Thanks, Laura. I’m a pirate and taking over your blog for a second to bring in some exciting news. BBE has hired a new artist this month, our fifth, to cover all styles and client briefs.
Our character-design illustrations are selling well. We can take your favourite characters and give them a persona. They can be used as a ‘voice’ to announce your news on Social media posts. We can incorporate them into bookplates or your author logo. BBE will design your favourite characters and bring them to life to use in all of your marketing. Print them on t-shirts or mugs, perfect for all your book merch. We can use them in your book trailers and all of your marketing packages. Heck, if you wanted to, you could even have life-sized cut-outs printed to welcome people to your event pitches.
The next one is my Jennifer, White Phantom from Leverage. I said to Jay, our lead artist, ‘Think pixie, think Goth,’ and he nailed her. Pretty as a picture, with the heart of a psycho. Don’t let this girl fool you. She is cra-zy.
And one more, this one from Christina, our new illustrator. We’ve had a run of steamy, corporate romances through the books of late. How about this little sizzler, then?
If you would like any of your people bringing off the page and into design—please get in touch. This is our email. All other links are below, but here’s our fantastic artists’ gallery. Best Book Editors, the place where characters speak.
Thanks, Laura. You may have your ship back—and I’ll walk the plank.
At the opening of the year—with an abundance of eating and drinking—I watched Die Hard for the umpteenth time. What’s not to like about Bruce Willis running about in bare feet and a sweat-stained T-shirt, bloodied but unbowed and saving society as we know it? Yippee-kayay, and the rest.
It got me thinking about all-action writing. I re-watched Das Boot, the incredible story of a German U-boat crew in WW2, made into a series and a film. There’s not much action, no Bruce-style hero shooting everything and throwing bodies out of windows to cars below, making his point that something is rotten in the Nakatomi Plaza. The U-boat waits under the sea, listening for Allied ships to torpedo and being quiet, so they don’t get bombed by Allied vessels.
This line of thinking took me to a recent read, Before the Storm, by R G Roberts, which also centres around submarines, albeit modern-day ones. The sort Prince Andrew will wish he was on back in the Navy, somewhere near the seabed and not surfacing for months. Before the Storm is similar to Die Hard. A bunch of modern-day pirates are taking over submarines for commercial gain. The baddies are bad-ass, and our good guys are out to stop them.
Danielle in Before the Storm isn’t the only pirate I’ve been reading. I’ve just finished the first book of Jenna O’Malley’s Arsinöephorus Alliance, Bound by Fate and Blood. The second book in the series Bound by Oath and Heart is the BBE award-winning Book of the Year 2021. The colourful female pirate Mahlyce and the Lusty Strumpet ship are delightful. This series is not one to be missed.
What’s this thing we have about pirates? Like highwaymen, we often see them as folk-heroes, the anti-establishment figure fighting back, like Rafael Sabatini’s eponymous hero Captain Blood, sentenced to slavery for treating the ‘wrong’ patients after the Monmouth Rebellion. And then there’s Daphne du Maurier’s sexy hero of Frenchman’s Creek. I read both in my long-ago teens, and they shaped my idea of pirates, along with Peter Pan (I always had a thing for Captain Hook) and the little pirate doll I made in sewing class. Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance is fun. Then there were pirate radio stations to capture our sympathy on a musical level.
The 21st century introduced us to the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow—which, like recent disclosures of Johnny Depp’s marital goings-on, brings me to these not being friendly people. We romanticise pirates, and who doesn’t love a good story? Tom Hanks’ truth-based film Captain Phillips highlights the evil pirates.
And then we have the ones who fetch up on the Facebook groups of a legitimate business and steal that company’s contacts for their own commissions. Where do they get off with such bare-faced cheek? Pirates, one and all, we need to readjust our idealised view of them, which is precisely what R G Roberts does in the excellent Before the Storm.
We authors love our baddies. I was in love with Teddy, the anti-hero of my Criminal Conversation trilogy, and I’d have handled him differently if I’d been the girl that got him—wouldn’t I? Or not. I created him and could do what I liked. The joys of a metaphorical pointed pen. Any non-writers reading this, if somebody’s done you wrong, get it on paper. Short of bumping them off, it’s a great feeling of revenge. Mind, Sooz just puts curses on people. You don’t have to publish, so no worries about spelling or grammar. Just get it out of your system by writing it. They say everybody has a book in them.
You’ll feel better for it, and it’s less expensive than smashing plates. Should you surprise yourself and find you’ve got a good story on your hands, you could turn it over to Best Book Editors for professional services. We can anonymise it, proofread, edit, and do whatever it takes to publish your story that has turned into a book. You can exist in smug mode, knowing that you’ve immortalised your appalling ex in print, and they have no idea. An easier option would be painting their toenails while they sleep. Do it, or something equally murky and subterranean like submarines. This brings us back to R G Roberts and Before the Storm.
Laura’s Review of Before the Storm
A well-paced story of modern-day piracy. Lt Commander Alex Coleman, 2IC of the USS Kansas, is tasked with stopping the recent submarine thefts by a group of bad guys. These aren’t run-of-the-mill, ransom-seeking baddies. They mean business. One of them is a woman who kills anybody in her way with a flame thrower. The sickening footage is captured on video at the group’s latest heist from an oil-drilling station. Alex is the man for the job, with the Marines sent to assist him.
These marine criminals will go to any lengths to get what they want. The characters are well-rounded, from Alex and Paul, his old friend, to Danielle, a pirate who isn’t known for her compassion and understanding. This one’s a page-turner and is highly recommended. Nominated for the Best Book Editors Book Awards 2021
A band of modern-day pirates station-hops across the Indian Ocean. Each attack bolder and more costly than the last, these pirates leave behind a trail of broken bodies, businesses, and stolen submarines at every undersea station they visit—and it’s up to Lieutenant Commander Alex Coleman and USS Kansas (SSN 810) to stop them.
And click-though link to Amazon to make it easy for interested readers.
And finally our BBE Review.
R.G Roberts was shortlisted in the BBE Awards for the Best Book Award 2021.
So, me hearties, that’s it for another week. I’m off to feed my parrot, see you next time.
Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
Founder of Best Book Editors
Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.