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.

2019 Reading Challenge Update

I thought I was WAY behind on my reading goal of 60 books for the year, but now that I count up what I’ve read so far this year, it’s not as bad as I thought. Sixteen books read. And I’m not even including the romance novel I read…just saying. Check out what I’ve been reading here.

I don’t think I’ll get to 30 by July 1st – the halfway point – BUT I have a good excuse! The launch of The Field  and the Book Tour is keeping me VERY busy not to mention trying to do revisions on Indian Summer and Catalyst.

What are you reading? I’m always looking for recommendations. My Book Group is reading Where The Crawdads Sing for June and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve heard wonderful things about it!

TBR Pile

Return of the Thief by Meghan Whelan Turner – comes out in August. Conclusion to the series – can’t wait!

I’m in a scifi phase right now, so these are in the TBR pile:

The Forever War and Marsbound by Joe Haldeman

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – YA

Research Road Trip – Archaeology Field Study

I love research!

I’ve started working on my next book featuring Eric and Renee and some new characters. Part of the setting is an archaeolgical dig site in southern Indiana. I wanted to get some hands on experience with an actual dig, so last weekend I embarked on a research roadtrip!  I had the most incredible weekend driving across  picturesque southernIndiana and Illinois!

Dr. Susan Alt of Indiana University generously allowed me to spend a morning observing a Field Study student dig site at Emerald Mounds – a Mississippian Era Native American site about 20 miles east of St. Louis. Students from the University of Illinois and Indiana University are spending six to eight weeks excavating a site that is at risk of being lost due to farming and erosion. I am a science geek at heart and it was incredibly cool to get to watch them at work!!

I also visited Angel Mounds near Evansville, IN and Cahokia Mounds in Illinois just east of St. Louis. All three sites are settlements of Native Americans who lived there until about the year 1400. The Cahokia site had more inhabitants during its heyday than London did at the same time.

487

Here is the Field Study team who allowed me to peek over their shoulders as they worked.

496

Working on the site.

479

Fragrant milkweed.

484

Learning excavation techniques.

511

The site is in a very beautiful farmland/pastoral setting on a bluff overlooking St. Louis in the distance.