J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “March, 2018”

Happy Easter!

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Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays, not only because I’m a Christian, but because, to me, it signifies that Spring is finally here. My old church used to obtain butterfly chrysalises for the Sunday school classes, and on Easter, they set all the new butterflies free. I loved the analogy between birth and rebirth, and how it signified the risen Christ. We have had our share of baby bunnies, baby chicks, chocolate eggs and Easter egg hunts, but to me, butterflies being set free is the most special memory.

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, which describes how two young men who are new soldiers experience Easter Sunday, 1863. Enjoy, and have a happy Easter!

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They listened to an owl hoot somewhere off in the distance. As moonbeams shone down on the two young soldiers, they fell asleep. Early the next morning, they woke up and sauntered over to the depot, which remained dark.

“Where is everybody?” Jake asked. Looking around, he scratched his head. No one was in sight.

“Let’s go over to the livery and find out,” David suggested. They walked a few blocks and entered the building.

Upon being asked, the stable owner laughed. “You boys don’t know what day this is?” They responded by shaking their heads. “It’s Easter! No trains are runnin’ today.” He looked at one, then the other. They looked at each other, and then back at him. “Do y’all have anywhere else to go?” The troopers shook their heads again. “Well, feel free to bed down in here if y’all want, but I reckon it’ll be a long day, since nothin’s open.” He quickly walked out of the barn toward a little house across the yard.

“I knew today was Easter. I jist forgot is all,” Jake said.

“Me, too,” David said. “I’m hungry.” He surprised himself with the comment, for he usually didn’t feel empty until midmorning.

Jake looked at him. “Well, there are some oats. That’s all we’re likely to find, since everything’s closed up.”

They sat on a bale of hay, pondering their situation, but came to no resolution, so they decided to take a walk around. It was a futile effort, however, because they only saw a few people on the street, who disappeared into doorways once they approached. With no other recourse, they decided to return to the livery.

Suddenly, David stopped. “I know!” he exclaimed.

Jake followed his gaze across the street to a small white chapel that stood like a beacon, its tall ivory steeple pointing up to the heavens.

“Let’s go inside,” he said, walking so quickly that Jake had to sprint to catch up.

They entered the little church. Some members of the congregation turned to see who the late arrivals were. Removing their hats, the boys slid into a back pew.

The pastor was telling the story of Jesus’ resurrection, the same story they all told on Easter, but this time it seemed more poignant. David equated it to the plight of the grand old Southland for which they were fighting, and for which his father gave his life. The Southerners had been persecuted and exiled, but now they would gain the freedom to rejoice in the reincarnation of their own country, even though some would die for the sins of others.

A pianist cued the congregation, so they stood to sing “Rock of Ages.” After the hymn ended, the pastor dismissed everyone with a “Happy Easter.” He walked from the pulpit to the front doors, and greeted each person as they exited. David and Jake waited, smiling politely while the older people, women, and children filed out, and then they took their turn greeting the pastor.

“What do we have here?” the Godly man asked. He wore a fine, graying beard and a long black robe. “I’m so glad y’all could come to our service. Happy Easter!”

“Happy Easter,” the boys responded.

“Sir, we’re only here for today,” said Jake. “Our train’s been delayed due to the holiday, and we were wonderin’…”

The pastor interrupted. “Are y’all in need of lodgin’?” he asked, his dark blue eyes filling with concern.

“No,” Jake said. “We were wonderin’ if you might know where we could gitsomethin’ to eat. We didn’t bring enough money, and we forgot about allowin’ ourselves an extra day’s worth of vittles.”

“Of course.” The pastor smiled. “Jist give me a minute.” He went to the back of the church, but soon reappeared, dressed in a dark suit. He closed the front door. “Come with me,” he said.

They followed him down the street to a little white house surrounded by a whitewashed picket fence, and went inside. The smell of baked ham encouraged them. They looked at each other and grinned.

“Wait here, boys,” the pastor said kindly.

He walked into another room. David and Jake could hear him talking to someone. Pots clanked and plates chinked. Moments later, the pastor emerged with two heaping plates of food.

“Come on in here,” he said.

The soldiers followed him to a small wooden table.

“We shall praise the Lord for this blessed day,” the holy man said happily. He set their plates on the table and delved into prayer.

David’s stomach growled, but he did his best to contain his hunger.

Finally, the pastor finished and told them to eat. “I don’t mean to be rude, but my wife and I won’t be jinin’ y’all. We’ve been invited to her cousin’s house, and we’re fixin’ to bring the food along with us,” he explained.

Gesturing for them to take a seat, he walked out of the room, leaving David and Jake alone to consume their dinner of ham, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, and okra. Once they finished, the kind pastor returned, giving them each some morsels to save for supper. They thanked him, bid him a happy Easter, and returned to the livery, where they promptly fell asleep. When they awoke, the barn was dark. Rain clattered down on the tin roof. Jake arose, went outside, and returned a few minutes later.

“I instructed the livery man to wake us at five-thirty,” he said, shaking moisture from his hat. He looked down at the grease-stained, brown paper-wrapped package the pastor had given him. “I’m savin’ mine for tomorrow.”

“Me, too,” said David. He rolled over and soon fell back to sleep.

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LEE MEMORIAL IS NOW TUBMAN GROVE

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I have to admit, I’m not sure how I feel about this. Granted, it’s a noble thing to honor Harriet Tubman, and far overdue. But to take down century-old statues of renowned Confederate generals who, by the way, were dubbed American veterans years ago, rubs me the wrong way. Why not set aside another park to honor Harriet Tubman, instead of taking down beautiful artworks (i.e. statues) that have stood in this place for years? To say it bothers me is putting it lightly.
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More than 200 local residents and politicians gathered in a tree-lined corner of a Baltimore park…to rededicate the space, which had long venerated two Confederate generals, to the famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.
The ceremony in Wyman Park Dell, on the 105th anniversary of Tubman’s death, took place feet from the now-empty pedestal of a large, bronze double-equestrian statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and officially renamed the space Harriet Tubman Grove.
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The statue had stood in the park since 1948, but was secretly removed in the dead of the night by the Mayor’s order in August.  Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration removed four Baltimore monuments, the Lee-Jackson monument, a monument to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney at Mount Vernon Place, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue and the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway. They Taney monument having nothing to do with the Confederacy, Mayor Pugh just didn’t like his politics.
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This park dedication coming on the heels of good news. At the Federal level, the
The City of Baltimore does not, at this juncture, intend to erect a statue of Harriet Tubman to replace the monuments removed. That, friends and neighbors, would, to quote Barak Obama, “cost some serious Tubmans.”
(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 16, 2018 ed.)

Book Blitz – Curse of Dragon’s Claim

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About the Book

The flame within a dragon warrior’s heart awakens Arianna’s passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she’s something more than she ever imagined possible.

The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they’ve been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.

Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he’s told that this woman is his fated mate, he can’t believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings who were responsible for his beloved twin’s death.

When Arianna meets Clayne, she’s convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he’s a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him.

Clayne knows he can’t fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he’s been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate.

Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.

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Excerpt

Curse of the Dragon Claim Book Two

Curse of the Dragon Claim

“Arianna, please come and sit down so I can fix your hair.” Alba waved Arianna over to the chair in front of a long mirror.

“Sorry, I’m excited. Can’t sit down.” Nevertheless, Arianna obeyed Alba’s direction and sat down.

“We must be ready to leave within an hour. It’s quite a drive to the Allegretti summer home. I’m eager to spend time there. It’s beautiful.” Alba flitted around as she brushed then braided Arianna’s long tresses. “I’ve laid your emerald dress out. If you approve, I’ll pack it. I’ve another for you to travel in.” She pointed to the yellow traveling dress.

Arianna looked toward the bed where her garments were laid out in preparation. “Oh, a lovely choice.”

“Yes, it is. I thought it would make a wonderful impression for this afternoon’s luncheon. In the evening, you can wear your scarlet dress. You’ll be breathtaking.”

“Thank you, Alba. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“No thanks is necessary. I’m doing what your mama asked me to do.” Alba smiled. Arianna watched Alba in the mirror as she fussed with her hair, arranging it on top of her head.

“My hair looks wonderful.” Arianna appraised Alba’s handiwork.

“You should think more of things like hairstyles, dresses, and shopping. It’s what wealthy young women are supposed to do. You spend too much time thinking about other people. This event is important. Your papa and Signor Allegretti are depending on it to impress their new associates. Your papa is counting on you to charm them as you always do.” Alba set the carved jewelry box on the dressing table. “Perhaps you should pick some jewels out now so as not to risk taking all with you.”

“Perhaps.” Arianna frowned, her gaze locking on the older woman’s reflection in the mirror. “I feel particularly nervous about this garden party. For some reason I have this uneasiness…no, not really uneasy, I’m not sure what it is, but I’m worried.” Arianna placed her hand over her stomach. It pained her. “I feel something life changing is about to occur.”

“Hush now, Arianna.” Alba patted her arm. “Such talk makes people very nervous, including me. Change can be good.”

“I can’t help it, I feel something momentous will soon happen. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. I need to be able to speak of things to someone, and the only one I can reveal myself to is you.” Arianna pouted.

“Put these thoughts from your mind and relax. You’re merely nervous about meeting the eligible gentlemen your father invited. I overheard your father say there will be several eligible, well-respected businessmen there. A widower and one who has never been wed are said to be present.”

“Father doesn’t know what an excellent catch is.” Arianna rolled her eyes. “He’s only looking at their wealth.”

“Of course he is, Arianna. It would do you well to understand the way of it. You’d never wed a pauper. You are meant for greater things. Hold still, your hair’s almost done,” Alba instructed.

Arianna handed Alba another pin. The words swirled in her head, a familiar mantra she’d long since gotten tired of.

“There, you’re absolutely exquisite. I want you to look wonderful as soon as you step off the carriage. We’ll refresh you once you’re there. But first impressions, you know.”

“I can’t believe you think wealth’s the only important thing. Not you, Alba. Love’s important. Don’t you think? Isn’t love with physical attraction most important? I know most girls don’t think of this. But I do.”

“I know you think differently in many things, but don’t speak of this to any other. Just remember, love doesn’t pay your bills or buy your lovely silks. Love doesn’t do much, and it may not last.” She motioned for Arianna to stand, then helped her into her dress.

“Papa and Mama loved each other, theirs lasted.”

“Yes, a rarity in itself. If you can tolerate him and he’s wealthy, you’ve the makings of a good husband. Love may come.” Alba stood back, inspected Arianna, and smiled. “You look gorgeous. Let’s get downstairs. The carriage is already parked out front.”

“There will be other females there to charm the gentlemen. They’re much better at being amusing. Sarah’s always so charming and delightful.”

“Yes, but these men are eligible suitors. You’re in need of a husband.”

“I don’t need a husband, at least not yet.”

“Hush, you speak silliness,” Alba scolded as only a beloved servant could do. “You’re a young woman, you need a husband.”

“The other girls need husbands too.”

“Don’t be foolish, you know as well as I, Rafaela’s engaged, Jenna’s being courted by a very appropriate suitor, and Sarah…well, she’s Sarah. You most certainly need a husband. You’re nineteen years old, and getting older every day.”

“You make me sound ancient.” Arianna giggled.

“Someone must take care of you. It won’t be your father forever, he grows older too.”

“Truly, I can take care of myself.”

* * * *

Clayne relaxed against the ornate couch, a drink in his hand. He appraised the home with a quick eye, the luxury of the human’s dwelling spartan compared to the spacious townhouse he’d recently purchased in the heart of Florence. The invitation to the Allegretti home was most advantageous. It allowed him to continue his search without breaking his cover of a rich merchant who recently relocated from Rome to enjoy the art and culture of Florence, the jewel of the Renaissance.

It amused him to interact with these uncomplicated people. Signor Antonio Mergliano had been insistent that Clayne accept the invitation to the garden party, assuring him an entertaining visit. For some reason, Clayne was compelled to accept, he liked the old man.

Clayne shifted. While fortuitous, the invite was a hindrance. He should be searching for a godforsaken female with the mark of the dragon. No doubt the Forsaken bitch was an ugly, cold-hearted, half-breed bloodsucker. His blood boiled at the very notion of a vampire’s offspring.

There’s no fucking way she’ll be my mate. Mother’s prediction is wrong.

Clayne stood up, stretching his legs. Taking a sip of his drink, it cooled his inner heat. He burned with annoyance at having to do the Goddess Amuliana Synvera’s bidding.

His hatred for anything remotely related to vampires ate at him. They were only good for killing, as far as he was concerned. As loyal as he was to his king, this quest made his temper burn. He’d much rather be back in Ejdeha Dragoni having his teeth pulled than searching for this abomination in human form.

Mother’s wrong. How could the fates be so cruel to me?

He sighed into his drink. It had been years since he’d spent so much time among mortals. Only his trips for his king drew him from his seclusion, and the grief still stung at the loss of his beloved sister.

Perhaps he’d find a simple-minded human female to dally with, relieve his frustrations. Dragon females could be so complicated and greedy of his time. Often, human girls pretended to be virtuous, yet he knew better, seeing through their facade immediately. Allegretti’s daughter was one such female, she smelled of many men. Perhaps she’d be willing and eager to sneak off to a secluded place where he could get lost for a bit between her thighs. The thought brought a smile to his face.

 

Ciara

About the Author

Welcome to Ciara Lake’s World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

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Book Tour – My First Breakup

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“Oh God, why me?”

This is perhaps what we think of when we go through a ‘breakup’.

This story is about Anirudh and Anvi.

Both of them have their own thinking which are not alike.

The story begins with Anirudh meeting with and accident. As he slowly succumbs to the pain, he starts reflecting about his bygone college days where he found his love for music. He loves Anvi dearly who is a long-lost friend of Anirudh.

The story reveals how Anirudh struggles as the hands of reality strikes him down.

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Dhruba Das Roy is a freelance writer, a musician by passion, and a software engineer by profession. He is from Assam, but born in a small town of Meghalaya, where he finished his schooling. He then obtained his degree in engineering from the esteemed college of National Institute of Technology. He discovered his love for music there and was the lead vocalist of his band, “The Rozarts”.

He loves rock and roll and is a great fan of the pioneers of rock and roll-(Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen and the list goes on).Unfortunately, as engineering life came to an end, the band had to split. Recently, he moved to Kolkata where he is working in one of leading software service based companies in India.

Not everyone can put their thoughts into words. Dhruba had never tried his hand in writing; but he had an experience, an experience which changed his life for the better. Being a vocalist, his only way of expression was through the creative way. He decided to pen down his thoughts and he discovered that writing came naturally to him. His thought process in the novel relates to the general mass in many ways. He decided to stretch his limits and ended up voicing his thoughts in a different way this time.

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From a Writer to an Author

It feels good to be an author of a book. It’s sort of a recognition that distinguishes anyone from being a writer to an author. To be honest, I never loved writing in my childhood. In fact, I would even question the need of writing an essay during my school days. Many a times I was even caught copying while writing an essay during my English literature classes. So, why did I become an author?

The answer is very simple. I had something stuck in my head and it was tingling me from the inside, asking me to get it out. So that was the moment when I decided not to ignore my feelings and rather express them in the form of creative writing. I started putting down my thoughts on paper and before I could realize, I noticed this thought of mine to be about 240 pages thick with around 55,500 words, quite a fat thought huh!!!

Yes, I had just drafted my first story, but I wasn’t done yet. This was my creation, so I decided to give it a name, a name with which I could call it. After days of brainstorming, I came up with a name that I though would perfectly suit the theme that the book tried to portray, and there it was ‘My First Breakup’.

Now it was time for me to make a decision if my creation, this though, ‘My First Breakup’ was good enough to be read by others.

Nah!!! No body cares about what you have to say…..

No, it’s not gonna make sense to others”, my Practicality forewarned my Imagination. But then again,

There might be somebody willing to hear you out.

There might be people out there ready to accept your thoughts for what they are”, my Imagination countered back.

At this juncture I decided to get my book published. It is difficult to get a book published but I believe, if we have faith in our work, we eventually get what we want no matter how long it might take.

Being an author is not something that I have ever considered myself to be. I still feel I am no author, I am just a narrator who likes to tell stories for what I perceive them to be. “My First Breakup” is a story that I feel will connect with many of us as we all know that there is a phase where most of us fall in love only to snap out of it.

My First Breakup…. Learning to let go!!!

#Dhruba D Roy

Book Blitz: Forsaken Heart

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About the Book

Punished for sins not her own, can a mortal claim her vampire mate?

The world of immortals must unite to save both themselves and the mortals they co-exist with from an ancient evil.

For Bede MacTaggert this means trusting in the warrior sent for her sister—a man of mystery, of power, and one who could easily sweep her into a world she’s destined to be part of.

An imperial guard to the king of vampires, Gawain has always tuned out the needs of the flesh. Dedicating himself to the service of the royals, he’s lived on the fringes of his people for centuries. Now he’s forced from the shadows and into the arms of a woman who will awaken his heart and body to a passion unequaled.

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Content Warning: graphic sex, some violence

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About the Author

Born in Northern British Columbia, Elise is a small-town girl. She writes in a variety of genres including paranormal, contemporary suspense, m/m in various lengths. Currently, she lives in British Columbia with her husband and son, one dog, one cat, and a gecko. Elise enjoys reading as much as she does writing, with some of her favorite books being read until they fall apart.

She is currently working on the next book in the Forsaken Series, Burning Rain. As well she has a new contemporary she’s working on. For more information on Elise, or to check out her books you can find her on Facebook, twitter, and her website.

Elise

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Excerpt

Forsaken Heart Book One

Forsaken Heart:

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“Frails are not to be toyed with,” Gawain ground out and grabbed the girl, spinning her away, his sword at the ready as the man heaved upward, a dagger clutched in his hand. Gawain’s sword rested easy on his palm, ready, the surface slicked with blood as he faced the coward.

“She’s mine to do with as I choose.” He gurgled, collapsing to the ground, his weapon falling from pudgy fingers. “Paid ten pieces of gold for ’em both, and I aim to get a might of use out ’em.”

“Now she’s mine,” Gawain declared. Raising his sword, he drove it through the man’s chest, pinning his twitching frame to the ground. He stepped back, his gaze sweeping the clearing. Males such as this did not travel alone, his cohorts would be close. He’d need to find and kill them…

Searing pain lanced through him, splitting his chest. Gawain glanced down. The thin, sharp tip of a blade stuck from his chest. He touched the blade and snarled. The metal was warm, when it should have been cold. Shock slammed into him as the blade began to glow, turning a searing red before changing back to normal, or as normal as it could be with blood racing down the weapon.

Whirling, his hand already scrabbling for the dagger’s hilt in his back, he grabbed his assailant by the throat and lifted. Grunting as he pulled the weapon free, his lips curled upward. “You’d do well, wench, to know your place.”

“If you think I mean to let you do her harm…” Sputtering, her nails digging into his wrists, the girl’s brown eyes stared into his. Fear lay within the depths but something else stirred. Something dark, dangerous, easily recognized if one knew what they were looking for.

His fingers moved, tightening, loosening as he pulled her against him. Inhaling, he caught the faint scent of blood, fear, sweat, fire, and something sultry, sweet, and light on his tongue. Drawing the scent deep, he wallowed in it, his body responding to the aroma he’d dreamed of but never found.

Gawain inhaled slowly, his muscles tightening, burning. Using the tip of her dagger, he pushed the material of her shift aside. The scrolling marks of a serpent flared before his eyes. It coiled and danced beneath the girl’s flesh.

Defaming the General

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Here is another example of how political correctness has gone awry in the South. Just FYI, Nathan Bedford Forrest was a slave trader in Memphis. He was a product of his time. Slavery was legal, and he always treated his slaves humanely and with respect. He never tore families apart. In fact, his slaves loved him so much that they fought for him as members of his “Special Forces.” Closemindedness and lack of education have created  the current wave of what I refer to as “fear of the past.”

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In 1955 a historical marker was placed near the site of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s early home. The 60-word marker highlights Forrest’s early life, noting his Mississippi childhood and terms as an aldermen in Nashville.

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It has been removed and a new marker will replace it. Scheduled to be unveiled April 4, the new marker will consist of 462-words devoted almost entirely to demonizing the General as a “slave trader.” The new marker will also include other information about the Memphis slave trade, noting that Forrest was one of eight slave traders in the city.

The text of the new marker was written by Rhode’s College students and approved by the National Park Service and professors at the University of Memphis.

“The National Park Service is pleased to provide funding from the Lower Mississippi Delta fund for this project,” said Timothy Good, the superintendent at Missouri’s Ulysses S. Grant National Historic site who helped approve the text. “The resulting interpretive marker will encourage heritage tourism to Memphis and will also educate Americans about Memphis’ nationally significant history.”

(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 9, 2018 ed.)

Release Day Blitz

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“Oh God, why me?”

This is perhaps what we think of when we go through a ‘breakup’.

This story is about Anirudh and Anvi.

Both of them have their own thinking which are not alike.

The story begins with Anirudh meeting with and accident. As he slowly succumbs to the pain, he starts reflecting about his bygone college days where he found his love for music. He loves Anvi dearly who is a long-lost friend of Anirudh.

The story reveals how Anirudh struggles as the hands of reality strikes him down.

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Excerpt from the Novel ‘My First Breakup’

Anvi speaking to the Protagonist Anirudh: This is it. One wrong move and I find myself crying to sleep. Days, maybe weeks of putting up the brave face. The ultimate, cliché teenage drama. Everyone has been through it and everyone has heard of it. But for me it was the first time. Maybe the last, hopefully.  

  So, wearing my heart on my sleeves, I fell in ‘love’. Not once, but twice with the same guy in a row. Tramp? No. I was in love. Deeply, madly, unconditionally. Until the hands of practicality punched me right on my face. I was left stranded and confused. Wondering why all of this was happening to me.  Another cliché moment. But for me, it was the first time.

   There is something about human nature which seeks for sympathy. Just had a breakup? The whole world is conspiring for you to be unhappy. No, I will not smile, the world is a cruel place. It takes days for people to get over it. For me? Well no surprise to you, it took a year. One entire year of  ‘the wait’. Sitting back now and thinking about it, I find it funny. No, I find it hilarious. So, what happened after the year was over? Did I just miraculously wake up one day and think to myself that, “hey, you know what…. you are a great girl, get over it…move on!!” No, I realized that he had thought of this way back. He had moved on way back. While, the “so-in-love” me, was waiting. Simply waiting for my stars to turn and relive the same love story again.  

 The moment you see that your ex has a different face beside the “in a relationship” status, that is the moment you realize how blind and ridiculous you were. The once cute goatee seems like a bush now, that smile which made you smile makes you want to knock off all his teeth, his fascination for food makes you notice his peeking belly pouch. In a nutshell, you are no longer in love with him and his flaws. So then, life brings you to a fork road. The fun road is where you sit back and spread wild rumors about how terrible he is and how he broke your heart. Believe me, the devil will tempt you to follow this path. It is a fantastic journey, but a few more months of futility. So I chose the better path. Get up, pull yourself together, shrug off the dust and embrace the new journey. I am glad I chose the latter. Very glad.

 What do you do when an entire part of your life has been erased which once held so much of importance to you? You try and fill it up with things you never had time for otherwise. Socialize, go out, write, sing, laugh, read, stare randomly out of the window and get lost in your own beautiful world. Life was better. I am an ardent believer in unconventionality. Why follow the crowd? I won’t make my own crowd! No siree! I won’t even sit at a distance and laugh at the crowd. I would rather live in a parallel world, a different dimension maybe. I can see you. But you can’t touch me. You can’t judge me. I can be me. Shamelessly.

Raise the walls high. Build the impenetrable walls. Shut the gates. It’s my own perfect world. A year goes by in my world. Everything is healed.
I decide to open up the windows a little bit. A little fresh air will cause no harm. I felt a whiff. A new breeze. That felt nice. It felt familiar. Maybe I can open up my windows just a wee bit more. I will shut them off immediately. They are wide open now. Even today. I never shut them. I was never able to.

  Vulnerable or strong? Please be vulnerable, please be vulnerable……… pleaded my heart. Shut up already. You have created enough chaos. I am in charge now. No more “Fairytale dreams”, no more car rides, no more falling for flattering messages, no more being silly in love.

Do you have a tiny voice at the back of your head which speaks back to you and gives life advice, for god’s sake? Well mine is louder than my own voice, has a humongous ego and can be downright obnoxious sometimes. It’s difficult living with it seriously. You know the worst part? It is usually right.

‘ I love you’. Nope, no you don’t. ‘I could die for you’. No you can’t. ‘I have waited my whole life for you’. Were you born yesterday? ‘I just want to be with you’. Yeah, you want to be in my pants. The voice is annoying I tell you, but it is always right. If I was anything like the voice then I doubt whether I would have had any friends.

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Dhruba Das Roy is a freelance writer, a musician by passion, and a software engineer by profession. He is from Assam, but born in a small town of Meghalaya, where he finished his schooling. He then obtained his degree in engineering from the esteemed college of National Institute of Technology. He discovered his love for music there and was the lead vocalist of his band, “The Rozarts”.

He loves rock and roll and is a great fan of the pioneers of rock and roll-(Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen and the list goes on).Unfortunately, as engineering life came to an end, the band had to split. Recently, he moved to Kolkata where he is working in one of leading software service based companies in India.
Not everyone can put their thoughts into words. Dhruba had never tried his hand in writing; but he had an experience, an experience which changed his life for the better. Being a vocalist, his only way of expression was through the creative way. He decided to pen down his thoughts and he discovered that writing came naturally to him. His thought process in the novel relates to the general mass in many ways. He decided to stretch his limits and ended up voicing his thoughts in a different way this time.

New Review for Horses in Gray

My husband just received the latest edition of his SCV magazine, the Confederate Veteran, and a review of my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray, was included. Here is the review. Thank you, Confederate Veteran, for you wonderful review!

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Horses in Gray – Famous Confederate Warhorses

This book should be on the required reading list for all Southerners, or anyone interested in the South.

All the classic horses and riders are presented; Lee and Traveller, Stonewall and Little Sorrel, etc. Many new and interesting characters dot the pages of this book.

Chapter 1 details the typical story of Confederate horses, and more humble mules, who served their handlers well, but left no name written in history. Horses suffered the same dangers and trials experienced by our Confederate soldiers. Both died of wounds received during the battles, but also died from lack of adequate housing and food. The author relates one episode during the cold Romney Campaign of 1862 where “from one horse’s knees there were icicles of blood which reached nearly to the ground.” With horrible conditions, the average life of a war horse was only six months.

Of course, a chapter is devoted to Lee’s Traveller, sired by the great racehorse Grey Eagle. The nature of Traveller is shown not only by his courage in battle, but also by a little-known event in which a stray hen adopted General Lee’s tent during the Battle of Fredericksburg., laid eggs each day for the General and found comfortable roost on Traveller’s back. Trusted Traveller survived the War and could be found on the campus of Washington and Lee College. When Lee died, the saddle and bridle of his favorite horse was draped with black crepe, and the General’s boots were placed backwards in the stirrups. Lee also owned other horses; Richmond, Brown Roan, Lucy long, and Ajax. Author Hawkins states, “Lee’s undying love of horses was just as profound as his love for Virginia, and he proved it in every aspect of his life.”

Hero “Stonewall” Jackson owned a horse called “Little Sorrel,” but this work also provides the story of an earlier, unruly Jackson horse called “Big Sorrel.” The unusual character of “Little Sorrel” is covered well by the author and demonstrated by the following: “Little Sorrel amused his master by lying on the ground like a dog when he slept. He would also roll over and lie on his back with his feet up in the air.”

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Less is known about the favorite steed of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Roderick. In a chapter entitled “The Thirty Horses of Forrest,” Roderick’s history is given along with many other horses who came in contact with the famous cavalry officer. The reader should be prepared to hear of tragic, and moving stories involving these war horses. Forrest’s Highlander during a chase “…was shot in the neck. The animal’s carotid artery had been severed, and blood spurted from it like a fountain, spraying Forrest with a crimson mist. Forrest stuck his index finger into the wound, plugged the hole, and spurred Highlander into a gallop. Finally halting beneath a large tree on a high knoll overlooking the Tennessee River, he removed his finger from the wound and dismounted. The faithful steel slumped and without ceremony, dropped dead.”

Other chapters cover war horses of J.E.B. Stuart, John Mosby, Turner Ashby, Lt. Colonel Blackford, John Hunt Morgan, Confederate spy Belle Boyd, and many others. Also covered is the unusual story of Confederate camels.

These stories are interesting and well written. Details are thorough and bring out facts confirming a long held belief that the South was horse country. Many Southerners grew up with horses, and the affection felt between the soldier and his horse was strong.

To close this review, a great example is included, written by Hawkins, of the closeness between man and horse. This is about Forrest and his mount Roderick.

During a frontal attack, “The devoted steed was hit three times by enemy fire, but despite his suffering he valiantly struggled forward. Realizing the severity of Roderick’s wounds, Forrest rode to the rear. He handed Roderick over to Willie before returning to the front on a fresh mount.

Roderick was attracted to the sounds of the battle. He broke away and galloped across the battlefield in search of Forrest. The brave warhorse leapt three fences on his way. Just before reaching Forrest, he received his fourth and fatal wound. He died at Forrest’s side.”

If you only read one book this year, Horses in Gray should be at the top of your list. This reviewer will certainly look at the statues of our mounted Confederate heroes with new understanding and respect. J.D.R. Hawkins has done honor to these animals.

Author: J.D.R. Hawkins

Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company

Gretna, Louisiana

800-843-1724

www.pelicanpub.com

Paperback $27.95

Reviewed by Gary Lee Hall

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520486317&sr=8-1&keywords=horses+in+gray

Art in the Realm of War

 

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On a recent trip to Disneyland, my son and I went to California Adventure and participated in a class on how to draw Disney characters. It was loads of fun and very interesting to see how artists create cartoon characters. I hate to admit it, but my kiddo outdid my drawings. His were way better!

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Seeing these creations firsthand reminded me of how many artists conributed their talents during the War Between the States. Not only did well-renowned painters of the time create magnificent works of art, but soldiers documented their experiences as well. Photography was a fairly new invention, and thousands of tintypes were made during the Civil War. But many artists contributed their talents, too, by conveying portraits, paintings, drawings, and scenerios during the war.

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Not all drawings were professional, but most of them effectively expressed what each soldier was observing (and sometimes feeling) at the time. From First Bull Run (First Manassas) to Chickamauga to Appomatox, artists, both professional and ameteur, were on the scene to portray their experiences.

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Now, a century and a half later, it’s easy to get caught up in the over-stimulating world of the internet and photoshopped images. Seeing freehand drawings created by soldiers who endured the horrors of the war is not only amazing, but also endearing.

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I have seen some of these drawings firsthand. The most impressive is at the Graffiti House in Brandy Station, Virginia. It is an amazing, and somewhat spooky, insight into what the soldiers experienced during the war. The Graffiti House is a work in progress, because the Brandy Station Foundation is constantly uncovering more concealed art that has been buried under decades-old sheetrock and wallpaper.

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I urge you to visit your local art gallery. So much of our rich history lies in the paintings and drawings of these institutions.

http://www.brandystationfoundation.com/

https://www.civilwar.org/visit/heritage-sites/graffiti-house-brandy-station

 

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