Saturday, May 14, 2016
Op-Ed: How the VA devalues veterans By Cody McGregor Friday, May 13th 2016 As seen in the Dallas Morning News.
Op-Ed: How the VA devalues veterans
By Cody McGregor
Friday, May 13th 2016
As seen in the Dallas Morning News.
If you’ve fought to protect this country, you probably couldn’t be faulted for thinking this country isn’t quite as willing to do the same for you. After two full years, we’re still discovering shocking facts about how badly the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lets down those who need care. Recently published reports confirm that VA medical centers throughout Texas — including here in Fort Worth — used inappropriate scheduling practices that left veterans waiting too long for the treatments they needed.
Veterans’ biggest concern with the VA is whether it can be trusted with their lives. The short answer is no. This organization has fought to hide the truth and protect its image, even if it means letting veterans suffer and die.
And this is an ongoing trend in the way our country treats its heroes. Whether it’s unreliable, unaccountable healthcare or crippling debt that weakens the very national security we fought for, veterans’ sacrifices are constantly devalued.
After veterans died in Phoenix due to being put on secret waiting lists by the local VA center, similar allegations surfaced across the country. Yet internal investigations regarding how this happened are only just now being released to the public.
And that’s no thanks to the VA. It took Freedom of Information Act requests to get the VA to cough up their findings. That’s hardly the level of transparency veterans deserve, given the enormity of the VA’s failure.
The investigations confirm what we already knew: inappropriate scheduling practices were commonplace. The Fort Worth report by the VA Inspector Generals Office, for example, quotes staff who say that disregarding veterans’ desired appointment date was just “how things were done.”
As a consequence, veterans suffered.
Worse yet, an independent government watchdog is investigating the VA on the grounds that the investigations conducted in Texas by the VA Inspector General’s were “deficient and unreasonable.” In other words, there’s probably more tragedy buried beneath the surface.
It doesn’t take an extensive investigation, however, to show how badly VA care is deteriorating. One report conducted by independent consultants MITRE and Rand shows that care by VA hospitals is care mired in bureaucracy and inefficiency. And another government watchdog revealed last month that new VA patients nationwide now wait up to 71 days to see doctors.
As we’ve seen, quality and reliability in veterans’ care have deteriorated despite growth in the VA’s budget by roughly two-thirds since President Barack Obama’s first year in office. The VA is contributing to a rise in debt and wasteful or inefficient government spending.
Ultimately, the security veterans fought to protect is threatened by our nation’s massive debt. Earlier this year the national debt reached a record $19 trillion, which former defense officials adamantly warn will “undermine our economic growth, our military strength, and our global leadership.”
If the VA treated every one of its patients like the heroes we are, it would be worth every penny. But that’s far from the case.
One reason this happens is because Americans have assumed politicians will fix these problems on their own. That’s clearly not occurring. There’s no room for complacency—we must make sure those in power know that the poor treatment of veterans is the issue of our time.
Cody McGregor is a former army sniper and the national outreach director for Concerned Veterans for America.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Now on sale! FINAL FLIGHT, set in the same world as The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown, by bestselling author Beth Cato, who Publishers Weekly called “an author to watch
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, the Steampunk-themed FINAL FLIGHT is sure to resonate with fans across the board. This book contains charming, accessible fantasy with some of the same elements that fans have come to know and love from Cato’s Clockwork books.
Another breathtaking short story from the author of The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown, set in the same world…
Captain Hue hoped he was rid of his troubles once Octavia Leander and Alonzo Garrett disembarked from his airship Argus. But he was quickly proved wrong when his ship was commandeered by Caskentian soldiers. He is ordered on a covert and deadly mission by the smarmy Julius Corrado, an elite Clockwork Dagger.
Now Captain Hue must start a mutiny to regain control of his airship, which means putting his entire crew at risk-including his teenage son Sheridan. As the weather worsens and time runs out, it’ll take incredible bravery to bring the Argus down….perhaps for good.
Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair outside of Phoenix, Arizona. She is the author of The Clockwork Dagger and The Clockwork Crown. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham. You can follow her on Twitter @bethcato.
About the Book:
FINAL FLIGHT by Beth Cato
Harper Voyager Impulse, $3.99
Monday, May 2, 2016
Captain Lincoln Suh died on a Wednesday. And things only got harder from there.
Snatched out of special operations and thrown headfirst into a secretive new unit, Lincoln finds himself as the team leader for the 519th Applied Intelligence Group, better known as the Outriders. And his first day on the job brings a mission with the highest possible stakes.
A dangerously cunning woman who most assuredly should be dead has seemingly returned. And her plans aren’t just devastating, they might be unstoppable.Outriders
How do you defeat a hidden enemy when you can’t let them know they’ve been discovered?
You send in the Outriders.
Praise for Outriders:
“This book should have come with a warning – Attention! Once started this book cannot be put down. An amazing blending of military action & SF. I have rarely encountered a book that I HAD to finish; it kept me up all night. But it was worth it.”
– A Book Drunkard
About the author:
Jay is a narrative designer, author, and screenwriter by trade. He started working in the video game industry in 1998, and has been writing professionally for over a decade. Currently employed as Senior Narrative Designer at Red Storm Entertainment, he’s spent around eight years writing and designing for Tom Clancy’s award-winning Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises.
A contributing author to the book Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing, Jay has lectured at conferences, colleges, and universities, on topics ranging from basic creative writing skills to advanced material specific to the video game industry.
You can find him online at his website as well as on Twitter.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Sometimes, one must become the unimaginable…
Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil that they have unleashed upon the world.
As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything… and everyone. But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.
Everything is at stake, in the heart-stopping conclusion to the acclaimed Malediction Trilogy.
Praise for Warrior Witch:
“Warrior Witch IS the ending that this amazing series deserves. The ending that completely destroys you and then fixes you. The ending that your heart will never forget.”
– The Reader and The Chef
About the author:
Danielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.
Danielle can be found on her blog or on Twitter.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
They’ve made it this far. If only that increased humanity’s chances on this new planet…
Against all odds, the Ark and her thirty-thousand survivors have reached Tau Ceti G to begin the long, arduous task of rebuilding human civilization. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Tau Ceti G’s natives, the G’tel, are coming to grips with the sudden appearance of what many believe are their long-lost Gods.
But first contact between humans and g’tel goes catastrophically wrong, visiting death on both sides. Rumors swirl that the massacre was no accident. The Ark’s greatest hero, Bryan Benson, takes on the mystery.
Partnered with native ‘truth-digger’ Kexx, against both of their better judgment, Benson is thrust into the heart of an alien culture with no idea how to tell who wants to worship him from who wants him dead.
Together, Benson and Kexx will have to find enough common ground and trust to uncover a plot that threatens to plunge both of their peoples into an apocalyptic war that neither side can afford to fight.
Praise for Trident's Forge:
“I could not put Trident’s Forge down, and read it in one marathon sitting. That is as much due to the writing style and characters as the non-stop, nail-biting story thread. If you’re an outer space sci-fi geek like I am, you’re going to love this series!”
– Popcorn Reads
About the author:
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.
You can find Patrick online at his website and on Twitter.
Friday, April 29, 2016
The Silent Army
The City of Wonders has been saved by nearly miraculous forces and the Silent Army is risen, ready to defend the Fellein Empire and Empress Nachia at any cost.
The power that was hidden in the Mounds is on the move, seeking a final confrontation with the very entities that kept it locked away since the Cataclysm. Andover Lashk has finally come to accept his destiny and prepares to journey back to Fellein. The Sa’ba Taalor continue their domination over each country and people they encounter, but the final conflict is coming: The Great Wave of the Sa’ba Taalor stands to destroy an empire and the Silent Army prepares to stop them in their tracks.
Caught in the middle is the Fellein Empire and the people who have gathered together on the final battlefield. The faithful and the godless, the soldiers and killers alike all stand or fall as old gods and new bring their war to a world-changing end.
Some struggles are eternal. Some conflicts never cease. The Gods of War are here and they are determined to win.
Praise for The Silent Army:
“James A. Moore keeps getting better. The cast of characters expands. Moore juggles them with ease, giving each one some background so that they don’t all run together. And the battle scenes, whether it’s individual combat or armies clashing, are riveting. Plus the intrigue keeps on getting more complex. This is one is highly recommended.”
– Adventures Fantastic
About the author:
James A Moore is the author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Deeper, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels Alien, Sea of Sorrows as well as Seven Forges series: Seven Forges, The Blasted Lands, City of Wonders and the forthcoming sequel The Silent Army.
He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.
James cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics and authoring over twenty role-playing supplements for White Wolf Games, including Berlin by Night, Land of 1,000,000 Dreams and The Get of Fenris tribe. He also penned the White Wolf novels Vampire: House of Secrets and Werewolf: Hellstorm.
Moore’s first short story collection, Slices, sold out before ever seeing print.
He lives in Massachusetts, US. Meet him on his blog and on Twitter.