Catalyst release – May, 2020

It’s done! I just sent the FINAL manuscript of Catalyst off to Brown Books Publishing. It’s scheduled for a May, 2020 release date – Whoo Hoo!

The cool thing about Catalyst is that it’s never been published before. It’s also the most ‘out-there’ of my three novels. 🙂 And as with my other novels, there’s an environmental theme – fracking

This fall Brown Books will send it off for reviews. Here’s hoping for some great reviews to launch the novel!

My son, Alex Katsaropoulos of Verluna, is designing the cover. It’s super cool and I can’t wait to reveal it to you, but that will have to wait until closer to the release date.

I’ve started outlining Book 4 in the series. A title hasn’t presented itself to me yet, but that will come as the story unfolds. I’ve been mentally working on it for more than a year, but it just wasn’t time to get started. Lots of ideas are bouncing around in my head and I’m excited to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – and see where the ideas take me. I’m planning to write it from both Marcie and Eric’s perspectives. I tried it in Catalyst but it didn’t work. This time I think it will work as there will be two separate storylines. One in France with Eric and Renee and one in Washington DC with Marcie. I think I’ll need research trips to DC and France!! Yea! I LOVE to travel.

More updates to come as things progress!

Are You a Wayshower?

There are a lot of negative things happening in the world today. Political turmoil, gun violence, environmental destruction, corporate greed, mental illness, homelessness, economic inequity…the list goes on. You get it. It’s easy to become discouraged about the state of our world and to despair that we’re moving in the wrong direction and placing value on the wrong things. I know many of my friends feel that way. But I feel hopeful.

Why am I hopeful? Because I believe that this up swelling of negative, even evil occurrences is causing an equal, or even greater up swelling of positivity in response.

After 9/11, one of the most horrific occurrences to happen in our lifetimes, there was a huge coming together of people from all walks of life. We saw the first responders rush in. I saw a story narrated by Tom Hanks about all of the commercial and private boat owners who mobilized to rescue hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers stranded on Manhattan after the attack. It brought me to tears. For weeks, even months, afterwards people were kinder to one another. Reaching out to help whenever they could. Of course there were also incidences of retribution against Muslim-Americans. I personally reached out to a Muslim family in my neighborhood to see if they were okay. They were okay and the father and I spoke at length about the tragedy of humans attacking each other over religion. He said “there is only one God” and I agree.

What I see happening now is people waking up. Looking for a better way to live, to BE. Martha Beck, author, life coach and speaker, calls it being a Wayfinder. The slogan for her Life Coach Wayfinder course is Find The Way. Be the Way. We are all yearning to connect with one another. To find a deeper meaning in our lives. I recently read a Time Magazine special edition on Happiness. One of the themes recurring throughout the entire magazine is that things and money don’t bring us happiness. Experiences and relationships bring us happiness. Our capitalistic quest for more is not feeding our souls. It’s trying to fill a bottomless pit that can never be satisfied.

It’s not hard to find people and businesses that are Wayshowers. Focusing on healthy eating, healthy living, exercise, helping others, caring for the environment, opposing corporate greed and individual violence and caring for those less fortunate than ourselves are themes that I see all around me. I’m especially encouraged by our young people. Just look at what David Hogg and the Parkland shooting survivors are doing to end gun violence. What Greta Thunberg is doing to bring attention to climate change. What Malala Yousafzai is doing for girls education. The fact that Marianne Williamson, a spiritual teacher, author and activist, is running for president on the politics of love and getting a lot of positive attention is encouraging to me and represents a signpost of the direction I hope we are headed.

In my novel, Catalyst – May 2020 Brown Books Publishing, Marcie Horton, her brother, Eric and their friends are catalysts for change. For bringing a new focus to our world. Are you a catalyst, a Wayshower? You don’t have to do big, splashy things to be one. Start where you are. Don’t use plastic straws. Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Be kind. Pay it forward. Love one another. It all begins with you.

Summer of the Bike

This summer my boyfriend, Keith, and I have spent most weekends on a different biking adventure. Last weekend we went 17 miles!! That may not seem like much if you’re a dedicated biker, but for us it was a lot!

As you can see, I have a cruiser, or a town bike – comfy seat and wide handle bars. I have to admit that I bought it because of how it looks (I did try it out first to see if it was comfortable and it is!) The color is ‘Honey Dew’ and don’t you love my Nantucket basket?! It’s perfect for when we bike to the farmer’s market on Saturdays!

Our biking trips take us to a variety of places – the Broad Ripple neighborhoods in Indianapolis where I live or the Monon rail-trail. The best trips, though, have been the ones around Dayton, OH where my boyfriend lives and we bike along the trails next to one of the five rivers that surround the area. Here is some of the scenery we’ve seen.

Forest Stream
Cone Flowers
Wildflowers and Bees
Field of Thistles and Queen Anne’s Lace

I sold my house a few years ago and have been living in an apartment. I miss my perennial garden, so these flowers seen on our rides feed my soul!

Reflections in a Quarry Pond

Had lunch last Saturday at Sam and Ethel’s in Tipp City, OH. Fried bologna sandwich! What have you been doing to feed your soul and get out in nature this summer?

Catalyst to Publish in 2020!!

I’m very excited to share that Brown Books Publishing has decided to publish Catalyst in 2020!! It’s the next book chronologically in the series after The Field and is also YA sci-fi.

As with my other books, there is an environmental theme. This time it’s fracking and climate change. I feel it’s an important book as these topics are so critical right now. Getting young people involved and aware is part of my personal mission as a writer.

Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, is the protagonist in Catalyst. It’s the summer before her junior year in high school. Eric and Renee are also featured ~ they’ve just graduated from high school. All three are on an archaeological dig in southern Indiana and discover that ‘Big Oil’ is planning to expand it’s fracking operations.

So excited to share this news!

Indian Summer will still be released as a prequel at some point, just not sure when.

THE FIELD – Soccer Field and Universal Energy Field

The title of my novel, The Field, has two meanings. The soccer field and The Universal Energy Field. Nikola Tesla postulated in the last century that there is enough energy in a cubic inch of space anywhere in the Universe to power New York City for a day. This field is also called the ‘Zero Point Field’. We know that the air around us is filled with energy waves or forces. Magnetic, sound, light, radio, television, microwave, radiation, etcetera. Most of these waves are outside the realm of human perception. However, we can measure them, and we know that animals can hear sounds that are imperceptible to the human ear, and we benefit from the action of these waves when we watch TV, use our cell phones or microwave our dinner.

Imagine if we could access the Zero Point Field as a totally clean, renewable energy source. No more drilling for oil or natural gas or mining for coal. No more burning fossil fuels and the resulting air pollution. No need for nuclear power and radioactive waste.

I’m a science geek and a passionate environmentalist. The Field includes an environmental theme comparing so-called ‘clean coal’ to wind and solar power and the idea of accessing energy from The Universal Energy Field.

Quantum Mechanics has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a vacuum or nothingness. The Universe is a sea of energy. Scientists are calling it ‘Dark Energy’, and while we don’t know exactly what it is, Einstein predicted its existence when he postulated using a ‘cosmological constant’ to explain the expansion of the Universe.

As Dr. Auberge says in The Field, “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.”

Happy Earth Day!

Being a responsible steward of the Earth and the environment is very important to me – and critical to the survival of the planet and plant and animal species. All of my novels have an environmental theme. It is my way of shedding light on the damage we are doing and how we can do better – how we must do better.

The Field focuses on the renewable energy sources of wind and solar and the potential energy source of The Universal Energy Field, and compares them to so called ‘clean coal.’ Indian Summer, Spring 2020, is about saving an old growth forest from development, and Catalyst, Spring 2021 is about fracking and it’s negative impact on the environment.

Scientists un-equivocally say that climate change is due to the actions of mankind. Today, on Earth Day, let’s take a look at what we as individuals can do to make small changes and what we as a global community can do to make big changes. Love Your Mother!

We are all in this together. The Earth is our only home.

The Secret Life of Trees

I’ve recently been revising my novel Indian Summer to add more conflict and mystical experiences. The story is about how Marcie tries to stop development of an old growth forest on the lake where her grandparents live.

A few weeks ago I went to a film festival sponsored by the Indiana Forest Alliance and connected with the Development Director, Sandra Messner. We had a great conversation which sparked some ideas that I plan to incorporate into the novel. The Alliance’s mission is “to preserve and restore Indiana’s native forest ecosystem for the enjoyment of all.” The Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ mantra is that “for forests to be healthy, they need to be logged” which does not support preservation of our old growth forests. Sounds like a good start for some conflict to develop!

I also ordered the book, The Hidden Life of Trees – What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben, which arrived yesterday. I’m super excited to read it. The inside flap says,

“…trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.”

This begs the question of whether trees are sentient beings. In The Field I explore the Universal Energy Field and Collective Consciousness as they relate to the interconnectedness of humans, but what about other living (and even non-‘living’) entities like animals and plants (or the Earth itself)? Are they connected? Do plants have feelings? There is another book that looks interesting on this subject The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Thompkins and Christopher Bird. In her book, The Intention Experiment, Lynne McTaggart cites experiments by Cleve Backster showing that plants react to human intentions.

Research is one of the best parts of writing. The idea that plants are sentient beings and have feelings and react to danger and human activity is super intriguing! Can’t wait to learn more and incorporate it into Indian Summer.

The Indiana Forest Alliance aims to preserve forests for the enjoyment of all. In Japan, the practice of ‘Forest Bathing’ is widely practiced. Spending time in nature is scientifically proven to improve your health. I’ve even read that some physicians are prescribing time in nature as treatment. This is one of the reasons that I incorporate environmental themes in my novels. The natural world is beautiful, awe-inspiring, priceless and feeds our souls. We must be the Earth’s caretakers, not exploiters.

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?