Clean, Renewable Energy

One of the themes of The Field is the benefits of clean, renewable energy sources versus burning fossil fuels or using nuclear energy. In my research for the book I was surprised to learn that France generates 76% of its energy from nuclear plants and 14% from hydropower. This was a conscious decision for France to become energy independent after the 1970’s Mid-East Energy Crisis. While I’m not a particular fan of nuclear energy and the resulting radioactive waste and potential for reactor breach, it is a clean source of energy.

I recently read that Germany made a decision after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011 to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022. See article in the LA Times. Germany also decided to close all of its coal plants by 2038 and to spend millions mitigating the impact on the coal regions. This is the kind of energy leadership we need.

Central Indiana is dotted with wind farms which I find surprising in the coal belt. Both major north-south highways to the east and west of the state pass through giant wind turbines. The one near I-65 is the largest east of the Mississippi.

Kind-of makes me proud to live in Indiana.

Midwestern Beauty – Research for The Field

The subtle beauty of the Midwest features prominently in The Field. I love the big sky and clouds arching over the plains. One of the places Eric and Renee visit is an actual place from my childhood – The Skokie Lagoons. Of course it’s fictionalized in the book, but the inspiration is located in Glencoe and Winnetka, IL where I grew up.

The Skokie Lagoons

It’s a marshy area that was turned into lagoons by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s and is now a wooded recreation destination area. It’s such a beautiful area I wanted to include it in my book.

What do you love about the Midwest scenery? What is one of your favorite places?

The Field Publishes April 23rd!

The Field pub date is April 23rd! Pre-order your copy today!


 “We have to set aside what we think we know about the world around us and open our minds to new discoveries…Just because you can’t see it and you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”

Can we really all be connected by the same energy field, the same power, the same consciousness? As Eric Horton learns more about these concepts – in his science classes, from the experiments his girlfriend’s father is conducting, even through his own bizarre experiences on the soccer field he still finds it all hard to believe. But he must open his mind to all the possibilities before him if he is to succeed in saving what he could never forgive himself for losing.




Small Things I Do For The Environment – Plastic Bags

These compostable trash bags and sandwich bags don’t fall apart like the ones I’ve purchased at ‘Whole Paycheck’. I think the brand is a Kroger exclusive brand, but I like their organic products as well. Lowest price option and lots of choices!

What things do you do to try to reduce your carbon foot print and plastic trash?

straws

Small Things I Do For The Environment – Straws

Reusable camping straws

My books all have environmental themes. I’m passionate about protecting the environment. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, like there is little we can do as individuals. So I do small things that if we were all to do them, would have a tremendous impact.

You’ve probably read about straws showing up on beaches and in the stomachs of sea birds and whales. A few countries and US cities have banned straws. In the Midwest, we’re WAY behind the curve. You get a straw with your water at a restaurant every time and by the time you remember to request NO STRAW, it’s too late. The straw is out of the paper wrapper and in your drink.

A friend turned me on to these camping straws that I found at Target. They’re metal with a rubber tip and for those of you concerned with cleanliness, even come with a tiny brush for cleaning!! I keep one in my purse. It was a four-pack, but I forgot one at a restaurant – easy to do. 🙁 I even request paper cups instead of plastic for my to-go cold drinks and no plastic lids which is a spill hazard, but worth not having the plastic lid. It’s surprisingly hard to remember to do and the sales people give me strange looks, but its a small thing that I can actively do.

What are you doing for the environment? I’d love to hear and incorporate your ideas.

60 Books in 2019

According to the list I try to keep on this website I’ve read 30 books in 2018, but I know I’ve read more. There are at least 5 middle grade books that somehow didn’t get counted.

For 2019 I’ve set a goal of 60 books. That means I really have to keep track, and own up to every title even if it’s an embarrassing bodice ripper! Didn’t your teacher always say it didn’t matter what you read as long as you were reading?

What’s your reading goal for 2019? Do you have a favorite book of 2018? Mine is Firebrand by Kristen Britain.

Friend me on Goodreads so we can share our passion for reading!

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Oku Releases Debut Album

I’m thrilled to share that my son, Alex Katsaropoulos, has just released his debut album – Oku!!

The genre is best described as Alternative Rock similar in some ways to Radiohead and Bon Iver.

Check out the music and download your free copy of the album at VerlunaMusic

Here’s an excerpt from the Verluna website:

Oku is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Alex Katsaropoulos originating from the poetic journal of Matsu Basho and other eastern concepts in the lyrics and imagery. It combines minimalist Americana writing with much more experimental ideas such as layers of harmony, colorful samples and dynamic use of drums.

Want to know more about the creative process in writing a song?

  • Read the article in Anchr Magazine about album cut The Wild What released July 13th.
  • Read the article in Scapi Magazine about album cut Luscinia released August 10th.

Check Verlunamusic.

444 and Other Messages from the Universe

Do you see number sequences repeated over and over again? Find feathers or pennies on the sidewalk? Are visited repeatedly by cardinals, hummingbirds, dragonflies or butterflies? Hear a song on the radio that eerily relates to something you were just thinking about? Do street lights blink off or on when you walk under them? I believe you’re receiving messages from the Universe, God Signs or connections from departed loved ones.

In The Field, street lights and parking lot lights blink on or off when Eric walks near them. The explanation in the book is that he has some sort of electrical energy that interacts with the lights. Like how some people can’t work with electronics because the machines always go haywire in their presence. This topic was taken directly from my own experience. Lights blink on and off for me all the time. The first time I noticed it was in college. Almost every time I went under a street light on the road I usually walked to get to class, it would blink on or off. I even confirmed it with my boyfriend. I was never entirely sure if there was any meaning behind the blinking.

Another time I was at a writing conference walking out to the parking lot with another author. I was telling her about my mother’s recent death and how supportive she’d been of my writing when all of a sudden, all the lights in the parking lot blinked on. We both got goosebumps. Was it my mom telling me she’s still got my back?

The numbers I see ALL THE TIME are 444 or 44. According the Doreen Virtue’s Angel Numbers 101, the numbers 4, 44 and 444 are messages from the angels telling me that they are helping me and reinforcing our connection. I’m not psychic, and while I do have a well-developed intuitive sense of things, I’ve yet to receive actual messages that I can perceive. I believe this is the way my angels and guides remind me that they’re all around me and always with me. Here are some examples of 4’s that I’ve seen:

I was visiting with my sister-in-law and my niece and telling them how I regularly see the numbers 44 and 444. I grabbed my phone to show them pictures I’d taken of some of them and the time displayed was 2:44. Kind-of freaky!! Was the Universe providing confirmation for us? I regularly see the time as 11:44, 12:44, 1:44 etc. Occasionally I wake up at 4:44 in the middle of the night. On the drive home from the visit, I saw this license plate:

license plate 444 Becky and Sophis

On another drive I saw this license plate:

License plate 744

Eeeww! Is that bird guts on my windshield?!?!

This past summer I was traveling in Europe with my daughter. I booked a train ticket before leaving for the trip and upon boarding the train found that I was in seat 43 – with the number tag for seat 44 right above my head. Even more remarkable was the time stamp on the ticket for when I purchased it in the US – 4:44!! I was totally unaware of this until I happened to glance at the time on the ticket. Who even does that anyway?!? Were my eyes drawn to it so I would see the numbers?

train seat 44

train ticket 444

While sightseeing and shopping in London on the same trip, my eye was drawn to  a bright yellow door. The street address? You already know – 44. That’s how it usually happens. For some reason, my eye is drawn to a highway mile marker – 344, an exit # – 244, the clock on my dashboard or on my bedside table – 5:44.

London door 44

Usually when I see 4’s, it’s in response to something I’m thinking about. A sort of confirmation that I’m on the right track.

What numbers do you see? Do lights blink on and off for you? What signs repeatedly pop up for you?

Choose Your Big Rocks

Choose Your Big Rocks First

See the source image
Do you ever waste time doing unimportant things and find there’s no time left for what you really want to accomplish? Remember the analogy we learned in that class about setting our priorities and managing our time? It pays to revisit it.
Put your big rocks in your container first then fill it up with sand and water. Your big rocks are your goals and priorities. The container is your life. If you focus on your goals first you’re more likely to accomplish them and the rest will fill up around them.

Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

People are often told to work on improving areas where they are “weakest’ to better themselves. That never made sense to me. Focus on your strengths, accentuate the positive, grow to your highest potential.

Wishing that you achieve your highest goals.