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Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: The Military Writers Society of America

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today we recognize the MWSA and two equine authors who are working to help veterans write.

Over the past five years, the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) has been holding free veteran-focused writing workshops in order to help veterans and their families share their stories in a positive venue. In September, equine authors Robin Hutton and Valerie Ormond will be among the authors at the workshop at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM. They will present on the topics of storytelling, character, conflict, dialogue, memoir, short story, non-fiction and editing. Hutton’s and Ormond’s horse books include military themes.

Robin Hutton, New York Times bestselling author of Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse and War Animals: The Unsung Heroes of WWII will be presenting with MWSA for the first time this year. MWSA awarded Hutton’s Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse a Gold Medal in its 2016 book awards.

Her topic will be the elements of storytelling. Hutton will also discuss filmmaking and the book she co-authored, 9 Indispensable Ingredients in Every Hit Movie, TV Show, Play and Novel. She based her book on experience gained working for over 25 years with Tom Laughlin, the creator and star of the iconic “Billy Jack” movies in the 1970s. Hutton said, “Knowing these nine ingredients is an incredible resource for any writer.”

Valerie Ormond’s books Believing In Horses and Believing in Horses, Too, both won the MWSA Gold Medal, Stars and Flags First Place, and multiple other national awards. She is a 25-year Navy veteran and has been a member of the VA Writing Workshops’ faculty for three years. She will discuss character and dialogue.

“If I can help one other person tell the story they want to tell, then that’s one more story told that may not otherwise have been shared,” said Ormond.

MWSA’s Director of Education Jack W. London began the program in 2014. London, an award-winning author and Army veteran, said, “Writers helping writers. Veterans helping veterans. These workshops focus on the things that all of us need help with — organizing the non-fiction and fiction, story, characters and dialogue, memoir — the things we want to write.”

London continued, “Our faculty have all won awards for their writing, and we do not charge for our workshops. Our reward is the best reward of all: the satisfaction from giving back with our talents to help others with theirs.”

The workshops aim to achieve one of MWSA’s organizational purposes per its Bylaws: “To reach out to reach out to schools, military organizations, and veterans’ groups  and encourage an interest in writing.”

MWSA published authors have conducted veteran-focused workshops over at VA medical and veteran centers in Phoenix, Waco, San Antonio and Charleston. This year they bring their program to Albuquerque.

Any veteran being treated at any VA hospital or clinic is welcome to attend. In addition, anyone registered for the Joint MWSA/SouthWest Writers (SWW) Conference held Friday, Sept. 13 – Sun., Sept. 14, in Albuquerque may attend. The workshop will be on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at the  Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Event organizers request attendees register so they may prepare a sufficient number of books, worksheets, and other handouts. To register for the VA Writing Workshop, click here. 

About Robin Hutton
Robin Hutton is a multiple award-winning author of Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse and War Animals: The Unsung Heroes of WWII. She co-authored 9 Indispensable Ingredients in Every Hit Movie, TV Show, Play and Novel, based on her more than 30 years of experience in the motion picture industry. To learn more, visit her website.

 About Valerie Ormond
Valerie Ormond is the author of the award-winning novels Believing In Horses and Believing In Horses, Too. She is Chair of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Outreach Committee and a finalist for the 2019 MWSA Mike Mullins Memorial Writer of the Year Award. A Navy veteran, she founded and runs her own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. For additional information about her and her writing, you can visit her website.

About the Military Writers Society of America
The Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) exists to help military service members, veterans, their families, supporters, and historians record history and the complexities of military life, and to encourage writing as therapy. The501(c)3 non-profit organization focuses on using the writing of MWSA members to educate the general public, students, and the military community. Learn more at their website.

About the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center
The Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center is part of the New Mexico VA Health Care System and is located at 1501 San Pedro SE, Albuquerque, N.M. 87108. The Medical Center can be reached via telephone at (505)265-1711 or (800)465-8262. For more information on the VA Writing Workshop, click here.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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