The last book in The Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner, Return of the Thiefjust arrived in the mail today!! The series is possibly my all time favorite with The King of Attolia being one of my absolute favorite books. Can’t wait to read it! My boyfriend has already started it, but he’s a fast reader. 🙂
Here are some of my favorite book series. Not in any particular order. There are more of course, but these are some of the best.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore ~ and all the other books in the series
An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart ~ Third in the Merlin and King Arthur series
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis ~ The Narnia Series
The Two Towersby J. R. R. Tolkien ~ The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Firebrand by Kristen Britain ~ The Green Rider Series
It’s interesting that I seem to be drawn to fantasy when I write science fiction/paranormal novels.
To celebrate the release of CATALYST, Book II in The Catalysts Series, on September 22nd, I’m doing a blog series on some of the research I did to create the story. I LOVE research – anything for a road trip!!
In CATALYST, Lorraine and Zeke, the two mysterious graduate students on the Angel Mounds archaeological dig, take Marcie, Eric, Leo and Renee to Greystone Mountain in Southern Indiana. There they tell the teens about their mission to save Earth and demonstrate some incredible abilities while surrounded by the dozens of huge, rectangular stones for which the mountain is named
I didn’t create Greystone Mountain entirely from my imagination. As often happens in fiction, I took an actual place, in this case, Browning Mountain in Brown County, Indiana, and morphed it into a site in my story.
Browning Mountain has been called the Stonehenge of southern Indiana because resting at the hill’s summit are several dozen huge rectangular stones – many the size of a compact car – and no one knows how they got there.
Scientists say that the type of rock comprising these stones is not from the region. There are plenty of quarries in southern Indiana where it could have originated, but it didn’t. So the question is – what is it? Is it man made or naturally occurring?
Having seen the stones myself, they are so precisely rectangular, even given the effects of time, and arranged in such regular patterns, that I can’t imagine they are anything but man made.
Could the indiginous people of the area from thousands of years ago have erected a stone circle of the likes of Stonehenge in southern Indiana? I think the answer is yes. The other question, though, is how did the stones get on top of the mountain? It is a pretty tough two hour climb to the top going steadily up hill. Did they have some kind of technolgy that has been lost over the ages? I think it would be easy to simply say that the stones are naturally occuring since we don’t have the answers to these questions, but I’m not sure that we would be correct.
Ancient cultures may not have been as advanced as we are technologically, but they may have had a wisdom about the energies of the earth and the Universe that we have lost. It is definitely food for thought. What do you think?
“Now you know,” she (Lorraine) continues softly, but her eyes are fierce. “About the terrible future that awaits Earth and humanity if we continue on our current path.” She pauses, placing her hands on the stone on either side of her legs and leaning forward for emphasis. “It can be changed. Are you ready to do your part? Will you allow us to teach you so that you know your own power?”
I want to do whatever I can to stop the destruction I witnessed in the vision. Maybe this is what I’ve been waiting for. A mission and a purpose and connecting with the collective consciousness. I feel a little like I’m stepping off a cliff into the unknown, but if I don’t move forward, I know I’ll regret it.
I take a deep, calming breath. “Yes, I’m ready.”
“How do you know about what will happen in the future?” Leo’s posture is rigid, his voice cutting. “There’s no reason to believe any of it’s true.”
“You’re right in part. There’s no way to definitively know the future. Thousands of possibilities exist with different probabilities. However, what Zeke showed you will very likely happen if we continue to disregard the wellbeing of the Earth. She can only accommodate so much abuse before her equilibrium is tilted irrevocably. Already, floods, hurricanes, fires, volcanoes and tsunamis are increasing in frequency and strength.” I note that she only answers part of Leo’s question. How are they able to predict the future, even if it is just one of many possibilities?
Renee says what all of us are probably thinking, at least a little. “I want to help, but I’m afraid. This is all so much to take in.” Her French accent is very strong, so she must be feeling really agitated.
“Yeah, I agree.” Eric puts his arm behind her back, bracing her. “Can you give us some time and move slowly on this? I mean we just found out that you’re some kind-of shamans and now you want us to save the world?” His weak attempt at a joke falls flat.
Just received these lovely industry endorsements for Catalyst! Also sharing a terrific review by Athena – OneReadingNurse who shares a name with a ‘character’ in the book and TOTALLY gets Catalyst! She even compares it to The Celestine Prophecy!!!
Go to the BUY page to get your copy – Ebook out now, print book in September.
“Tracy Richardson has created an intriguing premise that blends the worlds of sci-fi, spiritualism, and climate activism.”
—Allen Johnson, Screenwriter, The Freemason
“An ode to the responsibility of taking care of our one and only Earth, Catalyst offers an energetic and immersive experience that spotlights alternate dimensions, energy fields, and our very own human potential.”
—Genese Davis, Game Writer, Author of The Holder’s Dominion series
“Catalyst frames a portrait of collective humanity for each of us to find our likenesses rendered within a profile of the human condition.”
—Rita Kohn, Senior Writer for the NUVO Cultural Foundation
This book contains a lot of really great messages for young readers, first and foremost the environmental consequences of our actions. Marcie and her team are dealing with an energy company that wants to expand fracking in the area, and there is a great amount of info about that and other environmental disasters.
Marcie has an interesting character arc as well. She knows there is something about the world that she can sense, but isn’t sure what it is. With the help of Zeke and Lorraine, two grad students on the dig, Marcie and the other teens learn about the Universal Energy Field and the implications of the fourth, fifth, and dimensions beyond. Leo is the other main character and provides the opposing point of view on fracking, as his father works for the energy industry. Their relationship is interesting because it pretty accurately portrays how teens have trouble with opposing viewpoints, and how to talk around issues and make compromises. I really shipped them.
I’m also Greek and ran cross country and share a name with the alien space ship…so…yeah, there are those things too. I liked Marcie a lot. The book reminds me of The Celestine Prophecies, which I was obsessed with in high school, and I’m really glad that this generation of young readers gets a book like this too.
The book turns from fairly normal, to paranormal, to sci-fi Jesus in a spaceship REAL quick, and I loved it. I thought the context of spiritual leaders made sense, since it would be pretty egocentric to assume that the gods and goddesses and religious leaders are only dedicated to one planet. The sci-fi element is definitely a bit out there in left field but it worked for me.
The book is relatively short at 248 pages. The pacing is pretty even and I’m sad that it took me so long to start because once I did, I read it in two sittings. I was never bored at all. I would totally and fully recommend this for teen readers as an environmentally and self-conscious read that has some great examples of conflict resolution and interpersonal relationships within the team.
I recently held a Blog Tour on Twitter hosted by @TheWriteReads – Thank you Dave! Here is a short list of what bloggers had to say about Catalyst. I’d love to hear what you think – love it or not so much? It definitely brings out a strong reaction in readers which is what every writer is looking for!
While I have to say I really liked this one the first thing I will say about this book is its not going to be for everybody. It is in a word … ok well two words OUT THERE. I feel that a lot will love it and a lot will hate it. – Lisa
Richardson writes a likable main character in Marcie. She’s got the makings of being a strong-willed yet kind-hearted protagonist along with other abnormal (not quite paranormal) gifts. – TR Horne
Catalyst advocates the need to care for our planet with a strong plot. The message it delivers is vital and the approach is a bit different from the other fantasies with similar theme. – Book Bug World
It has science, archaeology, telepathy and spirituality in a complex mix. The thought provoking plot makes this a intriguing and interesting read. – Lel Budge
I loved seeing Marcie figure out her abilities or sixth sense as she calls it, she was such an interesting character, smart and independent. This book was really well done and well written. – Holly Loves Books
Catalyst is a book with a strong message and big ideas. It is well written and goes in depth on fracking, environmental catastrophes, love and friendships, religion, spirituality… and the list goes on and on. I liked this one! I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to people looking for a YA supernatural adventure with a strong environmental message. – The Book Dude
Catalyst is an enlightening tale toward a better tomorrow full of magic and mysteries of the universe. The story transported me to another dimension made of beauty, light, and all that is good. – Tessa Talks Books
I enjoyed this journey of Marcie’s and hope she and the others can bring about some change before it’s too late. – A Voracious Reader
Catalyst is a book with enormous ideas. …readers of YA with a metaphysical or environmental theme will love this. – Elizabeth Tabler
Catalyst is an enlightening YA story that is not very focused on plot but more on characters, the issues at hand and what’s between the lines. It makes you think about what is being said, and about everything that’s left unsaid, and I think that’s part of what makes it so powerful. – The Artsy Reader
This was a very enjoyable book and a rare YA with a thoughtful message. I really liked the characters and the premise of a young girl and her friends using their extrasensory abilities to try to save our earth and its resources. – Maureen
Catalyst is a fun young adult book with a strong lead. I recommend it to readers who are invested in making the world a better place and to very patient sci-fi lovers, as the sci-fi part comes up later in the book. I enjoyed Catalyst and I really hope you do too! – Ari Drummer
I have to agree that there were some unlikely parts to this book, but overall it was really enjoyable and I would definitely recommend to any science fiction fans or anyone who is an advocate for climate change and are against fracking or any other harmful activities to the planet. – Ellie Read to Ramble
After reading the first few chapters, I was hooked.
The book talks a lot about the dangers of fracking and needing to move away from natural gas and oil for pure energy needs. I absolutely loved that aspect of the book! – Sarah Anderson-Pagal
I hope to do a Book Tour for Catalystthis Fall. Check out my Events Page for details later this summer.
The Catalysts Series
The Catalysts Series will consist of four books.
The Field – Book I
Catalyst– Book II
Indian Summer – prequel
and the untitled Book III that I’m working on now (80 pages in!!).
Book III is the only true sequel (to Catalyst). The other three books can be read as stand-alone books although many of the same characters appear throughout. I’ve included an environmental theme in all of the books.
The Fieldis about Eric Holton, a high-school soccer goalkeeper with a super-natural ability to know where the ball is going to go before it gets there. He’s connecting to the Universal Energy Field. The environmental theme compares burning coal to other clean renewable energy sources like wind and solar and also the idea of extracting energy from the Universal Energy field in the air around us. And he’s having the high school experience of trying to get the starting goalkeeper spot, deal with friends being jerks, and trying to get the girl.
In Catalyst, Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, is the protagonist, but Eric and his girlfriend Renee are also featured characters. Eric has just graduated high school and Marcie is a junior.
Marcie, Eric and Renee are spending the summer working at an archaeological dig site in southern Indiana. Things immediately shift into the paranormal when Lorraine and Zeke, two mysterious dig assistants who claim to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds, assert that Earth and its resources are in grave danger. Marcie must decide if she’s brave enough to do her part to save the planet. The environmental theme in Catalyst is the dangers of fracking.
In the first book I wrote, Indian Summer, Marcie is in middle school and is spending the summer at her grandparents’ lake cottage. She discovers that a wealthy property owner is secretly trying to develop an old-growth forest into an exclusive gated community. In her quest to thwart his efforts, Marcie connects with the spirit of a Native American girl. Indian Summerhas been completely revised and will be re-released in 2021 as a prequel to The Fieldand Catalyst.
Book III is in the works right now! I’m writing it from both Marcie and Eric’s point of view. There are two concurrent story lines. Eric and Renee are in France and Marcie is in Washington DC. There is some interaction between the two threads and everything will come together at the end.
During this Great Pause we are having I hope you’ve been able to consider how you might chose to change your behavior going forward. Have you re-evaluated your priorities? Will you focus more on what’s important to you and let other, non-important things go by the wayside?
Protecting the environment and saving planet Earth is very important to me and I think essential for our quality of life going forward. I hope my books make you think and consider what you can do to be a Catalyst for change.
These are difficult times. Doing what I prefer to call ‘Physical Distancing and Socially Connecting’ in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and save lives has not been easy. Many of us are out of jobs and have lost not only our income, but also our health insurance. And of course many have become ill and even lost their lives. But we WILL get through this. Maybe in the midst of horror there can be some light. Maybe we will re-define our priorities and focus on what’s really important.
On this 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day it is important to notice one good thing that has come of the quarantine. Less pollution. Fewer cars on the road, planes in the sky and industry on pause has meant less carbon dioxide pumped into our skies.
Los Angeles – Before and After Shelter in Place Orders
China – Satellite images of pollution reduction
India – Himalayan Peaks visible for the first time in 30 years
The Earth is breathing. The question is – ‘What do we do about it?’ Do we go back to ‘normal’ and continue to pollute our home, planet Earth?
What if, instead, we took this opportunity to change our behavior going forward? What if we drove less and walked and biked more? Flew less and took the train or bus more? Bought electric cars and held our legislators accountable for passing legislation on Climate Change? Are you with me? I think we can do it!!
In the meantime, what can we do NOW while we are physically distancing?
Reducing our Carbon Footprint is one thing we can do. What is a Carbon Footprint? Here’s the dictionary definition:
“the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.”
So, what does that mean exactly? It essentially refers to our personal contribution to the carbon emissions that cause Climate Change. Here are some ways that each of us can have an impact:
Ten Things You Can Do NOW to Help the Environment
1. Plant Trees – Trees consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen
2. Eat a plant-based diet or have one ‘vegetarian day’ a week.
3. Start a vegetable garden from seeds in your house. When the weather warms up you can dig your garden and grow your own vegetables!
4. Reduce household water waste – install efficient shower heads and toilets. Turn off the faucet when doing dishes or brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers.
5. Upcycle, repurpose and REPAIR clothing and household items instead of buying new or discarding them.
6. Reduce the amount of plastic packaging in the products you buy.
7. Eat locally produced food to reduce the ‘Food Miles’ it takes for your food to travel to you.
8. Tell your legislators to act on Climate Change legislation.
9. Join environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council or the World Wildlife Fund.
10. Follow Teen Climate Change activists on social media. Greta Thunberg, Autumn Peltier, Mari Copeny, Xiye Bastida, Isra Hirsi, Bruno Rodriguez, Helena Gualinga, Jamie Margolin, Jerome Foster II, are a few to check out.
Even though we are physically distancing, we can still stay socially connected! I’ve posted a short video on YouTube of me discussing the two books in The Catalysts series and reading an excerpt from Catalyst which comes out in Ebook in June and paperback in September.
If you’d like to connect with me one-on-one in a virtual meeting during this time of e-learning, send me a note on my contact page.
I’m working on Book III of The Catalysts series. It will be from both Marcie and Eric’s perspectives. Marcie is in Washington, DC and Eric is in France. I’m heavily into the Research portion of the writing process!! I LOVE research!!
Before Social Distancing for COVID-19 started I took a research trip to Washington DC for background on what Marcie might be doing and seeing while she’s there. I’m hoping to make a research trip to France in the next year or to do the same for Eric’s POV.
Here are some pics from the trip.
What are you doing to keep busy and engaged and positive during Social Distancing?