Sunday, September 25, 2011

Zach Fortier: The IAN Interview

Zach Fortier has experience as a Military Policeman, Deputy Sheriff, and Police Officer. Serving on two SWAT teams. He has held positions as a K-9 handler, gang unit detective, sex crimes investigator, domestic violence crimes investigator, bike patrol officer, school resource officer and has been assigned to the COPS section (community oriented policing). He was diagnosed with Acute PTSD in 2003. Currently living in Denver, Colorado. He has three adult children, and is married to an amazing woman. Hobbies include photography, weightlifting, and hiking.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book:

ZF. Curbchek is an account of the calls handled by Zach Fortier (me) during a 28 year career in Law Enforcement. It is a compilation of notable incidents that affected the perceptions I had as a new officer, out to make a difference in the community. Ending as the street wise, damaged, edgy veteran officer, more concerned with surviving the night and making it home alive. All illusions of being able to make a difference, having long since been squashed. Names places and some minor details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. The message of the book however remains intact.

IAN. How long did it take to write Curbchek?

ZF. It took about a year to write the book. It was an emotionally difficult process to recall the incidents in the detail required to be able to effectively recount them in the book.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?

ZF. I have thought about it for years. Then a friend suggested I consider writing the book and it took off.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.

ZF. I write all day long! When I am in the groove I am focused. I push on until I am done. Then it is back to the weight room! Writing is stressful for me.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

ZF. For Curbchek I just tried to recall in detail each incident as best I could. I would often get up in the middle of the night and write for a couple of hours as important details came back to me. Later I organized it into a more complete outline. For my upcoming book "Street Creds", I have an outline, a definite direction that I want to go.

IAN. How is Curbchek different from others in your genre?

ZF. I would say that the difference in my book is that there is not much "sensationalism" in it. It is what it is. The stories are not bigger than life, they are not unbelievable. They are life. Reality is more than enough.

IAN. Is Curbchek published in print, e-book or both?

ZF.The Book is available in Kindle format, and in Paperback on Hardback and Paperback "signed" editions are available on my website.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

ZF. An "Oh wow! That was intense!" moment. It was for me.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your Curbchek?

ZF. You can buy Paperback and Kindle editions on If you would like a signed copy they are available on my web site.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

ZF. Street Creds is my next project. It is currently in the works. It is a continuation of the same theme. However, it details cases I handled while assigned to the gang task force. Each story will stand alone as does each book.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

ZF. My web site:

My Facebook page:

Curbchek by Zach Fortier

244 pages Crime Fiction

Chapter 1

Is There a Problem Officer?

The population is up to three quarter million, but it’s still a place where it’s fairly easy to spot something out of place.

I was the south car that night. It’s my old hometown. I’d never intended to return.

I wonder how the taxpayers might feel if they knew only three cars patrolled the entire unincorporated area of the county, all that space between the city and towns, the wide open patches between outbreaks of civilization. That’s three cars and a sergeant, and maybe a K-9 unit if we’re lucky.

I was conducting extra patrols homeowners or businesses had requested. Most guys pencil whipped this shit but I was a little more obsessive about it. Seemed like we should check them. If there were ever a problem, I would’ve regretted not checking.

I am checking this shopping unit complex every day I work the south side. A photo supply business near the mouth of the canyon was reporting break-ins. One night I find a truck parked back behind the complex.

It was hidden so the driver had to be trying to shield it from anyone’s view on the street. It gave me the creeps.

I backed out and re-approached, checking the area for snipers.

There were none of course. I had just come from a military background and that was still fresh in my mind. I ran the plates and checked them against the VIN, they matched. I ran the car through NCIC and it was not stolen. I checked the entire complex and no businesses had been broken into. I had dispatch print the plate, cross-reference the registered owner with warrants, NCIC, and drivers license. Nothing. I asked them to print it all out. I kept records of my own at the time to learn from, go back over and see what I had missed.

This was the part of police work I would always love. This small window of independence. The military was good for training in tactics, firearms, marksmanship, and the extreme fitness that I still maintain today. However there was no room for independent thinking, for questioning anything. You did what you were told, always. You were never in charge, always waiting for some rear echelon motherfuckers -- we called them REMFs -- to make a decision.

Move before you’re told and you pay dearly. Rank structure was severely ingrained in me. Anyone who outranked you was in charge, just the opposite of real police work. On the street the call was yours and yours alone.

At first that was hard for me to get used to. A sergeant would show up and the military training would kick in and I would subordinate immediately. Once I realized I could take the call and run with it, that it wasn’t a test to see if I was insubordinate, I was all over it. I loved taking the call. I respected no one’s position in life based on his or her job or money. So, I was not intimidated by much, I’d listen to both sides and make my decisions.

Anyway, this night, I was puzzled. It was dark. What in the hell was going on?

I go to dispatch to pick up the printouts, and as I am leaving one of the dispatchers says she just got a call from a lady who wanted a friend of hers checked on.

She said the woman claims her friend’s ex-husband had been calling her from Wyoming and making threats. The ex is a paranoid schizophrenic and he sounded like he was off his meds. Her friend had called and then quickly hung up.

When she called back, no answer. The last names matched the owner of the truck I had just checked on. The truck was from Wyoming.

I felt like an ass. I am sitting there fumbling around with this truck; meanwhile this guy is out there. I haul ass down to this missing women’s mobile home, which is near the mouth of the canyon where I had come upon the truck parked so carefully hidden.

The door of the mobile home had been kicked in. I called for backup and went in. I

searched the trailer, which smelled like a damn litter box, and in the only bedroom I find a bed unmade, and covered in blood….

The Fright Factory by William R Potter (Sample Sunday)

A 900 word excerpt of my new book,The Fright Factory.

(WARNING some coarse language remains in the sample)

Now available at Amazon.

Wesley saw motion from the corner of his eye.

Jesse wandered into the room. “Howzit going?” He had a length of chain and a padlock. He looped the chain between the two chairs, pulled up the slack, and then clicked in a lock. With a second length of chain he secured Wesley and Robin to the cast iron fireplace. Where Robin had been able to slide along the floor earlier, they were now secured in place.

Jesse showed them both a candle with a hole drilled through the middle near the base of the stick. He set the candle in a brass candle holder on the coffee table. He walked to the kitchen and returned in a few seconds with a long red stick, obviously dynamite. He used duct-tape to fasten two more sticks to the first and he set the three next to the candle. He then took a long string that looked like a fuse and threaded it through the hole in the candle.

Wesley wasn’t sure what Jesse was doing but he knew it wasn’t good. Jesse took the camera off his shoulder strap and began to film Wesley and Robin. Brandi entered the room with a long butane fireplace lighter. She wiggled her ass for the camera and licked the end of the starter seductively and then headed for the candle.

Oh shit, oh shit! Wesley began to understand what was about to happen. He tensed in his chair and glanced at Robin who appeared to know what was occurring as well.

“Wes?” Robin said in a low whisper.

Wesley watched as Brandi enacted a dramatic, slow motion lighting of the candle. The wick lit and then the flame increased. Jesse carefully moved the table a few feet closer to Wesley and Robin. Brandi stood back from the candle about the same distance as Wesley and blew a long, hard breath at it. The flame flickered and danced but remained lit.

“You all can huff and puff but I’d say you have about 20-30 minutes before those three sticks blow the roof off this sh**hole and you along with it.”

Both Jesse and Brandi turned and walked for the front door. Jesse stopped and then said, “Smile now. And please…please make this good! Huh?”

“Have fun,” Brandi giggled.

The flame continued its morbid dance as Jesse opened the door, Brandi followed, and both exited. Wesley watched the smoke of the flame and he could smell that the candle was scented with flowers.

“Wes! What are we going to do?” Robin was pulling on her tie-straps and kicking her feet. The chain made a metallic jingle. “Do something. Don’t just sit there!”

Wesley began to pull at the strapping with every ounce of strength. He pushed with his feet and tried to stand. Nothing. The candle continued to flicker as if mocking them. The scent was growing stronger as the flame grew taller.

Robin was gulping in long breaths and then exhaling as hard as she could. The flame shrank and twisted and then shot higher in the increased oxygen. She did the same maneuver again and again. “For f*** sakes, Wes, blow!”

Both were huffing, wheezing, and blowing and still the flame danced and flickered, and when they stopped the flame was taller.

“Okay,” Wesley said, winded. “On three, fill your lungs, and when I signal let’s blow together. Okay?”

Robin nodded.

“One-two-three.” They filled their lungs, held their breath, and looked into each other’s eyes. He gave a small nod and they both blew out as hard as they could. The flame burned away from their view as they exhaled, appearing as though it had been extinguished. Wesley felt a moment of triumph, however, as soon as their lungs emptied, the flame darted for the ceiling once more.

“F***!” Robin said between gasps. “All we’re doing is helping it to burn down faster.”

“I agree.”

For the next several minutes they struggled at their bonds. Faster, desperate movements. Robin was screaming and swearing and he could see tears streaming down her face. He looked at the candle and saw less than an inch of wax above the hole with the dynamite fuse. He began to feverishly kick his feet and tug his wrists hoping for a loosening or the break of a strap. Instead, the rear legs of the chair snapped, sending him over backwards, resulting in a loud crack when his skull met the wood floor.

He shook his head slightly and glanced up at Robin next to him. She was straining to see him as he fought to meet her eyes. He could not see her face.


“Um—think so.”

“Half an inch,” Robin said, in a small, childlike voice.

“I know.” They were both quiet for a few seconds. Wesley was able to move enough on the floor to see the candle. He couldn’t see Robin’s face or stand or break free of the chair but he could see that damned candle.

“I’m sorry,” Wesley said.

“Huh, why?”

“For bringing you here….”

“You only did because I was pressuring you for us to get away.”

“I love you, Robin. More than you know.”

“I do know, Wesley. I love you too…I’ve loved you my entire life….”

“I feel bad—for the kids. This will be hard for them….”

Kindle at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Release: Searching For Leah by John W. Huffman

John W. Huffman has published his seventh novel, Searching For Leah, available in print and Kindle format at and in Nook format at Barnes & Noble. Autographed copies of his books can be ordered from his website,

Searching For Leah: Clint Long, desperately seeking a sponsor for his race team, impulsively stops by an old mystic to have his fortune read and unwittingly sparks a euphoric reaction when she discovers he by chance has eleven direct genetic links to their twelve sacred tribes, which the governing Council of their Craft has been trying to forge for over five thousand years. Unbeknownst to him, the colorful members of Council hastily adapt a plan to gather his seed within a maiden from the remaining twelfth tribe, whose newborn persona is destined by the ancient ones to usher in a new age of enlightenment for all mankind. For this noble quest, they select Leah as the vessel to bear his child, a na├»ve young woman raised in the swamps of Louisiana and home-schooled by her mother with virtually no contact with the outside world. When Leah’s godmother mistakenly casts a love spell, Clint whisks Leah out of her protected environment into his fast-paced world while Council valiantly tries to keep up and subtly protect the unborn child.
John W. Huffman’s next book signing is at Java Nook Books in Ridgeway, South Carolina on October 8, 2011 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm.

John was born in Hemphill, Texas, attended elementary school in Pineland, Texas, junior high and high school in Jasper, Texas, and graduated summa cum laude from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He enlisted in the Army Airborne in 1966 and served two tours of combat duty in Vietnam before retiring from the Army as a Major in 1986, and launching a real estate sales and management company, SouthCorp Properties, Inc., which he still owns and operates today. John has co-written numerous magazine articles and two short stories, The Reincarnate and The Mad Dash, along with his six other published novels, A Wayward Wind, a finalist in the regional fiction category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Tiger Woman, the winner in the action/adventure category of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, The Baron of Clayhill, a finalist in the popular fiction category of the 2010 National Indie Excellence Book Awards, Above All, a finalist in the action/adventure category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Cold Hearts Burning, and America's Diplomats, The Road to Attleboro, a first place winner in the military fiction category of the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards.

John has one other novel awaiting publication, Eyes of the Blind, and is currently working on When A Rebel Comes Home.

John resides in Blythewood, South Carolina, with his wife Misty, and has three grown sons and three granddaughters.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cold hearted Son of a Witch by MR Mathias

Fantasy Author M. R. Mathias announces the September 15th, 2011 release of the long awaited Dragoneers Saga Book II Cold Hearted Son of a Witch.

The eBook version is now available.

The First Dragoneer, a 43-page novella, available FREE almost everywhere online, begins with just a small part of the grand tale.

The Royal Dragoneers is the first full length novel of the saga. It was deemed a top indie release of 2010 by esteemed Fantasy Book Critic, and it was featured in the first ever Publishers Weekly - "Indie Showcase."

Now, Book II - Cold Hearted Son of a Witch brings The First Dragoneer and The Royal Dragoneers together. Zahrellion and Rikky and their dragons go on a quest to find the special mushrooms Mysterian needs to save Prince Richard from Gravelbone’s poison. Meanwhile, Jenka and his loveable dragon, Jade, escort the King's Rangers back to Kingsmen's Keep. When Jenka and the half-elvish mute, Lemmy, find a map at the Temple of Dou, they follow it and find more trouble than they bargained for. Ultimately, the five Dragoneers come together as they are forced to stand and face a terrible threat that is only just revealing itself. Mathias' fans will find grim and pleasant surprises in this novel-length action fantasy. The best surprise of all is that The Dragoneers Saga Book III - The Confliction will be available for Christmas 2011.

Reviewers respond to The Dragoneers Saga

Mathias is a master at characterization. The dragons are magnificent in the story. The plot is action is fast, furious and never ending. The plot is intricately woven with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing. The story has a mythical quality. Fans of fantasy will not want to miss this one.

The author draws you into his fantastical vortex from the first chapter of The First Dragoneer and you are compelled to read on whether you want to or not. The characters are believable and engaging. It's obvious to me he either researches a lot or is very knowledgeable in archery, hunting and just plain survival. I left feeling I learned a thing or two. I highly recommend this pre-cursor to 'The Royal Dragoneers.'

Mathias is an absolute pleasure to read. Unique storyline, fascinating characters and a fast paced novel that practically reads itself. The Royal Dragoneers easily lived up to the promise shown in the prequel. Lovers of fantasy everywhere this is a fresh, new talent with plenty of truly original ideas. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to this book.

M. R. Mathias is the author of the bestselling Wardstone Trilogy, The Dragoneers Saga, and the Crimzon & Clover Short Story Series. He lives in the Big Easy with his tweeting dog, Mr. Stubby Freckle Butt. You can follow M.R.'s tweets @DahgMahn.

A .pdf with the first three Chapters is available here:

For ARC copies or interview requests:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Gifted Ones by Lisa Vaughn (Sample Sunday)

Intro Chapter of The Gifted Ones:

It was as if a freight train had hit me. That's the only feeling I remember. Within a fraction of a second, I felt as if I couldn't breathe, could possibly pass out...or just die.

I was home, killing time upstairs in my room, like your typical teenager. My dad was also home, so it must've been a weekend. My name echoed from the bottom of the stairs, summoning me to the kitchen table. If only I knew then what I would soon come to know, I would've jumped out my bedroom window and never looked back. Caught completely off guard, like a lamb being led to slaughter, totally unaware of the shit storm ahead, I be-bopped down the staircase, as my mom gestured for me to take a seat, which I did voluntarily. Seemingly, out of nowhere, something flew from behind me - over the top of my head, practically grazing my skull. A dull thud diverted my attention as "it" plopped directly in front of me, landing on the kitchen table. Taking a few minutes to focus, I began to digest what I was seeing. I think my heart started pounding a few seconds before my brain told me what I saw.

"It" was my diary. MY f*#*ing diary! My PRIVATE diary! Blood rushed to my head, flushing it beet red, as perspiration instantly broke out from every pore, covering my young, adolescent body. I had never felt this level of fear before in my life - not even while giving an oral report in front of the class. My whole world passed before my eyes, and in a flash, I realized life as I knew it was about to change drastically. If there had ever been a better time to be stricken with a heart-attack and die, it would have been convenient then. I was not that lucky.

The first words spoken were my mother's. "What the hell is this?" she said sternly, in a low voice I hadn't heard before then. I felt the lump in my throat swell, blocking off my ability to speak. My mind was racing. What was I going to say? Desperation took over. In a lame attempt to get out of this tightening noose, I started to laugh. They looked at me as if I were insane, and frankly, at that moment, I truly believe I was. I opened my mouth and started to explain that this was not MY diary, but writings for a play I had been working on for school. It wasn't a true story, or even about me actually. I was abruptly cut off from my babbling web of deceit. Apparently, Peggy had had enough of my deceiving lies and wanted to know the truth. My immature mind raced as I searched my creative lobes for a more convincing route, but there was nothing more I could say. It was all right there in black-and-white, ratting me out like a two-faced friend. My beautiful writings of my incredible journey, my unbelievable love, sitting there on the family table right before my eyes...and theirs.

Funny, they didn't see it like that at all. The words in my diary held no beauty to them. Instead, my own words, the words that gave me so much comfort when I had no one else to talk to, had turned against me, backing me into a corner. A corner in hell!

All they saw was ugliness. The look on their faces told me right away that I was not winning over this crowd. I sat silently for what seemed like hours. My beautiful, perfect world was closing in around me, and there was nothing I could do. I felt as if I were sinking to the bottom of a pool with a concrete block tied to my ankle. The two people that had raised and nurtured me, who supposedly loved me, had suddenly turned on me. I was now their enemy in a matter of mere minutes. Do you know what that feels like? It feels like everything you ever trusted in your life was suddenly a lie, and always had been, you just happened to be the fool that didn't catch on soon enough. I felt abandoned, I felt stupid, I felt so alone - surrounded by my so-called-family.

And that's when my true, "official" introduction to hell would begin.