Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Positively Pittsburgh Live! TechoGranny visits Military Writer's Conference 10-1-12

Positively Pittsburgh Live!
TechoGranny visits Military Writer's Conference

Where in the world was TechnoGranny last weekend? Along with NannoGranny, JoAnn Forrester, she was in Dayton, Ohio for the Annual Military Writer's Society of America’s Annual National Conference. Tonight, we will also let you in on some of the highlights of the conference from a Pittsburghers point of view, including the fact that some other Pittsburghers traveled to Dayton for this conference both as presenters, award nominees and attendees. We even shared a panel with Best Selling Author, Dwight Zimmerman who will be a guest this evening, along with Stacey and John Holley, recipients of the 2012 Founders Award given out by the Military Writers Society of America.

Stacey Holley, author
Dwight Jon Zimmerman, author


Stacey and John Holley
Stacey Holley co-authored the book Medals, Flags and Memories with her husband John. Over the weekend the Holley’s were the recipients of the 2012 Founders Award given out by the Military Writers Society of America.   

On November 15, 2005, John and Stacey Holley unwillingly became Gold Star Parents. Their son and only child, U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Holley, was killed along with three other soldiers when an IED exploded under their Humvee while on patrol in Iraq.

Racked with grief over their son’s death, John and Stacey’s sorrow turned to outrage when they learned that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight. There would be no honor guard to welcome this fallen hero back to the nation of his birth. Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be transferred by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts.

Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice, the Holley’s embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star Families across our nation.

Medals, Flags and Memories is a three part story of John and Stacey’s journey of healing.  They share about the choice their son Matthew made “To serve a cause greater than himself” - John’s journey to Iraq, stepping foot in the worn torn country nearly one year to the day after being notified of Matthew’s death and the faith to carry on their son’s legacy as a husband and wife and to continue touching the lives of others.     

Gold Star family represents family members who died or were killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This is signified on a service flag with a small gold star placed on top of a blue star.

The Holley Provision, known to some as Angel Flights, was passed into law as part of the 2007 Defense Appropriations Bill. President George W. Bush signed legislation into law in October 2007 and the Pentagon enacted the Provision in January 2007. It ensures consistency across all branches of service by providing an honorable, dignified and respectful transfer of our Fallen Heroes from Dover Air Force base to their home of record. Since it’s enactment the Holley Provision has touched over five thousand families across America.

DWIGHT JON ZIMMERMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author, radio host, producer, president of the Military Writers Society of America and a member of the Western Writers of America.

Dwight Jon Zimmerman
Zimmerman is the bestselling co-author of the #1 New York Times bestselling young adult book, Lincoln’s Last Days, an adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s New York Times #1 bestselling history Killing Lincoln.

Zimmerman is the host of “At Ease,” an hour-long program about authors and their projects, part of Veterans Radio Network. Information about the program is available at www.veteransradio.net.

Zimmerman is also the author of a series of World War II 70th anniversary articles for the Defense Media Network website that chronologically recount that conflict. They are available at www.defensemedianetwork.com. He recently completed research for The New York Times Complete History of World War II.

Zimmerman is the author of the critically acclaimed graphic biography of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, The Hammer and the Anvil, with art by Wayne Vansant. Zimmerman has also written Saga of the Sioux (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, October 2011) the critically acclaimed, authorized adaptation of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. Saga of the Sioux won the 2012 Gold Medal in the Young Adult Non-Fiction category from the Military Writers Society of America.

Zimmerman is the co-author, with John D. Gresham of Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and the Six Warriors Who Earned It in Afghanistan and Iraq, which received the Military Writers Society of America’s most prestigious honor, the MWSA Founder’s Award for 2010.
His first book, First Command: Paths to Leadership, which has a foreword by James M. McPherson, presents the pivotal challenges and events that occurred in the early careers of generals from George Washington to Colin Powell and how they overcame them. 

Zimmerman was the co-executive producer of the cable television miniseries based on his book. The miniseries debuted on the Military Channel in 2005 and has been regularly aired on the channel ever since. It won the 2005 Aurora Platinum Best of Show Award for Historical Programming. In 2009, the book received the Branson Stars and Flags Gold Medal Award in the Reference/Technical category. First Command is on the U.S. Army Chief of Infantry Recommended Reading List: Junior NCOs.

Zimmerman has written two acclaimed popular surveys of wars and weapons through the ages. The Book of War is about pivotal battles, leaders, and strategies from ancient to modern times, received the 2009 Gold Medal Award for Reference by the Military Writers Society of America. This was followed by The Book of Weapons, a critically acclaimed sequel about important weapons, weapon designers, and arms manufacturers and merchants throughout history.

Zimmerman wrote The Vietnam War: A Graphic History, illustrated by Wayne Vansant, a groundbreaking book that for the first time recounted the entire Vietnam War in the graphic novel format. The Vietnam War: A Graphic History received the 2010 Gold Medal Award: Artistic/Graphic from the Military Writers Society of America and the 2010 Branson Stars and Flags Gold Medal Award in the photography/graphics category. Military Review, the official journal of the U.S. Army, placed it on its recommended reading list.

Zimmerman’s young adult biography, Tecumseh: Shooting Star of the Shawnee, received the 2010 Bronze Medal Award: Young Adult from the Military Writers Society of America and was a finalist in the young adult category in the 2011 Western Writers of America.

Zimmerman also wrote The Day the World Exploded the critically acclaimed young adult adaptation of Simon Winchester’s bestselling Krakatoa.

Zimmerman is the co-author, with John D. Gresham, of the critically acclaimed history of seven pivotal special operations from the Vietnam War to present day, Beyond Hell and Back (St. Martin’s Press, 2007).

Zimmerman has written numerous articles on military subjects for Faircount Media for its military-themed print publications and Defense Media Network website, and other publishers. His article, “Maritime Mobility,” for The Shield of Freedom, an annual publication about the Coast Guard, was selected by the Naval War College for use in its curriculum. And his article about a special operations mission during the Korean War led by the theater’s surgeon general that had high-stakes diplomatic consequences, originally published in The Year in Special Operations 2009 was selected for re-publication by the Journal of Special Operations Medicine.

Zimmerman has lectured at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Naval War College, and has appeared on the FOX programs DEFCON-3 hosted by K.T. McFarland, and AMERICA NEWS HQ discussing military subjects.

He was a producer for the independent film, Trooper, which received the Bronze Remi Award at the 2010 Houston International Film Festival.

Zimmerman was the researcher for the critically acclaimed The New York Times Complete History of the Civil War, edited by Craig L. Symonds and Harold Holzer.

Zimmerman has collaborated on a series of award winning young adult histories with Pulitzer Prize winners and bestselling authors including James M. McPherson’s Fields of Fury (Civil War) and Into the West (Reconstruction and settling of the frontier), Philip Caputo’s 10,000 Days of Thunder (Vietnam War), Stephen Ambrose’s The Good Fight  (World War II), and Benson Bobrick’s Fight for Freedom (the American Revolution).

Zimmerman began his career in publishing at Marvel Comics, where he held a variety of editorial positions. Among his Marvel comic book writing credits are stories for Spider-Man, The X-Men, and The Hulk, and other superheroes. In addition to his comic book stories, he has written a wide variety of children’s book adventures based on licensed product toy lines, most notably the Transformers. In 1992, Zimmerman became executive editor of Topps Comics and was responsible for the editorial and art direction of its lines of media tie-in comics including series based on The X-Files, Mars Attacks, Jurassic Park, Zorro, Xena: Warrior Princess and other titles. In addition, Zimmerman wrote a number of the stories as well, including an X-Files comic book story set in his hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota, and was the writer, editor, and art director of Princess Diana the graphic novel biography of Diana, Princess of Wales published by Topps.

Zimmerman is the president of the Military Writers Society of America and a member of the Western Writers of America. A native of Devils Lake, North Dakota, he presently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Joëlle. They have two adult children, Eric and Léa. 

Jo Ann Forrester
Jo Ann Forrester, EmpressofBiz Talkcast host, gives her impressions of the conference as speaker and interviewer for PositivelyPittsburgh TV. Many of the nominees and award winners will be guests on the Empress of Biz.  

Joanne Quinn-Smith
Both JoAnn Forrester and Joanne Quinn-Smith spoke on two panels, “How to Get a Good Radio Interview”-Dwight Zimmerman as host of “At Ease” was also on this panel.  Both JoAnn’s were also on the panel: “Marketing Your Book.”

Joanne Quinn-Smith, TechnoGranny ran her own workshop on “Social Media, Building an Online Platform.”

This was reported as a reproduction of PositvelyPittsburghLive news done by Joanne Quinn-Smith. (c) Joanne Quinn-Smith and PositivelyPittsburghLive(TM) 2012 All rights reserved.

Tara Darazio is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. If you are in need of writing assistance, or need help with your social media efforts connect with Tara on LinkedIn here.

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