What Clients Say…

Lesley Kellas Payne was a great find for my novel based on an actual teacher of the freedmen during Civil War reconstruction. After several years of research and writing, I had created a monster manuscript. Lesley helped me whittle it down to a readable size. She has a keen ability for spotting unnecessary words and phrases and a natural knack for developing a sense of place. She spotted inconsistencies in my characters, making them more real… Lesley is a master of grammar and punctuation. I appreciated her expertise. The end result? I sold the book.

Flora Beach Burlingame, Historical Fiction, Charcoal and Chalk

Lesley operates on holy tissue, the gossamer gray stuff of a writer’s mind, and coaxes out of mere words a manuscript worthy of a publisher’s attention. She saw promise in the initial pages of my novels and coached me through the process of transforming promise into finished product.

Mitchell Chefitz, Mystical Mystery Thrillers and Non-fiction-Los Angeles Times bestselling author of The Seventh Telling, The Kabbalah of Moeshe Katan; The Thirty-third Hour, a novel; Blood Covenant, a novel; and non-fiction works including The Curse of Blessings: Sometimes the Right Story Can Change Your Life; White Fire: Angels Flying from Holy Letters; The Kabbalist’s Aleph-Bet: Holy Sparks Ascending; and The Rx of Dr.Z


I wanted an editor who understood why a scene didn’t work and could help me see how I could make it better. Someone with enough gumption to tell me what a character I loved creating detracted from the story. Someone who would push back, say that the first page wasn’t the grabber needed to hook a reader. I got lucky when I was introduced to Lesley… She did all these things and made my books better. Heck, she made me a better storyteller. It all comes down to judgment. You want to work with an editor whose judgment and guidance you trust and respect. I found that in Lesley.

Jay Giles, Suspense and Thrillers – Blindsided; Time on the Wire; Moneymoon’s End; The Glass House Murders; Gator Pit and Follow the Money, Will Taggert, Esq, Thrillers; Lucky Stiff and Bad Idea, Mackay & Grayson Novels of Suspense; Pleasure Cruise Shot to Hell and Sink, Swim, Die, The Bullet-riddled Yacht Books 1 and 2; Running Blind; Beep Saves the Derby: A Beep Ormsby Adventure; and Kilo of Chaos

I’ve been working with Lesley since 2010, the year she gave me the best editing advice I’ve ever received. Since then, she has polished over thirty of my short stories and been instrumental in success placing most of them in anthologies or literary journals. I whole-heartedly recommend her. She is fast, efficient, and a great communicator.

Gregory Jeffers, Story Collections – Drifters, 2019 and Dusk, 2022: Winner: 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Fiction Contest; Winner: Sixfold Summer 2019 Fiction Competition; Winner: Highly Commended Award, 2022 Newcastle Short Story Anthology Contest; Shortlist: The 2020 Himes Prize; Shortlist: The 2021 Tucson Festival of Books; Shortlist: Fish Publishing’s 20/21 Short Story Contest; Shortlist: The 2022 Writer Magazine’s Flash Fiction Contest

I have worked with Lesley for over 25 years and hold both her and her remarkable editing abilities in the highest regard. She has taken every one of my manuscripts to a much higher level, always plumbing the vital depths of what lies below the surface of early drafts. She does it with deep knowledge of the written word and a kind, humanistic approach to the author, something I have always appreciated. She is truly a scholar of the editing world, and I recommend her most enthusiastically.

Stephen R. Payne, Mainstream Fiction and Biography – You Were Always There, a Novel; Cliff Walking, a novel; Life on a Cliff, a novel; Ties that Bind Us: A Collections of Vermont Short Stories; Riding My Guitar: The Rick Norcross Story; and works of short fiction Vermont Life, Vermont Magazine, Vermont Literary Review, Tufts Literary Review, and other magazines and journals

I worked with Lesley on my first four novels. I found her to be helpful and practical. She not only gave me constructive feedback, she met me where I was in my writing craft and helped me to refine my skills to where I am now a multi-award winning author. She encouraged me by highlighting my strengths. I appreciate Lesley’s professionalism, insight, frank honesty, and masterful editorial capabilities.

Jodine Turner, Visionary/Metaphysical Fiction and Historical Fantasy – The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis; The Keys to Remember; Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call; Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic; The Hidden Abbey

It’s been an honor and an absolute pleasure to work with someone of Lesley’s caliber. Not only did I attain my goals, but Lesley taught me to hone and own my words. She approached my work with mirrored enthusiasm, protected my voice throughout the process, and worked with me to achieve effective structure and best details. Writers need to trust a second set of critical eyes to look over their work and improve upon it. I look forward to working with Lesley on my next project.

Arianne Wing, A Family Memoir with Recipes – Disturbing the Dust:  Memoires and Recipes of China Alley

Cover of Disturbing the Dust by Arianne Wing