A Yeti Video Sighting?

Here is a link to a Yeti video sighting in the Russian Ural mountains.  You can view it here.  My next novel in the Yeti trilogy, YETI UNLEASHED, is due to be released February 2017.

All my novels are available in both print and ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my publisher, Black Opal Books.

BLOOD OF BROTHERS—Coming Soon!

My new novel, Blood Of Brothers, will be released by Black Opal Books in two weeks, June 25. The steamy mountain jungle of Nicaragua provide a sanctuary for ex-US Marine Jim Slater as he struggles to build a schoolhouse for a rural community ravaged by the country’s civil war. Haunted by demons that have followed him from Vietnam, Slater only wants to be left in peace. But that peace is shattered when the beautiful contra fighter, Maria Martinez, pulls him from a pub just before the rebels blow it up. When a plot to assassinate an important Sandinista colonel fails, and Maria is taken prisoner, Slater is propelled into the conflict, determined to rescue the woman he loves. With the help of a local CIA operative, Slater embarks on a harrowing journey that will change his life forever . . . if he even survives.

The book will be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Black Opal Books.front cover

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Blood of Brothers – the players/Contras

Within a year of the Sandinistas’ capture of power, those opposed to the regime began to engage in violent actions. In the summer of 1980, crude organizations of fighters were seeking to start a counterrevolution. These disparate groups comprised former National Guardsmen, ex-Sandinista soldiers critical of the new regime, and peasants and farmers upset with Sandinista land policies. Nicaraguan exiles, including former guardsmen and members of the Conservative Party, gathered in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Miami and discussed the prospect of both unarmed and armed opposition to the Sandinistas. Many exiles came to see armed resistance as the only feasible means to moderate Nicaragua; two of them formed a political-military alliance that would come to be called the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), the main contra faction.

The soldiers under the contra leadership consisted of former National Guard enlistees, many of whom had fled to Honduras after the revolution and who sought revenge; former Sandinista fighters who felt betrayed; some Protestant evangelicals and Catholics, who were angered by Sandinista opposition to their religion; farmers who were disaffected by the revolution; and Nicaraguan Indians and Creoles who opposed the regime. When the Americans began their covert support of the contras, there were fewer than 2,000 anti-Sandinista fighters, only a few hundred of which were members of the FDN. By the end of 1983, however, there were up to 6,000 contra fighters. The contras gained support among populations who were disaffected by Sandinista economic policies.

In late 1981, the Reagan Administration settled on a policy of providing arms, money, and equipment to the Argentinean-backed contras. This followed President Carter’s authorization, in early 1980, of CIA financial support to the Nicaraguan opposition and President Reagan’s March 1981 authorization of CIA covert action to interdict arms trafficking to El Salvador. This allowed the CIA to meet with Nicaraguan rebel leaders and their Honduran supporters but did not allow the CIA to arm rebel groups. U.S. covert support for and involvement in contra operations eventually culminated in the Iran-Contra Affair.

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BLOOD OF BROTHERS—The Players/Sandinistas

In 1961, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or Sandinistas) was founded and the group took its name from Augusto Cesár Sandino, who led a Liberal peasant army against the government of U.S.-backed Adolfo Díaz and the subsequent Nicaraguan government in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Inspired by Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution, the group sought to be a political-military organization whose objective was the seizure of political power through the destruction of the bureaucratic and military apparatus of the previous Somoza dictatorship.”

However, the Sandinistas were heavily influenced by Marixst-Leninist teachings but they interpreted these ideas in the context of their view of Nicaragua’s history. Specifically, they thought of themselves as a Leninist vanguard party, a group of professional revolutionaries that would unite the Nicaraguan workers and peasants to destroy the system of oppression run by the Somoza dynasty and supported by the United States. After they had rid Nicaragua of those who were resistant to change, the FSLN would lead Nicaragua toward socialism although the Sandinistas did not all agree on what socialism actually meant.

Throughout their rule, the Sandinistas became more radicalized, especially in times of crisis. For example, in 1981, the Sandinistas announced new economic policies designed to weaken the private sector such as the appropriation of farmland, the confiscation of businesses that ostensibly threatened the revolution, and the confiscation of the finances of those who had been gone from Nicaragua for at least six months. In 1982, after Argentine-trained rebels blew up two bridges, the Sandinistas declared a state of emergency, and, among other things, restricted the Nicaraguan press.

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BLOOD OF BROTHERS and the Nicaraguan Civil War

On July 17, 1979, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the brutal president of Nicaragua, resigned his office, boarded his private jet, and flew to Miami. Denied asylum by then President Jimmy Carter, Somoza eventually made his home in Paraguay where he was later assassinated. His brutal oppressive regime had stirred revolution in the hearts of Nicaraguans and after he left, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, or FSLN, ruled the country.

In 1980, conflicts arose between Sandinistas and the non-Sandinistas within the ruling government. By 1982, the land and peasant reforms of the Sandinistas had not wrought an improvement in the lives of the average Nicaraguan citizen. They suspended many individual human rights and confiscated property. Opposition militias formed, most notably, the Contras.

Upon assuming office, U.S. President Ronald Reagan condemned the FSLN for joining with Cuba in supporting “Marxist” revolutionary movements in other Latin American countries such as El Salvador. His administration authorized the CIA to begin financing, arming and training rebels, most of whom were the remnants of Somoza’s National Guard, as anti-Sandinista guerrillas that were branded “counter-revolutionary” by leftists (contrarrevolucionarios in Spanish). This was shortened to Contras, a label the force chose to embrace.

This is the backdrop for my latest novel, BLOOD OF BROTHERS, due to be released later this summer.

Jim Slater is caught in the middle of the lunacy that is Nicaragua. Can his love for a beautiful contra survive the civil war with the Sandinistas? Can he free the woman he loves from the tyranny that oppresses her?

Slater left the United States for Nicaragua to escape personal demons in the aftermath of a bitter divorce and his work as a teacher in a remote village has begun to mend his emotional wounds. However, as political events swirl about him, he is drawn into the explosive conflict between Sandinistas and contras. A diabolical army colonel has been stalking the contra insurgents and it will take all of Slater’s imagination and determination to stop him.

With the beautiful contra fighter, Maria at his side, Slater is thrust into a war of insanity and violence. Slater and Maria struggle to escape the madman who won’t stop until he has killed them both.

BLOOD OF BROTHERS is a dramatic, compelling story of how the values of love and freedom prevail over oppression.

The Yeti Interviews

I have been fortunate to have given several interviews about my novel, Yeti and they have appeared on Internet blogs. You know, how did I come up the the idea, how do I write, that sort of thing. The links to the interviews are here. The first is in the International Thriller Writers’ newslateer which I was fortunate to receive an invitation to join. The second is with Omnimystery News.

Everyone spread the word—Yeti is a thriller!

The Anthropocene Epoch—Are We In It?

But that label is outdated, some experts say. They argue for “Anthropocene”—from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new”—because humans have caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere. The human race, they argue, have caused so many lasting impacts they are impossible to ignore.

An open question is the formal start date, which some panel members think could be the 1950s. According to the IUGS, this decade marks the beginning of the “Great Acceleration,” when the human population and its consumption patterns suddenly speeded up. It coincides with the spread of ubiquitous techno materials, such as aluminum, concrete and plastic. It also covers the years when thermonuclear weapons tests dispersed radioactive elements across the globe. Their long-lived activity will still be apparent to anyone who cares to look for it hundreds of millennia from now.

Others disagree. Many stratigraphers (scientists who study rock layers) criticize the idea, saying clear-cut evidence for a new epoch simply isn’t there. They say that when you start naming geologic-time terms, you need to define what exactly the boundary is, where it appears in the rock strata.

Proponents of the name change believe a new name would send a message. It would be a strong reminder to the general public that we are now having undeniable impacts on the environment at the scale of the planet as a whole, so much so that a new geological epoch has begun.

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