J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “May, 2017”

New Author Interview

Last week I was interviewed by IndieBrag about my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, as well as my writing process. The interview is as follows:

ABGL Medium

Ingredients In Story-Telling That Impact A Reader’s Imagination


Stephanie Hopkins

May 26, 2017

Writing a story is an art in itself. Creating the right setting, the perfect characters, plot, believable dialogue and conflict. With those blended ingredients are what makes a story impact the reader’s imagination, mind and heart. The most important aspect of story-telling is to draw the reader in your character’s world. How are the stories written to do this and how does one make it work? Today, award winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.D.R. Hawkins shares with us her expertise on this.

Stephanie: What are the steps in creating a setting for your story?

J.D.R. Hawkins: Since I write about the Civil War, the settings are historically accurate. In my first book of the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the setting starts in Montgomery, Alabama, the first capital of the Confederacy, and moves with the story to various battlefields. I also chose an area in north Alabama as my protagonist’s hometown, so the story goes back and forth between north Alabama and Virginia battlefields.

Stephanie: There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do?

J.D.R. Hawkins: Because I have written a series, backstories become very complicated and intricately woven. Small details later resurface. One example is a buckeye that is given to the main character, David Summers, by his best friend’s father for good luck. This happens in the second book of the Renegade Series. Later on, the buckeye reappears, but this doesn’t occur until the fourth book. Another example is a peach pit that is introduced in the third book, and resurfaces in book four of the series. Visible backstories include David’s running from the law and how he deals with it after the war ends. I would avoid using too many backstories, because then it gets confusing. Some of my backstories are so subtle that it doesn’t matter if the reader doesn’t see them the first time through. They might see the backstories later on, which adds to the complexity of the story-line.

Stephanie: How much is too much conflict? And what do you do about it when it’s not working in the plot?

J.D. R. Hawkins: I think there is too much conflict when it muddies the plot and creates too much of a distraction from the story-line. I have read numerous books that get bogged down with too much conflict, and after a while, I just lose interest. Conflict is good, but it has to augment the story, not detract from it.

Stephanie: What are the steps in creating believable characters and dialogue?

J.D.R. Hawkins: For me, living in the South gave me the opportunity to learn the dialect and metaphors. I’m originally from Iowa, and lived most of my life in Colorado, so there was definitely a learning curve! I also studied speech patterns used during the 1860’s. Generally speaking, people back then spoke more eloquently than we do today.

Stephanie: What is the advice you would give to a writer when they get stuck on a specific scene or comes across a road block in their plot? 

J.D.R. Hawkins: Leave it up to your characters! If you give them a chance, they will take on personalities and assist with the plot. On numerous occasions, my characters rewrote the story to fit their personas. I also try to envision different scenarios for the plot, and usually come up with three or four different ideas. Then I chose the one that fits the story most accurately, and also complies with historical accuracy.

J.D.R. Hawkins

About Author: 

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, and A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner. Both books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war.

Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Recently, she completed a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as two more sequels for the Renegade Series. Learn more about her at www.jdrhawkins.com



Author Interview With Foundations Books, LLC

51363666 - books, key to knowledge

I was very honored to be the guest author this week in my publisher’s newsletter. Foundations Books, LLC is a small publisher that has grown substantially over the past year. They have a remarkable team of very talented people who edit, create and promote each book they publish. My interview is as follows:

Author Spotlight
J.D.R. Hawkins
The Renegade Series

ABGL Medium

ARAU Large


Historical Fiction Author J.D.R. Hawkins

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and a singer/songwriter. Her two previous novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, have received numerous honors and awards. 

Ms. Hawkins is currently working on a nonfiction book about the Civil War, as well as another novel in the Renegade Series.

Learn more about her here 


1 – Your novels are specific to the civil war and the time period they occurred in. Can you please share a bit how you go about your research?

I conduct extensive research to incorporate realism into my novels. By this, I mean that I search out anything I can find. This includes reading old books and articles, studying photographs and artworks, reading information online, and visiting museums. I also love talking to people, because many have stories about their ancestors. I try to incorporate all these elements into my books. I also study about the places in my novels, including landmarks, local dialect, period dialogue, clothing, music, etc.


2 – The detail in your books are amazing! Have you visited these places you write about so eloquently?

Strangely enough, I wrote the books before I visited their settings. I envisioned the books before I ever saw any of the battlefields, and then I decided to visit these places, just to make sure I was getting it right. Lucky for me, I was!


3 – If you could write about another period, which would it be? Would it still be historical fiction or something completely different?

I have written a young adult novel about the Great Depression. The novel takes place in my hometown, Sioux City, Iowa, and is based on my great aunt and uncle. They owned a hotel downtown, and rumor has it they were in cahoots with several gangsters, including Al Capone. I would also like to write a memoir about my dad, who passed away five years ago. He always wanted to visit Ireland. My husband and I went there for our anniversary a few months after Dad died. I felt like part of me was taking the trip for Dad as well, because he never got the chance to go.


4 – What are some of the other genre’s you are interested in writing about?

I’m an Agatha Christie fan, so I would love to write a mystery/thriller. I would also like to write something fun in the chick lit genre, or possibly something about animals, like Marley and Me or Dewey.


5 – Finally, what’s next for J.D.R. Hawkins? Can we look forward to more books from you in the Renegade Series?

In June, I am publishing a nonfiction book titled Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses. It will be published by Pelican Publishing, and is my first attempt at nonfiction. I also plan to re-release the second book in the Renegade Series, titled A Beckoning Hellfire. This book begins where A Beautiful Glittering Lie left off, and ends where the third book in the series, A Rebel Among Us, takes up. I have written the fourth book in the series, so I’m hoping to have it published next year. And then I intend to write a fifth book in the series.


Look for her upcoming novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, due out later this year.

Interview with Author – J.D.R. Hawkins

By Book Goodies Leave a Comment

J.D.R. Hawkins
About J.D.R. Hawkins:
J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of only a few female Civil War authors, and uniquely describes the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner, and A Rebel Among Us, recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. These books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Her nonfiction book about the War Between the States is slated for publication in June. She is also working on another sequel for the Renegade Series.

What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by many things, but most specifically, by the people I meet, personal experiences, and things that interest me.

Tell us about your writing process.
On average, each novel takes about six months to research and six months to write. Once I have the basic storyline figured out, I draw up an outline of the overall book and break it down by chapters.

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
All the time! My characters all have minds of their own. They have changed the story line many times, as well as what I imagined their dialogue to be. I don’t really talk to them, but they sure do talk to me!

What advice would you give other writers?
Always strive to improve your craft and never give up. It’s easy to get discouraged when you receive reject letters. One author I know said he wallpapered his bathroom with them. Keep a good sense of humor and don’t let negative criticism get to you.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I originally self-published my first two books because it gave me the opportunity to learn more about the industry, and I had more control over the books’ content and covers. But then I found an online publisher that provided free editing services. Unfortunately, they folded, so I went with an upstart small publisher, Foundations, LLC. They are publishing all of the books in the Renegade Series. My nonfiction book is being published by Pelican Publishing. I don’t currently have an agent but I would be open to the idea.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe e-books are very convenient and economical, but I know a lot of people who prefer physical books as well. With the advent of self-publishing, I think many more talented authors will have the opportunity to see their efforts come to fruition.

What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers

What genres do you write?: historical fiction, historical romance, suspense, military/war, drama

What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print

J.D.R. Hawkins Home Page Link
Link To J.D.R. Hawkins Page On Amazon
Link to Author Page on other site

Your Social Media Links

To see the entire interview visit https://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-j-d-r-hawkins-2/

ARAU Large

Also, A Rebel Among Us was featured on Book Goodies as well. Here is the link: https://bookgoodies.com/a-rebel-among-us-by-j-d-r-hawkins/

Thanks for your support! Please feel free to contact me and voice your comments!

First Novel in Renegade Series Re-Released

ABGL Medium

A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the first book in the Renegade Series, was re-released this week in paperback and hard cover. This book won the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion. It also received honorable mention at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. There have been a few updates to the book, including a new cover done by the amazingly talented Dawne Dominique.

My publisher, Foundations, LLC, is sponsoring a book launch party on Facebook this week. Join in on the fun and participate in contests, questions, answers, and ideas. Here is the link:


The book is also being featured on a blog tour. Here are some of the links:


The tour goes on throughout next week. If you’re interested in following, let me know and I’ll send you the other links. Again, thanks so much for your support!



Last week, A Louisiana House committee advanced legislation that would forbid the removal of Confederate monuments. The House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs voted 10-8 to advance the Louisiana Military Memorial Conservation Act to the full House for consideration.

Baton Rouge Rep. Patricia Smith said after the vote that she had hoped the legislation would be defeated in committee and thus avoid a similar divisive debate in the House chamber. She expects the Republican-majority in the House to approve the measure. “Maybe the Senate can stop it,” Smith said.

House Bill 71 would forbid the removal, renaming or alteration of any military monument of any war, including the “War Between the States,” that is situated on public property. The measure was amended to require the support of a majority of voters in a public election before any monuments could be removed.

State Rep. Thomas Carmody Jr., a Shreveport Republican who says his family has been in Louisiana since before statehood and includes many veterans, called his measure “an effort to make sure those persons’ sacrifices are not just randomly tossed away into the ash bin of history … My objective is to stop the hate.”
His legislation covered all military monuments from all wars. But the bulk of the testimony was about Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

Carmody said HB71 could not stop the two-year effort by the City Council in New Orleans to move to museums or other locations, the statues of three Confederate luminaries that dominate major intersections. If approved and signed into law, the act probably wouldn’t take effect in time, he said, a position other representatives disputed.

Over a two-hour period, the committee heard testimony from almost two dozen supporters of the bill. Rep. Johnny Berthelot, the former Republican mayor of Gonzales who chairs House Municipal, timed each presentation with a three-minute egg timer.
Steve Jones, of St. Bernard Parish, testified: “Tearing down the three main monuments in the city is as if Rome was to tear down statues because the Roman Empire wasn’t very politically correct.”
Voting for conserving Confederate and other military monuments (10): Chairman Berthelot, Reps. Robert Billiot, D-Westwego; Paula Davis, R-Baton Rouge; Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles; Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge; Stephanie Hilferty, R-New Orleans; Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge; Stephen Pugh, R-Ponchatoula; Jerome Richard, No Party-Thibodaux; and Malinda White, D-Bogalusa.

Voting against HB71 (8): Reps Joseph Bouie, D-New Orleans; Cedric Glover, D-Shreveport; Sam Jenkins, D-Shreveport; Rodney Lyons, D-Harvey; C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge; Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport; Patricia Haynes Smith, D-Baton Rouge; and Joseph A. Stagni, R-Kenner.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, May 5, 2017 ed.)

My Interview Is Featured on Renee’s Author Spotlight

ARAU Large

This is a quick update as to what I’ve been up to during the past few days. My new interview is featured on Renee’s Author Spotlight. Here is the link:


Also, for this week only, A Beautiful Glittering Lie (the first book in the Renegade Series), is only 99 cents for e-books. This is super cheap, so take advantage of the sale price before it goes up next week!


Thanks again for your support! I really appreciate your patronage! A Beautiful Glittering Lie will be re-released next Monday, so pre-order your copy today!


The Eradication of Southern History in New Orleans (And the Disrespect of Biloxi)

New Orleans can remove Confederate monuments, appeals court rules

This week has been a very interesting one for the city of New Orleans, as well as for everyone who has been observing what has been taking place. Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his city council decided to attack historical monuments in the city, primarily those erected in honor of Confederate heroes. Under the cover of night, city workers dismantled the Liberty Place monument. Landrieu vows to remove three others of Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and General P.G.T. Beauregard. This is insane to me, because President Davis died in New Orleans, and General Beauregard lived there after the war. Landrieu’s reasons for removing the monuments seem to be generic at best.


“The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance. This is not about politics, blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once. This is about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile…and most importantly……choose a better future.”

I don’t see how this displays diversity if the mayor offends historians and descendants of Confederate soldiers. On the contrary.


Landrieu has been vague about how the city received funding to remove the four statues. “We have enough funding to take down all four monuments,” is all the mayor says as an explanation. He also hasn’t said when the other three monuments will be taken down, so several pro-monument groups have been holding vigil. Apparently, the public has been restricted from giving input into this decision of eradication. The situation is very disconcerting, because it could lead to more destruction of American history in the future.


Meanwhile, in Biloxi, the mayor has decided not to fly the Mississippi state flag because he’s afraid it could offend tourists. I find this utterly ridiculous and offensive. If someone is offended by the state flag, they will avoid the state all together. However, I don’t see anyone avoiding the state because of the flag. Apparently, Mayor Gilich even offended some of the city council members with his idea. You can contact city council members to voice your opinion.

George Lawrence, Ward 1
P.O. Box 429, Biloxi, MS 39533
Email: glawrence@biloxi.ms.us Cell: 228-547-5811 Fax: 228-435-9715

Felix Gines, Ward 2
268 Ebony Lane, Biloxi, MS 39530
Email: fgines@biloxi.ms.us Cell: 228-547-5815

Dixie Newman, Ward 3
P.O. Box 429, Biloxi, MS 39533
Email: dnewman@biloxi.ms.us Web: councilwomandixienewmanward3.com Cell: 228-547-5851

Robert L. Deming III, Ward 4
P.O. Box 429, Biloxi, MS 39533
Email: rldeming3@biloxi.ms.us Cell: 228-547-1611

Paul A. Tisdale, Ward 5
2561 Brighton Circle, Biloxi, MS 39531
Email: ptisdale@biloxi.ms.us Web: tisdaleforbiloxi.com, Cell: 228-297-6800

Kenny Glavan, Ward 6
827 Eagle Eyrie Drive, Biloxi, MS 39532
Email: kglavan@biloxi.ms.us Phone: 228-396-1080 Cell: 228-860-6886

David Fayard, Ward 7
P.O. Box 429, Biloxi, MS 39533
Email: dfayard@biloxi.ms.us Office: 228-392-9046 Cell: 228-547-5816

City Council Office
Email: citycouncil@biloxi.ms.us Phone: (228) 435-6257 Fax: (228) 435-6187

Office of the Mayor
Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich
P.O. Box 429, Biloxi, MS 39533
Email: mayor@biloxi.ms.us Voice: (228) 435-6254 Fax: (228) 435-6129

Eating Robots Review


I’m typically not a reader of science fiction, but I recently read a short story collection titled Eating Robots, and found it to be very entertaining. The book, written by author Stephen Oram, is not only engaging, but contains so many interesting stories that I couldn’t put it down. I loved some of the references, such as the “antique” Apple watch, and the quote where one of the characters says “You junkies make me sick.” There were many humorous phrases sprinkled throughout the book, and some weird stories like the ones about sacred waters and attack moss. Some were also disturbing, like the story about a character who involuntarily commits murder through mind control, the one about cannibalism, and another about automated automobiles piloted by artificial celebrities that are out of control. All in all, I found Eating Robots to be an intriguing read.

unnamed (1)

The future is bright…or is it?

Step into a high-tech vision of the future with the author of Quantum Confessions and Fluence, Stephen Oram.

Featuring health-monitoring mirrors, tele-empathic romances and limb-repossessing bailiffs, Eating Robots explores the collision of utopian dreams and twisted realities in a world where humanity and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.

Sometimes funny, often unsettling, and always with a word of warning, these thirty sci-fi shorts will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Goodreads  Amazon India  Amazon US

A universal booklinker link that detects which country you’re in and links to Eating Robots myBook.to/EatingRobots

unnamed (2)

Stephen Oram writes thought provoking stories that mix science fiction with social comment, mainly in a recognisable near-future. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures’, once described as the ‘Glastonbury of cyberculture’. He has collaborated with scientists and future-tech people to write short stories that create debate about potential futures, most recently with the Human Brain Project and Bristol Robotics Laboratory as part of the Bristol Literature Festival.

As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. In his early twenties he embraced the squatter scene and was part of a religious cult, briefly. He did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout and is now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism.

He has two published novels – Quantum Confessions and Fluence – and several shorter pieces.

Find Stephen Oram on:





Post Navigation