Wise Spirits Save Trees

When I was a child, I explored the woods for hours at a time. I was intrigued by the paths carved by deer, startled by snakes basking in patches of sunlight, and awed by thickets shaped into fortresses. Many times, I joined my siblings and friends in tracking rabbits and ‘coons. At times were rode horseback or cruised around in six-wheeler amphibians. Other days, wild dogs followed us on foot. The woods provided an adventure for me, and taught me to appreciate the many aspects of life. Yet, where does the complex elements that form the peacefulness and dangerous forest begin?  

Every culture has crafted legends of the forest and most are interestingly similar to one another. Certainly, we all understand that life is energy but how does a cell transform into a growing plant? Radiation from sunlight mixed with miraculous water empowers that necessary spark. Throughout history, man has associated different expressions of such energy of life with characteristics and attributes. Personalities evolve in what are termed spiritual elementals.

Woodlands across the globe are known for housing playful elements. Legend and myths surround the distinct personality of trees.

Trees are rumored to provide gateways to a parallel world that man’s dense physical form is unable to see. The notable beings capable of moving from the tree’s spiritual plane to our physical Earth are described as being handsome human-like spirits. These spiritually conscious beings previously thrived during the Golden Era on Earth. They are making a comeback under the name, magical elves. They originally lived in the forests located in British Isles and Iceland. As developers destroyed woodlands, communities of wood nymphs relocated to uninhabited areas throughout the world but most joined other fantastical creatures in an elemental realm. Woodland elves possess qualities similar in guardian angels and are from the angelic realm.

Due to the large variety of elves, one species is as small as six inches while what man considers to be the traditional elves have a height over five feet. They are athletic, able to climb the tallest trees and outrun a jackrabbit. Don’t assume they have died off if you have never met one face to face, It is difficult to see the spiritual form of elves because they happen to be shape-shifters.

When they aren’t working their magic within another hidden realm, elves reside within the world of trees. Understand that trees are more than a trunk with branches and leaves. Trees are surrounded by auras or energy fields. Each type of plant emits a specific force field. Woodland elves, who are the tiniest breed, prefer moist furrows off the ground. Human-sized elves rely on narrow furrows with openings slightly  taller than their heights as entryways into their parallel world.

Elves are wise, spiritual beings who love music, art and creativity. They celebrate and perform rituals for pretty much every occasion. While they generously protect and breathe life into trees, they frugally apply their spiritual blessings to human needs. Instead, they limit their talents to those with loving intentions to care for and improve nature. If elves used their “magic” when the energy around them isn’t peaceful, their powers tend to harm nature, humans, or even themselves.

Native Americans adored nature’s energy. The many tribes recognized the spiritual presence of life, and legends grew from their meaningful explanations of how the world developed. The Seminole Indians referred to the beings who lived within thickets of tangled branches along hollow trees as the “este lopocke.” Their handsome woodland spirits had fine facial features, lean muscles, and stylish hair. These spiritual beings guided man with selecting plants to be used as medicine however they only appeared to those with well-intentioned hearts.

In this millennia, wood nymphs, este lopocke and elves make themselves known by reaching out to us. They are communicating a much-needed message about conserving our planet’s resources. Their intention is to re-educate us about how to care for Earth. Our planet, likewise, is full of energy, and while it provides a home to us, we should reciprocate by giving back. Elves and the spirit of trees respond to our desires to preserve our plant by expanding our spiritual awareness even further. In this way, woodland spirits aid man’s spiritual growth.

According to gurus around the world, man’s ever-evolving consciousness results into a greater universal respect for nature. The Go Green mindset has decreased man’s previously destructive habits. Angelic elves predict the end of the world previously anticipated will be delayed, thanks to our eco-friendly conduct. Earth will continue to provide man a safe and comfortable environment, giving man time to reverse any ill-fated acts. Word has it that around 2062, the elemental spirits are to reevaluate how man treats nature and assess ways to save the planet.

I invite you to experience the elemental energies in Kissy Me Away, my wood nymph fantasy where Native American spirits come to life. The story begins when a mystical book causes intuitive Lexie Wiggins’ loved ones to vanish, reeling her on a quest deep into the Everglades where she bravely faces Seminole spirits destroying Earth while discovering romance.


Michael Walden: 2-D Artist

Artist, Michael Walden, conveys a narrative with his two-dimensional painting designs. Early in his career, his artistic style envisioned an approach inspired by European applications. He has been honored with a solo showing at New York City’s Leslie Lohman Museum, has been awarded with numerous artist residencies, and has displayed his work throughout Boston’s finest galleries including, the Bakker Gallery, Sprinkler Factory, Art Stand, Arnheim Gallery, S & G Project Gallery, Gallery at FOUR, and Art Scapes.

He is recognized for working with trace monotypes, the process of pressing ink onto transfer print papers, which was popularized by Paul Gauguin, Paul Klee, and of course, Michael Walden. Walden pushes composition and scale to a fresh level by capturing the subject and details within his artistry. He demonstrates how storytelling is not limited to words due to our conjuring images as we hear or read a narrative.

Question: Each of your paintings explores a visual narrative. What elements of your composition establishes the mood within your image?

Without really focusing on it, my works tend to explore the contrast between light and dark, both visually and emotionally. Recently, while I was organizing thoughts for a show I was having in New York City, I wanted to make connections to past works…. In case I needed to reference them with the new work. It was interesting to me, how many of the works had a strong connection to the way light effects space and subject.

Question: Your work explores the surface and visual narratives of paintings. How does your style in placing figures and spaces develop your setting?

I don’t believe any of it is intentional. I think that a concept comes to me, and I begin to research it visually. I find that often times, the ideas for paintings circle around for along time before I begin the actual process of painting. Looking at art and artists that may have explored similar ideas…. Books, films, poetry all build towards that painting, and once that starts, it has a mind of its own. To be honest, I never really know what a painting will be until it’s completed. And that only happens just before it is to be shown.

Question: Your work opens viewers to understanding the relationship between artistic expression and human emotion. Do you find emotion by projecting the feelings you experience as you paint?

That’s a tricky question. I think my emotions make their way into paintings, but I am not necessarily painting about those emotions…. And often times, if I am in a long period of painting, the emotions run the gambit. My most recent series of paintings, the series of my trainer seated in an aluminum chair, to me was ultimately a very optimistic body of work. It’s original plan was not. I think, when people look at the paintings, they bring their own emotion to it, and therefore it becomes a personal experience.

Question: You encourage viewers to discover a profound aspect within your work. Do you intentionally deliver a public message through your subject matter?

Most of the time, that is my goal. The last years of my career as an elementary school art teacher, it was my goal to instill in my students, the idea that art had the ability to change how people think. To change the world. When I left my position to pursue art making full-time, I promised those kids that I was going to try and do that. My works mostly are meant to get the viewer to think beyond the idea of something being pretty or decorative. That’s not always an easy thing…. So, if you can create something that bridges both ideas, you might be on to something.

Question: You have several series of paintings and, with each series, you achieve different techniques while establishing a state of mind for your subjects. Do you connect with your subjects by recording the models’ feelings during the sitting or do you convey a personal life event?

Hmm. I try and connect with my subjects. I think the work is stronger when I do. When I am able to capture that connection or bond, it brings more life and meaning to the work. Often times when I am negotiating with a potential model (typically already a friend) I often talk about the process being a collaboration of sorts… that their involvement in the process is just as important as mine. That might be a bit of a stretch, but I quickly learn if they are interested in that aspect of the process…. When they are excited about it, so am I.

Michael Walden’s artwork has the ability to change the viewers’ way of thinking. He proves the composition of large scale paintings makes a powerful impression within a developed series. His ability to plan images that culminate into conveying an overall message provides an example of how to establish a foundation for visual storytelling.

Thank you, Michael Walden, for sharing your visual narrative techniques.

To view a selection of his work, please visit, https://michaelwalden.net.


Lights Out!


Kissy Me Away: A Novel

Savvy collegiate, Lexie Wiggins’ curiosity plunges those she loves into the mystical Everglades. There, she must overcome ancient Native Indian challenges in order to restore the material world.

While on college break celebrating Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Lexie excitedly discovers a jeweled artifact worth millions of dollars. She carelessly mishandles the treasure’s powers, thereby unleashing a long-forgotten Seminole curse. Ill-prepared to deal with supernatural forces, her forever-loyal boyfriend, Lance, fails to save the day.

Relying on nothing more than her guardian sight, she embarks on a long, impossible journey into the Everglades full of devious spirits, sea serpents, and witchery. Temptation tests Lexie’s love for Lance as she thrusts his life into perilous risks, unless she finds a way to muster her warrior spirit.

Adventure Romance Apple Books


Sun-Kissed: A Novel

Anatolia, amateur treasure hunter, sailed the Caribbean until her sailboat was confiscated during a planetary shift, leaving her to protect her injured younger sister. Anatolia discovers a jeweled nautilus which she plans to sell to help her ailing sister. The sisters escape their captors and are rescued by teen sailors who are plagued by a curse against treasure hunters. 

Meanwhile, mermaids are outraged at the theft of their jeweled nautilus and set out to destroy Anatolia unless she returns it before the full moon. The romantic lure of a dangerous ex-love controls her thinking. Not respecting the power of Caribbean magic, she tries to manipulate them all to her advantage until she finally realizes she is the problem and she must make restitution to the sea, before all those she loves are lost. 

Romance and swash-buckle are brewed with supernatural adventure that delivers twists and turns to the bitter end.

Adventure Romance Apple Books


Romance Writers Win

Romance Writers Win by planning for publication before completing the first draft of a highly anticipated novel. Begin by establishing where you will end. Prepare yourself by understanding the market trends, meeting the romance industry’s expectations and developing divine characters. 

Romance Writers Win demonstrates how to create dynamite titles and memorable characters. It covers plotting and defines disparate damsels. You’ll discover what not to do and how to make your heroes gleam. Finalize your publication plans by understanding how to go about selling your book.

Fiction Writer Guides Apple Books


Write Gritty Villains

With Write Gritty Villains, enter my world of evaluating personality quirks for fiction that surface when the antagonist is under pressure. Years of investigating gives me an inside scoop on intriguing motivations and outrageous behavior. 

Find inspiration for creating a villain your readers will remember. Explore ways a villain justifies his actions. Follow easy to recognize examples of personalities based on celebrity and criminal public images. 

Now is the time to create that mastermind villain with Write Gritty Villains.

Fiction Writer Guides Apple Books


Conquer Contracts

Whether you have an agent rallying for your rights, you speak for yourself, or you have already entered into a contract, it’s wise to understand how the terms impact your writing path. Conquer Contracts outlines the standard terms. 

Legal jargon is explained with clear words. Examples of how the language can create unexpected outcomes for both the publisher and the author are included. Conquer Contracts lays out the methods for authors to make money and shares ideas on how to protect rights. 

It includes explanations about – Registering Copyrights, Payment of Royalties, Receiving an Advance, Author’s Costs, Bonuses and Discounts, Manuscript Submission, Working with Editors, Manuscript Revisions, and Reasons for Termination.

What do you want in a publishing contract? 

Fiction Writer Guides Apple Books


9 Awesome Historical NonFiction Books

Photo by Jan Wilder Bill

It’s traveling season and nothing makes a vacation sparkle like a spell-binding book. Better yet, digesting new information with intimate details about historic figures boosts your intellect, Don’t stick with repetitive historical nonfiction books. Many leaders of our past have accomplishments that have been overlooked, or worse yet, forgotten altogether.

Discover events that shape why you live the way you do. Even those great people you admire had interesting, private moments in their lives that changed history. Delve into the thoughts and motivations of histories movers and shakers. Know the secrets of our world. 

I’m not talking about those required reading books from yonder schooldays. Consider the names you’ve heard in passing, but you didn’t quit get the jest of why they were mentioned. Add another’s life to your relaxation. No one deserves to be shelved.  

Let’s begin with books written by master writers. You can expect flawless prose and deep evaluation of decisions made by our great leaders. These writers delve into well-known historical figures with an aim to humanize those we judge unfairly.

1. The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

by David McCullough

David McCullough is one of my favorite historians and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him, along with his spunky wife who edits all of his manuscripts before submitting them to publishers. McCullough shares the electrifying facts of how the Panama Canal was built. This involves combative negotiations that failed, and sly strategies for advancing trade and transportation ten-fold. Some academics credit this miraculous engineering accomplishment to North American’s lust for California gold, but there is much more to dredging a fifty-one mile waterway.

2. Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chew, Scott Brick, et al.

Written by a National Book Award winner, Ron Chew, the book, Alexander Hamilton, shares the life of a President of the United States who happened to be my ancestor’s foster son. Hamilton’s tale is of self-sacrifice in order to transform his ideas into a new Nation. This is a man with numerous titles in addition to being President. He defined the U.S. finance and commerce platform, and was adored by his fellow Founders. Yet, he couldn’t pull himself out of a long-standing heated debate with his adversary, Aaron Burr. Discover how a boy with a challenging past was embraced by America’s leading families only to meet tragedy. 

3. Fallen Founders: The Life of Aaron Burr

Nancy Isenberg

It wouldn’t be fair to read about President Hamilton without understanding his nemesis. This book is told from the perspective of a victimized Aaron Burr. Decide for yourself whether Burr was a patriot or a trader, a murderer or a loyalist. Discover why he was assassinated and just how he really felt about the fairer citizens. 

Now for books with heart. Knowing history includes the simple people who revolutionized society. 

4. Alexander Graham Bell: The Reluctant Genius and His Passion for Invention

by Charlotte Gray

This jack-of-all-trades enjoyed a highly favorable reputation. Explore why how his family’s challenges gave him a fascination with sound. His family members suffered from speech problems and deafness, which motivated him to be the expert on conveying conversations.

5. “Sorry Guys, We Stormed the Capitol:” Eye-Witness Accounts of January 6th

by Ben Hamilton

This book consists of records and interviews by a teacher who witnessed firsthand the once in a lifetime protest against the American election system. He includes photos and “critical reasoning” for the reader to incorporate into any propaganda. His goal is for readers to piece together the truth. It’s wise to be aware of what others have to say in order to decide what you think. 

For a broader perspective of humanity, consider books that cover how a few great men revolutionized entire countries. Get to know incredible events suffered by our neighbors.

6. The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties that Helped Create Modern China

by Jonathan Kaufman

A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Johnathan Kaufman, explains how two family dynasties turned obstacles within China into economic opportunities. The one-hundred fifty year span covers drug trade, warring families, communism and foreign invasions with insights into the survivors’ gripping emotions. 

7. White Australia has a Black History: William Cooper and First Nations Peoples’ Political Activism

by Barbara Miller 

Historian, Barbara Miller, shares a true accounting of betrayal, and redemption for the Aboriginal, William Cooper, who protested racism against the Federal Parliament. Cooper’s voice lived beyond his years and his message became complete through his grandson, Uncle Boydie. Discover why Boydie was recognized by the Queen herself. 

8. A Great and Noble Scheme: the Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland

by John Mack Farther

Jack Mack Farther gives life to Nova Scotia’s 1755 holocaust enforced by England against the French Acadians. Rights were subjugated. Warfare raged. England overpowered France on North American soil in a bid for farmland. Decide for yourself whether justice was served. 

9. How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe

by Thomas Cahill

Thanks to Ireland’s unconquered territories, classic literature and religious works were saved from destruction during the dark ages. Enter the protected life of saints and scholars who remained shielded from the horrors taking place across Europe. These men braved threats and torture so that you could be the intellectual great that you are. 

There you have it, a great way to entertain yourself while waiting out those long airline delays and cancellations. History has merit not just for the value of knowing truth, but for the sheer entertainment of entering into reality reading. 

Bon voyage!!


7 Romantic Polo Tips

Back in the day, traveling was a luxury. You’d put on your fineries and wear heels to the airport. Flights were on time and airports were peaceful. Everyone checked her luggage and only dainty purses were placed under the seats. 

Somehow, in the process of our world shrinking and foreign communications being simplified, traveling abroad has transformed into a horrifying chore. Even under the best of circumstances canceled flights and delays are the norm. 

Thank goodness, romance doesn’t require an exotic location. Your dream weekend is a car ride away. 

A fabulous romantic destination is at your nearest polo grounds. Here are seven ways attending a polo match will revive your number one relationship. 

1. Showtime Dressing 

Nothing sparks a romance like looking your best. Comfy jeans paired with showstopper shoes are perfect, yet polo events bring out the bling in spectators. Fancy hats with flowers and themed appliqués show off your personality. Bright, colors and splashy prints for dresses and men’s blazers announce your joyful attitude. Sweet sundresses and jeweled footwear go perfectly with men’s patterned shorts, starched button downs, and animated ties.

What to Wear Tips:

a.) Stick with closed toe shoes. Even the finest pedicure looks scary after walking along the dusty sidelines and pocked pasture. 

b.) Plan for the temperature. Pre-polo season begins before Christmas and the main events last from winter into late spring. Chilly wind puts a damper on the mood when you insist on wearing that sheer sundress. Likewise, intense sunlight traps hatless spectators in their cars. 

c.) Despite your checking the weather app to see whether the day will be hot and sunny, it will still call for body con over ruffles. Keep in mind that you will be sitting within a large, vacant space without nearby trees. While you might need to dress for the high temperature, I cannot think of a polo match I’ve been to where there wasn’t a robust breeze. Be prepared for your sheer clothing to catch in the wind and for hats to fly away. Just as easily, your hair could be in jeopardy. You will likely be shaking your hair out of your eyes and pulling it from your glossy lips — hence, the popular choice of wearing hair braided or pulled up. 

d.) If you own a practical attire that is designer, this is the place for it. Granted, styles remain clean-cut whether you go with the ranch-girl finds oil look, the carefree Caribbean resort wear, or the classic, timeless pieces. If you show up in a delicate sequin top and slinky heels, you will stand out as a rookie. One thing the polo society abhors is a newbie. 

e.) Understand that the event hosts will be passing out champagne for you to enjoy while you walk across the field to refill divots created by the horses’ hooves. Guests are given a chance to climb on a wooden horse and learn how to swing a mallet. You might find yourself crawling through picket fences and cutting through woods. Dressing out of context for walking across fields and stomping on muddy grass might leave you sitting in your parking space while your handsome hero struts around with a glass of champagne at half-time. And nothing ruins romance like being stranded.

f.) More specifically, men tend to wear vibrant blazers with needlepoint details or jackets tailor cut from luxurious fabrics. Silly socks rock designer loafers. Bowties are the norm. Don’t deny yourself of showing off your long lost pocket square you keep tucked in the bottom of your sock drawer. Complemented with a plantation hat or a clever baseball cap tells everyone that you will deliver fun enthusiasm if they take time to introduce themselves. 

g.) But then let’s not overlook the “I am a superstar and don’t even put forth an effort to be so amazing” look. Some men go for what I will describe as a grungy designer style as a method for announcing that they have what it takes and know it, but don’t want you to know they know. Unpolished boat shoes, broken in mules, both hold up well in the outdoor dust. A cable knit sweater and khakis are perfectly suited for hanging out beside a cooler full of the third most popular liquid to consume in the world — brewed beverages. (Beer happens to be manufactured by a particularly famous, kind, charismatic player you are sure to eventually watch play and hopefull meet.) Likewise, the obvious polo shirts and nondescript shorts are always understated and acceptable.

h.) All white makes a statement but is less common. Avoid the temptation to wear cowboy boots. Stick with an equestrian boot style instead. The polo players will be wearing lace-up boots, buckle clasps and tan with black variations. Those attendees who wear boots go for fashionable spring styles with traditional English riding details. This event is nothing like a rodeo and Western wear is not to be seen.

2. Wine and Dine Settings

Tailgating is a necessity at polo matches because spectators park alongside the field. Certainly, you can back your car into your space and hang out on the tailgate, however, the more romantic and common approach is to plan a table setting

Oftentimes, polo events announce a theme for the year, and give awards to the winning decorations. Groups parked side by side plan together in reserving double lots, and put up tents, add sofas, and even rugs. Consider bringing your silver platters and china pitchers. Add a floral arrangement and tablecloth to establish an alluring atmosphere your partner won’t disregard. 

The more you sensationalize, the more passersby will stop and introduce themselves. Meeting interesting couples is a great way to loosen up your partner. Stimulating conversations with your new friends will spark fresh conversations between you two. Staying fresh and new extends the honeymoon phase. 

Decorating Tips:

Avoid being generic with your decor. Put your distinctive personality into your presentation. Your loved one will see you as being remarkable and want to connect with you even more. Fabulous romantic settings I’ve seen at polo matches included: 

a.) Strings of lights. You can find battery operated light strings to wrap around your table, your flowers or your tent posts. At times, polo matches take place during overcast weather. Those lights will wash away a dreary day and bring on the soft mood. 

b.) Figurines and Statuary. If you don’t mind the time and extra effort, you can place sculptures and artwork on your main table, or bring along side tables. If you happen to have merchandise you sell, this is a demure way to promote yourself and get well-deserved attention.

c.) Throw Rugs. If you love your heels and refuse to leave home without them, consider bringing along a rug to avoid tripping across the pastures. At times, polo playing gets dusty and pretty much always your feet and legs will have a sheen of dirt by the mid-point of the event. Even grassy grounds can stir up dirt. Also, spindly chair legs and table posts dig into the ground when unprotected. 

d.) Flowers, flowers. Plastic flowers attached to tents or strung around tables are perfectly acceptable for making a statement. Even more often, natural flowers in vases are an ideal centerpiece alongside cheese spreads and wine carafes.  

e.) Cushioned Seating. While regulars tend to keep collapsible furniture in the back of their SUVs, there are always attendees, usually in larger groups, who haul in seating arrangements with cushions and throw pillows. This is the group of couples who welcome stranglers and offer a glass and hors d’oeuvres if you pause and take time to admire their efforts. A problematic issue for setting up a living space might come about where the area behind the row of parked spectators cannot accommodate multiple moving trucks. 

f.) Plaques and Signs. More popular when the space is decorated according to a theme, elaborate plaques and signs can deliver your message. If you are set on advocating an issue while lounging with your partner, then add artwork to your message. Place signs on a scrolled stand or twist vines around the base. Be noticed so your mate will see what a great catch you are. If you have an amazing painting or print of horses or polo activities, consider setting it to share with the world as well. 

g.) Snazzy Wine Glasses. Don’t overlook the obvious. If you plan to welcome guests, don’t forget to find a way to designate which glass belongs to whom. You can purchase charms to place around the glass stems, or tie ribbons, braided boat lines, rubber bracelets, or stickers with your friends favorite photos. Whatever you do, remember to embellish your lucky love’s glass with a special notation as a reminder of how much you care for that one and only person.

h.) Picnic Supplies. Remember your napkins and baskets and forks and spoons. Space plan for coolers and heaters and battery operated fans. But skip any radios or megaphones. The spot light will be on the announcer and the incredible sport.

3. Curbside View. 

Nothing creates chemistry like feeling special while with your favorite someone. Polo matches guarantee every attendee will experience top priority due to everyone having a front row seat. The players ride back and forth so no area of the field is neglected. At the beginning, players parade around the ring and, at times, make eye contact with guests. 

Parking Tip: 

The introductions take place in the center of the field, or middle section. The ends get less of a view, however, being on the end is a great excuse for exploring and walking around. There will likely be concession stands where you can mingle.

4. Flirting Celebrities. 

Yes, you can have that romantic weekend without arriving with a mate. Polo is known for being an expensive sport and outgoing ambition is a character trait most players express. You will be within shaking hands distance of people you’ve seen in the lime light. 

True, royalty loves polo, but even more than the upper crust, expect to cross paths with well-known television personalities, famous designer namesakes, foreign athletes and Wall Street intellectuals. An element of polo matches is for the players to mingle with guests over barbecue cookouts, wine tastings, and fundraiser galas.

Flirty Tip: 

Keep it mild. Polo events retain a level of class and decorum. You want to look your best but the pairings tend to be where there is a down-to-earth connection. This includes a shared interest in caring for horses, spending time on secluded ranches, and enjoying the peaceful outdoors during your babe’s practices. 

Typically, the scrappy cocktail dresses and stilettos are saved for other occasions. This is more of a wholesome affair atmosphere where guests get involved at the event rather than being removed from the activities. Celebrities can show off everyday, but playing polo is their real-time where they can be themselves.

5. Relaxed Conversations. 

Reclining with someone you care about while nibbling on your favorite flavors is calming. Pack your partner’s special blankie, food dish, and drink. If you can recall a rare treasure your special love refrains from and reserves for special occasions, all the better for you to spoil him on this day. 

Make sure all the creature comforts are in your vehicle, such as sunglasses, sun screen and wind breakers. Ensuring that your loved one is comfortable shows how much you value the person. Feeling appreciated puts us all in a receptive mood. 

Relax Tip: 

If the conversation shifts into longstanding debate you’ve already gone over a million times without ever resolving, divert the topic to a new sight or experience you are having in that moment. Bringing in unfamiliar stimuli forces us to open our minds to fresh perspectives. A polo event is a perfect opportunity for reinvigorating an old flame or getting a new relationship on track. 

6. National Patriotism. 

Polo matches begin with the National Anthem and can include the bag pipes, solo vocalists, and local bands. The armed forces salute the attendees and march in formation. Patriotism reminds us all of how unified we are. We are in this earthly battle together, whatever that might be at any given moment. 

National traditions remind us of what our ancestors sacrificed. All of us have a backstory and everyone’s ancestry includes the belief in having a better life. Feeling patriotic grounds our relationships. A solid foundation means lovey dovey thoughts are swirling around us. 

Patriot Tip: 

The polo crowd is not big on throwing hats at the end of the National Anthem. This I know for sure because I love to throw my hat. Nonetheless, within polo circles, patriotic tributes are moments for quiet contemplation. Chatty conversations cease until the regalia has concluded.

7. Social Strolls. 

Despite all the decorative planning for watching the match from your parking space, take time to walk down the row and visit with other attendees. Near the announcement box, which is usually a microphone on top of a portable food kiosk, there will be items for sale. These items tend to include Jaguars and Landrovers, but you can also find clothing and hats. 

Strolling Tip: 

At larger events, artwork will be for sale. Vendors and even artist with notoriety are at times given a marketplace area. Strolling through the amazing tents lends itself to casual conversations and affectionate gestures. 

Now, I give you the task to find the joy of polo. Spending time together without an agenda provides a sense of safety which leads to trust. These are the defining ingredients for love, and romance. 


The Makings of Geniuses

I didn’t pay attention to my seven year old son’s hobbies, until his school held a reading marathon and I was required to record his daily page count. My first grade son read 164 chapter book pages per day. 

How could a child who attended school full time, had after school sports four days a week and spent weekends boating and surfing find time to read? 

Thanks to sensational story-tellers, he kept a book in his hands at all times. 

He became hooked on reading when we discovered the howling R.L. Stein hardbacks. No boy could resist opening the cover when he knew his reward was a moaning ghost. 

Next, he decided to read the C.S. Lewis, Narnia chronicles during first grade so he could beat his older sister who read them when she was in third grade. Thanks to his persistent questions regarding the differences between the movie and novel versions of the Lightning Thief, his comprehension and speed developed with the Riordan series. Finishing each book in three to five days, he became an official story junkie. 

Where did it all begin? 

Perhaps two weeks after he was born. Feeling stir-crazy, I played traditional folk-songs on the stereo. With many more hours to spare during each day, I read aloud. Three times per day, I’d pick out seven picture books. That was twenty-one per day. Hundreds of fantastical books with dazzling artwork and catchy phrases kept his brain stimulated. Some books were hand-me-downs from my childhood and his big sister. His interest remained alert due to gifts inside envelopes, recordings of animal sounds, speaking narrators, and digital elements geared for boys. 

By the time he was four, I read Bruce Coville books out loud. My son proved he was listening all those years by finding similarities in the plots. One afternoon, he gathered his Coville books together and counted the pages. 

“Hey, in all his books, his first chapter is X number of pages long. They enter the fantasy world around Y number of pages. The bad guy shows up on number Z page. Do you think the author did that on purpose?” my son unknowingly explained to me.

“Really? Coville has a system? The turning points are planned according to the page number? Coville must’ve found a rhythm that worked. That’s impressive that you noticed.” I wondered why I never thought to count the pages.

My son would ask me to reread certain scenes, digesting whether a boy would actually twist a ring and say the magic words if he knew he’d turn into a monster. Never quite sure whether a girl should trust a unicorn, he wanted to fully understand the cave scene.

Then, the big moment came. While vacationing in Virgin Gorda, my son’s reading appetite peaked. I purchased a Treasure Island book with a CD narrative. The following day as he thumbed through the pages, we went snorkeling at the cave where Treasure Island is set. In the heat of the day, my son sat on our hotel room floor, ignoring beach toys in a giant basket beside him, and he followed the words as the book’s CD told the story aloud. My son learned how to spell the words. As a reward, we spent the trip visiting each site that inspired the book. He was mesmerized. 

Next, I was in charge of reading the animated R.L. Stein books, but I wasn’t dedicated enough. My son wanted to know what happened too soon for me to keep up, so he started reading during his bath. He quickly moved on to the C.S. Lewis series, sometimes accidentally dropped his books into the water. While one book dried on the towel rack, he’d switch to another, until he adopted the habit of reading three books at once. 

Along came the Black Stallion. A boy, an adventure, and my son noticed typos. He’d list the page numbers and errors when he left for school. He kept a stat of book titles with typos in his mind.

Could his interest in reading have developed prior to his birth? 

During my pregnancy, I had dutifully listened to classical music and limited my diet to fruits, vegetables, dairy, and during the third term, fish. I meditated, walked three miles every day and did floor exercises until my seventh month. After he was born, I took him for daily walks, stopping to show him the cackling egrets during mating season, and collecting leaves and rocks for us to study in books piled under his stroller along our path.

His interest in reading might have begun when I was a child and my family respected books. I loved reading my older siblings’ schoolbooks to compare what scientific discovers had rebuked their dated “facts.” A 1900s encyclopedia kept me occupied with all their forgotten historical figures. I read aloud to my Siamese cat each night. Her favorite story was about a lost dog looking for his mother. Before that, my mother took me to the library each week. It was in the historic section of our small community, down by the weedy railroad tracks next to a row of Victorian houses. I loved the outing. The library was old and so were the selections. What wasn’t there to love about the illustrations in the Little Babaji book? 

While all these elements made a difference, the reason my son loved to read was because of the outstanding stories in print. They enticed him more than movies. He evaluated the characters’ behavior. He noticed if someone was mentioned in chapter three and never brought up again. He asked me whether it was a mistake or perhaps Suzanne Collins intended for the boy to stay behind in the underworld. 

“I don’t know,” was my canned response. It was the same thing I said whenever he asked about gaps in movie plots. “You’ll have to read the book in order to find out. The book explains all the parts they leave out of the movie.”

And he did, and still does. Early childhood reading trains the mind to evaluate, analyze, and form conclusions. Visual stimulation flips on latent areas of the mind. Incorporating text with daily life and real world settings puts words into perspective. Such mind development, crafted with audio within the brain as the reader digests the words, and symbolism from the artistry and words, is a critical step toward baby geniuses.


Beat Blake Snyder’s Sheet

You wake in the middle of the night eager to delve into your new greatest work of art. The words are flowing. You can’t write fast enough to keep up with your inner narrative. This is a grandiose feeling, not to mention a fabulous way to jostle your family and pets out of bed before sunrise. 

But before you bleed your emotions onto the page, consider organizing your thoughts. Prior to gearing up to spread the word about your story, plan how your plot will develop. Trust me, you will save yourself a lot time-consuming of heart ache.

My hubby was college pals with Blake Snyder, which makes me a long-standing follower of his plotting method. Blake Snyder’s techniques work well for scripts, fiction storytelling, and nonfiction outlines. Here are essential steps for the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. 

Opening Image

First off, provide a gripping opening. Readers spend much of their time breezing through cryptic text messages and abrupt emails. Society has progressed to understanding the setting and even buildup to scenes  without being spoon-fed lengthy backstory, like in the previous decades. 

The purpose of designating a splash opening is to create a strong first impression. This is your platform to show the tone, mood and scope of your story. Where in life is your protagonist in the beginning? 

Theme Stated

Don’t be coy. Just say what your theme is. Tell the readers what your story is about and state which direction he will be traveling. A key ingredient in storytelling is to be clear.

Yes, I am aware there are phenomenal suspense authors who hide the ball. However, within the first few paragraphs, the reader is aware there is a suspense and a ball is hidden. Pretending to write a contemporary romance when you plan to throw in a miraculous fantasy element is jarring. Lay out the overall concept in the beginning. 

Set Up

Now that your introductions are over, it’s time to share what is at risk for your protagonist. What  is the protagonist willing to fight for above all else. As you share his passion, make sure to give the top characters in the story stage time. If it doesn’t make sense to bring them into the scene, then at least refer to the character(s). 

Above all else, show the reader what the protagonist is missing in his life. Whatever it is, the protagonist wants to have it, bad. 


Whatever it was you shared about the protagonist in the Set Up, take it away from him. Destroy the one thing he will do anything to save. Remove his passion from his life. Make it so that his only option is to go out and do something about it. There is no way he can remain where he was because that life no longer exists. 


Before you get the journey rolling, have your protagonist refuse to go. He loved his old life and wants things to go back to being they way they were. He can’t move forward because he doesn’t believe in himself. He lacks faith.

Give him a question that must be answered by the end of the scene. Can he survive failure? Is he capable of learning kung fu with only one leg? Is he resourceful enough to get through this travesty? 

Break into Two

This is your protagonist’s shining moment. Act II begins with your protagonist deciding to assert himself into taking action. This must be a deliberate plan. If your protagonist is unaware of how he will end up on his quest, he’s in a daze or confused, then he hasn’t embarked into Act II. This is the moment he knows what to do.

B Story

The B Story softens the jarring shift from the old world into the new experience. This is the rocket fuel to the main goal. Have the elements of the B Story present the opposite views from the main goal. 

Fun and Games

Lighten the mood by showing the protagonist on his adventure. He is clever and interesting. His actions toy with the other characters and entertain the reader. Enjoy the scenes.

Have irony and characterization. This is not the time to stress the plot goals. It is intended for the protagonist to forget about getting somewhere. Here, the characters interact and are humanized.


Choose whether the middle of the story has the protagonist at a high point, or at a low point. It is the transitional scene where he stops being tested. This is where he reevaluates how he has been managing the issues.

Whatever he believed before, he has now learned it was all wrong. His choice raises the stakes so that it is even more important for him to complete the main goal. 

Bad Guys Close In

Here the negative forces in the protagonist’s life restrict him from moving forward. He is at a loss as to how to fix the mess. No one is available to help him. 

All is Lost

Dedicate a scene to the protagonist losing his rock. The foundation falls out from under him. His wise advisor who has been guiding him up to this point is no longer available.

Without his crutch, the protagonist must prove to himself he can muster the strength to reach his goal by relying on his own resources. There is no rescuer on a white horse coming. It’s all up to him. 

Dark Night of the Soul

Show the protagonist without hope. This is a short clip, but it demonstrates the severe differences between failure and hope. 

Break into Three

The protagonist devises a resolution to his quest. This is his Aha! moment. The protagonist figures out what he needs to do, and he knows how to go about it. 


The protagonist saves the day not only for reaching his main goal but also for the B Story. His resolution comes about due to the knowledge he learned by passing the many tests he experienced along the way. Plus, his relationships are blissful.

Final Image

At last, reveal a glimpse of what the protagonist’s new life is like. Polish your story off by showing how much better life is as a result of his having taken the journey. 

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