Success Stories

Here’s a partial listing of some of the clients and students from my classes who have gone on to publish books. If I added coaching clients, the list would be even longer.

Kristin M Helms was in the online proposal class I taught for Creative Nonfiction from January to March of 2018. Within a few weeks after the class ended, she had an agent, and a few weeks later, a publisher, Career Press. Her book, From Board Room to Baby, is already available for pre-order on Amazon. The official publication date is January 2018. One thing Kristin had going for her was a great platform as she had been published in magazines like Huffington Post and is the creator of Tribe magazine, an online magazine for stay-at-home mothers.

In the Spring of 2015 in my Deep Revision class, Elise Hooper worked on revising a manuscript about the life of the painter, May Alcott, the little sister of Louisa May Alcott, who informed the character of Amy in Little Women. A year later, when she was ready to send out query letters, Elise got interest from four out of the first six agents she queried. The agent she chose sold her first novel to William Morrow/Harper Collins for publication in September 2017.  Elise’s second novel, about pioneering photographer, Dorothea Lange, is forthcoming in 2018. Elise amazes me with her ability to juggle many roles–she’s a mother, a high school teacher, a novelist and the recipient of a National Endowment of the Humanities grant to study early women’s rights activists (for her next novel?). You can learn more about her writing process in this Path to Publication interview. And you can learn more about her writing at her website.

Elaine Hayes took my proposal class back in 2011. She was proposing to turn her dissertation on singer Sarah Vaughan into a general audience book. She not only achieved that but she found an agent who found a home for the book at Ecco, and it just came out in a beautiful hardcover edition. I attended her book launch at Elliott Bay on July 6, 2017 and enjoyed her warm and knowledgeable presentation. I’m really looking forward to reading the book, Queen of BeBop, and interviewing her for a future Path to Publication.


turning-homeward-final-cover-jpg-copyAdrienne Ross Scanlan, author of Turning Homeward: Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild was a student in several of my classes: Deep Revision, Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal and DIY Publishing (when she was considering self-publishing after a series of rejections). Luckily on what she intended to be her last submission of her proposal, she found two presses interested in publishing her book, and chose Mountaineers Press which produced this lovely volume., which has been nominated for a Washington State book award. You can learn more about her process in my Path to Publication interview  and you can learn more about her writing at her web site.


Josephine Ensign, author of Catching Homelessness: A Nurses’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net bookcover(SheWrites Press 2016) first took my Nonfiction Book Proposal class in Winter 2004. She has been the most productive writer in my Shipping Group, earning grants, fellowships (Jack Straw) and residencies (Hedgebrook), performing at Smoke Farm, creating multimedia presentations at a conference and at Jack Straw’s gallery, producing a regular blog and getting essays published in magazines like  The Sun, Silk Road, Pulse, Examined Life Journal, Intima and the Creative Nonfiction anthology of stories from nurses, I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out, which was edited by Lee Gutkind.  But despite interest from several academic publishers, it took a while to find the right home for her book at SheWrites Press. You can learn more about Josephine in this Path to Publication interview and at her blog.

Rebecca Ross, Being Home: The Art of Belonging Wherever You Are (Turbeinghomecoverning Stone Press, 2016). Rebecca took my Nonfiction Book Proposal class back in  and then took my Indie Publishing class in the Summer of 2014. But along with another student in that calss, Adrienne Ross Scanlan, she ended up finding a publisher, in this case, an affiliate of Red Wheel/Conari/Weiser. I interviewed her in 2016 about
her book in Path to Publication post.





E. M. Murray, A Long Way from Paris (Plicata Press, 2014). Elizabeth took my Nonfiction Book Proposal class in Winter of 2012. Her book about her adventures as a young woman working as a goatherd in Cover art front cover w kirkkus for SteveLanguedoc was chosen as one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus.  I interviewed her in 2015 about her Path to Publication.




Judith Gille, The View from Casa Chepitos: A Journey Beyond the Border (Davis Bay Press, 2013). Judith won the Writer’s Digest Award for best independently published e-book of 2013 for this book which begins with her impulsive purchase of a house in San Miguel de Allende. Judith was a student in my Non-Fiction Book Proposal Class in Winter 2008 and my DIY Publishing Class in 2010. I interviewed Judith to learn more about her successful Path to Publication .


Mary Oak, Heart’s Oratorio:  One Woman’s Journey through Love. Death and Modern Medicine (Goldenstone, 2013) Mary was a student in my Non-Fiction Book Proposal class in Winter 2008 and a current member of the Shipping Group. I interviewed Mary about her Path to Publication because I was interested in her unique partnership with her publisher.




Shannon Huffman Polson, North of Hope; A Daughter’s Arctic Journey (Zondervan, 2013) Shannon was in my Deep Revision class in 2009. She was the first person I interviewed for my blog feature, Path to Publication.

Whitney Keyes, Propel: Five Ways to Amp-Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business (Career Press, 2012) Whitney was a student in my DIY Publishing class–see her self-published books below



Janna Cawrse Esarey, The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers and a Woman’s Search for the Meaning of Wife, Touchstone 2009 (Student, Winter 2007)


Candace Dempsey, Murder in Italy: The Shocking Slaying of a British Student, the Accused American Girl, and an International Scandal, Penguin/Berkley 2010 (Student, Winter 2007)

Corbin Lewars, Creating a Life: The Memoir of a Writer and a Mom in the Making, Catalyst Book Press 2010 (Student, Winter 2007)

Kathy Gehrt, Discover Cooking with Lavender, Florentia Press, 2010 (Student, Winter 2003)

Joan Stamm, Heaven and Earth are Flowers: Reflections on Ikebana and Buddhism, Wisdom Publications 2010 (Student, Summer 2006)



 Randall Benson, The Quest Effect: Mastering Breakthrough in your Organization, New Grail 2010



 Jonathan Henry Harrington, The Climate Diet: How You Can Cut Carbon, Cut Costs and Save the Planet, Routledge 2008 (Student, Summer 2006)


  Sally Bjornsen, The Single Girl’s Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids and Ex-Wife: Becoming a Stepmother with Humor and Grace, New American Library 2005 (Student, Spring 2001)

Joy Walker, Three Years and Thirteen Dumpsters: Cleaning House After Dementia, CreateSpace 2011 (Student, Winter 2009)


Sonya Elliott, Back on the Court: A Young Woman’s Triumphant Return to Life, Love and Basketball, Full Court Design, 2011 (Student, Winter 2003)


Caroline Feiss, Remaking American Places: The Vision of Carl Feiss, Architect, Planner, Preservationist, CreateSpace 2011 (Student, Winter 2007)



Whitney Keyes, Media Tips for Authors: How to Get Free Publicity for Your Book, Whitney Keyes Publications, 2008 AND Media Tips for Small Businesses: How to Get Publicity–for Free! Whitney Keyes Publications 2009

Maria Ross, Branding Basics for Small Businesses: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on any Budget,, 2010



Cathy Goodwin, 21 Day Extreme Career Makeover, e-book workbook, published 2008 (Student, Winter 2007)


“I wanted you to know that I consider your class on preparing a nonfiction book proposal as the best start my book could have had.  You made me understand the process and how to order my thoughts to actually produce a product.  Thank you!” Caroline Feiss, author of Remaking American Places

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