Gearing Up for FROCKTOBER

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Good morning, readers!

It’s September 22, and the month of October is only eight days away. As I did last year, I’m going to accept the FROCKTOBER CHALLENGE and post 31 outfits on Instagram, one each day, and then do a FRIDAY RECAP here on the blog.

Fashion is an outlet for me. I love shopping, buying clothes, mixing and matching colors, brands, consignment finds, and super sale items. I don’t look anything like a fashion model—I’m petite with curves, so that has its own challenges. But nevertheless, when we understand our body type and what silhouettes look best on us, we can pick clothing that flatters and accentuates the positives.

I’ve added a few new pieces to my wardrobe recently, so I’m excited to share some of the things I’ve put together.

If you’re so inclined, follow along in Instagram, and if you’re wearing a spiffy outfit, I may want to feature you on Steph’s Scribe. So tag me on Instagram with your favorite ensemble.

Let’s have fun with this challenge together.

Below are some of my favorites from last year; I can’t wait to share my personal style for 2017’s FROCKTOBER fashions.

Stephanie

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

When Queen Elizabeth—The Crown—Waved to Me

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President George Bush and Queen Elizabeth II, along with Prince Philip, at Memorial Stadium, 1991.

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When I think about my time at the Baltimore Orioles, I can only become sentimental about it. Not only did I meet some of my dearest friends there as well as my husband, but I also had opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible had I not worked at both Memorial Stadium and then Camden Yards. The old slogan for the ballclub was Orioles Magic, with a song to go along with it. I’m here to tell you that my time there was pretty magical, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

How many other jobs offer you the opportunity to receive a wave from Queen Elizabeth and President George Bush? When the Queen attended a game at Memorial Stadium back in 1991—her first baseball game ever—I was working as the assistant director of community relations. She gave me a wave and a smile in the lobby, as only the Queen of the United Kingdom can give, and President Bush waved to me as well. I remember being in awe of her, as I’ve always been enamored with British history, folklore, and literature. She is petite like me, and she wore a red paisley dress, pearls, black gloves, and not a hair on her head was out of place. When I recall this quick interaction we had, as she now holds the title of the longest reign of any monarch in the history of the U.K., I’m further reminded of her duty and how well she has executed her job as sovereign of her country.

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This leather and gold coaster was one of the gifts for guests from that evening. It was nice that front office employees were given one, too, as a remembrance of her visit to the United States.

Netflix’s recent series called The Crown, based on the life of Queen Elizabeth from her days with her father, King George VI, to the time she ascends to the throne and takes over duties as Queen, has offered an insightful glimpse into the life of Elizabeth. Along with her husband, Prince Philip, and their families, The Crown provides viewers the opportunity to perhaps get to know the side of Elizabeth that we don’t get to see; the reserved Queen is presented as scrupulous, well-meaning, tough, sensitive, and yet fully aware of the duties she is expected to uphold to her country, even when they are very difficult decisions. The interactions the show offers us between the Queen and her husband, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Princess Margaret, as well as with her own mother and father, illustrate the softer side of Elizabeth. And while I know The Crown is a show created to garner ratings, it’s well done and not full of crazy, gratuitous sex and drama. As viewers, we are able to understand the characters because it is directed beautifully and takes its time acquainting us with the characters, their choices, what makes them tick, and why they may have made the decisions they made as the ruling family and associates of the monarchy.

With Season I of The Crown completed, I’m breathlessly looking forward to Season II, which will premier on December 8. Season I ended with Winston Churchill stepping down as Prime Minister and Anthony Eden taking over, Princess Margaret not receiving permission to marry her divorced beau, and the Queen beginning to go it alone without the supreme guidance from Churchill. This series has intrigued me and forced me to look things up and better educate myself on British history, about the lives of these people and their influences in our time. It also makes me consider just how much responsibility it takes to wear a crown. It’s a duty that never goes away. And while her position may be one primarily in name with historical fortitude, the throne remains a high-profile, respected  representation of the United Kingdom.

Thank you for the wave all those years ago, Your Majesty. You will never remember me or the instance, but I will forever remember you. I had the pleasure of visiting London with my husband, and toured many of your iconic historical sites, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace among them, and I look forward to a return visit soon, especially now that I have an even deeper understanding of your duty and responsibilities and the many years you have served as Queen.

Stephanie

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

Creating the Physical Space in which to Write

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I N S P I R I N G    S P A C E S

One of the things we talked about in my college classroom recently is not only WHEN we find time to write, but WHERE we find time to write. I’m very lucky that our home came with a beautiful office that we have tweaked a little with paint and a chandelier. (My husband said, “You took down the fan for a chandelier? We have enough chandeliers in the house.” To which I replied, “You can never have too many chandeliers.”)

Finding the TIME to write has its own challenges, but part of it, for me, lies in having a space I don’t mind spending time in to do my work. Therefore, I had to make my office “feel good” and be that space where it can be quiet and pretty and inspirational.

Anyway, these are photographs of my home office and the space where I write. It inspires me.

And, please, by all means, let me know if you beg to differ on the chandelier issue.

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Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

Dickens Is Missing

Image result for great charles dickens quotesI’ll make this one short and sweet.

Where the hell is Dickens?

My son is now a senior in high school, and all this time I’ve been waiting with anticipation each year to see which books have been selected for the high school English classes for the year. I am sad to report that now, for four straight years, we’ve had no Dickens on the list.

I’m not a fan of Common Core, but I am a fan of Dickens.

When I was in high school, I read Great Expectations. I read A Christmas Carol on my own. Now, Dickens’ novels are missing from high school reading lists. When I took MFA courses from 2009-2011 in creative writing, I took a WHOLE COURSE in Dickens. I reread Great Expectations with vigor and experienced it in a whole new way than I did when I was in high school. It was so much better and much more meaningful. I read the 800-page Bleak House and loved it.

My love affair with this man’s creativity continues.

I love his writing.

I love everything about it.

His writing has taught me much, and I’ve learned so much from his technique. I was hoping my kids would be prompted to do the same through school.

It would be my wish that Dickens returns. There’s so much to gain from every aspect of his storytelling.

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

 

 

A Love of Fashion: Ageless & Timeless

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post a lot of pics of me in my work and casual clothes, the bargains and designer stuff, as well as the cheaper fashions simply because I have a #loveoffashion and am a #fashionenthusiast. (I use those hashtags all the time when posting on Instagram.)

While my side job of being an independent author drives me, and I spend a lot of time writing and promoting books, I do consider it a second JOB. However, my love of fashion is just a side PASSION and HOBBY. I do it for enjoyment and amusement, for me, and I like to share it with you, because honestly, it is just meant to be FUN, damn it!

I used to believe that life was going to end when I turned 40, and that I wouldn’t be able to wear some of the fashions and trends once I “hit that age.” Now I’m over 50, and I just don’t give a rat’s ass. I wear what I want, in good taste, but I still have fun with it. I may even have MORE FUN with it now. As I’m quite familiar with my body type, frame, and deficit in height, I have to choose my fashions carefully; some things work and some don’t. But I can still play the game of style and incorporate the trends that best suit me.

One of my current students, Taylor, read my blog and took note of my love of clothes and passion for fashion. She shared a site with me that she follows, and I became even more motivated. It’s called ADVANCED STYLE, and it’s for women “of a certain age” and how they still have fun with fashion. Honestly, I was quite inspired by it.

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The truth of the matter is this: there is no age limit for having fun with fashion. It’s ageless and timeless.

In the meantime, if you share my love of clothing, style, and an enjoyment of fashion, I’m going to continue to post about it, so feel free to follow along and share with me what you’re wearing these days. And also feel free to connect with me on Instagram. I’ll follow you back and see what clothes make you feel good about yourself.

We can inspire each other.

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Both of these images showcase something I’m trying to improve on: stepping away from so much black in my wardrobe. It ain’t easy, people.

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Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

Perhaps It Was An Omen

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Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus (in front of the class) and me in our seminar class.

Spiral notebook. ✓

New pencils. ✓

Planner. ✓

Pink rubber eraser. ✓

A folder with pockets. ✓

Highlighters. ✓

New outfit. ✓

Some things don’t change. I still have this checklist today.

I was always excited at the prospect of starting a new school year. Ever since I read a book about a girl who walked to school on the sidewalk past the white picket fences in her neighborhood as the leaves were falling, I’ve always loved the thought of going back to school, seeing friends, and learning something new.

Perhaps it was an omen of what life had in store for me.

Strangely enough, I was one of those kids who relished going back to school. Don’t get me wrong—I loved summertime—but I was also excited to reconnect with people and discover something new.

In high school, when I took Creative Writing with Ms. Susek, things began to connect for me. I realized then just how much I loved writing and storytelling, even though I’d been writing since Junior High (yes, that’s what we used to call Middle School). Ms. Susek helped open my mind even further and fostered a love of writing that I still have today.

I loved the smell of books, going to the library, decorating the lockers for Homecoming, and hanging out with my friends.

High school is a time in your life where worries can be small—the biggest concern is getting the grades good enough to get into a college you might want to spend four years attending, playing a sport and having fun with it, cheering for your favorite teams, participating in clubs that float your boat, and maybe working a little part-time job. I remember a team of us creating the Homecoming float on our street. It was bonding time–a time for fun.

The essence of my love for high school didn’t translate too well into college, where, for my first year, my dad would tell people I was majoring in partying. It wasn’t until I changed my major from Business Administration to Mass Communication at the end of my Freshman year that I fell in love with learning again. In hindsight, I look at that Freshman year as a true learning experience. Once I figured out what major suited me best and then secured a part-time job at the Baltimore Orioles my sophomore year, I truly started on my path to success.

Some kids have the first-day-of-school jitters; I had the first-day-of-school excitement. And perhaps that’s why, after a stint working for two companies and owning my own business, I found my way to a job in education. As a professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University, I continue to learn every day.

And I’m always excited by the notion of the first day of school.

Omen or not, I still get pretty excited about beginning again and learning…

Always learning.

Stephanie

P.S. Thanks to my friend Mike for the idea for this post. 🙂

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Goodbye To All That

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I’ve always loved the title of Joan Didion’s essay, Goodbye to All That, which pays homage to New York, the city, her love for it, but the need to leave it behind. Her love affair with New York begins as most love affairs do—with awe and passion and all-encompassing rapture; however, the city ends up burdening and exhausting her as a writer with its frenetic pace and way of life.

It’s quite the opposite for me when considering the ideals of the summer season. Summer rolls in mid-year with its sunshine, flowers, humidity, warmth, relaxing tendencies, and languid days. And while I keep myself busy in the summer, its pace these last couple of years has been nothing short of wonderful.

And now it’s September and cooler (unusually so, especially today). Pumpkin spice coffees and sunflowers are already making appearances on Facebook and Instagram, and not to rush the season, I actually got suckered into purchasing a pair of velvet booties (velvet is a hot trend this fall/winter season).

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So now it’s time to say farewell to the summer days that offer us few cares and worries. My son’s senior year of high school begins this Wednesday, as well as my daughter’s sophomore year. It seems like just yesterday they were running through the sprinklers in their bathing suits out on the front lawn of our Ellicott City home—carefree, spirited, and wide-eyed with wonder. Now they are two teenage people with jobs, school, and extra-curricular activities. Time has marched on, as it always does, and we’ve all grown older.

But Summer, dear, sweet Summer, it’s difficult to let go of you. You cast your spell on us and allow us to be young and free-spirited for a while; you harken back to those carefree days when I watched my children play and the days seemed endless. You give us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company without deadlines and appointments and commitments. I wish you could stay, Summer, but I understand that you cannot.

So, I’m afraid I have to say it, although it breaks my heart: Goodbye to all that.

For now.

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

Don’t Ignore Your Passions – A Cup of Inspiration

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This is definitely one of my husband’s passions, but it’s quickly becoming mine also – kayaking in Annapolis.

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I won’t deny that I get pretty excited talking about my passions.

And you should, too.

So much of what we do on a daily basis are chores and errands and monotonous stuff we have to do to live a good life, like pay bills, clean the garage, make dinner every night, organize the office, or serve as a carpool driver, just to name a few.

Yes, we do these things. We have to do them. They are called responsibilities.

We can’t ignore our responsibilities, but we also can’t ignore our passions.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me how I do it. She said, “I don’t understand how you accomplish all you do…you teach, write novels and textbooks, have a family, get involved in the community…how do you find the time for it all?”

My friends, the truth is, I don’t FIND time for it all, I MAKE time for it all.

We cannot ignore what makes us tick…makes us feel alive…makes us feel, well, complete. I explained to my friend that she does the same thing. She runs, swims, participates in distance runs and marathons.

“How do you find time to do all that training?” I asked her. “Just the same way that you carve out time to train for your athletic endeavors, I find time to write or play with fashion.”

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When we are passionate about things, as I explained to my students yesterday in feature writing, we absolutely must find time for them, whether that’s hanging out with friends, going to see a movie, playing a round of golf, going on vacation, writing a novel, running a 5K, doing charitable work, listening to or playing music, kayaking on the river, or hiking a favorite trail.

Passion drives us.

If you follow me on Instagram or on my Facebook page, you see that I post a lot of fashion pictures. I’m not a fashion blogger, but I do blog about fashion. I love it. I always have. Just ask my mother, who, when I was little and we would go to New Jersey to visit our family, would take me with my Christmas money to Willowbrook Mall to shop my brains out with my grandmother. How patient they both were to let me shop until or I dropped or my money ran out. My short stint as a fashion consultant ten years ago was so much fun and allowed me to get out of the house and meet people and help them build wardrobes before I became a full-time professor.

Even though I’m no longer a fashion consultant, it’s still a passion. I love clothes like some people love football or going to the theatre. And I have fun with it.

It’s just meant to be fun.

So today, I want you to do something for me (and for yourself). I want you to think about your passions and why you’re not doing them. I want you to carve out some time for YOU to do what YOU LOVE.

Make a promise to yourself that the things that make you tick matter.

And, if you are already pursuing your passions, good for you! I’m so proud of you. Keep at it. 🙂

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

A Little Decency, Please

102d3ccaa3209e6b91d2d3d53cad7e4d--christian-life-to-workI’m growing a little disappointed and frustrated these days with the lack of human kindness and decency. Quite frankly, I’m weary of the endless rants and bemoaning on social media, in conversations, and in the mainstream media in general.

What’s happened over the course of the last ten years as social media has become a part of our lives? Have we forgotten to be kind, bite our tongues if it could hurt someone’s feelings, and seek the pleasures of life rather than carrying around a sack of anger every day?

I’m appalled sometimes at what I witness on social media. Yes, I am on social media. It is part of my life simply because I’m an independent author and it is a means to relay messages about my publications. But the horrible things I see people write to each other and about each other on social media are appalling. And I’m not just talking about teens and twenty-year-olds; I’m also talking about grown ups who should know better and have a sense of decorum. Really, people. What makes some folks think they are an authority on everything? Part of living in society and being a part of society is listening to others—and responding without aggression or malice—to their opinions and beliefs. Everyone is entitled to an opinion; I know this well, as we all have them. But having an opinion does not entitle folks to stampede and override the opinion of others. It simply makes them adult bullies and they do not understand the word civility.

It pains me to see people being chastised for their beliefs. Why must we all agree on everything? This isn’t GROUP THINK. I guess I believed diversity of thought makes for better open-minded discussions. How foolish of me.

The lack of decency goes beyond the political, sphere, however. It reaches so far into our everyday lives, our communities, and our children’s lives that I sometimes wonder if I should leave the house. On my commute to work each day, I count myself lucky that I arrive safely every time. As my son is now driving, I am thankful when he returns from the road in one piece. People are driving at ridiculous and reckless speeds, swerving, texting while driving, cursing, and honking horns because no one is going fast enough for them.

I’ve had enough of that behavior. I’d like to exit my car unharmed.

Years ago, when I let an elderly woman go in front of me in the supermarket line, I was yelled at by a surly woman behind me in line for letting the older woman, who struggled to walk and was hunched over her cart, go in front of me.

Sometimes it astounds me.

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Another area of growing concern for me is text messaging, especially as I am raising children who seem to love to text all the time. We all know that lots of things become misconstrued and misinterpreted over texting. If you have something to say to someone, say it over the phone or in person. Fighting or telling someone off over text message is immature and a cop-out, not to mention the fact that lots of messages can be muddled. Recently, someone I went to college with for a bit sent me a horrible text message (on my birthday, by the way); it was ignorant and out of left field. And, he had no idea what’s been happening in my world, so his remarks to me were hurtful and unfounded. Needless to say, my life is way too busy and meaningful to allow that type of a person to be a part of it, no matter how long we’ve been friends (or probably better said, in this case, how long we’ve known each other). But people find a lot of nerve over text message; and often, it makes them look bad. And stupid. And like a big fat bully. And like someone I don’t want to know.

Ever.

All this to say, it’s my belief that decorum and decency are escaping us little by little, and if we don’t watch out, the problem is going to become so much worse than it already is. I loathe the idea of my children trying to raise their children in an environment that seems to be deteriorating.

Bring back the kind words. Don’t be in such a rush that you give someone the finger (like someone did to my son when he was learning to drive) because he is not moving fast enough for you. Think about how you say things and whether or not it’s appropriate to say them. Remember, when you offer your opinion on politics, you run the risk of alienating about 50% of your friends or acquaintances, as they may not be in line with your thinking. And for God’s sake, when you’re in your fifties (or whatever age), don’t send a text message that showcases your ability to be an unmitigated and misguided ass.

Remember: kindness goes a long way. One kind word can truly make the difference in someone’s day—or life.

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Writing A Novel – The Speech I Gave Today

Today, I had the honor and privilege of being one of several faculty speakers sharing their passions at our Fall 2017 Faculty/Staff meeting at Stevenson University. Below you will find the speech I gave, which was about writing, being an author, and self-publishing.

After all, it is one of my passions…

Photo Credit: Chip Rouse

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I consider myself pretty lucky that I get the opportunity to do two things I love on a daily basis: teach and write. I’m a proud professor here at Stevenson University and also an independent author.

I’m an independent author and write novels for two main reasons: (1) because I believe it’s my duty to show my students that I actually practice what I preach and (2) because it’s an outlet for me and I simply love storytelling.

Since 2012, I’ve self-published three fiction books: Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, and Inn Significant. I also co-authored one textbook on event planning along with my colleagues Chip Rouse and Leeanne Bell McManus which was published by Kendall-Hunt.

During my 13-year career working for the Baltimore Orioles, I was quite fortunate that my love of writing converged with my career where I served as the director of publishing, was the editor of Orioles magazine, and produced and edited the special book celebrating Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak record in 1995. It was fun to tell Cal’s story.

Which brings me to the question I have for all of you. How many of you have a story in your head or finish a book and think, I could write something better than that?

If you’ve ever had this thought, and if you have a vision and can live in a make-believe world (for fiction) or tell a true story with colorful details (for nonfiction), you can write a book, too.

Today, I’m excited to share my love of novel writing and offer some advice using my own experiences to those of you who have a story swirling inside of you.

#1: First, do write your story. Just begin. My first fiction book, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, started as a short story I wrote while getting my first master’s degree. A professor of mine suggested it should become a novel. It only took me twenty years to write that novel during my MFA program in 2009.

My advice?

Don’t wait 20 years to write your story. Begin now. Just start writing.

#2: Have fun with your characters. The question I’m asked most often at book talks is: How much of the character is you, your family, or your friends? (If you only knew). That’s top secret, but it IS amazing how your friends and family are on their best behavior when they know you are writing. A tip I suggest is to make a list of each of your characters and write down all the things about them: what they like, dislike, look like, say, their dreams, the good and bad of them, etc. It definitely helps when writing.

#3: Enjoy the creativity of writing. Have fun crafting the story, the setting, and plot. Some folks like to outline, and some take a more organic approach. Research the methodology of some of your favorite writers. It’s fascinating to see how one writer’s approach differs from another’s.

#4-When writing, don’t agonize over every word. Do that later during the editing phase, which many of you already know can take longer than you think. It takes me far longer to edit a novel than it does to actually write one.

#5-It may be easier to start with something more personal. For instance, an assignment I give students in my magazine writing class is to write a chapter of their own memoir. Several students have told me that keeping their family histories alive helped them learn to enjoy writing.

#6-Self-publishing takes grit, commitment, and imagination. So why do I choose to self-publish? Because I like owning every step of the process. It sharpens all of my skills: creativity, writing, storytelling, editing, design, and then, the most challenging of all, marketing. As an independent author, it’s all on you. There’s no one to blame and all decisions are yours. It’s fiercely competitive out there, and the odds of massive success are slim. You just have to manage your own expectations.

Some writers may choose to go the agent route or connect with a small press. Do be leery of small presses that want to take your money and have you pay for the start up of your book, sometimes in the neighborhood of $5,000. My start-up costs were minimal. I paid $100 each for the ISBN number for each of my books (a total of $300), then an additional $25 per book for expanded distribution through Amazon. All total it was $375, or $125 per book. That’s it.

#7-Enlist the help of others. When your novel is done, find beta readers who will offer feedback on your draft. Join a writer’s group, either in person or online. Design your own cover or get someone to help you. Ask trustworthy people you know to edit. Chip Rouse over here and my mother, a long-time English teacher, edited my novels. Enter independent author contests. Remember: the project is yours, so you can give to it as much or as little as you like.

#8-Connect with local libraries, media, and the community. They will be good first supporters. In June, I kicked off the summer reading program in Anne Arundel County with a book talk; over the last month, I’ve attended three book clubs for Inn Significant, my latest novel, and I just attended a book signing in Oxford, MD, where the book is set. Enjoy meeting people and networking.

#9-Set up a blog and get a base of readers. Write about your writing, and get personal with your readers. It’s the best way to begin.

And finally,

#10-Remember, writing books is your love and not the way you make your living. While I would love be on the New York Times Bestseller list (who wouldn’t?), there are thousands of us out there hoping for the same thing. I have to remind myself of why I do this sometimes. The other day when I was struggling with new and innovative ways to promote my book, a friend asked me this question: He said, Do you write to sell or do you write to tell a good story?

I write to tell a good story.

If you have a love of storytelling, then just do it. Tell your story. If you make 10 people happy or thousands, remember why you do it in the first place.

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

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Grocery Store Bonding and Singing in Safeway: Two Stories

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 2.41.41 PMI’m going to attempt to tell these stories as they happened, exactly as they happened. I live in the town of Severna Park, and the closest grocery store is Safeway, which is walkable. I’m over there constantly, as I’m not a big “do the grocery load for the week” kind of person. I pretty much figure out each day what we will eat, and run over and get whatever I need since it’s so convenient.

In the last several months, I’ve had two hilarious Safeway Moments, as I shall call them.

The first happened a few months ago when I was standing in line to pick up a prescription. The line was long. There was a middle-aged woman at the counter being helped, but there was something holding up the process, something the clerk was trying to figure out. Behind her was another woman, tanned with blonde hair, about my age, who had just moved from Florida. Then, there was me. Behind me was a man in his 50s and another man in his late 50s to early 60s.

We were all waiting.

And we were all in our fifties, because, let’s be real, you need a lot of prescriptions, vitamins, supplements, or probiotics in your fifties.

When the problem at the counter was finally sorted out, the woman was getting ready to pay. “And I’d like to use my AARP card for my discount,” she said.

The woman from Florida, whom I had been chatting with, and I both looked at each other. “Did she say she’s using her AARP card for a discount?” I asked.

The woman who was paying turned around and looked at us both, ready to straighten this thing out. “I use my AARP for discounts everywhere. I just used it at Bill Bateman’s (local restaurant) the other night and got $40 off my big bill,” she said.

We were astounded.

It’s been a running joke in my family that when I turned fifty two years ago, that I should immediately sign up for the AARP card. My dad claims you get discounts on lots of stuff. I’ve avoided the reality of the AARP card, because, quite frankly, it’s admitting your age, something I don’t like to do unless pressed, or must be honest, as in yesterday’s post.

I asked the woman if movie discounts were included. I’m all about discounts for the movies, as I refuse to pay full price to see outspoken, condescending, opinionated celebrities when I can wait to get them soon for free on cable.

“Yes…and so many other discounts!” she said. “You’re crazy not to get one.”

The man behind me piped in. “I use my AARP card all the time. Lots of discounts, dear.”

The woman from Florida and I, clearly both not wanting to utter our age, agreed that, perhaps we should look into it. Then the man all the way at the end of the line shouted, “You really need to sign up for one. You’re missing out.”

I felt immediately connected to these fellow people of AARP age. We were communing in the prescription line, discussing membership to the club.

The “I’m old enough for the club card” club.

Needless to say, after the encouragement from my peers, I’m looking into it.

If only for the discounts.

*

Yesterday, my daughter and I had to run into Safeway for a quick errand. If you’ve been in a Safeway store recently, you know that blasting from the speakers in the store are typically songs from the 70s and 80s, or lighter current stuff by my buddy, Michael Buble. I can’t tell you how many times Buble is playing in the store.

Anyway, yesterday’s featured song as I walked through the door was Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love.” As I am often wont to do when I am with my 15-year-old daughter, I began singing along with the song, quite loudly and on purpose, just to make her wonder about her own mother’s sanity. She is always amazed that I know the lyrics to songs when you could actually understand the lyrics to songs. I knew every word of “Endless Love,” and as such, I was singing it and smiling as I looked at her. As we picked up what we needed and made our way over to the self-check area, there was a man, about my age, singing the song as loudly as I was. And, in front of him was a woman about my age, who was bagging her stuff and singing too.

“We’re all singing along with song!” I said to him as we got in line.

“I’m singing it, she’s singing it, you’re singing it. We’re all singing it,” he said, smiling. “How can you not?”

The woman in front of him looked at me and smiled.

“Exactly,” I said back to him, smiling back and laughing.

“Exactly,” I then said, looking at my daughter.

I figured it was my birthday and I could sing whatever the hell I wanted.

Stephanie

20841993_10155523297888954_3655226197486168242_n

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

The Birthday Post: 52 Life Lessons

Yup. It’s that time, I’m afraid.

It’s time for the annual birthday post. It’s the one day of the year that I allow myself to feel blessed and old at the same time.

It doesn’t make it easier when your own brother sends you these GOOD MORNING images with “Happy birthday” written across the top of the text.

 

So, with those lovely images in mind, and with life lessons I’ve learned over the course of all my (yes, 52 years), I thought I’d share them with you today. Please know that these life lessons are in no particular order and were written with full honesty.

52 Life Lessons Thus Far

1. People will surprise you (both in a good way and a bad way).

2. You are smarter than you think you are.

3. Life moves fast.

4. Good intentions do matter.

5. Women can be bitches.

6. You can spend a long time missing someone.

7. Hard work pays off.

8. A sense of humor is vital to survival.

9. Forgive those who hurt you.

10. No matter how hard you try, you will never understand every bit of everyone.

11. A hug has healing powers.

12. Talking politics can be poisonous to friendships.

13. Patience truly is a virtue.

14. Traveling helps you understand yourself and the world around you.

15. A kind word never hurt anybody.

16. Apologize quickly.

17. Life is not always fair.

18. Some people take far more than they give.

19. If friendship is a one-way street, take a detour.

20. Steer clear of negative people, judgmental people, and gossips.

21. Be persistent in pursuit of what you love.

22. Trust your instinct.

23. Remain calm when you want to scream.

24. Be a good listener and a good friend.

25. Read constantly.

26. Be as organized as you can be; it saves time.

27. Stop and smell the roses often and with passion.

28. Tell people you love that you love them, and often.

29. Give yourself permission to fail or make a mistake; it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.

30. Be polite; look people in the eye.

31. Perfect your handshake and your smile.

32. Forgive yourself.

33. Allow your kids to make mistakes.

34. You can’t—and shouldn’t—always pick up other people’s pieces.

35. Write down your family stories.

36. People make time for you if they want to.

37. The best thing you can give your kids are happy memories.

38. Jealousy and envy fracture and break relationships.

39. Make time for your hobbies and the things you love to do.

40. Writing letters still matters.

41. Teaching keeps you young.

42. Having a mentor is crucial to success.

43. The sacrifice bunt is still baffling.

44. Allow people to chase their dreams.

45. Friendships can be disappointing.

46. Success is whatever you want it to be, as determined by you.

47. Rainbows and ladybugs are lucky.

48. Parakeets in the home can be pretty darn noisy.

48. Things are not always as they seem.

49. A good marriage takes work.

50. Joy comes from within; no one can find it for you.

51. Jesus’s teachings of kindness and love can guide your actions in all circumstances.

52. Remember: you have the ability to impact someone else’s life.

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.