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!

Standing Ovation for Military Writers

Thank you to Ovation Riding for their “Standing Ovation” for Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) and author Robin Hutton and I for our upcoming contributions to the Albuquerque veterans’ writing workshop. I’m thrilled to meet Robin in person in a few days having followed the Sergeant Reckless story for years and having lived in Korea. Her newest book, War Animals: The Unsung Heroes of WWII, tells amazing tales, too, in a riveting look at what our animal heroes did for us all. Here is the link for the full story, and so glad to be part of this team!

Military Writers Society of America Helps Veterans Write

The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) will hold a free writing workshop Thur., Sept. 12, 2019, at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Seasoned writers will present on the topics of storytelling, character, conflict, dialogue, memoir, short story, non-fiction, and editing.

MWSA published authors have conducted veteran-focused workshops over the past five years at VA medical and veteran centers in Phoenix; Waco, Texas; San Antonio; and Charleston, S.C. The goal of the writing workshops has been to help veterans and their families share their stories through a positive writing workshop venue at no cost to attendees. [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…]

Creating and Managing Successful Internships

Maryland Horse Council Intern Holden Rafey interviewing Olympian Joe Fargis (photo courtesy of Holden Rafey)

I landed my first professional job at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md., after serving as an intern while a student at Towson University. At 21-years-old, I became the station’s assistant Public Relations Officer with real duties and responsibilities and had the opportunity to work with industry icons like Oprah Winfrey. I owe that job and experience to my supervisor during my internship, Joyce Kashima. [Read more…]

Guest Post – Days End Farm Horse Rescue

Please welcome Maryland Horse Council (MHC) Youth Correspondent, Holden Rafey, and her guest post on Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR). Days End is featured in Believing In Horses, Too, and I’ve been fortunate to get to know some of the great staff and volunteers there over the past few years. I’ve also been honored to serve as Holden’s mentor in her MHC internship for almost two years now and share with you her 19th post to the MHC’s Youth Blog discussing this tremendous organization.

Days End Farm Horse Rescue

By Holden Rafey

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Time off from school can be time spent with horses, though riding is only one of the ways to get your horse fix. Did you know you can learn about rescue horses and help with their care in spring break and summer programs? [Read more…]