J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “July, 2017”

I Received My Author Copies!


My new book, Horses in Gray, premiered last weekend at the SCV Convention in Memphis, and today, I received my author copies! This is such an exciting experience for me to share with you. Getting this book published has been a roller coaster ride. I started writing it five years ago, and after moving three times, I finally finished the manuscript. I searched around and discovered a small press who was willing to publish the book. Several months later, the manuscript had been edited, formatted and indexed. It was finally ready to be published! But just as it was about to go to press, the publishing company folded. I was heart-broken. Now it was back to square one.

I put on a brave face and sent the manuscript to a few companies who publish Civil War nonfiction, but I only got reject letters back. Then I sent it to Pelican Publishing, and they accepted it! One year later, my book is finally seeing the light of day!

Horses in Gray Cover

This is my first nonfiction book, and I am very proud of it. Here is an excerpt from Chapter One:

Most horses used in the war were geldings or mares. Not many stallions were utilized because they were unruly and hard to handle. For ambulances, horses were used rather than mules because horses were less skittish.1

At the start of the war, Southern gentry considered Thoroughbreds to be superior. They were certain that the quality and breeding of their fine racehorses would assure the Confederacy’s victory.

One newspaper article printed in 1863 read: “Let the baser baseness of breeding scrubs and cold bloods be left to the Yankees: and let Virginia planters resume [breeding] the thoroughbred Virginia race horse.”2

It didn’t take long for Confederate soldiers to figure out that Thoroughbreds were too flighty for use on the battlefield. Instead, various other breeds were used. Percherons were preferred by the Confederate artillery for pulling heavy caissons and wagons. Saddlebreds from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, as well as Tennessee Pacers (Southern Plantation Horses), the forerunners of today’s Tennessee Walking Horses, were ridden by the cavalry.

Gen. Basil Duke, second in command to Gen. John Hunt Morgan, was the first to describe the Saddlebred breed: “If I be correct in my estimate of the Thoroughbred, then it must be conceded that the nearer he approximates him, the better another horse (the Saddlebred) will be. But the Kentucky Saddlebred horse has not only inherited, in a large measure, the excellence of the Thoroughbred in respects to which I have called attention, but has also retained certain desirable characteristics which have more peculiarly distinguished the humbler (non-Thoroughbred) strain from which he is descended.”3

The desirable characteristics to which Duke alluded were “the peculiar gaits which make their descendants so valuable for the saddle.”4 However, Morgans were the most popular riding horses used by officers and horse soldiers alike.

Morgans were one of the earliest breeds to be developed in the United States. They can be traced back to their foundation sire, Figure, born in 1789 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and later renamed Justin Morgan after his owner. The breed is smaller than the Thoroughbred and possesses a stocky body, sturdy legs, and a long, thick mane and tail. Morgans are alert, easy keepers, sustaining on little food compared to other breeds.

Used primarily for riding and harness racing, they also served as coach horses. Because they were accustomed to pulling vehicles and were able to keep calm under fire, both armies used the breed extensively during the Civil War.


During the war, bays were the most common in terms of color. Bay horses are distinguishable by their brown coats and black points (i.e. black manes, tails, and lower legs). Browns were the second-most common, followed by chestnuts and blacks. Next in line were horses whose colors ranged from gray to white, followed by roans, which have white and any other hair color intermixed throughout their coats. Most armed forces did not use pintos, spotted, or white horses, since they believed the animals would be easy targets, but some soldiers took a chance and rode them anyway. Grays were used by trumpeters so that officers could easily locate them when they wanted to have a call blown. Musicians also rode grays.

Horses came to recognize the different bugle calls used during the war. The call to trot or gallop was synchronized with the rhythm of the horses’ hoof beats in those gaits. The animals also recognized certain songs, a favorite of theirs being “Stable Call” because when they heard the music, they knew it was time to eat:


Oh, go to the stable,

All you who are able,

And give your poor horses some hay and some corn.

For if you don’t do it,

The colonel will know it,

And then you will rue it as sure as you’re born.5


Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart (known as Jeb) had an immense love of music and assembled a band of talented musicians to entertain his division as they marched long miles. Some horses in his cavalry grew so accustomed to the melodies that they responded by prancing in rhythm to the tunes.


Here is the Amazon link to purchase the book:


I am looking for reviewers, so please let me know if you are interested. Also, if you know of someone who might want to endorse the book and have their quote on the cover, send them my way!




How is This Any Different?

Last weekend, I flew out to California to visit my youngest son. While I was there, he told me about a trip he and his best friend took a few weeks ago to Sequoia National Park. I had never been there, so I was fascinated by the photos and beautiful scenery. That is, until he showed me photos of the Sherman Tree and the Grant Tree.


The Sherman Tree, named after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, is the largest living single stem tree in the entire world. This massive tree is estimated to be about 2000 years old. The tree is 275 feet tall. The Sherman Tree is a giant sequoia located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park. Likewise, the Grant Tree is the largest giant sequoia in the General Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park in California, and it is the second largest tree, by trunk volume, in the world.


I think these two trees are spectacular and amazing, but one thing bothers me about them: their names. How is it that the NAACP has a problem with all the Confederate statues, street names, school names, etc., but not with the Sherman Tree? Afterall, General Sherman was probably the biggest bigot the Union Army had to offer. He didn’t hesitate in drowning hoards of freed slaves who were following the Union Army in search of refuge and freedom. And he certainly didn’t have a soft spot for any Native Americans. In fact, he waved off the offer to run for public office, which is what his contemporary, General Grant did. Instead, Sherman went out West to annihilate the Indians. I don’t know of any Confederate officers who were so blatantly racist, and yet, there are plenty of street names, school names, and even a giant sequoia named after Sherman. By the way, Grant was no friend to the Native Americans, either.

This double standard is appalling to me, but perhaps I should be patient. Maybe after the NAACP and other groups like Black Lives Matter do away with Confederate heritage, they will attack other historical figures, like Sherman, Grant, Jefferson, Washington, and Jackson, to name a few. And let’s not leave out Lincoln. He was the one who wanted to ship the freed slaves off to their own little island, or back to Africa, and said the two races (whites and blacks) could never co-exist.

Maybe he was right. Maybe the NAACP and BLM would back off if it were their ancestors being attacked. How can they be offended by white heroes of times past? How is it that it’s okay for those of us who are against the demolition of history to be offended? Let me know what you think about this subject. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. In my opinion, all this political correctness nonsense needs to end NOW. Moving statues around isn’t going to solve the problem.

New Author Interview


Last week, I was featured on a blog called Arvenig.it. Here is the interview.

Hi everyone!
This is the eighteenth post of my featuring authors series. Today I’m going to feature J.D.R. Hawkins that has written A Beautiful, Glittering Lie (I love this title so much!), A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War and A Rebel Among Us! In this post there will be a bio about the author and one of her books, an interview and a giveaway!

1238370About 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, which has just been published. 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. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as another sequel for the Renegade Series.

website | goodreads | Patreon | twitter | facebook


32046971About the book A Rebel Among Us:

After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?

goodreads | amazon


Arvenig: Tell us a little about yourself and your background!
J.D.R. Hawkins: I am an award-winning author, and have written for various publications. My series about the Civil War, the 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, slated for re-publication this fall, and A Rebel Among Us, recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. I am a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I am also a singer and songwriter. My nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses, will be released this July.

A.: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
 I have been writing since I was little, and started out with songs and poetry. From there, I graduated to short stories, children’s books, young adult novels, and finally, full-length books. Being a writer wasn’t a realization in my case. I just evolved into one.

A.: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
J.: Primarily that love conquers all, even when things couldn’t be any worse.

A.: What are you working on at the moment?
J.: I am working on the fourth novel in the Renegade Series as well as a young adult novel about Prohibition.

A.: Any last thoughts for our readers?
J.: I would love to hear from your readers! I am always looking for people interested in reviewing my books (I will provide free e-books). Please feel free to contact me about any questions you might have via my website. Also, please follow my blog, and my Patreon page.

Click on the link below to enter the giveaway and win a free ebook of A Rebel Among Us!


To read the entire interview, click on the following link:


New Author Interview


Recently, I was interviewed by Lorana Hoopes with Lorana Writes the World. Here is the intro to the interview:

Lorana Writes the World with Guest Author, J.D.R. Hawkins


By TLBTV Show Host: Lorana Hoopes

Today’s guest Julie Hawkins, who writes as JDR Hawkins, has a fascination with the Civil War. She’s been writing since she was a little girl and she wrote the level her kids were reading while they were growing up. Once she moved to Colorado, she became fascinated with the history, but it was a contest that actually set her life on the trajectory it followed.

This contest sent her to a Civil War re-enactment field and her love for the Civil War grew and led to her series of books. Her books have even won awards from a distinguished Civil War group.

In addition to her Civil War series, she also has written a non-fiction book about Civil War horses. Her love of horses has been a part of her life for a while and led her to write a book about the horses in the Civil War. She even has some great stories about a camel, and her knowledge of History is amazing.

Even more interesting is how everything in her books just kind of fell into place for her. You’ll have to watch the discussion to find out how, and of course, check out her books, especially if you are a history buff.

To watch the podcast, check out the link below:


About the Author/Host: Lorana Hoopes is  a The Liberty Beacon Project (TLB) Contributing Author and TLBTV Host. Lorana brings a solid background in education, teaching our children, as a published author, and many other talents into this project.

Read more TLB articles and see archived TLBTV shows by Lorana HERE

You can find Lorana’s Heartbeats series, newly redone to fit snugly in the Christian Romance section at The Heartbeat Collection. Her new children’s early chapter book, This Wishing Stone can be found there as well. And if you’d like a free novella, you can sign up for Lorana’s newsletter at Lorana Hoopes’s author page.

A special thanks to Lorana Hoopes for this interview.



Cover Reveal – Avishi

~ Cover Reveal ~

Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

12th July, 2017


Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita

Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda

But largely forgotten to the memory of India

Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.

Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?

About the Author:

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Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.

She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

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This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Book Review Tours


Release Day Blitz

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About the Book


Love science fiction stories that all include elements ofLove, Murder & Mayhem?
Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!
With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ Colchamiro.
You’ll never look at Love, Murder & Mayhem the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.


About the Editor

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Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.


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Another 5-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

ABGL B.R.A.G. Medallion

My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, received another five-star review! I am so appreciative of readers taking the time to write a review. This is the first book in the Renegade Series, and was previously self-published. It was re-published in May by Foundations, LLC. The review is as follows:

Review – A Beautiful Glittering Lie

A warning to all who think war is some glamourous adventure filled with parades, flags, and stirring martial music – read J.D.R. Hawkins’ novel A Beautiful Glittering Lie. That lie is put to rest here in the book that begins Hawkins’ ‘Renegade’ series placed during the American Civil War and its aftermath. The book is perfect lead-in to the rest of the series that follows David Summers and his family through that horrendous conflict. My only regret about A Beautiful Glittering Lie is that I failed to read it before reading the follow-up books, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us. Hawkins does an excellent job of presenting those books as stand-alone volumes but they are best read after reading A Beautiful Glittering Lie. That said, this book left me wanting more even though I had already read the other two. Of course, there isn’t more until the next one in the series is published and released.

Portions of Hawkins’ novel are graphic. Any war story will be if it is truly well done. I would not recommend this book for pre-teens and would actually recommend 15 years and up. The story, away from the battle front, however, is truly heartwarming and presents a very realistic picture of the burdens and sacrifices carried by those at home. Though the story is told from the perspective of a Southern family in a region physically devastated by the war, the homesickness, the worry, the suffering, and the grief are universal themes that tragically played out in homes both North and South.

It is no wonder that A Beautiful Glittering Lie is the recipient of numerous rave reviews and awards. I too rate the book a solid five-stars. Hawkins tells me that all three books are in the process of being released in a new format. I think they will be collectors’ items. I have the second two books only on Kindle and look forward to acquiring all three books as the re-released editions. I also eagerly await the fourth book in the series.

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