Pleased to Meet You

February 1, 2019

The enthusiastic volunteers who guide the Northwest Editors Guild kicked off the year with a daylong board of directors’ retreat on January 13. To ensure a smooth transition, departing, returning, and incoming board members, along with Guild administrator Jen Grogan, joined together at this annual event.

Four volunteers—Christina Johnson, Roberta Klarreich, Pm Weizenbaum, and Polly Zetterberg—wrapped up two years of service, making way for new board members: Alison Cantrell, Erin Cusick, MariLou Harveland, and Alicia Ramos.

The team is looking forward to meeting up with members at our bimonthly member meetings, regional gatherings, and, of course, the September 21 Red Pencil conference. Until then, here are brief introductions.

Executive Committee

Elaine Duncan, President

After practicing law in California for almost thirty years, I retired and moved to Seattle in 2012. Having always loved the process of writing and editing, I joined the Guild, enrolled in the University of Washington editing program, and started freelancing. I enjoy editing any kind of nonfiction—even arcane technical topics like economics or law—but I hope to branch out in the next few years.

Joining the Guild and then serving on its board have been instrumental in helping me feel grounded in Seattle without the backstop of coworkers. I love contributing to this organization and meeting people who enjoy it as well. Aside from editing, I like walking around Cougar Mountain with my dog, Anya, visiting Washington wineries, and trying to be a tourist in Seattle.

MariLou Harveland, Vice President of Member Services

My editing journey began in 2001, editing technical training manuals for the Microsoft Learning Team, where I also acted as contributing writer and editor for their in-house style guide and trainer for new MS writers in the U.S. and in Denmark. In 2012, I entered the freelance world after publishing my first work of fiction, The Seventh Soul, which won first place in the Indie Reader Discovery Awards—Paranormal category at the International Book Expo in New York, NY. As a freelancer, I mostly focus on developmental, substantive, and copyediting for novels (fiction and nonfiction) and technical content. I have a master’s degree in English from North Dakota State University, where I taught College Composition I & II. Currently, I am balancing writing and editing with spending quality time with my husband, Dan, and our vivacious golden retriever and bossy cat.

Alicia Ramos, Vice President of Board Development

I’ve always been an editor in one fashion or another. My love of reading led me to an undergraduate degree in literature. I started my professional career practicing law, spent more years than I like to count in corporate communications, and finally made the switch to full-time editing in late 2016 when I joined ECG Management Consultants. I’ve been a Guild member since 2015.

My freelance work, which includes everything from proofreading to substantive editing (but not full developmental editing), is focused on popular fiction (particularly queer romance) and memoir.

I love working with authors to help them convey their ideas in the most effective way. Nothing makes me happier than hearing that I’ve delivered what the author needed in a way that pleased them and helped them grow. (Okay, maybe kittens make me happier. Kittens are hard to top.)

Michael Schuler, Treasurer

I have always loved good writing and helping to make writing better. My freelance work, which consists of copyediting and proofreading, focuses primarily on fiction and academic writing. I am also the publishing and marketing coordinator for ARCADE, a local architecture and design nonprofit.

After receiving degrees in architecture and urban planning, I worked in local government and as a consultant for many years before completing the University of Washington Certificate in Editing program in 2014.

Any free time I corner is quickly sacrificed to my hobbies, which include programming (Word macros of late), film, photography, and cooking.

Erin Cusick, Secretary

I am an independent copyeditor and proofreader specializing in literary fiction and cookbooks for traditional publishers, small presses, and independent authors. I completed formal training through UC Berkeley’s rigorous Professional Sequence in Editing, and I frequently participate in continuing education opportunities to enhance and expand my skill set. In my work, I focus on enhancing reader engagement and comprehension and providing authors with potential solutions to address continuity concerns and prevent reader distraction.

From the first Northwest Editors Guild event I attended in 2013, I’ve found the group to comprise some of the most welcoming, generous people I’ve ever known. The Guild has been integral to my professional development, and I’m delighted for this opportunity to serve on the board. In my free time, I enjoy swimming laps, running, cooking and baking, traveling, learning to play the piano, and, of course, reading.

Members at Large

Matthew Bennett, Programming Committee

I began editing in 2008 at Ronsdale Press, where I shepherded documents from submission to final print and served as editor for publications such as Sheila James’s In the Wake of Loss (2009). I later acted as a freelance copyeditor for academic monographs, such as Nicholas Hudson’s A Political Biography of Samuel Johnson (Pickering & Chatto, 2013). My recent editing work is largely developmental and includes novels and short stories, master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. I have an English PhD from the University of British Columbia and have been writing, editing, and publishing academic, journalistic, and fictional prose for over a decade.

Betsy Berger, Communications Committee/Photographer

After getting my bachelor’s in journalism (and another in drama!) at the University of Washington, I embarked upon my second career at a weekly newspaper in Seattle. (Prior to the newspaper, I worked as a public accountant for seven years). At the paper, I honed my photography, writing, and editing skills. About ten years later, I added to my career repertoire with a master’s in education. For a little more than three years, I have been teaching English as a Second Language at North Seattle College. I work with both immigrant and international students, teaching reading, writing (grammar), and—of all things—accounting! Besides teaching, I volunteer edit ARCADE magazine, take and make photos, read fabulous novels, and travel both near and far.

Alison Cantrell, Volunteer Coordinator

I’m a freelance editor and proofreader based in Portland, Oregon, with a background in editing fiction and proofreading technical documents and other short-form works. I’ve been working with writers for seven years in various forms, from tutoring student writers to editing book manuscripts. I have a master’s degree in book publishing with a focus in editing from Portland State University.

While pursuing my degree, I worked with Ooligan Press and performed extensive editorial projects for four of their titles, including two literary fiction novels and two YA novels. I currently work with two creative agencies in Portland, where I proofread a range of documents—from social media copy and blog posts to white papers and case studies—for their various clients.

Aside from editing, I enjoy spending time with my family (which includes a supportive husband, an adoring dachshund, and an indifferent cat), listening to and recording my own podcasts, and volunteering with the Eds Guild and a local Portland literary journal.

Sue Cook, Communications Committee

I’m a developmental and substantive editor, and I love helping nonfiction authors, content creators, and academics connect with a broader audience. It’s rewarding to partner with a writer in clearing out clutter, uncovering the exciting bits, and clarifying the meaning so the writing achieves its purpose: to engage, inform, and inspire.

After a career in fine art and graphic design, then as a UW editor and scriptwriter, I now share a desk with Sonya the cat. As a volunteer, it’s been a pleasure to teach reading, writing, and KCLS computer classes to people of all ages and backgrounds. I’m also an Action for Media Literacy Education board member, responsible for posting to social media and writing for the blog.

Valerie Paquin, Programming and Outreach Committees

I’m a freelance copyeditor and proofreader focusing on nonprofit and corporate communications, specialty nonfiction, and fiction. I have subject matter fluency in woodworking and furniture making, home improvement, vegan and gluten-free cooking, sewing and crafts, basic paleontology and geology, animal welfare, and conservation.

In addition to editing and proofreading, I have extensive experience managing a variety of projects, from engineering catalogs and apple juice ads to custom furniture builds and fundraising auctions.

I have a BA in Business Administration and a Certificate in Editing, both from the University of Washington, and an AAS in Furniture Design and Manufacturing.

Karen Parkin, Communications Committee

I started my career as an in-house project editor for a regional publisher and transitioned to freelance work more than twenty years ago, specializing in copyediting Northwest travel and hiking guidebooks. Currently I line edit, copyedit, and proofread fiction and nonfiction for publishers, book packagers, and independent authors. When I’m not working, I’m gardening, wine tasting, walking my jaunty mini dachshund, or reading histories, biographies, and memoirs.

The Editors Guild has been an integral part of my professional growth, and I am grateful to be part of this caring community of editors.

Jessica Yoppolo, Outreach Committee

As one of the youngest current Northwest Editors Guild members according to the 2017 member survey, I am honored to be on the Guild board. I graduated from the UW Editing Certificate program in 2015 and immediately joined the Editors Guild. I am a freelance developmental editor for sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult fiction books. I love analyzing how stories work and how they can work better. Of course I love reading but I also love watching anime, sewing, drawing, and playing video games. I look forward to continuing my work on the Northwest Editors Guild board.

Photos courtesy Michael Schuler and Betsy Berger, Berger+Schuler Editing Partners or the pictured editor.

Calling Blog Writers

We want to showcase the variety of personalities, skills, and experience in the Guild, so if you’re a member and wish to contribute an entry for consideration, please email Karen Parkin:

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