What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Virginia Brownie Troop Believing In Horses visit, Fair Hill, Horses on Trailer, Jaime and baby

Fun summer with book signings, trail rides, work, family fun, and more.

As people are going back to school, it seemed a good time to think back on what I did on my summer vacation. Now, this will be the first time I’ve actually had to write one of these, because although I’ve heard of the assignment for years, I don’t remember ever having to do it. There’s no time like the present!
-Stopped blogging for two months. Surprisingly, I thought so few people read my blogs, until I stopped writing and people asked me what happened. So I guess I can chalk that one up to “research.”
-Attended my first American Horse Publications conference. Great fun, good people, and learned a lot. Professional development.
-Showed Lucky Western in the Southern Maryland Horse Show Association. Highlight: judge told me he needs to in the English ring because he moves so good. Proud horse mom.
-Some firsts on trail rides: first time we had all three of our horses out together, and first time for a bed and breakfast overnighter with horses (Fairwinds Farm and Stable). Love that trailer.
-Presentations/book signings at Loftmar Stables, West River Summer Camp, to the best-behaved Brownie troop ever from Virginia, and to the South County Senior Center. All good.
-Chaired the Prince George’s County Equine Industry Task Force’s Subcommittee on Unwanted Horses and Ethical Treatment of Equines. Hope to educate/inform the community on issues. [Read more…]

Hitting it Big at Borders

Book signing for Believing In Horses by Valerie Ormond on July 16, 2011

Book signing for Believing In Horses at Borders, Annapolis, Md. on July 16th, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

July 16th, will mark a new “first” in the Believing In Horses experience – a book signing at a major bookstore, Borders, in Annapolis, Md. To some, this may not seem to be such a big deal. After all, Believing In Horses is a BOOK, and Borders is a BOOK store, so why should people stop what they are doing to read this post? Let me explain.
Remember the story The Little Engine That Could, about the small engine that pulls a train over the mountain while repeating its motto: “I-think-I-can”? Or maybe for horse lovers, remember Seabiscuit, the scrawny colt no one believed in who overcame all odds to become a world-famous racehorse? Well, getting a book from a small press like J.B. Max Publishing into a large bookstore like Borders represents a similar feat.
You see, large bookstores like to deal with big publishers and major distributors; it’s much easier than working with the less known. However, I’ve found once again, decent people exist who provide chances for the little guys like me. I asked, and the Sales Manager at Borders, Annapolis, welcomed me, as a local author, with enthusiasm and professionalism. Maybe he felt me telegraphing, “I-think-I-can” in my request. [Read more…]

The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running Photo

But what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about?  Well, running is a part of who I am.  I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy.  I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor.  I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better.  I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out.  I owe a lot in life to my running habit.

 

As the title suggests, I am not a fast runner, but I have kept going.  I’ve met people who have been discouraged by running, so since it is National Running Day, I thought I’d offer my personal advice for what has worked for me.  And all this for free!

  1.  Start slow.  Real slow.  Even if you walk a minute, then run a minute; some start is better than none.  This was probably the key to me continuing to run when I became dedicated.  I had always gone out too fast, became completely out of breath, and thought “this sucks.”  Start slow and build.  If you can breathe while you are running, you’re more likely to stick with it.
  2. Listen to music you like that will motivate you.  Bonus:  you also can’t listen to yourself breathing hard or hear the cat calls from your adoring fans.
  3. Buy good shoes; don’t skimp here.  If you don’t know what kind of shoes to buy, go to a good reputable running store with knowledgeable salespeople and ask.  Replace shoes every six months once you regularly use them.
  4. Find places you like to run – parks, running trails, bike trails, neighborhoods, gyms, your own treadmill – and break up the routine.  If you like where you run, you’re more likely to do it.
  5. Finally, set you OWN goals, not someone else’s.  Are your goals to improve your distance or time, or are they to ensure you are doing something good and healthy for yourself at least a few times a week?  Are your goals to run in every local park?  Do you want to complete a 10K?  Or are you motivated by ensuring you squeeze out at least a few hours a week just for you?  Whatever your goals; make them yours, adjust them accordingly, and keep a running log to see your patterns.

What better day for a new start than National Running Day?  If the President has time…and Oprah had time…don’t you?

*Author unknown, but in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Muscles

Now that I’m offically a “writer,” people frequently ask me: “How do I become a better writer?”

My responses may vary some, but the key advice doesn’t change: “Write more and read more.”

I especially like to encourage people to expand beyond what they noramlly write to flex those brain muscles. Reaching beyond normal boundaries also provides writers a good break from their normal routines, and may just unearth hidden talents writers may not know lie beneath.

I took my own advice a few months back and participated in Writing.com’s 15 for 15 contest. Contestants respond to a writing prompt title and image, and write a story, prose, or  poetry in 15 minutes or less for 15 days in a row. I truly enjoyed the people I met virtually through the contest and found it to be an excellent exercise in ensuring I wrote — even just for 15 minutes a day — for over two weeks. I even placed a few days, and below was what the judges named the winning entry one day. I considered it a win that I hit all 15 days, and learned something in the process.

Writing Prompt

[Read more…]

Measuring Success

How do you measure success as a writer?

Novel Publicity posed this as one of its author Facebook page questions last week.  I’ve considered this question regularly, and need to come back to it when I get off track.  I SHOULD develop a writing mantra along the lines of “Success equals creating something meaningful.”  Okay, need to work on the mantra, but I think you get my point.

Forces must have realized I needed to think about it, as I came across Charlotte Carter’s blog entry, Win Vs. Compete.  Her final question:  “Where do you fit on the competitiveness scale?” I’m very proud of my military background and heritage.  However, spending 25-years in competitive organizations among extremely competitive people drove a competitive edge into me that I don’t think was there by nature.  And now, as a writer, it’s time to focus on what I want as part of the process and in the end, not what someone else has defined for me as success. [Read more…]