Saturday, June 30, 2012

Win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch by M.R. Mathias

 M.R. Mathias

Hello I.A.N.

I just wanted to pop in and tell you about a chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch from me and Fantasy Book Critic. The contest post is here:

My Wardstone Trilogy is finally complete. “The Wizard and the Warlord – The Wardstone Trilogy Book III” has been released in all eBook formats. In celebration of the 4th of July paperback release, I am offering Book One, “The Sword and the Dragon”  FREE July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Of course Book Two is available as well, here: 

A lot of you know me as @DahgMahn on Twitter. I am also @BookReTweeter, @Michael_Robb, and the ornery @MrStubbsSays is my dog/familiar. If you are not on Twitter, then get on Twitter. Any member who needs starting out tips can email me @ I will get you a FREE copy of The First Ten Steps and answer any questions I can. 

If you want a book, blogpost, or review/interview tweeted by @DahgMahn, then put @DahgMahn in the tweet and I will retweet it. The same goes for @BookReTweeter and @MrStubbSays. I get 500 DMs a day and I DO NOT read them anymore. Putting @DahgMahn in a tweet is about the only way I am guaranteed to see it.

I don’t have much else to say, other than thank you to those IAN members who bother to tweet and retweet each other.  Oh, and any IAN member bloggers willing to review any of The Wardstone Trilogy, or Dragoneer books, will not only get free copies, but also the review-post will get tweeted extensively.

Don’t forget to get The Sword and the Dragon FREE over the holiday. And I would be honored if some of you check out my newly completed Wardstone Trilogy. From the moment I started writing it in that Texas prison cell in ’08 until now, I have put my all into that grand epic. So I can only hope you enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoyed writing them and bringing them to fruition.

Indie Rules!  M. R. Mathias aka @DahgMahn

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alle Wells: The IAN Interview

Alle Wells writes Southern Fiction set in specific time periods. Settings for her Human Interest stories may range from the early 20th century to present day. Each story is based on the life of one person and the effects of society, beliefs, and culture have on the outcome of that character’s life. In addition to writing, Alle dedicates her lifelong love of reading to Indie Authors in a book review blog entitled “Alle’s Five Star Reviews”. 

When she’s not writing or reading, Alle spends her time in the kitchen preparing and preserving fresh fruits and vegetables to sustain a complete, organic vegan lifestyle. Other interests include trekking through protected forests, with binoculars in hand, searching for Pileated Wookpeckers, and practicing Kundalini yoga.  Alle lives in North Carolina. 

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book. 

AW. My latest book is entitled, “Leaving Serenity”. Based on the life of Annette Bevels, “Leaving Serenity” takes the reader back to the quaint atmosphere of main street America in the 1960’s where everyone speaks the same language and success is measured by conformity. At an early age, Annette is dubbed a misfit, an ugly duckling, and the last child. Self-consciousness and insecurity make her feel different and unwanted by her mother, her siblings, and her peers. As a young teen, Annette seeks nonconformity and dreams of escaping the confines of small town life. At sixteen, she falls in love with Jack Harris, a romantic hippie with an unsavory past. She and Jack leave Serenity looking for the imaginary pot of gold that lies beyond the horizon. Annette changes her name and dodges pitfalls along the way. But she never looks back as she takes charge of her life and creates her own destiny.

Twenty-five years later, Annette (now Nikky) returns to Serenity to visit her dying father. Nikky is glamorous, successful, and unrecognizable to her family.  She takes a run through Serenity and relives the events that made her Nikky. The story of Nikki’s life and her journey to success is both inspiring and empowering. 

IAN. How long did it take to write the Leaving Serenity?
AW.  95 days 

IAN. What inspired you to write Leaving Serenity?
AW. Growing up in a small town under the eyes of close-knit family and peers.

IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?
AW. My stories talk to me early in the mornings when I’m walking in the woods, driving, or while taking long showers. I enjoy writing on my front porch from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. 

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft? 
AW.  Since I know my characters, the beginning and the end of the story set the    stage. Then I begin to work through the details.

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
AW. I hope that the heart and soul of my characters shine through my work.  Each time I write a story, I feel as if I’m sharing the soul of my characters with readers. Normally, this is accomplished in memoirs. Each story I write is someone’s memoir.

IAN. Is Leaving Serenity published in print, e-book or both?
AW. At the moment, my books are only available in e-book format. I plan to produce print copies for all of my books over the summer.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Leaving Serenity?
AW. I hope they can say, “I know that person.”

IAN. Where is Leaving Serenity available for purchase?

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
AW. Each story, each life stands on its own. I have two stories in mind, but I haven’t decided on which to write next. I plan to publish at least three stories a year.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
AW. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me. 
Please stop by to read excerpts from my books, and featuring five-star Indie Book reviews. 

Leaving Serenity by Alle Wells
140 pages
Genre: Human Interest

Chapter 1


My heart quickens as the black Mercedes-Benz comes to a stop. The 1960s’ ranch-style house looks shabbier than I remember, like Daddy’s old Lincoln sitting in the driveway. There’s an orange four-by-four pickup on monster wheels and a faded, black Volvo parked in the front yard. I slide my car snugly behind the smashed bumper of a blue Chrysler minivan parked on the street.

I flex my tingling hands and listen to “Happy Days Are Here Again” introduce the morning stock report on NPR and pick up the phone. I scroll to my broker’s number. “Hey, Bernie…Yeah, it’s a long way from Nashville, but I made it…Yeah, I heard. Buy all of it…I know you’ll take care of me. You always do. Bye.”

Deals worth millions of dollars don’t faze me. It’s just another day’s work. Sitting in front of this house that’s seen better days paralyzes me. After all this time, a stinging pain still lies deep in my heart. My anxiety level threatens to wipe out years of therapy. But I couldn’t get here fast enough, driving straight through the night after receiving Jeff’s call.

“How did you find me?” I’d asked.

“We do have satellite TV down here. Anyway, I called to tell you that Daddy had a stroke. It looks real bad. They don’t expect him to make it. He asked for you. Mama said that you should come home.” 

“Oh, God! Well, I’ll have to rearrange a few things, but I’ll be there as soon as I can.” 

I hung up the phone, still reeling from hearing my brother’s voice after all these years. The thought of my father lying helpless and calling for me brought tears to my eyes.

Headed eastbound on I-40, I called my assistant, my producer, and smooth-talked three major clients into rescheduling to visit a man I hardly know. I drove two hours to the state line, another hour through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and seven more hours to a dead town in the middle of nothing. Every hour, I asked myself why I’m doing this. The answer rang back, loud and clear. They want me, they finally want me.

Now that I’m here, I can’t get out of the car. My mind races through dozens of possible scenarios that I may encounter inside. Remembering my life in Serenity makes me feel like I’m spiraling downward into a bottomless pit. I tell myself to get a grip and throw my latest Coach bag over my shoulder. 

Two children playing in front of the glass door run inside as I approach the front door. A freckle-faced little boy yells, “Mom-ma! Some fancy lady is here.”
A heavy set woman with a mound of thick, dark hair steps around the gaping children. She reaches over them to open the front door. I haven’t seen my sister in over twenty years. Looking at her now, I wonder what happened to the young beauty queen I knew.

She swings the door open. “Annette? Is that really you?”

Her voice is sweet and recognizable underneath the years of added weight she carries.

“Hello, Beth.”

Beth wipes her hands on her red polyester pants and shoos the boys away. “Excuse my young’uns. Little Earl, you and Little Jeff go out back and play in the empty swimming pool.”

She motions to me. “Come on into the house.”

My sister’s careless dialect and the word, “howse,” remind me that I’m back in my hometown where everyone speaks the same language. Years of practice and expensive speech therapy have corrected my diction and inflection so that others can understand me. I remind myself that I have invested too much time and energy to fall back now.

The children run through the foyer ahead of us. Family portraits cover the gold flocked wallpaper. In one, Daddy’s athletic shoulders hover over Mama’s small frame as she holds a strained smile. Cloaked in Carolina blue and clenching a scroll to his chest, the corners of Adam’s lips turn up smugly. Jeff kneels on green turf, hugging a football. Curly, golden-brown locks frame his boyish face. Beth looks angelic, her face shadowed behind Mama’s rosette appliqu├ęd wedding veil. Twelve-year-old, pimple-faced Annette stares straight ahead a little bit cockeyed.

Beth holds an arm out and guides me past the formal living room that’s hardly ever been used. “Come on into the den. They’re all visiting Daddy in his room. Who would have thought that a strong man like Daddy would have a stroke? It just don’t seem possible.”

She bustles around, fluffing flattened, needlepoint pillows before we sit on the velour wraparound couch. “I just know that Mama is dying to see you.”
My heart jumps with anticipation. My relationship with Mama has been a major part of my therapy and recovery. My therapist said that I’m ready to see her. I hope she’s right.

“Is she, really?”

Beth hesitates, holding a pillow to her chest. “Well, it’s been such a long time since you were here. Sure, she’ll be happy to see you.”

I manage to nod and smile.

Beth examines my face closely. “My word! You have the whitest teeth I ever saw!”

Beth throws the pillow on a lumpy couch cushion and fidgets uncomfortably. “And that hair, well, you just look so different, is all. Why, Mama might not even recognize you.”

I nod again but keep my mouth closed.

Beth calls down the hallway, “Mama! Annette is here!”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alex Drinkwater JR.: The IAN Interview

Alex Drinkwater JR.
I am a retired US Government employee who recently finished a second career as a Defense contractor in the United Kingdom. I started writing fiction some 20 years ago but, with a full-time job and other obligations, I never gave my writing the time necessary to become truly successful. Now, I hope to devote full-time to being an author. I have written three novels and several short stories, a couple of which have appeared in online publications.  The first novel, "The Ghosts of Hanoi," is available as an ebook at several ebook distributors. The second, “Duly Constituted Authority,” is a political thriller about a struggle between the Pentagon and the White House and is now available for the Kindle reader at Amazon. I have recently finished the first of three planned science fiction novels about terrorism in the near future. My novels can be described as being halfway between Alan Drury and Tom Clancy. The short fiction tends toward horror and SF.

IAN. Hi Alex. Please tell us about your latest book: 
AD. “Duly Constituted Authority” concerns the struggles of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and his fellow service chiefs) to maintain combat readiness and effectiveness of the US armed forces in the face of extreme “political correctness.”  Their adversary is not the Russians or the Iranians or even terrorists but the president of the United States, a radical who, with his equally radical Secretary of Defense, is determined to use the armed forces as a giant laboratory for social experimentation regardless of the consequences.  The result is a crisis with the Pentagon and the White House virtually at war with each other.  As this is going on, America’s enemies wait in the wings, looking for a chance to take advantage of the stalemate.  It is a tale of political intrigue, dueling political philosophies, and  the corruption of power.

IAN. How long did it take to write Duly Constituted Authority?
AD.  I worked on it on and off for about three years.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
AD.  Working for the Defense Department most of my adult life, I saw first hand how every social trend that came along had to be mirrored in the armed forces, regardless of the consequences.  From the most trivial to the most radical, these policies were implemented mostly so that military leadership would not appear to be “behind the times.”  One day I started thinking “what if a courageous flag officer or Defense official stood up and said “Stop!”  And “Duly” was born!

IAN. When do you normally write? In the morning or evening?
AD.  It’s catch as catch can with me.  I now have time to write so it’s pretty much whenever I feel like it.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft? 
AD.  I just start writing and see where it goes!

IAN. How is “Duly Constituted Authority” different from others in your genre?
AD.  Many of the political/military fiction works today are techno thrillers and/or they are concerned with giant conspiracies in the government to take over the country, with the military and the CIA usually the bad guys.  “Duly” is a story of patriotism, courage, and the struggle to preserve the warrior spirit in the face of radicalism.

IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
AD.  For the time being, it is available as an e-book for the Kindle reader.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading “Duly Constituted Authority?”
AD.   An appreciation for what can happen to our military (not to mention our country) if we forget what the military is for, as well as having read an entertaining and provocative story!

IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone? 
AD. I am currently working on the Book Two of “In the Name of the Sun,” a combination of science fiction and “spy” fiction.  It takes place in the latter half of the  21st century and deals with an al-Qaeda-like terrorist group determined to prevent man from colonizing outer space.  I have not decided yet whether to publish the series as e-books or try the more traditional route of publication.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
AD.  My first novel, “The Ghosts of Hanoi,” a story about the POW/MIA situation after the end of the Vietnam War, is available in several formats at these websites:

For the Kindle:

For the Nook reader: 

A sample of “In the Name of the Sun” is available here:

 (Samples of other work are available on Wattpad as well.)

My website is:  and I can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Duly Constituted Authority by Alex Drinkwater, Jr.

Political/military thriller
348 pages

   Congresswoman Doreen Latourette, D, Louisiana, stood in the well of the House and held up a piece of paper.  “How much time do I have?”
The Speaker Pro Tem answered.  “The gentlelady from Louisiana has five minutes remaining.”
“I would like to read to the House from a letter I received recently from a young lady from my district who earlier this year enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  Now this young lady, one Private Darla Wiggins from Bogalusa, is currently undergoing Marine basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina.  She has written and told me that she has been the target of unfair treatment at the hands of certain male personnel at that camp.”
Congressman Fred Baxter, Jr., R.- Texas closed his eyes.  Oh shit, here we go again.
Latourette continued.  “Private Wiggins, who is an African-American, tells of some of the most depraved treatment and language.  And why?  Because she had a little trouble completing the obstacle course which, I might add, is constructed in such a way as to put people with less upper body strength, such as women, at a distinct disadvantage.  Let me read you some of her--”
“Will the gentlelady yield?”  It was Baxter.
She ignored him.  “Let me read you some of her letter.  ‘Dear Representative Wiggins:  I am writing to tell of you of the grossly unfair treatment I have received at the hands of my Drill Instructor.  I enlisted in the Marine Corps--”
“Will the gentlelady yield?”  Baxter hated using the word even as he said it.  After all, he thought, isn’t “lady” the feminine of “gentleman?”  But the House had its formalities, no matter how ridiculous.
She finally gave in.  “For what purpose does the gentlemen from Texas wish me to yield?”
“For a question.”
“Then I will yield, but I reserve the balance of my time.”
The Pro Tem piped up again.  “Without objection so ordered.  The chair recognizes the gentlemen from Texas for a question.”
Baxter got up.  “I might remind the gentlelady from Louisiana that Marine basic training is not intended to be a picnic.  The purpose of the training--”
Latourette turned to the Chair.  “That is not a question, Mister Speaker, I said I’d yield for a question.”
The Pro Tem wielded his gavel as several voices were raised as once.  “I would remind the gentleman from Texas to limit his remarks to a question.”
Baxter shook his head.  “Fine.  Does the gentlelady from Texas realize that Marine basic training is intended to weed out the weak sisters from the rest -- ”he realized he’d made a  faux pas as soon as he said it -- “of the troops?  It’s not supposed to be a picnic, it’s supposed to  . . . ”
The expected explosion came.  Latourette could barely conceal the anger her voice.  “‘Weak sisters?’  What is that supposed to mean?  Is the gentleman insinuating that women have no place in the Marine Corps?  Mister Speaker, I demand an explanation of that remark!”
Before the Speaker could respond, Baxter spoke up.  “Hold it, hold it, I meant no offense.  It was just an expression.  What I meant was that the wheat has to be separated from the chaff, so to speak.  Basic training is meant to separate those who cannot physically or mentally hold up to stress.  It’s training for combat, for God’s sake.”
Latourette stood facing him, hands on hips.  “Did it ever occur to you, Congressman Baxter that perhaps the training is unfairly biased toward the male gender?”
“Sex,” he responded.
“I beg your pardon?”
“The male sex.  Gender is a grammatical term which is used in the wrong context here.”
She was becoming infuriated.  “Please answer my question, Congressman Baxter.”
The Pro Tem turned to a clerk.  “I forget who has the floor.”  The clerk shrugged.
Baxter went on.  “If the gentlelady is intending to further weaken the already weakened standards of our armed forces because some little lady couldn’t hack it, I would have to say, with all due respect, that she will find some stiff opposition from this side of the aisle.  And probably on her side of the aisle too.”
Latourette’s anger got the best of her as she sputtered.  “Why of all the -- I don’t believe what I’m hearing -- Mister Speaker . . . ”
Several voices joined hers.
“Mister Speaker!”
“Point of order!”
“Will the gentlelady yield?”
The Pro Tem finally slammed the gavel down sharply.  “The House will be in order.  The gentlelady from Louisiana has the floor.”
The “gentlelady” in question finally calmed down a bit and continued where she had left off.  “As I was saying, Private Wiggins goes on to detail the most demeaning and I must say, unfair treatment of her at the hands of her drill instructor.   I quote--”  She proceeded to read portions of the letter, describing Wiggins’ experience with Gunnery Sergeant Gore -- though she did not mention him by name -- with repeated statements of the overall   “unfairness” of the obstacle course as well as other aspects of the training.  Latourette ended with an impassioned plea for “fairness” in the training given in the armed forces.  “And so, Mister Speaker, I will introduce a bill which will insure that men and women are given equal treatment when to comes to military training and that people like Private Darla Wiggins are not treated in such a disgraceful manner.”
Her speech produced quite a bit of applause, especially from the more liberal members of the House (most of whom were on her side of the aisle), and an almost equal amount of groans from some on the other side.  Baxter turned to Congressman Bill White of Kansas.
“‘Gender norming.’ ”
“They call it ‘gender norming.’  Making the standards lower so women can meet them.  But it’s another ‘BOHICA.”
White smiled and shook his head. “‘BOHICA?’  What’s that?”
“It’s an old expression government employees use a lot - 'Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.’”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Giacomo Giammatteo: The IAN Interview

I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware, that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences. 

Somehow I survived the transition to adulthood, but when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 41 animals—12 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy. 

Since this is a bio some of you might wonder what I do. By day I am a headhunter, scouring the country for top talent to fill jobs in the biotech and medical device industry. In the evening I help my wife tend the animals, and at night—late at night—I turn into a writer. 

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book.
GG. Murder Takes Time is a story about three young boys—best friends—who swear an oath to be friends forever. The book begins with a brutal murder, and it falls into the mystery/thriller genre, but it is really a story about friendship and how experiences in life affect people in different ways; in fact, the series is called the Friendship & Honor Series. This is book one. 

IAN. How long did it take to write Murder Takes Time?
GG. It took about two months to do the first draft, then about six months to edit it.

IAN. What inspired you to write Murder Takes Time?
GG. I had been writing fantasy books, but I mostly read mysteries. One night I got an idea for doing a mystery and started it. 

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft? 
GG. I’m not a true outline person, but I always know the ending of the story before I start. I do have a basic idea of where it’s going-major plot points, etc. 

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
GG. One of the reviewers on Amazon answered this far better than I could: 
This novel is not just a murder mystery.
This novel is not just a thriller.
This novel is not just a love story.
This novel is not just a life story.

This novel is all in one.

I absolutely love that review. 

IAN. Is Murder Takes Time published in print, e-book or both?
GG. both

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
GG. A satisfying read. I’m not trying to send any messages, just tell a good story. 

IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?
GG. It is exclusive to Amazon until July 12, 2012, then it will be available at all the online sites: B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc… 

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
GG. My next release is in July/August 2012. A Bullet for Carlos, is the first book in a new series—Blood Flows South. You can read about it on my website. I will also be bringing out the second book in the Friendship & Honor Series later this year. It’s already finished, but needs some final editing. 

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
GG. if anyone wants to know more about me they can check out my blogs. Most of them are stories about the animals from our sanctuary, or my kids, or other things I’m passionate about. 

The blog is here: 

MURDER TAKES TIME by Giacomo Giammatteo 
Page count: 438
Inferno Publishing Company

Chapter 1
Rule Number One―Murder Takes Time

Brooklyn, New York—Current Day

He sipped the last of a shitty cup of coffee and stared across the street at Nino Tortella, the guy he was going to kill. Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill—and above all—patience. Patience had been the most difficult to learn. The killing came naturally. He cursed himself for that. Prayed to God every night for the strength to stop. But so far God hadn’t answered him, and there were still a few more people that needed killing.

The waitress leaned forward to refill his cup, her cleavage a hint that more than coffee was being offered. “You want more?” 

He waved a hand—Nino was heading towards his car. “Just the check, please.” 

From behind her ear she pulled a yellow pencil, tucked into a tight bun of red hair, then opened the receipt book clipped to the pocket of her apron. Cigarette smoke lingered on her breath, almost hidden by the gum she chewed. 

Spearmint, he thought, and smiled. It was his favorite, too. 

He waited for her to leave, scanned the table and booth, plucked a few strands of hair from the torn cushion and a fingernail clipping from the windowsill. After putting them into a small plastic bag, he wiped everything with a napkin. The check was $4.28. He pulled a five and a one from his money clip and left them on the table. As he moved to the door he glanced out the window. Nino already left the lot, but it was Thursday, and on Thursdays Nino stopped for pizza.
He parked three blocks from Nino’s house, finding a spot where the snow wasn’t piled high at the curb. After pulling a black wool cap over his forehead, he put leather gloves on, raised the collar on his coat then grabbed his black sports bag. Favoring his left leg, he walked down the street, dropping his eyes if he passed someone. The last thing he wanted was a witness remembering his face.

He counted the joints in the concrete as he walked. Numbers forced him to think logically, kept his mind off what he had to do. He didn’t want to kill Nino. He had to. It seemed as if all of his life he was doing things he didn’t want to do. He shook his head, focused on the numbers again. 
When he drew near the house, he cast a quick glance to ensure the neighbors’ cars weren’t there. The door took less than thirty seconds to open. He kept his hat and gloves on, walked into the kitchen, and set his bag on the counter. He removed a pair of tongs and a shot glass, and set them on the coffee table. A glance around the room had him straightening pictures and moving dirty dishes to the sink. A picture of an older woman stared at him from a shelf above an end table. Might be his mother, he thought, and gently set it face down. Back to the kitchen. He opened the top of the black bag and removed two smaller bags. He set one in the fridge and took the other with him. 

The contents of the second bag—hair and other items—he spread throughout the living room. The crime scene unit would get a kick out of that. He did one final check, removed a baseball bat from the bag, then sat on the couch behind the door. The bat lay on the cushion beside him. While he stretched his legs and leaned back, he thought about Nino. It would be easy to just shoot him, but that wouldn’t be fair. Renzo suffered for what he did; Nino should too. He remembered Mamma Rosa’s warnings, that the things people did would come back to haunt them. Nino would pay the price now. 

A car pulled into the driveway. He sat up straight and gripped the bat.