The Shorter Version

I’ve worked in diverse range of industries, gaining experience I believe helps me serve my clients as both coach and editor.

As a Junior at Princeton University, I wrote an award-winning paper on the Zar ritual in Egypt. After graduation, I worked as a political and weapons analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, following events in Iraq, Libya, and studying biosecurity and biosafety at research facilities around the world. In my time at the CIA, I wrote reports for and briefed members of Congress, the National Security Council, key leaders in the US intelligence service, and US military officers. There, I refined my writing and editing skills, and I earned several commendations for analysis, creativity, and mentoring.

After eight years of classified life, I resigned and pursued a career as a professional dance performer and instructor. In addition to teaching and performing in five continents, I also taught five to six classes a week at prestigious Salimpour School of Dance and co-directed the school’s premiere dance companies. In 2016, I earned an MA in Dance Studies from Mills College, where I studied the intersection of politics, performance, and personal expression in Middle Eastern dance practitioners in North America.

My experience as a dance instructor and company director allowed me to develop coaching and mentoring skills that I use with my book coaching and editing clients.

As a writer-for-hire, I’ve written two books on Middle Eastern performance arts, blog posts on the neuroscience of meditation for Wisdom Labs—a company that serves billion-dollar clients such as Google, Salesforce, Merck, and Intuit—and copy for several small entrepreneurial businesses in management and service. I’ve also edited a four-book low-fantasy series set in northern England and an Amazon best-selling book on healing chronic pain through massage and bodywork. In addition to writing my own three-book historical fantasy series set in ancient Egypt, I’m currently coaching mission-driven business owners write their own books on mental health and wellness, stress-free tax preparation, and a memoir.

When you work with me, you’ll be working with someone who knows how to complete large projects on a deadline, break through creative blocks, dig down to find a book’s core message, keep a consistent writing habit, and stay inspired and motivated throughout the process. As an editor, I always provide constructive and actionable feedback based on editorial best-practices and keeping your ideal reader in mind.

The Longer Version

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

At Princeton University, I earned my BA (well, actually AB, because my degree is in Latin, and no, I don’t know Latin) in Near Eastern Studies, just in the wake of 9/11 and before it was cool. But I considered majoring in Molecular Biology, Art and Archaeology, International Relations, and Politics. I won an award for my spring semester Junior Paper on the Zar ritual in Egypt, and I wrote my Senior Thesis on the mediocre counter-terrorism policies of the Reagan Administration. At Princeton, I also took my first belly dance class. More about that later.

After graduating college, I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a political and weapons analyst for eight years, where I honed my writing and editing skills. They don’t let us take home writing samples. But I did earn two Exceptional Performance Awards, one for mentoring and coaching and another for creativity in analysis. I also have a few fun mugs that you can’t buy anywhere and a fancy acrylic plaque for working in the Office of Iraq Analysis at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I spent many a long night helping to prepare the President’s Daily Brief and laughing at the doodles on past briefs that came back from the Oval Office. There, I also took the Agency’s first Creativity in Intelligence Analysis training, created to help analysts question their assumptions, get weird, and think “maybe zebras?” when we hear hoof beats. On one of my more memorable days, I told a member of the National Security Council that she was wrong about the status of women’s rights in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Husayn’s regime; she thought everything was hunky-dory. (Narrator: It wasn’t.)

When I realized that a 9-to-5 (well, an 8-to-6, sometimes an 8-to-10, 10-to-10, and even 11-to-10) wasn’t for me, no matter how exclusive and alluring it was, I left the CIA in 2009. From there, I pursued a career as a professional belly dancer. After studying at the Arabic language immersion program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011, I dove headfirst into training at the rigorous Salimpour School of Dance. In 2016, I was the 5th person ever to earn the school’s prestigious Licensed Professional Instructor certification. I also co-directed the school’s two premiere dance companies: the Suhaila Dance Company and Bal Anat, as well as the Berkeley Salimpour Collective dance ensemble. At that time, too, I wrote the Salimpour Bellydance Compendium, Vol. 1, a textbook of belly dance history, culture, and biographies.

In 2016, I earned my MA in Dance Studies from Mills College (RIP), with a focus on somatics (that’s the mind-body connection) and pedagogy (a fancy word for teaching methods), and wrote my thesis on dismantling Orientalism in North American belly dance practices.

In addition to teaching regular dance classes, writing my own books, blogging for management consulting firms, and editing books, I’ve also been an adjunct professor. From 2019 to 2022, I taught Performance History at Mills College. I currently teach two lecture courses at Skyline College in San Bruno, California. Being a professor means that I’m constantly coaching students through the studying and writing process. I spend a lot of time encouraging them to stay on track and guiding them through the process of writing their final papers. In 2022, I created an entire semester-long course—Global Dance Traditions—from scratch, researching material, outlining and organizing, writing the textbook, and making it available to other educators around the US through Canvas Commons.

How does this diverse and unusual experience make me an outstanding editor and book coach?

I know lots of random things. I’m curious. Maybe too curious. I’ve cut my teeth in some of the most high pressure analytical environments out there. I’ve worked with some of the most keen-eyed and scrutinizing writers and editors you’ve never heard of. I’ve learned and successfully used myriad ways of breaking through creative blocks from The Artist’s Way to The War of Art. I’ve had to keep adult dancers organized for regular rehearsals and performances, while also keeping them inspired and encouraged, which is a feat much easier said than done.

I also know how daunting it can be to stare at the blank page (or the empty dance studio floor) and ask, “How do I start?” “What’s next?” or “What am I even trying to say?” And I definitely know how hard it is to finish a long project, and how sometimes you really need someone to keep you accountable and motivated.

And I know every book is a story, whether it be about John Snow’s (no, not the Game of Thrones guy) discovery of how cholera spreads through contaminated water or Jon Snow’s (yes, the Game of Thrones guy) journey from bastard to leading the Wildlings beyond the Wall.

I understand that coaching and editing are as much about guidance as they are about education and empowerment.

Ultimately, I love helping people pursue their own excellence. Whether it be through excellent knowledge, excellent movement, or excellent words.

I believe each of our stories is valuable, and if you want to tell your story, it deserves to be birthed into the world in its most excellent form.

If you’ve read this far, I’m super impressed.

If you still want to work with me, let’s chat. I’d love to help you craft your book into excellence.