The Catalysts Series

Catalyst

First some updates on Catalyst. Due to Physical Distancing and Social Connections (as I prefer to call it) the paperback release date has been pushed back to September 22nd. However…

the Ebook release date is still June 2nd!!!

Less than two weeks away! Order your copy today!!

I hope to do a Book Tour for Catalyst this Fall. Check out my Events Page for details later this summer.

The Catalysts Series

The Catalysts Series will consist of four books.

The FieldBook 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 Field is 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 Summer has been completely revised and will be re-released in 2021 as a prequel to The Field and 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.

Take care and be well, my friends.

It’s Earth Day and the Earth is Breathing Again

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

See the source image

India – Himalayan Peaks visible for the first time in 30 years

See the source image

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.

The Catalysts Series – YouTube Video

Hello readers!

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.

Take care and stay safe!

Animal planet

The Sixth Mass Extinction

We are currently in the middle of the Sixth Mass Extinction on planet Earth. That’s right – the sixth one. The difference this time is that one species, Homo Sapiens (yup that’s you and me) is responsible.

Elizabeth Kolbert, author of the non-fiction book, The Sixth Extinction, maintains that we are living in the Anthropocene period of Earth’s history. A time period characterized by human beings’ attempts to manipulate our environment, resulting in the extinction or near-extinction of many different species.

Just as with Climate Change, there are those who would deny that human activity has such a negative impact on the Earth. They would say that climate change and mass extinctions are a natural part of Earth’s history. And they would be right – I mean this IS the Sixth Mass Extinction. However, the previous five weren’t caused by a single species. This one is. Us.

Some anthropologists would even argue that this mass extinction started thousands of years ago when man hunted pre-historic animals like the mastodon and the giant sloth to extinction. But it’s accelerated within the last 100 years during the Industrial Age when we began spewing carbon into the atmosphere.

Carbon emissions are causing global warming and increased temperatures in the oceans which destroys coral reefs. Increased ocean acidity is killing off clams, barnacles and starfish. There are currently 1414 species of fish at risk of extinction. Due mostly to overfishing.

The animals on the Endangered Species List categorized as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable include leopards, rhinos, gorillas, orangutans, elephants, giraffes, porpoises, dolphins, whales, pandas, hippos, turtles, bears, bison and bees. Rainforest deforestation by farmers and ranchers will result in many species that will not survive the reduction in habitat. And the species that rely on them will also perish because the biodiversity of the rainforest is inner-connected.

That is the single most important FACT to take away from this. We are ALL inner-connected. What happens to elephants in Africa has an impact on humans in Detroit or Albuquerque or Poland. Fires in Australia are impacted by rains in Indonesia. The nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima, Japan in 2011 is STILL spreading radiation throughout the Pacific Ocean killing fish, contaminating the water and exposing millions of Homo Sapiens (that’s US again) to radiation as far away as the west coast of the United States and beyond. Ocean currents will eventually carry the radiation across the globe.

Concerned? You should be. Not sure what to do? SPEAK UP!!! Contact your senators and representatives. Attend Climate Change rallies. VOTE for environmental candidates. Look at what one girl in Sweden started by skipping school and sitting outside the parliament on Fridays. Fridays For Our Future is now a global movement of young people and Greta Thunberg is Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year.

It’s not enough to simply reduce your use of plastic and recycle your newspapers. Time is running out. There is no second planet. The Earth needs us to act now.

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.