Karin Gutman

Karin Gutman, writer and editor

I grew up journaling as early as I could write.

Raised in the heart of the Midwest, I still have my first “Snoopy” diary with a broken lock and missing key. It was the way I processed the world around me and made my inner experience real.

Many years later, journaling segued into professional writing. I started as a screenplay translator while living in Paris. In New York City, I wrote and directed two short documentary films about the sudden death of Jonathan Larson, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent; and then I landed in Los Angeles, where I wrote and created for children’s television (Jim Henson, Nickelodeon, and National Geographic Kids). I also published two coffee table books, including one about secret societies. At the same time, I sharpened my editorial eye as a story analyst for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), 20th Century Fox, and Gaumont Télévision.

But I would find my true calling inside the burgeoning spoken-word movement in Los Angeles, largely inspired by the groundbreaking series The Moth.

During my 13-year tenure as co-executive producer of Spark Off Rose, a popular spoken word series in West LA, I worked closely with writers and often with deeply personal material. It is there that I discovered my love for memoir while cultivating both fresh and seasoned voices and directing the monthly live stage performances. In guiding the writers through the process, I came to know the power of storytelling — witness to the transformation and healing — as well as the deep sense of community and connection that happens when we share our stories.

I felt the call to create a space where writers would not feel the pressure of an audience; a place where they could discover and peel away the layers of their stories. In 2009, I began offering workshops in LA, beginning with my signature course Unlocking Your Story. And so Spirit of Story was born. The offerings have since expanded to include other live workshops and retreats, e-courses, a monthly e-letter and blog, one-on-one story mentoring and editing, and live author events.

Outside of Spirit of Story, I have taught at California State University at Fullerton, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, the San Miguel Writers’ Conference, among others. I hold an M.F.A. degree in screenwriting from Cal State Fullerton and an undergraduate degree in theatre from Northwestern University.

I live in Marina del Rey, California, with my pup and 11-year-old daughter, who reminds me every day how to play. I’ve had a longtime yin yoga practice, am a late bloomer to discovering the joy of cooking, and love to spend time deepening my spiritual, healing, and creative studies.

And yes, I still keep a journal.


“Working with Karin has provided me with a supportive partnership to excavate the treasures of my story. She has a gentle style of eliciting the essence of what I’m trying to say by asking penetrating questions that cut right to the heart of the material. Writing can be such a lonely task and with her solid understanding of the craft coupled with creative collaboration, I’m able to accomplish my goal of completing a memoir I’ve been struggling with for years. Karin’s stewardship has given me the ability to put the words on the page with confidence. She is a master storyteller and knows how to develop the scaffolding necessary to build a manuscript from inception to completion.”

“Oh Karin… you are a gifted teacher. First, you are the most astute listener; you are able to reach through the weeds of a cobbled-together story and pinpoint the true intention of the writer. The questions you pose of the writer demand that she pull from her own experience and expression. There are no pointed questions where you wait for the hapless writer to arrive at the correct answer... it's all gauged so gently, probing but not poking. You promote an atmosphere of respect among us for each others’ work and our individual processes. We all come to it differently, and there's no judging.

You seem able to meet each person where they are, respectful of whatever they bring to the table. You are responsive and wise. I can feel your years of reading, studying and dissecting as you help us explore what we've written and where we want it to take us.”
Meredith Baxter

“I love your style of teaching, way of being, and the space you hold and the opening you create. Just so grateful for what you do. I really love how you protect and nurture writers and writing, and the wonderful way you love through your work. You are a transformative person in my life.”
Kelli Bean-Miranda

“Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into your work. It shows. I FEEL it. You are the embodiment of grace and warmth and risk taking. I am so grateful to be connected to you.”
Samantha Weaver

“I would whole-heartedly recommend Karin to any aspiring writer who wants to make sure that her work is 'there' before sending it out to agents. Karin’s edits of both of my books were so comprehensive that I’ve yet to be surprised by any other notes that I’ve received on either of them. Her edits are thorough and constructive. She not only points out problems, but she also inspires you to think about solutions. This is why I plan to also send my future work to Karin, before I send them to my agent or publisher.”
Ernessa T. Carter, author of 32 Candles

Contact Karin Read Karin's Blog Posts

Contact Information:

Marina del Rey, California
Website: www.spiritofstory.com

Email: karin@spiritofstory.com

Author Coaching Book Proposals Book Shepherding Developmental Editing Manuscript Critique/Evaluation

Lesley Hyatt

Headshot of Lesley Hyatt, Los Angeles writer and author coachWhen working with writers, I draw upon my 30+ years' experience as a narrative writer, editor, and teacher of writing and mindfulness groups.

I offer one-on-one coaching to fiction and nonfiction writers (adult and youth markets) seeking opportunities to:

  • begin, follow through, and/or complete writing projects
  • connect more deeply with the emotional and intellectual roots of their writing
  • recognize and appreciate the qualities of their own unique voices on the page
  • identify and manage the often paralyzing power of the “inner critic”
  • develop a productive and balanced writing life
  • empower themselves as more confident editors of their own work

With fiction and memoir writers, I offer specialized guidance on character development and plot arc. With writers of general nonfiction, I focus more on book organization and flow. With all of my clients, I offer an engaged collaborative experience in an atmosphere of confidentiality and mutual respect. I work with clients in person (generally in the Los Angeles area) or via Zoom video conferencing. My writing, creativity and mindfulness workshops are currently available at UCLA Extension Writers Program, Skirball Cultural Center, and privately. 

Contact Information:

Studio City, California
Tel: (323) 842-9635
Website: www.lesleyhyatt.com

Email: lahyatt@gmail.com

Author Coaching 

Merrill Feitell

Los Angeles writer/editor Merrill FeitellMerrill is an award-winning fiction writer with more than a decade's experience teaching creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels. A savvy storyteller seasoned in narrative problem-solving, Merrill has worked with hundreds of writers in generating, revising, and publishing fiction, nonfiction, and memoir—and with an extensive background in branding and advertising, she has helped many individuals and companies develop engaging content, strengthening brand identity by delivering better brand stories.

Manuscript Consultant • Author Coach • Developmental Editor • Book Doctor

Merrill offers incisive editorial feedback, targeted and inspired generative guidance, and insightful strategies for generating narrative momentum and forging narrative cohesion. She helps writers discover the heart of their stories and offers guidance for effectively and inventively realizing their ideas on the page.

Ghostwriter • Content Developer

Dexterous storytelling, structural innovation, and remarkable tonal control have equipped Merrill to write and edit a wide range of works, including memoirs, essays, fiction, business books, reference manuals, cook books, branded content, and corporate histories. Hired by authors, book packagers, and publishers, she can develop outlined material, brainstorm from a concept to offer a range of narrative threads and structural possibilities, or draft a manuscript in its entirety and revise according to client feedback.

Relevant Experience

Merrill's first book Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes won the Iowa Award for Short Fiction. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Best New American VoicesVirginia Quarterly ReviewGlimmer Train, American Short Fiction, and  McSweeney's Quarterly, earning short-list recognition in Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. 

She earned her MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia University and has taught creative writing at Pratt, SUNY Purchase, Colorado College, California Institute of the Arts, and served on MFA faculty at University of Maryland-College Park and California State University-San Bernardino.

An established teacher of creative writing and branding consultant, Merrill has also worked as an assistant at a literary agency; a proofreader at Business Week magazine; a senior copywriter/brand voice at Poppin Inc.; and as an academic studying fiction and nonfiction narrative. (References and ghostwriting/manuscript development specifics available upon request.)

Contact Information:

Email: merrillfeitell@gmail.com

Author Coaching Business & Corporate Content Copyediting & Line Editing Developmental Editing Ghostwriting Manuscript Critique/Evaluation Web Content

Lori Kozlowski

Lori Kozlowski is a writer, editor, and media executive, exploring storytelling in all of its forms.

She founded More Light Media, a content studio and storytelling company. She was the producer and head of content for the virtual reality film series called Project Empathy, which uses VR to explore human rights and social justice issues. The documentary project was funded by Google and premiered content with The Atlantic and at the Democratic National Convention.

She served as Editorial Director at entertainment and music management company Atom Factory, leading the company's media division. She also co-founded and served as Editor-In-Chief for Smashd, a publication and platform about the merger of culture and technology.

Previously, she served as an editor and columnist at Forbes. Before then, she spent five years as a senior editor at the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to her journalism work, she has worked with several authors on their manuscripts. As an editor, she works with nonfiction and fiction. In the realm of nonfiction, she has specific interests in music, culture, technology, environment, science, and business content.

She has also worked with several companies on content and digital strategy, helping them to launch and shape digital storytelling platforms.

As a writing teacher, editor, coach, and collaborator, she has helped hundreds of writers and authors express what they are trying to say and bring original works to life.

Contact Information:

P.O. Box 86622
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0622
Websites: www.lorikozlowski.com

Email: lori@lorikozlowski.com

Author Coaching Business & Corporate Content
Copyediting & Line Editing
Developmental Editing
Manuscript Critique/Evaluation
Web Content

Kate Zentall

Clients come to me for my extensive experience creating, clarifying, organizing, polishing, and illuminating fiction and nonfiction for companies and individuals all over the United States.

I learned to keep my eye on the big picture at the same time as paying attention to detail while editing and shepherding many books through production. Later, the magazine world trained me in the discipline of a deadline, the structure of a feature, the style of a sidebar and review, the punch and power of a lead.

I have sharpened my skills by writing and editing for the internet as it has evolved. Adapting to the demands of new media has made me versatile and adept at communicating a lot in a few words. I can create copy that's practical, pertinent, and precise, whether it's persuasive marketing emails and newsletters, diverting city guides, engaging community forums, effective social networking, or catchy blogs and blurbs.

Memoirs, a recent specialty, represent yet another universe, in which the deeply personal ideally translates to the widely accessible.

This familiarity with a wide range of styles, genres, and tones has kept me flexible and current, so that you can benefit from the most effective ways to communicate your ideas and messages.

I'm committed to good writing in all its forms and love nothing more than helping writers, from first-timers to experts in their field, find their distinct voice. I especially enjoy collaborating with them to shape their thoughts and words into a clear, authentic, and effective narrative. And if you need a “writer whisperer,” I may well be the coach you're after.

I look forward to working with you!

Some Recent Clients

Selected Websites

DisneyOnline, eHarmony, DisneyFamily, FamilyFun, SHOP.com, CatalogLink, ShopCompanion, Magnify360, DECA, eHow, Recessionwire, MyLife/Reunion, LawCrossing, EmploymentCrossing

Corporations, Non-Profits, Schools

Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach; Magnetic Sky: Strategic Brand Marketing; Lexus; Vista Del Mar Child & Family Services; Wildwood School; Westland School; POPS the Club


Stephan Olajide-Huesler, economist; Ann Bronston, fiction writer; Leah Frederick, financial advisor, Ameriprise; Dr. Susan Mandel, psychologist; Arva Rose, therapist; Robin Fox, Realtor; Jeff Kahn, humorist and memoirist; Ray Castro, sci-fi writer; Holly Powell, casting director; Dr. Candace Love, psychologist; Ali Parsa, historian; Dr. Pamela Morton, psychologist; Davia Rivka, climate change warrior; Christine Lusita, nutritionist; Leah Weiss, psychologist; Thom Slayter, short-story writer; Ann Leis, biographer; Alan Goodwin, psychologist; Curren Krasnoff, entrepreneur. Memoirists: Judith Matson, Magda Fried, Anita Singer, Nate Green, Ed Leach, Dave Butler, David Weaver, Armin Shimerman, Matt Miller, Jenna Maio, Mitch Ryan, Tommy Masters, Dr. Milton Klein, Conor Bezane, Kathalynn Davis, Ben Stern


Kate delivers a well-crafted and concise message in a manner that illustrates her seasoned writing abilities. She has worked on several articles for me and always provides an engaging read that pulls you in right from the start with her witty wordsmithing.
—Jill Pauley, Sr. Communications Manager, eHarmony

Working with Kate was a consistently enjoyable experience, and in the world of freelance writing, that's a goldmine when you're looking for talent. Kate's ability to paint gorgeous visual strokes with her copy never ceased to impress me, and her gift with nuance and dedication toward any given copywriting project was unparalleled across my team of freelance writers. She is as intelligent as she is gifted, and the integrity and pride she invested in her work shone through no matter how dull the assignment. I would work with Kate again in any capacity and believe that she is that one indispensable person that propels any good team into greatness.
—Simona Supekar, Sr. Communications Manager, SHOP.com

My father passed away leaving an incomplete and chronologically disorganized set of memoirs. It was my objective to turn these pieces into a finished book to pass on to children, grandchildren and posterity. Each of several attempts to get help ended in failure; then finally I turned to Kate, and success soon followed. Living on opposite coasts did not present an obstacle. Kate not only contributed as an editor but also acted as a guide through the process. I doubt I could have done it without her and cannot overstate her contributions.
—Magda Fried, of her father's memoir, A Quiet Life

Kate is a miracle worker. An inspired editor, she has treated us with kindness, firmness, gentleness, and above all love. She is not only an editor extraordinaire but has wisdom beyond measure. We are eternally grateful for her magnificent job — fantastically well done!
—Edward Leach, author, Green Berets Don't Cry

Contact Information:

Los Angeles, California, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cell: (310) 621-1529

Email: kzentall@gmail.com

Author Coaching Business & Corporate Content Copy Editing and Line Editing Ghostwriting Proofreading Web Content

Jenna Rose Robbins

Jenna Rose Robbins has made a career of turning writers into authors, pixels into websites. As a writer and editor, Jenna has extensive editorial experience both online and off. She has ghostwritten more than 12 books, including two New York Times bestsellers, and was a finalist for the BookLife Prize (awarded by the independent-publishing arm of Publishers Weekly) for her own memoir, Faithful and Devoted: Confessions of a Music Addict. She has managed editorial for such companies as AOL and Disney.

While the majority of Jenna's experience has been entertainment and travel-related, the scope of her projects has ranged from politics and finance to sports and religion. Whether it's working with first-time writers or ink-stained veterans, Jenna enjoys all stages of the creative process. In addition to editorial services such as manuscript critiques, Jenna helps clients develop an internet presence, including building websites and managing social media.

When she's not helping writers realize their goal of becoming published authors, Jenna oversees the web-consulting company Siteseeing Media, which caters to small and medium businesses. Services include newsletter development, content creation, social media, content strategy and marketing, and project management.

Jenna's full-time positions have included senior editorial producer at Disney Family, head of marketing for FIJI Water, senior editor at AOL CityGuide, and interim editorial director stints at Where Berlin (print magazine), DJZ.com (an electronic dance music site), and Trucks.com, among others. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Jenna received her Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. She travels as often as she can and considers Semester at Sea's ship her second home, although she would prefer it were her first.

Specialties: Memoir, Music/Pop Culture, Travel/Cultures, Young Adult, Social Consciousness, Nature/Environment

Jenna offers a free half-hour phone consultation to first-time clients.

“Jenna Rose Robbins is an outstanding ghostwriter and co-writer with impeccable editorial skills. I have trusted her with projects spanning a wide range of topics and have always been thrilled with the results.” – Michael Levin, CEO of BusinessGhost.com “Jenna is an amazing writer, editor, and social media expert. Her range of experience makes a huge difference and we always love the results when we work with her. The very best!” — Beth Doane, author of From The Jungle: Stories and Original Art From Children Living in Rainforests

"I turned to Jenna for a major book edit because I knew I could trust her to take care of details, from the minutia I might be apt to pass over to big-picture stuff. I was positive she would be 100% pro, top to bottom. And that was exactly the result. Not only did she deliver my book ahead of deadline, but her suggestions, grammar edits, clarity tweaks, and helpful comments enhanced every page. She is both efficient and creative, two qualities one doesn't always find in a single package. Jenna is also refreshingly frank and forthright when she sees something isn't jiving, and she'll say so. In short, she doesn't let stuff slide. Brains? She has got them, boy." — Alysia Gray Painter, Author of the Wilfair series (Wilfair, Redwoodian: Wilfair Book 2, and Stay Awhile: Wilfair Book 3

Contact Information:

Digital Nomad
Tel: (310) 243-6369

Email: jenna@jennarobbins.com

Author Coaching Business and Corporate Content Copyediting/Line Editing Developmental Editing Ghostwriting Manuscript Critique/Evaluation Web Content

Lynette Padwa

Lynette Padwa, professional writer and editor

I'm an award-winning, bestselling writer with more than 20 years' experience in publishing. Whether you need ghostwriting services or original content, I'm here to help.

  • Book proposals
  • Manuscripts (nonfiction)
  • Memoirs
  • Articles and blogs
  • Web content
  • Content strategy for websites and marketing collateral

I have collaborated with experts from the fields of business, entertainment, parenting, psychology, and more to write books such as The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, by Dr. Wendy Mogel (New York Times bestseller); Comet's Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life, with Steven D. Wolf (winner, “Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2012” —Hudson Booksellers and Shelf Awareness); 27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Seduce Audiences and Win Allies, with Chris St. Hilaire; Reading People, by Jo-Ellan Dimitirus and Mark Mazzarella (New York Times bestseller); and many others.

In addition to ghostwriting, I have written three books of my own: Everything You Pretend to Know and Are Afraid Someone Will Ask (130,000+ sold); Quick, Answer Me Before I Forget the Question; and Say the Magic Words: How to Get What You Want From the People Who Have What You Need, all published by Penguin.

My goal with every project is to capture the client's voice and deliver his or her message in the clearest, warmest, most memorable way possible. If we're working together on a book or article, the experience should be rewarding and stress-free for you. If I'm helping you develop material for your website or marketing efforts, I'll bring not only my writing chops but also my talent for synthesizing and organization. Let's take your project off the back burner and fire it up!

“From proposal to final manuscript, Lynette was a pleasure to work with—she's that rare, one-in-a-million mix of creativity, thoughtfulness, insight, and discipline. In every sense of the word, Lynette's a professional.”
 — Chris St. Hilaire, author, 27 Powers of Persuasion

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee would not exist without the expert editorial help of Lynette Padwa. Lynette is a meticulous surgeon … and landscape architect…Her humor and patience have been a blessing.”
 — Wendy Mogul, Ph.D., author, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

“[I am grateful for] Lynette Padwa, my collaborator and now friend. A top-notch writer, editor, and brainstorming buddy who made book two effortless.” 
— Rhonda Britten, author, Fearless Loving

Contact Information:

Los Angeles, California

Email: inquiries@lynettepadwa.com

Book Proposals Business and Corporate Content Ghostwriting

Suzanne Mantell

Suzanne Mantell, writer and editorNonfiction editor, book and magazine.

Thirteen years at Harper's Magazine, editing noted writers on all subjects, including fiction. Five years as arts editor at the New York Observer, editing arts writers of national renown.

Ten years as contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, surveying all aspects of the publishing industry. Three years as arts editor at New Times Los Angeles, covering culture high and low.

Columnist for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, watching Hollywood transform books into movies. Longtime reader for Book-of-the-Month Club, assessing appeal of nonfiction titles on a wide range of topics.

Longtime proofreader at Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing communication companies; blog editor for the editor of the online magazine Singular City.

“Suzanne has been a great help in assisting and editing of the publication of our first two books,” says Sunswept Press's Mus White. “She has made useful suggestions and done the line editing on each book. Her comments have been insightful and thorough. She has been particularly helpful in catching inconsistencies and irregularities. Most importantly, she has been a calm voice under pressure.”

Contact Information:

South Pasadena, California
Tel: (323) 683-3294

Email: smantell@socal.rr.com

Copyediting/Line Editing Developmental Editing Manuscript Critique/Evaluation Proofreading

Deborah A. Lott, MFA

When “good enough” isn't, let me take your project to excellence.

Over the past twenty years, I've helped clients conceptualize, develop, write, edit, and publish all manner of print and multimedia. My clients include authors, agents, publishers, scholars, physicians, medical centers, universities, corporations, and nonprofits.

Prior to becoming an independent writer and editor, I held staff editorial positions with Prentice-Hall, Little Brown, and Peace Press, and am familiar with both large and small press publishing milieus. For the past eight years, I've served as a product development consultant, writer, and editor for the UCLA/Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. I also teach creative writing, academic writing, and creative nonfiction and memoir courses at Antioch University, Los Angeles.

My book, “In Session: the Bond between Women and Their Therapists,” is a critically acclaimed and influential book about boundary and transference dilemmas in women's relationships with their psychotherapists.

“A wonderfully written, clear, fascinating, and potentially very helpful book . . . an important piece of work.”
—Drew Westen, PhD, Professor, Emory University

My essays and literary memoirs have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Salon, Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellingham Review, Black Warrior Review, Cimarron Review, and Puerto del Sol, and have been named three times as Notable Essays of the Year in “Best American Essays,” 2004, 2006, and 2009.

“After more drafts than you can possibly fathom, Deborah A. Lott has helped me take my manuscript to the point where I am fully satisfied with it. That was no small feat. After twenty years, it will be published in September 2010. Deborah found solutions to the flow and whole by helping clarify each chapter, section, paragraph, sentence and word to make it sing loud and true. I unequivocally recommend her services. She's one smart cookie!”
– Jude Bijou, MA, MFT, Author of
Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life.

  • Special interest in childhood, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, mental health
  • Advisory Board member, AdvocateWeb
  • Member, Authors Guild and American Medical Writers Association
  • Former Chair, Healthwriters Caucus, Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC)

Contact Information:

Tel: (310) 454-1897
Fax: (310) 454-8536

Email: deborahlott@earthlink.net

Author Coaching Book Marketing and Promotional Materials Book Proposals Business and Corporate Content Copyediting/Line Editing Developmental Editing Manuscript Critique/Evaluation Project Management Proofreading Publishing Consulting

Nomi Isak

Nomi Isak editor writerWherever you are in your writing process, I can help you bring your project to completion.

Now you can get the support you need to:

  • Start that book . . . or finish that book
  • Break through writer's block
  • Make and meet deadlines
  • Write with more joy and ease
  • Complete a publishable manuscript

I‘m an award-winning book editor, with over 25 years experience and more than 30 published books, both fiction and nonfiction.  I have facilitated writing workshops since 2001 and have ghostwritten multiple books.

“In a world where great editors such as Max Perkins no longer exist at the publishing houses, today's writers need to find their own, a freelance Max. Nomi is such a person.”

—Chris Meeks

Author of The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea, The Brightest Moon of the Century, Months and Seasons


“Nomi is a top-notch developmental editor and copy editor who has worked with me on books of tremendous challenge and complexity for the J. Paul Getty Museum. I can always count on her to get the job done and to do it right. Authors have been consistently grateful for her skilled, insightful improvement of their texts and her cheerful, positive approach. In short, she's a gem.”

—Dinah Berland

Editor, J. Paul Getty Museum Publications

“I would recommend Nomi to anyone writing anything. She has the insight and intelligence combined with an innate ability to help you figure out what you want to say and how to get going!”

—T. Frank, Writer

To Those Seeking One-on-One Coaching:

As a writing coach, I sit down with you face to face (or on the phone). Together we work to achieve your creative goals.

I customize each session for you, depending on your needs. I may be helping you find your voice and vision. Or I may be guiding you–step by step–through the process of writing a book. We may focus on the creative process itself or on goal setting and deadlines.

If you feel blocked, we'll use out-of-the-box techniques to get you out of that stuck place and onto the page with power and grace.

To find out about my current writing workshops go to writingcoachnomi/workshops or email me at Nomi.TheWriteCoach(at)gmail(dot)com

You can learn more about writing by reading my blog: WritingCoachNomi

Contact Information:

Los Angeles, California
Tel: (310) 842-8358

Email: Nomi.theWriteCoach@gmail.com

Author Coaching Book Marketing and Promotional Materials Book Proposals Business and Corporate Content Line Editing Developmental Editing Ghostwriting Manuscript Critique/Evaluation Proofreading Publishing Consulting