I released my third novel, Believing In Horses Out West, on Friday, and it’s been a whirlwind couple of days! This book takes young Sadie Navarro on an adventure to a Montana ranch to check on a horse she rescued. While there, she makes new friends, learns about ranch life, and encounters a mystery.
New York Times Bestselling Author of Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse, Robin Hutton, described the book as “A thrilling coming-of-age story filled with love, lessons, and finding one’s purpose in life…”
On book launch day, the book achieved an Amazon #1 New Release ranking!
The next day, the book debuted at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue’s Spirits & Steeds festival for a book signing where I had the chance to meet readers, volunteers, and tons of wonderful people who stopped by to talk about all three of my books.
Books are available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Believing In Horses website, and retailers worldwide wherever you buy books. I greatly appreciate my readers and those who have encouraged me to keep on writing through the years; thank you for helping me reach this milestone!
I’m excited to announce that Believing In Horses Out West will be published in October! This standalone novel in the Believing In Horses series takes our heroine on an adventure like she has never seen before. Want to know more?
Sadie Navarro rescued a mare from an auction accomplishing what she thought was the most important mission of her young life.
Now, that mare is headed to a ranch in Montana and a home Sadie knows nothing about.
She wants to make sure the horse is in good hands, but Montana is far away and a different world from Maryland.
Will fourteen-year-old Sadie need to stand up to rugged cowboys to protect her special rescue horse?
Details to follow, but the book will be available in paperback and eBook formats and distributed worldwide. I thank all my readers for their wonderful support of my first two books and hope you will enjoy the latest ride!
Educators from Actively Learn discovered Believing In Horses after the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test featured an excerpt of the book in its 2015 annual test in. Following discussions, Actively Learn decided to feature two excerpts from Believing In Horses, Too in their creative curriculum. Actively Lean uses a new approach to learning by providing free English Language Arts (ELA) and other content embedded with standards-aligned assignments to help students learn.
Tessa Polizzi, Actively Learn’s Senior Manager of Product & Content, identified the following assignment from Believing In Horses, Too, which thrilled me because it was one of my favorite chapters. She said:
“I started reading Believing in Horses, Too thinking that I’d look for an excerpt connected to Sadie and her dad, but then I came across the chapter “New Kid on the Block.” I love this one. It stands alone as a story pretty well on its own, connects to an experience that kids are familiar with (making a new friend), and touches on some of the hard situations that kids face in their lives.”
Tessa also asked if she could develop a curriculum based on an excerpt for the “Bullies Don’t Rule” chapter, another one of my favorites. I think they did a great job on this lesson, too!
I hope these might be additional help to those homeschooling or to introduce young readers to a new and fun way of learning. And thank you to Actively Learning and Tessa for bringing these stories to more readers.
Growing up as a horse lover in Maryland, I never imagined I would win an award like Maryland’s Touch of Class Award someday. The Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations, or events that demonstrate national or international excellence. The Maryland Horse Industry Board honored me and my second book, Believing In Horses, Too, for our winning entry in the 2019 EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Awards.
The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) Executive Director Ross Peddicord said, “We have so many talented artists in Maryland – writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, and more – and Valerie is one of them.”
The Board’s official announcement read, “Valerie Ormond’s second novel, Believing In Horses, Too, won a Gold Medal in the Military Writers Society of America Book Awards; 1st Place in The Authors’ Zone Book Awards; Best Y.A. Fiction in the Stroud Arts Book Festival; Best Book in Juvenile Fiction in the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, and Best Veterans Fiction in the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Award. Congratulations!”
Past winners of the Touch of Class award have been world champion Maryland horses, mules, and riders. Disciplines have included dressage, eventing, hunters, jumpers, jousting, steeplechase, polo, mounted shooting, rodeo, driving, pentathlon, polocrosse, endurance, therapy, and racing. Individual winners have been barn owners, facility managers, horse trainers, competitors, breeders, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. Maryland established the prestigious Touch of Class Awards program in September 2011.
The award is personally rewarding to me as I see my Believing In Horses books as a coalescence of my horse, military, research, and writing experiences. The Believing In Horses, Too fictional story is based in Maryland and highlights equine therapies, show competition, rescue horses, veterans, and military families. I appreciate the state of Maryland for supporting me and my work with this remarkable touch of class.
I had the opportunity this month to present a marketing workshop with my fellow author and dear friend, Kathleen M. Rodgers. We did this as part of the Military Writers Society of America‘s (MWSA’s) new monthly online writing workshops and were thrilled with the number of people who attended and their active participation. MWSA presents these types of workshops as a benefit of MWSA membership. MWSA allows the people who present to share our workshops with our own networks. I hope some of you may be interested in this organization or learn something you didn’t already know. MWSA is open to active duty military, veterans, families, and those interested in telling military-related stories.
Please see Kathy’s wonderful blog post on the event here, which includes a link to the full presentation and a bit more about the event. Happy holidays, all!
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It’s a celebration now, all right! To honor the global launch of The Bookstore for Horse Lovers, we are giving away a number of fiction and non-fiction horse books signed by the authors!
HORSE BOOKS WRITTEN BY HORSE LOVERS!
We are horse lovers and authors. Each featured author incorporates the nobility, beauty, and unique relationship between horse and human in their writing. Horses have had a profound effect on each of our lives. Thank you for letting us share our stories with you.
WHERE WILL THE STORY TAKE YOU? There are a number of ways to win, but only one lucky winner will be chosen on Wednesday, September 9th. You must be 18 years of age to enter. You must love horse books. The giveaway begins at 9AM EST on September 1 and ends at midnight September 10th. One winner will be chosen. Grand prize: assorted and autographed paperback/hardcover copies of fiction and non-fiction books from our authors. The winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries collected during the Entry Period The winner will be announced on our Instagram @booksforhorselovers on Friday, September 11th. This giveaway is not endorsed by Instagram or Facebook.
For those who don’t know of Victoria Strauss’ blog, Writer Beware®, this Reedsy Recommended Best Writing Site of 2020 is a collection of information for writers concerning writing scams and potential problem publishers. I’m sharing this information today because it troubles me when authors pay for services they may, or may not, receive. It seems to me the area I’ve seen authors have the most trouble with is editing services.
Many times I’ve spoken to authors who have asked me to read their books, and I’ve mentioned their books could use editing. Then, they sadly inform me they paid their publishing company for editing services. Not every book is perfect, and I don’t expect it to be. But I do expect writers to get what they pay for.
Since I am far from knowing everything, I wanted to share the link to Writer Beware® so writers can at least check and see what others have to say. And good luck, everyone out there. The first step is putting pen to paper…or fingers to keyboard…or spoken words to device, and if you are considering publishing options, you’re already ahead of most!
I want to offer help for parents and others struggling to homeschool children, a job most people are not trained to do. My solution also helps fill a void for horse crazy kids missing their horse activities due to the current COVID19 shutdowns.
Teacher’s Tack for Believing In Horses is available for free here as a PDF file. This teacher’s guide accompanies my book, Believing In Horses, an inspirational story about a strong-willed girl in a military family who commits to saving unwanted horses. My brother, Eddy Ormond, developed learning plans and fun activities, complete with a full homeschooling module to help children learn in an interactive way.
Eddy brought more than 15 years of elementary school teaching experience to this project. Teacher’s Tack debuted at the State of Maryland International Reading Association Conference, received praise from educators throughout the U.S., and has been used globally even as far away as South Africa! Eddy worked with me while I wrote the book and helped create situations that would appeal to a young audience. His involvement in the book inspired him to create Teacher’s Tack, an educator’s perspective on how to “teach” Believing In Horses and make learning fun.
And don’t just take my word for it that Believing In Horses is good for children. Recognition has included:
• Parent Tested Parent Approved Official Winners Seal of Approval
• National Education Association’s Read Across America program selection
• PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) excerpt in its annual assessment, and
• Inclusion in CommonLit’s digital library of reading passages and curriculum materials. CommonLit is an education nonprofit dedicated to improving children’s literacy nationwide.
Believing In Horses is available for free in eBook or paperback at libraries. Copies are also available at Amazon or via my website.
Next month, I will share free educational resources related to Believing In Horses, Too. Stay safe, everyone, and let me know if I can help with an interview or answer questions for your readers.