Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Dreamy Year in Review

2014 brought all manner of good things my way.  My journey with New England Hiking Holidays in the Columbia Gorge and into the Mt. Hood region of Oregon ranks very high on my not to missed adventures.  In Get some Forest in your Boots I share highlights.

From there I drove to the coast of Oregon where I explored trails on my own.  The Oswald Park below Cannon Beach was my favorite hike but, If You’re Looking for a Cozy, Friendly Community, With Mammoth Trees, Walking Trails and Whale Sitings, You Won’t Want to Miss Yachats — Gem of Oregon’s Central Coast.

December found me in the Hawaiian Islands linking up with two local authors to form the Aloha Trio.
Together we shared our wares at Barnes and Noble in Lahaina, and at the exclusive Coast Gallery in Hana. Such warm aloha for Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i made my heart sing. I was invited to stay with fellow author Lorraine Brodek who lives in Hana.
She arranged for me to canoe to the birthplace of Ka’ahumanu, the powerful woman in Old Hawai’i, that inspired my novel.

Watching my life unfold in ways I had never dreamed of is quite magical.

2015 promises to be filled with more exciting adventures that I look forward to sharing with you in my articles.

Happy New Year!!!

Cheers, Linda

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wai-nani Catches a Big Wave

 I’m off to Maui to meet up with the Aloha Trio for our book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Lahaina on Dec. 14th.  I met hugely popular Toby Neal, author of the Lei Crime Series, online. I found her writing to be crisp, contemporary and fun. According to Toby, born and raised in the Islands, my book Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i “Casts a hypnotic spell that takes us to ancient Hawai’i. Coming from Toby, someone with an intimate knowledge of the Hawaiian culture, this is quite an endorsement.
I was having lunch with book guru, Carolyn Howard Johnson, here in L.A. and she introduced me to Lorraine Brodek, author of A Nobody in a Somebody World.  Lorraine's book is filled with insider juice on Hollywood celebs she grew up with in Beverly Hills. Being a Hawaii aficionado, my personal favorite is her rendering of her life in Hana, one of the last enclaves of old Hawai’i, where the threat of wild pigs calls for a luau.
Lorraine read Wai-nani and said “The rhythm of Linda Ballou's writing is sheer poetic dialogue. Her descriptions are as mystic as the ancient Hawaiian culture she so graphically describes in this wonderful story that she tells using the voice of Wai-nani (aka Ka'ahumanu, King Kamehameha's favorite wife). Chiefess Ka'ahumanu's birthplace was in a cave at Puu Kauiki in Hana--a hill that exists today in this charming town that truly evokes the beautiful spirit of old Hawaii.
We became friends and Lorraine invited me to stay at her exquisite home high on a knoll overlooking Hamoa Beach in Hana. How could I say no?
 Being a person who gets things done, Lorraine arranged for us to have a reading at the Coast Gallery at the luxurious Travaasa Hotel Resort on Dec. 17th, .
Writing the Hawaiian story became a beautiful obsession for me that spanned twenty years. I had no idea where it would lead me, or the doors that it would open. I can only say I am grateful for what has come my way.

I have arranged a Kindle Giveaway for Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i on Dec. 14-17th on Amazon for those who can’t make it to the Islands for our events. REVIEWS ARE WELCOME

Wishing you all a very Maui Christmas with warm Aloha-In the name of Wai-nani.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heaven Doesn't Have to Wait

Hana, Maui-Sunrise

 Writing Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i has brought many wonderful people and fine experiences my way. Lorraine Brodek, author of A Nobody in A Somebody World, a sneak  peek into lives of celebrities she grew up with, and I are signing our books at the Coast Gallery  at the Travaasa Hana Hotel on Dec. 17th.  Ka’ahumanu, the Hawaiian chiefess who was the inspiration for my character Wai-nani was born in a cave in Hana. Lorraine has graciously arranged a canoe outing for me to her birthplace.
In addition, she has invited me to stay with her and producer husband Tom in their spectacular home sitting on ten acres high on a hill overlooking Hamoa Beach, deemed one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. When I saw the video of her home.
 I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Who could ask for a more gracious estate amidst gorgeous grounds overlooking the rugged coastline of pristine Hana, the last bastion of old Hawai’i.
A couple of years ago I drove the fabled Hana Highway laced with waterfalls. My piece 
Doing theHana Highway My Way details how you can experience the curvaceous road overlooking the sequined Pacific without rubbing bumpers with all the other tourists.  Most visitors stop at the Haleakela National Park and hike through the bamboo forest to a dramatic waterfall and cap off their visit with a plunge in the pools of Oheo Gulch below the highway. At night they head back to “the other side” of Maui leaving residents to stunning sunsets and tranquility of water-rich Hana. The lush tropical forests and dew –laden pastures are still once more as the sun rises announcing another day in paradise.

If you dream of making heavenly Hana your home contactMary Anne Fitch at (808)-250-1503

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Online Romance Gets Real!

The internet works in strange and mysterious ways. Meet Sharon Pohl, a dynamic woman, energetic woman presently living on a tropical isle in the American Virgin Islands.
She found me on the National Association of Baby Boomer Women site where I am the adventure travel expert. She ordered my book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales and requested a meeting with me. We rendezvoused in Santa Barbara and enjoyed on of my favorite outdoor days. As we hiked the bluff overlooking Hendry’s beach and strolled the sands back to the Boat House where we enjoyed a scrumptious repast at the Boat House we shared ideas.
She explained that she is busy re-inventing herself after an unexpected parting of the ways with her long-time husband. Her goal now is to help other women find ways to find peace with change and create new lives.
She invited me to be a guest speaker at a health and wellness week she will be hosting in March 2015 at her home in St. Croix.  My job will be sharing lessons I learned from the People of Old Hawaii in my research for my novel Wai-nani, A Voice from OldHawaii.

 How writing a book, I never dreamed I would write, has brought me to an opportunity to share spiritual insights with others is some kind of wonderful. To cap it off the healing week shoulders the St. Croix carnival, an extravagant display of Island color. Big fun on the way!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Novel Honoring Hawaiian Royals

The character Wai-nani in my historical novel set in old Hawaii (1750-1819) was inspired by the life of Ka’ahumanu. She and Kamehameha the Great are the best-loved icons in Hawaiian history. They were both incredible athletes and could be seen skittering across the waves on their surf boards together. She was a healing kumu (master) and considered by many to be the “Loving Mother of the People.” He fulfilled the prophecy that a warrior would be born whose cloud would rest over all of the Islands. 

Award winning Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai'i is a celebration of the People of Old. After many battles for supremacy Kamehameha did indeed unite the Hawaiian Islands and give his people a golden age of plenty that encouraged the arts.

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  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Authors and Writers Shines the Light on Linda Ballou

Love this  interview with Jo Lindsdell of Authors and Writers Fame. 

What genre do you write and why?
That is a conundrum. My proudest achievement is my historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i. However, it was a great pleasure to travel the world collecting stories for my travel memoir Lost Angel Walkabout-One Travelers Tales. I have a host of non-fiction travel articles to my credit that on my site. I have a "new adult novel" titled The CowGirl Jumped over the Moon released in 2015 that I am very excited about. I do not fit into a traditional publishing slot or in that pigeon hole. That is why I am thrilled to have viable, independent publishing options available.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Young Poet Breathes Life into Old Hawai'i

Alika N.

Alex "Alika" Noholoa Windell is a poet and lyricist experimenting with language fusions. He speaks four languages and has a special fondness for the Hawaiian language.
He loves the poetic rhythms of the Hawaiian mele. In his ode to the Isle of Maui he blends Hawaiian with English to great effect.


Loke lani, lovely blossom (Loke lani = official flower of the island of Mauʻi)
When your island holds my hands
To show me all her faces
Onaona, nahenahe (onaona = alluring, nahenahe = soft)
One is gentle, one is sweet
When the Maui mornings so serene
Mumble love through flowers so pristine
They touch all my senses!
So here my hands are always open
E hele mai, and never leave! (e hele mai = come)
Hana, Maui

You can find more of his poems at deviantART
In addition to audio poems he has a host of musical renditions combining Hawaiian/English lyrics with innovative sounds. You can listen to his creations at this link on Jango. My favorite is Moonbow.

Alika is presently working on a stage play he describes as a fairy tale inspired by Hawaiian mythology.

It is lovely to see how the legends of old Hawaii have influenced this thoroughly modern world citizen in his creative life.

Linda Ballou Author of Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai'i

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Warm Aloha for Wai-nani in Malibu

Linda and Joanie of Malibu
One of the most rewarding and fun things about sharing my writing is meeting the wonderful people who connect with my work. Joan Cate,  AKA "Joanie of Malibu" loves Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawaii. She sees herself swimming with Wai-nani's dolphin family. She tells me that she is enthralled by the poetic language of the book and dazzled by the sensual descriptions of ancient Hawaii and the statuesque Hawaiian people.

She loves Wai-nani so much that she is hostessing lively conversations about my historical novel at the Bank of Books in Malibu. I attended the first meeting where I shared insights in the ancient Hawaiian culture and how it is still in play today. We talked about lessons learned from the people of old. Ho'oponopono, for example is a form of mediation led by an elder that calls for all to bring an attitude or forgiveness. Family disputes dissolved during these sessions.

The next conversation will deal with how Wai-nani embodies the empowered female. Precocious  Ka'ahumanu the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great who rose to become the most powerful woman in old Hawaii, was the inspiration for Wai-nani's character. It is very gratifying for me to share why I felt she was an overlooked heroine who deserved the spotlight.

 Thank you, "Joanie of Malibu" for spreading the good word!!

Can't make the talks? You can read Wai-nani and direct your questions to me. I have a playlist on YouTube called Book Club Answers that provide answers to the most common questions readers have about my rendering of the people of old Hawaii.
There is more to the Islands than meets the eye

Monday, August 11, 2014

Around the World TV Spotlights My Oregon Adventures

Multnomah Falls, Columbia Gorge

The Columbia Gorge is a delightful waterfall wonderland with a web of trails lined with ferns and flowers shaded by old growth forests. I hiked them with ten other guests of  New England Hiking Holiday and our  guides who did all the heavy lifting. Days end brought us to stately Skamania Lodge where we enjoyed garden fresh salads and local salmon among other delicately prepared meals.  A nightcap beside a warming fire beneath velvet skies filled with a billion stars ended another brilliant day. Highlights of my trip that included touring the Hood River Valley, a wonderful hike along the Salmon River and a week on the stunning Oregon Coast complimented by award winning, nature photographer Greg Vaughn await you in this interview.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Devil's Punch Bowl in the Columbia Gorge-Oregon

No trip to the Columbia Gorge in Oregon is complete without a hike up popular Eagle Creek. The moment you enter the well-groomed path, you are swallowed in green.

Chatty smaller streams join the run through the majestic forest. The drop-off naturally becomes more precipitous as you climb up canyon. Often the trail narrows to a ledge with a well-placed handrail to steady your nerves. Sprays of pink and white flowers nestled in ferns cling to the basalt canyon walls, and around each bend is another stunning view of the deepening chasm.
Devils Punch Bowl is the first of three falls along the way to High Bridge, our lunch destination. Rock walls deep in the canyon are matted with mosses, ferns, and lichens. With abundant life all about, I felt refreshed, soothed, restored, and deliriously happy to be here. Four-miles in, we crossed over a heart-catching cleft in basalt walls with black water flowing far below. At our lunch stop I shed my boots and dangled my dogs in the tingling water while our guides laid out a delicious spread. Heaven can wait! I'm busy. For more on this adventure to to New England Hiking Holidays.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Columbia Gorge/Mt. Hood Up Close and Personal

Evan and Kristin make it to Oneonta Gorge
Kristin and Evan are a delightful couple from Arizona that joined me on a hiking adventure with New England Hiking Holidays in the Columbia Gorge/Mt. Hood region of Oregon. I am working on articles about this wonderland of waterfalls that will appear soon, but for immediate gratification click go to Kristin's photo album on Facebook

Evan wanted to see the Oneonta Gorge which requires swimming in a mountain stream fed by snowfields in the Cascade Mountains. I take credit for saving Kristin’s life when she slipped and nearly fell into a chasm getting her Nat. Geo. shot.  (Note shot of scraped leg.) Nothing went un-documented. Great fun had by all lucky enough to take this Oregon trip offered by NEHH each year in June when the flowers are in full swing and the mountain air is scintillating.

I am  wearing California Yellow

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Under the Cover with Randy Jay Braun

Over the years that it took me to write Wai-nani, A Voicefrom Old Hawai’i, I had two yellowing postcard images taped to my wall. One was of a woman with arms stretched to the heavens, knees bent deeply, wearing a swaying ti leaf skirt in a classic kahiko dance pose.
The other was a muscular Hawaiian man glistening with vitality wearing a malo, or loin cloth, with knees bent arms outstretched, hair flying also doing hula. I looked to these two images while conjuring the love scenes that take place in the story. This man and woman epitomized the natural beauty and grace of people in a culture I so admired.

After a year of searching on the internet for an image that would convey the spirit of my book, I settled upon one by Randy Jay Braun. He is a photographer internationally known for his realistic depictions of Hawaiian dancers doing the ancient kahiko dance of Hawai’i. It is called “Celebration of Life.” Since Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i is a celebration of the people of old, I felt it was fitting.
The silhouette of a dancer with arms stretched to the heavens to capture mana, or spiritual power, depicts a sacred ceremony.  The deep purple, tinged with gold, sunset evokes a sense of mystery and hopefully invites the reader to enter a world largely unknown to western readers.
Randy Jay Braun

It is ironic that the two images I held in my mind over twenty years of research and writing were also those of Randy Jay Braun. I was not aware of that fact until I found them on his site along with the image that eventually became the cover of my book.   Writing Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i has been a long, satisfying journey with many serendipitous discoveries along the way.  I have met many wonderful people who have opened their hearts to me with warm aloha and lent their talents to enrich the telling of the Hawaiian story. A special thank you to Randy Jay Braun for allowing me to use his image for the cover of my book.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shady Glades and Sparkling Cascades are Calling

Several years I ago I hiked in the White Mountains with New England Hiking Holidays. In my article “Peak Experience” I detail what an exquisite experience it was to hike in the buttery glow of the autumn sun beneath a canopy of tangelo leaves. Graham, our lead trip guide, told me that the Columbia River Gorge hike was his favorite offering of NEHH because of the dramatic cluster of waterfalls, scent of pine-sheathed mountains, and meadows choked with wildflowers. This image never left me, so I am thrilled to be joining NEHH once
again for their outing in Oregon. Clare Grabher and her husband Kurt, owners and operators of NEHH, make it possible for the average outdoor enthusiastic to experience the wonders of nature by day and the comforts of posh inns offering fine cuisine by night. They run hiking tours in North America, Hawai’i, Italy, the Swiss Alps, and England, as well as historic walks in Spain. I wanted to know more about what goes into creating these top-tier trips around the globe, so I asked Clare a few questions.

There are a few spaces left in the June Columbia River Gorge/Mt Hood Hiking Holiday for more go to

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Real Talk about Transformative Travel

Real talk about the transforming effects travel can have upon you. Join Tori Eldridge, hostess of Empowered Living Radio, and adventure travel writer Linda Ballou in a lively conversation that takes you to Alaska, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Hawaii and parts of the Wild West of North America. Find out where these two diverse personalities meet in the middle and discover that they are Soul Sisters.
Hiker Babe meets Empowered Woman 

New Travel Podcasts with AuthorsontheAirbookstoo on BlogTalkRadio

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saddle Up in Ecuador

Linda leading riders in the Andes

Making tracks on the Inca Trail in the highlands of the Northern Andes fulfilled all my riding fantasies.
This adventure gets you up close and personal with the stunning  landscape and the sweet people who call  it  home. To learn more please enjoy my feature article in ........

Real Travel Adventures Linda Discovers Ecuador on Horseback
End of the day at Hacienda Cusen

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Best Stress Busters on the Big Island

Linda after these treatments

Could you use a lomi-lomi massage, therapy in a warm pool, or perhaps sea- water cleansing to get rid of toxins in your body? How about a little ho’oponopono that comes from the heart to clear you psyche? Two hundred yeas ago when disapproving missionaries arrived, Hawaiians took their beliefs underground. But in the 1970s, native Hawaiian healers dared to bring their ancestral knowledge back into the light of day. The intensity of the elements of earth, fire, water and wind has made Big Island a magnet for healers of all persuasions. Their special knowledge is easily accessed if you know where to look.  
You won't be sorry you did!      

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hiker Babe meets Empowered Woman

Hiker Baby and Empowered Woman
Big fun leading Tori Eldridge author of Empowered Living on a hike in her own back yard.
It always tickles me when I can introduce a trail to someone who loves to hike, has hiked many trails in the Santa Monica Mountains and is as excited as I am to find a new one. I took Tori to theMalibu Springs Trail/NicholasPond that overlooks the Pacific and back canyons beneath Boney Ridge. As we switch-backed up the mountain, I huffed and puffed, stopping with the excuse to point out the views, while Tori barely broke a sweat. In top form, Tori, a black belt Ninja, makes Wonder Woman look like a wimp. Raised in Hawai’i, she is in tune with nature and loves the outdoors. Her eclectic acting/dancing/singer career has taken her to Broadway and back to L.A. where she resides in Malibu.
Tori  Eldridge author of Empowered Living

In her book Empowered Living, Tori suggests you make a list of all the things that are great about yourself to amp of your self-esteem.  Her martial arts training has given her an awareness that anyone, but especially  females, can benefit from. I travel a great deal on my own, so the message she is offering is very valuable to me. Being more aware of your surroundings and knowing how to respond in an emergency can easily save your life.

We talked about many things. Books. Writing. How nature heals and how it is big enough to absorb our pain. I hope you will tune into our conversation on April 14th  on Empowered Living Radio 

focused on how  travel can transform us. The best part of the interview for me is that I have made a new friend that I can share with, learn from, and hopefully hike with again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Exploring Ecuador

I am very pleased with the presentation of my article Exploring Ecuador in the spring issue of

  Travel World Magazine.

 In this issue of the publishing arm of North American Travel Journalist Association you will find stories about Diving in Micronesia, Tracking Tigers in Nepal, Hiking with Llama and much more. My article is on page 15-21.

Sacha Eco- Lodge-Amazon Basin

Ecuador is a pint-sized country chock full of outdoor adventures, a deep cultural heritage and sweet extending people. It boasts the largest bio-diversity per square mile on the planet. In this piece I share my experience at Sacha Lodge in the heart of the Amazon basin.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whet Your Wanderlust

The Sages of Topanga Canyon arrived at the beautiful Topanga Library on a dark and stormy night hoping to Whet their Wanderlust. I took them on a visual journey to destinations in my book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales.  As I shared highlights of a particular outdoor adventure, I touched lightly on environmental threats to a given region. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness.” I expand that thought to include innocence. Even the most jaded individual will become aware of the threats of human intervention to pristine eco-systems through adventure travel.
Upon request, I shared Solutions for Solo Travelers and gave pointers on what to look for in an outfitter detailed in my article Not All Outfittersare Created Equal.
By all accounts everyone left with a new journey brewing.

       Mission accomplished!