Meet The CYC Team - Craft Your Content

Meet The CYC Team

An agency like this does not run on the power of any individual. We have an accomplished team of writing experts and business pros who are at the ready to work with members and clients to make their words exceptional.

Julia Hess – Managing Editor

Julia Hess graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Master of Arts degree in English. She has worked as a college writing tutor and instructor, an editor for DASH Literary Journal, a contributor and editor for a hyperlocal blog in Seattle, and a content and copywriter for a craft beer delivery service (yes, she does get to sample the beer!). Her love for writing and reading began at the age of six; she was writing Harry Potter fan fiction long before she found it on the internet. Her favorite show on Netflix is the one she hasn’t seen yet. The only thing preventing Julia from fulfilling her dream of becoming a stand-up comedian is herself– she prefers telling her jokes sitting down. (*ba-dum, tsss*)

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: You don’t always need a super rigid outline to produce a powerfully written piece. Organization is definitely important, but it can sometimes be easier to reorganize ideas and paragraphs once it’s all been written out, since some of your best ideas may form organically while you’re writing. Making a loose outline is great if that’s your style, but it’s also good to be flexible with your own ideas – they could totally develop in new and exciting ways beyond what you envisioned in the first place!

Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Most Read Book: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Favorite Story to Tell: My friend was hanging out at my house, looking for food in my refrigerator. Stealthily, I snuck up on her and hid behind the refrigerator door, then I leaped out from hiding while burping extremely loudly. My friend screamed, slammed the refrigerator door, started running away, and then slipped on the kitchen tiles. We were both laughing so hard that we couldn’t breathe. Needless to say, I learned that day that burps can be dangerous.

Erika Rasso – Content Producer and Social Media Manager

Erika Rasso graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in English and marketing. She has worked as a writing consultant, an editor for a literary journal, and an editor for an academic journal. She’s currently located in sunny Los Angeles pursuing her dream of working in entertainment, if only she would get off her butt and close Netflix! She is a cat and dog person, because why should we have to chose? And she spends most of her time pouring over television scripts trying to improve her writing.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: Even though I love grammar and the strategic ways it is used to convey ideas, I don’t believe that your writing has to be mechanically perfect to be exceptional. If we look back on Nathaniel Hawthorne and James Joyce, their works are filled with run on sentences and misused punctuation, and they are still regarded as literary masters! Besides, grammar is always evolving. A mistake you’ve made in one article may no longer be a mistake a month or two later.

Current Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Most Read Book: The Harry Potter series

Favorite Story to Tell: When I was in Paris with my parents, we were taking a bike tour and I was lagging behind. We were crossing a busy street and a bus turned the corner and hit me! I was completely okay, the bus was going really slow, but I was very mad that the bus didn’t wait for me!

Sarah Ramsey – Senior Content Editor

Sarah Ramsey holds a master’s in Science, Technology and Public Policy, and has spent the last 17 years working for space-focused organizations like NASA. She wishes she could write space-based, because if she could live anywhere else, Mars would be it. She has written for senior government officials, scientists, and engineers, translating technobabble into English, and creating content and messaging for the best government agency on the planet. She decided to escape the cubicle lifestyle and pursue the other 30 or so things she’s interested in, including more writing for fun.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: Because I like contradictions, I believe that to write well you must always be thinking, and that you shouldn’t overthink. Writing is like the overflow buffer for your brain – you get your thinking all out on the screen or in notebooks (or on napkins, the back of envelopes, old receipts buried in your purse). But it doesn’t help to overthink while you’re writing. Just write. Do whatever works for you, and worry about perfection on the second draft.

Current Location: Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Most Read Book(s): Jacqueline Carey’s first Kushiel trilogy

Favorite story to tell: My high school had an exchange program with a school in Germany. During my month-long stay there, we took a three-day trip to Berlin. We were there when the country voted on keeping the still-newly unified country’s capital in Bonn or moving it back to Berlin. Berlin won the vote, and the city went crazy in celebration. Strangers were hugging each other, cars honked, people cheered, there was a massive crowd in the Breitscheidplatz – for a group of kids from a small town in Arkansas, this was like nothing we’d ever seen. We were welcomed to the celebration like we were from there, and that changed the way I looked at the world.

Giselle Sproule – Content Editor

As someone whose childhood was spent having books pried away from her at the dinner table, a future working with words was almost inevitable. Giselle studies English at the University of Calgary, and has worked as a writer/copyeditor for a newspaper, freelance proofreader/editor, and piano teacher. She hopes to one day relocate to Central America, but for now is making the most of snowy Calgary by getting out to the Rocky Mountains as much as she can, and spending cozy nights in learning how to play new instruments.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: To channel James Michener, the best writers are really the best revisers. No one’s first draft is perfect, and it’s far more important to get rough ideas down on paper than to be completely happy with your writing on the first try.

Current Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Most Read Book: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Favorite story to tell: My sister and I were in Nicaragua last summer, and as we were walking to our hostel using the map they had provided, we realized that the path led through a river. There was no bridge in sight, however, and there was a “No swimming — Crocodiles in river” sign posted on the shore. The hostel had failed to mention that they were located across a crocodile-infested river! We survived, but the few minutes spent wading through the water were nerve-wracking, to say the least.

Melissa Lewis Grimm – Senior Copy Editor

Melissa Lewis Grimm, ELS, graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She has worked as an editor and a marketing manager for a laboratory standards–developing organization, a proofreader for a nursing continuing education provider, and a journal manager for a scientific and medical publishing company. Despite Melissa’s work history, one of her lofty goals is to become a world-famous voiceover talent. Yes, you read that correctly! She loves spending time with her wonderful husband and adorable toddler.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: Unless you have a specific assignment, don’t be afraid to write whatever flows freely. You will find an audience that will be interested in reading your work, regardless of what you write. One man’s trash…

Current Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Most Read Books: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (one of my son’s favorites)

Favorite Story to Tell: When I was four years old, my younger sister climbed into the dryer and I “accidentally” closed the door. My mom asked me where she was and I sheepishly pointed to the dryer, where my sister was happily spinning in the drum. It hadn’t been used recently and wasn’t very hot, so no big whoop, right?

Amanda Stein – Copy Editor and Multimedia Designer

Amanda Kaye Stein graduated from the Academy of Art University with an A.A. in Fashion Design (focus on Fashion Illustration and Creative Writing). She’s worked as a freelance writer, editor, social media manager, graphic designer, artist, and comedy improv performer.  As a two year old, she reenacted each episode of My Little Pony to make the story more dramatic – and she’s been obsessed with words every since. She speaks fluent GIF and Parseltongue, and is still eagerly awaiting her owl. She’s a voracious reader of YA fiction, and will happily spend hours defending Twilight’s literary merits. She’s an aspiring novelist, YouTube creator, and ukulele rock star.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: All writing, whether it’s meant to be artistic or not, can and should be beautiful. Not to say that all writing has to be overly flowery or descriptive; I find clean, crisp, elegant copywriting mesmerizing in its own way. Even if your aim is to be purely informative, getting your point across in the most beautiful way possible will help your message stay with readers.

Current Location: Calverton, New York, USA (until she can move to Stars Hollow, CT)

Most Read Book: The Harry Potter series. (She’s made the section of “Prisoner of Azkaban” featuring Sirius Black fall out of the book, in one neat chunk, due to over reading. Twice.)

Favorite Story to Tell: When I was little, I used to spend hours in my backyard throwing sticks at the moon. My mother had told me we didn’t send astronauts to land on it any longer, but I was certain she was lying; space was amazing – why would we ever stop going? I thought for sure if I stood on the highest point of the hill in our yard and threw hard enough, my stick would reach the moon, land on an astronaut’s head, and his resulting cry of pain would be proof there was someone up there after all.

Gina Edwards – Special Project and Content Writer

After years of writing pizza-stained short stories, maxing out her library card limits, and finding painstaking amounts of typos in her yearbook, Gina transported her love of all things wordy to Ohio University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Since then, she’s traveled the U.S. and abroad, teaching her native language to people who want to learn it (and some who have to), and writing in her snarky blog when she remembers she has it. On her long, sweaty bike rides to work, Gina wonders about the number of cookies she can now reasonably eat, where in the world is Carmen Sandiego, and how she will one day start a company that changes the world.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: Writing is the ultimate place to be completely, authentically weird. Where you can play around, break rules, make unfunny jokes, rant, tell stories, type “sassafrass” 1,000 times, be vulnerable, not complete your

Through writing, you can use your pen or keyboard to get intimate with your own idiosyncrasies. The best part? It doesn’t matter if after writing, you shout it from the rooftops, slip it under the floorboards, mail it to Antarctica, or set it on fire. Life is strange, unexpected, and fun –– writing should be, too.

Current Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Most Read Book: The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Favorite Story to Tell: The Best Prank I Ever Pulled: Or, Saran Wrap on the Toilet Seat Really Does Work! – An Ode to my Older Sister’s Temper

ElisaDoucette_squaredElisa Doucette – Founder and Executive Editor

Elisa has worked for over a decade creating compelling content and writing for various businesses and publications. A frequent contributing writer, podcast guest, and event speaker, her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Forbes, Yahoo! Small Business, The Shine Network, The Huffington Post, and Brazen Careerist among others. She spends most of her time consuming unnatural amounts of coffee, tea, red wine, microbrews, bourbon…pretty much anything liquid and delicious. With no home base, she travels the planet looking for great stories to live, interesting tales to share, and new ways to make words sexy. When she’s not drinking her way around the world, she is likely curled up with her Kindle, devouring a new book.

I believe in this principle, even though it isn’t always the popular opinion: Great writing must be your foundation for popular and authority-building content. Marketing tricks and tactics can get eyes on your site, and you can optimize and analyze for every button and metric – and you should absolutely consider them if you want to be serious about writing online or for an audience. But if what you have to say and how you say it are not well-thought out and presented, your audience will not care.

Current Location: Quebec City, Canada

Most Read Book: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Favorite story to tell: Up to the age of 30, I had never lived outside the state of Maine or traveled further than Canada. Then, I landed a gig that put me on a one-way flight, with a shiny new passport, to live for six months in Bali, Indonesia. In my first three weeks living abroad, I got into a fight at a club, held hostage in a taxi, was robbed, and finally thrown off the back of a motorbike when we were hit head-on – ending in three surgeries on my knee. I managed to power through and have some badass scars to prove it. Been traveling ever since. This is either extreme confidence or complete idiocy. The jury is still out.

If you want to connect, it is usually easiest to catch me on Twitter or GoodReads.