Dreaming of Pink Dolphins

By Victoria Foyt

I awoke with a start and jerked up on my cot. My heart was racing, my skin sweaty. The pitch-black night closed in around me, the heavy branches outside the window of my hut rattled in the breeze.

In my mind’s eye, a pink dolphin loomed large and menacing. Specifically, it was a male Amazon River dolphin, but in my dream it had two legs and walked like a man. He wanted something from me, something bad.

I shut my eyes tight and shook my head, hoping to erase the nightmare. But the pink dolphin only laughed with a high-pitched squeal. I willed myself to picture the Jaguar Man, Bramford, my mate-to-be and protector, but strangely I could not. All I could see was this ominous pink dolphin with its pointed nose to one side and one black eye glaring at me.

With a sinking feeling, I recalled that a real one had looked at me in the same way the day before. I had been sitting on the riverbank with Bramford when a pod of them swam past.

How could I not look at that lovely sight? Inia geoffrensis, as it is classified, has bright pink skin that looks unnatural but incredibly beautiful against the blue water. In the fiery blaze of yesterday’s sunset, the shimmering pink pod appeared otherworldly.

One particularly large pink dolphin had stopped, lifted its head and turned its very flexible neck, until for one startling moment, it caught my eye. I felt a weird tingling sensation in the middle of my chest, as if it had stretched open.

Bramford had grabbed my shoulder and turned me away from the river. “Eden,” he said, “Don’t look at them.”

“Why not? They’re so pretty.”

“The Indians believe they used to be men, at least. If you look a pink dolphin in the eye, its spirit can enter yours and possess you.”

I had to laugh. First of all, where I come from in the world of the tunnels, mankind has lost its spirit, love is dead, and all that matters is evolutionary climbing and survival.

And yet, incredible as it sounds, here in this last patch of rainforest, I have discovered that love still exists. I love Bramford, no doubt about it, even if he is a hybrid beast-human. Even more, he’s a shaman who speaks to the spirit world, or so he says. I wasn’t so sure I believed in spirits, but Bramford seemed to know things that couldn’t be otherwise explained.

“And then what happens?” I asked, ducking into his warm embrace.

As he stroked my hair, his hand made an electric trail down my back that made me shiver. I would die without his touch, I swear.

Bramford’s reply sounded full of warning. “They are encantados, shape shifters with the power to destroy your life.”

I had braved a lot of real danger in the last few weeks, but the idea of a phantasmagorical force frightened me. And yet, I scoffed to hide my fears.

“Don’t be silly,” I said. “Everything is going so well now.”

It was true. In a few days I would adapt into a hybrid like Bramford and we would be mates forever. What harm could a pink dolphin do?

Bramford had lifted my chin so that I met his steely gaze. The last glint of light lit his cat-like eyes with a glow and he spoke in a low raspy voice that made my stomach do a little flip.

“Eden, my love, the future is not set. It can change in an instant.”

“But I’ll adapt, won’t I?”

“Think of the future as a block of wood that can be cut in different ways. If you cut it one way, you see the grain flow in a certain direction. Cut it in another way and you have a different pattern.”

“But how do you ‘cut’ it the right way?”

“Sometimes you don’t. But if you respect the world around you and stay strong in your mind and heart, you are more likely to find happiness.”

I smiled and snuggled back into his embrace. “Then there’s nothing to worry about,” I murmured.

I had already found happiness. So how could a simple glance at a marine mammal “cut” my fate in an unwanted direction?

I had pushed the thought from my mind until now. Was it possible that this encantado had entered my spirit and would cause havoc with my fate? Oh, Mother Earth, if I don’t adapt tomorrow, I will never become Bramford’s mate—a fate worse than death!

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An Apocalypse Falls From The Sky

By Victoria Foyt

When a meteor exploded over Western Siberia in February 2013, like a shot across our bow, didn’t you wonder how on earth you would ever survive an apocalypse? I did. And as I began to contemplate the recent astronomical event and the certain disaster that a collision would have brought, my spirits sank.

The truth is, we are woefully unprepared as individuals and as a society to survive whole scale destruction. I am but a frail woman, unable to live off the land, let along survive for very long without my two favorite modern conveniences, my microwave and iPhone.

The word “apocalypse” has become so familiar, even cozy, in the last several years through the success of young adult books such as the Hunger Games series and my Save The Pearls trilogy, which occurs in a post-apocalyptic world, where humans’ ability to survive the intense solar radiation determines their worth. In Part One, Revealing Eden, the protagonist Eden Newman faces death unless she can overcome the stigma of her pale skin and find a mate.

Needless to say, I have spent a fair amount of time “living” in a burned out Earth while writing the Save the Pearls series. And yet, the sudden and unexpected Chelyabinsk meteor reminded me how life can change in a blink. Have you ever started the day with a perfectly good feeling, only to have a car accident later or a sudden illness or break a bone? Yeah, that kind of rapid change, but magnified to the power of Google.

This meteor was reported to be as strong as 20 Hiroshima bombs. And despite hundreds of injuries and millions of dollars of property loss, Earth survived largely unscathed, due to one very lucky fact: this was a chondritic meteor. If that term has not survived your high school vocabulary list, it’s the kind of meteor that breaks into pieces upon heating up when entering Earth’s atmosphere.

If it had been an iron or metallic meteor, it would not have exploded; it would have hit the Earth’s surface, perhaps killing thousands of people and creating havoc for the rest of the world. In that case, February 15, 2013 would have been one major BLINK.

The director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, Neil deGrasse Tyson, says another meteor is coming in 12 years: Apophis, named for the Egyptian god of death and destruction. It will fly uncomfortably close to Earth in 2029, again in 2036 and yet again in 2068.

When I read this news, I immediately calculated what age I will be when Apophis next looms in our astral neighborhood: old enough to hopefully have accomplished many of my dreams, but young enough to have many good years ahead. And what of my children’s future and my unborn grandchildren? It’s too sad to contemplate.

I like to imagine that I could learn to forage for tubers or wield my bow and arrow like Katniss in The Hunger Games. Or like Eden Newman, I wonder what I would do if I had the chance to physically adapt with animal traits in order to survive. Of course, my musings take place in the comfort of my home, not in a toxic land.

But then, perhaps by reading such apocalyptic novels we are mentally preparing ourselves for what lies ahead. Because really, how long can Earth’s luck hold out? After all, look what happened to the dinosaurs.

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5 Star Review from San Francisco Book Review

Adapting Eden, Save The Pearls Part Two
By Victoria Foyt
Sand Dollar Press, $18.99, 300 pages, Format: Hard

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

Download the San Francisco Book Review PDF with 8 amazing reviews.

When levels of radiation become too deadly on Earth, human beings were forced to burrow beneath the surface to survive, but not before millions of people died due to The Heat. Now anyone with white skin, including Eden Newman, lives in fear of coming into contact with the killer sun. Pearls, the racist term for Caucasians, are treated like garbage. As violence escalates within the underground cities, Eden, her father, and her true love Bramford are forced to flee into the jungles of the Amazon to survive. If Eden can undergo the same scientific procedure that transformed Bramford into a strong half human/half animal hybrid with resistance to the sun, not like Bramford has, together they can create a new species of human fit enough to survive life on a damaged Earth. But multiple threats force Eden, Bramford, and their new tribe to abandon the safety of their camp. When an ancient Aztec tribe offers them sanctuary, things quickly begin to seem too good to be true. Eden finds herself at the center of a spiritual battle between love and war. Her choices will determine the fate of the world.

It is a rare treat to discover a writer with a unique plot and characters. Victoria Foyt, author of Revealing Eden, part one in the Save the Pearls trilogy for young adults, has mastered the fantasy/adventure/romance genre. Now Foyt returns to thrill and delight readers with Adapting Eden, part two in the trilogy. Reading the first book will immensely increase the reader’s enjoyment of this second installment. Young adults are interested in reading about how other kids deal with the same issues that they are currently facing. It doesn’t matter if the book takes place in space or in a jungle or in the current time period – they want to see how characters react to change. Readers will thoroughly enjoy watching Eden grow as a character, seeing her evolve from a meek girl into a strong, young woman. From her mother Eden learned to appreciate the poetry of Emily Dickinson. When something new, stressful or exciting happens to Eden, she’ll think of a relevant Dickinson poem. Foyt then effortlessly slides in a stanza upon which Eden (and thus, the reader) can reflect. It is an ingenious way for Foyt to include a different perspective on how Eden interprets the world around her.

Foyt exposes young adults to classic poetry in the context of a modern story. Eden also has extensive scientific knowledge due to growing up with a scientist for a father. As she notices animals for the first time in the jungle, she knows their scientific names. Foyt works this into the story, and this is just another genius example of the way Foyt uses her characters to expose readers to new information.

Although written with the young adult audience in mind, readers of any age interested in a fast-paced futuristic story filled with action, romance, intrigue, danger, science, and incredible writing will love this series. At its core, Foyt’s book asks readers to question what it means to be human. In what is essentially a love story, it is amazing how many issues Foyt challenges her characters to deal with: class, race and gender inequality, environmental disaster, radicalism, and terrorism, sacrifice, feelings of physical inadequacy, love (romantic and familial), religion, faith, and fate. Along with hardship comes the chance for hope and redemption.

Because it is the second book in a trilogy, readers can expect that Adapting Eden is a cliffhanger, but in an effective way. Watch for the upcoming publication of the final book in the Save the Pearls trilogy, Freeing Eden.

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How I learned to love needles and Mother Earth

The allergist looked grave when he walked into the room. I kicked my legs over the patient bed, like a metronome, beating to the tune of my dread. He clicked open his pen, opened my folder and handed me a chart.

“Here are your results,” the doctor said, matter-of-factly. I had done extensive skin testing, the oldest and most reliable form of allergy diagnosis.  My results showed row after row of 4’s. Not a single digit less.

“Four,” I said hopefully. “Is that good?” “It’s the highest,” the doctor responded in a flat voice that made his meaning clear.

“You mean the worst.” He nodded. “You’re highly allergic to each test.”

My stomach sank, as I read down the list: grasses, pollens, molds, pet dander, many foods.“So basically, I’m allergic to everything around me.” And it’s killing me.

“You’ll need to come in every week for shots.” Having dispensed the bad news, he put away his pen and turned to leave. “Every week! For how long?” I hated needles!

He paused at the door to look at me. “The rest of your life, I expect. That’s a small price for being able to breathe.”

“Of course.”

Over the previous year, I had suffered four lung infections, one each season, which limited my activities for weeks, and required not only antibiotics, but also doses of steroids to reduce the inflammation. I often had to rely on an albuterol inhaler.

“But I don’t understand,” I quickly added, refusing to let him go. “I never had asthma or any allergic reactions as a kid. Why now?”

He shrugged. He dealt with symptoms, not causes. “Stress can crash your immune system,” he said, and then he was gone.

The door closed behind him with a final thud. Every week for the rest of my life.

I left the office in a daze, heading back to my home, which I now thought of as a stress incubator. I had two young children, and I was in the middle—I hoped there would an end some day—of very emotional marital troubles. The minute I stepped through the kitchen door, I felt a cold knot tighten around my chest.

Was it any coincidence that when I started Jungian therapy and was told to write down my dreams, I saw myself sitting in a wheelchair under the deep sea, unable to reach a locked elevator, with only a thin hose that reached to the top and allowed me to breath?

I needed help. But I refused to live week to week, waiting for my next shot. Something had to change, and fast. I was my children’s primary caretaker and they needed me to be strong. I wanted to be well again.

My father was a radiologist, and I was raised on the miracle of antibiotics and western medicine. I had no idea where else to turn for help. Luckily, soon after my prognosis, a dear friend recommended I see a Chinese doctor, an acupuncturist.

“Needles, no thanks,” I said.

But when my next bout of respiratory illness struck, I took her advice. I found myself sitting across the desk from a kind, young man, younger than I, who claimed 17 generations of ancestry in his field. But what most impressed me was his unusual diagnosis.

He held my wrist on a small, embroidered pillow, while he felt my pulse. I waited until he had released me to ask, “What’s wrong with me?”

“You’re suffering from a broken heart,” he replied.

There had never been a truer word spoken about my health, I realized. From that moment on, I let down my guard and ended up lying on a bed, peppered with thin, wire needles, which didn’t hurt at all. I fell into the deepest sleep I had had in a very long time.

I then began a regime of herbs that involved brewing a dark tea from roots and leaves. It smelled terrible and tasted worse. But gradually, with regular treatments, my health improved. Within three or four months, I was able to discard the inhaler, and a year later, I had only suffered one more lung infection. And while not much else had changed in my life, the herbs and acupuncture had bolstered my immune system, enabling me to better resist the stress.

This experience opened my eyes to the healing power of the natural world. Anxious to learn more, I enrolled in a herbology course at Yo San University in Santa Monica.  To my utter amazement, I began to understand the connectivity between nature and man. How well nature had designed a natural pharmacopeia for her favorite creature!

Before the advent of antibiotics, pharmacists had relied on natural remedies, and their stores held shelves of dried herbs. But antibiotics produce faster results and more money for drug companies. Now, I believe there is a need for such drugs, but while Western Medicine has the edge on treating a patient’s symptoms, it fails to offer a holistic approach that includes prevention.

As I fell in love with the providence of Mother Earth, I also became very alarmed at the harsh treatment she was receiving. Did you know that the world’s rainforest are disappearing at the rate of 6000 acres every hour, or one and a half per second? In addition to threatening indigenous cultures and our air supply, imagine what unknown cures will be lost forever!

(For more facts, please visit RainTree.com or AdaptingEden.com).

What could I do? I organized my son’s kindergarten class to sell pencils and buy several acres from The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt An Acre program. I also adopted several acres for my kids and I. But this was a drop in the proverbial rain bucket, and the dire statistics of global warming kept mounting.

Really, the best I had to offer was my pen. And so I conceived the idea for Save The Pearlsa post-apocalyptic series of young adult books that I hoped would not only entertain, but also enlighten people to the not-so-far-fetched dangers of laying waste to our habitat.

In Revealing Eden, the titular character, Eden Newman, faces death if she does not find a mate before her 18th birthday. But her white skin has branded her a Pearl, the lowest class, given to a high death rate from the Heat because Caucasians have little melanin in their skin. She has no hope of survival, until her father launches a top-secret experiment to adapt humans with animal traits. In Adapting Eden, Save The Pearls Part Two, which was released on Earth Day, April 22, 2013, Eden finds herself at the center of an epic battle between love and war. I’m currently writing Freeing Eden, in which the fate of the world hangs on Eden’s ability to unite all races and bring about a new way of living in harmony with the natural world.

An optimistic tale? Certainly, it’s a dramatic one. And yet, without a doubt, our survival is intertwined with Earth’s future. I hope that Eden’s journey may inspire others to fall in love with nature and be moved to protect it.

Throughout the series, I have sprinkled poems by the transcendent poetess Emily Dickinson. Perhaps, Dickinson’s poem describes my heartache and hope better than even three novels:

Eden is that old-fashioned House
We dwell in every day.
Without suspecting our abode
Until we drive away.
How fair, on looking back, the Day
We sauntered from the door,
Unconscious our returning
Discover it no more.

Bless Earth, and happy reading,
Victoria Foyt

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