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

My Third Novel, Inn Significant, Is Now Available !!!

B I G   N E W S   T O D A Y ! ! !

INN SIGNIFICANT IS NOW AVAILABLE !


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A few weeks ago I likened birthing a novel to birthing a baby, except without the physical pain and need for drugs.

I still think it’s true.

I’m happy to report that my third novel, Inn Significant, is now available via Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both paperback and for the e-readers.

As those of us who are independent authors know, this is when the marketing work begins, and it ain’t easy. Plus, it requires me to do something that I’m not used to doing, and that’s to ask for help. How can you help, you may ask? I’ve got a couple of ideas.

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If you happen to purchase and like my novel, there are three things you can do that can make a big difference for authors like me. First, you can post a positive review on Amazon or B&N. Your reviews do matter, and it helps cast an author’s work in a positive light for potential readers. Second, you can share it and talk it up on social media. And, third, you can just help spread the word the old-fashioned way—by verbally recommending it. Any or all would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve spent hours upon hours on this novel, and to say I became weepy today as I hit the “publish” button is an understatement. I think this book is my personal favorite of the three novels I’ve written. I became very attached to these characters, and hope you will feel the same way. But more than that, my itch to live in a small town on the water has grown exponentially.

Below you will find the description of the novel that is on the back cover. Please let me know what you think, and I humbly thank you for all of your support.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to three incredible people without whom I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do: my husband, Anthony; my mother, Leni; and my father, Doug. They are always there cheering me on every step of the way.

I hope you enjoy my third baby, Inn Significant. It’s time to celebrate.

To purchase via Amazon for Kindle, click here.

To purchase via Amazon in paperback, click here.

To purchase via Barnes & Noble for the Nook, click here (paperback version should be available later tonight).

With great appreciation,

xx |

15781589_865992106837911_1585157622209528074_nStephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

About the Inn Significant: A Novel

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 late 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.

On Life

Coming in February: Inn Significant, A Novel

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INN SIGNIFICANT by Stephanie Verni…Coming in January.

What if three weeks after suffering a miscarriage, you faint and find yourself on the floor of your own home’s cold foyer, and as you regain consciousness, you have to acknowledge the horrible news that was relayed to you moments ago by two police officers: that your husband of ten years—the love of your life—was tragically killed by a tractor-trailer on the slick, rainy interstate?

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.

DSC_0142Set in Oxford on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, readers will experience Milly’s return to life through vivid description, lively characters and dialogue, and glimpses into the Depression-era as Milly learns more about her grandmother’s past…and that she, too, is capable of moving beyond tragedy.

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This is the premise of my new novel, Inn Significant, which will be released in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to sharing this story with you, and hope you will enjoy reading it.

As always, I thank you immensely for your support of my writing and creative endeavors. I will let you know when it launches and is available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Thanks, all! Wishing you a very happy holiday season filled with blessings.

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the upcoming novel Inn Significant. She is also a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

On Life

Holidays, Miracles, Hallmark & Traditions: A Blogger’s Paradise

Hello, there.

You probably thought I fell off the planet because I haven’t been here in a while. It sort of feels that way, at least to me, anyway. I’ve been trying to take some needed time away to clear my head, focus on my teaching, and get ready for the holidays. I’ve also been dealing with a health issue that’s had me a bit sidetracked. It’s not always easy to juggle everything, is it? So often we wonder where time has gone and how we can get more of it to enjoy the things we want to be doing. The truth is, life throws us some curveballs we didn’t see coming, and we must adapt. I didn’t intend to be away for so long. In fact, I think it was my longest time away from blogging. Maybe FROCKTOBER did me in! 😉

Instead of a long post about one particular topic, today I’m going to just chat about some random things, if that’s okay with you. It’s sort of a blogger’s paradise to talk about a variety of things.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-42-47-amAFTER YOU

I finally finished AFTER YOU for my book club book. As you may have read in a previous post, I absolutely loved ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes. I can’t say the same is true for the sequel. Louisa Clark, as charming and endearing as she was in the first book, just didn’t seem like the same person in the second book. I became annoyed by her, actually. Her character is getting over the death of Will, and while that in itself is a tough bit to handle, she lost her verve and quirkiness and wasn’t nearly as funny as she was in the first book. Additionally, the plot rolled one ridiculous thing into the next, making the story lose its realness, at least to me. I almost wish I didn’t read the sequel because I loved how ME BEFORE YOU ended.

HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES

Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr. and Willie Nelson
Angels Sing with Harry Connick Jr. and Willie Nelson

Yes, it’s that time of the year again, and it’s the only month of the year where I command the remote in our house. I’m busily watching one Hallmark movie after another, trying to keep up with the new ones the best I can. I enjoyed JOURNEY BACK TO CHRISTMAS with Candace Cameron Bure, a sweet time-travel Christmas story that harkens back to WWII. Also, ANGELS SING with Harry Connick Jr., although it is not new this year and is featured on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, is one of my daughter and my favorites. It tugs at the heartstrings, but has a great cast including Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson. I’ll let you know what else I end up loving as I watch them.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-42-11-amLast night, our family took a trip into Baltimore for dinner at Oceanaire in Harbor East, and then we headed up town to Hampden to see the famous 34th Street–replete with lights, Christmas nostalgia, and a lot of Baltimore culture. The block showcases row homes decorated to excess, with lights draped over the main street to add to the ambiance. If you haven’t visited this holiday landmark, be sure to do so. In my daughter’s words, it will leave you “absolutely speechless.”

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DECORATING THE HOUSE

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-40-57-amIn one of the Hallmark movies I watched, one of the characters says that Christmas isn’t just about the day, it’s about the traditions that surround the whole season. I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly. Our tradition of cutting down the tree the day after Thanksgiving still stands, and we still go to Pine Valley Farms in Sykesville, Maryland. We spend that day (Friday) and Saturday getting our home ready for the holidays. This year, I’m particularly excited because both sides of our families will be with us on Christmas Eve. Traditions are important to keep because long after the kids have grown and have moved away, I hope they will remember the things we did to make the season special.

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inn-significant-cover-verniINN SIGNIFICANT

Be on the lookout in January for my newest novel, INN SIGNIFICANT. I’ll be publishing it after the holidays, so if you get an AMAZON GIFT CARD…

I’ll keep you posted.

That’s it, ladies and gentleman.

I’ll see you next time.

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

 

On Life

St. Michaels, Maryland: A Photo Essay & Setting For My New Novel

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I love the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Whenever I can steal away and spend time in one of the many adorable towns across the Chesapeake Bay, I jump at the opportunity. Saturday was just such a time. Additionally, I have a vested interest in getting a good “feel” for the place as my new novel is set primarily in Oxford, Maryland, with jaunts to St. Michaels and Easton as well. I’ve done my homework—this summer, I spent time in Oxford. I made two trips there to walk around and get a feel for the place and the people. On Saturday, I took a stroll…it was just my camera and me as I attempted to capture the essence of all it offers residents and visitors. I’m sharing my photos; despite that it was a grey day in St. Michaels, the weather can’t put a damper on the splendor and the beauty of the town.

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The picturesque town sits on the water; shopping, boating, inns, churches, and homes with white picket fences abound.

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I happened to be visiting on Saturday when the Antique Car Show was taking place.

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This is my favorite shot from the day. This is the patio of a homeowner in St. Michaels. The sign out back is something we all should remember: Life Is A Journey, Not A Destination.

I am very excited to launch my new novel in November. Every time I go back, I know I picked the right setting for the characters…and if I close my eyes sometimes, I can imagine them walking these beautiful streets.

Books & Flim

Baseball Girl Receives Some Hometown Press in Annapolis

TheCapitalThanks to my friend Tim Thomas, writer Sarah Hainesworth, and photographer Paul Gillespie at The Annapolis Capital for running this great feature story on Baseball Girl in Sunday’s Life section. I’m so happy they were willing to get the word out about my second novel.

Thanks for the support!

Click here to read the article in The Capital.

On Life

A Letter from A (Male) Reader

MimosaTreePicnicI was so flattered last night by an email my husband received from his friend, Bob Cusack. An old college friend, Bob is the managing editor of The Hill, which makes his comments to me even more special, because he is a successful writer, editor, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild. His words to my husband last night were touching, and he has permitted me to share them with you today. Thanks, Bob. When I read something like this, it makes me happy that I decided to self-publish “Beneath the Mimosa Tree,” and it encourages me to persevere and finish writing “Baseball Girl.” Thank you for taking the time to read my novel.

I am on an Amtrak back heading back to DC from NYC.

Just finished Stephanie’s book. Really enjoyed it. Very moving. Great character development and the back and forth of the first person narrative is very unique.


I can see why it has been such a great success and an award winner.


Please tell her what she already knows — she has a clear talent.

Books & Flim, Letters & Letter Writing

Mimosa Trees & Christmas Trees: A Letter From A Reader

Mimosa Tree. Photo credit: Jennifer Bumgarner.

This morning, I thought I’d share a letter I received from a reader.

Dear Stephanie,

I read your novel, “Beneath the Mimosa Tree,” and enjoyed it from the first page to the last. It’s such a perfect read for this time of year!

While your title reflects something that happened “under the tree,” I wanted to tell folks who haven’t read the book what a perfect time of year it is to read this novel. It takes place primarily in the fall season, and moves through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. The sweetness of the characters as the plot unfolds makes it a perfect book to cuddle up with as the holidays are approaching. The significance of the holidays in your story is heartwarming, and I hope other readers will feel the same way I did. Your novel is endearing.

Thanks for giving us Annabelle, Michael, and Vivi. I adore them all.

I hope there will be more books to come in the future,

Sincerely,

Jenna H., A Fan

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Thanks, Jenna!

SOME BEHIND THE SCENES FACTS

In the backyard of the house where I lived with my parents in my formative years, there was a mimosa tree. The tree was leafy, and at night, its little leaves would curl up and go to sleep. By the end of June, the tree was in its full glory, sporting the pink, fuzzy blossoms that make it a treasure.

When people ask my about my book and why I called it “Beneath the Mimosa Tree,” (some people stating that they don’t  know what a mimosa tree is), I tell them that one particular significant moment happens “beneath that tree.” I hung the entirety of the book’s title on that moment.

The original title of it was “Contelli’s Mimosa,” but several people told me it reminded them of the Nicholas Cage movie from many moons ago called, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.” When I heard that, I changed the name of the book.

Jenna is absolutely right; most of the novel takes place in the fall straight through New Year’s Eve. Autumn is my favorite season straight through the December holidays. We’ve got pumpkins and Thanksgiving, and even a little Christmas Tree shopping and holiday parties thrown in to set the stage. And, there’s some romance and a wise grandmother to give it some sparkle.

It might actually make a good holiday gift.

About Creative Writing, Books & Flim

Upcoming Events…Come and see me!

At the first book talk I did at my second home: Stevenson University

September is right around the corner, and there are lots of events on the docket. It will be a busy month as I continue promoting BENEATH THE MIMOSA TREE. I’ve had a lot of support from friends & colleagues, local businesses and groups, and students–both current and former. Here’s a list of events I’ll be attending in September, so I hope to see you around town.

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 — Greetings & Readings Book Signing, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Greetings & Readings, Hunt Valley, MD

Greetings & Readings, Event & Author Link

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 — METAvivor’s 3rd Annual Author’s Luncheon, 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The Doubletree Hilton, Annapolis, MD (A portion of my book sales will go to this fine organization)

METAvivor Author’s Luncheon Link

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 — Baltimore Book Festival, Noon – 7 p.m., Author’s Tent

Mt. Vernon, Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Book Festival Link

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Additionally, on September 1, the winners will be announced for the READERS FAVORITE CONTEST in which I placed as a finalist in the category of contemporary romance. Keep your fingers crossed that BENEATH THE MIMOSA TREE does well!

Books & Flim

Video Trailer #2 for Beneath the Mimosa Tree

Here’s the second video trailer for the book with the author’s overview of the novel.

Also, friends in the Severna Park, Arnold, and Annapolis areas—”Beneath the Mimosa Tree” is now available at Side Street Framers & Gift Gallery in Park Plaza.

Side Street Framers & Gift Gallery in Park Plaza, Severna Park, now carries “Beneath the Mimosa Tree.”
Books & Flim

Hometown Publicity

At my first book signing at Stevenson University. Click on the photo to go to The Severna Park Voice.

If you can’t count on your hometown to give you a little book publicity, who can you count on? I’m so thrilled that The Severna Park Voice covered my first book talk and wrote about it in its latest issue (click on this to read it). Thanks to Meredith Thompson, the journalist who covered the story, and Hayley Gable Bowerman, Editor of The Severna Park Voice, for deciding to feature it. It’s such a thrill.

To my friends who went to Severna Park High School with me, it’s great to see our town is still what it always was–a tight knit group of people who love where they live. Honestly, it’s the reason why I chose our old stomping grounds as the backdrop of my novel. I wanted other people to see Annapolis (and surrounding areas) as I saw it and still see it today–as a warm, loving community that remains scenic and beautiful.

The more talk and promotion the book receives, obviously, the better it will do. I rely on my readers to help spread the word about it. It’s tough being a one man band and trying to get people to notice it in the vast Amazon jungle of noteworthy reads. I’m so thankful The Severna Park Voice wanted to share the news of it.

It’s not too late to get it as a Mother’s Day gift. Jenny’s cover photograph is getting lots of praise, and I can’t tell you enough how it makes my day to hear someone say they liked the story. It’s about regret, forgiveness, family, and love. My characters have a lot to say…I’d love it if you’d give them a listen.

Besides, when you’re through reading it, you may want to indulge in some tasty food and drink, such as a little eggplant parmesean, which you can always wash down with a Mistletoe Martini and a chocolate chip cannoli. Michael and Annabelle are fans of all three.

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!

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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.”