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Showing posts from 2014

Respect the Email

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By Laurie Epps

We've gotten so used to corresponding by email, that the very idea of sending a letter via snail mail seems foreign to us. I don't know about you, but I love the feel of a handwritten letter written on pretty stationary. I've got a friend named Betty that our handwritten letters are still the main form of correspondence. However, for the business world, waiting for the postman to arrive is very inefficient.

The norm for the business world is to send a thoughtfully written email. Problem is that it's often taken for granted since it's also the main way we communicate with our friends too. An important thing my professor in college used to say was "to remember you're not writing your buddy." I think that little tidbit of advice is important to remember when querying for work, or even if you're reaching out to readers. Email is tragically overlooked.

Cherish Your Email Signature Line

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By Laurie Epps

Sorry about the long break in my posts. But as the cooler temps, and autumn air is sinking in, we're all adjusting to our new schedules. Routines are being established, and I'm adjusting to life without school. 

Now, it's back to work. Be sure to check back on our new day, Tuesday. This will just help me tremendously with my schedule. We're still working in my mentor Edie Melson's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.

Monday Morning Book Club, Revision

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By Laurie Epps

I don't know what it is, but I just love old worn books. I always have. Even their musty book smell is intoxicating to me.

So Monday Morning Book Club, is going to dormant for a little while. For those of you who were enjoying learning about Social Media and Writing Techniques that has been moved to Tuesdays.

So join me now on Tuesdays to learn about Social Media using Edie Melson's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.

I hope you'll join Edie and I now on Tuesdays with your morning coffee or tea.

Blessings,
Laurie

Sundays: Back to Basics

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By Laurie Epps

Looking for my mainline in work, I lost myself. By definition, I'm a writer. Love it, or hate it, that's my roots. I've found looking tirelessly for work is both arduous and exhausting. It sucks out your very soul. But what's a girl to do between gigs? The answer is simple. Create. Create like nobody's watching.

Ok, so I've been stockpiling a little work here. The next phase is the query. Find publishers who might be interested, but the key is sometimes it's ok to write for our own edification. I took some much needed time off for this process.

My most popular column, "Monday Morning Book Club" is now being moved to Tuesday. We'll continue in Edie's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.

At the conclusion of Edie's book, we'll get back to fundamentals. The column is going to redirect to the process of writing. I need to stay entrenched in what I love. 

Writing itself, is sort of a weird end…

Changing It Up

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By Laurie Epps

Hello, my dears. Pull up a chair with your favorite hot beverage and let's talk.

I've had this column for close to three years, and it's time to make some changes to it, don't you think? Since graduation, the purpose of this blog is changing, and I'm going to be revamping it's look. However, that doesn't mean that I've got to stop posting. If you think it's a different blog when you post one week, it just may be that I'm making some formatting changes.

In the last little bit, I'm realizing that I too, have had some major changes in the last three years. I've gone up and down in weight, and I've graduated college. I'm still adjusting to life out in the real world. I've gone from being a wife to being a single mother. I've gone from being a student and intern to writing professional.  Sometimes it's elating much like the cliche ideal of the mountain top experience, but other times it feels like I'm runni…

Love Letter to My Ex

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By Laurie Epps

Breakups are always hard. They’re painful, and this heartache is multiplied if the couple had children together. My ex, I can absolutely say, didn’t know where I was coming from at all. Even though he abandoned me, he seemed to be oblivious to the fact that’s what he’d done.
So as an exercise, I thought I’d purge some of those negative emotions. I’ve lived in constant turmoil too long. Share with me in my journey, and realize that if you were abandoned, and are reading this, that you’re not alone. My life was broadsided, and if nothing else, my spiritual life is growing by leaps and bounds. Recovery is painful, and you don’t have to stop loving your ex to know that they’re no good for you. This is the point that I’ve come to realize.
Here’s my love letter to my ex husband:
Dearest, After spending half my life with you, I must tell you that I did this gesture out of love for you. The part that’ll be hardest for you to understand is that I was still in love with you even when…

What is Hootsuite?

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By Laurie Epps

What is Hootsuite? In my opinion, it's the most valuable tool in your social media tool box. But, to understand how valuable it can be, you've already established yourself at least on Facebook and Twitter. Hootsuite's a valuable tool that keeps you from making social media a part-time job. Hootsuite can free up your time to do more writing.

To learn the basics, we'll continue to work with my mentor, Edie Melson in her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. We're focusing on pages 119-120. 

What do you do if you've been hacked?

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By Laurie Epps

Sorry that my Monday Morning Book Club is coming out this afternoon. We're continuing with our book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. We're talking about what to do if you get hacked. It's a risk we'll take every time we get on the Internet.

Many of us become overcome with dread when we realize one of our social media sites have been hacked. The easiest way to be hacked is to click on a bad link that's infected with a virus. But, beware. They bait you. 

Friendship Day 2014

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By Laurie Epps

Friendship Day was established in the 1940s as a Hallmark kind of holiday. During WWII, the United States refocused on the war and nationalism which placed Friendship Day off the radar for most Americans.

Believe it or not, the character Winnie the Pooh was named ambassador for friendship in the United Nations. With Pooh's popularity, it re-instated the dormant holiday and they recognized July 30th as the International Friendship Day in 2011.

An Analysis of Ozymandias

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By Laurie Epps

Welcome back. Sorry I've been gone so long, but we're going to continue on our with our studies of Romantic Poetry. Today, we'll be talking about Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Percy Bysshe Shelley:

Born August 4, 1792 at Field Place near Sussex, England.He was the eldest son to Timothy and Elizabeth Shelley.Therefore, he was due to inherit a large estate. (1 Brother-4 Sisters)Percy attended Eton College for six years beginning in 1804 where he began to write poetry.He transferred to Oxford but was expelled less than a year later for his co-authorship of "The Necessity of Atheism." (Co-authored with Thomas Jefferson Hogg.)That pamplet was so tragic for Shelley because it also estranged him from his father for two years (which left him in dire financial straits).When he came of age at 19, Percy reconciled with his father and wed Harriet Westbrook by elopement in Scotland.In December 1816, Percy's wife Harriet committed suicide.Three weeks later, he married …

Prevent Yourself from Getting Hacked

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By Laurie Epps

Welcome back. Today's blog is about preventing yourself from getting hacked. However, be aware that nothing is foolproof. But Edie's straight-forward approach makes it easy for us to follow, but also brings forth things that we might be taking for granted.

We're still working from her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. A lot of this section seems to be common sense, but in the digital age, it's just too easy to click the wrong click.

Reconnecting With Family

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By Laurie Epps

Sometimes it's good to reconnect with family. I've been away from my office for quite a few weeks, but I'm ready to take on the challenge of going back to my regular schedule. 

I don't get a chance to see my brother very often, but when I heard he'll be in my state, I jumped on the chance for a visit. We caught up on things that have been happening in each other's lives, and all against the beautiful backdrop of Charleston.

Copyright Law

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By Laurie Epps

Hi everyone. It's good to be back. We're still working from Edie's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. Today's topic is very sensitive, and there's a lot of layers to learning all the different copyright laws. Instead of trying to give you every copyright law ever written, this blog will focus on the basics for most writers. If you want to go more in-depth, look at pages 109-114 of our text.

****Disclaimer: Edie Melson and I aren't attorneys, and this isn't meant to be a source of legal counsel. Instead, it's meant to be an introduction to Copyright Law.

Happy Fourth of July!

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By Laurie Epps

I know that many of you are out of town or visiting family this week. I just want to remind you to be safe. I hope you will enjoy yourselves, and come back to visit this column again beginning Monday, July 14, 2014. We will continue to talk about social media, and our next topic is about Copyright Law.

Happy Birthday America!

Vacation 2014

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By Laurie Epps

I just wanted to let my know my faithful followers, that I'm on vacation till the end of the month. I had guest bloggers lined up, who've not been able to access my blog successfully. I'll be returning with new content to serve you better in July. I hope you'll continue to check back though since I just haven't had any wifi this past week out in the woods with Girl Scouts. This week, I'll be in civilization and I'll be creating new material in the evenings to serve you better.

Enjoy your travels this summer, and be safe everyone.

Books My Daughter Should Read, Part 2

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By Laurie Epps

My senior year of college, I learned that I'm a feminist. Now, I'm not going to give up my makeup, or shaving, or my dresses mind you, but I firmly believe that equal work deserves equal pay. I believe that a woman's mind works just as well as a man's, and that we should make a little room for each other.

If my life could be an example for my daughter's, I'd like it show them that they can do anything they set their minds to, and not to rely on a man for everything. I love men, don't get me wrong, but they're only human. Just as we'll do, men'll let you down and disappoint you. At times, we even disappoint ourselves. But my mom told me over and over again to have your own "go to hell" money. I didn't really understand all the nuances of that simple statement till my husband of close to twenty years abandoned us two years ago.

We've come a long way with feminism in a lot of ways, but not as far as we need to go. Our …

Heroism in Battle and Poetry

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By Laurie Epps

The story of the boy of Casabianca is shrouded in mystery. There's not enough attention paid to it in classrooms in America. I know it was written across the pond in the U.K. but it has strong literary value. This poem was memorized and recited by school children in England up till the 1930s. Proper homage should be paid.

But first, I'm going to tell you a little about the poet herself, and she had a love of literature at young age just as I did. After a very minimal amount of research, I learned I've got a lot in common with Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

What is Klout?

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By Laurie Epps

Are you having trouble managing your social media? Do you wonder what agents and publishers are looking at when they decide your "relevance"? Here to help us along the way is social media expert, Edie Melson.

Edie Melson is my beloved mentor, former boss, and friend. She tours the country extensively, and encourages folks on the writers path who are often afraid of social media. To see her current schedule, click here.

Edie's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers has been the topic for my Monday Morning Book Club since September of 2013, and I highly recommend it as a reference book to get you in the trenches to best display your work on the Internet stage.

Books My Daughter Should Read, Part 1

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By Laurie Epps
So much of my identity is wrapped up in books that to really know me, my daughters would have to read some of my most favorite books to know anything about me.
In the Joy Luck Club, Ying-Ying attributes her daughter’s instability in the present to her past own weakness: “Now I must tell my daughter everything. That she is the daughter of a ghost. She has no chi. This is my greatest shame. How can I leave this world without leaving her my spirit?” (286)

We Are Seven

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By Laurie Epps

Coping with death is hard at any age is difficult at best. However, in today's poem, the wisdom is spoken by a child. In this poem from William Wordsworth, I'll give you a little background on the author, and then my analysis.

William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770 in Cumberland, England to John & Anne Wordsworth. He was the second of five children. His father was a lawyer and owned a lot of property, so the family was well off.

When Woodsworth was 17, his mother died, and he went to study at St. John's College in Cambridge. On his first college break in the summer of 1788, William spent the summer hiking extensively through France, Switzerland, Germany, and Wales.

Google Plus 101: The Basics

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By Laurie Epps

There are so many social media forums, but how do I know which one's the most beneficial? For me, I follow writers such as Edie Melson, but I also follow trends. There's a few websites that I like to do that with, but I just googled it when I was starting out. You'll see if you do this, that the trends are pretty much the same no matter which one you choose.

So, to guide us through the pro's and con's is my mentor Edie Melson. We're continuing with our reading in her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. The publisher, My Book Therapy is a great resource to learn writing techniques, enter contests, and learn how to create your fiction novel. It's a tireless resource that chalk full of industry insight.

The Genius of William Blake

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By Laurie Epps

When you discuss poets of the Romantic Era, nobody can have an intelligent discussion without the mention of William Blake. So today, though he's known for a lot of works, as both poet & painter, I've selected a few of my favorite depictions of William Blake's life.

William Blake is often referred to as the prophet of Great Britain, and he's revered as a visionary. As exemplified in his famous hymn, Jerusalem, Blake wrote not only an unofficial anthem for Britain, but is also his opus giving England a hymn of an idealized Britain.

On This Washing Day

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By Laurie Epps

Anna Laetitia Barbould was very close with her brother. Her brother's influence was so great upon her life, in part because he was the first one to tell her that she should write and later encouraged her to publish her poetry. Today, ALB reminds us of the playfulness of poetry. Told from a child's perspective, Washing Day reminds us that every truth in life is largely dependent on your perspective.

The collaboration of work between her younger brother, John Aiken and her has resulted in Evenings at Home and Monthly Magazine. Barbould even raised her brother's third born son.

In her own life, her husband Rochemont Barbould was a French Huguenot and sought asylum in England where the two fell in love. They were married in 1774, and bore no children, but ran a children's home until 1785. Her love of children highly influenced her writing, and she often plays around with writing from a child's perspective.

Unfortunately, by January of 1808, Rochemont's h…

Pinterest & Image Copyright Issues

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By Laurie Epps

Let's hit the bricks together. What images can you use on the Internet? Which ones can't you use? How to know the difference is covered in our text, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers by Edie Melson. If you need to purchase a copy, just follow my link.

For example, if you'd like to use one of Edie's photos on her blog, she's got expressed written consent directly on her blog, just as I've done.

Pinterest doesn't change those rules, and anything you've posted wrongfully, you're liable for personally.

Encouragement for Recent Graduates

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By Laurie Epps
Something I wasn’t prepared for when I graduated was the letdown post graduation. For the next ten days, I’d drop my daughter off at school, and go back to bed until 2 PM. That’s really out of character for me. I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of inadequacy, or for the feeling that I was lost and irrelevant.
When I spoke to other graduates, many of them felt the same way. Yet nobody talks about it, and I believe they should. Back in the good old days, students would receive bids for their talent, and often before graduation. But today, the graduate is in the drivers seat as conquerors of their own destiny. We’re placed in charge of the “what’s next” chapter of our lives. However, this is an area that college didn’t adequately prepare us for.

The Mouse's Petition

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By Laurie Epps

The Romantic Period of British Literature was unique, in that, it brought about new ways of seeing things. There was a deliberate attention given to the diminishing natural world. Focus was now being shifted to individual points of view, and these elements influenced poetry by making it more lyrical in quality.

In most British Literature courses, it begins with Anna Laetitia Barbauld. Barbould was born in 1743, and was educated at home by her mother in Leicestershire, England. In 1772, she married Rochemont Barbould. 

Do You Pinterest?

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By Laurie Epps

Although I've got a Pinterest, I know it's grossly underused. As a writer, I only saw it's application to post book covers. My main line is feature writing, so it's first impression lost my interest. That's changing now.

We're continuing with our book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. Authored by my mentor, Edie Melson, she breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media, and explains it in very easy to read terms. If you don't know where to start with your branding, or a blog, this will be a great addition to your resource library.

A Grandmother's Legacy

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By Laurie Epps

Did you know that today marks the one hundredth anniversary of Mother's Day? So for all the mom's out there, I'd like to wish you a very Happy Mothers Day.

Back in my junior college days, my Cultural Geography teacher assigned a genealogy project. I didn't know it then, but it was a hobby that would stay with me for the rest of my life. Very early in the project, I realized that history books are full of men, and men's narratives. What I wanted to know was very different. I wanted to know the stories of the women that went before me. It also led me to think about what legacy I'd like to leave my daughters.

Utilizing You Tube--It's Big

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By Laurie Epps

As writers, it's easy to overlook video as an option for getting our name and platform out there, but since You Tube is still #2 most popular form of social media, it's something we shouldn't overlook. 

Edie has been in a number of You Tube videos and usually about social media. So we're going to continue to talk about social media in her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.


She's going to walk us through the most basic of basic information. The nuts and bolts of creating your own You Tube videos. This can be the difference of working or not working because it gives your work a face and person behind the work.

Life Interupted

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By Laurie Epps

I'm so sorry that I didn't have blogs up for all of last week. (Apr.27- May 3, 2014) I've been slammed with year end final projects, and graduation. 

The last assignments of senior year were killer. Most of them packed a punch of at least a quarter of my grade. Not passing anything would mean that I wouldn't graduate.

It was overwhelming. I've not had a decent night's sleep in my four years at Anderson University. But it was worth it. Now I can say that I'm a college graduate.

Learning Poetry the Disney Way

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By Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy


April has been National Poetry Month. Hopefully you've had a chance to read, and maybe even write, some poetry yourself. If you have kids, you may have tried to interest them as well. Very possibly with little success.

Actually, they've probably been walking around reciting poetry at the top of their lungs much of the month - poems that start with lines line "Do you want to build a snowman?" or "Let it go!" - sure they're songs, but they're poems first, with regular rhyme and rhythm patterns, meanings beyond the surface, and clever use of the language. Why not use this as a stepping stone to help your kids learn to love poetry?

That's exactly what Disney did with their UK show called A Poem Is...
Combining the magic of Disney, poetry, video, and Pinterest, we can watch a number of these episodes: A Poem Is... on Pinterest

In case poetry read to a background of famous Disney movie scenes isn't quite enough for your c…

Headline Techniques

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By Laurie Epps

You've only got 140 characters, so how do you grab your readers attention? That's not a lot of time. Edie Melson teaches us that by knowing some basic headlining techniques, we'll grab the attention of our readers in our Tweet blasts.

We're continuing with our book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. Everybody's busy nowadays, and so most consider their time to be valuable. As writers, it's our job to pull them away from their every day tasks, and spend a few minutes thinking about our products, services, or simply read our blog. Just like novelists have one page to grip the reader, a blogger has only one Tweet. 

Time of Rebirth

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By Laurie Epps
Happy Easter Everyone!
With Easter on the horizon, it's a time of renewal in our lives. Since early biblical times, people have looked at the onset of spring as the perfect time to start over, and to renew their life and themselves.

What can this mean for our writing? 

Little Orphan Annie

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By Laurie Epps

I just wanted to write a formal apology to my readers for not having my poetry blog up the past two weeks. My youngest has had an ear infection since early March, and she's not responding to antibiotics. The only action left for the doctor's is to place tubes in her ears surgically. I'm hoping that they will be able to do this after I graduate college in two weeks.

To the rescue, is my guest blogger, Kenneth Alan O'Shaunnessey, who will write a Thoughtful Thursday column for me next week while I'm in the midst of finals. Thank you for understanding, and please pray for Chloe.

Finding Relevant Hashtags

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By Laurie Epps

Now that we've talked about hashtags, but what makes for a good one? How do we find relevant hashtags, that maximize our blogs? How do I know if a hashtag will reach my audience? 

Back to Twitter bootcamp in Edie's book Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. We'll help you have the most phenomenal hashtags imaginable.