Browning Mountain – Stonehenge in Southern Indiana II

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?

instagram Catalyst release

Catalyst Releases Sept 22nd!!

So this is happening! Books are shipping now! Buy links below.

Thanks to @cahokiamounds and @angelmounds for helping me with research and @verlunamusic for designing the cover!

Amazon | Books-a-Million | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Brown Books Publishing

Excerpt

“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.

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.

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.

Science and Spirituality

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. ~ Carl Sagan

This quote by Carl Sagan is NOT the one I chose for Catalyst, but I love it because it sums up my feelings about science and spirituality. To me, science doesn’t disprove or negate the possibility of a force greater than ourselves, which you can call God, spirit, the Great Mother, The Force or whatever you want. Science demonstrates an intelligent Universe. An intelligent design.

Richard Rohr, in a November 7, 2019 article entitled “The Field of Love” said this:

“The physical phenomenon of quantum entanglement is a wonderful illustration of the interconnected nature of reality, both spiritual and material. Allow me to try to explain in layperson’s terms: In quantum physics, it appears that one particle of any entangled pair “knows” what is happening to another paired particle—even though there is no known means for such information to be communicated between the particles, which are separated by sometimes very large distances. [1] Perhaps we could compare this to phenomena such as bilocation, mental telepathy, providence, or synchronicity.”

One of the ideas behind The Field is that we’re all connected through this Universal Energy Field or the Collective Consciousness. This field , or energy, flows through all of us and everyTHING in the Universe. Quantum physics proves that particles are connected at a subatomic level. The idea behind The Field is that we’re all connected at a human level. Is this field of energy what some would call God? I think so. What do you think?

We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. ~ Carl Sagan

We are all Intuitive

I’ve been doing quite a few radio interviews talking about The Field and talking with readers at my Author Events. Of course everyone wants to know what the story is about and where I got my inspiration.

When I tell them that I wanted to show how we are all connected through the Collective Consciousness and that we all have intuitive abilities EVERY SINGLE PERSON shares their own story with me about their personal experiences with intuition and premonitions.

One radio interviewer had a premonition about 9/11. Another one had an intuitive feeling about something that happened to her daughter. A reader shared a story about having a sudden feeling that her daughter needed to slow down or she would get a speeding ticket. When she called her daughter to tell her, it was too late – she’d just gotten a ticket!! A screen writer shared that he is familiar with the Zero Point Field and thinks its the next big topic in Hollywood – can you say movie rights?!?!? 🙂

I believe that we are all connected and intuitive. Do you have stories about your own experiences? I’d love to hear them!

Here’s a link to one of the radio interviews – Red River Radio ‘Tales From the Pages’

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.