You are in for a treat today with a new Author Interview with best-selling author Elizabeth Upton and courtesy of our friends at Awesome Gang. As Elizabeth is writing the next book in her novel series, “John Callahan,” she was interviewed with Vinny to share some of why she enjoys writing.
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written. I was born in Los Angeles, CA., along with my twin sister. When I was eight years old, my twin sister and I were disposed of in an orphanage for two years because my mother’s new husband did not want us. At age sixteen, I entered a contemplative social work religious order and was a nun for twenty years. I left because I grew out of it, yearning for a different spiritual life, not one within an organized religion.
I’ve been a social worker, which included doing investigations, and a probation officer. Today, I have established my business of counseling services. After writing my first book titled “Secrets Of A Nun” is when I began my writing career. I have written five Fiction books and five NonFiction books, all available on Amazon.
What is the name of your latest book, and what inspired it? My newest book is titled “Lover’s Secrets & Revenge,” which is the last book in my “John Callahan” book series. I’ve had a lot of fun writing these books for this series.
Do you have any unusual writing habits? I don’t have any weird or funny writing habits. My writing style is unconventional, and often I just begin writing while constantly changing my outline until it works for me.
What authors or books have influenced you? Honestly, I have not been inspired by other writers or authors to become a writer, and my writing comes from my creativity, imagination, and inspiration.
What are you working on now? Presently I am working on another new Fiction book and also a NonFiction book.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books? My taste in promoting my books is not spending a lot of time on social media so that I can focus on my writing. So I have hired a book marketing specialist, Catherine of ‘Lyon Literary Services’ to handle my promotions and book marketing.
Do you have any advice for new authors? If you enjoy the interest in writing, never give up on it. And go into it with the understanding that the miracle of the book “50 Shades of Grey” most likely will not happen.
So do it for the love of writing! And never-never compare your writing to anyone else, and keep on writing.
What is the best advice you have ever heard? Throughout my life, I have read many fiction and nonfiction books for fun and inspiration. Reading books from new writers is necessary but never copy their style. Find your style of writing.
What are you reading now? I’m reading books now-hard to say since I read at least twice a week!
What’s next for you as a writer? I hope to continue the two book projects I am working on now. One fiction and new nonfiction, and try to stay in a publishing time frame of two new books per year. I hope.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you, what books would you bring? I would take books sharing hope and inspiration if stranded on an island.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the most extensive book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
“Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“The Shaman and the Mafia is a work of fiction in the mystery subgenre. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Elizabeth Upton. The book follows former nun Marietta Collins as she is dragged into the aftershock of a tragic murder when her friend Joseph is killed in what looks like a mob hit. As Marietta becomes romantically involved with both Joseph’s brother and the FBI agent investigating the death, the past refuses to stay buried for all involved as the FBI hunts the mafia boss believed to have ordered the hit whilst the police search for the killer directly.
While the mystery of Joseph Gleason’s murder lies at the center of this novel and provides the core narrative around which the characters gather, the outstanding contribution to the story the death makes is to act as a catalyst for an in-depth and intriguing character study of those involved in Joseph’s life. Author Elizabeth Upton has created a cast of colorful characters, each of whom has had life breathed into them by her stunning prose, and it’s a treat to turn each page and find the direction in which the events of the narrative will push them next.
I particularly enjoyed the development of Detective Riley as she is forced to confront the harsh reality of corruption in an institution she has served for years. Beautifully blending the trappings of a love story and a thriller, The Shaman and the Mafia uses the best of both genres to tell a story unlike any other, which will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.“
Richard is a fantastic storyteller and seasoned writer that has now already been awarded a 5-Star Reader’s Favorite book review for his novel. Rich has an interesting backstory about his life, former career, and more. I’ll share more about that as well.
The E-book is currently on pre-order for a special e-book promo deal at only $0.99 in celebration of his paperback also releasing very soon. The e-book will release on September 1st, 2022, so order now before the price goes up. Since garnishing that 5-Stars before release? You know you will enjoy reading this love story between Ramon and Maria. The Press Release and Book Review validate just how good his new novel is, with several more novels to release soon too.
For immediate release:
The author’s new book receives a warm literary welcome.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the most important book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins. They earned “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
“Reviewed By Pikasho Deka for Readers’ Favorite
The Song of Ramon and Maria by Richard E. LaMotte is an epic romance novel set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution at the dawn of the 20th century. Despite misgivings from her family, Maria Duranthon marries the love of her life, Ramon, an Indian cowboy, in the small Mexican town of Rosario. But when Ramon is drafted into the Mexican army and Maria’s father is unexpectedly murdered, the two lovers will diverge toward very different paths in life.
After suffering a harrowing assault by a despicable captain, Maria leaves for Mexico City, realizing to her horror that she is pregnant. She is forced to beg on the streets until she finds refuge in the bordello of a European madame. Meanwhile, Ramon joins the revolutionaries while being hunted by the federal forces. Can Ramon and Maria find their way back to each other?
A sprawling tale of love, loss, and betrayal, The Song of Ramon and Maria never lets you take your eyes off the pages. Author Richard E. LaMotte weaves an epic yarn filled with romance, tragedy, and political intrigue that keeps you on your toes with a string of twists and turns you never see coming.
This is a story full of heartbreak where our heroes sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Ramon and Maria are two star-crossed lovers who find themselves separated from each other due to extraordinary circumstances they have no control over. If you love to read epic romance sagas or historical fiction, I can’t recommend The Song of Ramon and Maria enough.”
You can learn more about Richard E. LaMotte and “The Song of Ramon and Maria” at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-song-of-ramon-and-maria, where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages. Readers’ Favorite LLC Media Relations Louisville, KY 40202
Now, I want to share some parts of an interview and article written about Richard and his unique life a couple of years ago that shares his former career as a costume designer in the film and movie industry for over 45+ years. He served our country as a Veteran of The United States Marines and much more, courtesy of The Santa Clarita Newspaper. The Signal, written byBILL REYNOLDSin 2018.
Richard E. La Motte – U.S. Marine Corps Veteran – Valencia Resident
Adopted at Birth
Richard E. La Motte was born July 27, 1943, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
Richard’s father perished in WWII, and his mother gave him up for adoption at birth thus, he has very limited information about his birth parents. Canadian Ross La Motte served as a WWI pilot with the Royal Flying Corps, and his wife Lucy, a native-born Mexican, adopted Richard and gave him a wonderful upbringing in West Los Angeles. Richard graduated from University High School in 1961’s Winter Class.
Richard struggled to resolve what he would do next as he realized pursuing a college education was not yet in his wheelhouse. Hence, within months of graduation, Richard, at age 18, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, entering Boot Camp on August 18, 1961, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Richard’s birth father served in WWI and his Uncles Harry and Dick served respectively in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and USMC as WWI combat infantrymen. Per USMC San Diego Wikipedia, it’s noted that during the Mexican-American War, the Marines made an amphibious landing in 1846 at San Diego, and Marines made a second presence there in 1914. The ground was broken on March 2, 1919, for a permanent base in San Diego.
Richard said, “Enlisting in the military just seemed like that’s what you do to give back to our country that did so much for us. Giving back was the right thing to do”. At the nine-week mark of Boot Camp, Richard was assigned janitorial duties for one week at the Training Aids Library, where draftsmen and artists prepared charts, maps, and illustrations that enhanced combat and intelligence training. While there, Richard told a draftsman that he could do a better job, and so he was challenged to prove it, which he easily did. His work was noticed by Captain Holder, who was in charge, but Richard returned to finish Boot Camp and then four weeks of infantry training at Camp Pendleton.
Training Aids Library
Once infantry training concluded, Richard received orders for Okinawa with the 3rd Marine Division’s artillery battery. Still, that order was quickly superseded, sending him back to San Diego’s Training Aids Library as an illustrator. Little did he know that the one-week janitorial assignment would lead to an amazing and successful lifetime career.
Richard’s high school drafting classes certainly paid off. As Richard put it, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” During the next two years, Richard continued perfecting his expertise, becoming a valuable asset to his unit, and was thus noticed by General Victor H. Krulak, San Diego’s Base commander.
Per Victor H. Krulak’s Wikipedia, Krulak, nicknamed Brute, was a decorated USMC officer who saw action in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and was considered a visionary by fellow Marines. He authored “First to Fight, an Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps.” While in San Diego, the Cuban Missile Crisis had everyone on high alert, temporarily increasing Richard’s workload.
Top Level Briefing Material
In 1963, Richard transferred to the Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Camp Smith in Oahu, Hawaii, where he received a secret clearance and worked in their general offices. Because of Richard’s strong work ethic and pleasant demeanor, he began working within General Krulak’s support cadre. His responsibility was creating illustrations and top-level briefing material for General Krulak’s officer corp.
During his last two years at Camp Smith, things were hectic at times resulting from President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, along with providing training aids and command briefings for G-3 Staff for the Vietnam War, which was expanding.
On July 27, 1965, Corporal Richard E. La Motte was Honorably Discharged, receiving a Good Conduct Medal and a Letter of Commendation from General Victor H. Krulak, which he prizes to this day. In 1966, Richard’s mother, Lucy, a CBS Studio Center employee, conspired with her head tailor Bob Parral and arranged a clandestine lunch so that Richard could meet Bob’s daughter Patricia at Bob’s home.
Richard said, “I had no idea that I was about to meet the prettiest girl I had ever seen. Little did I know that our subsequent marriage was brokered in CBS’s Wardrobe Department”? Following that lunch, Richard and Patricia dated for the next year until the day when Richard called her on the phone and said, “Hey, do you want to get married?” When she replied yes, he said, “Pack your bag, and I’ll pick you up out front in an hour.”
So it was off to Las Vegas, where they were married on October 17, 1966, in a small chapel off the Vegas Strip. They went on to have a son, Jason, a working artist in Claremont, and a daughter Cherie who, at age 25, tragically died in a 1996 accident.
50-Year Motion Pictures Career
Richard’s career in Motion Pictures began in 1966 as a costumer, where he worked all across America and in numerous foreign countries such as Canada, Mexico, Israel, Morocco, Yugoslavia, Spain, Thailand, Australia, etc.
His films included ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Butch Cassidy’, ‘Tora Tora Tora’, ‘Little Big Man,’ ‘Batman’ (T.V.), “Planet of the Apes,‘ Dillinger,’ ‘Hanoi Hilton,’ and many more. On a movie set, Richard was chatting with Director John Milius, which led Richard to scratch a sketch that apparently impressed this prolific Hollywood Director.
Out of the blue, Richard’s status changed to now a costume designer, and he was chosen by John Milius to be ‘Costume Designer’ for ‘The Wind and the Lion.’ Richard was also a Costume Designer for ‘Man called Horse II’, ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’, ‘Rambo III’, ‘Gods and Generals’ and others. Richard also worked as a technical or costume adviser on: ‘Last of the Mohicans’, ‘Pacific’, ‘Pearl Harbor, and ‘the Mask of Zorro’ and, at times, was an ‘Extra’ on ‘The ten Commandments’ and other movies.
Retirement But Not Really
Richard retired from the entertainment industry in 2006, quickly earned his real estate license, and worked with home sellers and banks during the ‘Short-sale’ crisis. Richard authored his first book, ‘Costume Design 101’, which is used as a classroom text and then a second edition. Richard continues to write and paint and take an occasional job call for films such as ‘Marco Polo,’ and ‘12 Strong’ among the most recent.
Richard took interior design classes for two years at College of the Canyons, and Patricia has remained active in Real Estate since 1980. Both remain very active, and they love to travel. Richard, curious about his ethnicity, proudly discovered that he’s 70% Spanish, 10% Irish, and 20% Native American.
Richard is also very proud of his service to the United States Marine Corps., is now a veteran. I thank him for his service to our Country.
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What an amazing life Richard has lived thus far. This article was a better way to share more about Rich and his wife than an Author Bio, and I have never read one about an author like this.
I do have to add that I have enjoyed working with both Richard and his lovely wife, Patricia, this past month. Getting to know them has been a pleasure. I will do all I can to help Richard’s new novels succeed so avid readers can enjoy them.
I highly recommend you visit his official website here >>>https://richardlamotte.com/ and check out his “filmography” page that highlights the work he has done in films and movies. You can learn about the other novels that Rich will release in the coming months and see some of his beautiful art and awesome sketches.
It seems author Wilsdaryon Prescher is everywhere these days. Fresh off his guest spot on KDD Media’s Knockin’ Doorz Down podcast this month, he and his new book titled “This Is Me Trying: Navigating Through A Lifetime of Trauma, where Wil shares all about his life story with the host, Jason LaChance.
You can watch/listen to Wil’s show here on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlAIKOsGsAc and learn all about what he is doing to “give back” to high-risk teens who may feel like they have no hope. Soon after he taped his podcast show, his e-book version of his new book went live on Amazon Kindle, and it HIT #1 in the category of self-help abuse/trauma. Priceless!
Just as this was going on with his podcast spotlight, Wil learned his book/memoir was awarded a 5-STAR book review given by Reader’s Favorite. This seems to be on a Literary Roll! (Lol). So I’m sharing the fantastic Press Release and Announcement he received from Reader’s Favorite and the glowing review he was given for his new book.
For Immediate Media Release:
The author’s new book receives a warm literary welcome.
Readers’ Favorite announces the review of the Non-Fiction – Memoir book “This Is Me Trying: Navigating Through A Lifetime of Trauma” by Wilsdaryon Prescher, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B2HK72ML.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins. RF has received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
“Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
This Is Me Trying: Navigating Through A Lifetime of Trauma is a work of non-fiction in the memoir subgenre. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author Wilsdaryon Prescher. The book follows the author’s recovery from the abuse he endured in his youth, a journey made possible by the power of music. Throughout the rocky road of escaping the abuse, developing coping mechanisms that hindered more than they helped, and encountering the biases that people hold against abuse survivors, the power of music provides a tool for the author to rediscover their authentic self and move forward into adulthood.
I’m always in awe of any author penning a memoir, especially one willing to show sincere emotional vulnerability to their readers. Still, sometimes an author leaves nothing off the table when describing the upsetting and painful parts of their lives. Such an author is Wilsdaryon Prescher, whose willingness to frankly portray some of the most challenging situations a young person can live through is matched deftly by his skillful prose in doing justice to the depiction of those moments.
This book is an emotional journey that readers will be moved by as they experience the hardships of the author’s younger years and the rocky road to happiness that came with adulthood.
Overall, This Is Me Trying is an honest depiction of the never-ending struggle toward recovery and a book that frankly depicts mental health issues and the journey to better mental and emotional wellbeing, wherever your starting point in life may be.”
You can learn more about Wilsdaryon Prescher and “This Is Me Trying: Navigating Through A Lifetime of Trauma” at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/this-is-me-trying, where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.
Readers’ Favorite LLC Media Relations Louisville, KY 40202
I have just finished reading Wil’s book myself, and I can assure you that it is worth the read! I have added my book reviews for him and his memoir on Amazon, Goodreads, and Reedsy. Here is my book review from Goodreads… ✨✨✨✨✨
“This Is Me Trying” is not only a well-written book but a poignant read as well. Deep insights into what can happen when a little boy is born into chaos, poverty, trauma, and tragic abuse of several kinds. The author’s subtitle doesn’t even share the tip of the iceberg of what you will read about his early life.
However, I can guarantee by the last page; that you will cheer this young man for overcoming the many obstacles he has had to process and the life he has built for himself while still healing. But, heartbreaking at times, this book is unique, and the courage and bravery it took to share all that he has been through is commendable. Not surprising he has no ties with his biological parents or siblings.
As you read, that would only bring him more chaos with more discrimination. So does that come from possible envy or jealousy from his biological family, and due to the fact the author has been so successful in reshaping a more healthy, emotional, and stable life today? One part I thought was humorous was when he shared about his teens and throwing a desk or chair out a classroom window became his “signature move.”
Sadly, he did because of not learning yet to process the emotions and trauma of now being bounced around in the foster care system after being taken from his biological family’s home, finally. The last 40% of the book shares how and continues his healing process even today. All in all, this is a vital memoir everyone should read.
Does Wilsdaryon get the happy ending he longs for? Does he find a family he has always wanted? I highly suggest your his book to find out. ~Cat of Lyon Literary Services & Book Media
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ******
The best part of this new Author Update is that Wil’s new e-book format release is on Hot E-Deal for only 0.99 CENTS, a download for a few more days!
Don’t miss this amazing new read; grab a copy now in the Kindle store! While you are there, you can learn more about the author when you visit his Amazon Author page here>>> https://www.amazon.com/Wilsdaryon-Prescher/e/B0B2VMN1FX/ and make sure you leave a rating and review on Amazon when you are done reading! *CAT* 📚🐾🐈
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born and grew up in Surrey, B.C. Canada served in the military as a Morse code operator, paratrooper, and UN peacekeeper (former Yugoslavia 1993). I hold a Bachelor of Human Ecology (Nutrition) and competed in kickboxing in Canada and Hong Kong, and at the age of 40, I won a welterweight championship.
I have worked as a crime reporter and have written over 100 articles and six books, including Reduce Your Alcohol Craving, One Less Victim: a crime prevention manual, Train Her Confident: Women’s Kickboxing, Stomach Flattening, and Selo (award winning fiction novel).
What is the name of your best book, and what inspired it?
Simple Secrets to Handle Your Alcohol Better: Student’s Edition. I was inspired to publish my research about drinking in college so that people can enjoy their alcohol without addiction or the side effects. During the writing of my next book, “Reduce Your Alcohol Craving,” my own sister died of alcohol poisoning. At this point, I pushed my doubt as a writer aside and just kept writing.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I set up a schedule to write at least a page at a time and then pay myself a dollar an hour or a dollar a page. On the weekends, I spend the money on something fun, like a movie, a trip up Grouse Mountain, or an exotic meal. I guess that may be unusual to other writers. Lol.
What authors or books have influenced you?
Authors who have influenced me have been Andrew H. Vachss, Louis L’Amour, David Liss, and Stephen King. The most influential books: are Strega by Andrew Vachss, Breaking Writer’s Block Now! by Jerry Mundis, On Writing by Stephen King, and Will by G. Gordon Liddy.
What are you working on now?
Fitness/Body Shaping book for women based on the 1920s to 1970s actresses and models. It seems to be the return of the hourglass shape/figures which were so popular in the Miss America and Playboy models in the early 20th century. Many body shapes, sizes, and types have become more accepted in our society for women, which is a good thing. A person’s weight or pounds shouldn’t matter if men and women look and feel good and are in good health.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Public speaking and word of mouth have been successful methods. Otherwise, articles linking to my website are also effective, and I have the current help of a great marketing woman, Catherine Lyon of ‘Lyon Literary Services’ who has been a success with increasing sales, reviews, and book exposure.
Do you have any advice for new authors? 1. Write what people are interested in and do your research. 2. Write like you are working, exercising, or studying. Put aside the time, but do not overdo it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard? Keep training and working towards something. You are going to get old anyway. LOL!
What are you reading now? No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hell’s Angels by Jay Dobyns
What’s next for you as a writer? How-to videos I’m now looking into making for the fitness/wellness side and working on that new book I mentioned above.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring? The Lives of Great Men by Plutarch The Bible The Koran
Multi-Award-Winning Author Diane Olsen and Novel Series ~ Rising Wind ~ Books one through four are now available on Amazon in paperback, e-book, and within Kindle Unlimited.
Here are just some of what readers and book reviewers are raving about after reading this action and suspense-filled novel series. Several of the books in this series are now award-winning books. Here is what Reader’s Favorite shared about books one thru three. Placed on book three but shares the flair for the first three books of this series.
Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers’ Favorite
The Weeping God and the Book of Hope is part three in the Rising Wind series by Diane Olsen. This book is actually a prequel to the first two books, so it’s not necessary to have read those first. The two lead characters, Sage Dalton and L.W. are the parents of the main character in the other Rising Wind books. Although the characters are different and it is set in an earlier time period, the tone of the book is very similar.
This time they discover an ancient text in a Mexican desert tomb that leads Sage, L.W., and a group of fellow explorers to Tibet where they find themselves in the middle of a war. Even with danger at every turn, they still manage to discover secret caves that lead them toward an elusive yet powerful Book of Hope. The Weeping God and the Book of Hope, just like the other books in Diane Olsen’s series, combine three strong story elements to make for a fun, exciting, and educational read.
First, and foremost, her books have a superb cast of characters that readers can easily relate to. They care about each other, work together to achieve a common goal, laugh together, and cry together. Second, her stories revolve around rare ancient discoveries found all around the world. Much like the great Indiana Jones films, each new discovery comes with an element of danger. Sometimes the danger comes from a person or an organization that wants to keep the discovery for themselves, or the danger comes from the object itself, or sometimes it’s a little of both. The third common theme is an embracing of all world religions.
Religion is somehow intertwined with each rare find that the characters make. I appreciate the way Ms. Olsen always characterizes the religious elements in her stories in a positive light, as the hope of mankind rather than the way most works of fiction portray religion in a negative sense as mankind’s biggest problem. This book is a fun read filled with colorful characters and lots of action. I recommend it for fans of character-driven adventure who like to learn about science, ancient civilizations, and world religions along the way. I highly, highly recommend reading this series!
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Book Four Has Now Been Released in the Rising Wind Series Titled: Like Feathers Of A Wing, Deep, Informative, & Pertinent has also garnished a new 5-Star Book Review by Reader’s Favorite!
Speaking about those “Wild Willy Beasts” in this review above, Diane was invited to write an article about the many supposed extinct willy creatures the cast of characters Secora and Gideon come upon or rub shoulders with like the Bear Dog. So, here is how Diane described this beast within her article through some excerpts from it. Just as you’ll read in book one “The Thunder Beings” to book four? I have no clue how much Diane had to research all of these beasts living or NOT within this series, but they do come alive within them!
WHAT ABOUT THE BEAR DOG?
“When I first heard of American hyenas or hyena-like creatures, weird wolves, or strange dog-like animals in America I thought hmmm, let’s take a look. Was there a basis in the fossil record for the accounts of hyena-like creatures in North America? I wasn’t readily familiar with the bone-crushing carnivores of the last few million years so I wanted to do some digging to see the options.”
Before I continue, I’d like to share that most of my online sources were from Wikipedia or Wiki-Fandom and also Lon Strickler – a well-known Fortean researcher, a prolific author and media personality, and publisher of Phantoms and Monsters blog which he started in 2005. I also found fossil articles and newspaper references along with random bits from here and there, most of which I reference in the text.
If you look at the phylogeny the mammalian Order of Carnivora is composed of two branches – Caniformia, and Feliformia which is the archetypal suborder that encompasses all of the so-called “cat-like” predators including cats, viverrids – a group comprised of civets, fossae, meerkats – and surprisingly, hyenas. Some witnesses referred to seeing hyena hybrids. It is easy to eliminate actual wolf-hyena crosses because crossing a wolf with a hyena would be like breeding a lion with a hyena – zero chance of success – more likely to be a deadly encounter.
Later I moved into the canine suborder to look at bears, wolverines, and wolves. I chose to eliminate accounts of actual wolves and the rest of the canids with their long ears, tails, and snouts. Wolf-hybrids, coyotes, jackals, foxes, and dogs were genetically different animals from the family of Hyaenidae, and most of them weren’t as big as the animals in the descriptions – or they were the wrong shapes.
There were a couple of fierce predatory red herrings that didn’t fall into the cat or dog categories. For example, mammals like carnivorous pigs and the Hyenadonts. The pigs pretty much spoke for themselves – as pigs do. The latter were creodonts, named for their unusual teeth. They had been ferocious wolf-sized predators unrelated to hyenas, which vanished at the same time as the ancestors of present-day carnivores, leaving no living descendants as far as we can tell.
The prehistoric prototypes for all mammalian carnivores had once lived in forests and originally had retractable claws. When most of the early predators descended from trees in order to chase or bushwhack their prey, the cat-like creatures split into several distinct lineages in order to hunt and scavenge the rivers and grasslands along with other successful land predators like the Phorusrhacids, commonly known as terror birds. Many retained their retractable or semi-retractable claws, but the trait disappeared early on for the canines while overtime for others like the bears.
It’s easy to lose track of time while gazing at bizarre images and artists’ reconstructions of some of the oddest members of the Viverridae, a family which is currently composed of nearly thirty of the most interesting housecat-sized creatures on this planet. Check out the linsang, a furry critter that sometimes walks as slowly and deliberately as a chameleon. Civets and genets still spend much or all of their time in trees. Interestingly, a number of African civets have crests or manes running down their necks and backs which rise up when they are agitated, like hyenas, and they display an extensive range of coat colors. Except for their slender faces, some even look like ancestral forms of hyenas, but I have a feeling they are way too tiny for most of the accounts I found.
Moving on to the four recognized living hyenas; none is native to the Americas. As cute as the Aardwolf is, it’s way too small – built more like a tiny kit fox. Unlike its savanna ravaging cousins, it doesn’t kill wildlife or livestock just insects. It sleeps under the cover of bushes, trees, or rocks to avoid being overheated during the day. Only a few remain in the southern part of the Kalahari Desert, and the coastal areas of southwest Africa. The range for beautiful brown hyenas is also declining. In the south, it is rare or possibly even extinct. Brown hyenas are used in traditional rituals, and for medicine. They are also poisoned and trapped – mostly because people think they kill livestock. Some argue they don’t, but they do kill wild animals.
Another Excerpt of The Bear Dog Research
Wikipedia article noted that in 1909 an enormous black “freak wolf” was shot in Idaho’s Boise National Forest. Apart from its great size, its back and other parts of its body were “covered with a heavy growth of black hair, resembling somewhat the coat of a Newfoundland dog except that it was heavier and coarser, and it was bob-tailed.”
Local hunters, trappers, and Indians were all unfamiliar with it, and biologists who examined the skin and skull in Washington, D.C. stated that the animal was not a hybrid, and that “the only specimen that resembles it at all closely” was another specimen from Idaho’s Priest River Forest.
Since 1991 ‘hyenas’ have been reported in killing wildlife and livestock in Alberta, Idaho, and Montana, in 1995 and again in 2005.
In 2004 a large, hyena-like animal was reported as prowling around killing dogs in rural Maine. The beast was sighted by dozens of witnesses including policemen, all of whom said it looked just like a hyena.
Observers listed on Lon Strickler’s site saw an animal on two different occasions in the Adirondacks, which were suggestive of hyenas, but different. The witnesses wondered what else it could be. ‘Well, I thought I’d seen it all … I have no idea what this was, other than to say it was a hyena… It was very large; 150-175 pounds, had a long bushy tail, a brindle, wiry, spotted brown black and gray coat, with a powerful predatory build.
It had a thick lower jaw, rounded ears located high on the diamond-shaped head, and what appeared to be a mane running down the neck and back. Its hind legs were noticeably shorter, much thicker, and more powerfully muscled than the front so that the animal sloped down to the powerful rear.’ Needless to say, the long tail isn’t a modern hyena trait – and the mention of a black-brown and gray coat was interesting and unexpected.
He found a reference to the ‘American Hyena’ that turned out to be a conglomeration of the original Shunka Warak’in stories, Ringdocus, etc. The witness said the latter “was too small, pig-like, and the legs were far too scrawny and less canine than what we saw, it also possessed a longer straight coat and thinner snout.”
This would make a good comparison of a running hyena and a Borophagine. Some articles make what I feel is a mistake by lumping all the strange hyena or canid sightings into a single category for convenience – despite the obvious differences in morphology.
A number of late 2016 hyena sightings in Pennsylvania were reported to Lon Strickler and Stan Gordon. In one sighting, a correspondent and their mother were driving through Pike County and encountered a hyena-like animal by the side of a road which the eyewitness initially took for a hyena. It was described as weighing about 200 to 300 pounds, had a sloping back, and had rather long brown/black fur, especially around its shoulders that stood up a couple of inches from the body.
It’s a toss-up whether the following two sightings should also be considered as bone-crushing dogs or an Amphicyon bear dogs – because of their supersize.
A large creature was reported by a police officer in the Hockomock Swamp in Massachusetts, in 2016. Officer, Hadley, described the animal as a hyena-like dog and very large, perhaps 7′ tall if it had stood upright. Similar animals had previously been reported from the region.
In another Lon Strickler report from 2016, a man saw some sort of canid standing along a side road close to a bamboo thicket when he drove to a nearby creek to fish late one afternoon between Madera and Chowchilla in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. “It stood there almost as if it was not threatened by my presence… and seemed to take note of me but not flee.
It was hunched forward in stature almost like a hyena but not quite. It had wiry dark grey hair and walked in kind of a slinking motion, with its back (estimating) about 5 to 5 1/2 feet off the ground. It surveyed the area for a couple more seconds and slowly disappeared into the bamboo. I was perplexed as hell because the only canids in the area were foxes and Coyotes.”
Five to five and a half feet tall is significantly taller than a hyena or the small wolf-sized Ringdocus at twenty-eight inches tall and with the slender snout of a running hyena, or any regular wolf. In fact, the last two of these animals were so large they could have been placed in the bear dog category.
Legends surround a creature that has been reported from Alaska to northern Michigan. This enigmatic beast hails from the remote, cold regions of the north, where Native tribes in the Nahanni Valley of the Canadian Northwest Territories have long spoken of an enormous wolf-like beast that stalks the frozen wastelands called the Waheela. It’s usually said to look very similar to a wolf, but much larger, more muscular, and heavily built, and with shorter stockier legs that are longer in the front than in the back. The Waheela’s body is said to be almost bear-like in its shape and massive in quality.
The animal is often described as having disproportionately large feet that are almost like snowshoes, with widely spaced toes, and a broader, more formidable head and smaller ears, than a normal wolf. Some reports mention a dark-colored beast though there is at least one report of one having long white fur – perhaps seasonal like the arctic fox. At least one eyewitness sighting has described the beast as being like “a wolf on steroids,” standing around 3 and a half feet at the shoulder, which is far larger than a typical wolf.
It is a solitary hunter rather than a pack animal like wolves and most other canids and is said to have various supernatural powers. Interestingly, the Waheela’s main territory of the Nahanni Valley is also known for its disappearances and deaths, with human corpses found minus their heads leading to the rather ominous nickname “The Headless Valley.” Some blame these mysterious deaths on the presence of the Waheela, and indeed the valley is wreathed in dark legends of the numerous evil spirits said to inhabit it.
Ontario, Canada has its own version of the Waheela called the ‘Ontario White Wolf.’
But several stories suggest animals that were even larger. In fact, one man saw a beast from the seat of his truck at a distance of thirty feet. This 2020 sighting of a cow-sized American hyena in Pennsylvania was reported to Lon Strickler. The man said he was seized with genuine life-threatening fear.
The sighting occurred around 3:00 AM on 14 July 2020, near Shippensburg. The eyewitness noticed what he had first assumed was a cow lying in an open field. When he illuminated the area with his torch the animal rose up from the ground in a slow lumbering and purposeful action. “As it came up on all 4’s the creature stood about five to six feet tall at its shoulder blades. In my truck I’m elevated and I sit about that high from the ground.
The creature was about 30 feet from me and I know if I stood toe to toe with it the head would be taller than I, and I’m 6 feet… the back of this creature was facing me. It then turned its head into my light and the lens flare off its eyes was a yellow-green color… the eyes were facing FORWARD. This was a predatory creature. Not a damn cow! Heat and cold washed over my body, and I felt genuine life-threatening fear take over.” He couldn’t move and sat in the middle of the road knowing he was low on the food chain at that moment.
“It continued to measure me for what felt forever and it suddenly turned its head, and tore off faster than I could know. My pathetic guess is about 30 to 40 mph as it darted away. And after all this, the only thing I could think was that it was some form of giant hyena. The most terrifying real-life creature I’ve ever witnessed and it was gone so fast.” Other sightings involved attacks on vehicles by giant wolf-dogs or ferocious hyena-like creatures as in two accounts collected by Josh Turner and Tony Luong of Paranormal Round Table.
One night in the early 1990s near Odessa Texas, Oil workers left work at 9 pm in a couple of pickups. An animal ran out of the forest and bit a truck tire causing one vehicle to swerve and brush a passing car. Apparently, the animal was run over by a second vehicle but it still fled back into the woods – at high speed. Witnesses described a very large hyena-like beast the size of a big hog, weighing between four and five hundred pounds with its tail tucked between its legs. Witnesses supposed it would measure between five to six feet tall at the shoulders.
On a second late-night in Texas in 2013, at around 11 pm, a couple saw ‘an enormous prehistoric-looking, almost horse-sized hyena, as tall as the car and about half as long, with a ridged or humped back. It had rings around its body which culminated at the top of its head.
At first, they mistook it for a tumbleweed as it ran alongside their car, hunched forward in stature almost like a hyena but not quite. It banged into the car, denting it, but was still able to run off into the woods.
Were there misidentifications, maybe? Were people describing something like a bear or a buffalo? Not likely in the accounts I chose, but possible. Might they be flesh and blood remnants of supposedly extinct or nearly extinct predatory species? In the end stories of hyena-type beasts far outweighed the staunch denials of their existence based on spotty fossil records. Rather than weigh in on the validity of the accounts, I decided to see where the evidence given in the descriptions would lead – and I was amazed.
Can’t wait for more DNA testing and dashcam footage. That’s it, and thank you for taking the time to read about the bear dog!
~Diane Olsen, Author
Award-Winning Author Diane Olsen, a seasoned writer, began with a non-fiction book titled; “Ancient Ways: The Roots of Religion,” which won a bronze medallion from the Christian Illuminations Book Awards in 2017. Diane’s “Rising Wind” book series has also won several awards. “The Thunder Beings” was released in 2018. “Ice and Bone” and “The Weeping God and The Book of Hope” were released in mid-2021. “Weeping God” garnished her a second bronze medal win in 2021. Book four has now been released in March 2022 titled “Like Feathers of a Wing: Deep, Informative and Pertinent.” Visit the author:Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon,