8 1/2 Hours to VOTE

I voted on Saturday. I live in Indianapolis, which is Marion County, and voter turn out for early voting has been tremendous. But I didn’t expect to have to wait Eight. Hours. To. Vote. That’s right. But wait I did. It was too important.

Still in good spirits after 8 1/2 Hours!!

The really cool thing though? Is that EVERYONE waited. And we had fun. It was such a diverse crowd. There was me – white woman in her 50’s. And Keesha – 20-something African American woman. There was group of Anime dressed college theater students- first time voters, too! Also, Ann, and Don and Donna (who was a Vegas show-girl at one point I found out!!) approaching retirment age. The 27 year old African American couple who shared my love of Chex Mix.

5 1/2 Hours in!!

Over the course of the beautiful Fall day full of sunshine (thank goodness for that!) we bonded. We saved each other’s place in line for bathroom breaks and to do lunch runs. We shared our fold-up chairs and learned about each other. We did the WAVE and cheered when people who had voted left the building.

My young Anime friend – First Time Voter!

EVERYONE wore their masks and we mostly social distanced… 🙂

Lovely people brought us pizza, water bottles and candy. VOTE for DEMOCRACY set up a free taco truck and later a biscuit Food Truck arrived. I knitted half a baby sweater as I pushed my chair along the twists and turns of the line in the parking lot.

If you haven’t voted yet, DO IT!! This might be the most important election of our lifetimes. We get to decide what kind of a country the United States of America will be moving forward. I want it to be a country that CARES. You can probably guess who I voted for. Do your part. Get out and VOTE.

Share your voting stories with me, too!!

Favorite Books

The last book in The Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner, Return of the Thief just arrived in the mail today!! The series is possibly my all time favorite with The King of Attolia being one of my absolute favorite books. Can’t wait to read it! My boyfriend has already started it, but he’s a fast reader. 🙂

Here are some of my favorite book series. Not in any particular order. There are more of course, but these are some of the best.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore ~ and all the other books in the series

An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart ~ Third in the Merlin and King Arthur series

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis ~ The Narnia Series

The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien ~ The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Firebrand by Kristen Britain ~ The Green Rider Series

It’s interesting that I seem to be drawn to fantasy when I write science fiction/paranormal novels.

What are some of your favorites?

Buy links to Catalyst below.

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

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?

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!

Research Trip – Washington DC

I’m working on Book III of The Catalysts series. It will be from both Marcie and Eric’s perspectives. Marcie is in Washington, DC and Eric is in France. I’m heavily into the Research portion of the writing process!! I LOVE research!!

Before Social Distancing for COVID-19 started I took a research trip to Washington DC for background on what Marcie might be doing and seeing while she’s there. I’m hoping to make a research trip to France in the next year or to do the same for Eric’s POV.

Here are some pics from the trip.

The Capital at Night
Washington Monument
Segway Tour of DC was fun!! It was sunny, but COLD!! I was FREEZING – still smiling!
Spring had arrived in DC!
I walked over nine miles one day – maybe a bit much only four months after breaking my ankle!!!
Had to ice my ankle that night!!

What are you doing to keep busy and engaged and positive during Social Distancing?

Grand Mix of Genre and Plot Lines

Grand mix of genre and plot lines

Four Star Review of The Field by Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews.

Richardson pens a great story in The Field, which is written for the YA reader, but I enjoyed it as well. I haven’t read anything from this author before, and I really enjoyed this story. The characters were relatable and very well-developed. This story includes soccer, but also characters that have more than normal abilities. The author’s writing style is works for this story, and brings the stories to life. Mixing science with sci-fi, and mixing in the family and high school dynamics. It just works, and I liked it. I liked it a lot. I look forward to reading more by this author. This book is a definite recommendation by Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews.

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

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.