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!

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.

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.

Research trip to Mammoth Cave and Diamond Cave for my work in progress.

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I’m getting ready to write the scene in my WIP where the characters visit Mammoth cave in Kentucky. Being deep underground, caves aren’t bombarded with all of the energy waves from cell phones, TV’s, radios, etc., and some consider them to be portals to other dimensions. To find out more about that, you’ll have to read my novel when I’m finished. 🙂

Last spring I went on a research trip to Mammoth and Diamond caves to learn more about them. The most interesting thing I learned, which might seem obvious, but didn’t occur to me until I was in the cave is that it is PITCH BLACK when they turn out the lights. You could see absolutely NOTHING. Not the hand in front of your face or even the movement of your hand. It took a brave soul to venture down there before they were electrically lighted.

Mammoth cave is mostly a dry cave, so while it was beautiful and cool, it didn’t have the stalagmites and stalactites that form from dripping water.

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Tunnel in Mammoth Cave

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Rock passage in Mammoth Cave

Emerald Cave, which is much smaller, but actually part of the same cave system, is a wet cave and has beautiful features formed from the constantly dripping water.

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It’s hard to do justice to the beauty with my little instamatic camera. All of the caves were originally thought to be formed by water and at the lower levels not open to the public, underground rivers flow. One of the rivers, appropriately called the River Styx, emerges from the ground through a rock wall onto the surface.

Styxx

This looks like a pool of water, but it is actually a river flowing out of the rock wall.

One of the themes of my books is the dangers of Fracking. We found it interesting that the buses at Mammoth Cave National Park are run on the so-called ‘clean energy’ of natural gas. Ironic to say the least.

Research trips are one of the perks of being an author!

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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?