Meet the Team

Whether you’re trekking the foothills of the Himalayas, climbing Mt. Everest, or bringing your book idea into a published reality, you need a Sherpa. Let To Press & Beyond be your guide!

Gail Kearns

President, Book Sherpa, Project Editor, & Production Coordinator

Hometown: Bennington, Vermont; now lives in Browns Summit, North Carolina.

Education: Bachelor of Science, Hunter College, City University of New York.

Past Lives: Motion picture industry, Production Coordinator and Development Executive. Worked with numerous screenwriters and scouted for books that would make good movies.

Passions: Helping authors shape their books; Finding the perfect B&B (where she can read the latest manuscript).

Advice to Authors: Rewrite! Rewrite! Rewrite! Writing is all about rewriting. Also, hire a professional book editor. It can make a major difference in a manuscript’s success and salability.

Penelope Paine

Art Director, Project Manager

Hometown: London, England; Lives in Santa Barbara, California, and London, England.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of London.

Past Lives: Author and marketer of award-winning children’s books; National trainer for educational initiatives.

Passions: Imparting her wisdom; Sipping a perfect cup of tea.

Advice to Authors: Identify the benefits you hope to achieve in writing your book; Target your market.


Isabella Piestrzynska

Copyeditor, Proofreader

Hometown: London, United Kingdom; recently Bronxville, New York; now lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in American Literature, University of Sussex, United Kingdom.

Past Lives: Editorial assistant at Harvey Miller Publishers, Wimbledon; copywriter; freelance proofreading, copy-editing and graphic design; Senior Graphic Designer at PwC; actor both in the UK and the US.

Passions: Excellent writing. Proper English. The ballet. My grandchild.

Advice to Authors: Don’t be self-indulgent. Don’t repeat the word “said” ten times on a page. Be clear, concise, and generous.

Cindy Conger

Writing Coach, Copyeditor, Proofreader

Hometown: Denver, Colorado and Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Education: Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska.

Past Lives: I was a sportswriter in college and did TV news and weather. I’ve worked in communications and PR for small businesses and non-profits. For the past two decades, I’ve worked with authors.

Passions: Witnessing the moment an author holds their completed book! And I still love sports, especially college football.

Advice to authors: Don’t be afraid of the messy middle. It’s so tempting to keep picking at the beginning. Have a writing schedule and a coach or writing partner to keep you moving forward.

Lisa Carais

CEO and Founder, OneSource
Virtual Assistance

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA; now lives in Peoria, IL.
Education: CDS Certification, Los Angeles Pierce College, LSP, ISC, West Hollywood.
Past Lives: I have had multiple operational, administrative, and project manager roles over the last 18 years with various corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Passions: Weightlifting, art, hiking, and songwriting.
Advice to Authors: Write what you are passionate about…passion is contagious.

Paisley Lang

Social Media Manager

Hometown: Greenville South Carolina, NC, NY, VA, WV, PA, OH.
Education: Bachelor of Science: Nonprofit Management, Psychology, History, Religion. Minor: Fine Arts.
Past Lives: Administrative Assistant, Video Communications Specialist, Brand Manager, Executive Assistant, Social Media Manager, Administrative Manager.
Passions: Tending to my plants, reading, cycling.
Advice to Authors: “Keep Moving Forward” ~W. Disney.

Peri Gabriel

Book & Cover Designer

Hometown: Costa Mesa, California; now lives in Beaverton, Oregon.

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Visual Communication Design, California State University, Long Beach.

Past Lives: Director of Fun Pinot’s Palette Alameda paint and sip studio, event designer, advertising art director, theatrical performer/dancer.

Passions: Translating an idea into a tangible visual expression; traveling the globe; finding the perfect glass of red wine.

Advice to Authors: Covers sell…do it right the first time, you won’t regret it.


Alan Hebel

the Book Designers

Hometown: Fairfax, CA.

Education: Associate of Arts Degree, San Diego CA,

Past Lives: : Studying philosophy in South India and hiking through rich jungles there.

Passions: Basketball, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cold Plunges, Breathing, Cooking.

Advice to Authors: Make sure your manuscript is fully proofread and edited. Put some good thought into the vision for your book’s cover design.

Ian Koviak

the Book Designers

Hometown: West Linn, Oregon.

Education: Bachelor of Communications Design, University of Hawaii.

Past Lives: World traveler. I have been all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas. I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and my father was a book cover designer in the early 90s. Following in his footsteps, I’ve worked in publishing design for over 25 years.

Passions: Art, Music, Design—graphic design, architecture, industrial design, and information design; Reading (I enjoy a wide range of genres, but short-story fiction is my favorite); exercising, cycling and long hikes and walks in nature.

Advice to Authors: Editors are your friends. Never underestimate editorial and proofreading. Book covers and book interiors matter. Their design is essential to how a reader connects and experiences a book. A book’s design should be equally as important as the text within.


Beth M. Anderson

Web Designer and Developer

Hometown: Alexandria, Minnesota; living nomadically in the United States.

Education: Computer Programming; Brown Institute.

Past Lives: IT Management, Documentation Management, Sailor.

Passions: Technology, reading, sailing.

Advice to Authors: Share your book with the world through a variety of social media channels, online advertising, and your author website.


Nancy Sayles


Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin; now lives in Woodland Hills, California.

Education: BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge.

Past Lives: Always been a PR Lady. First job in PR was in college promotion department for Herb Alpert’s A & M Records, and promoting unknowns like The Carpenters and Carole King.

Passions: Getting national publicity for previously unknown authors, raising a teenage boy (and living to tell about it), and searching the world for the perfect sushi (not necessarily in that order).

Advice to Authors: Produce the very best product you can through writing, editing, interior and cover design, and when it’s finally a book, tell everyone you know. Then tell everyone you don’t know.