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CATALYST – Quotes from the Blog Tour

I recently held a Blog Tour on Twitter hosted by @TheWriteReads – Thank you Dave! Here is a short list of what bloggers had to say about Catalyst. I’d love to hear what you think – love it or not so much? It definitely brings out a strong reaction in readers which is what every writer is looking for!

While I have to say I really liked this one the first thing I will say about this book is its not going to be for everybody. It is in a word … ok well two words OUT THERE. I feel that a lot will love it and a lot will hate it. – Lisa

Richardson writes a likable main character in Marcie. She’s got the makings of being a strong-willed yet kind-hearted protagonist along with other abnormal (not quite paranormal) gifts. – TR Horne

Catalyst advocates the need to care for our planet with a strong plot. The message it delivers is vital and the approach is a bit different from the other fantasies with similar theme. – Book Bug World

It has science, archaeology, telepathy and spirituality in a complex mix. The thought provoking plot makes this a intriguing and interesting read. – Lel Budge

I loved seeing Marcie figure out her abilities or sixth sense as she calls it, she was such an interesting character, smart and independent. This book was really well done and well written. – Holly Loves Books

Catalyst is a book with a strong message and big ideas. It is well written and goes in depth on fracking, environmental catastrophes, love and friendships, religion, spirituality… and the list goes on and on. I liked this one! I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to people looking for a YA supernatural adventure with a strong environmental message. – The Book Dude

Catalyst is an enlightening tale toward a better tomorrow full of magic and mysteries of the universe. The story transported me to another dimension made of beauty, light, and all that is good. – Tessa Talks Books

I enjoyed this journey of Marcie’s and hope she and the others can bring about some change before it’s too late. – A Voracious Reader

Catalyst is a book with enormous ideas. …readers of YA with a metaphysical or environmental theme will love this. – Elizabeth Tabler

Catalyst is an enlightening YA story that is not very focused on plot but more on characters, the issues at hand and what’s between the lines. It makes you think about what is being said, and about everything that’s left unsaid, and I think that’s part of what makes it so powerful. – The Artsy Reader

This was a very enjoyable book and a rare YA with a thoughtful message. I really liked the characters and the premise of a young girl and her friends using their extrasensory abilities to try to save our earth and its resources. – Maureen

Catalyst is a fun young adult book with a strong lead. I recommend it to readers who are invested in making the world a better place and to very patient sci-fi lovers, as the sci-fi part comes up later in the book. I enjoyed Catalyst and I really hope you do too! – Ari Drummer

I have to agree that there were some unlikely parts to this book, but overall it was really enjoyable and I would definitely recommend to any science fiction fans or anyone who is an advocate for climate change and are against fracking or any other harmful activities to the planet. – Ellie Read to Ramble

After reading the first few chapters, I was hooked.

The book talks a lot about the dangers of fracking and needing to move away from natural gas and oil for pure energy needs. I absolutely loved that aspect of the book! – Sarah Anderson-Pagal

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.

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?

Win Free Stuff!

I’m starting a Newsletter! If you want to stay up to date on news about my books and where I’ll be signing books, sign-up for my bi-monthly newsletter on my website!

I’ll be giving away FREE STUFF including books and other cool things and announcing the winner in the newsletter – so you need to sign up to find out if you’ve won! To enter the contests, follow me on Facebook or Instagram – links on the website.

My next give-away will be an Advance Review Copy of Catalyst in the next week, so follow me today to enter to win!

Cover Reveal for CATALYST!

Cover design by Alex Katsaropoulos

I’m thrilled to share the cover for my next YA scifi novel, Catalyst! Publishing June, 2020. It was designed by my talented son, Alex Katsaropoulos of the band Verluna. @verlunamusic. I LOVE it!

Catalyst is about fracking and climate change with supernatural and science fiction elements thrown in for good measure! Eric’s younger sister, Marcie is the protagonist, but Eric and Renee have their roles to play, too.

Pre-oder your copy today!

There’s also a Goodreads Advance Review Copy giveaway going on until February 11th. Click here to enter to win!

Catalyst

Marcie Horton has a sixth sense. Not in the “I see dead people” way, but . . . well, maybe a little. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained—an intuition that goes beyond the normal. Then there was that one summer four years ago, when she connected with a long-departed spirit . . . But nothing that incredible has happened to Marcie since. 

This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her dig teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds—something Marcie knows only vaguely that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken, and she and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history.  

It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.

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.

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.

catalyst1

Catalyst – WIP – First Page

The third book in The Field family is Catalyst. It’s written from Eric’s younger sister, Marcie’s perspective when she is 17 years old and Eric is 19 – two years older than in The Field. In Indian Summer, the first book chronologically, Marcie is 12 and experiences visions of a Native American girl guiding her as well as premonitions and synchronicities.

Here’s the first page of Catalyst. It went through about a dozen re-writes and this may not even be the final iteration. What do you think? Does it grab your attention and draw you in?

Catalyst

Chapter 1

I’ve had glimpses of something beyond my five senses. Usually it’s premonitions and intuition, but four years ago when I was in middle school I communicated with the spirit of a Native American girl. I want to experience that again, but I don’t know how. Sometimes she inhabits my dreams and I wake up wishing I could connect with her while I’m awake and wondering if I imagined it all in the first place. It feels like a door that was once open to me is shut and I don’t have the key. Thinking about it gives me a vague, unsettled feeling. It’s like something is missing from my life.

I give myself a mental shake and pull the door handle to get out of the car, determined not to give in to anxious thoughts. Hopefully the next few weeks will keep my mind occupied with other things.

We arrive at the Angel Mounds archaeological dig site in time for dinner. That’s when all the students in the field study are supposed to arrive for orientation and a ‘meet-and greet’ evening as my mom refers to it. It’s her dig. She’s an archaeologist at the University and I’ve been to several of her sites over the years, but this is my first time actually working on a site. Not bad for a summer job – at least that’s what I’m hoping. It’s unpaid, but still great experience. She was able to get all three of us – me, my bother Eric and his girlfriend, Renee – spots on the dig team.

 I’m checking out the people milling around the clearing when I see them. Their presence immediately commands my attention.

Most of the others are probably college students from the University, archaeology or anthropology students, doing a summer field study course, but these two are different.

The man suddenly turns and looks me straight in the eye. It’s as if he senses me looking at him, or thinking about him. Because that’s how it feels. Like he’s reaching out and touching my thoughts. I hear him say, ‘hello, Marcie’, not audibly, but inside my mind. I take a slight step back, startled, but hold his gaze and the connection between us. In my previous experiences I’d never heard words spoken. Just thoughts and feelings. He inclines his head toward me and touches the brim of his hat before returning to talk to his blond companion. I’m a little disturbed by the whole exchange. Something about him makes me uneasy. My skin shivers and I rub my arms to dispel the feeling. Who is this guy and how had he communicated with me?

I shift my gaze to the woman. Her caramel-colored hair is braided into a heavy rope hanging down her back and she’s gesturing in smooth, fluid motions as she talks. She gives the impression of being both still and animated, reminding me of a cat stalking its prey, immobile save for the twitching of its tail. Contained is the word that comes to mind. The way her eyes roam over the other waiting people, stopping only briefly to look at me, enhances the feline resemblance.