New Testimonial: book coaching and developmental editing a first draft

I’m happy to share a new testimonial from a client I’ve been working with this year as a writing coach and developmental editor (2019):

“Working with Kristen transitioned me from a hopeful writer to seeing myself as a committed author. She has been the only reason I have progressed to the point of completion. She not only held me accountable to timelines, she was consistent and efficient with her input and progress. She kept me on my toes, but did not smother me with intimidating and overwhelming deadlines. I just felt like I wanted to work hard because of the effort she was putting into me. She made my dream of what I wanted to express come to life, but also turned it into a valuable reader experience.”

Leslie Harrington, a transformational health coach, is headed into the final stretch on her first draft and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. Her book’s going to help so many people cope (and even thrive) with chronic health challenges. You can see her testimonial along with others on my home page and services page.

Interview on “The Open Mic,” plus new testimonials

Everyone who has a blog has the intention to update it regularly, and I’m no different–but life and client projects keep me busy. Nevertheless, I have news to share.

Journalist and editor of the book In Their Own Words: Twenty Successful Writers on the Craft and Business of Writing interviewed me for his blog The Open Mic. We had a fun conversation about developmental editing for nonfiction books. I had the opportunity to answer one of my favorite questions–what writing problems do I see most often when editing books and other content from subject matter experts? You view the interview here.

I’m also happy to share some new testimonials from clients, which you can find sprinkled throughout this site. The latest is from a memoirist who received a manuscript critique from me in November 2018:

Read moreInterview on “The Open Mic,” plus new testimonials

“How Books Find Me,” First Published on Shelf Pleasure

Max Langelott photo of Stuttgart library

Photo by Max Langelott on Unsplash

Note: The essay archived below was first published on the book-lovers’ website ShelfPleasure.com in 2012. The site is no longer active. I’m sharing it here as a writing sample.


If you were to look at my nightstand, my coffee table, and my Goodreads profile, you’d see about 400 books. About 390 of them came into my life through the usual means like recommendations and reviews. The rest found me through synchronicity, and those are the ones that I love the most, that I find myself buying, keeping, loaning out, and recommending to others.

Over the years, I’ve read endless articles about how people find books, but never a single one describing how books find people. This, I think, is a critical oversight, because the best books, the ones that make the biggest impact on us, don’t come to us through active seeking; they float into our lives at just the right time, the way a perfect wave will come to a surfer exactly when she’s ready to ride it.

Woodswoman memoir

My most recent serendipitous find was Woodswoman by Ann LaBastille. In true “meant-to-be” fashion, I didn’t stumble upon the book itself; rather, I found a newspaper obituary from the Los Angeles Times, taped to the end of a shelf in my favorite used bookstore. The obit was dated 2011 and featured a photograph of a gray-haired woman sitting in a canoe with her German shepherd. After a divorce in the 1970s, it said, LaBastille retreated to the Adirondacks of New York State, built herself a 12 x 12 foot log cabin on the undeveloped side of a remote lake, and remained there for decades, supporting herself as a conservationist consultant, writer, and photographer. In those many years, she’d written several well-regarded memoirs about her life in the woods.

Read more“How Books Find Me,” First Published on Shelf Pleasure