Things That Occur to Me

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 Okuartist.

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Here’s an excerpt from the Oku 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 out the music and download your free copy of the album at Okuartist.

Things That Occur to Me, Writing

Choose Your Big Rocks

Choose Your Big Rocks First

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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.

Things That Occur to Me

“It’s like knowing without thinking.” ~ Eric Horton from THE FIELD

I thought I would share some quotes from my novel The Field about connecting with the Unified Field and ‘All That Is’. I hope you enjoy them and perhaps they will make you ponder.

This one is when Eric is describing what it feels like when he’s in the soccer goal and he simply knows where the ball is going.

“I don’t want to make too big a deal about it with Will, but sometimes I just get a feeling of knowing. It just flashes into my head. Maybe it’s from years of playing, but when it happens it feels different then reacting on instinct without thinking. It’s like knowing without thinking.” ~ Eric Horton, The Field

Do you have this kind of intuitive knowing or connection? I’d love to hear what it is like for you.

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Things That Occur to Me

Just Say NO to Fracking – and a word about “Horton Hears a Who”

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All of my novels have an environmental theme and in my next novel (over halfway through the first draft!) the Horton family will be opposing Fracking in southern Indiana. My books are my way of taking a stand about the dangers of polluting and exploiting our planet, and hopefully awakening a similar outrage in my readers. All wrapped up in wonderful, exciting story. I believe if all of us make our own waves we create a tidal wave of change.

A side note about the Horton family. While each novel is a stand-alone story, the Horton family is featured in all three. I chose the name ‘Horton’ because of Dr. Suess’s (Dr. Suess is kind of my hero) book Horton Hears a Who. No one believes Horton when he hears the ‘Who’s’ calling out from a dust speck on a dandelion, but Horton perseveres. That book speaks to me on so many levels. First, that another group of beings could exist on a dust speck. I love the image of the Universe being as amazingly small as it is amazingly huge. Second, Horton knows the truth of what he hears and keeps on saying it even in the face of adversity. In the end, the other animals hear the Who’s and they are saved. I can only hope that will be true for humanity as well, and we will realize the truth of climate change and our role in causing it before it’s too late. There’s another Dr. Suess book about this, I’m sure you remember it – The Lorax. Remember what happened after all of the Truffula trees were cut down to make Thneeds? It wasn’t a pretty place.

There’s a lot in the news about the dangers of Fracking (if you’re paying attention) but is hasn’t stopped the energy companies from continuing to Frack or governments from continuing to support it – with some notable exceptions like New York. Even President Obama promotes Natural Gas, which is what is released when gas wells are Fracked, as the new clean energy. It may burn cleaner, but the impact of extracting it is anything but clean.

Fracking, or hydrolic fracturing, is a method of natural gas extraction by injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary – read unnamed – chemicals, under extremely high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and opens fissures allowing natural gas to escape. In 2005, the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill exempted natural gas drilling from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which means the proprietary chemicals used do not need to be disclosed to the public. These chemicals are anything but safe.

Scientists have identified dozens of chemicals, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, in Fracking waste water. Chemicals that are known poisons and carcinogens!!! The Fracked wells are up to 8,000 feet deep and between one and eight million gallons of water is used EACH time a well is Fracked. A well can be Fracked up to 18 times.

So why should you care?

1. Only 50% of the water used (including chemicals) is recovered from the wells. That leaves the remaining  50% left behind to contaminate aquifers.

2. The waste water recovered is put into evaporation tanks and the chemicals are evaporated directly into the air, thus contaminating the air we breathe. The water is highly toxic and has to be treated after the chemicals have evaporated.

3. Drinking water wells and rivers and streams around the Fracking site are contaminated with the Methane gas that was released during Fracking. Residents can often light their tap water on fire. It is undrinkable.

4. Fracking, especially horizontal Fracking, creates cracks or fissures in the rock which has been proven to increase seismic activity and earthquakes in the areas surrounding the Fracking sites. Fracking in places where fault lines exist such as California, is reckless and potentially dangerous.

5. During a time of drought in much of the west, using millions of gallons of water to Frack is irresponsible to say the least.

Dr. Suess was writing about our responsibility as caretakers of Earth when I was a child. We’ve yet to heed the warnings. Will you join me in making waves so that we create a Tsunami of change?

Things That Occur to Me

My Personal Story about Vaccinations

It occurred to me that I have a story to share that is relevant to the discussions about vaccinations. Back in the ‘80’s when I was a student at Indiana University there was a severe outbreak of the measles. I was one of the people who caught it. We were the ones who, as children, were inoculated with the dead virus instead of the live virus. Our bodies did not manufacture antibodies for the dead virus and so we did not develop a resistance to the disease.

I was lucky.I didn’t have a severe case. I was just really sick and didn’t feel well and had spots everywhere, which wasn’t great for a college junior looking to meet guys! However there were people that I knew of who were deathly ill in the campus infirmary. I don’t think anyone actually did die, but for a while it was touch and go for a few extremely sick students. What did happen to me was that my resistance and immune system were comprised for months afterwards and I caught strep throat and fever blisters and the flu and was sick for most of the spring semester.

The outbreak was a VERY big deal at the time. The national news came to town and wandered around Dunn Meadow on an unusually warm February day that often happens in southern Indiana looking for people to interview who knew something about the outbreak. There were hundreds of students out enjoying the sunshine. Since I’d actually contracted measles, I stepped forward and was interviewed for the national news and seen by friends and family across the country. I’ve always been in favor of vaccines, and this personal experience serves to reinforce my perspective. I know there are many people who are against vaccinations and I respect their opinions even though I don’t know a lot of the reasons behind them.  I share this for information as my own personal experience.

Things That Occur to Me, Writing

Creative Minds are Rarely Tidy

 

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I love this saying I found at a local store. It validates for me what I’ve known for years. Creative people need fodder to feed their creativity and that often means a bit of organized chaos. I have always been a pile filer. I like to have everything I’m working on out in the open. I also love office supplies – pens, pencils, spiral note books, colorful folders – you get the idea. So I’ve tried to solve my chaos problem by putting my stuff into jars and baskets and stand-up file organizers.

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I love these sparkly spiral notebooks.

I’m also a huge note taker. I think it is a form of journaling, really. I make lists and jot down ideas and take copious notes at presentations. The act of writing helps me transfer and process information.

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More spiral notebooks! Obviously I am not afraid of color!!

I used to write on slips of paper or legal pads, but then I came up with the brilliant idea to use notebooks! I have different ones for my writing in progress and my job and personal life. I also like pens and pencils, pretty paper and colorful containers!

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vision board

More containers and my idea board. Lots of fuel for the imagination!!

Things That Occur to Me, Travel

Kentucky Book Fair – Love being with authors and readers!

 

 

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Saturday I was at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort, KY! Met lots of new author friends and lots of readers! I even had some metaphysical conversations about the premise of The Field! 

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I shared my table with Megan Whitmer, author of BETWEEN and Julia Watts, author of HYPNOTIZING CHICKENS – that title got a lot of attention!

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Here are some great t-shirts I saw – gotta love authors and readers!!

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Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel. 🙂

Banned Books?! Open a book and Open your mind!

Lots of great books on this banned book list!

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Things That Occur to Me, Travel

Up in the Air!

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My Dad turned 80 this year and to celebrate he and I took a hot air ballon ride! It was very cool, to say the least. Cross that off the bucket list!

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The weather conditions were perfect!

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We landed near a cemetary and the headstone nearest to us had hot air balloons on it! I love it when the Universe speaks to me that way!

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Too bad I had to get up at 5:00am! Such a lovely ride!

The Field, Things That Occur to Me

When the Universe Speaks….

After we learned the exciting news about The Field winning the Eric Hoffer Award, my husband suggested we have champagne to celebrate. I said that I couldn’t that night, but perhaps on Tuesday evening as I had something else scheduled. He went to his favorite writing local – The Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple – to work on his next book. Later that evening he texted me that the owner of the restaurant told him we had a bottle of Cava – Spanish sparkling wine – that we had purchased at a wine tasting in December and forgot to pick up. Perfect for toasting to my writing success. When he brought the bottle home and I looked at the label, here is what I saw ~ 

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Poema in Spanish means ‘poem’ in English, and a writing quill!?!? The Universe is speaking loud and clear! And that’s not even including the huge clap of thunder that I heard immediately after I said an affirmation about being a successful writer and publisher the night before! If you listen, the Universe is speaking loud and clear.