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.

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.

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.

straws

Small Things I Do For The Environment – Straws

Reusable camping straws

My books all have environmental themes. I’m passionate about protecting the environment. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, like there is little we can do as individuals. So I do small things that if we were all to do them, would have a tremendous impact.

You’ve probably read about straws showing up on beaches and in the stomachs of sea birds and whales. A few countries and US cities have banned straws. In the Midwest, we’re WAY behind the curve. You get a straw with your water at a restaurant every time and by the time you remember to request NO STRAW, it’s too late. The straw is out of the paper wrapper and in your drink.

A friend turned me on to these camping straws that I found at Target. They’re metal with a rubber tip and for those of you concerned with cleanliness, even come with a tiny brush for cleaning!! I keep one in my purse. It was a four-pack, but I forgot one at a restaurant – easy to do. 🙁 I even request paper cups instead of plastic for my to-go cold drinks and no plastic lids which is a spill hazard, but worth not having the plastic lid. It’s surprisingly hard to remember to do and the sales people give me strange looks, but its a small thing that I can actively do.

What are you doing for the environment? I’d love to hear and incorporate your ideas.