Monday, February 1, 2016

For Dolphins the Dance Is All There Is!


Dolphins blow air bubble rings and bounce then off their nose and swim through them Whales do a similar thing to form bubble nets they use to capture fish. But, dolphins do it just for fun. They also collect necklaces of seaweed they wear like jewelry exhibiting a sense of self- awareness and toss it
from one to another just to pass the time of day.
They have exuberance other sea creatures lack and literally jump for joy in twisting arcs. They splash backwards on their tails and seem to be enjoying them-selves tremendously. They swim five times faster than any Olympic champion and can jump two stories high into the air. Dolphins are the sexiest creatures on the planet with no pretense to monogamy. They have sex 365 days a year, often more than once, and with different partners. They do it just for fun. It is a brief belly to belly encounter, but both male and female dolphins seem to love doing it.

For Dolphins the Dance is all there is. A highly recommended state of being.Wai-nani who is a reflection of the passionate Chiefess Ka’ahumanu is a water baby. Like all Islanders she finds pleasure, sustenance, solace, wisdom and courage in the grand and vibrant sea. Wai-nani’s bond with Eku, a playful and communicative dolphin – propels her on a mythological journey couched in magical realism.

The video below captures the zest for life of the other intelligence!



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Astounding Africa: Your Time has Come!

The distant echo of South Africa has become a thunderous roar, and I am thrilled to announce I am heeding the call and going on safari in May! Not just any quickie, surface-deep safari, but total immersion with Overseas Adventure Travel’s “Ultimate 17-day Safari.” We will travel as a small group  to conservation-minded Botswana; less-traveled Zimbabwe where I will partake of an elephant-back safari near Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world; and to Zambia for  incredible wildlife viewing while canoeing the mighty Zambezi River.


This magical adventure promises to fulfill all my African fantasies and leave me with memories that will lift and carry me over mountains and oceans and plains for years to come. If you, too, have been dreaming about going on safari in Africa, wake up and start packing; your time has arrived! Lower fuel costs mean flights are half of what they were a year ago.

May is regarded as the perfect time to go as the rainy season has ended and the cool, dry, sunny days of winter have begun. The Okavango Delta in Botswana is home to over 400 species of birds and to the world’s most endangered species of large mammal. The Delta’s water level is high enough to float in a dug-out canoe, or mokoro, with your guide. Avoiding hippos lolling in the shallow waters will be the challenge. I have wanted to experience this Delta since meeting a world-traveler in Costa Rica who insisted it was not to be missed.


Botswana tours are more pricy than those in Kenya or Tanzania because of logistics and restrictions on tour numbers. OAT travel pricing is extremely competitive. They ensure small group sizes and they do not charge a punishing single supplement. Accommodations are comfortable lodges and high-end tent camps. There are a few spots left for the Ultimate Safari, but they are going fast.


OAT representatives will be at theLos Angeles Adventure Travel Show February 27-28. If popping up at 5AM to go game viewing does not appeal, check out the many other trips they offer around the globe. There is sure to be one just right for you.

Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Curious Minds Down Under Want to Know about Cowgirl Author


Christine Muenier, author of Horse Country, and the Equus Blog, wanted to know how my book The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon relates to Equine Education. It does in a roundabout way. For those who are unfamiliar with the nuances of the show jumping world and what goes into the training of top riders it is totally educational. Readers have told me that they had no idea how demanding the discipline is and that top riders are fine- tuned athletes.


What is your horse related career?

My first articles were published in Horse Illustrated and Equus Magazines. I was in my late 30’s when I was finally able to buy a horse and afford training. I was told that I would fall, but I was not told how to fall. I interviewed a vaulting champion, a gymnast, and an orthopedic surgeon to create a safe way to meet that eventual parting from the saddle. The result of this research is a piece titled “The Art of Falling.”  It has helped many a mature rider stay out of trouble. My interview of the legendary trainer Jimmy Williams appeared in Equus. He was the inspiration for the character Billy in my story. Presently, I am adventure travel writer with a penchant for horse treks. I educate others on where to go and what to expect when they get there.  

Where in the world can we find you?

I live in Topanga Canyon an artistic enclave in Los Angeles. The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon opens in Hidden Valley home to celebrities and those who can afford the sport of kings.

Is your horse career able to be carried out in part online?

I share my articles about riding adventures I've taken on my website Linda Ballou Author. and in e-zines like Real Travel Adventures. My horse trek in Ecuador with Sally Vergette, owner of Ride Andes, fulfilled all my riding fantasies. 
Hacienda trek in the Andes of Ecuador

 I have enjoyed guest ranches in Colorado, Arizona, California, and Montana that I share them with readers in my articles.  
Spotted Horse Ranch in Wyoming

Do you need qualification to do your job?

Well, yes. You have to be a good writer and to love what you do

What is the best thing about your job?


It opens doors for me I never dreamed of like being the guest of Sharon North Pohl owner of ZealousHorses.com for a week in St. Croix 
Linda and Sharon on Rainbow Beach
 Purchase The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon at  www.LindaBallouAuthor.com to receive a signed copy and  free shipping. Also available on  Amazon.com.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 in the Rear View Mirror

A huge chunk of this year was given over to getting The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon out of my drawer and into the hearts and minds of readers. It is receiving 5-Star reviews, so I feel gratified that it was worth the effort.
It is re-connecting me with the horse world in ways I had not imagined when writing the story. Initially, it was my way of dealing with being injured and having to give up riding and my mare. My injury forced me to turn my focus onto my writing. Until then, my best energies were given to taking care of my mare, taking riding lessons and entering local riding events. Today, I am back in the saddle having fun going to guest ranches in our wild west, trail rides in foreign lands and collecting stories for my next book.

Which title do you like the best? I would love to have your feedback.

(1)    Wild Ballou Wander
(2)   Tuck you in Tales
(3)   Lost Angel Rides Again
(4)   Let Me Take You There
(5)   Whet Your Wanderlust

I went to the Central Coast of California and did some nice hikes for my birthday in June and snuck off to St. Croix in September for an equestrian wellness week with Sharon Pohl.  Both wonderful trips that I have written about. Here are the links to those stories as they appeared on my column on The National Association of Baby Boomer Women.







 In 2016 I want to devote more time to travel. There are some big trips I want to take that require a lot of planning. Now, that TheCowgirl Jumped Over the Moon is alive in the world, I am free to get back to exploring our beautiful world.
  


Wishing you a very happy New Year filled with exciting adventures!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Spend Christmas in the Islands



A sumptuous read that captures the poetry and mystery of old Hawai’i

Linda Ballou weaves legends of old Hawai'i and an evocative love story into a poetic rendering of the "people of Old.". Be transported into ancient Hawai'i. Feel present in the lives of royals and learn the secrets of the mysterious Polynesian culture that called for human sacrifice. The story is told through the eyes of Wai-nani, a fiercely passionate, free-spirited woman who takes the reader on a seductive journey. Ballou delivers vivid imagery, historical detail, emotional impact, tragedy and triumph amidst the sensual beauty of the Islands.
Purchase on kindle and get the audio book for $1.99





 


Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at www.LindaBallouAuthor.com
Buy Now on Amazon

Friday, November 13, 2015

Armchair Traveler's Delight

James Dorsey & Linda Ballou
Armchair Traveler's Delight That was how Bank of Books described my afternoon with James Dorsey, world explorer, and author of Vanishing Tales from Ancient Trails. It was quite an honor to share the podium with one of our finest living travel writers. I’m glad James made treks to places I would never go. From Timbuktu to the jungles of Peru, into the dark heart of Africa he makes friends and is embraced by primitive tribes. He writes with compassion and partakes of ceremonies and entertains beliefs alien to his own, or what moderns might find acceptable. I especially enjoyed his tale of smoking from a pipe handed to him by a woman in the Amazon and being transported into an altered state for a day or two. He is experimental, not judgmental, and sincerely wants to be accepted by the primitive tribes he seeks out and respects their wisdom.

I was very flattered when James said this about my book:

Lost Angel Walkabout takes the reader out of their armchair and into the vast world as few travel writers can. Her eye for detail combined with intimate knowledge of her surroundings sets Ms. Ballou heads above most of the travel writing pack. In this age when everyone with a back pack proclaims him or herself a travel writer it takes a book like this one to re-define the genre. The stories are personal and inviting, giving the reader not only a feeling of participation but leaving them with a memory of where they have just visited. This is just plain great travel writing.

It was fun to hear him read a story about slipping  unspeakable edibles to a cat beneath the table in China. I chose to read an excerpt from No Exit from Auckland about driving on the "wrong side of road" in rush hour traffic. This ended


a good year of travel and writing with the hope that we would leave them laughing!

Images compliments of Suzy Demeter

Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hats Off to Susan Hutchison

Susan Hutchison, a petite, powerhouse, was recently inducted in the Hunter Jumper Hall of Fame.
In the Ribbons
Her show jumping career has been highlighted by more than three dozen Grand Prix wins. She represented the United States at six World Cup Finals and the World Equestrian Games in Holland. I interviewed her legendary mentor, Jimmy Williams, in 1993.
Jimmy Williams and Susan  Hutchison
At that time she was his most promising protégé vying for the World Cup. Susie was the rider I had in my mind while I was writing TheCowgirl Jumped Over the Moon that takes you from the Grand Prix circuit, to the high Sierra’s, and back again. I felt honored to sit down with her beneath a shady tree at Susan Hutchison Stables in Temecula. She has about twelve prize mounts stabled there and a
 fistful of students she trains in between competing in International events.
Her life has been like an arrow shot from a bow destined to hit the bull's eye. Groomed to become a riding champion from the age of 5, she has had no desire to become anything else in this lifetime. She is totally focused on the riding world, loves what she does, and aims to win. She often competes against her own students, decades her junior. She says horse jumping is one sport that you can actually get better at with age. She has had the litany of broken bones that come with the territory, but has no intention to slow down.  Her motto given to her by Jimmy “No Guts, No Glory” is tattooed on her arm.
Susie with one of fine horses


Linda meets Susie
My hat is off to Susan Hutchison. More to come about her incredible career and unshakable spirit in future articles.

Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.  



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sharing the Love with the Big Heart Ranch

I wrote the first draft of Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon standing up at my breakfast bar twenty years ago.With the publication of the now polished version of the story, I am finding myself re-connecting with the horse world that I loved. 
At the Bank of Books in Malibu I shared the podium with Bobby Kane who is a volunteer worker at the Big Heart Ranch in Malibu.
Bobby Kane and Bella
The ranch is home to an array of farm animals; an alpaca; a rescued deer, and a couple of mini, as well as life-sized horses that are used to help people sort things out. Children from the Braille institute are regular visitors, veterans suffering from PTSD become grounded working with the animals, and those with substance abuse problems find a connection in the real world. It felt good to be a part of the healing work being done at the Big Heart Ranch every day.
Kristen and Billy the Kid

Bella  the mini-horse was the scene stealer, but Kristen and her baby goat also helped make the day special for all who stopped by to say hello. I fought back tears during my brief reading.  In the first chapter my protagonist has a riding accident that turns her world upside down and forces her on a journey of self-discovery that takes her to a place she never dreamed she would be. My own life has taken some wonderful turns since my injury forced me to change my ways. But, as I read the lines it felt like twenty years ago was just yesterday.
Linda and Ginger Back in the Day

Images of the day courtesy of Suzy Demeter


Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-  www.LindaBallouAuthor.com



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wellness Week in St Croix USVI



St.Croix-The Gentle Virgin


Floating over lavender, green and yellow fan coral doing a graceful underwater ballet beneath the turquoise waters of Tamarind Reef, I lost track of time. Blue see-through fishes darted among enormous brain and pipe organ corals. A baby green turtle swam with us for about 30 seconds letting us see his black mottled markings on his head and flippers, then he wafted away. My breath became in sync with the wash of the waves as we glided over the reef balanced on foam tubes called noodles. This was the first day of my wellness week for equestrians with Sharon North Pohl of Zealous Horses fame. She invited me to test drive what I concluded is a week, not just for equestrians, but for anyone seeking to recharge their batteries in the translucent waters of the Caribbean Sea.



The second day began with breakfast at Dirty Nates on the sleepy boardwalk in Christiansted, a colonial town built in the 1700’s overlooking yachts moored in the aquamarine harbor. A seaplane landed bringing in tourists from busy St. Thomas sitting on the horizon. We watched day-trippers boarding boats headed for Buck Island, a marine preserve with a well-marked snorkel trail, and powder white sand beaches. Sharon wanted to hike down to  Jacks & Isaacs Bay, a less-traveled beach on the eastern tip of the Island, with superb snorkeling where we picnicked and lazed away the day.




St. Croix, known as the “Gentle Virgin”, is the largest island in the USVI and offers the most diversity in terrain with a host of outdoor activities that include hiking through a verdant rain forest to tide-pools as warm as bath water for a soothing soak at the end, a sunset sail with outrageous colors taking over the stratosphere, kayaking, and horseback riding along sun-splashed beaches where lapis- lazuli waters kiss the shore. I looked forward to “limin'” at the beach bars after a day of exploring. My favorite was Rhythms on Rainbow Beach featuring lobster salsa and jerk chicken tacos.
Sharon and Lawson at Rainbow Beach














Mornings start off easy with a mushrooming clouds framed in gold and yoga on the beach. A week of adventure, with plenty of time to slosh in the soothing water made my heart sing. Sharon hopes to offer an all-inclusive week in April 2016 when the town comes alive with one of the best carnivals in the Islands. If you prefer independent travel she is happy to help you plan your trip to her beautiful Island home. You can contact her through her website Zealous Horses.




Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with information about her travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com. 





Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wai-nani Whispersync’d on Amazon – LEND ME YOUR EARS!


Now you can switch between reading the Kindle book and listening to the professional narration from Audible seamlessly. When you own the Whispersync for Voice-ready Kindle book and the Audible audio book you can switch between reading and listening without losing your place.
You can get the Audible audiobook for the reduced price of $1.99 after you buy the Kindle book.

Kindle price reduced to $4.99
This will enable you to purchase the audio book for $1.99 and you will be able to read the text while you are listening to the story.
There are many Hawaiian words in the story that might be unfamiliar. Being able to follow along while listening will enhance your enjoyment. Plus, you can take the story with you anywhere!!
                                               THE LISTENING REVOLUTION IS HERE!!
                                                   WWW.LINDABALLOUAUTHOR.COM