A-Z Blogging Challenge- First Day to Sign Up & almost 200 Entries

Have You Signed up For 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge?  




Monday, January 30th: 1st day to officially sign up: Click on the A-Z photo above and it will take you to the official sign up link.


So I thought I would get an early start, a jump so to speak and head over to Arlie Bird's Blog at 9:30 a.m and guess what? 162 bloggers have already signed up and this is day one, before noon. Wow! That is all I can say.


Even though you can technically sign up until April, Arlie suggest signing up early because of all the pre-contest challenges. Those of you who participated last year know what this means, but I feel like a child waiting for Christmas. This is my first time to participate and the build up and anticipation is not unlike waiting to see what Santa brought me as a kid.

So get yourself out there so other bloggers can find you. Two months of mingling and meeting and greeting will allow you to get to know the other participants which will be favorable to you when determining your April strategy. Alex Cavanaugh  has an easy to understand explanation of exactly what the A-Z challenge is and what you will be required to do during the month of April as a participant.




So head over now and sign up. The link will be open until Wednesday and after that you can of course still sign up, but by clicking on a tab or page link. You will also be able to sign up on any of the co-host websites. Don't worry, I am certain you will have no trouble finding the A-Z Blogging Challenge on almost every blog you visit.

While Arlie Bird,  at  Tossing It Out  is the brain-child  behind the unprecedented challenge, he has some awe-inspiring co-host. For more information and to stay on top of developments, I have listed the co-host and a link to each of their blogs.

I already mentioned Alex J. Cavanaugh, but here is a link to his homepage.  The other co-host include Stephen Tremp,  Jenny Pearson,  Matthew MacNish,  Tina Downey,  Jeremy Hawkins,  D.L. Hammons,  Shannon Lawrence,  Elizabeth Mueller,  Damyanti Biswas,  Karen Gowen and  Konstanz Silverbow. 


The A-Z Challenge has a facebook page and the official email address for your questions and comments is 2012azinfo@gmail.com and the twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge. 


Are you participating? Have you signed up? Any advice for a newbie?

The Liebster Award & Celebrating 200 Followers

I received the Liebster award.     I am so excited.
Rosalyn Eves over at Thinking Through Our Fingers presented me with this award. Thank you for selecting me. 


I am a huge fan of blog awards and blogfest and all other ideas that are aimed toward helping other bloggers. I just so happened to pick a great time to begin blogging. I began weeks before Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group which was followed closely by Alex and Mathew MacNish's "Pay it forward blogfest". Those of you who have participated in one or both of these will appreciate how friendly they were to new or undiscovered bloggers. It was a fabulous way to increase your number of readers and allow bloggers to meet new and interesting bloggers.

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The Liebster award is another award designed to bring traffic to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  I received this award last week while I  still had well under 200 followers.

Now, thanks to Shelley Sly   I have reached my 200th follower milestone.  Please take a few minutes to check out Shelley's blog.

        

As the lucky recipient of the Liebster award, it is now my turn to name five blogs with under 200 followers that I recommend you visit.  This was hard because I have discovered quite a few new blogs lately that I absolutely love, many of which have under 200 bloggers.  Unfortunately I am only supposed to name five. From what I understand this is not one of the awards were I am to name random things about myself. I haven't done that one yet, but I see it floating around.  If I was to do anything more than pass this on to five more lucky recipients then I do apologize .

So without further ado. I give you:

1.  Shell Flower

2.  Len Lambert

3.  Emily Moir

4.  Jessica Salyer

5.  Jennifer Young

I encourage, no I challenge all of you to please visit all five of these blogs if you are not already reading them. If they are not your cup of tea, you are no worse off.  If however you discover a new blog that you enjoy, then you are one step closer to a new friend and in gaining that friend you did your part in helping fellow bloggers.

So what are you waiting for? Go visiting.            

Index Card Storyboard

How Do You Build Your Story?


Are you a plotter or panster? I have always been a panster and I find myself becoming a plotter-and loving it.


You already know how much I admire and love the plot whisperer, Martha Alderson. I have consulted with her a few times and I learned more in a few hours than in years of reading technique and craft books & taking on-line seminars and workshops. That is why one of the grand prizes in my blogfest is a two hour consult with her. I will return to our consulting at the end of the month when I finish other work projects.


I have also been reading another amazing book, Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks. Brooks host an incredibly helpful website/blog, storyfix.  He teaches the six core competencies of successful storytelling.
1. Concept
2. Character
3. Theme
4. Structure
5. Scene execution
6. Writing voice

And how we need a  complete understanding of how the four parts of story structure work together to create a well written book. " No single box contains the whole story. Each box is a subset, a part of the whole story. Only all four, viewed sequentially, do the storytelling job."

Part One:     The Set Up
Part Two:     The Response
Part Three:   The Attack
Part Four:     The Resolution
Of course it is much more complicated than I just touched on, but if you are looking for a way to understand story planning and how to make it all come together,  this is a great book.

If you are asking yourself, "What do I write next?" or " What is the best order for my scenes?"
This book is for you.    

Based on what I have learned so far with my plot consultations with Martha Alderson,  I am restructuring the  sequence of many scenes in my legal thriller that I thought was complete. The changes I have made have already improved my book.  Alderson uses a plot line with three parts that is similar to Brooks's four part story model.

So,  do any of you use storyboards,  plot-lines or plot diagrams to organize the sequence and structure of your novel?  If so,  what do you use?  Post it notes?  A computer program?  I'd love to know.  I really like how this has shaped up my WIP.

I found a few ideas on the Internet.
     Some photos and ideas taken from Diane Chamberlain's blog.  Diane got her inspiration from Alexandria Sokoloff.  Take a look at her blog, The Dark Saloon. Alexandria is an award winning author of several thrillers and she teaches scriptwriting courses.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?  Maybe a combo of both?  Have you always structured your stories the same way or have changed from plotter to panster or vice/verse?  Do you use any visual aids to help you write your story?

Don't forget to sign up for either my blogfest or random drawing for amazing prizesHere.
                                               

Rebel Writers Pledge 2012

Rebel Writer's Pledge 2012

After you read this please scroll to the bottom to read about my Get Fired Up Contest. Make sure you are signed up for the amazing prizes.


 Sheri Larson at Writers Alley  is hosting this blog hop to rebel against our views from last year that hindered us from reaching our goals, and give us a new insight and fresh start.


.Well,  I already missed the boat.  I have got to become more organized and get my priorities in order. We were supposed to write a post on Monday, January 23rd,  listing our goals for 2012,  and highlighting one goal.  Then our lovely host is going to compile a list of the goals we contributed to the group and post them for all to see. 


We will leave the pledge badge on our site as a reminder of our goals. Sheri is doing this to join us as writers committed to achieving our goals and supporting each other throughout the year.


This is a wonderful idea.


I pledge the following goals for 2012:


1 . I will complete my manuscript revisions within 30 days and begin querying.


2.  I will research the literary agent that I want to query.


3.  I will not overextend myself. I will learn to say no when necessary and I will not obligate myself to anything unless I am positive that I can fulfill the commitment and I have my calendar with me or whatever I need to refer to for scheduling. I will do this to ensure that I am able to do the act I am agreeing to  And  I have with me at the time a method for adding this responsibility to my calender/reminders/alerts.


4.  I will stick to a writing schedule because I get too easily distracted.


5.  I will attend the New York Pitch Conference and Workshop in March and try to attend the Backspace Writers Conference in May.




6.  I will treat my writing as a job and not a hobby. When I work as a lawyer that will be my priority, but when I work from home as a writer I will treat my writing as a career. I will not watch television, surf the net or work in my pajamas all day, (this will be hard-I never knew how much I would love working in my p.j.'s) but there is something to be said about feeling more professional when you look the part.


Why don't you check out some of the other participants & get inspired by their pledges


Have you signed up for a chance to win a Kindle Fire or a 2 hour plot consultation from Martha Alderson? You still have time. 
Sign up here.

Read more about it here.

And if don't want to do any type of blog mentoring. You can still win several prizes including a $50.00 Amazon gift card, two of Martha Alderson's books, Scrivner Software and more. All you have to do is leave your name & email in a post. 

For more information on how to increase you entries up to twelve (12) 



.

Get Fired Up- How To Win Prizes

Get Fired Up Blogfest- New Details For Additional Prizes:


Winners Choice: A Kindle Fire E-Reader
                                  or
A Two Hour Plot Consultation With Martha Alderson.

If you have not already signed up to participate, sign up here.

For contest details:

Click here.
or
Visit my  Featured Page.

Don't worry. You can also win a prize just for being an  awesome,& cool blogger buddy. Some of you have already entered your names by leaving a comment with your email

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don't have time to mentor a blogger you can still win a prize.

In the comment section of Any of my blog post between January 20 and February 29, 2012 just leave a comment and your email and you will be automatically entered to win your choice of a $50.00 Amazon gift card or two books by Martha Alderson, The Plot Whisperer & Blockbuster Plots.

Your name can be entered up to twelve (12) times.

1 entry for following my blog
1 entry for leaving a comment * this is the only requirement-please leave your email as well
1 entry if you use the word "leap" in your comment.
2 entries if you post a tweet about the give~a~way/blogfest
2 entries if you mention this on facebook
5 entries if you post about it on your blog & send me a link to the post
______________________________________________________________

That gives you 12 chances to win.
This is on the honor system. I am not going to check to see if you did the above.

1. Leave your comment
2. Include your email address
3. Use the word "Leap" - winners will be drawn randomly on 2/29/12 Leap Year
4. Tell me how many times to enter your name. (see above)

Get Fired up!




Win a Two Hour Plot Consultations With Martha Alderson or a Kindle Fire E-Reader



Get Fired up to win one of two amazing prizes. 
(1) Kindle Fire
(2) A two hour plot consultation with the amazing    plot whisperer, Martha Alderson. This      
      prize is valued at ($280.00)

What do you have to do?   Help a new, struggling or undiscovered blogger.

We all remember what is was like when we first started blogging. It is frustrating and confusing. I read a blog post on Alex's IWSG in November, by a blogger who was struggling to gain readers and followers. I often come across blog post by writers who are about to throw in the towel because they are posting consistently, but they just cannot seem to attract a wider audience.

Alex Cavanaugh and Matthew at QQQE hosted the "Pay it Forward" blogfest that was designed to help "under the radar" bloggers connect with fellow bloggers and the result was amazing. I am not trying to duplicate their blogfest.  First of all I don't have the following or platform to plug anything that big. I decided a while back, when I reached 100 followers that I wanted to host something and award prizes as my way of recognizing how wonderful all of you are. I am a relatively new blogger and I have met some wonderful people. I have been so impressed with how easily and quickly this group of write/bloggers is to offer support or answer questions whenever the need arises.

I already had a few prizes that I was saving for this occasion. I had to delay it because of NaNo then the holidays and then my husband's illness. I now have even more prizes. Because two of these prizes are pretty big ticket items I thought it would be okay to ask your help in return for the opportunity to win.

Because I was so fortunate as a new blogger to have so many of you show me the ropes, I wanted to try and extend a helping hand to others I keep coming across who are struggling.

Once you sign up, all you have to do is be on the look out for bloggers who are new, don't have many followers, are struggling in some way or just have yet to be discovered so their blog is not reaching enough of us.

1.   Sign up here

2.  Look for or stumble upon a blogger in need

3. Offer to help them with whatever issue they are struggling with (this could be showing them how to make
    sure their comment on a blog post links back to their blog or profile or making sure they have their blog
    linked to their blogger profile.)  There is no requirement here.  It is simple really. Lend your blogging experience or expertise to help another blogger gain readers or help them with a problem they are struggling with.  You could help them get their blog noticed by other bloggers. Offer to do a guest post on their blog or interview them on your blog.  Do as little or as much as you are comfortable doing.

4.  Do this from now until February 29th (Leap Year).

5.  On March 1st post about it on your own blog.  Tell us who you helped or discovered, what you did and provide a link to their blog so we can all visit the blogger you mentored.

6.  One winner will select from the above two prizes.

7.  2nd place will win the prize not selected by the first prize winner.

If you have any questions, email me a sugarlaw67@yahoo.com

Read more about it on this page

Get Fired Up-Blogfest & Prize Give~A~Way
Great Prizes.
     1. Amazon Kindle Fire e-reader
     2. Two Hour Plot Consultation with Martha Alderson
     3. Scrivner Writing Software
     4. Amazon Gift Card ($50.00)
     5. Two Books by Martha Alserson: The Plot Whisperer 
         and Blockbuster Plots


Check back for details. You may sign up  Friday, January 20, 2012 through January 29, 2012


Winners will be selected on February 29, 2012. 


So Leap in and earn a prize. Your name will be entered into a random drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card and for two of Martha Alderson's books by leaving a comment with name and email.


Contest for the larger prizes will involve helping a new, struggling or undiscovered blogger and a second prize will be awarded to one creative person who comes up with a catchy name, title or phrase that I can use as a "subheader" on my blog.


Please check back between now and January 29th for more details and to enter to win one or more of the awesome prizes I am offering. Please spread the word.


Sign up below:






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Blogfest-Contest- Mega Prizes


Blogfest- Prize Give Away


Greetings Blogger Friends.
Warning: This is a very long post: You may find that it is worth the read. I am offering some great prizes!!!!

 It is mid January and time for me to return to the blogging world on a regular basis. I have checked in sporadically this month after dealing with my husband’s scary heart condition over the holidays. I am happy to report that he is doing well and we celebrated our birthdays this past weekend. My husband turned 68 today and I turned 45 on Friday, January 13th. Yes, my birthday was on Friday the 13th and it gets better~~I was born on Friday the 13th. Spooky? Not to me. It is kind of cool.

Some of you may recall that I posted in late November about wanting to host a blogfest or some sort of contest. This idea originated as a way for me to show my gratitude for reaching an important blogging milestone, 100 followers. I have many other blogging milestones I want to celebrate and I really just want to host some sort of contest or blogfest to honor all of my blogging friends, readers and followers. I am truly honored to know all of you. It amazes me how much I have learned from many of you. It makes me smile to see how quick each and every one of you is to offer your help or support to me or any other new blogger (or veteran blogger) who has a question or is having a difficult time in our writing or personal lives. Ya’ll are the friendliest and most caring group of people I have had the fortune of getting to know.

I have given quite a bit of thought to what kind of contest or blogfest I should host.

 Initially I did not want anyone to have to do anything special to have an opportunity to win one of the awesome prizes I have selected, but then I came up with a couple of topics that I could really use some help with. If you remember my earlier post, I offered to include some wickedly awesome prizes. 

I intend to still offer them, but have actually upgraded one of the prizes. Because I am going to ask you to actually do more than leave a comment or be a follower for one of the prizes, I am upgrading my original Kindle e-reader prize to the King daddy Kindle prize- the Kindle Fire. My husband gave me a Kindle Fire for my birthday and it is so wonderful that I could not resist offering it as a prize. It is just too damn super-cool to pass up.

I am aware that many bloggers and blog readers will not want to participate in anything too time consuming so I will also offer two prizes for lucky readers who will not be required to do anything at all-well other than either posting a comment, following my blog etc.

So… Here is how this thing will work. The blogfest-contest will open on January 29, 2012 and will end on February 29, 2012. We will have one month to LEAP toward the goal line. Plus I need from now until January 29, 2012 to finally figure out how the heck to install a Mr. Linky thingy so that people can sign up and I can keep track of entries (*HINT-HINT) I welcome any advice, tips, ideas or suggestions from those of you who are skilled at this sort of thing. Anyone who can help me out- getting my blogfest up and running will receive one additional entry for one of the prizes.


Entry Requirements & Prizes:
Prize Number One -#1  

                              <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->
One person will win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

The only requirement for entry is that you follow my blog and leave a comment at the end of the Post, dated January 29, 2012. 

Your name can be entered more than once. You will receive one entry for being a follower, one entry for leaving a comment on 1/29/12 (with your email address) and an additional entry for using the word “leap” in your comment. You will earn two additional entries for tweeting about the contest, two additional entries for mentioning the contest on Facebook and a whopping five more entries if you post about the contest on your blog and send me a link to your post. You do not get two entries each time you tweet or put it on fb, this is a onetime extra entry.

In summary. One person will win a $50 Amazon gift card. That means your name can be entered as many as twelve times. The winner will be selected on February 29, 2012 by random drawing.


Prize Number Two -#2

One lucky blogger will receive, not one, but two books written by the wonderful and successful, plot whisperer herself, Martha Alderson. 

The winner will receive a copy of Alderson’s new book, The Plot Whisperer and also a copy of her older book, Blockbuster Plots which is an excellent companion book for The Plot Whisperer and includes a DVD with templates for creating your own Plot-line or Plot Diagram.

<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->
The same guidelines apply for prize number two as for prize number one. The only requirement for an entry to win these two fabulous books is for you to leave a comment at the end of my post on January 29, 2012. You can earn up to eleven more entries. 

See examples set forth in prize number one.



Prize Number Three- #3

Okay bloggers, this is where the blogfest/contest involves a tad more of your involvement and time. This is precisely why the prizes will go up significantly in cost and desirability.

To enter you will need to add your name and information to the Mr. Linky (that will be provided shortly) if I have to beg or bribe some lovely blogger out there to set it up for me. Just kidding. I hope. I mean how hard can it be? Oh no. Every time I have ever made a statement like that I have been in for a rude awakening (like the time I erroneously assumed I could put a simple desk chair together for my daughter’s Christmas gift.)

In keeping with the original theme of my blogfest/contest/sweepstakes/give~a~way and my desire to show my appreciation to everyone for following my blog, reading my blog and mainly for becoming my friend and offering support and encouragement during my journey toward learning to blog and hopefully finding an agent, this next prize and requirement is intended encourage as many of you as possible to continue doing what you do best: Helping other bloggers, especially newer bloggers, find their way. 

All of you remember what it was like when you began your first blog. I know you remember posting your articles while reading others and commenting on as many as you could. We all hoped to gain a loyal audience and we all know that it doesn’t happen overnight. We often struggle. We make mistakes. We question ourselves and often want to give up. There is nothing more frustrating than doing everything we are told to do, following all the rules and suggestions for building a blogging platform and hoping each day to gain new followers only to find that we still have very few.

I know how hard it was. I would read so many other blogs and comment faithfully, yet I still felt very lonely in the blogosphere.   I Have read many heart wrenching stories and post from fellow newbies wondering and asking “what am I doing wrong?” Didn’t I read somewhere or hear somewhere, “If you build it, they will come.” So where are they?” We all know that it takes quite a bit time for the number of followers to grow. It is often so slow in the beginning that many bloggers who have much to offer throw in the towel. They cannot see the light at the end of the blog.

I was so impressed when Matthew and Alex started the “Pay it Forward” blogfest. It was awesome and it gave new bloggers a once in million opportunity to get out there and meet friends, to connect with other bloggers and to build their contacts.

 Well I cannot copy their idea but I admire it too much to not try and do something similar in hopes of discovering more new bloggers, helping others connect with all of the fabulous people I have met, and hopefully to convince at least one struggling new comer to hang in there.

Pay it forward was incredible. It helped me immensely. I have, however met other new bloggers who said that even though they participated they still did not increase their on-line blogging presence or connection with others. This could be for a variety of reasons. It is quite possible that we inadvertently visited more bloggers that we were already familiar with than newer bloggers. It is also very possible that some of those new bloggers just do not realize how much time they will have to put in to the art of getting to know other bloggers. 

I cannot answer that question. I can, however make another attempt for all of you great people out there to help me search for struggling bloggers who share our passion for writing. 

Let’s find those who are still struggling. Let’s help new bloggers connect. If they are not making their site easily accessible to other bloggers, let’s show them how to do it.

I have an idea, but if you can think of a better way for me to host this then by all means please get in touch with me before the 29th and share your idea. I cannot think of a better way to offer this kind of support to new or struggling bloggers than Pay it Forward did. I have been trying to come up with a second chance so to speak to offer this same sort of help. I have been thinking of ideas for weeks and nothing too remarkable comes to my mind. 

So by all means, if you have an idea, Please, Please, Please share it with me. My goal is not for me to come up with the best idea, it is to try and accomplish much of what Pay it Forward did for new and struggling or ‘under the radar’ blogs.
Here is my idea. If you like it and think it will help, let me know. If you think it is a waste of precious time, let me know. If you can think of a way to improve it, let me know. If you know of a way that will work instead of this way, let me know.

For one month I am asking all of you to be on the lookout for fellow bloggers who are struggling to connect with other bloggers who share our passion for writing, reading , critiquing, agent hunting, publishing etc. and for new bloggers who are just getting started and are having a tough time figuring it all out. Look for bloggers who you know will make a great contribution to blogging if they can just get their feet off the ground, if they can just get their blog up and running, if they could just find a wide enough audience. You get the idea.

Here is the good part: You don’t have to go searching for them. We are all busy and barely have enough time to do everything we need to do as it is. But since you are going to be reading blogs anyway, if you stumble across the name of someone you don’t recognize (it doesn’t matter where you find this name) maybe they left a comment on a blog post that you regularly visit.

The point is- we all make an effort to visit the blogs of people who follow us or leave a comment on our post. This is probably not where we will find the new and struggling blogger. Chances are you come across unfamiliar names all the time when you visit the blogs of your friends and followers. If you do and if you have a little extra time that day, click on the name of the person you don’t know. If they don’t have a lot of followers and you see potential in the content of their blog-offer to help. 

I would use the word mentor- but I am afraid of scaring you away. The mere mention of the word “mentor” conjures up images of us spending hours helping someone, hours we just don’t have. So call it a mini-mentoring. See if you can help them.

How you ask?

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.    <!--[endif]-->Offer to review their blogger profile and make sure they know how to make their blog easily accessible to other bloggers
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.    <!--[endif]-->Spend a few minutes answering any blogging questions they may have
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.    <!--[endif]-->If they have a good blog with good content, but are lacking an audience and you are a well known and respected name in the blogging world-offer to lend your name and status to help get them started. Offer to do a guest post for them and then promote it on your blog
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.    <!--[endif]-->Offer to introduce them to your blogging world via an introduction guest spot as a guest on your blog
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5.    <!--[endif]-->Offer to help them with the design and layout of their blog- if you are gifted in this area
<!--[if !supportLists]-->6.    <!--[endif]-->Give them a blog award , thus exposing them to many other bloggers
<!--[if !supportLists]-->7.    <!--[endif]-->If they have a specific talent or expertise, offer to interview them about it on your blog or better yet see if you can get two more of your friends to do the same
<!--[if !supportLists]-->8.    <!--[endif]-->Anything you can do to help new bloggers, undiscovered bloggers, struggling bloggers –get their blog up and running, or to help them widen or build their audience, or to convince them to stick it out, participate more and hang around long enough to enjoy the wonderful benefits of blogging, belonging to a close community of blogging buddies and the eventual benefits of building an on-line platform or presence.

So what’s they prize? And exactly how do I win it? You ask.

This will be an awesome prize and well worth any effort you put toward helping another blogger (in addition to the good feeling you get from helping a new or struggling blogger)

You have a month to help others:

    Between January 29, 2012 & February 28, 2012

    For every newly discovered or struggling blogger that you help, write a short post about who they are, what their blog is about    and the help, support or advice you offered or shared with them. In your post link to their blog encouraging your friends and followers to check out their blog. 

Then you can email me or leave me a comment and let me know who you have helped and a link to their blog or a link to your post about it. 

That’s all. 

If it sounds complicated let me know so I can try to simplify it. If it is too complicated let me know because my goal is to help and if this is asking too much from ya’ll then I will fail in my attempt to help those who struggle. I remember that feeling and I hope to alleviate it or reduce it for others with your help.

The judging for this will be somewhat subjective. I don’t see any way around that. I will try to engage the help of other bloggers who are not vying for this prize to help me select the winner or perhaps I can come up with a method for other bloggers to vote on the winner once all participants have posted their “I helped a fellow blogger” article.

And finally…The Prize
The winner will receive their choice of either of these two prizes. Not Both, choice of one.
Prize Choice Number One: <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->The amazing, new kindle fire: from Amazon. The Kindle Fire is a full color 7” Multi-touch Display e-reader, complete with Wi-Fi. As the proud new owner of one I can attest that is it (as my kids would say) “The Bomb” It is the Cadillac of all e-readers. This prize is valued at $199.

Prize Choice Number Two: <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Two- One hour plot consultations with the remarkable author of The Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson. Martha is affectionately called, “The Plot Whisperer. She is an amazing published author who most of you have heard of. For more information about Martha and her plot consultation services, visit her website http://www.blockbusterplots.com/

A two hour plot consultation with Martha Alderson cost two hundred and eighty dollar ($280). I am a client of hers and I cannot think of a better prize for an author, whether you are a published author or a novice. That is why I have selected this prize for this category.

Winners Choice: Kindle Fire e-reader or 2 hour plot consult with Martha Alderson

Prize Number Four #4
The fourth and final blogfest prize category and prize is again going to be a subjective decision as this challenge (so to speak) is intended to benefit me or my blog. I intend to update my blog design and layout at the end of this contest. 

As everyone knows, if a blogger changes the name of their blog or god forbid the url, they often end up losing much if not all of their blog content. We also risk losing all of our followers, friends etc. I have learned from fellow bloggers and from experience (fortunately this happened to me when I first began blogging so I only had a handful of followers and I was able to locate them again) but I will not take that chance again. So, I am not willing to change either the name or the url for my blog.

I do however need to make some changes. If you read Laura Barnes blog, http://laurabwriter.blogspot.com/ you know that she critiques the blogs of other writers, FAMP: From A Marketing Perspective.

I love Laura and am a faithful reader of her blog. I have not yet dared let her critique my blog, but I have learned so much from reading her honest and helpful critiques of many other writer-bloggers. I am the first to admit that I did not have a clue what I was doing when I created and designed my blog. My blog is called “Have you Heard?” Why? Um, not sure. It sounded good at the time or maybe it made sense once upon a time, or maybe not…

I cannot remember.

Perhaps it meant: Have you heard, Hey have you heard, Melissa just wrote a best selling novel? Okay well a girl can dream? And should. Right?

Not that I really understand google key words or seo and all that stuff, but I do know that changing the name of your blog is like supposedly the worst thing you can do if you want to ever drive traffic to your site. I also know (thank you Laura Barnes) that I need to have my actual name associated with my blog. So if it is not part of my blog address and it is not part of the name of my blog, I need to do something about it. I have also learned that when people first land on my blog, my header or sub-header needs to tell them what my blog is about.

Mine does not! Nuff said.
I want to change that and am turning to you for help. Yes there will be a prize.

The girls over at the cutest blog on the block are going to make some changes to my blog very soon. I will be adding a sub-header directly under my header. 

The purpose of the sub-header is to tell people who I am and what my blog is about as soon as they land on my page.

The challenge is for you to come up with a quirky, unique, cool, different way of doing this. I am not changing my crazy design. 

I actually like my bright, bold, funky colors and design. I know it is not very professional (that is what my author website will be for). I am so tired of having to have everything generic and bland for my law firm, law office, law firm website right down to the neutral clothes and fingernail polish that I wear as a lawyer for court. I want to be able to express my fun and quirky personality in my personal blog. I am saying all this so that your suggestions are not for me to tone it down.

SO: THIS IS WHAT MY BLOG IS ABOUT (IN A NUTSHELL):

This is my personal blog. This is a place for me to meet and communicate with other writers and readers. I am a pre-published (like that better than unpublished) author who writes legal thrillers/mystery/suspense/courtroom drama.

I blog about my life as a mom, lawyer and a writer. 

 This is my journey toward finding an agent and eventually becoming a published author..

This year I intend to blog on a regular schedule of Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I will blog on other days as time permits. I will share excerpts from my novel and share my trials and tribulations of revisions from my just completed novel, my new work in progress, my query letters and responses or lack thereof from agents. I am not a published author so I will not be offering advice in a professional capacity, but I will share with readers the steps I take and the mistakes I make. 

I will share what does and does not work for me. I will write post on writing tidbits, pointers, and things I have learned either from other writers, blogs or through trial and error.

I will share my TBR list and I will review the books I read this year. I will promote other blogs, authors-especially debut authors.

I will share links to post from writer’s blogs that I find helpful, informative, creative or useful. I will share links to sites that I find helpful for writers. I will participate in and promote challenges and blogfest hosted by other bloggers.

I can answer any specific questions you have about what I want my sub-header to say. It can be long or short and punchy. If my name and that I am a writer can somehow be used together in a clever and catching way, we will have a winner. 

Your entry can be serious, humorous, metaphorical or mysterious or a combo platter.

 I am eager to be surprised.

The Challenge, should you choose to participate:

Come up with a clever or unique sub-header that will show readers who I am and what my blog is about.

Leave a comment with your email telling me that you would like to enter. There is no limit to the number of entries that you can submit.

Email your entry-ideas to me at sugarlaw67@yahoo.com  or as I see other people display their email sugarlaw67 at yahoo dot com

Contest is open from 1/29/12 - 2/29/12
I will select the winner within 48 hours and you will be notified by email.

Okay, okay. I know. Get on with it.

The Prize: Your choice of either of the two prizes:
Prize Choice number one . <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Scrivner Software for Mac. Value $40
Prize Choice number two. <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Amazon $50 Gift Card.

Thank you in advance to all who participate. Thank you for your continued friendship and support. Writer/author bloggers are the best.

What is in a Name

What Does Your Name Spell To You?

Random & Silly
My son who is in the 4th grade had a fun homework assignment last night. He was instructed to spell out the letters of his first and last name vertically and then he was supposed to write the first word that came to his mind that started with each individual letter. The teacher cautioned the students not to spend time thinking of a word or looking for a word. "Just write the very first word that pops in your head"

Sounds easy enough.


                                    Okay. Here Goes.
Manuscript
Eggnog
Laughter
Ipad                                                        
Sex
Sangria
Attitude


Secret
Unique
Goals
Argue
Rollarblades

                                                                      Now, it is your turn.



and if anyone out there knows how to analyze this kind of acrostic poem or word game, please feel free to tell me if I am nuts or am I just  craving alcohol, sex and ???? what?? rollarblades??



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