James edits novels, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.
"James Powell examines the symbols of language the way a biologist examines cells."
-New York Times Review of Books
"James Powell assures us that the universe is a silent partner
in a dialogue that goes on all the time."
-New York Times Review of Books
"James Powell is "a good literary surgeon."
-An accomplished writer of fiction, who prefers to remain anonymous.
With MA degrees in both English Literature and Religious Studies, Jim is a former Professor of English Literature. He has been editing, coaching, and tutoring writers and students for years. He has been an in-house APA proofreader of doctoral dissertations at the Fielding University since 2000. He excels at working both with beginners and established writers.
Jim also works with international / ESL students. Specializing in APA, MLA, and non-academic Chicago styles, he is an internationally published author, with books issued by major houses: Prentice Hall, William Morrow, Hosei University Press (Japan), Pensamento (Brazil), Thassalia (Spain), Hans-Ulrich Möhring (Germany), and Sterling (India).
My expertise is in manuscript evaluation and critiques, fiction, creative nonfiction, APA editing, essays, student papers, journalism, and business documents.
Do you have a novel, short story, or work of creative nonfiction that needs polishing? Please read my essay, "Some Thoughts on Editing," below, which will inform you of some of the writing problems I encounter in most manuscripts. I work on a continuing basis with noted fiction writers who tell me that I am able to ferret out the blind spots in their prose. My own work—both fiction and nonfiction—has been published by major publishing houses worldwide.
If you have a dissertation, thesis, or paper that needs to be in APA format? Rather than attempting to master the 272-page Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, turn your manuscript over to an editor with years of APA experience. I have edited doctoral dissertations published at the following universities, to name just a few: Adelphi University, Adler Graduate School, Alliant University, Antioch University, California State University, Argosy University, California Institute of Integral Studies, Capella University, Century University, City University of New York, Concordia University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Fielding Graduate University, Grand Canyon University, Harvard University, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Hunter College, John F. Kennedy University, Kwangwoon University, Leiden University of Social Sciences, Liberty University, Longwood University, Medaille College, Morgan State University, Northcentral University, Nova Southeastern University, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Pepperdine University, Regent University School of Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Regis University of Professional Studies, Rider University, Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, Saint Mary’s University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, University of California, University of Florida, University of Hartford, University of Kansas, University of Miami, University of Oslo, University of Phoenix, University of Texas, University of the West Indies, University of Wisconsin, Walden University, Warren National University, William Howard Taft University, Yeshiva University, and York University.
JAMES N. POWELL is "a good literary surgeon," as one of his accomplished clients noted. As an editor of fiction and non-fiction, he views manuscripts with comprehensive vision and an eye for detail. He will read your fiction with an eye to making it believable and your non-fiction with a knack for making it both convincing and engaging.
His books and short stories have been translated into many languages and are known throughout the world. His list of publications includes The Tao of Symbols (Morrow 1982), Energy and Eros (Morrow 1985), The Prentice Hall Global Employment Guide (Prentice Hall 1983), Mandalas: The Dynamics of Vedic Symbolism (Sterling 1980), Derrida for Beginners (Writers and Readers 1996), Postmodernism for Beginners (Writers and Readers 1998), Eastern Philosophy for Beginners (2000), Deconstruction for Beginners (2005), and Slow Love: A Polynesian Pillow Book (2008).
His short story "The Silence of the Hummingbird" was published in Spanish in Revista Katharsis, in Malaga, Spain, and his journalism has appeared in Spirituality & Health, Tahiti Beach Press, the Santa Barbara Independent, and Montecito Journal.
James has taught meditation to many around the world, including Michael Jackson’s Neverland staff as well as the family of Beach Boy Mike Love, simplicity guru Elaine St. James, and Lithuanian-born archeologist Marija Gimbutas. The Santa Barbara meditation center he chaired for ten years provided ongoing meditation instruction for over ten thousand Santa Barbarans of all ages and backgrounds. He was Ayurvedic consultant to Deepak Chopra and Arianna Huffington (as well as Ellie, and Bianca) at the Center for Perfect Health, which he co-founded, with Deepak’s lectures drawing audiences over a 1,000. In addition he produced Santa Barbara concerts for some of India’s most revered musicians, including Debu Chaudhuri as well as Tanima Thakur and her daughter.
He was trapped atop a Swiss peak (Thyon) for two months with Andy Kaufman, and survived.
He cut line for Smokey on many western wildfires–back when that bear considered it virtuous–working winters surveying and building trail, while gradually awakening to Chumash and Vedic wisdom of fire ecology.
As a boy his chores included keeping coyotes out of the chickens, keeping the wild dogs out of the herd during calving season, riding fence, branding, baling hay, milking, planting, harvesting, and the rather spiritual calling of converting bulls to steers.
Much of my writing approaches philosophy by way of anthropology. For instance, I will test the assumptions of an area of life we take for granted, such as language or sexuality, by seeing how other cultures approach the same area. My books include the following:
The Tao of Symbols (William Morrow): Posits a complete philosophy of language by viewing language philosophy in widely diverse cultures.
Energy and Eros (William Morrow) examines the realm of human sexuality in various cultures. This book has become a cult classic in Japan, where it sparked the "Polynesian sex" vogue. Japan's über author and Buddhist philosopher, Hiroyuki Itsuki, wrote two books based on Energy and Eros and the head of Japan's national Family Planning Association recommends the teachings on Polynesian lovemaking in Energy and Eros in order to make Japanese couples happier in the boudoir.
The Prentice Hall Global Employment Guide is listed by Library Journal as one of the top 10 business books of 1985.
Derrida for Beginners and Deconstruction for Beginners are lucid guides to the contemporary world’s most obscure philosopher, the late Jacques Derrida. They whittle down the confusing brambles of Derrida’s thought to prose you can get a handle on.
Postmodernism for Beginners cuts through the pomo-babble to give you a clear look at this important cultural era.
Eastern Philosophy for Beginners is an illustrated tour of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan religious systems.
Slow Love: A Polynesian Pillow Book: Enlarging on the success of Energy and Eros, delves more deeply into traditional Polynesian lovemaking.
Mandalas: The Dynamics of Vedic Symbolism was published in India and relates the mantras of the Rig Veda to fire ecology and mantra yoga.
- Forks: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection by Allan Karl
- Saint Junipero Serra: Making Sense of the History and Legacy by Christian Clifford
- Conquest by Vik Rubenfeld
- HUMAN INTERRUPTED: The Social Crime Against Humanity by Roshanna Evans
- Sacred Geometry by Albert Haust
- September by Robert Winter
- Deluxe: Foil Stamping, Embossing and Debossing in Print Design by Sendpoints Publishing, China
- Japanese Graphics by Sendpoints Publishing, China
- Under the Sea by Charlie Wilshire
- On the Way Home by Fatima Jamal
- Crack The Spine Literary Magazine
- Apeiron Review
- Glimmer Train
- The Fortnightly Review
- Orbis · International Literary Journal
"James Powell is an exceptional editor. Beginner or best seller—no matter how talented or at what stage in his or her career—no writer could come away from a read by this editor without insights into their work. James Powell asks questions that many writers would never have considered and thereby nudges his clients toward a deeper understanding of the, as Pound put it, "unspeakably difficult" art of writing, but Powell does so with deference and grace. His approach is that of the ideal editor: he wishes to bring out as much as possible that which you yourself have envisioned, not what his vision of the work may be. Yet he certainly does have a vision of what good writing should look like and will be glad to impart that—with generous comments and clear suggestions and with his ear always open to any disagreements or reflections that naturally arise in the editing process." - William Huhn, listed five times in The Best American Essay series and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes.
"His comments were practical and insightful. I felt that he understood my style of writing, he made comments that resonated with me. He also shared other reading materials relevant to what I'm doing. He always answered me promptly, and was generous with his time and his suggestions. His evaluations included overall structure as well as the 'feeling' aspect of what I am trying to accomplish. I felt that all of his remarks were sensitive to and respectful of my own writing style and never asked me to try to do something outside of the world of what I am doing —a world which he was respectful of, and understood. He gave me a very reasonable price for his work, based on my limited budget, but I feel he went beyond the minimum in his thoughtful responses. He also asked me interesting questions about the content that I had never thought about, and pointed out connections and ideas I hadn't seen. These questions and ideas do that wonderful thing. They create a spark-- the one that energizes you to sit down at your desk and work. I will definitely contact him again, and often. The experience has been invaluable and exciting. Thank you!" - short story writer Shawna Kent
"James was very helpful to me in the editing phase. He turned around my 69,000 word novel in just four weeks, beating my time expectations. His text edits were thorough, thoughtful, and extremely helpful. His comments on my novel were thought-provoking, and I was able to shore up several points of potential weakness. My book is much better for James' help." - Robert Winter
Regarding her book of interviews with women Nobel Peace Prize recipients Malala Yousafzai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman, Wangari Muta Maathai, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and Betty Williams, the following: "James was the first co-editor of my book. Because my book addresses many English speaking countries and cultures (the US, India, UK, Africa) it was very useful to have his US West Coast polishing competencies to balance attractive narrative and writing in a good way." - Supriya Vani, International Journalist
"James Powell did a wonderful job. He responded promptly to e-mails and any questions or concerns that I had. I was very pleased and hope to work with him in the future." (On file with Network Coordinator)
"I have very good news. My book was picked up by a publisher! I wanted to make sure you are included in the credits as my editor, if you would like to be acknowledged. Please let me know! I am very excited!" - Gina Bortolussi
"I was impressed by his knowledge of the subject and his insight into spirituality in general. He not only provided constructive critique but also was an expert mentor. He really transformed my book into something beautiful. He does magic with words and, at the same time, is very pleasant to work with." - Ahmad Javid
"Mr. Powell gave me a helpful and insightful critique of my writing. I could tell by his remarks that he had taken time to understand the merits and the flaws in the sample of my novel I sent him. He was thorough in his attention to matters down to the level of punctuation, and at the same time perceptive in his observations on matters of theme and plot. He provided valuable insight on the reactions of a reader encountering my work of fiction cold. Some of the problems he addressed were already known to me. He did better than point them out, he explained what caused them, something my friends, not being trained in literature and editing, could not do, and so gave me the keys to remedying them." (On file with network coordinator)
"I am very happy with James Powell's editing services. He understood my voice, he offered deep insights, and his work was of the highest caliber. His turn around time was ahead of schedule, and his price was very fair. I would not hesitate to use him again or refer him to others." - S. Bales
"It has been a great experience. I am extremely satisfied with the work of James Powell. Great work, Thanks." - Maria Lorcasusino, Adjust Professor, University of Miami
"He did a magnificent job with my paper. He completed my paper before the due date. I found that truly amazing. He took the time to clarify details to the manuscript. This has been the second greatest experience with this network." (Contact information on request)
"The process was seamless, including the payment system. James is knowledgeable and experienced. It is reflected in the results I've received (3 examplars)" - George Houston, manager, Center for Creative Leadership
"I was very happy with the professionalism, work, insight and expertise of Mr. Powell. His editing really streamlined my ideas. His knowledge of Asian culture, literature, and history created a great dynamic between us. Essentially, my editor also acted as a collaborator. On a couple of occasions, his editing enabled me to reflect on my writing and re-write (or add) more information to clarify some chapter sub-sections. On another occasion, Mr. Powell suggested that I add some ideas to further support my thesis. His expertise, directed me to a field of research where I quickly found and added information that helped clarify and substantiate the thesis in that chapter sub-section. The writing that I am doing these days is very specialized and requires an editor with very highly developed editing skills who also has deep knowledge of Asian culture. As I am under a deadline and a poor editor of my own work, Mr. Powell's service offered much needed support." (Contact information on request)
"Thank you for your work! I have read new version and I really enjoyed it. Hope the readers will feel the same. In future if I would need to make correction I will be happy to apply to you." - Konstantin Ignatov, Russian novelist
"In December, 2003, James Powell edited a grant proposal for me, a doctoral candidate in Greek Literature. His meticulous editing caught typographical and grammatical errors while improving the clarity of my argument. His changes were extremely effective but in no way altered the style or 'voice' of my writing. Moreover, he (thankfully) worked extremely quickly, as I was under a pressing deadline!" - Trinity Jackman
"James Powell's skills as both editor and proofreader were a valuable asset throughout my undergraduate career. Jim is a published author whose editors say his own books need no editing. He has incredible depth of knowledge, as he holds two Master's Degrees. He also has an amazing breath of knowledge because for 20 years he wrote abstracts of thousands of academic journal articles in the humanities and social sciences. Thus, he not only knows grammar, but also always has some insight in the content and methodology of the pieces I wrote for my classes. He is precise and reliable, and I can highly recommend him to anyone seeking assistance in the polishing stages of the writing process."
- Amber Kelsey
"I am half way through my thesis and I can't believe my eyes!! It sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for taking the time to fix this for me. Hope you don't mind that I will be holding on to your e-mail for my dissertation when that comes along! Thanks again. I am finally proud of this work. Great job!!" - Mike Lu
"Jim was great! Understood my position and points of view. Extremely professional and most importantly, had patience!" - David Osowiski, Global L&D Communications, United Technologies
"I'm very satisfied with the editing service. The editor had sufficient knowledge for editing. He was familiar with APA style writing, and most importantly, he finished the job in time." - Hyung-Chul Li, Associate Professor, Kwangwoon University
"Jim's editing for my dissertation helped me tremendously in formatting and English coherency. Furthermore, he can always work in time. I do recommend him without any hesitation." - - Xiaowen Yan, University of Florida
"James Powell offered great suggestions. He was very personable and friendly in our email contacts. I would use his services again." - Michael Beach, M.Div student, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"My editor was great! He was very prompt with my paper. Corrections were received back 10 days prior to when I asked for them! I would definitely use his services again." - Angela McGovern
"The turnaround time was excellent. The work was fabulous!!" - Nova University student. (Contact info on request)
"The work was returned extra fast and I was very pleased with the results. Even though I had my work checked by a friend for whom English is a first language, Mr. Powell found lots of grammatical mistakes and improved style and grammar of my thesis greatly." - Violeta Kolundzic, York University
"Mr. Powell has been an exceptional help with my editing/proof-reading and APA style errors. I am going to use his editing for each chapter of my dissertation this year. Quick response time and personable! Very pleased!" - Terri Lechnyr, Psychiatric Social Worker/Ph.D Candidate, Capella University