J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “May, 2016”

Release Day Blitz for Short Story Collection

 

Title: All of Me

Author: Jonali Karmakar

Length: 69 pages

Publication Date: May 29, 2016

ASIN: B01G0P8JGK

Book Blurb:

All of Me is a collection of thirteen little stories that have been gleaned from real life as well as imagination. Exploring a range of genres, these throb with everything primal to human nature: fear, angst, joy, love, and longing. Some stories are designed to elicit smiles, chuckles, and maybe even a belly laugh or two whereas some are meant as a reality check. Universal in nature, each story provides a glimpse of what women empowerment or a lack thereof can mean in a person’s life.

From a small hamlet in India to the roads of Australia; from a mother’s betrayal to a daughter’s confession; from an extra marital affair to a same sex relationship learn for yourself the what, how and whys.

Originally written for anthologies and ezines, these stories have been revisited and updated for this new collection.

 

Excerpts from stories in All of Me:

1

Instead there were so many questions that started to raise their bantam heads. Why did she drive the winding lanes into the past to warm herself? What was it that she was hoping to find? Had she really blamed Palash for naught? Over the years had she made him less a person who had lived and breathed and more the dream of one? It was not impossible what he had accused her of.

Ira looked at the man before her and matched him to her memories of him. They seemed two very different beings! Waves of humiliation washed over her until she was rigid with misery. The purpose of this trip was lost on her.

For a while she let his words run through her head like cool water on a headache and dared to examine her sentiments in the privacy of her thoughts. She let the long buried memories surface and in the one moment saw everything and wanted not to, wanted to make it go away, to unknow. In finding closure she had unearthed a truth that she wasn’t willing to face ever.

2

She liked her job. It was good. Brought in quick money. Left her enough hours for cramming her boring science papers. What else can one expect? There were quite a few perks too. Posh parties where cocktails, five star food and good contacts flowed uninterruptedly not necessarily in the same order. Whatever. It was fun.

Okay it wasn’t a job to be proud of she agreed. But she wasn’t ashamed of what she did. Still it was a put-outer when people shriveled their nose after learning about her profession. As if she reeked! So she didn’t advertise her work much. Clients came in on their own. She had a reputation. Word of mouth was her advertisement. 

Namita was one of the best. A little pricey but satisfaction guaranteed. Naturally her clientele list included only a handful. She liked to stick to her regulars. Knowing each other intimately created a comfort zone which she thought was essential. Mutual enjoyment was her mantra. She diligently noted their likes and specially their dislikes. Their preferences for toys. The usual. 

It was a little tricky with the fly-by-night customers. It usually meant a day call. She preferred evenings. If the money was good she accepted. But she didn’t compromise with her three-days-a-night policy. In such situations Namita ditched one of her regulars by calling in sick. A little ditching was healthy especially since her work was so damn physically tiring. She only accepted them after seeing their medical certificates. It irked some but she never budged. She didn’t want to pickup something nasty from them. If they wanted her it was on her terms.

 

About the Author:

Jonali Karmakar is a fiction writer with a Masters in English. Writing is not just her passion but her way of dealing with life. She loves being able to escape into the worlds she creates. Everything that she writes becomes a part of her and she wants her readers to know the woman behind those words. In addition to being an educator, she works as a content editor for a local news portal. She has been providing editing, proofreading and translation services for the past few years.

Jonali’s work has been published in several journals, anthologies and poetry collections both national and international. An avid reader, she loves flipping pages of anything and everything on the table and reviewing the same on her blog Eclectic Moods. She feels that reading and writing are the flip sides of the same coin. Writing is her way of communicating with the world. When she’s not writing or teaching she loves to experiment with her paintings.

She has quite a few accolades to her name.

Contact the Author:

Blog * TwittereMail

 

This Feature is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours

 

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Shame on You, Louisville

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And shame on you, Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman. Yesterday, this judge decided that the 120-year-old Confederate monument near the University of Louisville should be removed. Regardless of numerous protests from the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Louisville residents, Judge McDonald-Burkman decided that the monument should be moved, despite the fact that it could be seriously damaged and that the city does not own it. The monument has been at its location since 1895, but suddenly, political correctness dictates that it should be removed from sight.

Burkman lifted a temporary restraining order preventing the city from removing the monument. She also denied a motion for a temporary injunction that would have blocked the monument’s removal. Burkman asked the city not to take any action until she issues a written ruling later on.

Former congressional candidate Everett Corley spoke in support of keeping the monument at its current location. He said that he is a descendant of a Kentucky Civil War soldier and a former University of Louisville student.”This monument could have been here for the next 200 years and no harm would have been done to anyone,” he said.

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Apparently, the monument has no historical protections, which makes it an easy target. Louisville’s Mayor Fischer and the University of Louisville President James Ramsey promised to relocate the monument to “an appropriate historical venue in the near future,” whatever that means. In the meantime, the monument, or what is left of it after it is displaced, will be stashed away in storage. Out of sight, out of mind, right Mayor?

The cultural cleansing of the South is becoming a very real, very scary problem. It doesn’t matter that the monument was a gift to the city way back in 1895, which should afford it some sort of historical protection. The monument includes three bronze statues of Confederate soldiers. Its inscription reads: Tribute to the rank and file of the armies of the South.” How this is racist is beyond me. In my opinion, it’s just plain disrespectful.

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http://www.theeagle.com/news/nation/louisville-judge-clears-way-for-confederate-monument-removal/article_fbc1d5f8-b635-5deb-acbc-8b6b6c492eed.html

Flags Not Allowed in Cemeteries

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It seems those who are hell bent on getting rid of the Confederate battle flag and monuments have reached a deadlock, so now they are concentrating their efforts on cemeteries. Really? Like they don’t have anything more pertinent to discuss and take action on than Confederate battle flags being placed in cemeteries? Who in their right mind could be offended by the placement of battle flags on the graves of soldiers who fought and died under them? What kind of sick mind twists it into their politically correct agenda, claiming the flags are racist? Really?

Here’s the latest ludicrous attack: last Thursday, a vote was presented to the House of Representatives by California Democrat Rep. Jared Huffman. It was introduced as an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prohibit the Confederate battle flag from being flown over some federal cemeteries. The amendment passed with a vote of 265 to 159, and specifically prevents the flag from being flown in cemeteries maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Georgia Democrat Rep. Sanford Bishop, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was the only Democrat who voted against the amendment. Apparently, the vote for the Confederate flag took precedence over the House’s scheduled discussion of spending legislation.

A top staffer for Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland compared the effort to ban the Confederate battle flag to the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists, who are engaging in cultural cleansing. “You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL. I urge you to vote no,” Pete Sanborn, Westmoreland’s legislative director, wrote in a missive, to no avail.

Now only tiny Confederate battle flags are allowed to be placed on soldiers’ graves, and only on Memorial Day and Confederate Memorial Day. Slowly but surely, politicians are whittling away at our rights. Just be careful who you vote for.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/house-republicans-ax-spending-bill-talks-confederate-flag-amendments/

Latest Book by Falguni Kothari on Blog Tour

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Earlier this week, I featured the new novel by Falguni Kothari titled My Last Love Story, for her release day blitz. I asked the author some questions about her book and writing, and our interview is as follows:

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Please tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.

Hello! I am NY-based hybrid author and I write novels about India mostly and its diaspora. I’m published in romance and fantasy fiction and with My Last Love Story, my latest book, I’ve added women’s fiction to my writer repertoire.

My Last Love Story is a narrative about an unconventional love triangle between a fate-battered young woman, Simeen, who has come to fear love and happiness, her terminal husband, Nirvaan, who wants Simeen to stop living in fear, and their best friend, Zayaan, the man Simeen had once agreed to marry. This novel is an exploration on the complexities of trauma and the true qualities of love.

How did you come up with its title?

My working title for this story was Love Undeniable. Heart Unreliable. For about 60% of my first draft, this title was stuck in my head. I thought it held a nice ring of truth to it. But then I wrote a scene between Simeen and Nirvaan in which she tells him that he was her last love story. It was like an epiphany. I immediately realized that I’d stumbled on gold. I’m so happy that the right title came to me at the right moment.

Who is your favorite character in MLLS?

I don’t have a favorite. I love them all.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?

I think mythic fantasy because it takes the best parts of all other genres into itself. A good fantasy novel has action and adventure, an epic love story, a mystery, the paranormal, life lessons, women of strength and men of valor woven into it. It has a story within a story. It is a coming of age story. You get the drift.

How would you describe your writing style?

I’m both a pantser and a plotter, depending on the book I’m writing. My prose is easy to follow and humorous. It is snarky and smexy at times, but mostly its just fun.

What authors inspire your writing? Do you have a mentor?

Many authors have inspired me. Many other people besides authors have inspired me to write. MLLS was in part inspired by a cousin who succumbed to cancer way too early in life. We were both teenagers when she was diagnosed, and it was horrible. She was a writer too. She kept journals and wrote letters and her thoughts about life and love and everything in between in them. I’ve dedicated MLLS to her.

No, I don’t have a mentor.

What would you like to be if you weren’t a writer?

I am a woman—I love that. I was a jewelry designer in the distant past. I was a potter. I am a mother, a daughter, a wife and a dog companion. I have my hands full even if I wasn’t writing. But, I am incredibly glad that I am one.

What are you working on now?

I am plotting Book 2 in my Age of Kali mythic fantasy series.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Find your niche and sit down and write. Don’t think about what happens after the manuscript. Finish the manuscript first.

If you have to choose only one book to keep, knowing the others would be destroyed, which one would you save?

The Mahabharata. It’s the longest and most comprehensive Indian epic and it is said that all things related to man and God, earth and the sky are found within it. That if something exists, it has a place in the Mahabharata. If that is true, then saving the epic would make the most sense.

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About the Book:

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before YouMy Last Love Story is a heartbreakingly romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul. 

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible. 

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon US * Amazon IN


Advance Praise:

At once heartbreaking, delightful and completely unexpected. A must read! 

~ Sonali Dev, author of The Bollywood Affair

In My Last Love Story, Kothari examines love and loss, desire and desolation, with a deft, wry touch that kept me reading late into the night and moved me to tears. 

~ Julia Tagan, author of Stages of Desire


About the Author:


Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.

Contact the Author:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest 

Dear Readers, thank you for coming along on the My Last Love Story Blog Tour. Here’s an excerpt to enjoy.

ONE

“Love is a dish best served naked.”

As a child, those oft-quoted words of my father would have me rolling my eyes and pretending to gag at what I’d imagined was my parents’ precursor to a certain physical act.

At thirty, I’d long ago realized that getting naked wasn’t a euphemism for sex.

Neither was love.

It wasn’t my father wording the meme just now but my husband. Nirvaan considered himself a great wit, a New Age philosopher. On the best of days, he was, much like Daddy had been. On the worst days, he was my tormentor.

“What do you think, Dr. Archer? Interesting enough tagline for a vlog? What about ‘Baby in a Petri Dish’?” Nirvaan persisted in eliciting a response from the doctor and/or me for his ad hoc comedy, which we’d been ignoring for several minutes now.

I wanted to glare at him, beg him to shut up, or demand that he wait in the doctor’s office like he should’ve done, like a normal husband would have. Khodai knows why he’d insisted on holding my hand through this preliminary checkup. Nothing of import would happen today—if it did at all. But I couldn’t perform any such communication, not with my eyes and mouth squeezed shut while I suffered through a series of uncomfortable twinges along my nether regions.

I lay flat on my back on a spongy clinic bed sheeted with paper already wrinkled and half torn. Legs drawn up and spread apart, my heels dug punishingly into cold iron stirrups to allow my gynecologist’s clever fingers to reach inside my womb and check if everything was A-OK in there. We’d already funneled through the Pap test and stomach and chest checks. Like them, this test, too, was going swell in light of Dr. Archer’s approving happy hums.

“Excellent, Mrs. Desai. All parts are where they should be,” he joked only as a doctor could.

I shuddered out the breath I’d been holding, as the feeling of being stretched left my body. Nirvaan squeezed my hand and planted a smacking kiss on my forehead. I opened my eyes and focused on his beaming upside-down ones. His eyelids barely grew lashes anymore—I’d counted twenty-seven in total just last week—the effect of years of chemotherapy. For a second, my gaze blurred, my heart wavered, and I almost cried.

What are we doing, Nirvaan? What in Khodai’s name were we starting?

Nirvaan stroked my hair, his pitch-black pupils steady and knowing and oh-so stubborn. Then, his face rose to the stark white ceiling, and all I saw was the green-and-blue mesh of his gingham shirt—the overlapping threads, the crisscross weaves, a pattern without end.

Life is what you make it, child. It was another one of my father’s truisms.

Swallowing the questions twirling on my tongue, I refocused my mind on why we were here. I’d promised Nirvaan we’d try for a baby if he agreed to another round of cancer-blasting treatments. I’d bartered for a few more months of my husband’s life. He’d bartered for immortality through our child.

Dr. Archer rolled away from between my legs to the computer station. He snapped off and disposed of the latex gloves. Then, he began typing notes in near-soundless staccato clicks. Though the examination was finished, I knew better than to sit up until he gave me leave. I’d been here before, done this before—two years ago when Nirvaan had been in remission and the idea of having a baby had wormed its way into his head. We’d tried the most basic procedures then, whatever our medical coverage had allowed. We hadn’t been desperate yet to use our own money, which we shouldn’t be touching even now. We needed every penny we had for emergencies and alternative treatments, but try budging my husband once he’d made up his mind.

“I’m a businessman, Simi. I only pour money into a sure thing,” he rebuked when I argued.

I brought my legs together, manufacturing what poise and modesty I could, and pulled the sea-green hospital gown bunched beneath my bottom across my half-naked body. I refused to look at my husband as I wriggled about, positive his expression would be pregnant with irony, if not fully smirking. And kudos to him for not jumping in to help me like I would have.

The tables had turned on us today. For the past five years, it’d been Nirvaan thrashing about on hospital beds, trying in vain to find relief and comfort, modesty or release. Nirvaan had been poked, prodded, sliced, and bled as he battled aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’d been the stoic spectator, the supportive wife, the incompetent nurse, the ineffectual lover.

And now? What role would I play now?

As always, thinking about our life left me feeling even more naked than I was in the open-fronted robe. I turned my face to the wall, my eyes stinging, as fear and frustration bubbled to the surface. Flesh-toned posters of laughing babies, pregnant mothers, and love-struck fathers hung from the bluish walls. Side by side were the more educative ones of human anatomy, vivisected and whole. The test-tube-like exam room of Monterey Bay Fertility Clinic was decorated in true California beach colors—sea-foam walls, sandy floors, pearl-pink curtains, and furniture—bringing the outdoors in. If the decor was meant to be homey, it wasn’t having such an effect on me. This room, like this town and even this country, was not my natural habitat, and I felt out of my element in it.

I’d lived in California for seven years now, ever since my marriage, and I still didn’t think of it as home, not like Nirvaan did. Home for me was India. And no matter the dark memories it held, home would always be Surat.

“All done.” Dr. Archer pushed the computer trolley away and stood up. “You can get dressed, Mrs. Desai. Take your time. Use whatever supplies you need. We’ll wait for you in my office,” he said, smiling.

Finally, I can cover myself, I thought. Gooseflesh had erupted across my skin due to the near frigid clinic temperatures doctors tortured their patients with—like a patient didn’t have enough to suffer already. Medical facilities maintained cool indoor temperatures to deter inveterate germs from contaminating the premises and so its vast flotilla of equipment didn’t fry. I knew that. But knowing it still didn’t inspire any warm feelings in me for the “throng of professional sadists with a god complex.” I quoted my husband there.

Nirvaan captured my attention with a pat on my head. “See you soon, baby,” he said, following the doctor out of the room.

I scooted off the bed as soon as the door shut behind them. My hair tumbled down my face and shoulders at my jerky movements. I smoothed it back with shaking hands. Long, wavy, and a deep chestnut shade, my hair was my crowning glory, my one and only feature that was lush and arresting. Nirvaan loved my hair. I wasn’t to cut it or even braid it in his presence, and so it often got hopelessly knotted.

I shrugged off the clinic gown, balled it up, and placed it on the bed. I wiped myself again and again with antiseptic wipes, baby wipes, and paper towels until the tissues came away stain-free. I didn’t feel light-headed. I didn’t allow myself to freak. I concentrated on the flow of my breaths and the pounding of my heart until they both slowed to normal.

It was okay. I was not walking out with a gift-wrapped baby in tow. Not today. No reason to freak out.

I reached for my clothes and slipped on my underwear. They were beige with tiny white hearts on them—Victoria’s Secret lingerie Nirvaan had leered and whistled at this morning.

Such a silly man. Typical Nirvaan, I corrected, twisting my lips.

Even after dressing in red-wash jeans and a full-sleeved sweater, I shivered. My womb still felt invaded and odd. As I stepped into my red patent leather pumps, an unused Petri dish sitting on the workstation countertop caught my eye.

The trigger for Nirvaan’s impromptu comedy, perhaps?

Despite major misgivings about the Hitleresque direction my life had taken, humor got the better of me, and I grinned.

Silly, silly Nirvaan. Baby in a Petri dish, indeed.

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Giveaway:

$50 Amazon Giveaway

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Good News!

With all the attacks on anything related to the Confederacy, there are some things that are still being held intact. The following letter describes one of these instances. Although J.E.B. Stuart’s birthday anniversary was last week, I just received this letter, and I think it’s a wonderful victory. What do you think?

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JEB Stuart Portrait Returns to Display in Patrick County Building
Shortly after Patrick County Judge Martin Clark committed the disgraceful  act of having a portrait of Patrick County native and Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart removed from the Patrick County Courthouse, and following a swift and very vocal outcry of disgust with Judge Clark’s action by her citizens,  the Patrick County Board of Supervisors voted  to display the portrait on the “Wall of Honor” on the second floor of the Patrick Veterans Memorial Building. The portrait has been restored and encased in special glass, and a new bronze plaque has been installed.
Tomorrow, Thursday, May 12th, the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust will host an official and public unveiling of the portrait, on the anniversary of his death.  The ceremony will take place at 10:0 a.m. and will include Patrick County and town of Stuart officials, Stuart family members, and JEB Stuart re-enactor Wayne Jones, who organized and led a rally to protest the removal on the Courthouse steps shortly after the portrait was removed, and who will be a guest speaker at the event.
The ceremony is open to the public. The Patrick Veterans Memorial Building is at at 106 Rucker St. in Stuart, Virginia.
In this case, the PC attempt by Judge Clark to remove a beloved hero and Patrick County son from public view failed miserably, and has led to the portrait being restored and put on display in another public building where it can be seen by even more citizens.
Please take a moment to thank the members of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors for their efforts in having the portrait installed on the Wall of Honor, and their courage in going against the popular trend to dishonor our veterans.
Contact info here:  http://www.co.patrick.va.us/county-supervisors
God bless the memory of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, and God Save the South!
Virginia Flaggers
(Courtesy of Southern Heritage News & Views, May 16, 2016 ed.)

Release Day Blitz

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Conversation with Simeen Desai from My Last Love Story.

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Introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello! I’m Simeen Desai née Batliwala but I’m mostly known as Simi. I’m from Surat, India, but I now live with my husband in California. We’ve recently moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea from LA to indulge my husband, Nirvaan. He’s terminal, you see, and its part of his bucket list.

That’s a…difficult situation to be in. Are you up to this game then?

Simi: Yes, of course.

So, it’ll go like this. I’ll ask five random questions and you answer them as truthfully as you can. Okay?

Simi: Okay.

First question: Who would you like to trade places with for one month?

Simi: Marie Antoinette. I’ve been reading a book about her and I want to know if she was as frivolous as historians make her out to be.

Have you ever had an experience that led you to believe in angels or ghosts?

Simi: Yes. I believe my parents are angels and they look after me from heaven. I believe Nirvaan when he tells me that I shouldn’t fear his dying as he’s going to come back and haunt me forever. I’m looking forward to it.

If you could have any view from your back porch, what would it be?

Simi: I have it already. I have Carmel Beach rolled out in front of me. My inner beach bunny is very happy that Nirvaan decided to move here.

Who’s the funniest person alive?

Simi: My brother’s best friend, Zeus. He’s a big grizzly bear of a bawaji and he absolutely cracks me up even while saying the most innocuous things.

Which of your features would you like to change?

Simi: My insult of a large nose. It’s too big for my face and bumpy.

That’s it, Simi. You did good! I’m sure our readers are intrigued.

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About the Book:

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Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before YouMy Last Love Story is a heartbreakingly romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul. 

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible. 

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon US * Amazon IN


Advance Praise:

At once heartbreaking, delightful and completely unexpected. A must read! 

~ Sonali Dev, author of The Bollywood Affair

In My Last Love Story, Kothari examines love and loss, desire and desolation, with a deft, wry touch that kept me reading late into the night and moved me to tears. 

~ Julia Tagan, author of Stages of Desire


About the Author:


Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.

Contact the Author:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest 

Giveaway Details:

1 Copy of My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari

Paperback Copy if the Winner is US or Indian Resident / eBook for other International Winner.

 

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Update on Lee’s Headquarters

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I recently blogged about the Civil War Trust’s efforts to restore the Widow Thompson House, where General Robert E. Lee had his headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg. The CWT’s goal is to restore the house to its appearance in 1863. The Civil War Trust also intends to restore the surrounding landscape and install an interpretive trail.

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(Photo of the Widow Thompson’s House on Chamberlain Pike taken circa 1861 – 1865.)

The stone house, built in the 1830’s, was owned by Thaddeus Stephens, the Radical Republican Pennsylvania congressman who played an important role in Civil War financing and the anti-slavery movement. The house was leased to Mary Thompson who, in 1863, was a widow living in the house with her eight children. The property surrounding the house played a pivotal role during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Located on Seminary Ridge, the house was first in the center of the Union line of defense and then became a key position for the Confederates. Lee’s army pushed out the Yankees, and the Confederate general quickly took control of the house as his headquarters. For the next three days, the house served as a hospital, fortress, and nerve center for the Confederate army.

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In the 1890’s, the house was left out of the National Military Park and fell into private hands. The site became a popular attraction. Campgrounds, cottages, and a museum popped up around the house. In the 1960’s, Larson’s Motel (later Quality Inn) and a large restaurant surrounded the house.

Two years ago, the Civil War Trust announced plans to purchase and restore the property, as well as four acres surrounding the house, at a cost of $6 million. After receiving donations, the property was purchased last year. This year, restoration to the property’s 1863 appearance began with the demolition of the restaurant and motel. This first phase will be completed this month.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/quality-inn-at-general-lees-headquarters-gettysburg

http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/gettysburg/preservation/gettysburg-lees-headquarters.html?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email_update&utm_campaign=51116

 

A Battlefield Victory

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It’s always amazing when something like this happens. A few days ago, I received an email from the Civil War Trust, stating that they had secured 10 acres of the battlefield at Brandy Station. The area is known as Fleetwood Hill, where Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart had his headquarters before the surprise battle took place.

The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle to take place on North American soil. It happened on June 9, 1863, following  a Grand Review by Stuart’s troops. Union General Gregg saw the dust that was stirred up and surprised the Confederates early the following morning. The Rebels managed to reign the day and fulfill their mission, which was to mask General Robert E. Lee’s infantry as they made their way north. Brandy Station was a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Last year, the CWT secured 56 acres of the battlefield. This is significant, because housing developments had been encroaching on the area for years. It doesn’t make sense how this could have been allowed to happen, since it is hallowed ground in my opinion, but it isn’t the only Civil War battlefield that has been neglected or destroyed. The CWT has now secured over 1,900 acres at Brandy Station.

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Other significant battlefields that the CWT has been working on include Antietam and Gettysburg. A few years ago, I visited the Wilderness Battlefield, and was appalled to see how many houses were built on the hallowed site. Hopefully, the CWT can secure more land in that area as well.

Read more about the Battle of Brandy Station in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.

http://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/0595435319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462942766&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beckoning+hellfire

 

Another Travesty

I received this email a few days ago and wanted to pass it on. It is shameful that we have to even address such an atrocious issue as this.

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PLEASE READ AND WRITE THE MAYOR.
YOU CAN SEE WHERE THEY HAVE ALREADY BEGUN DIGGING AROUND THE MONUMENT.
 
LOUISVILLE, KY (AP) –
A judge has temporarily barred the city of Louisville from removing a 70-foot-tall Confederate monument from the University of Louisville campus.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman signed a restraining order Monday morning forbidding the city from moving the 121-year-old obelisk honoring Kentuckians who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Mayor Greg Fischer and University President James Ramsey announced Friday that they would remove the monument, marking the latest government to reconsider its display of Confederate symbols following the massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina last summer.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans and Everett Corley, a Republican running for Congress, filed for the restraining order on Monday. The judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday morning.
Letters of protest by the thousands should pour into the mayor’s office. His address; Mayor Greg Fischer, 527 W. Jefferson St. 4th Floor, Louisville KY 40202
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Here is one letter that was sent. I found it interesting, so I wanted to pass this on as well.
Mayor Greg Fischer, President James Ramsey, University Board of Directors, University Board of Trustees, AND THE MEDIA OUTLETS.
Across the USA, Veterans and citizens are outraged by the unlawful removal of venerated objects, and pursuant to KRS 525.105, “Desecration of venerated objects, first degree,”
YOU ARE ORDERED TO CEASE AND DESIST ALL EFFORTS TO REMOVE THE CONFEDERATE STATUE near/adjacent/within the boundaries, but in between the public streets of the city of Louisville, WHICH IS OWNED BY THE CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF LOUISVILLE, not by the University of Louisville, nor by the Metro Louisville.  MEANING, neither has the authority to remove said Confederate Statue.
ALL POLICE AGENCIES IN KENTUCKY MUST ENFORCE Kentucky Revised Statues (KRS) regarding the unlawful, unwanted, and direct desecration of the Confederate Statute!  Anyone attempting to violate the CONFEDERATE statue or their superiors must be legally be held accountable for commisions, ommission, actions, inactions, and unlawful harm to the Confederate Statue!
As I am a distant cousin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who was distantly related to Confederate States of America (CSA) President Jefferson Davis; U.S. Vice President John C. Breckinridge, U.S. President Zachary Taylor (Davis’ father-in-law), and I am related to CSA Major General William Preston (who Louisville’s “Preston Street” was named for)(He was also a USA Ambassador; and then Preston’s brother-in-law was (5 star General Albert Sydney Johnston (another Louisvillian) who led the Confederacy.  The general officers of both the Union and the Confederacy ARE ALL IN MY FAMILY, therefore, YOU MUST KNOW THAT THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF MY COUSINS IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.  We are graduates of the University of Louisville and we are UPSET THAT YOU WOULD MOVE A VETERANS MEMORIAL, whether it be representing the Union or the Confederacy.  My family also had 11-Kentucky Governors, 9-Kentucky Secretaries of State, and so on.
HERE IS A LIST OF THE HISTORIC FAMILIES EACH OF YOU ARE UPSETTING:http://www.brennancallan.com/fam1.html
Dr. Ramsey, on 17 March 2016, you released a note, “As you may have read or heard, the March 1 meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees was marred by discord, anger and tension.”
Do you sincerely believe that on top of everyone else upset by your actions over the last couple of years, that GREATLY UPSETTING VETERANS IS THE NEXT GROUP YOU WANT TO ENRAGE?
Seriously, that is not a statue that should be moved.  It is something that creates “learning opportunities.”  Dr. Ramsey, you cannot sweep away the incidents, scandals, and mistakes over your administration, but this latest move is going to anger ALL VETERANS, Re-enactment groups, heritage societies, historical societies, preservation groups.  Who is going to make ANY DONATIONS TO UL when you have upset ALL OF KENTUCKY?
Dr. Ramsey, never served in the military, and honestly, Mayor Fischer, neither did you serve in the military, therefore, neither of you should be moving a military statute that MANY OF US VIEW AS A CENOTAPH GRAVE MARKER and it places you in violation of the KENTUCKY REVISED STATUTES.  This is a VENERATED OBJECT and you cannot abuse it!
There are far better uses of your time than destroying our LOCAL HISTORY, REGIONAL HISTORY, STATE HISTORY, and NATIONAL HISTORY.
Each of you can discuss the “learning opportunities” that the statute presents, but it MUST NOT BE MOVED!
I am the PRESIDENT of the “HISTORIC PROPERTIES OF KENTUCKY, LLC” and I promise herein to join any legal INJUNCTIVE ACTION to KEEP THAT STATUE RIGHT WHERE IT HAS BEEN FOR OVER 100+ years.  Every single President of the University (since the 1860s) and every single Mayor of Louisville has had the chance to discuss, but none of them moved that statute (over the last 121 years).  WHAT IS THE URGENCY NOW?
THIS YEAR IS THE 142 RUNNING OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY and for 121 years, that Confederate monument was there.  It is strange that you are trying to move it a few days before the KENTUCKY Derby.  Anyone visiting Louisville already knows it is there.  The best way to preserve our history is to LEAVE IT WHERE THE FOLKS THAT PAID FOR IT WANTED IT.  It belongs to the families that all lost someone in that war, not to either of you.
Dr. Ramsey, removing the statue DOES NOT ABSOLVE YOU OF YOUR OTHER PREVIOUS SCANDALS AND EMBARRASSMENT TO THE UNIVERSITY, IT IS JUST ONE MORE REASON THAT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES HAS TO REMOVE YOU FROM OFFICE!  Governor Matt Bevin is reducing money to the colleges and universities and yet, YOU ARE WASTING MONEY on moving a historical statue and that is a PIECE OF HISTORY.  The purpose of a college or university is to ENSURE THAT HISTORY IS NOT REPEATED, YET, your history continues to be scandals that embarrass the Alumni, Staff, Faculty, and current students of the University of Louisville.
Each of you have positions of trust and leadership, but are you stronger by whitewashing history?  No where in your mission statements is the goal to cover up and whisk away American’s military monuments.
Mayor Fischer, as your term of office looms ahead and Dr. Ramsey, do each of you believe that you are more likely to be favored in gaining a new elected offices or job by violating a VETERANS MEMORIAL?  Mayor Fischer, Dr. Ramsey is surrounded by negative press.  He is someone best avoided instead being around his perpetual scandals.
Both the national and world economies are nearing collapse and you guys are intentionally wasting money on moving a statue.  This is WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE OF YOUR POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY!
REMOVING THE STATUE WHEN UL KEEPS INCREASING TUITION IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE USE OF MONEY!  It does not “help diversity on campus in the least.”  I am a 100% gay man and I attended UL 16 years from 1986-2001, but not once did I feel my diversity was harmed by that statue.  My mom worked there for 30-years and nine months.  It never hurt her career on campus.  My dad attended UL in the 1960s and 1970s, but he was never hurt either.  I started lots of Recognized Student Organizations on that campus when I earned 321 credit hours over those decades in school.  I started COMMONGROUND with other friends and not once did anyone feel that statue inhibited the GAY COMMUNITY AT ALL.
YOUR PROMISED, as did previous leaders of UL to “store portions of the Shipp Street (historic) Wall when the Speed Museum was expanded, yet, WE HAVE NEVER SEEN THAT WALL RETURN TO HIS PLACE OF ORIGIN.
Now we read that the statue will be refurbished, but how can you do this while tuition keeps increasing and state funding for schools decreases?  It is irresponsible to be doing all of this now.
Your unlawful actions and commissions are violating the efforts of American citizens to improve their nation the way they attempted in the 1860s, on both the Union and the Confederate sides.
Another of my famous cousins was Congressman Henry Clay, “The Great Compromiser,” and he did his best to keep America together  in the 1850s.  He tried to educate on the problems during his career to avoid slavery and disunion.  There are so many positive ways that statue can be a POSITIVE LANDMARK, but Louisville has the BAD POLICY of just hiding away building fronts allegedly to “find a better place for them later,” when it is unlikely the historic landmarks will return to such significant places as they were originally.
DR. RAMSEY, you already have the community so upset with your previous and mounting scandals that there is a LACK OF CONFIDENCE movement.  NOW YOU ARE UPSETTING ALL VETERANS IN KENTUCKY.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?  You are necessarily upsetting hundreds of thousands of Kentucky Veterans!
Both Dr. Ramsey and Mayor Fischer, the community views moving the statue as WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE in addition to a direct violation of KENTUCKY REVISED STATUTES regarding CENOTAPH GRAVE MARKERS.  These could be considered as additional charges.  PLEASE STOP WASTING TAX PAYER AND STUDENT MONEY!
LEAVE THE STATUE ALONE!
Ipse Dixit
Hon. Brennan James Callan, Col.
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This link explains an interesting point of view about all the anti-Confederate sentiment lately. Let me know what you think.

Noble Heroes Would Turn in Their Graves

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On May 2, 1863, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Robert E. Lee divided his army and sent Stonewall Jackson’s entire corps on a flanking march that routed the Union XI Corps. The battle was a Confederate victory, although the South lost one of its best generals as a result. Jackson was fired upon by his own men, who thought he and his entourage were the enemy. The accident took place at twilight, when visibility was poor, and even though Jackson’s men identified themselves, the North Carolinians who fired upon them thought they were lying. Jackson lost his arm as a result, and died several days later after contracting pneumonia. I wonder what Jackson would say now to all the political correctness going on in the country, primarily in his beloved South?

What everyone seems to be forgetting is that the Confederates fought for something they truly believed in, which was state’s rights. It had nothing to do with slavery, but now, everything honoring these brave men is under attack by politically correct activists and BLM protesters who claim the flags, monuments, and memorials are racist. I think this is BS!

Pelham statue cemetery

Dishonoring American veterans, specifically Confederate veterans, seems to be the norm these days. In Anniston, Alabama, an ordinance was passed that forbids flying the Confederate battle flag at General John Pelham’s statue on Quintard Boulevard. The city stated that the flags are racist and offensive to some people. So what? Everyone finds something offensive. Why cater to a few? That is what is commonly known as discrimination.

A group called the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report that details “publicly supported spaces dedicated to the Confederacy.” The report, titled “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy,” is a play book that is being used by anti-Confederate groups to substantiate their cause to erase history. The book includes propaganda attempting to associate the Confederacy with racist ideology. It also includes a “community action guide” offering tips and suggestions on how to benefit those who want to destroy all memorials to Confederate heritage. And the Southern Baptist church has been requested to support the discontinuation of displaying Confederate flags. When will it end?

Charleston Shooting-Confederate Symbols-States

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was asked by a Georgetown student last week about the removal of the Mississippi State Flag from the U.S. Capitol. The student said it was “renewed, northern Republican reconstruction” and “the erasure of Southern symbols, as well as ostracization of Southern voters by the GOP.”

Ryan’s response was, “I never looked at it that way.” He continued by saying, “We discussed it, and I thought it was the right thing to do. This symbol does insult. This symbol, I think, does more to divide this country than to unify this country. But I got to tell you, if, in the Capitol, we’re going to have symbols, we’re going to have symbols that unify people, that don’t divide people, and that’s just the way we think.”

Wow. So sensitive! We had better seriously re-think who we elect this fall.

 

Southern Baptists asked to endorse an end to public display of Confederate battle flag
http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/04/24/southern-baptists-asked-to-endorse-an-end-to-public-display-of-confederate-battle-flag/

$PLC finds at least 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces
http://freenorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2016/04/plc-finds-at-least-1500-symbols-of.html

 

 

 

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