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Down & Out Books to Publish Debut Political Thriller by University of Chicago Law Professor

Elaine Ash serves as developmental editor. 

Elaine was indispensable to my success as a mystery author. She was a dream to work with, and when I hired her to query on my behalf, a top New York agent responded to represent me. 

          M. TODD HENDERSON, Law Professor, University of Chicago


MENTAL STATE was the top-selling novel for Down and Out Books in 2018 and a Top-10 besteller in 2019. It was publisher-nominated for major mystery writing awards including the Thriller Award sponsored by International Thriller Writers. Media personalities Ben Shapiro, Kurt Schlichter and Glenn Harlan Reynolds praised it. "The political thriller of the year," said Anthony Franze, LA Times Review of Books.



"Mental State is an impressive debut... real human depth and significance." — Martha Nussbaum, winner of the one-million-dollar Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture.

Elaine Ash has a good eye for fiction.
            —Nat Sobel, Agent
                       Sobel Weber Associates
       (Reps Tim Dorsey, Otto Penzler +)
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Elaine turned my espionage manuscript into a pulse-pounding, thriller. She secured a literary agent for me, which led to a publishing contract with a cash advance.


THE WAYWARD SPY, was released in April, 2021 by Comcat Publishing. Simply put, I wouldn't be a published author without Elaine! 

Publishers Weekly rave review 


Susan's sequel THE WAYWARD ASSASSIN (release 2022) was just featured alongside KEN FOLLETT in the industry bible, Publishers Weekly. 

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Susan Ouellette has walked the halls of the House Intelligence Committee, and the CIA, and knows those institutions as very few novelists do.

Mark M. Lowenthal
 Former Staff Director,

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

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With Elaine's tireless help and guidance I received a two-book deal with a very reputable publisher.  The year before, Elaine had worked up an amazing Snapshot for my first novel manuscript titled The Big Crescendo. Our working relationship over three published books has been dynamite.  

             JONATHAN BROWN, Barbera publishers; Down & Out Books 

A journalistically rigorous depiction of both Angelo Dundee and boxing. —Kirkus Reviews, 2019

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"On a shoestring, turning out literary gems."



I am beyond grateful to Elaine Ash, the best editor a girl could hope for. —Ellen Marie Francisco

Won a perfect 10/10 score in the BookLife writing contest sponsored by Publishers Weekly

Jordan Brooks Hill had never published anything, in fact, she'd written only one story before hiring Elaine as a writing coach and editor. When the manuscript was edited to perfection, Jordan entered the BookLife contest and the rest is history. Read the glowing Publishers Weekly review about Jordan's fantasy novel SHADOW STORM here.

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 "Elaine convinced me that my walks and talks on the beach with Tennessee Williams, before he got famous, were of interest to a wide readership, and that my own original poetry could have a fresh audience because of it. I self-published, and my book was sold by Walmart across America."



TOM CROWLEY, author of eight books (and counting) with his former regiment in Saigon. 

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Elaine was my first choice to to edit my sci-fi/fantasy short story collection. When the time came to query, she landed me a deal with Superversive Books, Australia, in two weeks. I'm so glad I found her.
       —Chrome Oxide, Writers of the Future contest, 

           Published Finalist

"I found myself laughing with his tale[s] over and over."

David Farland, New York Times Bestselling Author 

"It’s terribly hard to write political commentary with such a strong sense of irony.”—The late, great Jerry Pournelle, John W. Campbell Award, Prometheus Award, Seiun Award, Heinlein Society Award,National Space Society’s Heinlein award


Working with Elaine on my novel Gold Spun was an absolute pleasure. She worked with me throughout the entire editing process – from the big picture and structure all the way through the more subtle issues of pace and line editing. I greatly appreciated the holistic view she took when editing my novel, making sure the story worked in its entirety.


By the time Elaine and I had finished, I felt ready to submit to my agent, who was delighted with the results. And now Gold Spun has been picked up for publication by CamCat Books! I highly recommend Elaine (and have already recommended her to friends). 

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