Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Feature: Intrusion by Lanayre Liggera








As the judge in a complicated case involving an oil-bunkering gang, Sir Carter Braxton finds himself totally under the security provided by a mysterious figure, Sidi el-Hassam, a wealthy Arab who commands a volunteer group that specializes in preventing crude oil theft. The isolation under which he now lives causes him to miss his best friend’s funeral in 1993 for reasons that must remain inexplicable to his friends, the Falconer family, who live in the Forest of Dean, where they grow restoration oak. Finding herself in London, the widow, Valerie Falconer, an American from Texas, slips into one of Carter’s trials as a spectator, after which she discovers the conditions under which her old friend has been living for over three years. However, a third element also mixes into the situation in that both Carter and the Sidi, separately, have volunteered to participate in the refining of the GSP satellite system now being tested by NASA. This tracking system allows Carter to move temporarily to Texas to draw one of his assassins out. Not only is this the story of a man under physical stress and emotional stress; it is also a record of his spiritual journey led by his friend and later wife, Valerie, as well as the spiritual journey of the Sidi, which has been generated by an apparition of Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt.





Lanayre Liggera holds an MA from Tufts University and another from Cambridge-Goddard Graduate School, where she became interested in the history of woman as portrayed by music, which led to the formation of the New Harmony Sisterhood Band, with Lanayre on banjo. The students’ research produced the book All Our Lives, which was used on college campuses until radicals blew up the publisher, Diana Press. Sometime later, she began to pursue a long-held interest in early aviation. Inevitably, this led studying World War I, spending several tours of the Western Front sponsored by our parent organization, the Western Front Association, US branch. Lanayre was named chairman of the New England–New York chapter, a post which she held for fourteen years, which held a yearly conference at a different location in our region. She and her husband were involved as volunteers in prison ministry for eighteen years as well as in nursing homes, soup kitchens, and the VA. They live in Hudson Valley, where they try to keep up with the comings and goings of their global grandchildren. She is the author of The Life of Robert Loraine: The Stage, the Sky, and George Bernard Shaw.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Feature: The Light Theater Opened to Universe (II) by Kazuo Ueno




Title: The Light Theater Opened to Universe (II)
Author: Kazuo Ueno
Publisher: Xlibris
Genre: Philosophy
Format: Ebook


How 17th Century Dutch Painter Johannes Vermeer's idea was ifluenced from Christian Huygens? Perhaps in the sense of subconsciousness and eventually how it was realized by the method so called "Mitate" (look alike) in his painting as Heaven & Earth correspondence. His painting represents "Universe" itself.


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Clinical Depression - Guest post from Dr. Patrick Mbaya, author of My Brain is Out of Control: Memoirs of a Doctor as a Patient







Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 76
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Tour Dates: September 25-October 20

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Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.




CLINICAL DEPRESSION 

Clinical Depression is a common illness, different from ordinary sadness, which is a normal reaction. It can affect anyone, including doctors like myself, and indeed I suffered from this, during my illness. It is not a weakness. 

It may occur spontaneously in vulnerable individuals, like someone with a family history of depression. Severe stress or traumatic events in childhood, may also make an individual vulnerable to developing depressive illness, later on in life. Recent research has shown that this could be due to the effect of stress hormone cortisol, on the developing brain. Severe stress or loss events (like losing a family member) can cause (precipitate) it. In my case the brain infection I suffered, affected the limbic/emotional brain (see below). 

Emotions, and certain behaviours are controlled by the limbic (emotional) brain. This is like a circuit comprising of connections from the brain stem (stem of the brain), to the front part of the brain (prefrontal cortex, the part in front of the motor cortex), then to the medial (inner side) of the temporal lobe structures like amygdala and hippocampus. In my case, it is the left prefrontal cortex, which is next to the motor cortex (which caused weakness on my right side) and the speech (Broca’s) area. 

There are different theories about the biological causes of depression within the brain. However, there is a lot of clinical, and research evidence that depression is associated altered levels of chemicals (neurotransmitters) that control emotions, and behaviours. The two main chemicals (neurotransmitters) being serotonin and noradrenaline (also known as norepinephrine). These chemicals are made by the brain from the food we eat, like bananas (I asked my daughter to get me bananas during my recovery phase). Emotions and behaviours like mood, sleep, appetite, enjoyment, concentration, short-term memory, energy, and some forms of thinking are controlled by these chemicals. 

There is both clinical, and research evidence that these chemicals become imbalanced, causing symptoms of clinical depression including persistent low mood, tearfulness, poor sleep, lack of enjoyment, poor concentration, short term memory, reduced interest in things, poor appetite, feeling negative (like focussing on past traumatic or unhappy events, or being emotionally affected by current sad events) up to including suicidal thoughts. (Recent research has shown that amygdala become very active in clinical depression, negative traumatic past events tend to re-surface and the individual becomes pre-occupied with these events, feels hopeless, worthless, and has suicidal thoughts, and these symptoms are reversed by effective treatment of depression). These symptoms tend to be worse in the morning (diurnal variation, possibly related to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol) and can improve later on during the day. Like in my case, my mood was worse in the morning. “I was emotional and found myself crying without a moment’s notice.” As depressive illness can affect confidence, energy, motivation, concentration, short term memory, level of functioning is impaired (the ability to carry out activities of daily living, even to the point of being unable to work, socialise or to go to school). The World Health Organization (WHO) found out in a study (1990), comparing medical illnesses, that depression was four in the league table, as a cause of health-related disability. They estimated that by 2020, it will rank second to heart disease! 

Current research has shown that severe stress increases the levels of stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces serotonin, noradrenaline, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, also known as brain fertilizer, which protects against cell death by cortisol), in the brain, causing depression. 

Antidepressants work by increasing these chemicals/neurotransmitters (improving symptoms, and level of functioning), and may protect against severe stress causing depression. Psychological treatment like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), is also effective in depression, especially in combination with antidepressants. Current guidelines recommend psychological treatment for mild to moderate depression, and antidepressant medication, plus psychological treatment for moderate to severe depression. 

Dr Patrick Mbaya MD FRCPsych. 

References: Duman Ronald. Depression: a cause of neuronal life and death. Biological Psychiatry, 1 August 2004, vol.56:140-145 

Global Burden of Disease, World Health Organization, 1990. 

Mbaya Patrick. My Brain Is Out Of Control. Author House. September, 2016 

Shimizu Fiji et al. Alterations of serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depressed patients with or without antidepressants; Biological Psychiatry, 1 July 2003,Vol 54(1): 70-75 

Stahl Stephen M. Essential Psychopharmacology, Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. 

Stress and Plasticity in Limbic System, Robert M. Sapolsky; Neurochemical Research, Vol. 28, No. 11.




Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Feature: Sleep Like the Dead by Alex Gray








Title: Sleep Like the Dead
Author: Alex Gray (A DCI Lorimer Novel)
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Genres: Mystery/Suspense
Touring: September 4 - September 29


There’s a hitman in Glasgow: unpaid and angry, he’s decided to settle his own debts…

Marianne Brogan can’t sleep. She’s plagued by a nightmare: someone in the shadows, whispering threats, stalking her every move. To make matters worse, Marianne can’t get hold of her brother, Billy. Despite knowing some shady characters from Glasgow’s underworld, Billy’s always been there for her – until now.

Meanwhile, DCI Lorimer and his team are faced with a string of seemingly unconnected but professional killings. Without witnesses or much conclusive evidence to build a case, the officers are drawing a blank. Criminal psychologist Solly Brightman is off the case due to budget cuts. But Solly is more closely connected to the murders than he could possibly know . . . And as the hitman plans a bloody ransom to get his fee, the race is on to find out just who hired him – and who’s next on the hit list.







Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer felt the swish of the plastic tape behind him as he entered the crime scene. He glanced at the house, one eyebrow raised in slight surprise. It was such an ordinary two-up, two-down mid-terrace, a modest suburban home, like thousands of others in and around this city in a district not particularly known for a high rate of crime. And certainly not for ones like this. But impressions could be deceptive, that was something he’d learned long ago, and as the Chief Inspector took another look around him his mouth became a hard thin line: scratch the surface of any neighbourhood and the veneer of respectability could expose all manner of human depravity.
The entire garden was cordoned off and a uniformed officer stood guard at the front gate, his eyes shifting only momentarily to the DCI. Lorimer turned to look behind him. Across the street a huddle of people stood, clearly undeterred by the driving rain, their curiosity or compassion binding them in a pool of silent anticipation. Three police vehicles lined the pavement, a clear sign of the gravity of the situation.
The incident had occurred sometime during the night yet the bright glare from a sun struggling to emerge from layers of cloud made a mockery of the situation. This was an ordinary Monday morning where nothing like this should be happening. He could hear the hum of motorway traffic several streets away as people headed to work, oblivious to the little drama that was about to unfold. A bit in tomorrow’s newspaper would command their attention for a few moments, perhaps, then they would dismiss it as someone else’s tragedy and continue about their business, glad that it didn’t impinge upon their own lives.
His business lay ahead, behind that white tent erected outside the doorway, keeping the scene free from prying eyes. Lorimer nodded, satisfied to see it in place. At least one journalist might be among that knot of watchers over the road, he thought wryly. Closing the gate behind him he ventured up the path then stopped. Someone had been violently sick out here, the traces of vomit splashed over a clump of foliage not yet washed away by earlier torrential rain. Whatever lay inside had been shocking enough to make one person’s stomach heave.
With a word to the duty officer the DCI let himself into the house, his gloved hands closing the door carefully behind him. The body lay spreadeagled on the hall carpet, the gunshot wound clearly visible in the artificial light. He was clad in thin summer pyjamas, the shirt open revealing his bare chest. Any traces in the immediate area would assist the scene of crime officers in learning a little more about the victim’s end, as would the bullet lodged within his head. For Lorimer, the story was one that seemed sadly familiar; a gangland shooting, maybe drug related. The single shot to the temple indicated a professional hit man at any rate, he thought, hunkering down beside the body.
‘What can you tell me?’ he asked, looking up at Detective Sergeant Ramsay, the crime scene manager, who hadarrived before him.
‘Well, so far as we can make out there was no call from neighbours about hearing a weapon being discharged.’ The officer shrugged as if to say that didn’t mean much at this stage. To many people, having a quiet life was preferable to giving evidence in a criminal trial.
‘The killer’s weapon may have been fitted with a silencer, of course,’ Ramsay continued, ‘or the neighbours on either side could just be heavy sleepers. We haven’t found a cartridge case, by the way,’ he added.
‘So who called it in?’ Lorimer wanted to know. ‘Colleague of the victim, sir. Was coming to give him a lift to work. Didn’t get an answer to the doorbell so he looked through the letterbox, saw the body . . . ’
‘ . . . And dialled 999,’ Lorimer finished for him.
‘Suppose that was the same person who was sick outside?’ Ramsay nodded. ‘Poor guy’s still shivering out there in the patrol car. Had to wrap a blanket around his shoulders. He’s been trying to give us what information he can.’
‘Okay. What do we know so far?’ Lorimer asked, looking at the dead man, wondering what his story had been, how he had been brought to this untimely end. The victim was a man about his own age, perhaps younger, he thought, noting the mid-brown hair devoid of any flecks of grey. For a moment Lorimer wanted to place his fingers upon the man’s head, stroke it gently as if to express the pity that he felt. No matter what his history, nobody deserved to die like this.
‘Kenneth Scott,’ the DS told him. ‘Thirty-seven. Lived alone. Divorced. No children. Parents both dead. We haven’t managed to get a lot else out of the colleague yet,’ he added, jerking his head in the direction of the street.
‘Too shocked to say much when we arrived. After he’d seen his pal.’ Lorimer continued to focus upon the dead man on the floor.
The victim’s eyes were still wide with surprise, the mouth open as if to register a sudden protest, but it was not an expression of terror.
‘It must have happened too quickly for him to have realised what was happening,’ Lorimer murmured almost to himself. ‘Or had he known his assailant?’
‘There was no forced entry, sir, but that might not mean all that much.’ The DCI nodded a brief agreement. Men were less likely to worry about opening their doors to strangers, if indeed this had been a stranger. And a strong-armed assassin would have been in and out of there in seconds, one quick shot and away. Lorimer sat back on his heels, thinking hard. They would have to find out about the man’s background as a priority, as well as notifying his next of kin. The pal outside had given some information. They’d be checking all that out, of course.
‘What about his work background?’ Lorimer asked.
‘They were in IT, the guy out there told us, shared lifts to a call centre on a regular basis.’ Lorimer stood up as the door opened again to admit a small figure dressed, like himself, in the regulation white boiler suit. His face creased into a grin as he recognized the consultant forensic pathologist. Despite her advanced state of pregnancy, Dr Rosie Fergusson was still attending crime scenes on a regular basis.
‘Still managing not to throw up?’ he asked mischievously.
‘Give over, Lorimer,’ the woman replied, elbowing her way past him, ‘I’m way past that stage now, you know,’ she protested, patting her burgeoning belly. ‘Into my third trimester.’
‘Right, what have we here?’ she asked, bending down slowly and opening her kitbag. Her tone, Lorimer noticed, was immediately softer as she regarded the victim. It was something they had in common, that unspoken compassion that made them accord a certain dignity towards a dead person. Lorimer heard
Rosie sigh as her glance fell on the victim’s bare feet; clad only in his nightwear that somehow made him seem all the more vulnerable.
‘Name’s Kenneth Scott. His mate came to collect him for work at seven this morning. Nobody heard anything last night as far as we know,’ he offered, making eye contact with Ramsay to include him in the discussion. This was a team effort and, though he was senior investigating officer, Lorimer was well aware of the value everyone placed on the scene of crime manager who would coordinate everyone’s part in the case.
‘Hm,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands already examining the body. ‘He’s been dead for several hours anyway,’ she said, more to herself than for Lorimer’s benefit.
‘Rigor’s just beginning to establish. May have died around two to four this morning.’ Rosie glanced up at the radiator next to the body. ‘I take it that’s been off?’
‘I suppose so,’ Lorimer answered, feeling the cold metal under the layers of surgical gloves. He shrugged. ‘It’s still officially summertime, you know.’
‘Could have fooled me,’ Rosie replied darkly, listening to the rain battering down once again on the canvas roof of the tent outside. ‘That’s two whole weeks since July the fifteenth and it’s never let up.’ Lorimer regarded her quizzically.
‘St Swithin’s day,’ she told him. ‘Tradition has it that whatever weather happens that particular day will last for forty days. Or else it’s more of that global warming the doom merchants have been threatening us with,’ she added under her breath.
‘But this fellow’s not been warmed up any, has he?’ Lorimer said. ‘Nothing to change the time of death?’ The pathologist shook her blonde curls under the white hood. ‘No. Normal temperature in here. Wasn’t cold last night either so we can probably assume it happened in the death hours.’ Lorimer nodded silently. Two until four a.m. were regarded as the optimum times for deaths to occur, not only those inflicted by other hands. He had read somewhere that the human spirit seemed to be at its most vulnerable then. And villains seeking to do away with another mortal tended to choose that time as well.
They’d find out more after Rosie and her team had performed the actual post-mortem and forensic toxicology tests had been carried out. Until then it was part of his own job to find out what he could about the late Kenneth Scott.






Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the DHSS, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. 

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles and commissions for BBC radio programmes. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. 

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, her previous novels include Five Ways to Kill a Man, Glasgow Kiss, Pitch Black, The Riverman, Never Somewhere Else, The Swedish Girl and Keep the Midnight Out. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012. 

Connect with her at her website: http://www.alex-gray.com or on social media







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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Feature: Forestry Flavours of the Month by Alastair Fraser







Publication Date: May 20, 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 228
Genre: Biography
Tour Dates: September 4 - 15

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Forestry touches on all aspects of human welfare in one way or another, which is why foresters need to play an active role in determining our collective agenda. Alastair Fraser, a lifelong forester and the co-founder of LTS International, a forestry consulting company, explains how forestry changes with political cycles and how foresters can promote healthy forests at all times.

He explores critical issues such as:
• forests and their connection to coal;
• forest's role in combatting floods and climate change;
• illegal logging in Indonesia, Laos, and elsewhere;
• tactics to promote sustainable forestry management;
• plantations as a solution to tropical deforestation.

From pulping in Sweden and Brazil, paper mills in Greece and India, agroforestry in the Philippines, "pink" disease in India and oil bearing trees of Vietnam, no topic is off limits. Based on the author's life as a forester in dozens of countries, this account shows the breadth of forestry and makes a convincing case that forestry management needs to focus on managing change and achieving sustainability. Whether you're preparing to become a forester, already in the field, or involved with conservation, the environment or government, you'll be driven to action with Forestry Flavours of the Month.

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Alastair Fraser is a founder member of the archaeology group No Man s Land. He has worked as researcher and participant in a number of Great War documentaries. Steve Roberts is a retired police officer and an ex-regular soldier. He specialises in researching individuals who served during the war and is also a founder member of No Man s Land. Andrew Robertshaw frequently appears on television as a commentator on battlefield archaeology and the soldier in history, and he has coordinated the work of No Man s Land. His publications include Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph, Digging the Trenches (with David Kenyon) and The Platoon.





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Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Feature: The Year of Four and The Blood of Kings by Nya Jade





The Year of Four: A Phoebe Pope Novel Book One
Author: Nya Jade
Publisher: Dreamwell Publishing
Publication Date: October 29, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above. As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth. Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.





The Blood of Kings: A Phoebe Pope Novel Book Two
Author: Nya Jade
Publisher: Dreamwell Publishing
Publication Date: April 14, 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

The thrilling, un-put-downable sequel to The Year of Four.

According to the press, Phoebe Pope and teen movie star Colten Chase are no longer an item—which is just how the happy new couple like it. And yet there’s trouble in paradise . . .

Phoebe is haunted by dreams that show her things she can’t possibly know about—including a pact between Colten and a wanted assassin. In the daylight, she struggles to keep a newly emerging power hidden, even as her hands itch to wield it.

Meanwhile, in the wake of their escape from a Vigo crèche, Phoebe and her fellow Hyphas study under lock and key at the Campus Below. As the foursome wait to see who among them will fulfill the prophecy, someone dear to Phoebe is kidnapped by a powerful Vigo determined to use her to spy on the Shaper royalty. When the Hyphas are called to the Royal Court, Phoebe refuses to heed warnings of imminent danger for she will do whatever it takes to rescue her loved one.

But once at court, nothing is as it first appears. A sinister force controls some royals, while others whisper behind closed doors about forbidden alliances. And as Phoebe draws on her courage to complete the task set by her enemy, she makes a startling discovery—one that upends her father’s memory.

With dangerous conspiracies surfacing, Phoebe must uncover what the Royal Shapers really want from her, and decide whether there’s room for Colten in her unraveling life.










Excerpt from:


THE YEAR OF FOUR

A PHOEBE POPE NOVEL (Book 1)


by NYA JADE



The instant Phoebe stepped into the Great Hall, the scent of sweet spices wafted into her nostrils. She stood still, trying to absorb the scene before her. A large, two-story dome glistened at the center of the cavernous room—a glass structure embellished with several golden images of a lion’s head. Countless ornamental glass bottles ablaze with firelight formed a circle around the base of the dome, washing the room in warm light. Inside, long tables, garnished with white moon flowers, had been arranged in three rows in front of a wide stage. The festive tables were packed with hundreds of students whose backs faced Phoebe and Hayley.
Phoebe elbowed Hayley. “Amazing, huh?”
“Unreal,” Hayley gushed. “Now what?”
“Over there.” Phoebe nodded toward the only two empty seats at the last row of tables near the dome’s entrance.
Hayley charged forward, pulling Phoebe along with her.
“Don’t look,” Hayley whispered, “but we’re getting the evil eye.”
“Crap.” Phoebe cringed at the disapproving glare she got from some faculty members. Great first impression, she thought.
“Next,” a commanding male baritone bellowed, as Phoebe and Hayley settled into their seats. “I call before you Xavier Reno.”
Phoebe’s eyes followed an elaborate marble staircase, one of a pair that spiraled upward to a balcony that was situated under the dome’s ceiling and to the right side of the stage. There, a middle-aged man with a prominent aquiline nose and deep sunken eyes stood peering down at the crowd. He wore a purple toga that swathed him in silken waves. From her father’s description, Phoebe knew at once that this man must be Professor Yori, Headmaster of the Campus Below.
Phoebe turned her attention to the stage where a male student draped in an ivory toga rose from a bench. After a nervous glance at a blond, heavyset girl next to him, also in a toga, who gave an encouraging smile, the boy moved forward, tugging up fistfuls of cloth to prevent tripping as he walked. He arrived at center stage, and cautiously picked up a luminous object from a round, gilded table.
Hayley gasped, shifting in her seat for a better view. “Utaviium,” she said, faster than Phoebe could think it. And it was. Thin and cylindrical, Utaviium was a pale blue crystal enchanted to capture and hold a single bolt of lightning. It was beautiful to look at; both of the girls sat transfixed, focused on the frenetic light within the crystal.
“Xavier, show yourself!” Professor Yori declared.
In the moment of those words’ utterance, several things happened at once. The boy’s toga slipped to the floor. He smashed the Utaviium at his feet. A massive wave of energy rippled through the dome, and for an instant, Phoebe was blinded by the intensity of its accompanying light. When her vision recovered, a giant, red falcon stood where the boy had been.
Spreading his bejeweled fingers across the balcony’s railing, Professor Yori spoke down to the majestic bird, “Son of Osiah, rise!” Phoebe watched a pair of iridescent wings unfold sleekly, wings that from tip to tip spanned the width of the stage. The falcon lifted and lowered them slowly. The students erupted with applause as he took silent flight, faltered for a moment, then shot upward to a long perch suspended from the dome’s ceiling by gold chains. All heads peered up as, beating his wings inward to steady himself, the falcon took his place on the perch next to a silver eagle and a black hawk.
Phoebe glanced to her side. She saw Hayley’s eyes ablaze with her own excitement. Never before had she seen the mind-thrilling spectacle of a first time Conversion.


Books in the Phoebe Pope Series:
The Year of Four (Book 1)
The Blood of Kings (Book 2)
Web: www.PhoebePope.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PhoebePopeBooks










Nya Jade has enjoyed a fun career as a singer-songwriter. Her music videos have aired on the Vh1, BET and MTV networks and she’s opened for some of the biggest names in music. Nya’s music has also received recognition in major publications, including USA Today and the LA Times. She took a break from writing and performing music to write The Year of Four, her first YA novel. When she isn’t writing, Nya can be found hanging out with family and friends, reading or bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes. Nya lives with her family in California. 

Connect with Nya at http://www.PhoebePope.com or on social media at: