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Monday Morning Blogosphere Announcements

Melissa Sugar's Monday Morning Announcements:

Congratulations to Cassie Mae- She is an Agented (yep its a word) She is an agented author!

There is nothing quite as exciting as learning that a fellow blogger/writer friend has excelled.  I am sure most of you have already heard the news, but just in case you missed it, I wanted to help spread the good news and cheer. Cassie Mae is now an agented author. If you don't know the story, I highly recommend that you read it. Cassie Mae wrote her manuscript in only three weeks. Now that is an amazing feat, in and of itself. Now, add to it that she whipped it into a revised story worthy of winning a competition and it is 
But then it gets even better. She put on her "I am not a wimp-I am a brave and talented writer" hat and voila, her query letter was answered with request that soon turned into what he all hope for , what we are all working so hard to achieve- an agent . Go Cassie Mae! Congratulations. You deserve it! If you have not read the story of how her novel, Nerd (Short for How To Date A Nerd) & the Harry Potter trivia question that prompted her to write it; you really should. Everything about this neat girl is quirky and unique so why would her story that landed the agent be any different? You gotta love it.

Cassie Mae, you need to be treated to some Mommy Juice.  No, it is not the kind of juice for moms to share with kiddos. It is just for us grownups.

Join Jeremy Bates for his "Dog Days of Summer" Blogfest August 10-12th

The rules are simple
 Write a brief post on one or all three topics below:

1) Describe your favorite summer activity thus far.
2) What activities do you plan before summer is over?
3) If you could have the ultimate vacation ever, where and what would it be?

And you gotta love this next part:

Then all you have to do is grab your laptop some beer (or wine), don't forget the wine, Jeremy, some steaks and head to your backyard grill or pool or hammock or whatever or wherever you like to chill.

So, how about the rest of you? Do you have any exciting news to share? Do you know of any cool blogfest coming up that we would love to join? And last, but not least, have you sampled any mommy juice? I just love that concept and the mommy who came up with it. I don't even care what it taste like; I have to have a bottle.

Click on the image below to sign up for Jeremy Bate's Dog Days of Summer Blogfest.

One more thing- My blog is in the process of a blog makeover, so none of my pages have been changed. Until then, the labels at the top of my page (links) will not take you anywhere. I apologize, but please be patient as it should all be completed in the next two or three days.

Blog Report Card

Melissa Sugar's Blog Report Card

Oh this ain't gonna be pretty.

No, I have not submitted my blog to one of those sites that will grade you on each area and tell you what you are doing right and what needs improvement. I don't have to do anything that drastic to concede that I am not doing what we all know we are supposed to do. This is an unofficial blog report card.

I wish I could tell you that my lack of posting, commenting and participating is because I have been overwhelmed with work or busy with family obligations, but that just isn't the case.  

First of all I want to apologize to Sharon Bayliss and Court Young. They are hosting a really cool and unique Buccaneer Blogfest and I feel that I have let them down. I read about the blogfest and I was excited about participating so I signed up while I was out of town with my kids (I signed up late) and so I was already off to a bad start. So, I sincerely apologize to both of these amazing bloggers  for my lack of participation. I am going to have to withdraw from the blogfest, but I still intend to visit all of the other bloggers who are participating. 

The boys are away at summer camp for four weeks and the girls have just returned from the Bahamas and I had a lengthy To Do list of everything I was going to accomplish while the kids were away.

It looked something like this:

Melissa Sugar's To~Do List

1. Participate in the Buccaneer Blogfest
2. Visit all of the other participants
3. Make daily blog post/ Write weekly book review
4. Write two- three extra blog post per week so I can have my advanced post ready to go
5. Put in extra hours on work projects
6. Write 4000 Words per day
7. Work on revisions & edits for two hours per day
8. Clean out & organize closets/ Hang shelves in the girls room
9. Finally learn how to better use Twitter/Google Plus and other Social Media Sites
10. 45 Minutes of exercise daily

So, how did I do?

What grade do I make on my blog report card?

I did not successfully complete even one item on said list. I posted two out of three of the first week writing assignments for the Buccaneer Blogfest (and that was late).  But, I did visit some of the other blogs and met some new friends. I did zero hours of revisions. I did write almost every day, often using the very functional and motivating website for writers, I recently discovered, that is all about writing and getting into your brain, called If you are not familiar with the site, I highly recommend it. I did not come close to 4000 words. My house is messier and just as unorganized as it was two weeks ago.

This is what I actually did:

1. Nothing
2. A lot of swimming
3. Spent much needed time with my mom & dad
4. Drank wine with friends
5. Spent all day Saturday & Sunday, in bed with hubbie watching movies
6. Read three novels while sitting out in the sun (sans sunscreen)
7. Neglected email and loved it
8. No exercise, (well swimming is exercise & movie day might have involved some fun exercise- not the kind at the gym though)
9. So basically, I did nothing and I loved loved loved it!

I realize that I cannot continue doing nothing and that the vacation is almost over and the kids will all be home soon. I know that I will have to resume family and work obligations and that I will never even have a chance to have my query letters rejected by dozens of agents if I do not finally finish my revisions. I also realize that my current NIP will not write itself, but I have learned a valuable lesson or two or ten.

My New To-Do List.

1. Stop making To-Do list & just  Do
2. Stop taking on more than I can possibly handle as it only sets me up for defeat and feeling like a failure in addition to the horrible dread and sadness I feel when I let my blogger friends down.

My New & Revised Plan Of Attack

Nix the To -do list.

I will remain committed to finishing my revisions and I will set a reasonable date for my query letters to begin.

I will make a huge effort to blog more consistently and I will continue to read and comment on all of your blogs because I really do enjoy reading what you have to say and I love our interaction.

I will make more time for fun and play so that I will not feel like a teenager whose parents are out of town when I do finally do something for myself.

In a nutshell, I will find a way to balance all of the the things  I love including, but not limited to  family, work, friends, writing, blogging, reading your blogs, reading books, swimming, traveling and of course drinking wine with friends and finding time for all day movie marathons with my husband when the kiddos are away.

Now I will quit feeling sorry for myself about my blogging  shortcomings & work to improve. In fact, rather than giving myself a Big Fat F on my report card, I will give myself an incomplete.

For motivational purposes; that's okay, right?

Buccaneer Blogfest- Melissa Sugar's Blog

Buccaneer Blogfest - Week 1 Roundup

First up let's give a sing out to our Buccaneer Quartermaster Sharon Bayliss and Buccaneer Cap'n, Court Young for hosting this Jolly Rodger. 

Ahoy There! 

Melissa Sugar's Blog (Tell us about it)

Day 1- Tell us a little about you & your blog?

Okay, I can do that. I can talk about me- don't I always? Too much? Nah! But, what can I tell you that I have not already written?

The basics, which I have written, but I realize that many of you are new to my blog so.... and those of you who have heard all this before-feel free to jump ahead to my next topic. BTW, Assignment two is also  about- yup, you guessed it, me.  So, what I will do is try and tell you things about me that I feel certain I have not already written about- ad nausea. You know, like how much I love & adore my kids, or that I am a lawyer who is hoping to land an agent for my legal thriller, or that I am a writer... yada..yada...yada, or as my precious kids say, "Blah blah, blah".

1. I suffer from extreme ADHD, which means that at times I am able to concentrate and remain organized and at other times my mind is racing faster than a greyhound dog on steroids and my attempts at multi tasking accomplish little more than creating more work for myself.

2.  My biggest fear (right now) is the realization that my parents and my husband, while in good health, cannot live forever. My husband is twenty-three years my senior and the same age as my mother. My father is about twenty years older than my mom. For some reason, this year, I have struggled with accepting the likelihood that my father does not have many years left and I want to make sure that I treasure my time with him.

3. The time I was most afraid in my life was the summer of 1990. My ex husband (of 20 years) and I were in Greece, on a small island, attending a semester of summer school abroad through Tulane Law school and my appendix ruptured. I was transferred by sea ambulance to the mainland for emergency surgery. We did not speak Greek and no one at the hospital spoke English. I truly thought I was going to die. I remember pleading with Steve, "Please don't let them operate on me, I am so scared. What if they don't know what they are doing?"  I will never forget his response. In a calm and steady voice he tried to ease my terror. " Don't worry. Everything will be fine. Just think about the cowboy days. They operated on people back then without anesthesia and people lived."  Did I mention that he was trying to reassure me?

4. I hate those little card things inside of magazines that fall out as you are reading. You know the subscription offers.

5. I am happiest when I am in or near water. I love oceans, rivers, lakes, pools and water holes. I am most relaxed while in the water, either swimming or just floating on a raft.

6. Bigots and intolerance make me really angry. People who are two-faced, trouble makers, or gossips infuriate me. I don't mean the fun kind of gossip. All girls gossip-it's what we do. I am referring to mean spirited people who spread rumors and innuendo with the sole purpose of discrediting someone else or hurting them.

7. I know how bad the sun is for my skin and health and despite that I still spend hours with my family on the beach or at the lake. 

8. I eat peanut butter on everything including ice cream.

9. If I knew I had only one meal left in my life, it would without a doubt be Mexican food (Tex-Mex).

10. I drink orange juice straight from the carton when no one is looking and I hate- I mean hate, milk. I cannot and will not drink it.

11. I have been known to wear one blue shoe and one black shoe to court 

Part Two:

Why did you start blogging? What are the goals for your blog?

I hate to sound generic, but I started blogging because every professional or expert in the field insist that an unpublished author must develop a platform before their book is even finished. The influential people in the author/agent/publishing industry highly recommend connecting with others through social media.

The goals for my blog have changed and continue to evolve. That is my fancy way of saying, I really don't know what the end goal is. In the beginning my goal was to just put my self out there. As I made friends and got to know other blogger/authors my goal widened to include promoting the work of other writers when  their books were published. 

 I suppose my current goals can be summed up as:

1. Continue to make friends and contacts.

2. To figure out what I want from my blog and work toward tailoring my post to my end result.

3. Figure out the best way to brand what I am selling. As my book is not yet published, I am not selling copies of my book. I know that as authors we are the focus of our branding. I am just unsure how an unpublished author brands her blog and herself. So I am blogging to build my brand- I am just not quite sure how I am supposed to do this.

4. Until and if I figure out the whole branding thing. My main goal (hell, even after I figure it out) is to write, meet and get to know other writers and people in the industry and to offer support in promoting my fellow blogger/authors' success and hopefully they will do the same for me when, not if, the time comes to promote my book(s) not book

I will be back this evening. I hope to have a special surprise for you. Until then:

Arr. This blogfest be pleasing to me eye.

Buccaneer Blogfest

  Ahoy, me Hearties!- Welcome to the Buccaneer Blogfest.

Yo Ho Ho

The Captains of this pirate ship and co-host of this super cool blogfest are Sharon Bayliss and Courtney Young.  So first off, a great big thanks to both Sharon and Court for coming up with such a unique idea and agreeing to host this blogfest. 

As you can see, I am late to the party, but I did not want to miss it. I just got back from taking my daughter and her friend  Cliff-diving and Zip-lining ( Blimey!)  and for me, both were about as frightening  as walking the plank.

Have a look at the young Lassie's, below. It is a short 20 sec clip of them jumping.

Shiver me timbers!

Here is the cliff notes version of the rules:

The blogfest will run from 7/9-8/3 with three prompts per week. If you have to miss posts, don't make that a reason not to sign up, a few missed posts are fine. 

Please check out the full instructions on either Sharon Bayliss or Courtney Youngs' Blogs

Week one is an intro week and so in an effort to keep this post brief (it is approaching too long already) & as I am already late to the party, I intend to include my writing assignments for the entire week in tomorrow's post. Don't worry, the first two are extremely short & the third will be a treat. 

I hope to bring you an interview of Hannah, the young and talented author of the Candy Apple Book Reviews Blog.

I hope you will come back and read my interview.

Below is a list of the other Buccaneer Blogfest Participants. Hop around and get to know your fellow Buccaneer bloggers. 

Sail the blogging seas with me.

Avast ye

Melissa Sugar's 400th Blog Follower Party Invitation

Who: Melissa Sugar Gold

What: 400th Blog Follower Celebration

When: Now through 8/15/12

Where: Here

How-Why-and so on: Read on:

What 400 Blog Followers & Your 23rd Birthday Have in Common

Is reaching the 400 Blog Follower Milestone like celebrating your 23rd or 36th Birthday? How? 

In both you are moving on up, but there is nothing "magical" about the numbers. 

It seems only yesterday, I was hoping for double digits in the follower section. How many of you remember those early days when you had so few followers that you were embarrassed? You thought, who would want to follow my blog? All they have to do is look over and see that I have only three followers and they flee  to the next blog. Why? Because who wants to read something that is obviously so bad, that so far, only three or four other bloggers have taken pity on signed on to read?

If we are honest, we will admit that when we are browsing or when we stumble upon a new blog, one of the first indicators that tells us if that blog is worth spending our limited and valuable time on is the number of followers. We often use this measurement before we even read the blog content.

I was guilty as charged when I first started blogging, but I quickly learned that the number of followers is not always truly indicative of how awesome the blog is. But, hey, it is an easy way to make a fast decision. I get it.
The longer I blogged the more I realized that the number of followers means nothing. How many followers added their name via Google Friend Connect to your blog, but never left even a single comment? Do you wonder if they even bothered to read your post? 

 I don’t know about you, but I judge my blog’s success and or failure by the number of comments I receive far more than by the number of followers I have.

Having said that, I still love having a large number of followers. I guess I am just vain that way.

It gives me a sense of validation (however 
misconceived that may be).
Text Box: You’re so vain. I bet you think this 
Song is about you-don’t you. Don’t

I remember how lonely my blog and I felt before I reached the 100 follower milestone. Once I reached that magic number 100,  (I don’t know why that seems to be the magic number, but it is), I felt like I was officially a member of the club.

After careful consideration, Melissa Sugar,  your membership to this most elite and prestigious writing and blogging community has been accepted. 

Pre 100- I guess I was exercising a trial membership or a guest membership while awaiting the mighty blog gods and goddesses and ninja’s to vote on my full membership.

Post 100- I have been accepted. I caught a bid. I am no longer a pledge.

Post 200- I now have the right to actually give others some blogging tips (not they are any better than the ones I had to share at 198 followers), but my status was upgraded.

Post 300 and up is sort of that middle ground status. You are officially a member of the club, but you cannot yet hold office.

Post 500- Now, we are talking. You may now run for club vice president

Post 600, and 700- nothing too terribly new here.

Post 800- another big one. Like birthdays. How are the number of followers even remotely similar to birthdays, you ask?

Shall I break it down?

Your 13th:  Wow. A teenager at last. 

Sweet sixteen (16) -Kissing time & getting your drivers license and maybe even a car.

Then magic number 18- which was major in my day because in Louisiana, that was the legal drinking age.

19th – Legal at Ole Miss and in Florida (back in my day).

Next up, the biggie. The Whammy:

Your 21st birthday:  You are cool now and you will prove it by going out and getting shit-faced and puking all over your new outfit that you spent all of your birthday money on. You are legal in all states. You feel like your parents can no longer tell you what to do. So when you bring your college boyfriend home for the holidays you think you are big enough to tell your parents,

“Oh yes, we are sleeping in the same bedroom-we are adults!” - but, of course you say no such thing and you and your boyfriend retire to separate rooms and if my dad was there the room were very, very, very far apart.

The big Three-0: 30-  You are cool. You're a yuppy, making your own money, a career woman (or man) raising a family (or not). Either way, the big 3-OH is a milestone birthday.

35- Economy flops and you move back home with mom (lol) kidding-I hope.

40. This aint so bad-until you really do start noticing the wrinkles and you curse the days you baked in the sun with olive oil as sunscreen, lying on aluminum. Then your eye sight gets bad, you develop allergies for the first time in your life and your back starts hurting. You’re like, “Oh Shit”

50-  The new 30, so I hear. Who decides this stuff? Anyway, I am not there yet, but I am officially past all birthday milestones that I am excited to celebrate

Back to followers

900 –ah, no biggie

1000- You made it baby. You could possible find yourself among the elite like  Ninja Captain- Alex CavanaughMystery author, Clarissa Drapperauthor and doctor,Lydia Kang and Query expert and reviewer, Matthew MacNish. All four of the above are either pushing 1000 or have exceeded it and they came to mind because they always return visits and comments.

So while 400 is big in every-way, it's just not one of those magical numbers, you know, like your sweet 16 or your 21st.. It is not 100, 500, Or 1000. It is important to me though. Why? Because all of you are important to me.  It is magical and special to me because of you-the people who signed up to read my blog thus increasing the number of followers I have.

In honor of reaching 400 (here's hoping I get there-I am not quite there). I am hosting a prize give away. No talent needed. No writing required. I finally realized that raffle-copter is the way to go (hell it only took me 300+ followers and a few blogfest that were so unorganized I cried.

I will be giving away 6 awesome prizes . Check back in a few days to sign up and see the prizes
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