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I’m very excited to share this endorsement for The Catalysts Series (The Field, Book I and Catalyst, Book II) from Traci Harding, Australia’s #1 Sci-Fi Fantasy author!!!
More than just stories, Tracy Richardson weaves quantum theory into the everyday to life altering effect. What may seem a fun tale is a subtle lesson in creating your own reality. Essential reading for young adults who desire to understand and master the skills to pre-pave their own future.
~ Traci Harding author of “The Ancient Future Series”
Traci and I did an author talk last April and really bonded over the similar themes in our novels. It’s been so exciting to find another author who writes about conscioussness, quantum physics and intention. These are just a few of Traci’s novels – she’s written over 20!!
Traci introduced me to fellow Australian author, A.K. Wilder, (aka Kim Falconer) author of The Path of the Stray, The Road to the Soul and most recently her new YA novels, Crown of Bones and the upcoming Curse of Shadows. Her books also deal with issues of environmental destruction, telepathy and consciousness but in a totally different way the The Catalysts series.
Happy reading everyone!! I know I’ve got a TBR pile a mile high!
I’m thrilled to announce an Out Of This World Virtual Author Event with me and Traci Harding, Australia’s #1 Sci-Fi Fantasy author!! Join the live conversation as Traci and I discuss our books, writing, where we get our ideas and the similar themes woven throughout the stories we create.
Tuesday, April 13th, 7:00pm EST USA
One of my reviewers from the Catalyst Blog Tour last summer compared my books to Traci’s so I reached out and connected with her on social media. Our books touch on the subjects of time travel, quantum physics, the Universal Energy Field, extraterrestrials, and the esoteric and metaphysical. It was so cool to find another fiction author who writes about the things I’m interested in. An added bonus is we get along great!
Another cool thing is that Traci lives near Brisbane, Australia so when we’re chatting on the evening of Tuesday 4/13 it’ll be 10:00am in the morning on WEDNESDAY the 14th for her! It truly is a small world.
Even though she’s deep into revisions on her next book (she’s written over 22 titles!!), she graciously agreed to do this event with me. I’m extremely excited and know that you are in for a treat when you join the conversation! More details on the Zoom event below.
Want to learn more about Traci and purchase her books? Visit her website at Personally signed books by Traci Harding (allthingstraci.com.au)
There’s even more info on Traci at her publisher’s site: Traci Harding – Australia’s Best Selling Fantasy Author
Want to purchase one of THIS Tracy’s books in The Catalysts series? Click Here!
Here’s the Dirt on Traci Harding!
Traci Harding is a Science/Fantasy Novelist, published through HarperCollins/Voyager Australia and Bolinda Audio. Her work blends fantasy, fact, esoteric theory, time travel and quantum physics, into adventurous romps through history, alternative dimensions, universes and states of consciousness.
Since its release in 1996, the Ancient Future Trilogy has had over fifty reprints, three editions and was released as an omnibus in 2014. The first book of the series made the ABC’s list of “the Most Loved Books of All Time” (2010) and “Australia’s Top 100 Homegrown Reads” (2013). TThe Ancient Future became an Australian best-seller in its first month of release, and in 2014 the omnibus shot into the Amazon US top 5 Science/Fantasy books. Every Harding novel since the Ancient Future has debuted in the top 10 on the Science/Fantasy best-sellers list soon after publication. Traci has sold in excess of a half a million books in Australia alone.
Here’s the Dirt on Tracy Richardson (that’s me!)
Tracy Richardson is the author of the young adult series The Catalysts, including Book I, The Field, and Book II, Catalyst. The Field won the Eric Hoffer award for young adult literature and was a Bronze Medalist for the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Catalyst was a Finalist in the American Fiction Awards Young Adult category and won first place in the New Age category. Tracy has a degree in biology and her science background plays a significant role in her writing through her incorporation of both true science and science fiction. Her books are set in real Earth time with both a science fiction/paranormal theme and an environmental theme. There is no second planet.
Join Zoom Meeting – Tuesday, April 13th, 7:00pm EST USA
Meeting ID: 948 7205 7839
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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
Here’s a very nice review of The Field from blogger Gina Rae Mitchell. Link to her page here.
The Field is such an excellent book that I can honestly recommend it for readers of all ages. It’s not your typical YA fiction novel.
The storyline has a lot of soccer and science in it, and yet you don’t have to be knowledgeable in either to enjoy The Field. The author captures the feelings of high schoolers very well. I bet we can all remember those days of angst, indecision, joy, and every other emotion that encompasses the passage from youth to adult. Relationships are an important theme throughout the book. It’s interesting to see how the changing of family & friend dynamics have lasting effects on people.
“A Science Fiction Winner”
Richardson creates an entirely believable world. Whether you consider this book sci-fi, metaphysical, or fiction, I’m confident you will enjoy reading it. It is very well-written, and the characters come alive while you are reading. I would recommend this book to readers from teen on up. Lovers of soccer, science, physics, and all-around excellent science fiction will enjoy The Field by Tracy Richardson.
A couple weekends ago I attended a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) conference at McCormick’s Creek State Park. It was a wonderful conference and I left feeling very energized with lots of ideas for my work-in-progress. While I was there, I caught up with SCBWI member, Mike Mullin, author of, ASHFALL, a dystopian young adult novel about the eruption of the Yellowstone Park supervolcano. ASHFALL is getting rave reviews being and is touted as a book for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES. ASHEN WINTER, the next novel in the trilogy is coming out this FALL. Here’s a link to Mike’s webpage. http://www.mikemullinauthor.com/
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.
Conversation with Mike Mullin, author of ASHFALL –
Tracy: I’d like to talk with you from a writer’s perspective. Once you got the idea that you wanted to write about the supervolcano, how did it evolve for you? How do the ideas come? How do you work on getting those ideas?
Mike: The idea came from reading another book, Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of NearlyEverything”, and I thought Ah ha, supervolcano. I’ve always been interested in disaster fiction. I’ve been an avid reader of apocalyptic fiction all my life and I thought here’s an apocalypse. I’ve always shied away from writing about one because it seems like they’ve all been done, and done well. I mean if I want to read a great book about tsunami’s or tornados, or what have you, it’s out there. Plenty of volcano stories out there. So the supervolcano, I thought that maybe no one has written about that and it turned out at the time that I had the idea nobody had. Now there a couple books about super volcanos which is fine, of course.
T: After yours or before?
M: After. Mine is the first and now Harry Turtledove has a novel titled “Supervolcano: Eruption,” which is an adult novel.
T: Do you think your book was part of him writing his novel?
M: No, just a coincidence. They were in the pipeline at the same time. It came out only two months after ASHFALL. He got the idea from watching the national geographic special on it. He probably started writing his about a year or two after I started ASHFALL.
I read lots of YA (young adult) and I’ve always read YA, so it felt very natural for me to write in that genre. From there it was just a matter of thinking, okay, so I need a teenager and I needed to put him in a situation where his parents wouldn’t be around, because I don’t want the novel to be about the parents.
T: Which is what Margaret McMullan was just saying. ( Award winning author of SOURCES OF LIGHT and keynote speaker at the SCBWI conference.)
M: Exactly. So the idea of having his parents be visiting relatives just flowed naturally from that, from trying to figure out how to structure it to be a good YA novel. As far as finding the idea for the teenager that really came from my research. I did tons and tons of research on volcanos, obviously, but I also knew that I needed my protagonist to have some kind of special ability, something that was special about him to be able to survive this horrible, horrible natural disaster I was going to put him through. But I wanted to write realistic fiction. I didn’t want to have any magic. I thought that the way I would make my book different from all the dystopian novels I’ve read would be by making it intensely realistic. Something that could happen and would happen. So I decided that my main character would be a martial artist. The only bad part was that I didn’t know any martial arts. So I started taking Taekwondo and I thought I would just take it for a while, but it turned out I really enjoyed it and stuck with it and finally earned my black belt just before ASHFALL came out and now it’s a big part of my school presentation.
T: Which is really great!
M: Yeah, I break blocks! Its fun.
T: Which is kind of amazing when you think about it.
M: I enjoy it. I like breaking stuff, what can I say. Also, I met there (at the Taekwondo Dojang), Ben Alexander who’s this fifteen year old third degree black belt. This was back when I was just a white belt and he was really patient and would explain things over and over again. Just a really great kid. He’s kind of small – he comes up to about here on me (indicates mid chest). I’ve got probably 80 pounds on him and tons of reach. He’s so friendly and helpful but then we have at our dojang what we call Friday night fights. We strap pads on our hands and feet and chest protectors and helmets and then we try to kick the crud out of each other. It’s awesome! Ben Alexander can pretty much kick me in the head and knock me down any time he wants to. He’s that much better. Even now, he’s still a third degree black belt, and I have my black belt now, but he’s just so much faster. I thought, ah ha! That’s the guy I need to have in my mind as I’m writing my character and that’s why my protagonist in ASHFALL is named Alex after Ben Alexander. I don’t know why I didn’t like Ben (the name, not the boy!), but he didn’t feel like a Ben to me so I used Alex.
T: So do you find that ideas just sort of pop into your head; that they come to you that way? And when you’re actually starting to write – let’s talk about that, too. Do you do an outline? I know one author says he throws all the ideas into a box and then takes it out and storyboards it. What’s your process?
M: Before I wrote ASHFALL, I had a YA horror novel that I ‘pantsed’. I had the idea and the characters and just wrote it as I went and figured out where it was going as I was writing. (Mike’s wife, Margaret sees my confusion about the term ‘pantsed’ and interjects ‘By the seat of your pants’ to clarify for me. I am obviously not up on writer jargon!) And that novel was so bad that I sent it to three literary agents and two of them quit the business forever!
When I was doing ASHFALL, I actually plotted it out. I wrote a very rough, chaotic five page outline before I started writing. And planned things like here’s how I’m going to get his parents away and planned it basically all out. Darla was in that outline.
T: How true was it?
M: To what I actually ended up writing? Not very. I wound up diverging from it. And some of the best parts of the novel are where I allowed myself to diverge from the outline. Many people tell me that their favorite part of ASHFALL is chapters 37 and 38 and when I’m asked, I usually say chapters 37 and 38.
T: Tell me what happens in those.
M: It’s when Alex and Darla meet Katie and her mom on the road.
T: Is that with the little girls in the snow suits?
M: Yeah. Exactly. With the blond hair. They were never in any outline, or any plan. I wrote that while I was out in Portland visiting my uncle Chuck who was then dying of stage four colon cancer. When I’m drafting, I try to write absolutely every day. So I would get up in the morning at 5 or 6 and write for a couple of hours until my uncle Chuck would get up about 10 or 11am. He’s very sick at this point. He died two weeks after I left. Then I’d put my writing aside and spend the rest of the day with my uncle Chuck. The thing that affected me most deeply about that wasn’t so much watching my uncle Chuck die as watching his family around him; his kids and his wife who were just trying to shower love on him even while they are obviously already grieving; deeply into this grief process. And so I think from that I wrote this woman who had just lost her husband and was trying to protect her children and found that she couldn’t. I know that really worked because one of the revision techniques I use is to either read my work aloud, or better yet, have it read out loud. And so I’ll volunteer to drive Margaret, my wife, to her education conferences. So I’m driving her to this education conference in Pittsburg and she’s reading the draft of ASHFALL out loud in the passenger seat – because it’s really better if you don’t read and drive.
T: Yes, I’ve tried it, but not a good idea.
M: And I hear this little noise and I look over and she’s doing this kind-of quiet crying thing and there’s just tears streaming down her face and I thought, YES, I’ve nailed it! I’ve made my wife cry. I’m a great writer and a terrible husband.
T: (Laughs) But that is exactly what you want. You want to get that emotion. So when in the writing of ASHFALL, or maybe it wasn’t during the writing, did you start getting ideas for the sequels?
M: Actually when I was doing the outline, before it was ever written, I had a rough idea. I realized that I had way more story than would fit in one book, and that ASHFALL would probably work best if it was really tightly compressed. ASHFALL takes place over six or eight weeks; just a real short snapshot of Alex’s journey and I really wanted to end on a real note of hope where the reader would have some confidence that Alex had a future. And the volcanic winter after an eruption like I’m depicting is going to be brutal and at least three years, possibly as long as ten years. So I couldn’t finish on that sense of hope that I wanted. So I did do a very rough sketch of this is what belongs in the second book and this is what belongs in the third book and as I was drafting ASHFALL and ASHEN WINTER I would keep track of the things that didn’t fit and I kept outlining SUNRISE, the third book, off and on all through the process. When I actually sat down to do the outline to send to my publisher to sell SUNRISE, it was just a matter of putting everything place. Formalizing it rather than creating it. So I’ve had a rough arc for the trilogy since before I wrote ASHFALL.
T: Do you find that while you were writing ASHFALL that you wanted to start writing ASHEN WINTER?
M: Oh, all the time. Ideas come all the time. You get random ideas. You think ‘here’s this really cool idea, I should go write this.’ The way I deal with that is I open a new file on my computer and I write down everything I know about this shiny new idea and then I go back to work. Because you can’t sell an unfinished novel! So the nice thing about that is that I have fifteen or twenty of those little files with chunks of novels or ideas. Some of them are just a few paragraphs and some that are ten or fifteen pages with scenes all written out. When I finish the ASHFALL trilogy I’ll open them up and see which one I’m most interested in writing next.
T: So you don’t have writer’s block most of the time.
M: No, there are definitely days when I have trouble with that, absolutely. What I typically will do – what works for me – it to get out of the house, go for a bike ride, go for a walk, get some kind of physical activity. Sometimes sitting down in an unusual place. I’m a nomadic writer. Anywhere where I’ve got my lap top, I’ll sit down and write. Sometimes I just walk into a new place and sit down and start typing.
T: When I do talks, one of the things that I always say is that imagination is really the most important thing. Einstein said it – of course you have to be able to have a good craft – but having the idea is the key. So any words of wisdom to pass on to writers or people wanting to be published?
M: All I really tell students in my talks is read a lot, write a lot, submit or self-publish your work. It’s that easy and that difficult. Michael Grant says sort of the same thing. I heard his school presentation a few weeks ago, except he says ‘Live a Lot’, so that you can have something to write about.
T: Right, like Margaret (McMullan) said, it’s boring to write about someone sitting in a room alone.
T: Okay, great! Thank you so much!