Each month, the VA’s Center for Women Veterans profiles a different woman Veteran author as part of its Women Veteran Authors Book Corner. This month’s author is Navy Veteran Valerie Ormond, who served from 1984 to 2009.

Ormond wrote the “Believing In Horses” book series, including “Believing In Horses,” “Believing In Horses, Too,” and “Believing In Horses Out West.“ She shared career lessons learned to tell fictional stories in her inspirational and motivational Young Adult novels. Her books have won eight first-place awards, including two Military Writers Society of America Gold Awards, the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Best in Veterans Fiction, and Maryland’s Touch of Class Award. Her latest book debuted as an Amazon #1 New Release in October 2021.

What are you doing now?

I am the Chief Executive Officer of my own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. I started this business in my Navy retirement after attending the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program. I have been a writer my whole life and believe it helped me communicate with others during my service.

Where and when did you serve?

U.S. Navy, intelligence officer, 25 years. OEF, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Western Pacific, and Arabian Gulf tours, Republic of Korea.

What was your proudest service memory?

After the combat exclusion laws changed allowing women to be assigned to combat aviation units and ships, I served as one of the first women to deploy on a combat aircraft carrier. I was fortunate to have had that opportunity.

What was your inspiration for becoming an author?

I wrote my books because I learned so much in the Navy that I wanted to share some of those lessons learned with others, particularly a young female audience.

How has your military experience shaped your creativity or how you express yourself?

The military has given me the confidence to take a step out of my comfort zone and write the books I have written. I also have written numerous military-related stories for anthologies and books. Military life provides such rich experiences, so there is always something to say.

What advice would you give other women Veterans who may be considering becoming an author?

Read, write and talk to other men and women Veteran writers about their journeys. Take classes, join writing groups and take the first step. As Stephen King said, “Just Write.”

How can women Veteran Authors shape society’s understanding of women Veterans’ military experience and their contributions?

I think we have so much to share, and I’ve found that stories I didn’t think would be of interest were of interest to those who are interested in a glimpse into our lives. What we may think is ordinary may be extraordinary to others. And I think it’s a good idea to tell our stories in our voices rather than through others.

What were some of your obstacles and challenges in writing your latest book?

My latest book is “Believing In Horses Out West.” For my first two books, I had a small publisher, but I decided to independently publish my third. It was a big learning curve, and I didn’t have that second opinion of a publisher to help course correct if I was going the wrong way. There were times I second-thought the decision to take it on myself. It was a new adventure, but in the end, I’m glad I took on the challenge and made it to the finish line.

What are your recommendations for illustrating, book cover selection, and the publishing process?

Use the many resources available to help, such as book cover designers and those who design book interiors. Learn as much as you can about the field, and if going the independent publishing route, carefully research who you will work with. Don’t let the complicated publishing process keep you from telling your story. Talk to other writing organizations; you are not alone.

What is one significant thing we should know about you?

I may not be the best at everything I do, but I always try my best.

How has writing this book helped you?

I met so many wonderful people through writing books, many of whom I’m not sure I would have met. The books have helped me learn I have something to say, and I’ve learned so much from others.

What is your favorite quote?

“I am a part of all those I have met,” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

If you could choose one woman from any point in time to share a meal with, who would she be?

Mary Todd Lincoln.

Are you a woman Veteran author, or do you know of one?

If so, please visit our website to find out more information. If you have further questions, contact the CWV Outreach Program Manager Michelle Terry at Michelle.Terry2@VA.gov.

By Michelle Terry

CWV Outreach program manager

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Published on Aug. 6, 2022

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