Welcoming 2020 on the Board

February 2020

On January 19, departing, returning, and incoming board members of the Northwest Editors Guild joined together for our annual daylong retreat to meet up in person, share information, and ensure a smooth transition into 2020.

Six volunteers (Elaine Duncan, Valerie Paquin, Jessyca Yoppolo, Karen Parkin, Betsy Berger, and Sue Cook) left the board after completing their years of service, and four new board volunteers (Laura Whittemore, Jesi Vega, Kris Ashley, and Brendan McLaughlin) joined volunteers who continue their service from last year to form the 2020 board.

Please join us in welcoming our new members, and enjoy these brief introductions to the whole board.

Executive Committee

Erin Cusick, President

Erin Cusick

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.

Michael Schuler, Treasurer

Michael Schuler

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.

Alicia Ramos, Vice President of Board Development

Alicia Ramos

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.)

MariLou Harveland, Vice President of Member Services

MariLou Harveland

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.

Jesi Vega, Secretary

Jesi Vega

I was originally trained in the theater as an actor and playwright, took a side trip to the University of Chicago Divinity School for a Masters Degree, and then worked for over a decade in documentaries and television. All that work with creative folks, and especially with screenwriters, prepared me to become the editor I am today. As a Latina born and bred in The Bronx, all that work in media and the entertainment industry also inspired me to focus my nonfiction developmental and copy editing work on supporting writers of color — whose unique voices and points of view have too often been unfairly judged, misunderstood, and overlooked by industry gatekeepers. After living in Los Angeles for 15 years, I moved to Tacoma in 2012, and am the proud mom of two extremely creative young people, and step-mom to two more. You can learn more about my work, and read my occasional blog entries, at www.representeditorial.com.

Members at Large

Alison Cantrell, Volunteer Coordinator

Alison Cantrell

I’m a freelance editor and proofreader based in Vancouver, Washington, with a background in editing fiction and proofreading technical documents and other short-form works. I’ve been working with writers for nine 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 both independent authors and several content creation agencies, where I edit and 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), working on my own writing, and volunteering with the Eds Guild and a local Portland literary journal.

Matthew Bennett

Matthew Bennett

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.

Laura Whittemore

Laura Whittemore

I’m an independent copyeditor and proofreader who works primarily on book-length fiction but gets really excited when a natural history project comes along. After discovering that copyediting existed, that I enjoyed it and was pretty good at it, and that I could be trained in it, I completed UC San Diego’s copyediting certificate program, left my longtime retail position, and hung out my shingle in 2014. Joining the Guild and attending Red Pencil has landed me clients, given me training opportunities, and connected me with colleagues, for which I am eternally grateful.

I have a BA in Biology from Lewis and Clark College, and when I am not editing, I am teaching birding classes for the public in the Portland, Oregon, area.

Kris Ashley

Kris Ashley

I’ve worked in the publishing industry for twenty years, including eight years as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers, as well as experience at bookstores and literary agencies, and twelve years as a freelance editor.  And as an odd aside, I have a Master’s degree in Early and Middle Welsh Prose and Poetry from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth!

I’m a developmental editor for, well, just about anything; I’ve edited several novels and memoirs, and my nonfiction books edited include how to transition from film to digital as a photographer, how to deal with depression affecting your sex life and your relationship, and most recently, a wonderful biography of a Sufi master from Iran by his daughter.  I also offer image research and licensing services, which I do for both publishers and independent authors–if you need images for a book and don’t know where to start, I can help!

I’ve only been with the Guild for a year, but, as a fellow editor says, “I found my people.”  I’ve made several good friendships with folks I’ve met from the Guild, and made some terrific work contacts as well.  This is my first year on the Board, and I’m looking forward to it!  When I’m not editing, I sing (not in a choir yet, alas), read far too many books, and bake.  Sometimes all three happen at the same time–depends what I’m making!

Brendan McLaughlin

Brendan McLaughlin

I’m a writer, editor, and communications consultant. After earning a degree in journalism from Western Washington University, I spent eleven years with a non-profit consulting firm. I’ve worked with non-profits advancing agriculture, climate, energy, land use, oceans and public health policy at the community, local, state and federal levels. I have a fairly broad skill set in the world of public interest communications, from strategic planning and message development to meeting facilitation and press relations. I’ve helped translate complex policy and scientific issues into accessible, compelling language, and produced detailed research reports on issues ranging from land use policy in the western United States to international climate policy and deforestation. I left the firm a few years ago to start my own consulting practice and work as an editor. I earned my Certificate in Editing from the University of Washington. I primarily do developmental editing for fiction and non-fiction, and also some copyediting. When I’m not helping writers, I still work with non-profit organizations to make the world a better place.


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