Happy Reviews on Editing – Find the Magic in Your Book

For ten months now I’ve been on the recommended list of editors for Self-Publishing School (SPS), a highly successful teaching program for writing and marketing, which has clients worldwide. This has introduced me to a large number of editing clients worldwide I would never otherwise have met, and we have had many happy adventures together. Finally, I decided to collect some of the book titles and also some author comments:

Young and Dumb: Year of Years, which will soon be followed by a riotous book about dogs playing baseball.

Young and Dumb : Year of Years by [Thomas Louis Carroll]

Acknowledgments Testimonial: “Several people were instrumental in the publication of this book; the warmest thanks go out to . . . my editor Margaret Harrell, who managed to improve this book tremendously with her skill and perseverance.” Elsewhere:

This is absolutely fabulous, just what I wanted. I agree with almost every single one of your edits . . . You are doing a great job and making the MS better on almost every page.

 The Change Journey – endorsed by Mike Dooley, NY Times Best Selling Author of Infinite Possibilities: “The Change Journey is a beautiful and inspirational guide to honoring yourself that shows you exactly how to get there.”

The Change Journey: A self-awareness guide for women who are thinking, 'How on earth did I end up here?' by [Nikki Lane]


Thank you for your help and expertise. You have been amazing. I am so happy and proud with the final result.

My Stories Have No Endings

Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards

My Stories Have No Endings by [Gayle Gonsalves]

Acknowledgments Testimonial:

I was further blessed with Margaret Harrell’s keen editing eye. Her knowledge of words and language was an immense help to completing the book. Furthermore, her guidance on all things publishing was invaluable.

Coming Momentarily

Michael Rowell, Leadership Upgrade

Editor: Margaret ‘The Amazing’ Harrell


Nicole Flemming, Escaped


LAUNCH Details – July 16-18 – The Hells Angels LIMITED EDITION – San Francisco and streaming

Canessa Gallery  – click to see the beautiful interior

Limited Edition of 125 The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thomson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic

The month of July in the Canessa Gallery, San Francisco


MAIN EVENTS—Pacific Coast Time:

Friday evening, July 16—7 p.m. A 45-minute Zoom talk by Tim Denevi discussing Hunter’s development and growth as a writer during the time he wrote the Hell’s Angels article and the book. Followed by 15–30 minutes of Live Q & A from Margaret Harrell and Ron Whitehead.

Saturday afternoon, July 17—2:30. A Live performance in Canessa Gallery. Journalist David Streitfeld will interview Margaret A. Harrell, author of The Hell’s Angels Letters, for roughly a couple of hours, including Q & A and then book signing. A spontaneous interview by a master interviewer who interviewed Hunter multiple times—no prepackaged answers. Everything improvised and spontaneous.

Saturday evening—7 to 8 p.m.: “Live Gonzo Art with Illustrator Grant Goodwine”

Saturday evening—8 p.m. )Live): “The State of Gonzo Address 2021: Hunter S. Thompson Crazy Wisdom Visionary.” A 20-minute talk by Ron Whitehead, followed by a 20-minute talk by John Brick, PhD candidate,  on his research for his Marquette dissertation, Gonzo Eternal, ending with a 15-30-min. Q & A.

Sunday, July 18: 2 p.m.

Topic: a panel consisting of William McKeen and Dr. Rory Patrick Fehan (on Zoom) and (in the Canessa Gallery Live) David Streitfeld and Peter Richardson will discuss “Hell’s Angels as a bridge to Hunter becoming the Gonzo figure in Fear and Loathing.” This is the fiftieth anniversary year of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971).

Moderators: Margaret A. Harrell and Ron Whitehead.


Short Bios:

Grant Goodwine is a Louisville-Based Illustrator who has long been affiliated with the GONZO movement, including helping illustrate The Hell’s Angels Letters and annual posters for Gonzofest and even for Churchill Downs to help celebrate Hunter’s “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved.” Grant puts in his effort to help conserve Hunter’s Legacy along with hopes of keeping Gonzo going.

Margaret A. Harrell is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, who was Hunter’s copy editor and Jim Silberman’s assistant editor on Hell’s Angels at Random House, as well as working on many successful books there. With degrees from Duke University and Columbia University, she studied three years at the C. G. Jung Institute Zurich. She has lived in the U.S., Morocco, Switzerland, and Belgium and has fourteen published books, including the Keep This Quiet! memoir series and The Hell’s Angels Letters. Multifaceted, she is an author, editor, advanced meditation (light body) teacher and experimental cloud photographer.

Ron Whitehead, poet, writer, editor, publisher, professor, scholar, activist, is the author of 24 books and 34 albums. Ron has produced thousands of events and festivals, including 24 & 48 & 72 & 90 hour non-stop music & poetry Insomniacthons, in Europe and the USA. He has presented thousands of readings, talks, and performances around the world. He has edited and published hundreds of titles. The recipient of many awards, his work has been translated into 20 languages. In 2018 Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer presented Ron with a Lifetime Achievement for Work in The Arts Award. In 2019 Ron was named Kentucky’s Beat Poet Laureate and was also the first U.S. citizen to be named UNESCO’s Tartu City of Literature Writer-in-Residence.. He is co-founder and Chief of Poetics for Gonzofest Louisville. Outlaw Poet: The Legend of Ron Whitehead documentary will be released by Storm Generation Films/Dark Star TV in 2021.


David Streitfeld is the editor of Hunter S. Thompson: The Last Interview and Other Conversations (Melville House, 2018). The Last Interview series, which he edits, includes such authors as Gabriel García Márquez, Philip K. Dick and J. D. Salinger. He is a reporter for the New York Times, where in 2013 he was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. He has won various other prizes for his journal­ism. In the past he worked for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

William McKeen is a professor and the Chairman of the De­partment of Journalism at Boston University; he is the author or editor of thirteen successful books, including Outlaw Jour­nalist, Mile Marker Zero, and Everybody Had an Ocean. McK­een teaches courses on journalism history, literary journalism and rock n’ roll and American culture and previously taught at Western Kentucky University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Florida, where he chaired the depart­ment of journalism.

Rory Patrick Feehan, PhD, is a Hunter S. Thompson Schol­ar and the founder of Totallygonzo.org. He graduated with a doctorate in English Language & Literature from the Uni­versity of Limerick in 2018. He has spoken at the Louisville Gonzofest and at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, on the opening night of their exhibit Gonzo: The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson. A regular contributor to Beatdom, he has also recently contributed a piece on Thompson to the ency­clopedia American Political Humor: Masters of Satire and Their Impact on U.S. Policy and Culture.

Tim Denevi is the author of Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism (PublicAffairs, 2018) and Hyper: A Personal History of ADHD (Simon & Schuster, 2014). His essays on politics, sport, and religion have recently appeared in The Paris Review, New York Magazine, Salon, The Normal School, and Literary Hub. He received his MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa, and he’s been awarded fellowships by the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Tim is an assistant professor at George Mason University and lives near Washington, DC.

John F. Brick is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He specializes in American literary journalism of the 1960s and ’70s with a particular focus on Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo journalism, and among his long-term career goals is to see the burgeoning niche of Thompson studies coalesce around centralized, comprehensive archives.  To that end, his work involves locating and cataloging—occasionally from unusual places—material by and about Thompson heretofore unknown to literary scholarship.  Alongside his dissertation, Gonzo Eternal, Brick is also presently compiling a thorough annotated variorum of Thompson’s seminal Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (but don’t tell his dissertation director about that).



Playing on the Big Canessa Screen – during the month of July


  1. Wonderland Book Club panel on The Hell’s Angels Letters

Alice Osborn, moderator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVJbHG03dOg


  1. Margaret A. Harrell – filmed live by film maker Nick Storm, Gonzo Fest 2014, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville KY. DVD (Mailed Fed Ex)


  1. Rory Feehan’s video of his extensive HST collection, with him narrating – is being made. To Come


  1. Possibly/hopefully a short video by Tim Ferris, awarded science writer and also former Rolling Stone science writer at the time of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter’s friend. He would join us if not being on a weekend trip


  1. Video of the events themselves as they are finished, to keep and use if this Exhibit becomes a Traveling Exhibit


ARTIFACTS for the Walls


Hunter Thompson at Canessa Gallery San Francisco July 2021

Canessa Gallery

which recently celebrated its 50th birthday, is hosting the Launch of the hard cover deluxe edition of The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic all during the month of July! Coming soon! If you are in San Francisco, drop by and see the exhibit. The live events I will participate in, and Ron Whitehead and Grant Goodwine will occur during the week of July 15 – 19, with a grand crescendo, I expect, on July 18, Hunter’s birthday. We just picked up the plan from 2020 and moved it – expanded – to 2021. More details as they open up. If you want an invitation, please let us know, as room is limited. If you have any Hunter Thompson memorabilia you want us to exhibit on the walls, let us know. I will pass that to the curator of the exhibit, Charles Cunningham, man of many hats (he is also the publisher, with a strong artistic bent). If you happen to have anything you want to let us exhibit on loan or anything we can include in the hard cover that is rare HST memorabilia, we will be ecstatic.


The Silver Woman of Fire

Elizabeth Upton has mastered the art of simplicity and peace. She inspires us, in a sentence, to stop and reflect, slow down, take a deep breath, be Present.

In this book, Elizabeth Upton has written a collection of insights that are simple and profound. They lead the reader to stop and ponder, sit and reflect. “Being Real,” “Life Needs Fixing,” and “Bored to Death,” among other chapters, tell us “It is always time to Gather Your Nerve and Live.” She says: “Listen and pause to the life of your mind. Listen and pause to your heart beating in your body with your every step, that offers you deeper understanding of who you are.”

Among Upton’s defining life experiences, she was a nun in a convent for twenty years and also conquered a mysterious disease twice. A deep, abiding compassion gives the author the ability to walk with the reader during our most challenging experiences.


Legacy Writing – Carolina Book & Writer Conference – Feb. 13

Join Margaret with Alice Osborn and Larry Perkins at the Writing Your Legacy panel at the Fifth Annual Carolina Book & Writer Conference virtually on Zoom February 13 at 10:30 a.m. Get a HUGE DISCOUNT by using the code Margaret21.

What is your legacy? How do you determine it? How do you write it? When should you start? Join Margaret, Alice and Larry for top-notch presentations and Q & A on this. And also check out the other panels, available this conference on the same ticket. Be sure to use my code: margaret21 for a huge discount.

Calling all messengers! It’s time to live your dream and share your truth. We know you have a story to tell. Join 26 talented presenters at the Carolina Book & Writer Conference to ignite that dream.

Receive inspiration along with expert answers to an abundance of questions about writing, publishing, and promoting your story. This year is our fifth annual writer’s conference, and we have so many amazing panelists and two fantastic keynote speakers! For the first time, CBWC will be a two-day event, February 13 and 14, 2021. Join us on Zoom to learn more about marketing and sales secrets, romance writing, young adult and children’s fiction, editing and publishing, sharing your legacy through autobiographies and memoirs, diversity writing, and leveraging your book through film, audio books, and more.

Attendees will have a full year of access to all the videos from the conference, so don’t worry if you miss one of the panels.

See what our gifted experts have to say to help you on your journey of becoming a successful author. Listen to powerful keynote presentations from North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green and from Adonal Foyle, former NBA player and author of eight books! Enjoy “office hours” to get to know our panelists and ask questions.

Sign up now on the CarolinaBWC website. To get your early bird discount ticket, use this code when you register: __margaret21_________. (Full price is $197, so be sure to add the discount code for $100 off!)

#CarolinaBWC #CarolinaBookandWriterConference #WriterConference #writers #books #TriangleBook




Las Vegas Book Festival – Hunter Thompson panel


Watch this panel at 10 p.m. – 11:15 p.m. October 23rd Las Vegas time or watch it later online at the Las Vegas Book Festival. It’s very lively and fun, with panelists – besides me – Juan F. Thompson, Tim Denevi, and Rory Patrick Feehan. And tell me what you think! An honor to participate.




International Prize New York City

Faces in Sun Blast, a Film (not digital) photograph of a cloud scene, has been selected for the International Prize “New York City” October 21 – 24, 2020.

Looking at the cloud photograph, which I took in Belgium in the late 1990s, when I took several rolls of these sky images every day, then sorted out which ones to later have professionally scanned, I see painting-like scenes in patches. Isolated areas where a “painter” set up an easel and made a work of art. Only, it happened in the clouds. Also, before snapping the image, I did some intentional staring meditatively. For me, this brought it into focus. This image is the cover of a book in progress – very short – by me on cloud artwork, its history, its effect on me, with examples of painting-like clouds.

The event takes place at The WHITE SPACE Gallery CHELSEA (555 West Street N.Y.). The Italian art curators sponsoring the event, Salvatore and Francesco Saverio Russo, are going ahead in spite of Covid. And so they must have a plan. My work is on video display. Other painters, sculptors, photographers, video makers, performers, graphic designers, stylists, also included in the event, may have full-size paintings or other artwork or may present on video. The curators write:

New York brings together the best of art, design, architecture and music of all the world. A place of dreams and emblem of the “new world,” New York is a symbol of travel overseas, of different cultures and styles that meet every day in its frenetic and very rich extra-ordinary daily life.

Besides the video exposure of Faces in Star Burst at the White Space Chelsea Gallery, October 21 – 24, 2020, the cloud giclee film photograph will be displayed in the Italian magazine Art International Contemporary Magazine in the September/October issue. And in an exhibit catalog “The Stars of Contemporary Art.”




Wash Post Review of “The ‘Hell’s Angels’ Letters”

The eminent reviewer for the Washington Post Michael Dirda has just given a Big Head’s Up to The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic in his October 8, 2020, write-up about it inside a piece called “Can’t get enough Game of Thrones or Star Wars? New editions on cult favorites are here to satisfy.

It reads:

Among late 20th-century American writers, none can rival Norman Mailer and Hunter S. Thompson in sheer force of personality, both on the page and in person. Mailer, whether in his fiction, polemical essays or reportage, always aimed to be consequential, to be fiercely engaged with his times. Would that he were living now! For a hint of what we’ve lost, check out the latest book-length issue, Volume 13, of “The Mailer Review” at the home page of The Norman Mailer Society. Thompson’s motto might well have been “Nothing in moderation.” For “The ‘Hell’s Angels’ Letters,” Margaret Ann Harrell — in collaboration with Ron Whitehead — has assembled a dossier of all her correspondence with Thompson during the time she worked as the editor of the gonzo writer’s “strange and terrible saga of the outlaw motorcycle gangs.” Typed manuscript pages, scribbled notes, photographs, interviews and all sorts of period ephemera relating to “Hell’s Angels” allow the reader a valuable, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of this classic of New Journalism.

Buy only at the publisher’s website here.


‘The Hell’s Angels Letters’ – the Gonzo Today review

In case you missed it, there’s a Gonzo Today review of The Hell’s Angels Letters Letters by Kyle K. Mann, Editor-in-Chief. It opens like this:

This is a big book, literally and figuratively. The short version:

The Hell’s Angels Letters is a must-have text for any Hunter S. Thompson fan. Lavishly documented and illustrated with the actual correspondence that led to the publication of his breakthrough literary effort, ‘Hell’s Angels,’ this coffee-table book literally shows how HST boot-strapped his way from a impoverished nobody journalist to growing legend. The author, Margaret Harrell, who was Thompson’s editor on his inaugural book, and her collaborator, Thompson’s friend and associate poet Ron Whitehead, have succeeded brilliantly to create a fabulous present for you, or anyone in your life who admires Thompson’s numerous achievements. It is not inexpensive, but no matter, it’s worth every penny. The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic gets five stars out of five! Bravo!

Editor’s note: One can only buy a copy of the book via the publisher, Norfolk Press. The link: https://norfolkpress.com/the-hells-angels-letters-hunter-s-thompson-margaret-harrell-and-the-making-of-an-american-classic-margaret-harrell/

The long version:

I was delighted to get the package at the Topanga Post Office from Ron. I got it home and opened it eagerly. As I flipped through the pages, I was astounded to see typewritten and even handwritten letters from HST. Beyond amazing! But, how the freaking hell am I going to review it?

It sat on my desk for weeks, demanding attention. I found myself resentful as the days went by… what am I doing with this monstrosity? I’d open it and recoil due to the intensity of HST’s personality, roaring off the page. I tried getting stoned and looking anew, but nope, way too heavy to digest and analyze in that state. Yet, Ron had sent it to me to review, and I knew our Gonzo Today readers wanted, even needed, to get my take.

To continue reading, click here.



AMFM Magazine: The Voice of the Artist Interview: “The ‘Hell’s Angels’ Letters”




AMFM Magazine: The Voice of the Artist

Margaret, the new book is published, THE HELL’S ANGELS LETTERS: HUNTER S. THOMPSON, MARGARET HARRELL AND THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. Grant Goodwine, a protégé of Ralph Steadman, did the cover artwork. Could you tell us about this? How did the whole project come about?

Margaret Harrell: It was a series of coincidences—or unlikely events—from start to finish, beginning with the existence of the letters themselves from Hunter Thompson to me, without which there would have been no book, no record of the story. The journey reminds me of pataphysica (“absurd irony”), a word made famous by French symbolist Alfred Jarry. The letters existed because Random House editor-in-chief Jim Silberman, who assigned me to copy edit Hunter’s first book, Hell’s Angels, broke with protocol. Normally, I would have done the copy editing, gotten Jim’s approval, then invited the author to fly to New York City and sit side by side with me to go over the suggestions and penciled marks on his manuscript for a day, or day by day for a week. Just for Hunter, Jim canceled that procedure. So we had to communicate by letter and phone. Then, when I left Random House, I took the letters with me. I won’t go over the ironic coincidence that came up there. Next, they endured FIFTY YEARS—in acidic paper—while I lived in four countries, including Morocco. Fortunately, they were not in my carry-on stolen at the Carey shuttle terminal in New York and were not in my storage that got overrun with fire ants in North Carolina.

So, basically, for years while I lived outside the US—in Morocco, in Switzerland, in Belgium—the letters survived transport and storage, as if they were charmed with an order not to disintegrate or disappear. By the time Hunter died, in 2005, I’d just relocated back to the U.S. He died, coincidentally on February 20, 2005, and I’d first met him in person February 20, 1967, when he had come to New York to start his Hell’s Angels book tour. Soon after he died I (with butterflies) contacted Doug Brinkley, the Estate literary executor, and he knew who I was (Hunter had told me), so he allowed me to excerpt from my letters in a memoir called Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert (2011). I knew no one in the Gonzo community, but this book opened the door, and in 2014, I first spoke at the Louisville Gonzofest, by invitation of Ron Whitehead, the poet-performer-scholar who is the collaborator on this Letters book. That opened more doors. . . .

Keep reading this interview by John Wisniewski

Remember that The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic is ONLY available for purchase at the publisher’s website: https://norfolkpress.com. Or check it out here: https://thompson.norfolkpress.com