Kings of Colorado – Book Review

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton

Not long ago, I received an e-mail that went something like this:

“Dear Valerie,
David E. Hilton’s debut novel KINGS OF COLORADO—now available in paperback (Simon & Schuster; January 3, 2012; $14.00)—is a powerful coming-of-age story set on a juvenile delinquent ranch in the Rockies….I would love to send you a copy of KINGS OF COLORADO to review, giveaway, or feature on Believing in Horses….” 

Since Simon & Schuster cared about my thoughts, I thought I would share them here as well.

In Kings of Colorado (Simon and Schuster, 2011) by David E. Hilton, Will Sheppard stabs, but does not kill, his father, and pays the price for the rest of his life. Sent to the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory in Colorado across the country from his Chicago home, thirteen-year-old Will learns lessons one would hope a child protecting his mother from his abusive father would never have to learn. Two years at the brutal boys’ ranch toughens Will, but does not leave him devoid of emotions. His saving graces include friendships, a special horse he trains, and a kind nurse. Will endures one violent and tragic hardship after another, leaving the reader wondering if he can possibly survive.

[Read more…]

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…]

A Portion of the Proceeds to Help Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc. Booth at Maryland Million

Lucy Krone (left), on the Board of Directors for Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc., received check from Valerie Ormond (right) as a portion of the proceeds from Beliveing In Horses.

The highlight of my weekend came on Saturday when I provided one of the Maryland rescues featured in Believing In Horses with a small donation. When I decided to write a book about unwanted horses, I knew I wanted to include real life rescues and retraining facilities. I’d met Kimberly Clark, owner and founder of Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc. (TPR, Inc.) once, and knew she was the type person, and ran the kind of facility, I wanted to accurately portray in the story. Besides bringing awareness to the unwanted horse problem, I had also hoped to recognize the efforts of hard-working volunteers and provide a portion of the book proceeds to two Maryland horse rescue organizations (Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is the other, and they’ll be receiving a check during their Oct. 22nd fundraiser).

When I found out that TPR, Inc. would have a booth at the Maryland Million horse race, I thought it would be a great opportunity to present them a check on that day. I hadn’t expected to be able to provide a donation this soon, since the book has only been out for a few months, but people have been so generous. It’s funny, the book sells for $12.67 with Maryland tax, and at one point I started saying, ‘Or $13.00 even if you want me to donate that extra 33 cents directly to the rescues.’ It’s amazing how many people want to donate that change, and how some have even tacked on a few extra dollars. [Read more…]

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…]