About Stepheny

Stepheny at St. George’s College, Jerusalem, 1992

Header photo: Stepheny’s English NC Garden

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and was educated at the University of Kentucky. She lives with her husband in North Carolina where she gardens and writes. She has recently moved to a “Cottage for Two,” where a blank canvas has allowed her to design a new garden; a little less ambitious this time, but nonetheless, a garden!

Between writing and gardening, Stepheny leads women’s Episcopal Church retreats and volunteers in community organizations. She is an addicted reader.

The Greening of a Heart is her first novel. Facing East was published in April 2015.

A personal story: When Stepheny was growing up her father asked how she could expect to become an author if her spelling didn’t improve. It was reported that she replied, “I’ll hire a secretary.” Many years later her oldest granddaughter was part of a school program called, ‘Best Guess Spelling,’ which encouraged small children to write without fear while learning to spell. These precious pieces of communication were pure delight. Stepheny says, “In the mystery of things, I hope my Dad knows I became a writer with a larger vocabulary than I can sometimes spell, but saved by spellcheck.”

You can follow Stepheny on her blog, Stephenyhoughtlin.com where she writes about gardening, personal reflections, her favorite authors and books, and takes people on blog tours to places like the Cotswolds, Charleston, and Chicago. Her Pinterest boards support her many interests and passions for English Gardening and beyond, and images related to her two novels.

Stepheny now writes a second blog, Mainstreetrockymount.com with a by-line…Honoring the Past, Building a Future, where she wears her preservation hat and is involved with the revitalization of the downtown of Rocky Mount, NC. Recently she was awarded by the Governors Office the MAIN STREET CHAMPION AWARD, of which she is proud. With a passion for architecture, she writes nostalgic pieces about the story of Rocky Mount and about new exciting investments in the community, new business and the renewal of historic neighborhoods.

27 Responses to About Stepheny

  1. Vicki Russell says:

    Stepheny – I love your novel! I have been in a cottage on a lake in NH these past few days, and the atmosphere has proven a perfect companion to thoroughly enjoying and appreciating your well crafted prose. I felt sad when I reached the last page, as I had become connected to all your characters, and I look forward to re-reading your book soon. It will definitely be on my list for our book club for next year. Wonderful life advice throughout, and so much of the Stepheny I love and appreciate: gardener, reader, spiritual sage, good friend. Thank you, and I sincerely hope you are working on a sequel.
    Your friend and fan, Vicki

  2. Ed Graf says:

    You haven’t changed since we enjoyed getting together with you and Bob in Park Ridge, IL. thirty some years ago! Would love to reconnect after all these years.

    Ed and Betty Graf, Naples, FL

  3. Patti Hall says:

    Oh, I am sooooo glad that you stopped by at my place during this A-Z Challenge! My mother’s family is from IL and my father’s from KY, so we have some shared roots (gardenly speaking). I like to use words as I see them best used, and I make up some that work even better than old ones. I know I will love your Pinterest, but I may visit there another day. I’m also curious about your book/s, so I will go check out the finished one and look forward to the other one on its way. Cottage gardens and the like are one of my favorite things (I have so many!). I have a habit of checking out the big coffee table garden books and “owning” them for a few weeks at a time, especially in dreary gardenless winter. Love this place that you have made here!
    Happy gardening,

    • I feel like I have made a brand new friend with our shared stories. The novel I wrote has a main character with a cottage garden, one of my passions (I have so many too.) Please come back and we will stroll together through some other garden related topics for the month. Wish we could have tea together and chat all afternoon.

  4. zenkatwrites says:

    Thank God for spellcheck. I am dyslexic and can’t see the words when typed!

  5. Ed says:

    I hope you and Bob were able to get some sleep last night after Kentucky pulled it out in the last six seconds over Wisconsin last night! We’ll be pulling for you Monday night against UConn.
    Ed and Betty Graf

  6. Hi Stepheny! I nominated you for a Liebster Award. I don’t know if you are familiar with it or not, but the details are at http://lorilmaclaughlin.com/2014/05/17/the-liebster-award. Accepting the award is completely optional, but I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your posts. 🙂

  7. Stepheny – Could you email me at sailingawayng@gmail.com? Or visit my blog – I nominated you for a Leibster Award.

  8. eclecticalli says:

    Nice to meet you!! Your spelling story made me laugh — I consider myself a “creative speller” and always laugh when someone says to me “Hey, you’re a writer… how do you spell…..?”

    • Do you remember when you would ask how to spell a word and your parents would say, “Look it up in the dictionary?” Of course, I would reply, “If I don’t know how to spell it, how can I look it up.” You and I are now connected forever. I’ll meet you on spellcheck.

  9. rolandclarke says:

    Returning your visit to my blog and enjoying yours. If you like English Gardens, try this one http://www.bordehill.co.uk/ – my great grandfather Colonel Stephenson Clarke created it in the early 1900s, and my brother lives there today.

    • What a gift you have given me this AM with the link to this beautiful garden. I have bookmarked it so I don’t loose it. The site is fantastic. Wish I knew how to make my blog rotate photos at the header. Very Cool! What a beautiful place that is a part of your story. My first novel is set in Burford in a Vicarage Garden, which allowed me to write about cottage gardens etc. My bookshelves runith over with English Garden books etc.In writing about Christopher Lloyd several times on my blog (not the #Challenge) I have used his line in the new novel…The long conversation that is the English Garden. Perfect! Wish we could have tea together and I could listen to your story of Bordenhil. I’m going to pretend, close my eyes, and meet you at the entrance of the gardens. Watch for me.

    • Have just downloaded your book on my Kindle. I’m in the middle of a English mystery, my addiction if written well and on the cozy side of the spectrum as opposed to hard crime. Will look forward to your ‘5 star’ work.

      • rolandclarke says:

        Returning your visit back to my site, where I’m blogging on gaming. Now far away from the UK as living in Idaho. Borde Hill and English gardens are warm memories, but I can still appreciate them. I will check out your site and your book.

  10. patgarcia says:

    Hi Stepheny,
    Now that I look forward to reading your book, Facing East and getting to know you through your writing.
    All the best.

  11. calensariel says:

    Retreats… A magic word for me. I was secretary for our church for 23 years and part of what I did was organize women’s retreats. One of the greatest joys of my life.

    • I knew we were kindred spirits. I have led two retreats for women last year at our Episcopal Church here in North Carolina. In writing the second novel, Facing East, there is a scene where the main character, Katherine, is speaking to a group of women about wisdom and what she has discovered about acquiring it….or not. would love to know more about the retreats you have organized. Write about it!

  12. Trevor lane says:

    Would you be available to present to K a civic club in rocky mount?

    • Trevor, I have neglected this blog and haven’t answered comments. Still, I feel I might have sent you an e-mail. If you are still setting up civic club speakers, let’s try again to connect so I can see if what you need, I can provide.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s