We had a great time celebrating the Pacific Northwest launch of the third book in the Explorer Academy series, The Double Helix. A big thanks to Dan and Tina Ullom of Brick & Mortar Books in Redmond, WA for hosting me, and to all the friend, readers, parents, and educators, who came. I enjoyed reading from the book and sharing some behind the scenes scoop, like how National Geographic explorers inspire my storylines.
One of the themes in The Double Helix focuses on the looting of archaeological sites and the international smuggling of valuable artifacts. Experts say, at any given moment, more than 10,000 stolen artifacts are for sale on the black market. The Double Helix was partly inspired by the work of NG explorer, Sarah Parcak, a space archaeologist. By studying GPS satellite photos, Sarah is able to detect looting pits we can't always see at ground level. She's also uncovered other sites from space, like pyramids, settlements, and tombs. She even found the lost city of Tanis (you know, from Raiders of the Lost Ark!). But, as I told the audience at the book event, Sarah can't do it alone, which is why she launched globalXplorer.org to invite anyone (even you!) to help in the search for looting pits. Log on to the site, take the short tutorial, and in a a matter of minutes you'll be studying satellite "tiles" and reporting what you see (if you find a photograph that appears to contain looting pits, you'll flag the tile for an expert to review). To date, more than 17 million tiles have been viewed by the community and they have only just begun.
Thanks to everyone who came to help me kick off Book 3. Maybe I'll see YOU when it's time to release Book 4 next spring!