J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “May, 2018”

Book Blitz – The Unity Game

About the Book:

The Unity Game_Cover

WHAT IF THE EARTH YOU KNEW WAS JUST THE BEGINNING?

A New York banker is descending into madness. 

A being from an advanced civilization is racing to stay alive. 

A dead man must unlock the secrets of an unknown dimension to save his loved ones. 

From the visions of Socrates in ancient Athens, to the birth of free will aboard a spaceship headed to Earth, The Unity Game tells a story of hope and redemption in a universe more ingenious and surprising than you ever thought possible. 

Metaphysical thriller and interstellar mystery, this is a ‘complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel’ from an exciting and original new voice in fiction.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

 

Meet the Characters:

 

The Setting: Earth

 

New York City. The 1990s. One of the world’s leading investment banks.

 

The Setting: Space

 

A distant planet. A dry surface orbited by three red moons and circling a distant sun. An advanced civilization living in underground chambers.

 

The Setting: Death

 

An open door. A library. A room of knowledge. A garden of dazzling color. The answers to every question that has ever been asked on Earth.

 

Meet David

 

A brilliant scientist and wildly ambitious, David abandoned an academic path to follow the glow of Wall Street money. From a small town in Canada, he is now determined to make the riches he has given up his scientific talents for. He is always on edge, he must prove he is better than the other bankers, he has to win the best deals. However, he is easy pickings for the multi-million dollar bosses who see how they can use a greedy, naïve young man for their own purposes. David falls further into risk, mistakes and desperation, clutching at anything around him as his dreams and world falls apart.

 

Meet Noe-bouk

 

Dry dust. Three red moons. A member of one of the most advanced civilizations in the universe, taught to believe that all the answers come naturally from the incontrovertible logic of the greatest good. Now, facing death, Noe-bouk decides to find out if there is something more than what he has been taught. Accepting a place on a space ship, the further he gets from the moons of Home Planet the more he understands that he knows nothing at all… 

 

Meet Alisdair

 

A respected lawyer. An adoring grandfather. Alisdair collapses outside his law offices in London and finds himself standing beside his unmoving corpse. He feels wonderful! He spots some wide open doors and bounds through them to discover a library, a garden, and his dead wife. All his life he has burned with the questions of the universe: what is the purpose of existence? What is good and evil? How far does the infinite stretch? With an afterworld guide and his wife at his side, his only limits now are to come up with new questions as all of his horizons expand beyond imagination…

 

Meet Elspeth

 

Beautiful, young, angry. Apart from her beloved grandfather Alisdair, Elspeth has been let down by everyone in her life. She’s rejected her parents and their easy choices, she sees no meaning in the structures of society. She has always felt lost, and now the death of her grandfather is forcing her to make choices. With some money he has left her, she decides to follow a feeling and go on an adventure. 

 

Meet Socrates

 

Legendary philosopher, pion of bravery and morality, a figure so strong his ideas and presence pervade the centuries and the dimensions of time and space. Who else would Alisdair call upon in the afterworld to help his granddaughter Elspeth, than the man he has revered his entire life, and whose teachings guided him? Yes, Elspeth can be helped, but she must be brought together with another soul – one who has truly lost their path. 

 

Reviews for The Unity Game

 

 “A complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

 

“Elegantly written, expertly crafted and a moving message. I found this book very hard to put down. Moving and poignant.” ~ Lilly, Amazon US reviewer

 

“An engrossing, unique, and totally bizarre tale! I could not stop reading it once I started. Such a beautiful take on the afterlife, and its connection to those still living. A unity game, indeed!”~ Brenna, Goodreads reviewer

 

About the Author:

Leonora Meriel_Pic

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

 

Contact the Author:

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Book Blitz – Castles in the Air

About the Book:

Book Cover

Publisher: Rumour Book India

Edition: First edition (2017)

ISBN: 978-1945563850

Genre: Fiction

Format: Paperback

Pages: 234

Price: 299/-

Laughter is said to be the best elixir and the book is a satire on architecture written by one who knows the bricks and concrete of the profession by heart.

The author, an architect himself, delves into the journey of a professional practice. The book is witty with acerbic humor.

Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page, every scene unfolds like a screenplay, leaving the reader amazed with the brutalities of life in architecture, and life itself.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Reviews for the Book:

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About the Author:

Sangeet

Sangeet Sharma is a practicing architect in Chandigarh. He is a partner in SD Sharma & Associates, a well-known firm of the region founded by his father Ar. SD Sharma, an eminent Architect. Widely acknowledged and awarded Ar. Sangeet Sharma commands an undisputed international reputation in profession. Carrying forward the legacy and vocabulary established by his father he is fascinated by geometrical forms. 

By looking at every drawn line as built spaces he follows a certain rationale to his reflective practice. His buildings are based on sustainable applications.

He is a multifaceted personality. He is a poet, Architectural critic, writer, artist and author. He has authored Architecture, Life and Me, published by Rupa and Co., a memoir that takes an all-round view of the profession.

Contact the Author:

Website * Facebook * Instagram

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Book Blitz – Daughter of the Sun

Daughter of the Sun

~ Cult of the Cat Series Book 1 ~

 

About the Book:

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Title: Daughter of the Sun

Series: Cult of the Cat Series, Book 1

Author: Zoe Kalo

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy / Paranormal

Word Count: 93,000 words

No. of Pages: 330

 

Mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic…

 

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. 

But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. 

Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

Get Your Copy of this Book. Available for FREE for a LIMITED TIME ONLY! 

 

About the Author:

Zoe

Storyteller at heart…


A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has remained. Today, Zoe passes her stories to you with lots of mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic.

Currently, she balances writing with spending time with her family, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

 

Contact the Author:

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Book Blitz – 3 Peaks of Happiness

 

3 Peaks

Book Info:

Publisher: AiR Foundation

ISBN: 9789352814466

Genre: Non-Fiction / Self Help

Format: Paperback

Pages: 167

Price: 200/-



Book Blurb:

The whole world is seeking happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happy? But is everyone happy? Discover the most fulfilling journey to bliss and ultimate everlasting happiness.

There are three peaks of happiness. Most of humanity lives and dies on the first peak, being glad and being sad, experiencing joy and sorrow like a yo-yo.


Twenty percent of humanity is fortunate to live a life of contentment on the Second Peak of Happiness that offers tremendous joy and peace.


A small fraction of humanity goes on a quest for the third peak. The Third Peak not only gives one eternal bliss, everlasting joy, and peace, but also gives one freedom from problems, worries, and pain!


This book is a personal experience of such a traveler who climbed all the three peaks. He shares his journey and shows you the way to the Third and Ultimate Peak of Happiness.

“You can be as happy as you want to be. True Happiness, Ultimate Bliss lies beyond a pursuit of Pleasure and Peace. It is experienced by those who Discover the Purpose of Life!”

 

Read an Excerpt:

 

Chapter 1

 

Happiness is a Journey

The whole world is seeking happiness. In fact, it seems like we are all on an eternal journey to destination happiness. Yes, happiness is a journey, but not many people know that it is the path itself. You cannot get happiness, but you can be happy. While there is no one on earth who doesn’t seek this treasure, there are only a few who truly understand what happiness is.

 

Do you know that you can choose to be happy or unhappy? Happiness doesn’t just happen; it is a choice you make”  -RVM

 

What is Happiness?

  Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a state of joy, bliss and cheer. It is an emotion- energy in motion- that makes one glad, just as unhappiness is an emotion, that makes one sad. A happy person is joyous and he smiles and laughs just as unhappy person frowns and cries. We feel happy and it shows. Happiness radiates through cheerfulness and enthusiasm. Although happiness may be a common word, it is often quite tricky to define or explain “Happiness”.

 

Everyone wants to be happy

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody on earth wants happiness, whether one is a baby or an adult, be it man or a woman, Indian or American, black or white, or rich or poor, who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody alive on this planet seeks happiness. Not just human being, it seems even animals wants to be happy. We see that dogs wag its tail in joy, birds fly in the sky, fish swirl in the water, and the peacock open their wings to dance in bliss. Don’t you think they all seek happiness too? Everybody wants to be happy.

 

If you were to ask different people around the globe, what they are seeking, you would get different answers from each one. But if you further ask them, why they are seeking it, you would get a common answer from all- “Happiness”. The goal of life is happiness. Everyone wants to be happy, and people do different things to achieve this one objective. To a businessman, a successful business brings happiness. To artists, it may be a creative product that is born out of their imagination. A student may be happy with excellence in exams, just as a politicians is blissful on winning an election. We all do different things, but whatever we do, the goal is one: We all want to be happy!

 

If you have not learnt anything, but have learnt one thing that the goal of life is to be happy, you have learnt everything!” – RVM 

About the Author:

AiR – Atman in Ravi, or the Soul in Ravi, is an embodied soul whose only mission in life is to realize the Truth and help people realize the Truth. 

He was born on October 15, 1966 in Bangalore, as Ravi V. Melwani. At a very young age, he mastered the craft of business and became a very successful businessman who revolutionized retailing in India with the stores Kids Kemp, Big Kids Kemp, and Kemp Fort. After making millions, he realized that life is not just about making money. He shut down his business at the age of 40, transformed his life to RVM living by the RVM philosophy – Rejoice, Value Life, and Make a Difference. He started doing H.I.S. work – Humanitarian, Inspirational and Spiritual work. His mission was to “Make a Difference” in this world before his journey was over.

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Desecrating the Dead

Not only are the politically correct going after monuments, but now they are attacking cemeteries. What’s next? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

News-Confederate-Marker-crHMdb(dot)org-120130-08162017

WISCONSIN GRAVES TO REMAIN VIOLATED

At their meeting on Tuesday night, Madison City Council continued with their discussion of the plan to remove the marker for Confederate graves in the Forest Hill cemetery.

The decision was made at a meeting on April 10, and was then moved for reconsideration for the following meeting. The reconsideration was not passed on Tuesday night, and the decision will remain the same.

To open the issue, members of the public spoke on their positions. Wisconsin citizen James Reiff believes the dead should be left alone. “These men too were Americans and fought for what was important for them. We owe it to them to keep that cemetery in good orders and keep the monuments that were there,” Reiff said. “Don’t make war on the dead.”

Following public comments, the decision was opened to council members, where Alder Paul Skidmore, District 9, asked for reconsideration so the cenotaph can remain where it is.

Skidmore said he has heard from many citizens who believe the cenotaph should remain in place, and he agrees. “I spoke about my support to keep the cenotaph, but I also support the discussion that we are not here to celebrate or honor the Confederacy or its cause,” Skidmore said. “The effort you are hearing is to honor the dead and allow for forgiveness and reconciliation with history.”

Skidmore emphasized that this is not an issue of racism. He said the memorials do not promote racism or the Confederacy, but are meant to be the final resting place of 140 people who were prisoners of the war.

However, Alder Mark Clear said he has not seen anything to make him believe the council should take the issue up again, as the vote was unanimous at the April meeting.

Alder David Ahrens sided with Skidmore, saying there should be an addition of a sign to explain the monuments. “The act of remembrance is important to all parties and by remembering the dead, we are not revering the actions, but there would need to be an explanation to the monuments,” Ahrens said.

After discussion, the council voted for there to be no reconsideration of the decision previously made. The vote was 14-4 to keep the April 10 decision.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, May 4, 2018 ed.)

Book Blitz – The Woman Behind the Waterfall

About the Book:

The Woman Behind The Waterfall_Cover

Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother’s fateful choices.

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

 

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 

Meet the Characters:

 

The Setting

 

Ukraine, a village deep in the countryside. A picturesque, verdant landscape. The houses are beautiful but have few amenities: water is gathered from the well, clothes are washed by hand, and the “outhouse” toilet is in the garden. Life is hard work here, and close to nature.

 

The Language

 

There are many Ukrainian words in the novel, especially emphasizing the names of endearment Ukrainian people give to each other. Lastivka is “little swallow”; zaika is ‘little rabbit”; harnenka is “my beautiful one.”

 

Meet Lyudmilla

 

Lyuda is a beautiful woman in her early twenties who has suffered some hard knocks early on. Pregnant at just sixteen, she left school and the child’s father moved into their house in the village. Her father died, and her mother soon after, and Lyuda found herself a teenager loaded down with the pressures of a baby, looking after a house, and a man who expected her to cook for him and be the light-hearted girl he fell in love with. Eventually, the situation grows intolerable for him and he abandons her. At seventeen, she is entirely alone with a small baby. She falls into a deep cycle of depression and self-blame, feeling that her life is over and that she is at fault. She doesn’t let anyone close to her.

It is only when her daughter Angela is a little older – aged seven – that she starts to notice how sad her mother is.  She decides to do something about it.

 

Meet Angela

 

Seven-year-old girl Angela has been left alone to do as she likes for most of her life. Her mother makes sure her dresses are clean and her hair is untangled, but she is free to play as she wishes. She has a wild imagination and she sees no boundaries between her thoughts and the world around her: she flies in the body of a bird, she becomes the wind, she enters a storm – she is pure spirit and possibility.

When she starts to notice her mother crying every time she is alone, Angela is determined to find out why, and to help her mother regain the happiness she herself feels. At the heart of her investigation are questions that now begin to haunt her: Where is her father? Why does no one come to the house? Why does her mother cry when she thinks no one can see her?

When Angela meets the spirit of her grandmother, they come up with a plan to help Lyuda.

 

Meet Zoryana

 

The name Zoryana, which comes from the Ukrainian root zorya, means star, dawn, youth, day or spring. Zoryana has returned to the Earth in spirit form after seeing the unhappiness of her daughter and her failure to move past her teenage mistakes.

Zoryana feels that she did not prepare her daughter enough for the real world before she died, and she sees her struggling and unhappy. She wants to show her that life has highs and lows and that she must choose a new path for herself. She connects with her granddaughter Angela, who is not daunted by meeting the spirit of a relative, and together they help Lyuda to understand and see the joy in her life.

 

Meet Kolya

 

Nicolai, or Kolya, lives next door to Lyuda and brews home-made vodka in his shed. He sells it to her and catches rabbits for her to eat. He was a childhood friend of her mother, Zoryana, and he hates to see her so unhappy. He’d love to help her, but she pushes him away. When he finally makes a terrible mistake, there is a high price to pay.

 

Reviews for The Woman Behind the Waterfall

 

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews

“The language is lyrical and poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams, The Richmond Magazine

“Rich and poetic in detail, it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader

 

About the Author:

Leonora Meriel_Pic

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

 

Contact the Author:

Website * Facebook * Twitter

TWBTW

 

Book Blitz – Skarlet Kiss

Book Blitz – A Time to Burnish

ATTB

About the Book:

“Not too long before we can get as many of them 3-D printed.”

That pretty much sums up Josh Winslow’s feelings about classic artifacts. As a man of science and technology, he couldn’t care less about old bronze idols. Unfortunately, his brother Tom has just made one such idol his problem.

Vidya Thyagarajan, a young banker from Chennai, didn’t expect to chase the origins of old idols either. But her friend Tom has just entangled her in one such chase.

Along with Vidya, Josh reluctantly embarks on a journey to India to track the origins of a Chola bronze idol. Through the urban maze of Chennai, dusty roads of small towns in deep Chola territory, they discover clues that confounds them every step of the way.

During a short span of a week, the quest quickly becomes personal as the shadow of the past challenges their outlook toward life and love.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

“What is my area of expertise, Josh?”

Recognizing the question for what it was—an opener—Josh bit back a groan. Tom reminded him of an old modem in a slow network; the connection light had to get steady before the data light started blinking in a measured pace.

He replied, “You know I can answer that question in my sleep! Growing up, it was all that residue hippie stuff, all that ghastly sitar music, thanks to Mom and Dad. Then you had to go pick India as your area of interest.”

There was no answering smile on Tom’s face, just an abrupt headshake of a refusal to rise to the bait.

“What specifically in India?”

“South India.”

“Your brilliant grasp of the specifics never ceases to amaze me,” Tom said with the same maddened note that crept into his voice when dealing with Josh’s indifference toward his profession.

He poured out the warm saké from the flask and took a delicate sip from the cup.

“For the zillionth time, my area of specialization is the Chola Empire, covering roughly the ninth to the thirteenth century.”

“I know,” acknowledged Josh, sensing this was not the time to say “whatever.” He made an effort instead. “The rise and fall of the Cholas, with special focus on that dude who was a great warrior and visionary—Maharajah Chola.”

“You mean Rajaraja Chola.”

“Yes, of course, what was that paper you wrote? ‘The social order under Rajaraja and the later Cholas’,” Josh said with pretentious nonchalance. Tom produced many such papers and was either a member or a fellow or some such on various societies.

Tom laughed for the first time that evening. “There may be some hope for you after all.”

Josh grinned.

Tom rubbed his eyes slightly and then, leaning forward, started talking about the Cholas with the passion and intensity that usually marked him.

“At its peak, the Chola Empire covered the bulk of South India, parts of Sri Lanka, touched Maldives, and even Malacca. The medieval Chola kings were great patrons of art and literature, they made major strides in governance and foreign relations, and they were builders of magnificent architecture… Let’s just say, the height of the Chola Empire, especially the time of Rajaraja, can be thought of as a golden age. Think Italy during the Renaissance.”

“Must I?” Josh muttered, fidgeting a little. Tom ignored it.

“You know, as part of my job, I work on acquisitions of relics of rare value?”

Yes,” Josh nodded. What was it that Tom had acquired the previous summer? Wasn’t it a manuscript of some sort? He wished he could surreptitiously pull his iPad out and do a quick search on his email.

He needn’t have troubled himself. Tom continued, almost ignoring his answer, his brows furrowed.

“My limited budget hardly allows for anything major. A piece of an intricately carved wooden door, an old silk sari, a palm leaf book, those are the kind of things I usually go for. A Chola bronze icon is in a whole different league. You could even say it’s the top artifact of the period. These bronzes are typically delicate, sensual icons of the gods and the saints or occasionally royals. They still make bronze icons in south India, but the Chola bronzes are Yes,” Josh nodded. What was it that Tom had acquired the previous summer? Wasn’t it a manuscript of some sort? He wished he could surreptitiously pull his iPad out and do a quick search on his email.

He needn’t have troubled himself. Tom continued, almost ignoring his answer, his brows furrowed.

“My limited budget hardly allows for anything major. A piece of an intricately carved wooden door, an old silk sari, a palm leaf book, those are the kind of things I usually go for. A Chola bronze icon is in a whole different league. You could even say it’s the top artifact of the period. These bronzes are typically delicate, sensual icons of the gods and the saints or occasionally royals. They still make bronze icons in south India, but the Chola bronzes are antiques—they could be millions of dollars’ worth.” Tom paused for a moment, his face troubled, full of worry.

Josh raised his brows and whistled lightly. “Millions, huh?”

“Yes, millions. Josh, in my enthusiasm, I have made a grave mistake. You have got to help me. I have no one else to turn to.” Tom’s voice took on a strained, and nervous quality.

Josh raised a hand.

“Hang on! What are you talking about?”

Tom sat back, grimaced, and then enunciated slowly. “I need you to help me track a Chola bronze.”

“What do you mean track?”

“Find all the information there is about a particular Chola bronze. I believe I have in my possession an antique bronze that has come into the UK likely through illicit art trafficking. My gut says there has been a major art theft, and if I don’t act now, I am going to be an accessory.”

About the Author:

Radhika

Radhika Nathan is a juggler, a meanderer and a rolling stone. She believes in the miracle of words and the rain. Her favourite pastimes include reading, listening to podcasts and gazing at monsoon clouds. Her taste in books is eclectic ranging from anthropology to old fashioned murder mysteries, and if pushed she would name Jane Austen as her favourite author for her believable, eternal characters. Travel is something she enjoys and has been to more than a dozen countries- for the love of meeting new people and discovering new cultures. 

Radhika writes for her fascination of human beings, intrigued by their archetypal & atypical behaviour and the differences & similarities in all of us. Writing is a means that forces her to think and re-examine a point of view or a preconceived notion. ‘I grow as a person as I write’, she says and quotes ‘A well written sentence [a rare occurrence] is like soul chocolate.’

Radhika, believes in a spiritual approach to life that welcomes science. She believes in liberty, equality, personal responsibility and fair play.

Author Links:

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Battle of Chancellorsville

Today and tomorrow mark the 155th anniverary of the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. To commemorate the anniversary, the Civil War Trust will be posting live from the battlefield on its Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/civilwartrust/

Many events are planned, so check it out here.

ABeckoningHellfire_MED

My novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, discusses the battle and its terrible aftermath. Here is an excerpt.

 

It is well war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it.

—General Pendleton

Personal Recollections of General Lee

David rode Renegade at a walk for a few miles, unsure which direction to follow. The early morning sky and surrounding forest were so dark that he could barely make out the road, let alone anyone foolhardy enough to be out in the unfamiliar countryside…like him. He hoped he wouldn’t encounter any Yankees. The possibility of being apprehended and thrown into a Northern prison was all too real, but his desire to find Jake outweighed his fear. After riding for nearly an hour, he encountered a Rebel soldier on picket duty, who directed him to where he thought O’Neal’s brigade was camped.

“You’re on the Orange Plank Road now,” the picket said, gazing out from under his forage cap. Even though it was still night, David could make out dark circles under the picket’s eyes. “Go up a ways until you reach Brook Road, and keep goin’ till you git to the Orange Turnpike. You’ll see the Hawkins farmstead and the Wilderness Church in front of you. Turn right and keep travelin’ on the turnpike until you see their camp. You should run into them before you reach Chancellorsville.”

“Thank you kindly,” David responded.

The picket turned, walked back to a fence post, and lit a pipe. The glow from his burning tobacco faded into the darkness behind David as he proceeded in the direction that the picket had indicated. Reaching the intersection, he could barely make out the Hawkins farmhouse, which sat back from the road. The chapel, a small, whitewashed frame building, stood closer to the road, giving him a sense of reassurance as he rode by. A zigzagged wooden-post fence lined the turnpike, and behind it in the fields, David thought he could distinguish objects on the ground. He assumed they were bodies of dead Yankees. The smell of burnt timber hung in the air, making the darkness feel even thicker.

He rode another mile or two. At long last, he saw rows of white tents off to the side of the road. The soldiers within them were just beginning to stir, rising with the dawn. He asked one man for directions to O’Neal’s brigade. The soldier pointed without saying a word. Nudging Renegade, David headed off on the route the silent soldier had specified. He saw another foot soldier, asked for the location of O’Neal’s command, and was directed to a different area. Over and over he was misled, until almost an hour and a half later, he finally found O’Neal’s brigade. He didn’t recognize anyone, so he asked one of the soldiers if he knew where Private Jacob Kimball might be. The infantryman shook his head.

“Don’t reckon I know a Kimball,” he stated.

“He’s a new enlistee,” said David.

The soldier stood shaking his head and scratching his dark beard. “We’ll be havin’ roll call in a few minutes. You can find out if he’s here then.”

David swung down from the saddle and tied Renegade. He followed the infantryman to a clearing where several other members of the brigade congregated. A bugler signaled reveille, prompting more tattered soldiers to wander over to the gathering. David looked closely for Jake or one of his friends but didn’t recognize a soul.

The sun peeked out from the horizon, casting long shadows around camp. An eerie, stifling stillness hung in the cold morning air, and a sharp breeze pierced the soldiers bedraggled and soiled clothing. They stood shivering in irregular rows, their breath casting misty puffs into the chilly air.

An officer approached. He glanced over at David before calling out names. “Albright,” he hollered.

“Here,” came a reply.

“Allen.”

“Here.”

“Andrews.”

The officer hesitated, looking around at his soldiers before speaking the name again, but still no one answered. He continued to callout names on the list. Some received responses, some did not.

“Kimball.”

David’s heart leaped. His eyes darted around the group of soldiers. There was no answer.

“Kimball!”

Silence. Then the officer continued on to the next name.

“Reckon you ought to check the hospital,” the soldier with the dark beard whispered loudly to David. He heard his name called, and bellowed, “Here!”

David looked down at the trampled ground and drew a heavy sigh. He returned to Renegade and mounted, starting his search again. His heart hurt, but he was determined to find his best friend. As the sun appeared above the horizon, he sent up the same prayer request he’d repeated since the start of the battle.

Please, dear Lord, protect Jake and keep him safe from harm’s way. Amen.

He asked for directions to the army hospital. A short, stocky soldier directed him back to the turnpike toward Chancellorsville. He rode for a few miles, asking several infantrymen if he was headed in the right direction. All of them knew the exact location of the hospital.

By midmorning, he reached the hospital tents marked with bold red flags. He dismounted, tied Renegade out to graze, and after inhaling a breath of courage, went inside one of the tents. Immediately, the smell of death assaulted him. He quickly backed out, nauseated, struggling not to gag, and took in huge gulps of fresh air before attempting to reenter. More cautiously this time, he pulled open the tent flap and stepped inside.

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