Start The Year Off Write 2015

Hello Writing Friends!

Its been far too long!! How have you been? 2014 has certainly been one wild ride for me! But before I get into that, I want to announce that I will NOT be running Start The Year Off Write this January. I’ve agonized over this decision as it was always my intention to make STYOW a yearly challenge.  However, things changed.  Thanks to some unexpected curve balls this year, I did not have time to organize the challenge to the level of my satisfaction.  I hope you will forgive me.  I swear I have the cutest excuses ever.  See.
Adorable, right?  :)
Really is was all this amazing little lady’s fault.

Behind that beautiful smile is the story of a survivor. This little lady was born ten weeks early!  If you’re curious, here’s where I’ve been the past eleven months and why I didn’t have time to organize Start The Year Off Write.  I’ve got to warn you, its a bit of a read so if you don’t have time here’s the cliff notes version: new baby, new business, NICU, sewage flood, and new home in a new state!


Christmas Eve 2013 – Shannon surprised Jim with the news that Baby #3 is on the way!
January – Shannon runs her first large scale writing challenge, Start The Year Off Write, and is thrilled by its results. Writers in 9 different countries are logging in to participate! Jim and his smarty-pants business partners finally launch Trek10, which helps companies upgrade and save money by replacing their servers with secure cloud-based solutions.
February – Jim twists Shannon’s arm just enough to convince her to move from downtown Chicago. They settle on Northern, IN and plan to move in the […]

Announcement – It’s Prize Time

Ready for the results?  I know I am but first I want to say a few thank yous.

First and foremost to Tara Lazar, for without her advice, encouragement and support this challenge would never have been possible.  To the amazing list of authors who agreed to write a post for this challenge.  Thank you for taking a chance on me and for sharing your wisdom and expertise.   To the editors and agents for giving their time and expert advice to the lucky prize winners.  I cannot thank you enough.  To the amazingly talented Maple Lam who provided the adorable logo’s and artwork for the challenge.  She is an incredibly talented illustrator, really take a minute to check her out!  And of course to all the writers and followers who made this challenge a HUGE SUCCESS.  You guys rocked my world!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


Without further ado…HERE ARE THE RESULTS!
Agent Review
Sean McCarthy – Sean McCarthy Literary Agency
Mira Reisberg – Hummingbird Literary
Jodell Sadler – Sadler Children’s Literary
Maria Vicente – P.S. Literary Agency

Copy Editing Services
Beth Stillborn – Flubs 2 Fixes

Editor Review
Marissa Moss – Creston Books
Meredith Mundy – Sterling Children’s Books
Laura Whitaker – Bloomsbury

Grand Prize Winner
Melissa has won online access to a digitally recorded writing conference hosted by Writer’s Digest. Melissa will have access to nearly 25 sessions valued at over $450.  These sessions are one of a kind as they are not even offered to the public yet.
Congratulations Melissa!!  I hope you and all the prize winners are having a moment like this.
All winners have been contacted via email.  If you have not heard from me and your name is on […]


We’ve made it through the first week of START THE YEAR OFF WRITE.  Woo-hoo!  I couldn’t be happier with how it’s going so THANK YOU to everyone who is has helped my vision become a reality.

I’m excited about week two and the amazing authors coming up including Tara Lazar, David Harrison, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Linda Ashman, Liz Garton Scanlon, Adam Rubin, and Kristen McGill Fulton!  I have a few announcements I wanted to pass along but I don’t want to interrupt too much of your writing time so I’m going to try to keep this brief.

1)         Make every exercise work for you.  It counts for “credit” if you give the exercise a good effort.  If it doesn’t fit you perfectly, then curtail it to fit your project/your current needs.  Remember, the purpose of this challenge is to try new things to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your writing not to direct your attention away from your work.

2)         If you signed up on the blog to receive daily emails for Start The Year Off Write and are NOT are receiving them, please check your spam folder and add my email address ( to your contacts folder.   If you’re still not receiving them after those changes, email me, I have a few more trouble-shooting steps to share!

3)         If you’re just joining Start The Year off Write or you’ve fallen behind on a few of the prompts, you have until midnight on January 31st to comment on any of the author’s blogs for “credit” towards the prizes.  (I hope it goes without saying but PLEASE do not comment on every blog the last day.  That defeats the purpose of committing yourself to develop your craft.  The extra days are to help accommodate […]

Something Big Is Coming

Six solid months of planning, networking, reaching out and hoping like hell, have led to this announcement:
I’m hosting a BIG writing challenge.
Join me, 21 authors, 4 agents, 2 editors and one talented copy editor this January 5th.  It’s going to be great!!!
Click here to learn more!
Please help spread the word using the links below!