Thursday, April 24, 2014

Learning Poetry the Disney Way

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 child, here's the 11th Doctor reading a poem on one of the episodes.

Matt Smith Reads on A Poem Is...

Perhaps you won't need a crowbar to get your kids to love poetry - just a sonic screwdriver!

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, April 21, 2014

Headline Techniques

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. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Time of Rebirth

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? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Little Orphan Annie

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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Finding Relevant Hashtags

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.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Six Twitter Taboo's

By Laurie Epps

There's a lot to remember when you're first getting started on any social media site, but here to play watchdog for you is Edie Melson. Not only was Edie a pleasure to work for and with, in her book Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers Edie breaks it down in simple and manageable pieces for us.

I confess, I'm learning right along with you! But that's part of the whole purpose of this column, to share experiences with one another. We're all in this together. What's wonderful about being a writer is that we're all so different, that we can all just make a little room for each other.

Today, we're going to talk about all the things we're doing wrong so that we can fix them. There's a double edged sword with social media, but there's also a little bit of grace. So let's get serious, and stop doing the six little faux-pas on Twitter.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Teddy Bear Tea

Pictured with my youngest daughter
By Laurie Epps

Sometimes it's ok to blog about something personal. My youngest is a Girl Scout. Last Saturday, a local church had a little tea party for the Daisy Scouts to teach them a little about manners, etiquette, and have a little tea.

It's just my two cents, but shouldn't a tea party have tea? The way I understand tea, not only should it be served in the afternoon around 3-4 pm, but it also should have my favorite hot beverage. Of course, the kids didn't know the difference, so that was fine enough. But no tea? That's something I'm remedying right now. Ok, so I'm not perfect either. I don't have a proper tea service. But I do have a mug from Oxford University in England, that's close enough, right?

Mainly, I'm mentioning this on my blog because I'd like to reach out to other nerds just like me who share the opinion that nothing's more relaxing than a big cup of tea. I prefer it, and spend many of my study nights tanking the hot stuff. But to the chagrin of Oscar Wilde, there are no cucumber sandwiches. (Literature nerds will get this pun.)

Have a wonderful Sunday, and a delightful cup of tea.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Land of Nod

By Laurie Epps

April is National Children's Poetry month, and since my love for poetry began at such a young age, I see the importance of teaching poetry to young children. If you don't know how to teach your children about poetry, don't analyze it. Just read it. I fell in love with the meter, metaphors, and lyrical quality of poetry long before I knew what all those words meant. Read poetry to your children, it's important.

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland to a Lighthouse Engineer and his wife. Stevenson was sick most of his life, and caused irregular attendance in school. Most known for Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson wrote his poetry in his thirties and dedicated them to the nurse that cared for him as a child.

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...