Winning Veteran Writing Awards in 2019

I am happy to close out the year announcing two prestigious military and veteran writing award winnings in 2019. The Military Writer’s Society of America presented me the President’s Award for exceptionally meritorious contributions to the organization at its annual membership conference in Albuquerque, NM. And in December at the Kentucky Horse Park, the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival awarded my latest book, Believing In Horses, Too, its Winnie Award for Best Veteran Fiction.

President of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Bob Doerr wrote to me, “Winning the President’s Award requires a lot from a member. It requires dedication, initiative, and hard work. As you know, winning awards is great, but our organization’s primary goal is to be of some benefit to our veterans and their families. I know that is also something close to your heart.

I have volunteered with MWSA since 2013, helping lead veteran writing workshops, assisting with conference planning, and serving as a book awards judge. I also spearheaded MWSA’s Ambassador Program to expand veteran writing workshops from a small cadre to a group of volunteers across the country conducting free veteran writing workshops in their regions.

Regarding the Winnie Award for Best Veteran Fiction, the award means so much to me because the EQUUS Literary Awards recognized my book for its support for veterans and their families. Our military, veterans, and their families often face situations people are unaware of. I had hoped to bring that aspect of military life out through this story.

As a 25-year Navy veteran, the spouse of a veteran, and the daughter of a veteran, I used my experiences to write the fictional Believing In Horses, Too. The book tells a story about a young girl in a military family who matures through her experiences with horses, people, and equine therapy.

Thank you to MWSA and the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival for your valuable support and recognition this year. And a happy “cheers” to all in 2020!

Leadership – General Colin Powell’s Rules

           I recently spoke to a class of graduating seniors at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland about being a consultant. The instructor said, “It would be nice if you could speak for a few minutes on leadership, too.” [Read more…]

Veteran Writing Services Celebrates Five Years in Business!

Who would have known that the first scribblings of a horse book would turn into Veteran Writing Services, now a a successful company for five years?

As crazy as it sounds, I woke up one night in October 2009 with an idea for a book sparked by an idea from a friend. My supportive husband understood, and I went to the living room and took down notes until early in the morning for what became the outline of my first book, Believing In Horses. I also fortunately had former bosses [Read more…]

Returning Freedom to Those Who Fought for Ours

In honor of the final day of Veterans Month, I share a story I wrote that appeared in the Inside the Gate magazine last month.

Veteran patients from Walter Reed Medical Center didn’t know horses would help them. Gold Star Mothers didn’t realize how equine relationships would evolve. And military families weren’t aware of local horse facilities and the joy they would bring their children. Horses Help Heroes marched in and made a difference. [Read more…]

A Lucky Call to Serve

So excited to share this story featured in the beautiful Sidelines magazine. I had the opportunity to write this story about inspiring young Jessica Groen, her road to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and her special connection with our horse, Lucky. (Click above for full story.)

Lucky also happens to be a central character in books Believing In Horses and Believing In Horses, Too and has appeared in this blog frequently over the years.

Thank you to the Groen family and the Sidelines editorial staff for helping tell this story.

Biking the Great Allegheny Passage

One of my business goals this year was to achieve better work/life balance. Aligned with that was to get more physically fit. I’m happy to say I reached both goals and topped off this achievement with a fun, but challenging, bike ride of the Great Allegheny Passage, or the “GAP.” My husband, Jaime, and I rode the 150-mile rail trail from Pittsburgh, PA, to Cumberland, MD, over a five-day period in mid-September. [Read more…]