Flirting with Style – Fashion Over 40. Or 50.

pexels-photo-336372.jpegI love Instagram. I love discovering other people and connecting with folks from all over the globe. I also love to follow fashion bloggers—to see what ideas I might come across that would suit my body type and personality.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 8.11.11 PMWell, the other day I came across someone who has definitely sparked my interest. Her name is Lyn Slater, and she’s the ACCIDENTAL ICON. You may have seen a video about her on Facebook, but if you haven’t, let me tell you what little I know about her. She attended a fashion show wearing something tremendous and people noticed her and thought she was someone famous, and her friend said to her, “You’re an accidental icon.” Hence the name of her blog: accidentalicon.com. She also happens to be 64, and she’s inspired me to not dread aging, as I have found myself doing for the last 10 years. She made me look at it in a different way. She says she even has young people tell her that she’s made them not fear growing older.

I love the fact that she has always embraced her style. And owns it. At any age.

People come in all different shapes & sizes, have different clothing ideas of what works for them; and allow their personalities to shine through in their clothes.

Anyway, after considering all this, here’s my new take, and what I posted on my Instagram a few days ago.

Some people ask me why I post outfits so often. Fashion, to me, is fun. As someone who is over 50, when I was younger I always thought by the time I reached this age, that I might not care about what I wear anymore. But I still do. I still love playing dress up. Just as people like to work out to feel better, playing with fashion and what I wear makes me feel good. Of course what’s on the inside of a person is so much more important, but feeling good about yourself on the outside does matter and helps your mental state. I’m about to go do some writing in my home office, and staying in my work clothes keeps me in that “I’m working” state of mind. Anyway–bottom line: you can still have style as you age. As Coco Chanel always said, “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”

Some of my latest outfits I’ve shared…

Bottom line on this Valentine’s Day: accept yourself, your age, and don’t be afraid to dress the way that makes you feel your best.

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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 Have Money To Spend This Valentine’s Day? Take A Cue From St. Valentine and Write A Letter

First, a little historical perspective…

St. Valentine lived during the time of Claudius the Cruel in Rome. Under his rule, Claudius was not fond of men who would not join his military leagues due to their devotion to their wives and families. Therefore, Claudius banned marriages and engagements in Rome. However, Valentine defied the emperor and continued to perform marriage rituals for people in love in secret.

When Claudius discovered what Valentine was doing, he ordered him put to death. The sentence was carried out on February 14.

While in jail and prior to his death, Valentine wrote a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become a friend. At the end of the letter, he wrote, “From Your Valentine.”

Hence, why we call love notes and letters during this time Valentines.

After his death, Valentine was named a saint, and we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Second, get out your pen and paper if your wallet is dry…

There is nothing more sentimental, sweet, and loving than writing a heartfelt love letter to your Valentine or someone you love or someone who has changed your life or helped you along the way.

It’s not difficult to write a letter, it just takes a few moments of your time.

LetterHere are some ideas for writing that letter:

  • Share what they mean to you
  • Recount a meaningful, funny, or sentimental story you’ve shared
  • Tell them what you’re looking forward to in the future
  • Write from the heart, in your language, using your words
  • Pick pretty stationery or a card that suits your relationship
  • Plan to do something together that doesn’t cost anything and put it in writing. Some examples could include the following: taking a walk, strolling a museum, going on a hike, sitting by the river together with a book, watching a movie or your favorite show on television, attending a poetry reading at a local bookstore–anything that the two of you can do that does not cost money

Remember, your Valentine loves YOU not your money (or lack thereof), so do what you can do, and put your heartfelt words on paper.

They will love you even more for it.

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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.

 

How My READING BOOKS Poll Stacks Up Against (pun intended) Official Polls

Let’s Talk About Books & Reading

We just completed the third week of the spring semester, and as is typical as I begin to talk about writing and reading in classes and asking students questions, I can get a little depressed when I realize how few students are reading books for pleasure these days. With so many distractions such as television, video games, socializing with friends, sports, and other commitments and activities, I decided to conduct my own informal poll on Facebook, something I had never done before.

The question I posed was this: HOW MANY BOOKS DID YOU READ IN 2017?

0-10 OR MORE THAN 11?

I received 143 responses, and the percentages are reflected in the infographic below.

Survey Findings (1)

While my poll didn’t have the same questions as the Pew Research Polls, which are broken out and are much more in-depth, I wanted to give it a try anyway. What I didn’t take into account was how many people had read zero books and kept that as a separate question. Perhaps the next poll will reflect reading zero books in a year.

My findings, however, relay some good news, at least, I think so. It shows that people are reading—some more than others for various reasons—but they seem to be reading some books throughout the year.

What made me conduct this poll?

I had read an article from The Atlantic from 2014 called The Decline of the American Book Lover about books and reading, and it prompted me to do my own informal research for this post. As someone who is a strong advocate of reading—and reading a lot of anything that interests you—I became somewhat engrossed in finding out more. Through several sites, I was able to compile the information below about books and reading from the Pew Research Institute, and I have put it together for you in an easy-to-read infographic below.

The Bad News & Good News

The bad news in the Pew Research findings was that 19% of people haven’t visited a Library (such a great resource, you guys!), and 26% of Americans are not reading at all. There was also a decline in e-reading.

The good news from my pols and their polls is that people ARE reading still…and in 2016, they preferred a physical book to reading books electronically. There’s been a 16% surge in children’s books, and on average, people are reading four books in a six-month period. The average number of books read in a year is 12.

At least, that’s what the research is trending toward today.

Books

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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.

What To Do With A Broken Heart

LoveLetterWe walk around in a daze. We make up lies and we tell them to ourselves. We go over and over it again in our minds as we attempt to decipher exactly what went wrong and who is to blame. We wonder if there’s any way possible we can fix it. We agonize, stop eating, agonize some more, find we cannot concentrate on work, pull away from people, and go through an intense mourning period. Some folks even go as far as to want to give up.

If we’re not careful, we can give up on ourselves.

That’s the way it works when we have a broken heart and we don’t know how to fix it—when we don’t know how to make someone we love more than life itself love us.

As the speaker in the Ted Talk below notes, we have all probably been there at one time or another…or another. Perhaps we’ve been there several times. We become like a broken record playing it over and over again in our minds. Sometimes the pain is so intense, we don’t know how to tend to it.

I wish this Ted Talk had been around when I’d been through a few doozies. I may have actually listened to Guy Winch because he makes so much sense. He tells it like it is, and as we listen, his ideas sink in. I thought I’d share this today for anyone who may need a little push to find himself or herself again.

As Valentine’s Day is around the corner and tons of people are celebrating the somewhat ridiculous holiday, there are many who will be sad and broken-hearted. There are some folks who are trying to get over a lost love or broken relationship. Patience is advised to those of us who act as friends during these trying times as you will see. Patience and understanding.

Remember how it felt when you went through it, and promise yourself to be there for someone who needs you.

It’s true–we can’t make people love us. But we do have the power to be there for people who have lost love and their hearts are breaking.

 

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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.

Giving Away Some LOVE…stories. An Amazon Book Giveaway—Inn Significant

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Want to enter to win a copy of INN SIGNIFICANT?

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Inn Significant: A Novel.

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1363f40b123b3f2a

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

Ends the earlier of Feb 11, 2018 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

I looked around one last time and heard the voices that I sometimes heard when the world was quiet_ You're okay, Milly; you're okay, they said.The door blew open, and then, I was gone.

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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.

 

 

In Celebration of Valentine’s Day — Book Giveaways This Week

LoveCardHappy Super Bowl Sunday!

After the BIG GAME is over, I figured it may be time to hunker down with some reading as we wait for winter to get the hell out of town. Plus, VALENTINE’S DAY is coming up, and I wanted to give away some love in the form of my contemporary fiction novels. I’ve completed reading four terrific books since January, and am presently reading numbers 5 & 6. I’m posting my reading list on the blog for you as it’s always nice to see what others are reading. Likewise, I’d love for you to share what you’ve read that you’ve enjoyed.

BOOK GIVEAWAYS

I’ll be posting my book giveaways this week, as I’m giving away one of each of my books to some random winners. When they go live, I’ll share the information on how to enter.

In the meantime, below are some excerpts from each of my three novels in print and they are available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To order my books…

For more information on AMAZON, click here.

For more information on BARNES & NOBLE, click here.

Enjoy the game tonight and keep reading!

BTMT ad

Love leaves a memory that no one else can steal, but sometimes leaves a heartache that no one else can heal.

I looked around one last time and heard the voices that I sometimes heard when the world was quiet_ You're okay, Milly; you're okay, they said.The door blew open, and then, I was gone.

***

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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.

What Makes A Good Story?

Talking with students during this week’s artist’s exhibit at Stevenson University, we chatted about what makes a good story. From students studying film to students who are writers, some of these tips below are my favorites for inspiring beginning writers to focus and start the process and work on their craft. The infographic posted below was part of my exhibit.

Writing Is Hard

Writing is hard, as we have heard time and time again from folks such as William Zinsser to contemporary magazine writer Tom Junod (pictured below), and the one thing that rings true for all writers is that it takes work. However, these tips are some that you can think about as you start your process, especially if you are writing fiction.

Image result for tom junod

Also, READ a lot and WRITE a lot…anything, anytime. It’s about practice and it’s about bringing things together.

I hope this little tid-bit sheet proves helpful.

Let me know how your writing is coming along.

Stephanie verni

Anniversary

Also, today is the one-year anniversary of seeing my third novel, Inn Significant, in print for the first time. It’s an exciting process to watch your novel come full circle and to see it finally in book form. From all the positive feedback I have received, I’ve decided to publish a sequel, so hang tight. I’m working on it.

One word at a time.

innsignificantanovel

It will never get old for me.

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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.

 

Challenge Accepted! 5 Random Facts About Me

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 7.03.52 PM

Thank you, From My Hart, for the challenge. I am definitely up for this, as it’s something fun and different from what I normally post, so thank you for getting me away of my regular posts.

Here are 5 Random Things About Me…

#1—I was totally obsessed with Mick Jagger and Some Girls as a teenager

 

 

I actually own two incarnations of this album: the one on the right was the first version the Stones put out with wigs and then cutouts with faces. They apparently used celebs without their permission and had to redo the cover. When they did, they took out the faces and put “not available” or left it blank (on the left). My friend, Lee, and I played the Stones over and over, pined over Mick Jagger, and drove all our friends crazy with Rolling Stones trivia. I finally saw Jagger and the Stones on back-to-back nights in my twenties at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

#2—I cry a lot.

Image result for clip art of woman crying funny

A sad or touching Hallmark movie, a really good book, watching my kids do something amazing (Matt’s golf or Ellie’s dancing), a sentimental card or song on the radio, a sweet older person, beautiful poetry, a precious baby or toddler, writing a character, lost friendships…there are more, but you get the gist from these examples that…

I’m a total weeper.

#3—I am done with big-mouth celebrities.

OscarNight
My friends and I will have to find other reasons to get together now.

For many years, I loved celebrities and the Oscars. I used to have an Oscar party every year, basically since 1993. Those days are done. I am tired of celebrities as a whole thinking they need to tell us what to think, how to act, and that they might know better than we do. I am tired of the mean-spirited posts on social media that I see.

My love affair with them ended a few years ago, but the past two years have made me pay no mind to them at all.

Do not hand me a copy of People magazine. I have no interest.

#4—I really love hats.

 

I wish hats were worn like they were back in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and even in the 1960s.

The best iconic hat wearers, in my opinion, are Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, and Michelle Dockery (Mary from Downton Abbey).

 

 

Image result for mary from downton abbey in hat#5—I adore my family, my parents, and I think my in-laws are pretty fantastic, too.

ChristmasCollage

This pic’s a few years old…but…

I consider myself blessed to have these wonderful people in my life. I am so lucky to have family who are loving, helpful, and are always there to lend an ear.

That’s it!

hearts.jpg

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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.

Tips To Get You Started on Your Novel

When people ask me how to begin writing a novel, this is what I usually tell them, along with “believe in yourself” and “go for it.”

For an upcoming artist collaboration and exhibit scheduled at our university for this Thursday, I drafted a little infographic. This infographic includes tips about writing novels and some of the things that I’ve been taught over the years, along with what I’ve gained from the experience of writing three indie novels.

William Zinsser, in his famous book On Writing Well, says it best about writing:

“Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”

However, that said, there are things we can do to make writing a little less taxing. The most important things you can do as a writer are to write every day, read a lot, and practice.

It’s like everything else in life: the more you do it, the better you become.

writing

 

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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 Message in a Bottle (Or An Inbox)

Dedicated to all my fellow writers out there.

beach-message-in-a-bottle-HD*

You’re tired and worked to the bone, and you’re not sure what your next move will be when a bottle washes up on shore with a message in it. The message is for you.

Stay strong, the message reads. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are doing great.

(You realize that as I’m writing this, I’m hearing The Police singing Message in a Bottle in my head.)

We tend to get a lot of inspiration from others — from those we know to those we have never met — who encourage us to persevere, to continue, to not give up. We may evaluate and reassess and figure out a way to make things work. And these little messages that can be sent via a bottle, a letter, an email, a text message, a phone call, or through face-to-face interaction remind us to not give up on the things we are passionate about, because they are worth our time.

If you’re somebody who writes books and tells stories, either as your full-time job or your part-time job, it’s a heck of an investment of both your time and brain power. You pour your whole heart and soul into writing it. As someone who has done it three times and is heading for a fourth and fifth time, I have the highest admiration for my fellow writers I’m connected with on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook who dive in and get the job done. We do it because it’s a part of who we are, but we also do it because we are simply compelled to do it.

That’s why it’s so special when we hear someone comment on our writing and storytelling.

BaseballGirlwTypewriterWhile my message didn’t come in a bottle (although, seriously, how cool would that be?), it came in my inbox on Tuesday. I was touched beyond belief, and the reader wrote to me about how she connected with my second book, Baseball Girl.

I loved writing that book so much. The story is centered around a woman who works for a professional baseball team, and was loosely based on my life working in the sport. I got to make up characters who were a combination of people I’d met in the world or sports; the setting, which was very similar to that of Baltimore and Camden Yards; scenarios that my friends or I had been through (disguising the names to protect the innocent, of course!); and a love triangle that may have had you rooting for the underdog…or big dog. All of it was fun for me.

Writing

As for what that letter in the inbox said, it’s below, though I edited out the end of what she wrote because she discussed the resolution, and I don’t want to give anything away with regard to the plot and the outcome…

“I have always tried to find baseball books that follow girls who love baseball, but could never really find one to relate to…I was so shocked at how much I could relate to Francesca’s story. My father also gave me my passion for baseball, so it was pretty touching how many things I had in common with Francesca. Overall, I just wanted to tell you that your novel was phenomenal. I enjoyed reading it so much! I thought every twist and turn of the book was so interesting and it kept me on my toes. So thank you for creating such an amazing book, one that is not very common!” 

Receiving this sweet message from this reader also made me realize that I need to reach out to authors more often when I enjoy their work. It’s important to let people know that what they write moves you or inspires you or makes you feel connected. Or you just outright enjoyed it and it was entertaining. While I have reached out to some writers over the years, and have heard back from a few, I certainly don’t do it enough, and I promise to do better. And I thank anyone who has reached out over the years.

It means more to me than you can even imagine.

baseball_in_grass_cover_2.jpg

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Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn SignificantBaseball 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.

 

Tell Your College Students to Pull Out the Old Pen and Paper, Studies Find

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You may want to tell your college students to put their laptops away during class lectures. It appears the “old way” of taking handwritten notes in class trumps typing notes into your laptop. If you’d like to know why, a study by researchers Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that taking notes by hand wins out for several reasons.

Taking notes by hand offers you the opportunity to write key points as you listen, which engages active listening in students. Students are more selective and write down main ideas, and they highlight and circle things that seem to be the most important. The opposite was true with those taking notes on the laptops; they often wrote longer sentences, trying to capture every word that was spoken instead of listening for those key points and adding their own notes to it.

Students often referred back to their handwritten notes and were able to decipher why they wrote the key points and what made them important to know–often using their own shorthand and indicators as to why the information was important. On laptops, the same was not true, as more full sentence notes were taken. Taking handwritten notes also helps organize the material for students and give them a starting point for studying.

As a college professor, I can tell you from experience that I see students take notes in class by hand and on laptops. I can also tell you that students on laptops are also checking their email, texting, and surfing the internet simultaneously in class. These students can miss key points and information regarding assignments and tests. They also lack eye contact and engagement with the professor. Students who take handwritten notes — and students who are good at taking handwritten notes — are often more engaged in class, ask more questions, are better prepared, do better on tests and assignments, and contribute during discussions of course material.

As our spring semester is about to begin, I would urge students who have sat back and not taken notes because professors post their Powerpoints on Blackboard, or who rely strongly on note taking on their laptops, to give the old-fashioned way of note taking a try. It may be worth it to see what happens this term. When I was a freshman in college, my psychology teacher had written a book on study skills, and he taught us the proper way to take notes to do well on tests. I am forever grateful to the late Dr. James Furukawa of Towson University for helping me be a better prepared student and lifelong learner.

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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.

Getting Artsy in NYC

This past weekend, our family took one of our yearly trips to New York City. We go up at least 2-3 times a year as my husband’s sister, her husband, and our nephew live on the Upper East Side. We stay in hotel not too far from them, and were excited to see the Downton Abbey Exhibition that is featured in Midtown. As the weather was a balmy 6 degrees (yikes), we also planned to visit the Michelangelo Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which also showcased the Rodin Exhibition that ended on Martin Luther King day. So, we were getting pretty artsy.


If you love Downton Abbey and watched every episode as we did, you will love this Exhibition. It’s part Universal Studios meets museum; there is a lot of interaction with video screens, so you’ll enjoy seeing the characters come to life. The ground floor represents Downton’s servants quarters and kitchen, and Ms. Patmore’s kitchen is on display, as is the dining room where Thomas, Mrs. Hughes, Daisy, and Carson all ate meals together. As you move up to the second floor, you’ll love the interactive video screens that make up Downton’s main rooms…it’s fun! Then, you’ll tour around and see artifacts, costumes, and memorabilia from the show, in addition to Mary’s room that was the set. Finally, on the third floor, you will see a wonderful assortment of costumes from the show. Honestly, the Exhibition was even better than I thought it would be.


Seeing Michelangelo’s drawings and several of his sculptures was a real treat, as well. I sometimes marvel that his work is in such great shape–that it has lasted all of these years, especially the drawings and sketches he put on paper. There are 300 drawings of his you can see and learn about; additionally, the museum projects an image of The Sistine Chapel on the ceiling in one area in color, and surrounded by that on the floor are the sketches that he drew prior to painting each of those segments of the art on the ceiling of the chapel. This was incredible to see. My husband and I have been to Italy and seen many of Michelangelo’s works, including The David, The Sistine Chapel, The Pietà, and many, many more. It takes my breath away, and I’m in awe of just how versatile and productive he was during his lifetime. There are so many incredible, gorgeous pieces of art.


Rodin’s exhibit featured many creative works he created over the years. The Thinker is featured along with many of his bronze sculptures from The Gates of Hell. Several busts and other sculptures are showcased, along with art created by other artists who were connected in some way to Rodin.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so vast, it could take years to stroll through that particular museum and see all you want to see. Their collections are amazing, and I encourage anyone visiting New York to get a little artsy and visit The Met.


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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.