 2022 is set to be a fantastic year for books?!

Another book which will be published next year that I have worked on this year is Olly The Lone Red Squirrel.

This story is written by a new author who contacted me in the summer. Larissa Soares reached out to me and when I heard about her story, I couldn’t wait to work with her. This is a very special book, it shows the reader the importance of kindness and of not judging people based on their looks. Teamed with an exceptional illustrator – Olga Volgina – Larissa is set to have a beautiful book which will be treasured next year.

But I shall leave this blog post with a book which is currently available and is very seasonal right now – Abbey Angel The Accidental Fairy.

I worked on this with authors Julia Mcmillan and Shanice Evans this time last year. When working on Abbey, it felt very Christmassy; my tree was up, my children were getting excited and there was magic in the air… and now, when I read this story and see the beautiful illustrations, I can really sense that magic again. This story is about Abbey, a special angel, who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time! It has everything; it’s funny, heart-warming and, best of all, magical. With inclusive characters and beautiful illustrations, this is one of my favourite stories to have worked on this year.

So, now that I’ve left you with this wonderful festive story and a little hint at some of the books you can enjoy in 2022, I would like to take this time to thank you all for keeping me so busy this year and for sharing so many wonderful and special manuscripts with me. I am incredibly proud of each and every author and illustrator who I have the honour of working with.

From my family to yours, I wish you all a very merry and peaceful Christmas.

May be an image of 2 people, child, people standing, tree and snow

Stages of Editing

The different stages of editing don’t have to be daunting. At Calico Editing Services, we are here to help you navigate your way through each step and enable your manuscript to flourish in the process.

When you hear about editing it can sound quite daunting if you don’t know what it consists of. There are several different kinds of editing and each one is very important. At Calico Editing, we offer you the full package. Throughout the editing process, you will be assigned to the same editor to ensure consistency within your project.  

This article is here to show you what to expect from our editing team.  

Developmental edit.
Sometimes referred to as: a critique or a structural edit.
Our aim: To help get the very best from the manuscript and provide you with feedback which will inspire you to make it shine.
Useful when: You have completed the first draft of your manuscript and you need an unbiased, professional opinion. Or, during the writing of your first draft and you are uncertain about direction and would like a professional opinion.
What we do: We look at the story as a whole – the plot, structure, story arc, characters, themes, etc. All whilst keeping in mind your own personal goals and vision for the story enabling us to give you a personalised service. We also consider your target audience and the current market trends.
What happens then: We return your manuscript to you along with a report. The report has feedback on your story. It will tell you areas which are working well, areas which require more work, and gives suggestions and examples about how to best make these changes.

After the developmental edit, you take in the changes and amend your manuscript. You can follow our guidance as closely or as loosely as you like – some authors stick very closely to our suggestions whilst others use them as inspiration. You are welcome to show our editors your changes so you can feel confident about the direction you have taken the story.

Once the content of your manuscript is sound, you are ready for the next stage of editing.

The line edit.

Sometimes referred to as: Copyediting or a ‘line-by-line’.
Our aim:
To ensure your manuscript is error-free and shines.
Useful when:
You have made corrections to your story as a whole and have been advised that the overall story is sound.
What we do:
We go through your manuscript line-by-line, word-by-word. We correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. We also check for any inconsistencies within the story and flag up any queries that may arise. To help polish the manuscript, we advise about the word choices and make suggestions if certain words are too complex for your audience or if you are overusing a specific word throughout. We polish sentences and make sure they’re a suitable length for your audience. This step of editing won’t impact on your story, but it will help it to shine and be error-free.
What happens then: We return the edited manuscript to you with ‘tracked changes’ so you are able to see each change we have made. This can help you to see where you have made errors and it also gives you the chance to ask the editor why a specific change was made. You then make any additional changes, which the editor has flagged and then accept the changes.

After this stage you are ready to get your illustrations underway. It is important that illustrations don’t begin until these two steps of editing are completed.

The proofread.
Sometimes referred to as:
Final draft review.
Our aim:
To catch any errors prior to printing.
Useful when:
Your book is fully illustrated and formatted, you have all back-matter in place and the book is completed – ready to print!
What we do: We go through the final copy from cover-to-cover and ensure that it is error-free. Sometimes, during the formatting process errors can be caused due to how text is positioned or how it has been pasted across. We will check for any inconsistencies with the illustrations and the text. At this stage we also check the cover, back-matter and blurb to ensure that these are consistent with the story and also error-free.
What happens then: You are ready to print!

Feedback from authors to our editors:

“Even when even when you think the story is great she can still tease out even more extra magical details.”

“The feedback I received was invaluable! The suggestions made will improve my book enormously.”

“She is always super helpful, super quick, super accurate and when I ask for her edits I am always looking forward to see what she had done with my work. She can transform a tiny seed into a beautiful plant!”

“She is not only patient and answers all the questions, she also is very passionate about the stories she edits. I love working with her! She also encourages me to be more creative and challenging myself in a positive way.”

Book Reviews

We have been very busy lately editing children’s picture books and chapter books. One of the joys of being an editor, is getting to see lots of incredible stories and also sharing them with my children. There is no better feeling than seeing my own children enjoying the books I have worked on and know how hard the authors and illustrators have worked.

When I had a rare day off this week, I filled it with wonderful books (I know, I know, I can’t get enough!). My two-year-old daughter June and I were lucky enough to read lots of books together from self-published authors and illustrators who I have worked with.

The Perfect Potion

Written by Cheryl Davies and illustrated by Jenny Yevheniia Lisovaya

When I received the first draft of this story I thought how wonderful it was. Cheryl Davies, author of The Fairy who Sings, has a very unique voice. She writes in a way which takes children on a journey and lets them into the lives of characters who are trying to be something they’re not. The stories enable children to feel for the character, to really care and to learn with them. The take-away message is always a positive one which helps to inspire children to find the ‘Magic Within’ themselves.

This story, tells the story of two witch sisters. Luna, absolutely adores her older sister Astrid. She watches her creating incredible potions and being very successful. Desperate to be like her sister and to get her attention, Luna tries creating potions herself. She dreams of impressing her and reminding Astrid of the fun they used to have together… will she be able to create the Perfect Potion?

When you look at the cover, you can tell straight away that this is going to be a colourful read! The illustrations are bright, they make this story feel very magical and special. The story is written in rhyme, the potions Luna tries are amusing… so even though this story has an important message – to be yourself, that perfect people aren’t actually perfect and they need to try very hard – it has a lovely light-hearted feel to it.

I read this with my son who is 9 to help him understand that you don’t need to try to impress people and just being yourself is what matters. He couldn’t believe that the boys in his class who are better at football than him have to put in a lot of hours and dedication to it. This story has helped him to see that.

When reading it with my two-year-old she loved looking at the pictures and recognising the emotion on the characters’ faces, she seemed to really empathise with them and said ‘oh no, sad!’ when she saw little Luna wiping away a tear.

I love reading this with my children and feel very proud to have worked on it. I’m looking forward to seeing what other special stories Cheryl will create next.

Available here


Written by sisters Sarah and Carmen and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova.

I have worked with this illustrator before on various editing projects and I always adore her work – whether it’s a story she has written, a blog she’s created or a book she has illustrated, it’s always a joy. When I received this book to read with my daughter, I couldn’t wait to share it with her.

I was drawn to this book because the cover stands out and also because I love penguins – who doesn’t? As a teen, I used to collect everything penguin-related and, whilst my friends’ walls were covered in Spice Girl posters, my walls were plastered with penguins!

I showed this to my little girl who wanted to read it right away and was eager to see what pictures were inside. Well… inside is a delight – a beautiful story, incredible illustrations and a very important, but subtly-told, message.

Spike is a very cute, very fluffy baby penguin. He was born different – with colourful hair. Whilst everyone else thinks his hair is incredible, Spike doesn’t like that it makes him stand out. He tries various different ways to ‘blend in’, but it’s not as easy as he thinks. As Spike’s story concludes, there’s an important message for the reader to take away with them.

This is such a sweet story. I love the gentle humour in this book. The illustrations bring out the emotion too – we get to see Spike looking hopeful, fed up, miserable… it really tugs on the heartstrings!

At the end is a quiz which is a great added-extra too.

I think this book is perfect for the age group. It has everything a young child needs; an engaging story, emotion, subtle humour, a positive message and beautiful illustrations which bring the story to life. But, best of all it has a very cute, lovable baby penguin as the main character! I’m really looking forward to sharing more books from these authors again.

You can buy it here.

The Rainbow Blots
Written by Carlie Wright, illustrated by Victoria Mikki

I was editor for this story and was on board from the very beginning when it was in draft stage right through to the proofreading stage at the end. When I began editing it, my little girl was a tiny baby. I kept thinking how much she would enjoy the story once she was older… now she is two and this book has just been published, I couldn’t wait to share it with her.

The Rainbow Blots is a very different way of helping children to learn the colours of the rainbow. We are introduced to Mummy Rainbow and her seven baby Blots. These Blots are all representative of each colour of the rainbow and we are taken on an adventure as we see the various items that the Blots interact with. Indigo Blot loves indigo jeans! Red Blot loves red cherries…

When reading this, my little girl was not only learning her colours, but also learning new words – fire engine, whale, sunflowers…

The book also goes back through the colours at the end, prompting the reader to remember what they were.

The illustrations for this story are so colourful that it’s impossible not to be drawn towards this book. My little girl loves it, since we received it a few weeks ago, this has been her favourite go-to book before bed each evening. When we read it this afternoon she tried sounding out some words and attempting her colours. It’s brilliant how it’s really helping her to read.

It is an incredible feeling to have worked on a book from its infancy and then seeing my daughter devouring it every evening!

Find out more about Carlie and her Rainbow Blots here

Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation

Written by Reena Korde Pagnoni and illustrated by Frances Rose Espanol.

Do you like dogs with character? Do you like fun, engaging stories? Then the Rambee Boo books are just for you! When Reena first contacted me to ask me to be onboard as her editor for her book series, I was instantly excited because I could see so much potential within this cheeky dog. Sometimes when you read a manuscript, it talks to you, you just know that it will be loved… and now, well, seeing my daughter choose Rambee from her bookshelf regularly, I can see that feeling was right.

Rambee Boo is a dog who has adventures with a little boy called Rock and his favourite sock who he takes everywhere with him. In Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation, the family go on holiday to the lake. Rambee is excited and gets involved in everything they do – fishing, hiking, toasting marshmallows… but as each day passes, he keeps leaving Sock behind! Will he remember to pack him when it’s time to leave??

What is fantastic about Rambee books is that they have a similar structure so children know what to expect from them – there will be a theme (like the holiday in this book, preparing for Christmas in another…) and then a countdown with each spread leading to the event – the end of the holiday, Christmas Day etc and each day brings an adventure where they are on a mission.

The story is written in a bouncy rhyme which my children love. We laugh together at the silly things that Rambee does and we enjoy finding out what will happen next. The illustrations are great and have little details which we like to look at – spotting where Sock has been left, finding a bone in the suitcase. I really like that the text to this story is on a white background and doesn’t have any of the illustrations behind it so that it is easy to read and very clear.

I highly recommend this story, it’s engaging, fun and well-structured with clever rhyme and great humour.

Available here

New Year, New Post

We have been working incredibly hard over the last few months on some fabulous books, which has meant that we haven’t had chance to update our blog for a while.

We have carried out developmental edits, copyedits and proofreads for lots of authors, which has resulted in a lot of exciting publications and book post!

Below are just a few of the published books which we have worked on over the last few months.

February is another busy month for us. So far we have carried out a critique of author Kate Thompson’s next novel which will be published by Hodder. This had us gripped right from the beginning and it was a joy to be able to get inside the characters’ worlds and also provide some valuable feedback to Kate. This novel is set within the London Underground during WWII and the incredible library which was created there.

As well as working on Kate Thompson’s novel, we have also been working with children’s author Gina Gallois who has written several books. We completed a developmental edit on another manuscript by her which is something a little different to her previous books… it still has animals at the heart of the story, but this time it’s got mystery, teamwork and a lot of tension too – we will reveal more later.

This month we are eagerly awaiting the cover of Gill Paul’s next novel The Collector’s Daughter which will be published by Harper Collins in September. We read this at first draft and second draft stage and it is such a beautifully told and moving book. Telling the story of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, this novel will require you having a tissue at the ready as there are some very emotional scenes which are just perfectly crafted. We know that Gill Paul fans are going to adore this book.

Coming up this month we are working with Bear With Us Productions on some more fabulous children’s books. It is always amazing to see the scope of authors who Bear With Us work with. Some of the topics we are working on for them this month include diverse families, atypical development, magical fairies and superheroes! We love that there is a huge range in books that children can enjoy and it is always a great feeling to be a part of helping authors and illustrators to get those books out there and into the hands of children.

So what has been a busy few months seems like it’s going to continue to be just as busy, which is fantastic.

We are almost fully booked now and only taking on a small selection of authors for the next few months. If you are hoping to work with us, please do contact us with any questions.