Christmas Heroes

Christmas brings back my last happy memories with my father. Growing up as “Daddy’s little girl,” it was no family secret that we shared a special bond. Dad served in the Navy in my early years, and I enjoyed hearing sea stories and exotic tales of places he visited. One time he brought home from a Navy cruise a three-foot-tall wooden table shaped like a monkey, which my brother and I named “Baboo.” My mother hated it. Mom’s detest for this furniture-creature among our early Colonial style décor made Baboo that much funnier to me, at six-years-old, and my way more mature older brother at seven. Dad’s sense of humor never stopped, and to this day when I think of him, I see twinkling blue eyes, shiny round cheeks, and a grin that made his entire face smile — just like that last Christmas.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Edward J. Ormond, U.S. Navy

Lieutenant Junior Grade Edward J. Ormond, U.S. Navy

Whether consciously or not, I followed in my father’s footsteps and joined the Navy.  Fiercely proud, my dad visited me at every duty station he could. And when I came home, Dad always wanted me to stop by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter Home, Omaha Beach Chapter Number 7, in Bowie, MD, to show me off to his friends and colleagues in the local veterans’ organizations. Every Christmas, the DAV held a holiday party for the residents of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Each year, one of the big highlights of the event for the Charlotte Hall residents was the belly dancer. [Read more…]

Belles of Steel

Jeanette Vaughan

I am humbled today to be named one of AgeView Press’s “Belles of Steel.” The full story is available on author Jeanette Vaughan’s blog.

http://jeanettevaughan.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/belle-of-steel-10-captain-valerie-ormond-usn-ret/

Jeanette is a wonderful writer and recent winner of the Military Writer’s Society of America silver medal for her historical fiction, “Solo Vietnam.”

Thank you, Jeanette, for this honor, and for documenting a piece of my own personal history in such an interesting way. A salute to you!

Jeanette Vaughan Flying SoloJeanette Vaughan Solo Vietnam

 

Setting and Reaching Goals

I saw this quote today which confirmed to me I should go ahead and write the blog post I’d been thinking about.

Cumberland, Md., beginning of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Cumberland, Md., beginning of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Zig Ziglar.

I recently biked the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal towpath – 184.5 miles – over a few days.  I had set a goal for myself years ago that this was something I wanted to do in life.  Last May, while my husband and I were on vacation in Shepherdstown, WV, we biked a portion of the canal on our way to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland and decided it was time to reach for that C&O Canal goal. [Read more…]

Making a Difference, One Horse, or Human, at a Time

Hello readers, I was a finalist in Angelea Walkup’s HorseGirlTV Guest Bloggers competition!  Please see the below guest post.  Thanks, Angelea, and Team HorseGirlTV for inviting me to stop by.

 

 

 

 

 

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On Editing

I haven’t blogged in a while – guilty. Not even going to talk excuses like holidays or travel. Nope, no excuse, but a reason: PRIORITY. My PRIORITY has been editing. But I thought I would take a short break from editing to share some thoughts on my recent editing project.

I’m editing my Work In Progress (WIP), Believing In Horses, Too, a sequel to my first novel, Believing In Horses. When I wrote my first book, I edited along the way (and of course, re-edited, re-edited with editors, re-edited again, etc.). I spent more time choosing the exact words during the first draft, rewriting each chapter until I got what I wanted. This time, I followed Stephen King’s approach. From his classic, On Writing:

Editing

“On Writing” also includes great editing advice

With the door shut, downloading what’s in my head directly to the page, I write as fast as I can and still remain comfortable….If I write rapidly, putting down my story exactly as it comes to mind, only looking back to check the names of my characters and the relevant parts of their back stories, I find that I can keep up with my original enthusiasm and at the same time outrun the self-doubt that’s always waiting to settle in. [Read more…]

What Are Your Chances of Being an Olympian?

An equestrian enthusiast and fan of this blog, Jenn Bohman, sent me this graphic I’m about to share with you. Jenn thought you, my readers, particularly the equestrians in the crowd, might be interested.  I hope you are, and if you normally visit my blog to read about writing, well, take a break from writing and catch some Olympic spirit in the final days.

I, like many, have been caught up in serious Olympic fever over these past few weeks. I get so emotional watching athletes in all sports compete like they never have before to proudly represent their countries. So many highlights, and such class, demonstrated over and over again by both rookie and seasoned athletes. I get very emotional, cry a lot, and stay up way past my bedtime. But have you ever wondered what the odds for an athlete to actually reach the Olympic Games? [Read more…]