On Life

Thoughts on Missing Working in Baseball

Orioles friends from our reunion a few years ago.

It’s a question I get asked a lot.

“Do you miss working in baseball?”

Students ask me this often; then they ask what it was like to work in baseball, in sports, for a Major League baseball team.

I have often blogged about how working in baseball changed my life in so many ways. I became a serious student when I got my job with the Orioles as a sophomore in college. I learned how to budget my time and work long hours. I loved every minute of it. I even roped my best friend and college roommate into working there during my second year when I supervised a small staff and someone quit before Opening Day. She was supposed to be a fill-in and ended up staying the entire season…and then some. I grew up there and stayed for 13 total seasons. My best friends are from there. I met my husband there. I learned valuable skills that I now teach my students. I learned about the game, its history, and its pomp and circumstance—all of which I treasure.

Then I wrote a fictional novel about working in baseball entitled Baseball Girl, summoning my recollections and stories about working in the game.

On Friday night, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with my mentor and dear friend, Dr. Charles Steinberg, in Boston. Our students and faculty were in town for a communication convention, and Charles, who now works for the Red Sox and Pawtucket Paw Sox, took us out to dinner. It’s funny how things come around full circle—I learned so much of what I know from Charles and Julie Wagner, and both are still my dear friends and mentors. Both Charles and Julie also wrote a case study for a textbook my colleagues and I wrote about event planning. Sitting at that table with Charles made me realize a couple of things: (1) how thankful I am that I had the job I had for all those years and that it helps me in my current job today, and (2) that strong friendships sustain themselves even when you don’t see each other as often as you would like.

Charles and me from Saturday night in Boston at Pico Niccolo.

Today is Opening Day, and I will not be there at Camden Yards to celebrate its 25th season at the ballpark. I have to teach my classes.

I was there on Opening Day 1992 when Camden Yards took center stage, and I helped coordinate the opening ceremonies. I value all of my time there—first as assistant director of community relations and then as director of publishing. For fun, and at Charles’s request, I even spent time as the ballpark deejay for a while, spinning tunes and getting the crowd fired up.

So the question remains: “Do you miss working in baseball?”

On days like today, with a fresh season upon us, a new team, and a clean slate with 162 games to go and a chance to win a World Series ring as a member of the front office, the answer is simply…

Yes.

Sometimes I do.

Good friends…

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of the newly releasedInn 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.  To visit Stephanie’s Amazon Author page and see her books, click here.

About Creative Writing, Fictography

Fictography #9 — Susie’s & Katie’s Snowwoman

Snow. Photo Credit: Kathy Binder.
Snow. Photo Credit: Kathy Binder.

/FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!).

This week’s selected photograph comes from a friend of mine, Kathy Binder. Kathy and I have known each other for years, and last year I visited Kathy’s book club and got to know her and her friends even better. What I love most about Kathy is that she has terrific taste. She and I are on Pinterest together, and are constantly pinning each other’s pins. Her photograph depicts the snow we’ve had this year, but I took it in a direction of two young friends, one with a disability.

I hope you enjoy this one. Good friends do matter, no matter what age you are.

* * *

Susie’s & Katie’s Snowwoman

Snow pants. Check.

Coat. Check.

Hat. Check.

Mittens. Check.

Boots. Check.

Scarf. Check.

She was ready. It was the first snowfall of the year, and Susie was ready to take it on. She had everything planned out, because that’s the kind of kid she was. Organized. Methodical. Determined.

She had seen a picture of a snowwoman on her mother’s Pinterest site, and she vowed she would make it with Katie.

Katie had never seen snow—would never see snow. But she could feel it and touch it and taste it. Katie had lost her eyesight at the age of three, her mother told Susie when they moved onto the street, and Susie had more compassion for Katie than she even understood.

“I can’t wait for it to snow,” Katie had said to Susie. “I want to play in it.”

“We will play in it,” Susie said. “You are going to help me build this snowwoman.”

“What snowwoman?” Katie asked.

Susie thought for a second, as she was holding the picture of the snowwoman in her hand that her mother had printed for her on the color printer. She realized Katie could not see it, so she took great care to tell her what she was going to look like. “She is going to have a round body, a round middle, and a round head,” she said. “But not too round. We don’t want people to think she eats too much.” Katie giggled.

Katie’s mother was helping her put on her snow clothing as Susie stood in the foyer, feeling quite warm with all her layers on. At the age of nine, the two girls had quickly become good friends over the course of the last six months.

“What is the snowwoman going to wear?” Katie asked Susie.

“I have it all outside,” she said. “My mother gave me a box of old clothes we can put on her. I have a pink scarf with glitter, old clip on earrings, a very pretty hat, and some colorful buttons. I even have a pair of high-heeled old boots she can wear!”

Katie clapped in delight. “Can I put the buttons on?” she asked Susie.

“Of course…you are going to help me with everything. I can’t do it by myself.”

Katie’s mother zipped up the last zip and helped her walk outside the door. “Have fun, girls,” she called.

snowLady
Photo credit: Snow Lady, Betsy Bennett,1996, Egg Tempera Published courtesy of CCMOA

For two hours, the girls rolled and sculpted and created their own version of the printed snowwoman.

When it came time for the finishing touches, Susie’s mother came outside to put the hat on top of the snowwoman’s head, as the two were too petite to reach.

“I wish you could see her,” Susie said, breathless and delighted at their creation. She was beaming with pride.

“I can see her,” Katie said. “Because of you I can see it in my imagination. And I know she’s beautiful.”

Susie gave Katie a little squeeze.

“And now the last item gets added,” Susie said, as she handed something to her mother. “Mom, put these sunglasses on her face. We’re going to name her Katie.”

On Life

Fictography #3 — Unlost

Tower Bridge. Photo credit: Kristin Baione/The Faithful Elephant.
Tower Bridge. Photo credit: Kristin Baione/The Faithful Elephant.

In continuing with the Friday Fictography Flash Fiction feature, our photograph this week comes from a fellow blogger and current student, Kristin Baione. Taken last year when a group of our students went to London as part of an Intercultural class, Kristin shot this photo of Tower Bridge. Here is the fictional story I wrote to go along with this lovely shot Kristin took. Thank you, Kristin, for participating. Incidentally, you can read some of Kristin’s work at The Faithful Elephant by clicking here.

Unlost

Muriel found the bench she’d been sitting on alone for the past five years. It had become her Friday ritual, one that she looked forward to the way she supposed young people looked forward to going for a walk or a run with those tiny speakers shoved into their ears. They certainly can’t be comfortable, she thought, forcing plastic into the ear cavity. Not to mention you can lose your hearing by playing the music too loudly. And yet those ear pods, as the youngsters called them, must bring some sort of happiness to them, for she often saw them smiling, singing, or banging their heads to the music whilst they went upon their merry way.

What a feeling that must be, she thought, to feel merry.

Her 65th birthday was next week, and the thought of celebrating another one alone nearly killed her with each passing year. This would be the sixth birthday—since she was 21—without Gregory. Her son, Alexander, was in Austrailia, and her daughter married an American and was living in New York. Her daughter had begged her to come to America—come back to America—for Muriel was born and raised in the States, and didn’t step foot on English soil until she was 21. Her trip had been a graduation present from her parents. Little did they expect she would never return from it.

Gregory had been the first boy she’d talked to in London, right at the foot of Tower Bridge. She liked seeing it from this vantage point, and for some reason the grey sky felt depressingly appropriate. If she counted how many grey skies there had been on her Friday visits, she was sure they outnumbered the sunny days by a mile.

She opened up her lunch bag and proceeded to take out her cucumber sandwich and her napkin, which she placed across her lap. It wasn’t much, but it did the trick with her bottle of water.

“Excuse me,” said a woman who looked equal in age to Muriel. “May I sit here with you?”

“Of course,” Muriel said, moving her pocketbook.

“So gloomy, eh?” said the woman.

“Ah, yes, rather grey indeed,” Muriel replied.

“I’ve seen you here before, I think,” said the woman. She dusted off an apple with a napkin she produced from her coat pocket, which she then put to use after taking her first bite, as she delicately wiped away the dripping apple juice from her mouth.

“Yes, you do look familiar.”

“And you look quite sad,” said the woman.

“Is that so?” Muriel asked. “Why is that?”

“Ah, my dear, only you know the answer to that. I can only say what I see.”

It made Muriel unhappy to know that she looked glum to other people. Two women forty years their junior jogged by, laughing, as they prepared to stick the tiny earphones into their ears. Muriel looked around, not knowing how to respond to the woman.

“I’m Kate,” said the woman to Muriel. “And I think you need a friend.”

“It’s not a bad idea,” said Muriel.

“Do you enjoy coffee?” Kate asked.

PCBritain“I’ve been known to appreciate a fine cup,” said Muriel.

“My daughter and son-in-law own a coffee shop not too far from here. When you’re through with your sandwich, we can take a walk over, and I’ll treat you to a cup.”

Muriel thought this was a very kind offer, albeit somewhat peculiar. However, she acknowledged that sometimes the best of friends are made when we least expect it. As well, sometimes we meet the loves of our life when we least expect it. Like when she met Gregory.

“Are you lost, Miss?” he had said to her at the foot of Tower Bridge, dressed impeccably in his police uniform.

“I just may be,” she said back, smiling at Gregory, his hazel eyes shimmering from the sunlight bouncing off the water.

“Would you like to become unlost, then?”

Unlost. A funny, clever, non-existent word, and yet, from that point on, she became unlost with Gregory for thirty-nine blissful years.

“Come along, now,” Kate was saying to Muriel as they began to walk away from the bench. “They brew a scrumptious pot of Hazelnut. Do you fancy Hazelnut?”

About Creative Writing, On Love

Wrapped Up in Love

wrappedupinlove
Photo credit: Winter Street Studio

Wrapped Up in Love—I used this particular phrase recently when I told my friend Sarah, whose father-in-law was visiting her over the holidays for a month (or more), that he must feel “all wrapped up in love” as he spends some quality time with her family. He lives far from them, and moved in for the weeks leading up to and through the Christmas holiday and New Year’s.

ViralPHotoThis particular photograph that’s posted filled with words on a page is one that is going viral—I’ve seen it on all sorts of social media sights, and I’m not sure what the originating source is. I’m seeing lots of my friends post it on Facebook, and I’ve seen it on Instagram and Pinterest. Whatever the originating source, it really doesn’t matter; it’s the sentiment that matters. And it seems to be speaking to a lot of folks.

Getting “wrapped up in love” is something we owe ourselves. Surrounding yourself with people who love you and support you is imperative to your well-being. Allowing yourself to help others and have them help you is such an empowering feeling, but overall, you need to feel loved and supported.

My husband and I constantly say to each other, “Where is the time going?” Our children are growing up so fast, we work busy jobs, and we try our best to have meaningful social lives with our families and friends. Time does move quickly.

So why waste any of it? As the paper says, life is too short to be anything but happy.

On Life

2013 Taught Me Much

LessonsDear Readers,

What is the best part of life? The ability to learn, day by day, about people, places and things. Our minds are incredible, and allow us to be lifelong learners. That is what we strive to teach our students at Stevenson University — that the element of curiosity should always stay with you, and that you should remain intrigued and interested in the world around you.

We all learn things every day, from the smallest of things to grand-scheme lessons on life.

As such, here are five things I took away from 2013. Some are good, some not so good, but in each case, they helped me grow as a person and in understanding. If you feel compelled enough to share a few of the lessons you’ve learned, please feel free to post them in the comments area.

As always, thank you for being a part of my online world, and I look forward to “seeing you” in 2014.

#5

Take timeYou have to make time for yourself and what you love to do. If it’s my husband, he needs that time to exercise—run, bike, swim—whatever it is; he needs time for physical fitness. As for me, I need time to write. It offers me a sense of accomplishment, and I enjoy the journey and creative process. What is it you need to make time for this year? Whatever it is, here’s a tip: Schedule it into your calendar, as if it is a part of your routine. When something becomes routine, you do it more often, and you feel badly when you don’t make time for it.

#4

LaughterThis one’s huge. Adding laughter to your day is imperative. It keeps you happy and youthful. Laugh with your spouse, your mother, your father, your grandparents, your kids, your friends, your colleagues, your students. There is enough seriousness on this Earth–we need some time to lighten up and find things funny. We work hard in this country with little time off, so it’s important that we make the most of our working days and our off days. Put a little sunshine–and laughter–into them.

#3

RegretThe year 2013 marked the year that our family made the plunge: we moved. And although we only moved 20 minutes away, it was a move nonetheless. The kids had to change schools, my husband and I had different (and longer) commutes to work, and we moved into a neighborhood where we knew no one. We had been looking to move for years, and when we found our neighborhood, we just knew it was the right one for us—and for the kids. I think when you know in your heart something is right, you do it, so you don’t have to stare down that frightful word called REGRET. We couldn’t be happier in our new place, we are excited to spend many years here, and we love our new friends we are all making. And though it required us to step out of a comfort zone we’d been in for 14 years, it was the best thing we did, on so many levels.

#2

Mother TeresaThe wisdom of Mother Teresa! This was probably the most noteworthy lesson I learned this year, even as a 40-something wife and mother of two. I learned to be thankful for the people who are in my life—and want to be in my life—and who care about me and my family. (For example, when we moved, my dearest family and friends wished me well, hugged me goodbye, sent cards, came to visit, brought housewarming gifts and dinner, and called me to check up on me.) Simultaneously, I also learned not to dwell on and to let go of supposed “close friends” who did not do the same, and who only brought clouds to my otherwise sunny days. As disappointment is wont to do, I have come through it just fine—as anyone would—for the better, because as Mother Teresa said, there are those people who are lessons. They come in for a reason, you grow and are better for it, and as well, you find the strength to let them go because it was a lesson. From that, you are, by virtue of experience, wiser.

The point is, it’s those who are blessings that matter, and Mother Teresa said it both succinctly and well.

#1

MagicInsideI have only the utmost admiration for this woman. JK Rowling won me over with her speech to Harvard graduates several years ago. Her wit and humility make her someone to look up to, on so many levels. As a writer and successful woman, she exudes a spirit of triumph. Additionally, I can only admire her determination to prove she can craft other works besides “Harry Potter;” however, I know she can write. I know she is a great storyteller. She need not prove anything to me.

But what she teaches us, and what I had to find out for myself over the last few years, is that she’s right. We all do have our own special magic inside of us.

And likewise, it’s important to put that magic to good use.

I found that particular brand of magic when I taught my very first class as a 27-year-old working professional. The feeling I got when I was in the classroom was unlike any feeling I’d had professionally. And though it took me many years to turn that passion into a full-time job, the magic was alive and well within me. In fact, teaching gives me such joy that it is difficult to put it into words. For me, the magical part comes as I strive to share my enthusiasm with others. My friend and colleague, Leeanne, said it best: “I would teach even if you didn’t pay me; however, what you do have to pay me for is grading the papers.”

Funny, but so true.

Here’s to 2014, readers. I hope you all find that special magic inside of you, and to those of you who have already found it, continue to use it.

Happy New Year.

On Life

The True Meaning of Friendship

Group PhotoLast Friday night, I organized a reunion. It wasn’t a high school or college reunion. It was a reunion of people who worked together in Baltimore for a baseball team called the Orioles. Having spent many seasons as an employee of the club, and having many friends who did the same (some of them still there enjoying last year’s great season as well as this one), we decided it was time for a big get-together.

Many folks may say that it sounds crazy that former colleagues want to get together—but the fact of the matter is—that’s where many of us “grew up” in our 20s and 30s when we were getting know who we were as people. When you work 81 home games, spend countless hours working on projects and events during the off-season and in-season, you get to know people pretty well. Lifelong friendships are formed.

I recall nights working the games when we would stay until the last pitch, and then we would go sing Karaoke at a club or hang out and have a beer on site. The antics that went on during that time of our lives were fantastic. I was reminiscing with Paul, the O’s former groundskeeper, as we recounted times past on Friday night. I reminded him of how he used to make Julie and me take off our shoes for team picture day, and how pitcher Mike Mussina decided to confiscate our shoes and hide them in the clubhouse. We were a pair of shoeless dames for hours after that happened.

In cases where you spend inordinate amounts of time together, bonds of friendship can be quite strong. In fact, my best friends were made there—people who love you for you—unconditionally, and without question. It’s also quite special because I met my husband there. But I wasn’t the only one—many of us married people we worked with as well.

For a moment, I stood on that rooftop bar at Camden Yards on Friday night, and took it all in; it was as if not a day had passed. Everyone looked fantastic. Everyone was smiling, hugging, catching up, and wishing the night didn’t have to end. Even though we don’t see each other as much as we used to or want to and are busy with children, work, and activities, we just pick right up where we left off.

That evening was so special to me—and depicts the true meaning of friendship.

About Creative Writing, Posts About Baseball

On slumps, in baseball and in writing…

CreativityLast night after my son’s baseball game and in the middle of a post-game, in-depth discussion about baseball bunting, I told my kids to hold it a second. “Let’s call Charles and ask him what he thinks about bunting.”

I’m not a fan of bunting, though I do realize it has its benefits. I dialed Charles’s number, and he picked up. This, in itself, is miraculous. Sometimes he is just too busy to chat. Charles currently works for the Boston Red Sox, is a brilliant, creative mind, and happens to be one of my former bosses from my days at the Orioles.  He also is one of those dearest of friends where, when you chat with him, though we haven’t lived in the same city for years, not a moment has passed. We always just pick up where we left off.

In this discussion where Charles used Earl Weaver as an example of one who didn’t much care for the bunt, we determined that it’s really the sacrifice bunt that I have a problem with in the game of baseball. I don’t like giving up an out just to advance a runner. For some reason, it drives me crazy, and we talked it through. And don’t get me started on the suicide squeeze.

After we worked out the bunting issue—for you see, I am writing my next novel about baseball and working in the sport—he asked me how my writing was coming along. I didn’t tell him the whole truth, that I’ve been in a writing slump, and that I’ve hardly paid much attention to it lately. Instead, I just said, “Well, I’ve got about 42,000 words written.” Why I say this to people, I have no idea. What good is a novel in progress if you’re not writing it? “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” was roughly 58,000 words. This really means nothing. “Baseball Girl” may end up being longer. It’s hard to say when you’ve abandoned the poor, helpless characters that rely on you.

The truth of the matter is, I realized, like ballplayers, I’m in a slump. They have hitting slumps and I have writing slumps.

CalRipkenO'sBut like most slumps, at some point you come out of them. Remember when Cal Ripken had his hitting slump and problem with his stance at the plate? We all thought it was over, but the Iron Man fooled us, and came out of it just fine. We should have known better.

What I also didn’t reveal to Charles is that, thanks to his prodding and enthusiasm for my writing (he gave me wonderful, rave reviews for my first book), I am back at it. I’m ready to go. Today, a few ideas came flooding into my very tired brain. The light’s been switched back on.

As Dionne Warwick once belted out in song, “That’s what friends are for.”

On Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

This week’s weekly photo challenge comes from Sara Rosso at WordPress.

The word is Kiss.

In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means KISS to you!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss
Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

I adore this photo. These are my friends Gui and Jenny; Gui is being silly by planting a KISS on Jenny’s cheek as we ham it up for the camera at the Michael Buble concert in Washington, D.C. My husband took the photo of us. We are all old friends who always have a great time whenever we get together. What I love about this photo is the pure innocence that’s captured as we laughed, talked, and caught up on each others’ lives that night while we enjoyed the concert from a suite. After working all day, it’s nice to know that we can still let our hair down and have a good time.

Books & Flim

The Reviews Are Rolling In & An Excerpt From The Book. What People Are Saying About “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.”

Fran O'Brien's (now just called O'Brien's), one of the locations in my novel. Annapolis, Maryland.

Dear Readers,

Well, it’s been two weeks today since I let it go out into the world. So now what are people saying about my debut novel entitled “Beneath the Mimosa Tree?

I thought I’d let these lovely comments do all the talking, but before I do, I wanted to share an excerpt from the novel just to stir your interest if it hasn’t already been stirred. Then, enjoy reading what people are saying.

We independent authors can use all the support we can get to spread the word about our work. For those of you who have liked the book, thanks for your kind recommendations to others. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

***

A Short Excerpt from “Beneath the Mimosa Tree,” Part II. The story is told in alternating voices. Here’s Annabelle’s voice…

ANNABELLE

When we made our way off the boat and up to the house, empty picnic basket in hand, Michael helped me hobble back to my front door. We stood there for a moment, a little uneasy, not sure as to how to say goodbye. He touched the side of my arm and looked at me in the eyes.

“So that was okay, right? All good?” he said, wanting and needing me to confirm that we hadn’t lost anything, but rather gained something during the day together.

“No,” I said, feeling unusually flirtatious. “It was better than okay.”

He looked surprised for a second, then his smile took over his face. I’ll remember that look for as long as I live.

“I’m glad,” he said, and his hand moved from my upper arm, down past my elbow to my hand, which he took in his own and brought to his lips. He kissed the top of it. I liked the way his warm, wet lips felt on my skin.

“Should we do this again?” he asked. I nodded.

“Okay, then, we’ll figure out another time,” he said.

He turned toward his house, his shoulder square and his posture perfect, and walked away from me. I let him take about twenty steps.

“Michael—” I found myself shouting, and then, doing the best run-shuffle I could manage, ignoring the throbbing in my ankle, ran to him. He turned, and it was I—I who reached for him and kissed him for the very first time. I felt a sensation in my legs I hadn’t yet felt in my seventeen years; they went weak and wobbly, and Michael, his mouth pressed against mine, seemed to catch me. His hands were holding my face, and I don’t know if I breathed at all in the time we stood there, melding into each other. However, I was certain of one thing: the presence of an aching pain from my foot was absent, and I felt only heat and tasted the warmth of love for the first time on that September day.

***

And now for the reviews…

Pusser's at the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel. It used to be called the Afterdeck, and Michael visits it in the book.

***

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While traveling through the lives of Annabelle and Michael, Verni takes you on a journey through beautiful Annapolis, MD with stops in New York and London. Verni’s characters immediately come to life on the pages and I found myself not wanting it to end. I believe everyone will identify with this touching story of family, friends, love, loss….and life lessons learned as we grow up.

–Stacey Janes

Just finished your novel and loved it! You are such a talented writer. I loved the character development. I want to know more about Annabelle and Michael. 🙂 Congratulations!

–Linda Lynch

If you are looking for a good read for Spring Break, I highly recommend “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” by Stephanie Verni. I bought it for my Nook yesterday afternoon, and couldn’t put it down! Check out her blog too… stephsscribe.com.

–Julie Heleba

I loved the book—everything about it. I even had a tear or two at the end. It gives many hope that time heals all wounds. Congratulations to you. Need a sequel!!!

–Kimberly Keith

Stephanie Verni has created a wonderful story of love, life decisions, friendship, and forgiveness with her beautifully written book “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.” This is a story we can all relate to in some way, and I feel Stephanie did a tremendous job of creating two characters that were real and vulnerable. I also loved the bonds of friendship with the supporting characters and how they each supported their friend through life no matter what. I was captivated from page one!

–Tammy Rossbach

Simply wonderful. You can tell the author has put her heart into the novel. Well written and the style flows well. A read for a sunny day on a lounger.

–Mrs. N. Ormerod

This is me holding my draft copy of the novel. See how I'm in absolute disbelief that I finally finished the thing?

I found this novel captivating from beginning to end. Stephanie Verni creatively portrays a beautiful story of two young people’s love and its evolution in “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.” The story is written through the eyes of the two main characters, Michael and Annabelle. Verni imaginatively flips from one character to the other, leaving the reader always wanting more. She also paints the backdrop, predominantly Annapolis, Maryland, but also London and New York, vividly. I almost felt as if I was with the characters as the story unfolded. All in all, it was a great feel good book, perfect read for a vacation.

–Darlene Norton

Just wanted to let you know that I broke my rule and read your book over the weekend, even though I am half way through another book. I was just too tempted by your pretty cover I guess. I enjoyed the story very much! What a sweet story. I loved Michael and Annabelle and their quest for forgiveness and a happy future! Enjoy your success and then get busy on the second novel.

–Mary Best

Just finished “Beneath the Mimosa Tree” and loved it! Thank you so much for writing the book! Could you, please, get started on another “best seller!”

–Maureen Spearman

On Life

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Such a big thrill for me! Click on the image to go right to Amazon!

* * *

This was a big week for me. For the first time in my life, I can say I’m an author. I’ve written a book. I’ve endured the anxieties that come along with self-publishing, and miraculously, I’m still standing. It’s been a week where sleep has meant very little, but my friends have meant a lot.

Launching one’s own piece of writing is a test. It’s truly a test of one’s own nerves. I’ve asked myself if I have the gumption to subject myself to criticism and opinion when the writing and plot of my book are dissected. I’ve got to have thick skin; it’s true. If I don’t, I’ll never make it as a writer. (Or anything else in life, for that matter, if I’m unwilling to give it a try!)

But what was overwhelming this week for me was not launching it. That part was pretty easy. The overwhelming part was how responsive my friends, colleagues, and family members have been with regard to the book. Friends have reached out and said, “We can’t wait to read it!” They’ve posted my announcements on their Facebook pages and pinned to my book on Pinterest. They’ve talked about it and passed along the word to others. I’ve been on a high all week. I’m so thankful. I truly am.

And guess what that does? It makes me want to work harder the next time I put something out there because I’d never want to let them down. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without my support system. My Facebook friends have been amazing. I’ll be forever grateful.

On Amazon's list of 4-for-3 yesterday.

The most fun has been watching the book move around on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” area under the 4-for-3 category. At one point, I hit #10 under “general fiction.” When I saw Nicholas Sparks was at #1, it was the biggest thrill. In that category, I was only nine behind him.

That’s all well and good and loads of fun. At this point, after all the stress, I should be allowed to have a little fun with it. And I do intend to enjoy it now. However, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson this week. It’s quite simple, actually, and it comes in the form of a song. As the Beatles said, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”