I offer a full range of editing services, from simple proofing to complete rewriting.

Current Sliders

Yours truly relaxing at a recent new year's party here in Santiago, Chile.

My wife with a circle of older students. Patricia mostly teaches English to the staffs of banks, large companies and institutions but also ran some adult classes in the early days of our return to Chile.

My mother in law, Ruth Torres, with a good friend of Patricia's. Ruth lives with us in a quiet suburb of Santiago.


October 2023
Currently booked up.


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Welcome to C.J. Holcombe

As the logo suggests, the site tells you a little about myself, which may help when appraising my work or thinking of employing my services. I do have a View Colin Holcombe's profile on LinkedIn but this site should give you a more personal view — without Facebook triviality or blog chatter.


I should be retired, but in fact am busier than ever. Not everything brings in the money, but you'll see that I've been freelance for a long time now, and enjoy the independence.

Before that, I was a good company man, indeed a high flyer at the world's second-largest mining company, with responsibility for technical liaison across the many disciplines that are needed to get large projects off the ground. Perhaps that's where the versatility was developed, the ability to see matters from different perspectives, but my concern here is to emphasize three things, that I'm:

1. Flexible, experienced and professional.

2. Versatile, which doesn't mean 'jack of all trades'. Like most freelancers, I work to a very high standard — which is required for 'repeat orders'.

3. Not as expensive as you'd expect. My fees have exceeded $100/hour, but are generally $30-40/hour, depending on what's required. In fact I've done a lot of pro bono work, for individuals and institutions, though naturally I have to keep that within limits.


My career divides into four parts.

From 1966 to 1976 I worked in mineral exploration. More geologists nowadays go into civil engineering and environmental studies, but mining was the main employer in my time — either as a mine geologist where you were responsible for maintaining grades and developing reserves, or as an exploration geologist where you were charged with finding new mineral deposits. I worked in both areas, though the jobs call on different temperaments. Mine geology is routine, though the work has to be done to exacting standards, as mines survive only as new reserves are discovered and proved up. Exploration geology is the more adventurous, and of course arduous and sometimes dangerous. Naturally, it's also more a young man's occupation, and I don't now have the stamina to work camped out in the deserts, mountains and tropical jungles of Iran, Australia, Indonesia, Bolivia, Morocco, etc. Unusually, I made several important discoveries — in which there's always an element of luck, the teams you work with, and the forward-looking nature of management.

In 1977 I came in from the field and worked in the Head Office of RTZ in London, first on a worldwide study of copper deposits and then in research and management. You can check the details on the technical section, and it's the record of a high-flying team-player, though I wasn't particularly ambitious. Nonetheless, few geologists get to work so closely with different disciplines, enjoy such a wide variety of job descriptions, or write for the top academic journals in their free time. Some of the successful acquisitions RTZ made in those years, which still bring in millions monthly, were a result of my work, most notably in computer modeling of opportunities where I conceived the approach, derived the algorithms and wrote the programs. But by 1988 I needed more time for my own interests. Different responsibilities were offered, my salary was twice increased, and I was offered the Chief Geologist's position, but when a consulting role could not be accommodated — in RTZ or other companies — I left full-time employment in the mining industry.


Adjustments followed as the steady salary and perks disappeared. The Knightsbridge apartment had to be sold, and the second property on the south coast was let. Since I was always writing something, I made my first business foray into publishing, with Abstat, a desktop-publishing magazine that was not too successful, however, and was going to be offered to the Maxwell empire, which that owner's death interrupted. I then switched to coin dealing, specializing in Ancients, Chinese and Islamic issues. Here I made better headway, building up a large circle of dealers and collectors, exhibiting at international coin fairs, and becoming something of an authority on Chinese cash coins. But fate, or rather the Conservative Government and the interest rate hike, intervened. Collectors found more pressing needs for their funds, and mortgage repayments on a flat I shared with Patricia shot up. We moved into something cheaper, and I turned to editing and typesetting, supplementing this with web design and database programming when the Internet took off. I helped design the world's largest online betting system, and then worked for travel and finance companies. My literary activities also increased, and I was active on the London poetry scene, attending and helping to run events at various poetry societies, many of whose names I cannot now remember. I was also a member of various acting groups, and used to read plays with RSC and other professional actors. Patricia and I lived happily enough.


By 2002 Patricia wanted a change from the Naval Mission, good though they had been to her, and we came to Chile. After several false starts, I started earning my living on the Internet, producing an ebook on ecommerce sold to English-speakers in 60 countries. Patricia taught English to individuals, companies and international institutions. We bought a flat in the quiet Providencia district of Santiago, Patricia's mother came to live in a section here, and I became accustomed to the country and its warmhearted people. More from interest than the money, I also developed several websites, which gained several million visitors a year, and then set up Ocaso Press to publish my own work, which now includes novels, translations and poetry collections. I also undertook editing and proofreading assignments as the opportunity arose, and occasionally some translation work, from Spanish into English for local companies and institutions.


Colin John Holcombe