Monday, December 30, 2013

Building Your Blog's Subscriber List in 2014

By Laurie Epps

Every writer becomes aware that if their writing doesn't reach anyone, it's not filling it's purpose. So how 'bout we make a revolutionary new years resolution and grow the audience of our blogs?

Thoughtfully, our book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers by Edie Melson, outlines for us the differences this week between a Follower and Subscriber. This is directly proportional to our effective interaction with our readers and can affect whether people will follow us or not.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why I Love Poetry

By Laurie Epps

I've told this story before, but today I'll uncover what elements of poetry make it so endearing to me.

So join in, and let me know why you love poetry in the comments sections below. I'd love to hear from you.

Happy New Years everyone! I couldn't have done this without all of you.


Monday, December 23, 2013

What Are You Getting Your Blog For Christmas?

Photos Courtesy of Edie Melson
By Laurie Epps

As writers, it's easy to get caught up in the content of our blogs, and ignore our blogs curb appeal. Since my minor is in Marketing, I can say this isn't a good idea! Now whereas, I don't expect you to learn every nuance of making your blog appealing to your readers visually, there are some fundamentals every writer should know.

There are two fundamental methods for following your blog: by email and RSS Newsfeed. I just fixed this on my own blog, thanks to Edie's advice in her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.
Photos Courtesy of Edie Melson

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gingerbread for Christmas

By Laurie Epps

There's something about gingerbread that just calls to my five year old this year. Therefore, I cheerfully dedicate this column to my daughter Chloe.

Gingerbread got it's origins in Europe during the eleventh century. In some places it was a spiced cake, but in other regions it was more of the firmer, building material of yummy goodness we think of today. But in it's original form, it was strictly squares or the spiced men.

During Medieval Times, the French perfected it, and used ginger not only for its spiciness, but also it's preservative quality. 

In the nineteenth century, Germans modernized gingerbread and it became the confection we know and love today. Various forms became available and the Germans exchanged it between villages beginning in late fall every year. Gingerbread became popularized by the fairy tale from Brother's Grimm called Hansel and Gretel. The Germans brought their unique recipes and techniques for making gingerbread to colonial America. To learn more about the history of gingerbread, click here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Perfectionism: Does It Have Place With Your Blog?

Photos Courtesy of Edie Melson
By Laurie Epps

There is so much pressure we put on ourselves this time of year. It's not right. We strive to have that "perfect Christmas" but expecting that is unrealistic. Not only is this undue pressure undermining our Christmas joy, it also undermines our writing.

Your "diva" mode may be counteracting the whole point of your blog to begin with. We can be unrealistic by thinking that every blog post must be perfect, or even worse, that every blog post IS a masterpiece.

Let's get back to basics with Edie's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. She'll show us our pitfalls, and how to fix them. We're in this together.
Photos Courtesy of Edie Melson

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twas the Night Before Finals

By Laurie Epps

With finals recently over, the topic of this poem is near and dear to my heart. When my girlfriend beamed with pride over her son's poem, I listened to the words thoughtfully. When I stopped laughing, I thought, "Hey, it's pretty good."

Happy Winter Break to all the college students out there. For now, enjoy. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Five Reasons Your Blog Isn't Growing

By Laurie Epps

It's easy to get discouraged when you're blogging. This is for a lot of reasons. I, too, have often felt discouraged about it. 

A big de-motivator for me early on was, "Nobody's reading it, what's the point?" But your blog is like a little seedling, it's not going to be a big tree just a month after planting, and neither will your blog.

Let Edie Melson give you some helpful tips with her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. We're continuing to learn the nuts and bolts of building your blog.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Saint Nicholas

By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy

When you think of Saint Nicholas, you probably think immediately of Christmas. Actually, though, Saint Nicholas the real person is remembered in the Church on December 6. In many parts of the world, children put out shoes or stockings to be filled with coins, chocolate or otherwise, and small presents. This tradition is alluded to in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis when Father Christmas shows up in Narnia and gives presents to the Pevensie children.

Saint Nicolas was a participant in the first Council of the Church, the Council of Nicaea. We don't have any writings by him, but we know he signed the Nicaean Creed, the definition of the Christian Faith. He also punched Arius in the mouth for saying that Christ was not fully God - in case you want to know what can make Santa less than jolly!

Saint Nicholas was a wonderful man
As you note by his moniker
He might have worn a red suit and hat
As bishop of Myra and Lycia

But he started out as a little kid
Loving the Faith so much
He fasted every fourth and sixth day
And read the Bible in Church and such

Eventually he became a priest
And gave away gold to the poor
(That's where the Santa legend is from)
He hid it in shoes that they wore

We remember him best at Christmas
Which is fitting, because you see
Nicholas punched a man in the face
For an anti-Christ heresy

Let us receive Saint Nicholas' gifts
And I do not mean chocolate or gold
I mean his gift of love for the poor
And zeal for the truth that we hold

Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy is a freelance writer and poet living in the upstate of South Carolina with his wife and four children. To find his daily poetry entries, log onto: 

or find him on Amazon here:

Monday, December 2, 2013

What Defines the Success of Your Blog?

By Laurie Epps

Working with Edie is the experience of a lifetime. Always encouraging, she weaves in her book those moments that we realize, every writer is different, and every blog is different.

We can't expect the same results as everyone else. So I challenge you to ask yourself: how are you going to measure the success of your blog?

The Swan House in Atlanta

By Laurie Bower Epps Many don't know that I'm really from Atlanta. Somehow, as I've gotten older, it just seems to be natura...