Time Management in Writing

Does this sound boring to you?  Probably, but it’s likely the most important obstacle in the way for new writers.  With so many distractions, how does a writer focus on what’s really important – writing?  While there are many answers, I thought I’d offer some personal tips.  Now realize, I came upon most of these thoughts due to practicing poor time management in the first place, so don’t despair if you think you can’t break free from watching your writing time slip down the drain. [Read more…]

On Book Reviews

On Book Reviews

As an author, why should I review other writers’ work?  Because it makes me a better writer.

About a year ago, I read an article on Writing.com that suggested the same conclusion, so I thought I’d check it out.  After all, reviewing includes reading and analysis, something I’d spent a lifetime doing as an intelligence officer.  So how hard could it be?  Turns out, not so easy.  And how to synthesize several hundred pages into a paragraph, and cram those days of personal reactions into just a few statements?  I’ll offer some suggestions that work for me. [Read more…]

Thoughts on Book Awards from a New Recruit

Believing In Horses Wins First Place in Children's Category, Stars and Flags Book Awards

One of my mentors used to tell young Navy recruits the following: “You may think you are new and don’t know much, but as soon as you’ve spent a day in the Navy, you know more than those who have just arrived. You are a mentor, and it’s up to you to share your knowledge with those coming in behind you.”

I decided to apply this to my new writing career. I still consider myself that “young recruit” who doesn’t know much, so am surprised when people ask me advice. But then again, I look at how much I’ve learned in the past few years through reading, courses, conferences, associations, and most importantly, doing. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a topic on which I don’t see too much written – book awards. [Read more…]

Horse Book Club

Today I met the newly-formed and already-fantastic Horse Book Club at Nantucket Elementary School in Crofton, Md.  Nantucket’s school librarian, Ms. Miller, brought together this group of enthusiastic horse-crazy students to read and discuss my book, Believing In Horses, over the next several months.  Like so many of our educators out there, Ms. Miller, and her assistant Ms. Clark, have gone beyond their required jobs to create a special learning environment for these readers.  Ms. Miller asked if I’d come sign and present the books and talk to the Club on its inaugural day, which of course I happily did.

To make this an ongoing interactive experience, the Club will use a relatively new educational social media platform, Edmodo.  According to its creators, “Edmodo promotes anytime, anyplace learning. Functionally, it allows teachers to post messages, discuss classroom topics, assign and grade classwork, share content and materials, and network and exchange ideas with their peers – but in reality, it is so much more.”  The librarian established a Believing In Horses group in Edmodo allowing us all to discuss and share ideas virtually.  Ms.Miller’s first post:   “I hope you will enjoy our book club. Our first task is to find a neat name for our book club. Think about ‘horse’ words and share them with the group.”

Educational Social Media Tool [Read more…]

Written in the Margins

I break all the rules of what is considered “good” blogging. I don’t stick to one theme; my subjects are all over the place. I don’t incessantly “market” (polite word for “promote”) my own work. I don’t ask for opinions just to get people to interact with me, as suggested by marketers, (although I appreciate comments). So, in my continued rule-breaking, I’m going to post a review on a recent book I enjoyed, and it’s not even about horses.

Alma Margaret Permar’s Written in the Margins, Poems Touching the Essence of Life, (Wheatmark 2011) shares life experiences and emotions in a beautiful, well-displayed collection. In Permar’s own words, “There are the margins: the places where we’ve written notes to ourselves that reveal the essence of our journey.” Her poems range from just a few words to two pages in length in this 185-page volume, with most pages including one poem. Like much of reality, the writings cover happiness, grief, wonder, and hope. Permar’s choice of words and ability to capture the deepest of thoughts in soothing prose make for a wonderful read. [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…]