Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear Self, I Love You! Keep Going!

Dear Self, I love You! Keep Going! is a collection of encouragements I wrote to myself each day through my year of grief to remind me that I am lovable, that life is amazing, and to be brave.
My heart was broken because of a failed marriage, but none of us lives unscathed by life’s disappointments (big and small), self-doubt, and the long list of things we wish we had done differently. In moments when life feels the hardest, there’s an easy decision to make: continue to criticize ourselves for our failings, or open ourselves to the possibility that, yeah, we’ve made (and will continue to make) mistakes, but we just might be lovable anyway.

These Notes helped me remember I am loved, heal my broken heart, and embrace the beauty of my own exquisitely flawed humanity. Sometimes life feels painful or hard, but you are stronger, braver, and more powerful than you think, and no matter what you have done or will do you are worthy of your own love.

Danielle Watson is a TEDx Speaker, Author, and the host of the LIVE Danielle Daily Show where she provides her positive, inspiring, and powerful Notes to Self to people seeking freedom from self-critical thoughts. Danielle also has a rather unconventional background in Anthropology and Archeology (the subject of her TEDx talk) and lives near the nation’s capital where she enjoys a vigorous vinyasa yoga practice, reading memoirs, wearing pearls, and all things red including red wine, red lipstick, and red dresses.

Danielle hosts a LIVE show called, The Danielle Daily Show at 3:00 PM ET where you can tune in for a dose of something positive, inspiring, or powerful LIVE each weekday. During each broadcast, Danielle LOVES to connect with viewers and coaches you to stay focused on the positive with one of her signature “Notes to Self." Free yourself from self-critical thoughts, start talking to yourself in a more positive way and watch your life change. The replays are always available on her YouTube channel.

Tune in on Facebook LIVE or watch the replays:

Facebook LIVE:
YouTube (replay):

The (completely OBVIOUS) secret to becoming free of self-critical thoughts is to start saying nicer things to yourself. If only it were that easy, right? Use Danielle's inspiring book or tune into her show to stay focused on what you’re learning about life and how far you’ve come so that you’ll easily begin thinking more positive thoughts, make better decisions, take more positive actions, love yourself more, and love others more, too. 

Watch Danielle's TEDx talk here:


Contact Danielle via email to book her as a guest speaker for your event or show at

FB: TheDanielleDaily
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Twitter: @DanielleDailyTV
LinkedIn: /in/rxdanielle

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Legend of Jesse Smoke

When Skip Granger, the assistant coach for the Washington Redskins, first sees Jesse Smoke, she is on the beach in Belize. And she has just thrown a regulation football a mile. 
Granger knows that Smoke's talent is unprecedented for a woman, and nearly unparalleled among men. As Granger observes her throughout a season as quarterback for the Washington Divas of the Independent Women's Football League, he decides to sign her to the Redskins, even as he faces losing his job and credibility. As the first woman on a major NFL team, Jesse Smoke's astounding success places her in the tradition of athletes like Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Yet Smoke is quickly faced with her own battles, including the clamors of the press, the violence of her teammates, and the institutional resistance that seeks to keep football in the hands of men.

While a female quarterback in the NFL is a fantasy at the moment, Robert Bausch's genius as a writer makes it a highly engaging reality on the page. Fans of football--and readers who were just waiting for a player worth getting excited about--will relish Jesse Smoke's journey to the big leagues.--from the book jacket.

About The Legend of Jesse Smoke:

"Sheds light on some of football’s prickliest issues: gender inequality and the culture of violence. Robert Bausch's energetic new fantasy novel imagines an expanded NFL in the not-so-distant future, a time when Super Bowls are no longer numbered and fan engagement is stronger than ever. . . an elegant, sometimes brilliant, case that football is a 'beautiful game' that 'allows us to act like heroes, even when what we are engaged in isn’t really heroic.'" -The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

"Riveting . . . an entertaining sports narrative bolstered by weightier issues for readers to contemplate." - Publishers Weekly.

Author's Note

Many years ago, when I first started teaching, I would give my students the following riddle:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in takes one look at the patient and exclaims “I can’t operate on this boy.”

“Why not?” the nurse asks.
“Because he’s my son,” the doctor responds.
Please explain how this is possible?
Students would discuss all the possibilities, including that the man in the car who was killed was the adoptive father, or the Doctor was the real father and the adoptive father did not know about him and neither did the boy; or that the doctor was the boy’s real father and the man killed in the car had kidnapped him as an infant. They went around and around. Of course it’s an old riddle now, but even now it can still work magic in some populations. I tried it this past spring in an American Literature class and it took them forty-five minutes of discussion before they got it. Years ago, my students never got it. I had to tell them.
Of course the answer to the riddle is simple: the surgeon is the boy’s mother. Easy enough, but it takes so long to get it, even these days. Why? There is something in the human brain that will not see outside the box of certain pre-conceived notions; certain patterns of thought. It is not ignorance; not really related to intelligence either. It’s just that like a sleeper under a blanket, who thinks it’s dark because there is no light, the brain can only see what we have conditioned it to see. The conditioning is a kind of blanket.
Having always been interested in this “condition,” I have often thought I should write a book about some of the great women we have never been taught to know — women who truly changed the world. Clara Shortridge Folz, for instance. No one seems to know that it was her idea to give those people who couldn’t afford it the right to legal counsel. The whole idea of a public defender originated with her. Many know of the case that made it constitutional law — Gideon v Wainright. But that case was a culmination of work begun many years before by Clara Foltz — a single mother with five children who had to take on the entire California legal profession, and persue her own case to the California Supreme Court no less than three times to attend law school, to take the bar exam, and to have the right to practice law in California.
Clara Shortridge Foltz, see, was as important to American Jurisprudence as Clarence Darrow. There is precisely one book about her (A very good book called Woman Lawyer, by Barbara Babcock, Stanford University Press, 2012), and she is included in a few others. Most of us, though, have never heard of her. Women have been making inroads into the professions for a long time. Most of my adult life. And the blanket is starting to be withdrawn. Just this morning I read an article in the Washington Post that claimed “an historic move, two female players signed by minor league baseball team.”
Historic, sure, but it should not be too much of a surprise. Women have been catching up to the men atheletically and then some. In the 1964 Olympics, I read somewhere, women were supposedly “30 years or more behind men” in what they could do atheletically. I presume that meant records they were setting or breaking in the various events. In the last Olympics they were thought to be only about five years behind. I don’t know how accurate these statistics are, but I do know from my own observation that women are becoming far better atheletes than ever before. In Golf, Tennis, Basketball. In Fast pitch softball there are women who I believe could strike out Bryce Harper. This phenomenon has always interested and enthralled me.
All of my life I have been lucky to know really great women. So I wanted to write about one. I thought about starting my book about great women we should all know about, but before I got going on that, I realized I’d rather address the issue in a novel. In fiction. “The truth is better offered in disguise,” as George Garrett once said. So that is how The Legend of Jesse Smoke came into being. I wanted to create a woman who is good enough and strong enough to challenge the very pinnacle of male dominance and strength: Professional football.
What would happen, I wondered, if a woman demonstrated the kind of talent Joe Montana, or Peyton Manning had? what would happen if a woman could throw a football 70 yards in the air, and do it accurately? What if she had a quick release, and could move on her feet in the pocket better than any male ever did? What if she was smart and knew not only how to read a playbook, but how to memorize it? And what if she had the kind of heart most women have — the heart of a champion. How would it play out if a woman like this, a great athlete came upon the scene? I named her Jesse Smoke.
I started looking into the rules and discovered that no rule specifically says a woman cannot play professional football. In fact, the Minnesota Vikings signed a female kicker during training camp one year and brought her in for a try-out. So I know it’s possible.
Then it really got going in my mind. Not just the reactions on the team, or in the league, but this culture. How would a woman who plays in the NFL be received by the national media, by the general public?
Think of it. What would the conservative pundits say about this challenge to a male dominated and aggressive sport such as football? How long would it take for the on-line and social media rumors and lies to arise that would challenge everything reported by the media about this Jesse Smoke? How long would it take for doubt about her authenticity; for attacks on her feminity and her masculinity to dominate the airwaves and social media? What would our reaction to this kind of phenomenon reveal about that blanket I spoke of earlier?
I played a lot of football when I was a young man — mostly sandlot. What I came to see was the “maleness” of the action came in two forms. The first has to do with a kind of artful use of space and time. I played quarterback, and I was slightly built. I could throw accurately, sometimes astonishingly accurate, but not very far — maybe 40 yards. So the game, for me, was about finesse; about balance and grace. It’s the same for many of the so called “skill” players in the game: balance and grace. That kind of game is still integral to football, and beautiful to watch. But the other form is of course brute strength and total physical agression. The “war-like” nature of male dominance: you “beat” an opponent; drive him into the ground with all your might; push him out of the way, enforce your physical will on him. That too, is very much alive in the game. And, in truth, you need both to fully participate in the sport.
It is that second form, however, that “male” strength and dominance that most people see and remember about football. I wanted to create a female character who is artful and has balance and grace, but also one who challenges the traditional attributes of the game, who can stand up in the face of the brute force and aggression.
The one thing I wanted to keep in my mind throughout the writing of this novel was that blanket I mentioned earlier. What would happen if we could lift the thing, let in the light and stop seeing the differences between men and women as embedded in our biology? What if much of what we determine about ourselves is just habit? How much of our interior bias can be removed? What happens to feminity if it is to compete with masculinity? And what do those terms mean anymore?
My novel may not be the answer to those questions, but it was sure a hell of a lot of fun to ask them.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Sound of Gravel (Ruth Wariner)

THE SOUND OF GRAVEL tells the story of my childhood and the dramatic situations and conditions that my siblings and I endured growing up in the polygamous community of Colonia LeBaron. My mother had married my father at the age seventeen. He was forty-two and already had four wives. He was the self-proclaimed prophet of the church I grew up in, The Church of the Firstborn. 

My father's brother Ervil LeBaron, the infamous Mormon Manson, had him assassinated in an attempt to gain control of the church when I was just three months old. Three years after he died, my mom remarried another polygamist who eventually had four wives. She  had six more children with him. We were raised mostly in rural Mexico, and as the eldest non-handicapped daughter, I was my mom's right-hand. The only thing women were expected to do in LeBaron was bear and raise children. 

It wasn't an easy childhood by any stretch of the imagination, but there were many happy moments between my mom, and my siblings, many of whom I'm still very close with today. 

For more information on The Sound of Gravel:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ten Questions: Colleen Saidman Yee

Colleen Saidman Yee is the founder of Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor, New York and New York City. She is also a featured instructor of Gaiam Yoga Online. Mrs. Saidman Yee is internationally renowned for her yoga instruction and a postitive voice in the yoga community. She is the author of the bestseller, Yoga for Life, and a dedicated wife and mother.
Ten Questions:
How would you define the practice of yoga?
The practice of yoga is not really something that you can define.  It is different for everyone that steps on the mat, or sits on a cushion. There is a stereotype that yoga means asana. It is much more than just taking shapes with the body. It is using the body as a means to train the mind. Mr. Iyengar says that the way to find the spark of divinity is through the body. There is an intimacy and an understanding of one’s self and one’s actions that leads to greater understanding, connection, and kindness.
What has inspired you to make yoga a central focus of your life?
Yoga is a central focus of my life because it is. I fell in love. I touched, saw, smelled, tasted, and even heard the internal shift that a consistent practice of asana, pranayama, meditation, and study provides. It is a dear friend that I can’t live without.
How can practicing yoga be an antidote to our frenetic, technology driven society?
When you get on the mat. It is you and yourself. Not you and your phone or you and all the other distractions. The noise is a way of avoiding getting to know the true you. Silence can be uneasy in such a frenetic world. We can be addicted to stimulation and drama. Hitting the pause button is like plugging your phone in when the batteries are low. Instead of tuning out with chaos, tune in with love.
Your spouse, Rodney Yee, is also a prominent yogi. How does the practice enhance your relationship?
Rodney and I speak the same language. Yoga is like a child that we both share a love for. We hold mirrors up for each other on a daily basis. It is not always easy, but we hold each other accountable. We help each other keep it real. The yoga practice that we share cuts through the bullshit.
Do you feel that yoga should be taught in schools?
Absolutely, yoga should be taught in schools. It is a tool that should be in every kid’s toolbox. Bullying comes from low self-esteem, and fear. Yoga can help get to know yourself and befriend a body that is changing, and instill confidence.
What are your favorite poses and why?
My favorite poses are plow and seated forward bends. I like to go quiet. These two poses create relaxation and turning inwards. Just like most of us, I am exhausted a lot of the time. Forward bends are a great antidote for stress.
What would you say to someone who says that they are too busy or too old to try yoga?
Are you too busy to feel good? Really? You don’t have 20 minutes a day to spend with yourself. If you aren’t willing to do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. They will benefit. Anyone can practice yoga. It doesn’t matter how old or even how healthy you are. There are entire practices that can be done in bed.
What would you consider an exceptional day?
A perfect day is not setting an alarm. Waking up, sitting on a blanket facing Rodney for a 20 minute pranayama practice. Then going to the kitchen and drinking tea (coffee for Rodney) for an hour or more while staring out at our beautiful backyard. Sometimes, we are quiet and sometimes we are jabbering. But, it is such precious time. After that, roll out a couple of mats and with no agenda just start rolling around and digging into our bodies and see what kind of practice evolves. Breakfast, long walk, a little shopping, a movie, peanut butter, country or blues music, cuddling, giggling, and sleeping.
Can you share some information on your studios and what a yoga session looks like?
Yoga Shanti is an experience that starts from the moment you walk in the door. You are met with beauty and serenity. Smell is such an important sense, and you are met with a delicious aroma that immediately makes you breathe. You take off your shoes and take in the beauty of the beautiful colors, textures, and light. You are welcomed as if family. The teachers are all absolutely amazing and not is a cookie cutter way. You will feel safe and will leave feeling alert and relaxed. What’s not to love?
What are your future projects and dreams for the next year?
This year will consist of showing up and teaching the best damn yoga that I can. I will continue to promote my book, Yoga for Life. I believe that this will be a big year for Urban Zen Integrative Therapists. We are making great headway and a lot of doors are starting to open. The work is so effective and helping so many people. This will take a big chunk of time. We are always filming more content for Gaiam, Gaia, and Oneoeight. I am super excited that Yoga Journal is going to be filming and distributing the practices in the 14 chapters of my book. Yoga. Yoga and more yoga.








Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kiss and Tell - Luke Murphy

My “Baby”

This novel took me 15 years to write. Well, not exactly, but...
Even though Dead Man’s Hand was my first published novel, it’s not the first book I wrote. Kiss & Tell is my “baby.”  It’s the first book I ever even attempted to write. I started writing the novel in the winter of 2000, while playing hockey down in Oklahoma.
A lot of circumstances surround this novel, and it’s the reason I started writing in the first place. This novel, and all of my writing, happened by “chance.”  I was playing professional hockey in Oklahoma, and was struck in the eye with a stick in a preseason game. That injury ended my season before it began.
My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was attending a French college in Montreal, and her English professor assigned the class the task of writing a short story.
My girlfriend knew that I was an avid reader, so she asked me if I would help her develop the story, which I did. I had so much fun with the project, that when we had finished, I took one of the characters we had created and started writing my own story.
I wrote Kiss & Tell in six months, but it was nowhere even close to being publishable. Actually, it stunk. It was a practice story for me, so I left it sitting in my computer, and started writing a second book.
After I published Dead Man’s Hand in 2012, I decided to reopen Kiss & Tell and take another look. My first reaction…it was bad, written by a first-time, newbie, amateur author.  But I loved the plot, cast of characters, and the potential. I didn’t want to give up on this story.
So I took everything I’d learned about the craft of writing and the industry and put it into editing Kiss & Tell. The revisions completely changed the entire book.
After I’d completed it in 2001, Kiss & Tell was written from the point of view of Jessica Philips, the primary murder suspect in the Ken Anderson investigation, and the story was told from Jessica’s first person POV.
The Kiss & Tell that came out in 2015 is told from Detective Charlene Taylor’s point of view, written in third person.  Although the plot never changed, some of the characters and scenes did.
A major scene/twist change that occurred?
In the original Kiss & Tell, the identity of the Celebrity Slayer was never revealed. I was planning on turning this CS plot into a series, extending the investigation through a number of books. But, taking into consideration a suggestion from one of my editors, I decided to change that. However, don’t think I don’t have more plans for the Celebrity Slayer, in upcoming Charlene Taylor books.
But that’s for another time, and another place.

Buy the book here:  

Luke’s Bio
Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (Imajin Books, 2012).
Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).
Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife, three daughters and pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).
Kiss & Tell is Murphy’s second novel. He is represented by The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

For more information on Luke’s books, visit:, ‘like’ his Facebook page and follow on Twitter

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dan Llywelyn Hall: Beyond the Red Carpet

Amongst the throng of cameras and jostling reporters will be a SIGHT SELDOM SEEN in the 68 years of the  Cannes Film Festival:  an artist working with a pencil, sketchbook, possibly some watercolours and definitely no camera. 

A visual artist will be 'Artiste en Residence' for the duration of the festival from 13 - 24th May 2015, with accreditation for the Palais des Festivals.

The painter is 34 year old Dan Llywelyn Hall, who’s based in London.  Dan will draw and paint the 'sights and curiosities' in and around the Palais and the town of Cannes.  He will be attempting to catch the spirit and character of the most glamorous festival on earth which attracts upwards of a quarter million visitors each year.

The project entitled 'Beyond the Red Carpet' will be updated daily to website and will be used by magazines and newsagencies to provide a different take on the spectacle of the red carpet and beyond. The collection will then form an exhibition to tour London and Paris this time next year.

Introductory interview with artist

For advance interview requests and proposals for publishing the images during the festival please contact

Friday, January 16, 2015

Boyhood (film)

Time and the ambiguities of life can be exemplary subjects in modern film.  In the fictional movie, Boyhood, director Richard Linklater (Before Sunset) has filmed his actors over a twelve year period beginning in 2002. Boyhood follows the life of a young boy, Mason, beautifully portrayed by Ellar Coltrane from six years old to college age. There is an almost documentary feel to the film and audiences may note the simple realism of other notable works (About Schmidt, Election, Garden State). Mason endures changes in the home life of his single mother, Patricia Arquette, as she strives to achieve an education and maintain various love interests. Ethan Hawke vividly portrays his father who also grows monumentally throughout the movie. There is a huge sense of authenticity to the narrative which helps Linklater connect to his audience. The movie is getting exceptional accolades from critics and the Hollywood awards system and I hope everyone will watch this important piece of work. As a mother of a teenage son, the subject matter regarding a boy’s coming of age and the overall changes in life made for an exceptional viewing. In essence, we are all on a beautiful and sometimes messy journey called life.

On another note, the final song in the film, “Hero,” by the Los Angeles band, Family of the Year is one of the most eloquent and lyrical songs that I have heard in years. The guitar themes in Boyhood and this beautifully lyrical song have inspired me to pick up my rusty guitar. Enjoy both of these gifts in an age of international strife and reality television.