The Mathews Family

Mathews Family Saga Book 1

Under the pen name Trana Mathews, I self-published this early American historical fiction in January 2020. It is available in ebook and paperback formats. Here’s a brief synopsis:

From their beginnings in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, their lives have been intertwined with American history. Known facts about this 18th century family are listed in my book trailer.

As a young child, Increase “Ink” witnesses the birth of the United States. Along with his mother and siblings, he remains on the farm while their older male relatives join the ranks of the Continental Army. After the war ends, social and political unrest continues throughout central Massachusetts during the period known as Shays’s Rebellion and a battle takes place inside New Braintree.

Ink’s uncle Rufus Putnam, brother-in-law Captain Jonathan Stone, and older brother John Mathews are among the “First 48” settlers to Ohio in 1788. The peace of their settlement is soon shattered. Trying to divest the land of these new Americans, Indians attack and massacre many pioneers. The British also prove problematic. Conflict continues in the Ohio Country for almost ten years.

My historical fiction includes transcripts of actual letters written between family members during the 18th century.

I’m a member of The Independent Author Network and available to answer your questions at Goodreads Author Trana Mathews. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Join my YouTube channel for book trailer updates.

Trana’s Interview

Why are you interviewing yourself?

Unfortunately another independent author has not sent me a private message on Goodreads to arrange an interview. Since this is Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about my ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War.

Who served in this legendary war?

While my third great-grandfather Dr. Increase Mathews “Ink” is the narrator for all my historical fiction novels in the Mathews Family Saga series, born in 1772, he was too young to serve but relates the history of his entire family. Their service records are contained within the multiple volumes of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War.

Daniel Mathews Jr.

This is Ink’s father who served as both a matross and a bombardier. These were artillery positions which loaded and fired the cannon. Daniel had previously served with the British military during the French & Indian war in America.

Elisha “Lish” Mathews

Ink’s eldest brother who briefly served twice during this war. Lish was also part of the Massachusetts militia called out to suppress Shays’s Rebellion which occurred in central Massachusetts after the war ended.

John Mathews

Ink’s older brother who was only age 16 when he joined the Continental Army in December 1780. After the war ended, he surveyed the Seven Ranges for the Confederated Congress in 1786. He provisioned many frontier forts during the Indian War in the Northwest Territory and witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.

Captain Jonathan Stone

Married Ink’s eldest sister Susannah and served with Rufus Putnam as paymaster at West Point. Part of the Massachusetts militia who suppressed Shays’s Rebellion. Listed among the first settlers to Ohio, bringing Susannah and their children to the frontier in 1789.

Brigadier-General Rufus Putnam

The youngest brother of Ink’s mother Huldah Putnam Mathews. Rufus served the Continental Army as General Washington’s chief military engineer. Like his brother-in-law Daniel, he also served with the British during the French & Indian War.

After the war ended, he submitted the Newburgh Petition to the Confederated Congress asking that military land warrants be issued to veterans. He organized and sold shares in the Ohio Company of Associates to veterans to settle land in the Northwest Territory. Today, he is known as “The Father of Ohio” for his role in settling the Northwest Territory.

What inspired you to write about your ancestors?

As a young teen, I was assigned a genealogy project. While working on this, my mom shared a small booklet which was a 1932 limited edition of Increase’s 1798 travel journal which had been published for family members. Reading his words gave me a view of our country’s history not found in textbooks!

Also, during the 1980s in company with my mom, aunt, and daughter, I had toured Increase’s home. He had built this house in 1805 using stone from his quarry. The Muskingum Historical Society has owned his residence since 1970, provides tours of this museum, and describes it as the area’s oldest building.

What is the best thing your research revealed?

The personal letters between family members! By today’s standard, some would call historian Samuel P. Hildreth a hoarder. I’m so thankful that he accumulated so much material. In addition to his collection, Marietta College also has Special Collections for John Mathews and Rufus Putnam.

Like Increase’s journal, these letters show a glimpse of our country not found in a textbook. John’s early letters downplay Indian aggression. In fact, he thinks others are imagining danger where there isn’t any. He changes his mind and later barely survives a massacre!

My original intent was just to write about Increase. Getting the transcripts of these personal letters changed my focus to his entire family. These were too important not to be shared.

Thanks to all who have served in the United States forces! Our country wouldn’t exist today without the efforts of the many men and women who serve.

The Mathews Family book cover
The Mathews Family

War of the Twin Swords

Prequel to “Amy’s Rebellion”

Julia Goldhirsh has published another Arthurian fantasy novel in her Gemstone Massacre Series. Here’s a brief synopsis:

On the night before Argentum’s Choosing ceremony, she overhears talks of a potential war. In a desperate attempt to gain more power for her clan, she goes after Clarent but gets more than she bargained for. Her clan rejects her because of her cursed familiar. When she goes off into the woods to blow off some steam, she runs into the enemy’s leader, Joan. But Joan warns her their enemy is not who they think it is.

You can purchase this novel on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or as an audiobook for Apple. You can find out more about this Arthurian fantasy novelist on her website or ask her questions at Goodreads Author Julia Goldhirsh. She is also on Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. You may want to join her YouTube channel or newsletter.

Julia’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

People always assume this is a binary decision, but that’s just not the case for me. You can be and I am an ambivert meaning you’re introverted in some ways and extroverted in others. This just means I feel equally fulfilled being at home reading a book or being out and about in a crowd. I often get clocked as an extrovert, but I have qualities of both an introvert and extrovert.

A bit of both for you!

Science has advanced, and we can now colonize other planets. Do you (1) sign up to be a colonist OR (2) remain on Earth?

Okay I had to answer this because my Nymph’s Revenge series talks about colonialism and industrialism and the harm it does. I don’t want to be a colonist. I’d love to visit other planets, but colonize them? No thanks. How about let those other species live their lives and don’t trample all over whatever society and culture they might already have in place.

Not a colonist, just a visitor!

Do you find it (1) easy to give a witty retort OR (2) think of what you should have said after the conversation is over?

I find that pre and post conversation is generally when I come up with witty retorts. Generally, I have a hard time thinking of something on the spot or if I do think of something, I usually feel way too awkward to say it aloud unless I really want to ruin that relationship with the person. I have 2 settings sunshine nugget and savage there’s really no inbetween.

Witty retorts are not your style!

Are you (1) a morning person OR (2) a night owl?

I’m a night owl, but not entirely by choice. I just have a hard time focusing during the day time because of constant interruptions and work obligations. I also have a hard time falling asleep, so I generally lean into that and use late night times to get work done even though it’s not really good for my health. Plus I always worked in the evenings, so up until now I’ve mostly been able to get away with late night work and reading sessions.

Interesting perspective!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

I’ve never been a big fan of art, but tried to be interested in it because my mother went to art school and my whole family loves art. I’d say I’m more inspired by natural phenomenon the most. I especially like places like Blue pond in Hokkaido and the Beppu no Jigoku aka the Beppu hells (hot springs).

Nature lover!

(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

I can name several favorites, but not just one. That’s like asking me to choose between children. I have favorite novels for certain things like favorite novels to get over a breakup or favorite nostalgia re-read (Inkheart).

Can’t say just one!

Thanks for being interviewed, Julia!

War of the Twin Swords book cover
War of the Twin Swords

Friends in Low Places

Vince Wetzel’s debut contemporary fiction novel was published this April. Here’s a brief synopsis:

How strong are the bonds of friendship? Four lifelong buddies go on their annual trip to the lake, but this time to spread Jim’s ashes and read his ragged notebook, chronicling every adventure of the past 20 years. Over the course of their final trip together, they will read Jim’s journal through his uncensored eyes, reliving their shared laughter, life moments, revelations, and regret while coming to accept their grief. Friends in Low Places is a funny, poignant, sometimes heartbreaking portrayal of male relationships and the support they provide as boys mature into men.

You can find out more about this contemporary fiction author on his website or at Goodreads Author Vince Wetzel. He’s also on Twitter at @wetzelv.

Vince’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

I am an extrovert who also sees value in quiet time. In my regular job, I interact, make presentations, connect people and it brings me a lot of energy and excitement. However, I love the time when I can just sit by myself with some music and a beer and look at a firepit or a body of water and just be.

An extrovert who also enjoys quiet times!

Your novel brought you fame and fortune. Do you spend approximately $2 million on (1) an expensive car OR (2) a Hollywood-style RV?

I definitely get a nice RV, though I hope I can also hire a driver for it to remove that stress. I’ve thought that in retirement it would be great to travel to different spots on the northern West Coast and just watch the waves crash across the rocks in the cool crisp air. I would wake up with my coffee, sit outside amongst the seagulls and the marine layer of fog, and it would be the best way to write.

Driver hired for you!

Are you a person who (1) makes and follows New Year resolutions OR (2) never bothers with resolutions?

I don’t think of them as resolutions, but rather goals. Resolutions are made to be broken. Goals are made to be achieved. I usually set yearly goals, then break them down into quarterly and then weekly goals. It helps to keep me accountable for what I want to achieve. I think the key is creating process and habit, which brings you to achievement and results.

Goal achiever!

Are you (1) a morning person OR (2) a night owl?

When I was younger, I was definitely a night owl, partially because I was a sportswriter and worked 3-midnight and by the time I came down from the deadline rush, it would be 2-3 a.m. Twenty years later, I’ve adopted morning mystique. Perhaps it comes from my father, a farmer who was out the door by 6 am. But there is a peace and open-ended energy that comes from pre-dawn.

Interesting perspective!

What is your (1) favorite book quote OR (2) favorite movie quote?

“When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment or the moment defines you. I did not shrink from the challenge, I rose to it. If I had it to do all over again, I’d still hit that shot.” – Roy McElvoy, (Kevin Costner in the movie Tin Cup)

Of course, this quote is followed by another “Greatness courts failure, Romeo.” While he rose to the challenge, he always let his ego drive him. There are moments where you can’t move forward by being reactive. You have to be proactive and define the situation. Of course, sometimes that may mean failure, but you can’t be afraid of failure. You can try to mitigate the impact or find alternatives, but understand how failure is a part of success and achievement and you can define your life. I believe that if intentions are good and pure and rooted in the right things, good outcomes are more likely to be achieved.

Defining the moments!

Thanks for being interviewed, Vince!

Friends in Low Places book cover
Friends in Low Places

Duplicity of Power

Wild Heritance Book 1

S. Lynn Helton’s debut novel in the Wild Hertiance series is an epic, action and adventure fantasy novel.  Here’s a brief synopsis:

Namid is a leader within the Shadowers, a select guild of rogues in the decrepit city of Rhadanthus. While she has not always been a Shadower, among them she has found a refuge of sorts from darker times. By chance, she rescues a stranger from the brink of death, only to be plunged into chaos and adventure when a long-forgotten threat upends her hard-won haven and sends her fleeing for her life.

Caught up in the stranger’s quest, Namid and her unusual allies find themselves cast across the Six Realms of the Monarch and beyond. Antiquity and present clash, entangling the unlikely band in power struggles, the machinations of gods, and the dangers of a past thought left behind.

What at first seemed a fool’s errand to restore a legendary artifact of Power becomes a gambit for the Six Realms’ fate – and her own. And Namid doesn’t even believe in fate!

You can find out more about this action and adventure author on her website, at All Author, or on Facebook. You may ask her questions at Goodreads Author S. Lynn Helton.

Lynn’s Interview

What is your (1) most favorite thing to do OR (2) least favorite thing to do?

My most favorite thing to do is read. I’ve been reading since I was four – one of the earliest pictures of me shows me with a book in my hand. I love reading because I can experience other places and other people’s views at very little expense and without having to pack a bag and run off somewhere. (Although I do love to visit new places, too!) I can discover new worlds from reading, both real and imaginary, or learn more about our world. Give me a book and I’m happy! 🙂

Book lover extraordinaire!

Do you prefer to read (1) an audiobook OR (2) a paperback?

I prefer to read a physical book, paperback or hardcover doesn’t matter. I like holding the book in my hands, turning the pages. While I’ve listened to a couple of audiobooks—and they were excellent—I’m more of a visual person and so get more from the story when I’m actually reading the words. And I like how it’s just me and the writer, with no one else’s interpretations involved.

Total immersion in an actual book for you!

Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

I definitely love too many to pick just one. Although, at any given time I might have one that’s my favorite at that moment. I do have some all-time favorite authors, C. S. Friedman and Roger Zelazny to name a couple of them. But even among their books, I can’t always pick a favorite. I love discovering new-to-me writers with novels that join my too-many-to-just-pick-one list.

A true bibliophile!

You prefer (1) to people watch OR (2) bird watch?

Can I say both? 😀 I enjoy people-watching – it’s a great source of ideas for characterizations of people for stories. I can get ideas from how I see people interacting, perhaps mannerisms they have, different ways of holding themselves and dressing and wearing the adornments they’ve chosen for themselves. I do also enjoy watching birds, though, especially little birds. I love how they flutter and flit about, always seeming to be in motion.

Yes, you may!

Do you write when the mood takes you or at a set time?

While it’s definitely easiest to write when I’m in the mood for it, I’ve learned that it’s not required. Having a family doesn’t always give me the option of writing when I want, so I’ve adapted to writing when I can. With our various schedules, I seem to have most of most weekday mornings for my stuff, so that time has become my default “set writing time”. Although it’s also sometimes my editing time, my marketing time, my research time…. I try to keep it all writing related! I do still sneak in other times for writing, especially when I’ve got an idea I just have to get written down.

Primarily when she can slot the time!

Thanks for being interviewed, Lynn!

Duplicity of Power book cover
Duplicity of Power


Sorty Makin’ a Doctor

Brutally Honest, Wildly Entertaining

Memoir author J. Douglas Smith has published his debut novel which is a combination of memoir, sports, and spirituality. Here is a synopsis:

A memoir that follows one man from lower middle class in the midwestern United States through medical school, thirty years of practicing medicine to his transition into coaching high school basketball. The statement that true life is stranger than fiction is no more accurate than when we look at the world through a lenses of a physician, especially one who spent a lot of time in the Emergency Department. You’ve never met a doctor who got help from a convict, had a pepper eating contest with a man called “Fat Whore,” participated in American Ninja Warrior, and took a canoe trip down river with a nude Intensive Care doctor. The story is told with humor, humility, and brutal honesty that stirs all of the emotions.

You can find out more about this memoir author on his website. You may send him a Tweet at @SortofaDoctor1, an Instagram at sortofadoctor1, or find him on LinkedIn. See what he’s reading or ask him questions at Goodreads Author J Douglas Smith.

Doug’s Interview

You prefer (1) to eat a home-cooked meal with family and friends OR (2) to eat in a big-name restaurant?

Home with family and friends hands down. Everyone can be himself, unafraid of spills, and nobody has to be concerned about the cost of the meal. For three years running after my dad had a stroke, we have had my parents over weekly for Sunday dinner. It is definitely time that we all cherish.

Family meals for you!

Do you (1) buy an item on impulse OR (2) save up to buy the item?

Your joking, right? Save. I can’t say I’ve never bought anything on impulse, but I’m usually the guy who can walk in the store and leave with the one item he has planned to purchase. That planning usually takes a fair amount of time.

Controllable shopping!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

I think I’m equally inspired by both. I live on a small farm and enjoy seeing life constantly evolving and regenerating there. I love the last visible rays of sunlight as Old Sol says so long for the night. I’m also deeply moved by art–music, literature, and movies in particular.

Balanced mix!

Your significant other or child asked you to do something you don’t like to do. Do you (1) grin and bear it OR (2) mumble to yourself while doing the task?

Most times I grin and bear it. My love language is acts of service. In turn, I feel like I best show love when serving others. When I do stumble with a grumble, I am comforted to know that God provided me with a resource that lets me know that it’s ok to be human. (Matthew 21:28-32)

Tries not to ever grumble!

What is your favorite (1) song OR (2) book?

It’s much easier for me to say with certainty what my favorite song is than I am able to single out one book, movie, or tv show. If I have any friends or family left when I cross-over, Roll with the Changes by REO Speedwagon will undoubtedly be played at my celebration of life. Every time I hear the first two notes of that song, I’m instantly transported back to the insouciance of youth and to fantastic memories of shared experiences with my family and closest friends. Besides, no matter what life throws at you, what else can you do but Roll with the Changes?

Turn some pages!

Thanks for being interviewed, Doug!

Sorty Makin' a Doctor book cover
Sorty Makin’ a Doctor