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Book cover of Alex Paterson's No Helping Hand showing a ship and a girl looking out at sea

No Helping Hand
By Alex Paterson

In 1857, Christian Murray Gordon Ballantyne, the author’s ancestor left the Orkney Islands of Scotland for Canada with her husband and six children, one of them a babe in arms. The horrible journey was quite typical of the times, and their story is heroic, inspirational and terribly painful. Christian and John would eventually have 13 children together, seven of which were delivered in the simplicity of a three-bedroom log cabin in what is now present day Ontario. In time, after back-breaking toil and utter failure on the land they had hoped would change their previous failures into success, their name would become synonymous in Montreal with success.

Christian Murray Gordon Ballantyne’s life was remarkable, her determination to succeed in a new land indomitable. Of course, she had to survive the journey to get here, and like many immigrants at the time, there was no helping hand to steady her on her way.

Alex Paterson, Author of No Helping Hand (Deadly Waves)

“Susan Crossman is a first-rate editor. We have worked together for nearly a year on my massive manuscript, which began with Chapter One, and then went on for over 800 pages without another break. It was written over an eight-year period so the standard of writing was also not of the same caliber.

Sorting this out was an almost impossible task, but Susan is so incredible that she actually managed to fine tune, edit and do a superb job despite the fact that 99.9% of editors would have simply given up. What was so wonderful about working with Susan was that even though she had one of the most challenging edits of her life, she never changed my personal voice in the book.

She made hundreds of comments down the margin as to how I could make things clearer, but she let me make the changes so that my work remained my work. This was very important to me, because on a previous book some years back, the editor changed my book into something I would have never written and ruined my book. This was before computers were the rage, so changing it back was impossible so it is sitting in a cupboard.

I can’t tell you how much better my book is because of Susan, and she is also a wonderful and charismatic women on a personal level, and we just hit it off from the get go, I needed a tremendous amount of help, not copy editing, we had to move whole sections of the book around, a logistical nightmare because of the length and scope of the book and the time frame of the story covering 150 years of world history, including more than a thousand characters. I was blessed to have been taken on by her as a client, she is just out of this world as an editor.”

Diana Fisher

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