Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Launch of the Cutting Edge website!

The brand new Cutting Edge website is now LIVE! 

Check out for exclusive author interviews, reviews of all 17 titles, book teasers and much, much more! 

Homepage Screenshot

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Bookseller's Forecast on the Future of YA Fiction...

Young adult fiction has never been bigger. Find out what the future holds - check out The Bookseller's feature here

YA gritty reads - "In the past five years the young adult fiction market has grown by a whopping 170%"  

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Guardian reviews Scarred Lions!

Check out The Guardian's fantastic review of new release, Scarred Lions

Part of "The Cutting Edge series", "Scarred Lions", is a gritty, honest and hard-hitting quick read for teens and young adults who find conventional fiction irrelevant to them or too hard to read. Buyisiwe feels like a stranger in the place where he grew up. He simply cannot shrug off the feeling of dread following him through the streets of London. And then he receives the terrible news. His mother can't take care of him anymore; he has to go and live with his estranged father, Themba, in Africa. Africa is not what Buyisiwe expected it to be. It is a place of great beauty and splendour, magnificent animals and terrible danger. And now a scarred, man-eating lion prowls the game reserve, waiting for his next victim. The hunt is on. Who will survive? And will Buyisiwe finally find a place where he really belongs? 

"The Scarred Lions" is a moving story about alienation and the magic of friendship. The fast-moving, character-focused narrative delves right to the heart of a tougher side of life. "Packed with drama and adventure from one page to the next, readers will be truly compelled by this gripping and satisfying story." Carefully chosen fonts, simple layout and controlled vocabulary help carry readers from beginning to end without any hint of chore-factor creeping in.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Guest blogger Fanie Viljoen, author of Scarred Lions, on his research and inspirations for the novel

Where do you belong?
Fanie Viljoen

There are some concerns all teenagers have, no matter where they are in the world. These universal issues include the questions: “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?” This is exactly what Buyisiwe struggles with when his whole life is uprooted and he has to move from England to Africa to start a new life with his estranged father. Imagine that – packing up your life, your belongings and leaving all else, even your mother, behind.

Whilst in the grip of this emotional rollercoaster, Buyisiwe clings to the thought that if his father is an African, then surely there must be a bit of Africa inside of him too … But what if there isn’t, and he becomes a stranger in a strange place? Add to that the thrill and danger of a man-eating lion on the loose in the wild life reserve where his father lives and works, and you’ve got the ingredients for a great read.

A view of the reserve from Picnic Rock

While doing research for Scarred Lions I visited a game reserve near Bela Bela in South Africa. An experienced game warden, Hannes Haasbroek, drove me around in the veld, teaching me about the wide variety of animals and plants. Having grown up in South Africa one might think that every South African would know all there is to know about the animals and the plants, but the game warden unlocked a wealth of amazing facts for me. These I tried to weave into the fabric of the story, giving the book a realistic backdrop. I then merely had to add a great story and some interesting characters that would capture the attention of readers. Because I also enjoy some fun amidst the tension, I included a generous amount of humour – mostly supplied by the fun loving and free spirited AndrĂ©, a game warden’s son.

In the end I hope that readers will have as much fun reading Scarred Lions as I had writing it! My wish for them is that they too might find their place in the world.

This zebra probably knows his place in the world, but can you spot him?

Friday, 29 July 2011

Cutting Edge on Publishing Alley

We are very pleased to note that Cutting Edge has been given pride of place in the book listings on Publishing Alley, the independent bookstore for independent authors and publishers.
13 out of the 17 titles are currently available to purchase online, individually or as a value pack, which is currently on sale.

See which Cutting Edge titles are available on

The Publishing Alley Indie Book Blog is definitely worth a look too, not least because two of its four contributors, Peter Lancett and A.C. Flanagan, are Cutting Edge authors.

Author Interview: Peter Lancett talks about Gun Dog

Does having a gun make you someone? Does it make you strong or does it actually make you weak? Stevie is about to find out.

Gun Dog is a novel by the series editor of Cutting Edge, Peter Lancett. Peter authored a great deal of material for Ransom Publishing, such as the popular Dark Man series. He has also written two other Cutting Edge novels: Seeing Red and Hanging in the Mist.  

As well as writing full-time, Peter writes for film and has directed his own feature film. He divides his time between the UK, New Zealand and Los Angeles.

Gun Dog is Peter's second Cutting Edge novel. After its release, he gave video interview about it. 

Click here for an interview on Gun Dog with Ransom Publishing.

Find Peter's website here.


Thrill Seekers is dedicated to the memory of my brother Matthew who was twenty when he killed himself after battling schizophrenia for many years.

Edwina Shaw
He was about fifteen when he first started showing symptoms, getting paranoid, hearing voices and so on. It was terrifying for all of us(I am the eldest of five siblings) but most of all for him.

One of the worst things was that even though we knew he was dangerously crazy, we couldn’t get him into a hospital until he made a suicide attempt. These were frequent so he was in and out of institutions until he died.

The most painful days were when his medication was working enough so that he realised how sick he was and the likely future he had to look forward to as someone with a serious mental illness.

Through it all Matty was incredibly brave, often escaping from locked wards, going out and trying to have a good time and be happy. The line, “I’m going to sing a happy song,” in the “Douggie and the Paparazzi” chapter is from one of the poems he wrote during that time.I wrote Thrill Seekers so that some record of my brother’s courage in the face of this illness survived.

As Stephen King says, “Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” Thrill Seekers is heavily autobiographical so that although names and characters and details have been changed, the essential emotional truths are the same. The best part of writing this story and making it fiction was that it gave me the power to change the ending.

Even though Matty’s been dead twenty-one years I still miss him very much. We were good mates.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

YouTube clip of 'Ecstasy'

Click here to view a dramatisation of A. C. Flanagan's raw and gritty novel, Ecstasy.

Special: Stained by Joanne Hichens

'What are you looking at? You think you can judge me?'
 - Stained 
So far, one of the most popular titles in the Cutting Edge series, judging by the amount of enthusiastic reviews it has received to date, is Stained by Joanne Hichens. It was short-listed for the South African Sanlam Youth Literature Award in 2005. Reviews have appeared in The School Librarian, Carousel: The guide to children’s books and Teen Titles. Lucy loved it in her blog post on 5minutespeace. It’s also had a good review from Beth, age 20, on
Both Joanne and her novel have also done well on Chicklish, the popular UK teen fiction website, which has  already reviewed a number of titles in the Cutting Edge series, such as Gun Dog and The Only Brother. In her review of Stained, Alexandra described the novel as:
‘very different, an emotional rollercoaster from start to end. It’s gritty, tough, dark but at the same time quite brilliant and different. It takes you to places you know exist – places that people don’t usually dare put in print to read about.’  
Alexandra has hit the nail on the head: different, realistic and honest is just what the Cutting Edge series is all about. Stained deals with the honest, emotional truth behind dysfunctional families, teenage motherhood and poverty.
Joanne Hichens
Stained is set in a poverty-stricken part of Cape Town, and tells the story of the adopted Grace, and her neighbours, sisters Crystal and Shardonnay. Grace struggles with feelings of dislocation and alienation due to her adoption and her unknown, mixed-race parentage. When she gets involved with Crystal’s dysfunctional family, however, she realises that she may well be Crystal’s only hope.
 Alexandra from Chicklish also interviewed Joanne herself, asking her about her inspiration for Stained and the difficulties of tackling harsh social topics. Read Joanne’s original and honest interview here.

Cutting Edge in the Press

Although the Cutting Edge series was released only a short while ago, books in the series have already met with favourable reviews in magazines and on the Internet. Publications such as Teen Titles, the School Library Association and Carousel reviewed a number of Cutting Edge titles, Emily Andrews’s The Finer Points of Becoming Machine even making the cover of Teen Titles, issue 46.
In July 2008, influential magazine The Bookseller announced the launch of the series on its website.  Read the entry here.
5minutespeace, ‘A comprehensive blog reviewing children’s books with an emphasis on fun and nostalgia’, was very taken with Ransom Publishing and its publications, and posted an extensive review on Ransom, Cutting Edge, and specifically the novel Stained  by Joanne Hichens. As she states, ‘… the most important question remains…. is the content any good? Well in all honesty, yes it is.’ Read 5minutespeace’s review here.

Ransom Publishing is releasing two exciting new books in the Cutting Edge series: Scarred Lions by South African author Fanie Viljoen, and Thrill Seekers by Australian author Edwina Shaw.
Moving between London and South Africa, Scarred Lions is the story of fourteen-year-old Buyisiwe and the battles he has to fight as he is sent to live in a strange country and struggles to earn the recongition of Themba – a stranger, and his father.
Told from the perspectives of two brothers, Thrill Seekers takes the reader into the world of Brian, burdened with responsibility for the family after the death of his father, and Douggie, suffering from schizophrenic delusions. Their previous lives, filled with drugs, sex and the thrill of living, splinter under these new pressures. The thrill is gone.

Read author interviews with Fanie Viljoen and Edwina Shaw.
Scarred Lions by Fanie Viljoen and Thrills Seekers by Edwina Shaw will be released in September 2011.

Welcome to the Cutting Edge blog!

Cutting Edge is a gritty, quick-read series for older teens and young adults written by new, well-known and award-winning authors from South Africa, USA, Australia and Britain.

Some of our striking covers...
The stories are fast-paced, with a gripping and hard-hitting approach to subject matter such as self-harm, family breakdown, suicide and sexuality. 

Many readers will identify with this honest portrayal of the tougher side of teenage life.