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,