Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hop on board Cowgirl Blog Tour Giveway

Hop on board the the Blog tour from July 12-18th for The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon.  Winner at the Equus Film Fest, Cowgirl receives 5-star reviews on Audible and Amazon.  Sign up at any of the hosts below to win a free audio book and/or Amazon cash gift card.
Founder's Choice Equus Film Fest
Gemcie and her Irish Hunter, Marshal, are about to capture the World Cup when a nasty fall dashes their chances. While she is mending, her arch rival seizes this opportunity to catch a ride on Marshal, and to seduce her young husband. Confused and dazed by her new circumstances, Gemcie heads for the high Sierras hoping the majestic spires that captured the heart of the father she never met will provide the answers she seeks.

She finds strength and solace riding solo on the John Muir Trail, but a bear attack ends her time of introspection and places her in the care of a solitary cowboy manning a fire lookout. Brady shows her love and gives her the courage to get back in the saddle. Haunted by images of Marshal being abused by his owners, Gemcie returns to rescue him and fly high with him once more.

Ballou's prose gallops ahead at breakneck speed as she takes you along on this wild ride.
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Let Your Spirit Free in B.C.

While searching for images to spotlight The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon that takes the reader into the backcountry of the High Sierras, I ran into the Tyslos Lodge in British Columbia.  The Lodge sits on the dazzling blue Chilko Lake in the heart of a pristine wilderness. For 60 years the McClean family has hosted guests from around the globe on horseback adventures in this remarkable setting.

The more I saw and read about what might be one of LAST GREAT RIDES, I knew I had to go. My character, Gemcie, rides solo in the John Muir Wilderness. Writing her story made me want to pull the plug on the internet, the congestion of the city and to get back in the saddle.

I fly to Vancouver in July where I will connect with a charter flight over the Coastal Range to the back country of British Columbia to meet my mount for the week at the TyslosLodge. It promises to be a once in a lifetime escape that makes your heart beat a little faster, takes the rust off your soul and fills your mind with beauty.
A glass of wine at the end of an adventure filled riding day is my RX for” urbanitis.”  What’s yours?

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales; historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i; as well as her latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon

 Subscribe to my blog to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ojai-Rising from the Ashes

Ojai, about an hour north of L.A. has long been one of my favorite getaways.  I was saddened to see the flames of the Thomas Fire, said to be the largest fire in California history, scorching the mountains surrounding the idyllic valley. I was delighted to see that the ring of fire threatening to swallow the town just snarled at the edges of the village.  Artists of all stripes who have hideaways tucked in the hills and shady glens gathered refuse from the fire and created mobiles and other objects de art that are on display in the galleries that line Ojai Avenue.

Sadly, heading north on Hwy 33 did not fare so well. The Wheeler Gorge was singed and a rock slide has generated road work that will last for at least a year.  The Cozy Dell Trail which was my favorite was badly damaged. What was a shady, flower infested walk is now lined with the spiky blackened limbs of dead trees.
Cozy Dell Trail Before Thomas Fire
Cozy Dell Trail June 2018

I decided to explore the Oso Trail that takes you into the through sage-littered meadows lining the rocky river bottom. I was delighted to discover an inviting swimming hole I had no idea existed. If only I had brought my baby suit, I could have taken a swim with the local family enjoying a picnic there.
Ventura River Preserve
Swimming Hole Ventura River Preserve

The scenic drive from Carpentaria to Ojai on Hwy 150 was spared. The curvaceous road past avocado farms through lush green tree tunnels remains the same. However, when you crest the summit overlooking Castaic Lake you see the mountains framing the valley for miles around are nude. Splotches of orange witches dodder are all that decorate the barren scene.
View from Second Floor Oakridge Inn

Ojai is still a joyous place known for its meditative and restful qualities. The Oakridge Inn is a comfortable, clean economical place to stay. If you get a room on the second floor you will enjoy a view of the mountains a sweet breeze wafting up canyon. It is conveniently located walking distance to the Bocalli’s Italian satellite cafe, famous for farm to table fresh produce.

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales; historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i; as well as her latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon

 Subscribe to my blog to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to Make Travel Writing Work for You

If you missed my mini-travel writing workshop at the Mystic Journey Bookstore can still get my handbook HOW TO MAKE TRAVEL WRITING WORK FOR YOU for just .99 on kindle

I teach you the renegade way to get great trips around the globe. I have enjoyed adventures from Africa to Alaska using this approach!

Happy travels,
Adventure-travel writer Linda Ballou’s ultimate destination piece, Wai-nani, a New Voice from old Hawai’i, takes you to the wild heart of Old Hawai’i. Her travel memoir Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales is an armchair traveler’s delight filled with adventure to whet your wander lust. Her latest release The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon shares the thrill of the show jumping arena and the tender beauty of the John Muir Wilderness. All of her books are available at  and major online distribution sites in print and kindle format.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Kudos for Cowgirl at the L.A. Equus Film Fest

I couldn’t make it to New York in November for the 2017 Equus Film Fest, so I was thrilled to learn that the show is making the rounds and landed here in Los Angeles in June 2018. It was quite a treat to meet all the horse loving authors and film makers. They each had a different spin on why the horse world is important to them.

The event founder, Lisa Diersen, selected my novel The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon as her favorite literary entrant. I shared a table with Robin Hutton who has had tremendous success with her story Sgt.Reckless about a mare who became famous for her courage in the Korean War. 
 Naomi, the L.A. organizer, presented a heartwarming film about how her horse gave her the courage to become an authentic person. She quit a lucrative job that was killing her soul and began supporting a riding program for inner city kids.
It was a fun, inspiring event that opened up some doors for me I hadn’t thought about. I sold some books and made some new friends. All good.

Linda Ballou is an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales; historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i; as well as her latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon

 Subscribe to my to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Riding Lessons Review

Riding Lessons (Riding Lessons, #1)Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying I basically enjoyed this book even though it hit a raw nerve for me. I know conflict is what keeps a story alive, but it seemed that many of the plot twists were contrived for this purpose. The protagonist’s clever and witty interior monologue often made me smile, but her actions were often frustrating. I am not being a spoiler by letting you know the character’s father was suffering form ALS. This is revealed in the first three chapters that set up the rest of the story. My own father endured this dreadful condition. The way this character responded to that circumstance felt cowardly to me. Still, there are many life lessons to be learned in what is essentially a very fine effort my Sara Gruen

View all my reviews

Author  The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon. Winner at the Equus Film Fest 2017

Friday, June 1, 2018

Cowgirl Brings Collateral Goodness

My BFF Daphne- Don't know what happened to my arm

Publishing   The CowgirlJumped over the Moon has brought me many things I had not considered. .  It has re-connected me to the horse world I love in many different ways. Thanks to Alice Champlin, the editor of, I have a new best friend named Daphne.  She is a sweet mare who still has a spring in her step that makes her a perfect ride for me.
Alice and Hadley

Reviewing the books of other authors who love the horse world has broaden my appreciation for the animals that serve us in so many ways.  Horses have a healing power that transcends anything modern medicine can supply. It is a spiritual gift that so many have experienced, I believe it must be true. I know it was true for me that when I was recovering from an injury that grooming my mare took my mind off my pain. I could feel my molecules settling into place and the anxiety I was feeling slip away.

The Cowgirl story is one of self-discovery for my protagonist Gemcie, but her journey has also brought personal growth for me as well.  Writing it served as closure on so many emotional levels and allowed me to move forward in my own life. My story Irish Mist appears in the anthology Why We Ride. This collection of essays shares all the different ways we humans connect with a 1,000 pound animal that stays with us all our lives. I am so happy to be back in that world strolling along singing a song.

Nothing pleases adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, more than seeing gorgeous country from the back of a good horse.  Her articles have appeared in Equus, Horse Illustrated, California Riding Magazine and numerous travel publications.  Learn more about her novel The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon at

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Finding Solace in the High Country

In The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon Gemcie determines to ride solo on the John Muir Trail in an attempt to sort out the confusion in her life.  While trying to capture the ethereal beauty of the John Muir Wilderness, I hoped to capture the imaginations of those who have not been privileged to ride or hike in the fragile beauty of the high country.

Nevermore, no matter how weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever. John Muir”- My Summer in the Sierra’s 1869

With this thought in mind I can only feel gratitude that I was able to ride amongst the spires that inspired his musings that touched my soul so deeply. I tried in my own less masterful way to bring this experience home to readers who will never know those mountain days. 

I am very proud that The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon was a winner at the 2017 Equus Film Fest in New York. It has also won the Indie Excellence Award and is receiving 5-star Reviews on the print, kindle and audio Book!

Find a host of adventure travel articles at
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Friday, May 11, 2018

Return to Freedom

To see wild horses roaming free across the rolling green hills of California makes me smile. There is a long standing battle taking place to save the herds of wild horses emblematic of the American west from the slaughter house. Presently, fifty-thousand horses are being held in Bureau of land Management holding pens awaiting their futures. Sadly, they will most likely be destroyed if an answer to their dilemma does not come soon.
The Return to Freedom organization with two central California locations, one in Lompoc and one on a 300 acre ranch in San Luis Obispo give safe harbor to 400 wild horses. You can see from this video that they have a good life, are fit and roaming free in this bucolic setting.

The plight of the wild mustangs in America is not new. The cattlemen want the range land owned by the government for their stock. The Bureau of Land Management contend that the wild herds are over-grazing federal lands and must be culled. They continue to use helicopters to round up thousands of horses each year. Only 32,000 wild horses out of the 2 million that once roamed the west remain.  Meanwhile, the battle in congress to pass a bill that would protect the herds and provide a budget to handle the situation humanely continues.

Return to Freedom is a non-profit organization provides some fun and informative ways for you to support the cause.  They offer a docent guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for quiet observation of the herd. You will meet some of the mustangs that live there and learn about the horses as a native species with it’s origins in American history.

They also offer a photo safari on the San Luis Obispo property
On 2,000 acres of horse heaven in Central Coastal California, 70 wild horses and 16 burros roam free. Safaris last 3 hours and can be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon. Picnic basket with healthy snacks and light meal provided – end your Photo Safari with a pre-arranged picnic lunch or dinner in the hills with mountain top views to the sea! 
On the Return to Freedom site under “Issues” tab you can sign a petition to let your representatives know that you care about the future of the wild herds, or you can simply donate funds to this very worthy cause.
Photo Credit: Tony Stromberg 

 Visit the www.returntofreedom for more information.
Linda Ballou is the author of the Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bringing Home the Gold-Travelers Tales Solas Award

Rocky Mountain Nat. Park and Yours truly

My story “On the Road with the Lady of Rockies” received “Gold” for the best Destination piece in the Travelers Tales 12th Annual Solas Awards!  It is being honored as the “Editor’s Choice on the home page of the largest publisher of travel literature. I have long admired the great travel writers represented in the pages of the Traveler's Tales anthologies, and I am very proud to be included in their ranks. My story will continue to appear on the The Best Travel Writing page on the Traveler,s Tales site. 
Isabella Bird-Lady of the Rockies

Recently, my friend James Michael Dorsey’s book Baboons for Lunch was published by Traveler's Tales. I love a man with a sense of humor and James has me laughing out loud at the ridiculous situations he finds himself in by choice! It is hard to imagine this distinguished gentleman lobbing monkeys with dung balls, but strange things happen to people’s personalities when they hit the road.

You may enjoy my many outdoor travel adventures in my book LostAngel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales.Lost Angel Unleashed. What do you think?
Presently, I am collecting stories for the sequel
Remember “All who wander are not lost.”