Goodreads Review of THE FIELD from R3id Libby

Here is the first official review of The Field by R3id Libby posted in Goodreads. He was also the inspiration for one of the characters of the book. See if you can guess which one?!?! It should serve as a warning to all of you who know an author – you may find yourself (or a caricature version of yourself) in the pages of a book. Thank you R3id!

This book is a good summer read, and you may very well find yourself reading several chapters at a time. I finished the book in about a week; the plot is easy to follow, the characters relatable, and each word positively absorbing.
Whether you’re on the soccer field with Eric and Will during each thrilling play, or on top of the mysterious rock watching the stars with Eric and Renee, or just kidding around with Cole, (with whom I feel a deep emotional resonance,) every scene is at once thrilling, thoughtful, and absorbing. Middle and high school students will find “The Field” exciting and easy to read, and parents will be fascinated to know what a day in the life of a high schooler is like nowadays.
However, the appeal of “The Field” is not limited to any demographic– readers needn’t be soccer fans, workers for clean coal, or cosmic energy field enthusiasts to get into every part of this story.
On a side-note, Richardson’s simple, accessible writing style contrasts well with her husband’s bold prose in his work “Fragile”, and reading both books is an interesting experience: Two very different writing styles from under the same roof! Not to mention that their talented son did the cover art for “The Field”. To connoisseurs of art, I say to expect great things from this family. And to readers, I say, “Bon appetit!”

Signing Books at ALA Chicago 2013

This past weekend at was at the American Library Association conference in Chicago signing books and meeting librarians.

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Rita Kohn of NUVO Newsweekly said in a review of THE FIELD that will run this summer “Tracy Richardson is a worthy heir to Madeleine L’Engle”. WOW!!! Is it hubris of me to call THE FIELD, “A Wrinkle In Time for the 21st century?” It certainly got the attention of the librarians.

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I also attended the Newbery Caldecott Wilder awards dinner. This is my beautiful dessert with a white chocolate wafer displaying the artwork for the evening. And, yes, I ate it. It was delicious!

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The speeches by Jon Klassen (Caldecott winner for This Is Not My Hat) and Katherine Applegate (Newbery winner for The One and Only Ivan) were funny and touching and self-deprecating. I couldn’t stay to hear Katherine Patterson’s speech for winning the Wilder award. 🙁 I had to catch the Red Line subway back to Rogers’ Park to my brother’s house where I was staying. Riding the ‘L’ (for elevated train) in Chicago is interesting to say the least. The Gay Pride parade had been held that day and there was no shortage of supporters wearing rainbows in new and unusual ways. A real slice of life. There was also some sort-of girl fight going on further down the platform and while I was very curious, (purely from a  writer’s point of view) I had enough sense not to investigate.

All in all, a great weekend!

Why I Wrote THE FIELD

The idea behind The Field came from several different places. The first influence was metaphysical. We all experience it. The hunch that turns out to be true, running into a friend that you were just thinking about, the answer to a question you were pondering popping into your head or an eerily prophetic dream. I wanted to tell a story about a regular person, a normal person, who was having these types of experiences. Most of the YA paranormal stories that I read are about teens who are extra-ordinary in some way. They have special powers that no one else possesses. In The Field, Eric is an ordinary high school soccer player who is experiencing something more. He’s connecting to The Universal Energy Field and the Collective Consciousness; something that I believe we all can do.

The second influence was all of the disaster, post-apocalyptic literature out there. I like a good dystopian story as much as the next person, but I was starting to feel as if all we could see in the future was doom and gloom. I’d like to think that we are better than that. Certainly bad things happen and bad people exist, but why not focus on what is good? It doesn’t have to be sappy or boring, either. And it isn’t necessarily easy. Eric struggles with figuring out how to tap into The Field, how to play well in the goal, and in his relationships with his girlfriend and best friend.  And it doesn’t end with him having all the answers. The process is what matters and what he learns is that he’ll never know everything and that it’s not important. He just needs to know that there is something more out there than we experience, if we just take the time to pay attention.

Environmental issues play an important role in my writing as well. I have a degree in biology and while I didn’t pursue science as a career, I am still very influenced by it. The earth is our home and I believe that we should take care of her. We live in a throw-away culture, not thinking about how our plastic bottles or lawn fertilizer will affect the world around us. I think the time is fast approaching when we’ll have to take notice. Really, it’s already here. In The Field I focus on so-called ‘Clean Coal’ and to some extent nuclear energy and compare them to other truly clean energy sources such as wind or solar and then I take it a step further. What if The Universal Energy Field is a source of energy that we can tap into? How would we do it? What is it? I don’t mean to claim that I have the answers, but there are brilliant scientists who are trying to find those answers. Again, it comes back to my belief that there is so much more in the Universe than we perceive or even imagine.

The soccer focus came naturally. Both my husband and son are soccer goal-keepers. Our son is still playing club soccer in college and my husband has coached travel and high school soccer for years. You could say that I am a soccer mom, but I wish you wouldn’t. Really. Even though I do have a van. And live in the suburbs. I will say that watching your son dive at the feet of a sprinting, teen-aged boy intent on scoring is the worst kind of torture. Let’s just say that my stomach was in knots most weekends and I spent a lot of time in the bathroom at games from nerves! In fact, our son recently sent a text message picture of himself with a broken nose from playing soccer while my husband and I were on vacation. At first we thought he’d been mugged or in a fight because there was no message accompanying the picture. Do you know what he said when we called him in a panic? “I made the save!” I did actually play one season of women’s league soccer myself, but after being drilled in the face with a ball and knocked completely off my feet, I was glad to discover that I was pregnant and could no longer play. (Okay, it was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. My team wore pink socks. So not my color!)

Exploring these ideas through the vehicle of story presents a unique opportunity. In fiction, I can make things up (which I love), but I can also present new ideas in a way that is more accessible and approachable. I hope that my books allow people to look beyond what they think they know is true, and, hopefully, give them a really good story to enjoy while they’re doing it.

Goodreads ARC Giveaway

My Goodreads Advance Review Copy giveaway for THE FIELD is open! It will run from Tuesday, June 18th until Tuesday, July 9th. I’m giving away 20 copies (yes, you read that right, 20 copies) in exchange for a review posted on Goodreads. SIGN UP TO WIN! One of my friends always says “Free is Good” and so is getting a copy of THE FIELD before everyone else!

IDL TIFF file

This is a picture of deep space taken by the Hubble telescope. Scientists pointed it at a place in space the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length that they thought was EMPTY and left it to gather light for a week to see what they would find. What they found was over 10,000 galaxies. These points of light aren’t just stars, they are GALAXIES each composed of billions of stars. In a point the size of a grain of sand. Mind Blown.

In THE FIELD I explore the idea that there is much more out there in the Universe than we can see or even fully understand.

Here’s a little excerpt teaser from THE FIELD:

To set up the scene – Eric is over at Renee’s house for a ‘homework date.’ She’s not ready yet, so he has to hang out in the kitchen with her father, Dr. Auberge, a prominent physicist who’s running thought experiments that Eric has participated in. 

“Ah, hello. It’s Eric, correct?” Dr. Auberge says. “You must be here to see Renee.”

“Yes, sir. We’re doing homework together.”

“Well, come in, then.” He holds open the door for me. “Renee!” He calls up the stairs, “You have a visitor!”

“Okay, I need to clean up my paint and brushes. I’ll be down in a minute.” She replies from somewhere on the second floor.

“Come back to the kitchen. No telling how long a minute could be.” Great. One-on-one time with dad. You’d think that I’d jump at the chance to get in good with him because of the internship, but I’m pretty sure that dating his daughter isn’t one of the selection criteria. Might even count against me. “Would you like something to drink? Water, soda?” asks Dr. Auberge.

“No, thanks, I’m good.” I find a spot to stand by the kitchen table and try not to look too uncomfortable.

“Please, sit down,” he gestures to the table and pulls out a chair for himself. I sit on the edge of the chair nearest me, nervous because I’m wondering if I’m going to get the ‘potential boyfriend’ grilling. I want to be ready to jump up and leave as soon as Renee comes down, but he says, “Stephen told me about your results on the remote viewing study. Impressive for your first session without any training. Also, the fact that you and your friend are not a ‘couple’ in the strictest sense. One or both of you has a very well developed enhanced consciousness.”

Here’s the enhanced consciousness again. “Uh, what do you mean?” I stumble out. Not the direction I expected the conversation to go.

“Well, usually for subjects who have a high score initially, we find that it’s not the first time they’ve experienced enhanced consciousness. It might be that they have premonitions or maybe coincidences occur frequently for them. Or it could be more like feelings of deja-vu or dreams or that they are more perceptive of the feelings of people around them. Most likely other things, too, that they aren’t even fully aware of.” I just stare at him for a minute. I think my mouth might even be hanging open.

“Is that true for you?” He looks at me inquiringly. It’s as if he knows something about me that I didn’t even fully recognize myself. I’m a little apprehensive, but also curious.

Cautiously I say, “Yeah, I guess I’ve had some of those things happen, but I’ve never thought much about it,” I try to shrug it off.

“What sort of things do you experience?” He’s leaning back in his chair, apparently having a casual conversation, but the way he’s focused on me makes me think that he’s intently listening. I figure I might as well tell him about the soccer stuff.

“Sometimes when I’m in the goal, it’s almost like a thought pops into my head, and I suddenly know where the shot will be going or which way I should dive. I’ve always thought it was athletic instinct or something like that. I’ve tried out some sports psychology stuff about visualizing the outcome you want, so I figured maybe it had something to do with that.”

“It could be instinctive athleticism or that you are subconsciously reading the behavior of the other players, or,” he pauses for emphasis. “You could be tapping into the Collective Consciousness.”

“What’s that?” I feel like The Twilight Zone theme song should be playing in the background.

“It’s called many things; the Akashic Record, the Universal Stream of Consciousness, and by some, God. Many eastern religions believe that we are all connected to each other and to what you could call God or higher consciousness by our thoughts and that thoughts have power, or even energy. Science is just now recognizing the power of thought. As you said, visualization is used frequently in sports, but there is much more to it than that.” I’m thinking that I am in store for a really out-there conversation with Dr. Auberge, but I’m saved when Renee comes into the kitchen and puts her hand lightly on my shoulder. I didn’t hear her come in so it startles me a little. The conversation with Dr. Auberge was getting pretty intense. At some deep level it resonates with me, but at the same time, thinking that there’s a Universal Stream of Consciousness seems straight out of a science fiction novel. It’s hard to believe that it could actually be real.

The Field Advance Review Copies are here!

It’s official! The Field (October, 2013 Luminis Books) is up on the Luminis website and on Amazon and the Midpoint Trade Book site!

Advance Review Copies are here and going out to reviewers. Over the weekend I was signing books at BookExpo America (BEA)and I will be at ALA (American Library Association) in Chicago on June 29th and 30th. Here’s the cover ~designed by my son, Alex Katsaropoulos. Excited doesn’t even describe how I feel!

The Field Coverfront

At BEA signing books!

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Is Eric Horton’s skill in the soccer goal due to his athletic ability, or something much, much more?

THE FIELD delves into metaphysical topics of The Universal Energy Field and The Collective Consciousness. Is THE FIELD science fiction? Paranormal? I’m not really sure. Here’s what one author had to say about it:

“The idea behind THE FIELD is a brilliant blend of soccer, science and fiction. True-to-life characters, contemporaty environmental issues, and engaging metaphysical principals skirt the edges of science fiction and magical realism in this modern coming-of-age novel.” Laurie Gray, author of MAYBE I WILL and SUMMER SANCTUARY

World Book Night 2013

Back in April ~ I can’t believe how time has flown ~ I participated in the World Book Night giveaway. I requested one of the children’s or YA titles, but those seem to be very popular, so I was given a romance novel, Montana Sky, by Nora Roberts to distribute. Of course, I read it first and now I’m a new Nora Roberts fan! I am definitely not stuck in one genre for the books I read. Here I am picking up my books at Kids Ink Bookstore in Indianapolis:

 

 

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And delivering them to Coburn Place Safe Haven, a medium-term residence for battered women and their families.

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I imagine that the women who live at Coburn Place and the women of the staff of the residence would enjoy a good romance novel now and then!

Here’s what’s on my Kindle, iPad, Audible and bedside table at the moment. I just finished The Light Between Oceans by ML Steadman (heartbreaking, but beautiful) and am reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson which I’m only a few chapters into, but so far I love it. In YA I’m listening to The Diviner’s by Libba Bray(just started it, but it’s good so far) and just finished Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – I stayed up until 2am reading and then had to read the end so I could go to bed. I guess you could say I loved it. I’ve also read several Nora Roberts paranormal romances too! So many books…sigh. What are you reading?

Running Against The Wind

Saturday was a pretty nice day and I decided to go out for a run through my neighborhood. Well, actually, it’s more like a run for a few minutes and then walk for a few minutes. Little did I know that the Sam Costa mini-marathon was being held that same morning. As I turned the corner onto the path that goes past a pond and over a bridge, I encountered a stream of runners – going the opposite direction! So there I was, not even close to being a half marathoner, running by myself past dozens of serious runners. I even saw two of my neighbors who encouraged me to join up. I smiled and waved them on. At the end of my run/walk I was running in the same direction as the half-marathoners. As I passed the last check point, a group of teenagers was positioned to cheer the runners on, so I got them to cheer me on the last leg of my run. I won! 🙂

Mentoring with Brianna

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Here I am with the awesome, smart, funny and cute young lady that I mentor at Westminster Neighborhood Ministries after school program ~ Brianna Hazel! We have fun playing cards, Sorry and just talking. She never needs any of my help with homework. 🙂 Lucky me! I try to go once a week to see her (I’m not always successful with my schedule). WNM is builing a new facility soon, as well. I definately get more out of it than Brianna does.