Edits By Knight

My name is Michaeli (Miko) and I love to read. I’m also a perfectionist.
Put the two together and what do you get?
An Editor!

My name is  Michaeli (Miko) and I love to read. I’m also a perfectionist.
Put the two together and what do you get? An Editor!

Fantasy Editor At Large

Fantasy Editor at large

In 2007, I graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor’s degree in English. Years later, I started freelance editing, finding my niche following my dream of editing fantasy novels. Since then, I have grown my presence on social media and I am always learning new tricks for growing my business, which I am happy to share in my blog

     I am a member of both the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and ACES, the Society for Editing. In my local community, I serve as the co-chair for the advisory committee at Wellstone, a behavioral health center dedicated to providing counseling and recovery services to all of North Alabama, am a founding member of Huntsville Women for Good, sing with the Huntsville Master Chorale, attend St. Thomas Episcopal Church, and am a graduate of the LIFE Recovery Program at the Downtown Rescue Mission.

In 2007, I graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor’s degree in English. Years later, I started freelance editing, finding my niche following my dream of editing fantasy novels. Since then, I have grown my presence on social media and I am always learning new tricks for growing my business, which I am happy to share in my blog

     I am a member of both the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and ACES, the Society for Editing. In my local community, I serve as the co-chair for the advisory committee at Wellstone, a behavioral health center dedicated to providing counseling and recovery services to all of North Alabama, am a founding member of Huntsville Women for Good, sing with the Huntsville Master Chorale, attend St. Thomas Episcopal Church, and am a graduate of the LIFE Recovery Program at the Downtown Rescue Mission.

Background and Influences

     Editing is my passion. I was a copyeditor and layout editor for my school’s newsletter back in college, and I’ve been helping people edit papers, resumes, emails, and the like for years.

   As a kid, I read pretty much whatever I could get my hands on. We had a small room lined with bookshelves in our house that we called the Library, and it was full of fantasy and sci-fi novels. I started with the Oz books, then Narnia, the Time Quartet (Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, etc.), Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, Robert Aspirin’s Myth series, Anne Mcaffrey’s Pern and Rowan series, Asimov’s Robot Novels and Foundation series, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books (and later the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms)… the list goes on and on.

     In more recent years, I’ve enjoyed the In Her Name books by Michael R. Hicks, Elizabeth Hunter’s Elemental series, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul books, and pretty much everything Jeff Wheeler writes, starting with Muirwood. I will often get the first book in a series free on my kindle, then end up buying the rest of it! (I occasionally subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, but because I like to go back and read things over again, it’s not always practical.)

The Nitty-Gritty

     I grew up in a loving home. White, middle-class, never wanting for food, shelter, or love. We went to church every Sunday, where I sang in the choir and was active in youth programs. I made mostly A’s and B’s in school, participated in gifted classes, and read at a level high above the average. I was accepted to a private liberal arts college, and life looked full of possibilities.

     However, the summer after my freshman year in college, I began having tonic-clonic (formerly known as “grand-mal”) seizures, which, along with a serious injury to my shoulder caused by my seizures, severely limited my ability to learn and work. This led me down a spiral of depression and substance abuse. I still managed to graduate with a 3.2 GPA, but my inability to work left me at the mercy of others for support, with a desperate fear of being alone.

     A series of co-dependent—and eventually abusive—relationships only made my depression worse, and my substance abuse made me incapable of forming lasting friendships. My endlessly patient and supportive family finally grew tired of it, and I ended up couch surfing and living on the streets and in shelters on and off for years. We finally found the right combination of medication to control the seizures and I was able to get surgery to fix my shoulder, but my mental state had deteriorated to a point where I was unable to take care of myself.

     Eventually, I ended up living in a tent. The severe mental illness of the man I was living with led him to burn my tent down and give me two black eyes. I found myself at an impasse; I had to get help or I’d never get myself out of the hole I’d dug, and I could die out there, cold and alone.

 

A pared-down version of my story appeared in the September 2022 Newsletter for the DRM.

     I’d heard about a free, year-long recovery program when I stayed at a local shelter a few months back, and decided to apply. A few weeks in, I got on my knees beside my bunk and prayed to God, and finally granted him control of my life. I’d always thought that “Let go and let God” was a cop out, a way to avoid responsibility for your actions, but I had realized that it meant letting God guide you; you still had to listen and follow God’s guidance.

     I threw myself into the program and, though I certainly made mistakes—and even got in trouble a few times—the structure and discipline helped me learn the skills I needed to succeed once I graduated in January of 2018. I was lucky to have the support of my family and the community at St. Thomas, my childhood church, and was hired on as a tagger at one of the organization’s thrift stores. I was promoted to management in November, and eventually became the assistant manager of a new store they opened. I met a wonderful man—Mark—at a local comic book shop, and in April of 2021, he proposed.

      With Mark’s encouragement, I began freelance editing online. It has been my dream to edit fiction novels since middle school, and I finally felt like I could pursue that dream. My business has grown so much that I am now able to edit full time.

     When I read Psalm 119 during my time in the program, it resonated in me like a bell. The trials I went through and mistakes I’ve made shaped who I am and led me to this point. I am forever grateful for the valleys I had to walk through, for God was with me and has led me to a higher mountaintop than I ever could have dreamed of climbing.

Before I was afflicted I went astray,

but now I obey your word.

It was good for me to be afflicted

so that I might learn your decrees.

-Psalm 119:67, 71

Learning to Live with Neurodivergence

     In autumn of 2022, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Medication has helped improve my focus and motivation greatly, which in turn provided me with the tools ( or “spoons”) I needed to grow my freelance business. My husband, Mark, helps keep me on track as well (“It’s your mother’s birthday today!”) especially since we both work from home. However, it was still very difficult to get everything done—work, chores, social obligations, and even basic tasks like brushing my teeth and showering—and I struggled to keep up with everything.
     I realized that, though I’ve learned many ways to cope since we got my seizures under control, I had (and still have) many things to work through. A few months into 2023, I decided to return to therapy. Mark and I found a wonderful therapist who specializes in neurodivergence (ADHD, autism, etc.) and began to see them.
     Through our sessions, I learned that I didn’t just have ADHD; I’m also autistic. Learning about autism—and the common misconceptions surrounding it that even I fell victim to—opened my eyes, and I started looking at my past in a different light. I’m not just “lazy” or “oblivious,” and I was able to forgive myself for many of the unhealthy decisions I’ve made over the years. Many “AuDHDers” (people with ADHD + autism) have issues with social interactions, conventional jobs, and substance abuse, and I found many supportive communities on social media.
     Since then, I’ve been able to work through much of what I now feel comfortable calling “trauma.” (I used to think the term made it seem like I was casting myself as a victim for attention; now I realize that much of the trauma I’ve experienced led to a fear of “attention-seeking” behavior.) I’ve learned a lot about myself, and finally feel comfortable unmasking around people that I’d previously hid my true self around. The effort required to continuously monitor my behavior, including my facial expressions and body language, had been draining me for decades; it had become so instinctive that I hadn’t even realized that I’d been doing it.
     Now I have even more “spoons” and life has become much easier. I still struggle, but meeting the various obligations that being an adult requires no longer feels like an insurmountable task. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been, and life is beautiful.

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.