On Life

5 Summertime Suggestions For A Better You

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Right now, I’m sitting on my screened in back porch loving that it’s a June summer day. It’s a little humid, and it rained earlier, but now the sky is blue and the sun is out. The breeze is rippling the trees. It’s invigorating.

I look at summer as a time to unwind a little and a time to try to enjoy the simple things in life: a barbecue with friends and family; days spent at the beach; squeezing in a little travel; cocktails at the pool; watching my son play golf; and seeing my daughter perform in her dance intensive in July.

I love this time and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Today, I’d like you to consider making this your best summer ever, and I’ve pulled five inspirational quotes to help you frame some personal goals.

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Consider writing about your summer, or better yet, parts of your life that you want to capture. Start to write down stories of your life. In my magazine writing class, the students write a memoir, and I ask them to think of it this way: write a chapter of your life that would go into a bigger memoir. At Monday night’s book talk at the Broadneck Library, one of the things I suggested to folks in the room was to write down their stories. A collection of stories of your life can be passed down from one generation to another, and it’s a way to never forget things that have happened in a family’s history. Even if you are not a writer, you may want to record memories that should last a lifetime. What a great way to spend a summer’s day.
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Live for now. Do the things you want to do now; don’t wait for later. There is no time like the present. There are so many things going on during the summer months—festivals, day trips to take, new restaurants to try, summer concerts, and outdoor activities. Make the most of your days and don’t delay.

 

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Always be yourself. You are who you are. People will love you or they won’t. They accept you or they don’t. Don’t waste time on those who don’t like you just the way you are. Life is too short for fake anything, including fake friends. Spend time with those who care about you and make you a priority.
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Last summer, I disconnected from Facebook for two months. I wrote a novel, spent time with my family, vacationed, and read some books. I even strolled a town all by myself for a day. I will always remember it and appreciate it. Spending time by yourself is rejuvenating. Making your own memories are important.
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I don’t care for negativity. In fact, it’s one characteristic I dislike tremendously. While it may not always be practical, I try to take the approach of seeing the sunny side of everything because it beats the alternative. Why not always attempt to find the positive in people, places, and things? Why not try this approach? What do you have to lose?

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.

On Life

The Town of Oxford Awaits You

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Plein Air Day, Oxford, Maryland

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On Sunday, July 16, the Town of Oxford in Maryland will host Plein Air Day, whereby artists come to town to paint scenes of Oxford and its waterways. Artists set up in various locations in the town, and it’s a great way to watch artists in action and see their works. The day will be filled with other festivities as well, including tours of the town, rides on the historic ferry, free coffee with the purchase of muffin at Oxford Market, music, and lots of activities for everyone.

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If you’ve read my novel, Inn Significant, you may remember the bookstore in town, which is real. It’s called Mystery Loves Company, and the store has arranged for me to sign books in the park next to the bookstore from 1 – 3 p.m. Local artist and former Oxford resident Linda Luke will be on hand as well. Come visit us!

Plus, if you liked the novel, you’ll be able to retrace Milly’s steps and find your way to the Scottish Highland Creamery or dine on the water and crack crabs as she did with Miles. You can even try to guess which home she might have purchased on S. Morris Street.

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Oxford is a truly special little town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It is the setting of my novel and a place that seems to call me to come visit quite often. If you do visit, don’t forget to take a peek at the Sandaway Inn on the Tred Avon River adjacent to the Oxford Ferry. That particular Inn was the inspiration for the novel, and I can’t wait to stop by and say hello.

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To read a full article from the Talbot Spy about the event, click here. It has more about this exciting day in Oxford.

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Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 1.13.35 PMHope to see you in Oxford!

 

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.

 

On Life

Wednesday Wardrobe – One Pair of Pants + Tops

Remember the old shopping rule—Don’t buy it if it doesn’t go with at least three other things?

Well, that’s easy with pants. Pants can extend our wardrobe a lot just simply by mixing up the tops and shoes we put with them. This is particularly helpful when we travel. I remember when I went to Italy with my husband years ago. I could tell when I was in each city simply by the pants I wore. In Rome, I wore a tan pair of khakis; in Venice I wore jeans; in Tuscany I wore black pants. All you have to do is change the top and, Voila! You have an extended wardrobe (and you look different in photos because—especially with selfies and intimate shots—you typically take photos from the waist up).

As a petite, curvy girl, I typically hate shopping for pants, but the ones sold at White House Black Market fit me well. Plus, the staff there makes shopping fun. They are helpful and will run to get you different sizes while you’re in the dressing room.

Remember, this Wednesday fashion feature is for us real women who work, eat, play, take care of our families, and multi-task in more ways than we can count. There is no retouching going on here on Steph’s Scribe! What you see is what you get.

The pair of pants I am featuring today is a green khaki pair I bought a couple of weeks ago at White House Black Market. I love these super comfortable pants. I could wear them every day.

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Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft | Bag by 9 West
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Top from White House Black Market
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Top from Ann Taylor Loft
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Top Xhilaration from Target
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Top from Cabi

 

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.

 

On Life

Do You Have Gumption?

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Either you have it, or you don’t.

Either you find it, or you won’t.

Gumption comes from way deep down, and sometimes it’s tough to identify. Sometimes, you have to do a little soul searching to find it.

Take, for example, Iris in “The Holiday.”

Iris had been in love with the same man, Jasper, for years, and he didn’t return the sentiment. It was unrequited love in the keenest sense. Jasper used Iris, her kindness, and her love to his benefit, and she allowed that to happen.

It’s not an unrealistic story. These types of love stories take place every day.

However, Iris finally snaps, realizes what gumption is, and acts on it. When this happens in the film, we are all cheering for her and we are happy that she no longer wants to be associated with Jasper. She has finally caught on to his ways and understands that he is not good for her. And then, she takes control.

What exactly is gumption? The definition is below.

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Gumption doesn’t just relate to love and relationships, though many of you may have had to take initiative to start a relationship or end a relationship. But gumption is spirited; you cannot have gumption without being imaginative and without expressing ingenuity.

Another example might be found when examining your career—or lack thereof. Some people are content to work in a job they “like,” but wouldn’t it be more empowering to work a job you LOVE? It takes gumption to make hard decisions to pursue what makes you happy. And happiness, in the end, is what we strive for. Life is too short not to be happy.

Years ago, after I left the Orioles, I took another job. I didn’t like it. In fact, it gave me anxiety and stress. I was so miserable in it, I knew I needed to do something about it. I talked with my husband (we were newly married at the time), and asked him if I could quit my job and do the two things I loved most: teach part time and start a writing/design business. I did that. I found the gumption, and with his support, I made the change I needed to make. I had no regrets whatsoever, and that decision led me to my current teaching job at Stevenson University, where I am a full professor.

anyone-who-has-gumption-knows-what-it-is-and-anyone-who-hasnt-can-never-know-what-it-is-so-there-is-quote-1Gumption can be found when you sit around and say, “I wish I could do—.” Stop wishing, people! Get off your duff and do it. Find that gumption to run that 10K, write that novel, start your own business on the side, make a career change, volunteer at the local homeless shelter, or be an entrepreneur and bake goodies for local stores and bakeries.

Do you know why Nike’s slogan, JUST DO IT, has been successful for years and will never go out of style? Because it’s founded on GUMPTION. You’re not going to JUST DO IT without gumption.

As someone who prides herself on having gumption, I encourage you to do the same. Find it. Own it. Do something about it.

Stop settling and look at Iris’s face in the first photo.

Don’t you want to feel that way?

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.

On Life

Saturday Sonnet: Cracking

Breaking heartI wrote this poem years ago and thought I would share it here today. I’m putting together a collection of short stories and poetry that will be in book form soon.

Here’s a sample.

 

Cracking, A Sonnet

By Stephanie Verni

Forlorn, the faltering heart has no reason
to fill you with false hope and pay mind to your sanity;
whether there is heat or cold, it disregards season,
and pays no attention to matters of formality.
It breaks nonetheless whether anyone can hear
the silent scream, the muted moan—
inside, aching, but on the outside appears
calm; the whisper of a desperate groan.
Why is it a breaking heart makes no noise?
Unfathomable, really, that the ear can’t detect
the sinking, shattering, cracking, crippling lack of joy;
it used to be intact and you never expect
that a breakage like this won’t repair with glue
and that the red of the sunset has lost its hue.

© Stephanie Verni, 2017

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.

 

On Life

How Pieces of You and People You Know End Up in Your Characters

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Luckily, for some people I know, I don’t write a lot of villains into my novels. As I do in real life, I try to not let nasty, uncaring, judgmental, ridiculously competitive and fake people seep into my world too often. However, in the short stories I write, I let them in because I don’t have to deal with them for too long, as short stories are just that—short. However, writers have to allow what we learn about people to grace the pages of our stories and illuminate our characters; these sketches of folks should glide into our stories seamlessly. As well, the same is true with the goodness and quirkiness and loveliness of people.

For example, in my recent novel Inn Significant, I texted my friend Charles and told him that Miles was based on him and my husband—kind of a conglomeration of the two. He had no idea, and was flattered by the depiction of Miles in the book. There are people in real life who can bring liveliness and charisma and charm to the characters you are writing—so let that unfold as the characters are made up of characteristics that you see in people.

As for us as writers, how much of ourselves do we let into our stories? I have a wild imagination, so I tend to consider the character and what he or she likes and what would make them that way. For example, in Inn Signficiant, the main character is Milly, and she narrates the book. How much of Milly is in me? Well, let’s see. We both love living near the water. We both are writers and like to read. We both love cruiser bikes, though hers is pink and mine is seafoam green. We both love our families. We both know what true love feels like. We both know what heartbreak feels like. We both value a pretty simple life. We both have a sense of humor.

What we don’t share is that she has felt tragedy, as she has lost her husband in a horrific accident, and goes through a bout of depression. And while I haven’t felt loss like Milly (thankfully), I can imagine its intensity, devastation, and profoundness. I also understand what feeling depressed is like, as I bumped up against that a few years ago during a trying time in my life, and one in which I learned a few lessons about good friendships vs. yucky ones.

As writers, we have to allow these things we know and understand to help develop our characters. We do allow bits of ourselves to show up in our characters, and if it’s not a bit of us, then it’s a collection of bits of others that we know, have interacted with, have been friends with, or maybe even have had a falling out with along the way.

The main point to writing character is to believe that they are real, and then make others believe that they are real. Make them so authentic that people completely understand them. That’s not to say that the characters might not drive readers crazy at times or make them shake their heads and say “what?,” but we need to put realism into our writing.

Plot is wonderful, but people have to be able to identify with the characters.

Years ago, I read the book The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbaugh. I read this book because I was writing Baseball Girl, and I wanted to read as much baseball fiction as I could before I published anything. While Harbaugh’s writing is absolutely beautiful—a true work of literary splendor—the characters were, to me, wholly unbelievable. I couldn’t relate to any of them, and truthfully, only finished the book because I was so deep in at that point, that I needed to see how it ended. But I didn’t enjoy it that much, if I’m being truthful. I desperately wanted to connect with any one of the five main characters in the story. I wanted to find some of their actions redeemable, and yet, I came up just feeling this way about it: meh.

My goal is not to have anyone say meh about my characters. I keep that in the back of my mind the entire time I’m writing.

So don’t leave yourself out of the equation when writing strong, memorable, and relatable characters. You have the potential to bring so much to the story.

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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.

 

 

On Life

Wednesday Wardrobe: Keeping Cool Summer Style

Second Installment: Wednesday Wardrobe | Summer Feature

Honestly, I love summer until the humidity cranks up and my hair gets all frizzy and I perspire and stick to chairs. I remember loving the lack of humidity in California and wishing we had less of it on the East Coast. When I plan outfits, I have to consider how I might perspire and what might keep me cool.

Picking what to wear based on the weather is a must for me. I always do it. Whether I choose sleeveless, strapless, dresses, skirts, or light pants or shorts, I’m always concerned about the heat, and so I have to purchase clothes that work accordingly.

Today’s outfits are based on just that—keeping cool. What do you wear during the summer months to stay cool? How do you pick outfits to reflect the heat of the summer?

Remember: I’m a real girl with a real budget for clothing…so here are some of my picks.

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Dress from a boutique in Ellicott City. Love the fringe. Bag from Savvy Consignment. Shoes Nine West.
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Liza Byrd Dress, Franco Sarto sandals. Bandana from Target.
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Dress from The Cottage in Severna Park.
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Rainy day look…Don’t count Charming Charlie’s out for clothes and rainboots!
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White pants from White House/Black Market; top from Ann Taylor Loft; bag from Lulu’s.

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Let the air flow through this dress…from Target. Shoes by Nine West.

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Romper by Pink Rose; shoes by Audrey Brooke.

 

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.

 

On Life

Put Your Positive Pants On: Staying Positive Amidst Negativity

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Some people enjoy dwelling in negativity. All you have to do is look at some of the political media coverage in our country to know this is true. The media loves to dwell in and propagate negative thinking and doom and gloom, and it can be suffocating. When I feel this way, I turn off the television.

The same is true in real life: when people are filled with negativity, I tune them out as well.

This is not to say that disturbing things don’t happen today. There are, indeed, very disturbing situations taking place all over the world, but when we begin to allow them to affect our own personal outlook and ability to change things, it could hurt us in the long run.

I don’t like being held captive by negativity. By nature, I’m a positive person, but a few years ago, I felt myself go into a downward spiral, I didn’t like it, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. Not one bit. I made a conscious effort to get myself back to who I was and to the power of positive thinking.

Since I’ve done that, a whole lot has changed for me. For the better. I don’t have time to feel badly now—about myself, about others, or about the world around me.

Instead, I’m focusing on how I can do the things I want to do and be the kind of person I want to be in a positive light. I am in control of how I can make a difference and positive impact on people and situations.

There will always be those people who want to see you NOT do as well as they do. There will always be folks who are NOT rooting for you. And, there will always be a line of thinking that is not in line with YOUR way of thinking. These obstacles are just that—obstacles—and you have to power to overcome obstacles. Turning up your positive volume requires you to be strong when you have tremendous belief and passion. Forge on, and remember that the positive energy comes from within you and not from outside sources.

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There are a plethora of quotes and articles about the power of positive thinking. This stuff is real, otherwise, we wouldn’t pay attention to it. And, more than that, it is effective. Things can change for you by adjusting your sails, as John Maxwell’s quote above indicates.

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I had to explain to one of my kids the other day, who was being a little harsh on himself, that the worst thing you can do is to compare yourself to others. I asked him if he did the best he could do on a particular endeavor, and his answer was “yes.” I explained to him that I don’t compare myself to other writers, because if I did, I might start feeling really awful about myself. I told him that what I do is to compare myself as a writer TODAY to the writer I was YESTERDAY, or more specifically, I ask myself if my latest book is better than the one I wrote before it? The only person you should ever compare yourself to is who you were yesterday–are you better than you were the day before and the day before that and the day before that. Comparison leads to negativity, and we should just stop doing that immediately.

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If you want to compare and be competitive, then compete against yourself. That can certainly be a motivator. And, it can be easily tracked. You will know for sure if you are doing better each day.

Positive attitudes can truly change your outlook on things. And it beats the alternative of being down in the dumps, angry, bitter, and negative.

Just typing those words leaves me feeling uneasy.

 

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.

 

 

On Life

A Busy Weekend Included Candles, Supper Club, Live Music, and a Graduation Party

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It’s Monday morning, and I might need two cups of coffee. It was a busy weekend filled with socializing. And it began on Thursday, not Friday, as my friend Elizabeth invited me to dinner and candle making.

That’s right. Candle making.

We’ve been friends for 33 years, and we figured, why not? Let’s make some candles. We’ve done a hell of a lot of other things together, so why not add this to the list? (She says she’s now making a bucket list for us to do the next 33 years of our friendship…this will be interesting).

Candles Off Main in Annapolis offers workshops on candle making, and it’s replete with a little education on candles and their existence in today’s world. We got a short history lesson, along with some really cool facts about candles that may come in handy for a game of Jeopardy. Moreover, we made candles and the unlit one I brought home is smelling up my living room without even burning. It smells like black cherry.


On Friday night, it was my husband and my turn to host supper club. Our theme, thanks to our friend Jackie, was “Under the Tequila Sun” —Mexican night. Supper clubs are great and relatively easy. The folks that host at their house are responsible for the main course and drinks. Other club members bring appetizers, sides, and dessert. It works out to be fun for all, and we spend hours talking, eating, drinking, catching up, and having lots of laughs. I highly recommend creating one with your friends and neighbors if you don’t already do so. We get together every other month, and we take turns hosting.


On Saturday night, my husband and I went to see a band he loves called The Record Company. If you’re a blues and/or rock and roll fan, you would love this energetic band. They played at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and we went early for dinner at Matchbox and then headed to the show. My husband loves seeing live music, and the band was high energy, and the volume was so loud in there that my ears were still ringing on Sunday morning (and I have bad hearing to begin with!).


Finally, on Sunday, we were invited to our friends’ daughter’s graduation party in Virginia. The Murrays know how to throw a party, and we’re so happy for their daughter, Erin, who will attend the University of Dayton in the fall.

And so here we are, folks, on Monday morning. I have a lot to accomplish this week, including some reading and writing and (hopefully) some relaxation by the pool.

Bring on the fairies…

 

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.

 

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On Life

Book Giveaway – Enter to Win!

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In the world of independent authors and publishing, Amazon gives us the opportunity to give away copies of our books…

So let’s do it.

If you’re wondering what the heck Inn Significant is about and whether you may want to read it, let me share some recent reviews about the book (below you will see the summary about the novel).

In the novel, you’ll be transported to Oxford, Maryland (click here to see an lovely overview of the town form Only in Your State); one of my readers wrote to me and said, “Brilliant. Beautiful. A work of literary art. The vivid imagery of Oxford, as you did with Annapolis in Beneath the Mimosa Tree, is just outstanding. No, its not just outstanding. It is compelling. It inspires me to return to a town I have twice loved.”

Another reader wrote, Weaving in pieces of a family mystery through a found journal, the author introduces a new set of characters in a completely different time, but reminds us that some things are truly timeless.”

And, yet a third reader wrote, All I can say is AWESOME! This needs to be made into a movie and I need a sequel! I was hooked from page 1. I completely fell in love with the characters and the setting. What an amazing job Ms. Verni did to transport you to the little town of Oxford. It definitely has ignited a spark in me to make it out to the Eastern Shore this year.

Additionally, just last week, Inn Significant received a Finalist Award from the National Indie Excellence Awards as well as a 5-Star review from Readers’ Favorite.

To enter to win a book in my Amazon giveaway, just click this link and it will take you there. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7bf380fda4adadf1

About Inn Significant:

Two years after receiving the horrifying news of her husband Gil’s death, Milly Foster continues to struggle to find her way out of a state of depression. As a last-ditch effort and means of intervention, Milly’s parents convince her to run their successful Inn during their absence as they help a friend establish a new bed and breakfast in Ireland. Milly reluctantly agrees; when she arrives at the picturesque, waterfront Inn Significant, her colleague, John, discovers a journal written by her deceased grandmother that contains a secret her grandmother kept from the family. Reading her grandmother’s words, and being able to identify with her Nana’s own feelings of loss, sparks the beginning of Milly’s climb out of the darkness and back to the land of the living.

 

 


I hope you’ll enter to win and see what I’ve been up to, not just here on the blog, but in my novel-writing life.

I’d love the privilege of telling you a story.

 

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.

 

On Life

Writer’s Toolbox: Tips on Writing Successful Description

Inn Significant | Available via Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

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One of the tips I have students practice a lot in my college classes is writing using their senses. In case you have forgotten how to do this from your writing classes, it means to write using your sharpest senses. Start any passage by asking yourself these questions:

What did it smell like?

What did it look like?

What did it taste like?

What did it feel like?

What did you hear?

Sharpening your senses will make your writing vivid. Remember: we are shooting for the ideal, which is to transport people to that moment, place, or situation. When a reader becomes completely engrossed by your words—your magic ability to string words together to create a seamless paragraph that is telling and compelling—you have successfully transported them to that moment in your work.

Here’s an example from my latest novel entitled Inn Significant. In it, the protagonist and narrator, Milly, opens the contents of her dead husband’s box that she forgot she had moved with her into her new cottage at an inn. She loved her husband more than anything. Here’s the scene:

When one lone box remained, I opened it. I must have forgotten to label it. Gil’s belongings were inside the box. As soon as I lifted the lid, an aroma I had been familiar with for fifteen years wafted into the air, and I remembered all that I had saved. Gil’s favorite ballcap, the Orioles hat he bought at the ballpark when we went with a group of friends to the game; his favorite t-shirt from our trip to Italy; his college sweatshirt I seemed to wear more than he did; his wallet made of Italian leather; several cards and letters I wrote to him over the years; the Burberry watch I gave him on our tenth anniversary. I picked up the shirt, the one I could picture him in when I closed my eyes that said “Italia,” and brought it to my nose. He couldn’t really be dead; there was still a scent of him in the clothing. His wallet contained a picture of the two of us. I sat down on the floor of my parents’ cottage wishing I’d never opened this box. I wept uncontrollably, ignoring all the advice I’d received from Gretel, Angela, my parents, my sister, and even Miles.

After many minutes of inhaling the scent of my dead husband and having a complete breakdown, I heard the knock at the door. (from Inn Significant, by Stephanie Verni, copyright 2017)

In this scene, I wanted readers to understand that she could still smell her husband, even though he was no longer living. In her mind, she was having trouble acknowledging that he is dead. And while I never come out and say he smelled like——, it is understood that he had a smell that she could identify. The description of what she finds is vivid; she recounts each item for the reader so the reader can “see” what she’s uncovered from the box…his Orioles ballcap, his Italia shirt, the leather wallet. The reader can visualize all this stuff and can then, also, feel empathy for Milly as she removes it all, one by one, from the box.

When I’m teaching a writing course at my university, I use this example in class: What do you picture if I say, “The house at the corner of the street.”

If I say that to you, we all picture different houses at the corner of a street.

Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, Florida.

Now, if I say this, “The white house with green shutters, overflowing, vibrant flower boxes, and a curved slate walkway with a white picket fence,” a clearer picture comes to the reader’s mind. It’s easy for us to use our imaginations, but we appreciate that we actually can “see” the image the writer is creating for us.

Why do you think our mouths drop open when we visit Diagon Alley at Universal Studios? It’s because it looks exactly the way J.K. Rowling described it in the Harry Potter books. The description has come to life.

And so should yours when you are writing.

Allow yourself time as a writer to do this.

Practice using your senses; they will take you places.

 

 

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.

 

On Life

“Beautiful. Brilliant. A Work of Literary Art.” – Summer Book Giveaway on Amazon

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A couple of good things have happened over the last two weeks. First, Inn Significant received a Finalist Award from the National Indie Excellence Awards. Second, Inn Significant received a 5-Star review from Readers’ Favorite. I think those two honors warrant another giveaway for the book, don’t you?

To enter to win a book in my Amazon giveaway, just click this link and it will take you there. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7bf380fda4adadf1

And then, let me take you to Oxford, Maryland (click here to see an lovely overview of the town form Only in Your State), where one reader said, “Brilliant. Beautiful. A work of literary art. The vivid imagery of Oxford, as you did with Annapolis in Beneath the Mimosa Tree, is just outstanding. No, its not just outstanding. It is compelling. It inspires me to return to a town I have twice loved.”


I hope you’ll enter to win and see what I’ve been up to, not just here on the blog, but in my novel-writing life.

I’d love the privilege of telling you a story.

 

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.

 

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