Saturday, January 24, 2015

BLOOD INFERNAL by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell coming in February




The third installment and epic conclusion to the bestselling gothic series, about an ancient order who speak the truth behind Christ’s miracles and strive to protect the world from evil - from New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, BLOOD INFERNAL (William Morrow, on sale 2/10/2015, $27.99, ISBN: 9780062343260).


Description:


In BLOOD INFERNAL an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy, one found in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries: The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened, and his Chalice remains lost. It will take the light of all three to forge the Chalice anew and banish him again to his eternal darkness. With the Apocalypse looming and the very barriers of our world crumbling, Erin must again join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza to search for a treasure lost for millennia, a prize that already has fallen into the hands of their enemy.



But the forces of darkness have crowned a new king, a demon named Legion, who walks this Earth wearing many faces, whose reach is beyond measure, where even the walls of the Vatican fall before him. For any hope of saving the world, Erin must discover the truth behind man’s first steps out of the Garden of Eden, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that damned humankind for eternity.



The search for the key to salvation will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty shelves of the Vatican’s secret archives to lost medieval laboratories, where ancient alchemies were employed to horrific ends. All the while, they will be hunted across the breadth of the globe, besieged by creatures of uncanny skill and talent. As clues are slowly dug free from ancient underground chapels or found frozen in icy caverns high in the mountaintops, Erin will discover that the only hope for victory lies in an impossible act, one that will not only destroy her, but all she loves. To protect the world, Erin must walk through the very gates of Hell and face the darkest of enemies, the adversary of humankind, the very serpent in the garden. She must confront Lucifer himself.



With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell breathtakingly combined science, myth, and religion and introduced a world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. And now in this conclusion to the Sanguines trilogy, BLOOD INFERNAL, they take us to the very pit of Hell itself, making us peer into the abyss and face our greatest fears, answering the ultimate question: What price will we pay for true salvation?



Author Bios:

JAMES ROLLINS is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People Magazine). Acclaimed for his originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets--and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight. Find James Rollins on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and at www.jamesrollins.com.



REBECCA CANTRELL is a New York Times bestselling thriller author. Her novels include the award-winning Hannah Vogel mystery series, and the critically-acclaimed YA novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. She, her husband, and son have left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.rebeccacantrell.com

Friday, January 23, 2015

COINS LEFT ON A MILITARY TOMBSTONE


COINS LEFT ON TOMBSTONE


While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that
headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left
by previous v~itors to the grave.
These coins have distinct meanings when left on the
headstones of those who gave their life while serving in
America's military, and these meanings vary depending on
the denomination of coin.
A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a
message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else
has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the
grave means simply that you visited.
A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot
camp together, while a dime means you served with him in
some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are
telling the family that you were with the solider when he was
killed.
According to tradition, the money left at graves in national
cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually
collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the
cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.
In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam
war, due to the political divide in the country over the war;
leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to
communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting
the soldier's family, which could devolve into an
uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.
Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a "down
payment" to buy their fallen comrades a beer or playa hand
of cards when they would finally be reunited.
The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military
men and women can be traced to as far back as the Roman
Empire.
l/'J '/"'l! "

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Agent Orange report comes after years of VA denials



Agent Orange report comes after years of VA denials
By Patricia Kime, Staff Writer 12:42 p.m. EST January 17, 2015
Reprinted from the MILITARY TIMES

A new Institute of Medicine report that found veterans were exposed to Agent Orange while flying in C-123 aircraft after the Vietnam War came three years after another federal agency reached a similar conclusion.

But despite a pronouncement in January 2012 by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry that these crews' levels of exposure to dioxin were 182 times higher than acceptable amounts, representing a 200-fold risk for cancer, the Veterans Affairs Department refused to acknowledge any link between the veterans' current illnesses and a history of serving on that aircraft.

Instead, VA public health officials insisted that trace amounts of dioxin on internal aircraft surfaces were not "biologically available for skin absorption or inhalation because dioxin is not water- or sweat-soluble and does not give off airborne particles."

Meanwhile, since veterans found out in 2011 they may have been exposed, at least 10 with diseases associated with Agent Orange have had VA disability claims denied and some have died — although just how many have passed away as a result of exposure-related illnesses is difficult to pin down, said retired Air Force Maj. Wes Carter, founder of the C-123 Veterans Association.

Carter said that between 1,500 and 2,100 veterans flew the aircraft, used during the Vietnam War to spray the highly toxic defoliant and then kept in service for almost a decade after the conflict. He said his association knows of fewer than a handful of veterans whose claims have been approved, including just one who triumphed without having to file an appeal.

"[The numbers] are terribly vague. We scattered decades ago, and unlike many Navy folks, had no ship's association to keep us in touch. ... We want to simply say that there has been death and suffering," said Carter, a C-123 medical services officer who is among those whose claims were denied.

VA's fight to deny health treatment and claims to what may amount to a small number of former service members comes as no surprise to veterans organizations and lawmakers who have pushed VA for years to recognize certain environmental exposures.

From potential harm posed by depleted uranium, burn pits, tainted anthrax vaccines, anti-malarial medication, the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, an incinerator at Atsugi Naval Air Station, Japan, and more, VA's approach regarding illnesses related to environmental pollution has been "delay, deny, wait 'til they die," said Rick Weidman, legislative director for Vietnam Veterans of America.

"We don't pay VA to be veteran antagonists, and we don't expect them to be advocates for the cause. What we expect is they be fair and neutral arbiters who have the best interest of veterans at heart," Weidman said. "But that's not what happened here. It's not what usually happens."

As part of its ongoing efforts to study Agent Orange, VA awarded a $600,000 contract in 2012 to researchers to develop a directory of exposures and paid IOM $500,000 to look specifically at the C-123 issue.

The amount spent on issues that already have been examined and supported by "widely accepted science" vexes Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., whose office has worked since 2011 on the C-123 issue.

"The VA's delay has gone on long enough. IOM's report confirms what the VA already knew: C-123 crew members were exposed to dangerous levels of Agent Orange. Instead of ... commissioning an expensive study of [already] well-founded science, the VA could have been caring for these veterans," Burr said.

In 2001, VA established the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center to provide care for service members with complex medical cases and medically unexplained illnesses. The center provides environmental exposure assessments and medical evaluations to veterans with difficult-to-diagnose symptoms related to deployment.

But not everyone who served in the military is eligible to be seen at the WRIISC, including many of the C-123 veterans who don't meet a requirement that they be combat veterans.

Weidman said it should be up to VA to get veterans in the door and help them instead of denying them care for what he calls "toxic wounds."

"The question is to get health care to these veterans who were exposed. These people are sick right now. they can't afford health care, they are too sick to work, they've lost their jobs. The [VA] secretary has the authority to immediately grant them access to care," Weidman said.

According to VA officials, the department has set up a working group to review the IOM report and is moving forward to respond.

Weidman said he hopes the findings by IOM will help pave the way for other veterans with exposure-related illnesses to get help at VA.

"The C-123s were the canary in the coal mine. If [VA] could have gotten away with it, they would have kept doing it to Gulf War vets, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and any other young people who have been exposed to environmental toxins or will be exposed," Weidman said.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

News from Joseph Nassise


Fall of Night
Book 6 in the Templar Chronicles series


New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Joseph Nassise continues his internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series with Fall of Night!

At long last former Knight Commander Cade Williams has defeated the Adversary, but his victory has come at a terrible cost. His wife, Gabrielle, is no more. His reputation lies in tatters, his trust in others broken. His closest friends and allies are now at risk from the very Order they pledged their lives to maintain. If it could go wrong, it has.

Unable to bear the reality of what he has been forced to do, all Cade wants is find a deep hole and pull it in after him. Let the world go on without him, for all he loves is lost and he sees no reason to continue.

Cade thinks it is over.

Cade is wrong.


After the surprises revealed in Judgment Day, I knew I couldn't take too long to get this in your hands. To that end I put everything else on the back burner and have been working diligently on Fall of Night so that it will be released before winter is over. There will be at least two more books after this - the sequel to Fall of Night (currently unnamed) and Babylon Dreams (the prequel that brings characters from the Templar Chronicles together with characters from the Jeremiah Hunt series,)



On Her Majesty's Behalf


For those of you who might also be reading my Great Undead War series, book two - On Her Majesty's Behalf - is now out. This volume picks up almost immediately after book one ends, with Madman Burke and company being offered a new - and decidedly dangerous - mission to the heart of a bombed-out London.

More zombies (including a new breed known as Shredders!), more weapons, and more steampunk coolness follow.


The outrageously inventive follow-up to By the Blood of Heroes from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Joseph Nassise!

At the close of 1917, the Germans introduced a new type of gas, T-Leiche--"corpse gas"--a revolutionary weapon that changed the war. Instead of killing the living, T-Leiche resurrected the bodies of the dead.

For those who survived the killing fields of France, the danger has only just begun. Veteran Michael "Madman" Burke and his company have just been assigned a daring new mission by the president himself: rescue the members of the British royal family. But Manfred von Richthofen, the undead Red Baron and newly self-appointed leader of Germany, is also determined to find the family.

In the devastated, zombie-infested city of London, Burke and his men will face off in an unholy battle with their most formidable opponent yet: a team of infected super soldiers - shredders - who have greater speed and strength than their shambler predecessors. If they don't succeed, all of Britain will fall into undead enemy hands.

Monday, January 19, 2015

THE ARK coming from Angry Robot Books



The Ark

Sherlock Holmes meets 2001: A Space Odyssey


Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation ship affectionately name the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark’s greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can’t be beat.

But when a crewmember goes missing, Bryan is thrust into the center of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle towards their salvation, Bryan finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind’s home into its tomb.


Patrick S. Tomlinson is the son of an ex-hippie psychologist and an ex-cowboy electrician. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a menagerie of houseplants in varying levels of health, a Ford Mustang, and a Triumph motorcycle bought specifically to embarrass and infuriate Harley riders. When not writing sci-fi and fantasy novels and short stories, Patrick is busy developing his other passion for performing stand-up comedy.

Quotables

Patrick S. Tomlinson: “When my agent first told me I’d be working with an Angry Robot, I was skeptical. “Oh, no,” I said. “I’ve seen this movie and the whole human race gets eradicated.” But then I started to wonder why the robot was angry. And if it was angry, did that mean it had human emotions instead of cold, inflexible machine logic? If a robot can be angry, can it also learn to… love?
Oh, and I wrote a book set on a generation ship called THE ARK. It contains many words. Some of them are even in the right order.”

Angry Robot’s Consulting Editor, Phil Jourdan: “What a pleasure it will be to unleash this blend of mystery, action and Really Big Spaceship madness on the world. The Ark has one of those great, mega-satisfying endings that will make readers squeal with delight a little bit. Be warned.”

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Message from the VA

Colleagues, Community Leaders, and Fellow Veterans,

The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing Veterans every opportunity they have earned. We bolstered our efforts during the implementation of the new Transition Assistance Program. We now have permanent Benefits Advisors at 106 military installations serving over 270 disparate bases ensuring we can have a global presence in our military installations. Ensuring a positive community involvement came through in our first report on Veteran economic opportunities – that report, The 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report (link below) brought together data sources from across the federal government focused on meaningful employment, income, accessing education, and general economic indicators. We want to raise awareness about the value Veterans bring to a community and increase the number of education and employment opportunities for Veterans. We anticipate this report will help foster a dialog in several different areas and forums.

http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/17007/new-economic-opportunity-report-informs-myva-innovation/

Informed by this data, the VA is implementing a key initiative in over 20 U.S. cities to provide enhanced economic opportunities for Veterans and their families. This effort, titled Communities of Interest, is intended to develop strategies to build sustainable models over the next two years that will include:

Training for employers on hiring and supporting Veterans

Employment summits to connect talented job seekers with local employers who have immediate hiring needs – focused on the industry needs of that community.

Policy academies where experts generate ideas, form partnerships, and make policy recommendations that will help lower the unemployment rate and increase economic opportunities among Veterans and their families.

Learning or resource hubs to help connect Veterans to economic opportunities including entrepreneurship, credentialing and skills building
Each community will develop a unique strategy based on their particular economic opportunities. To assist, the VA will invest in economic liaisons to collaborate with government leaders, local agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations to help connect and amplify available resources and support for Veterans and their families.


We are very excited about the Communities of Interest initiative. It will engage Veterans in the community where they can become a positive economic multiplier. Using their GI Bill® and other benefits they have earned, they become students … homeowners … entrepreneurs … employees … community leaders. It reinforces Secretary McDonald’s MyVA initiative to expand strategic partnerships to help us coordinate Veteran-related issue with local, state and community partners – as well as VA employees.


This not only creates economic stability and opportunity for our Veterans – it translates into millions of dollars to that community’s economy for all its citizens.







Saturday, January 17, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr



As we prepare to take off for a long weekend, it might be appropriate to take just a moment to think about why we aren’t coming to work Monday … Martin Luther King Day – for his commitment to equal rights, non-violence, and social change. The inspiration of Dr. King and the civil rights movement led our nation and the Federal government to a new standard of equality and inclusion, which was Dr. King’s purpose. He wanted to challenge our country to be a better place, where every person is valued and respected.

Dr. King challenged us to overcome oppression and violence. He urged us to reject revenge, aggression, and retaliation. His vision that “no individual be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” set in motion changes that led to the passage of civil rights and voting laws. In honor and respect for his contribution to the improvement of our national attitudes, policies, and laws, the Federal government celebrates Dr. King.

Over the years, there has been some speculation on what Dr. King could have accomplished if his life had not been so tragically cut short. He was only 28 years old when he was elected the first President of the Southern Christian Leadership Council. He had already graduated from college at 19 and graduated from Divinity school at 22. By the time Dr. King was 29, he had published his first book, “Stride Toward Freedom.” In 1964, he gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech to 250,000 people who marched on Washington in support of pending civil rights legislation. In the same year, he was successful in getting the legislation passed and he won the Nobel Peace Prize. A lot of accomplishments for a man who was only 35 years old.

Dr. Martin Luther King believed in our country and its potential for greatness. He also believed that each one of us is essential to achieving its full potential. Although Dr. King’s primary efforts focused on equality for African-Americans, his ultimate goal was the equality and inclusion of every individual. As Dr. King said “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society. But when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”

This weekend gives us all another opportunity to reaffirm and reflect on our appreciation for the uniqueness that each individual brings to their community. Have a good and safe long weekend with friends and family.