J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “November, 2019”

Book Tour – The Treasure Syndicate

The Treasure Syndicate by Jatin Kuberkar

~ Book Tour ~

18th to 20th September


About the Book:

The Treasure Syndicate copy

When Kaliyug resolved to enter Aryavatra, and encountered the lats Pandav, king a curse gave the world it’s first ‘Nidhi-Palak’ or The Guardian of treasure Troves in the form of Lord Kuber’s mortal son, Suta. In time, the Guardian bloodline scattered all over the world. Acharya Agnihotri is an astrologer. He searches for hidden treasures, to fulfill his destiny as a ‘Nidhi-Palak’. Dr. Mahesh secretly finances missions for Acharya. Kumar is favored by unfathomable luck.. Jabbar is a legendary digger, and Srikanth is just a common man. United, they form the Treasure Syndicate, always a team of five; a motley mix with an uncanny balance. Bound by the elaborate framework of coincidence, destiny, and fate, the mission of the syndicate is not a cakewalk. The danger is real, and the conditions are never favorable. A hunting past awaits Acharya’s team, as the Kaliyug threatens to turn the mission upside down.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

About the Author:

Jatin Kuberkar copy

For the mortal world, I pretend to be a Software Engineer who works hard (or hardly?) in the hours of a day. I am the guy next door, a hard core Harry Potter fan and a movie buff. I literally ‘live’ every movie, I have strong opinions about its content and I hate it when a movie based on an interesting concept is messed up for the sake of commercial value. I enjoy watching cartoon shows (doremon, dora and Choota Bheem) with my son. I never get bored of listen to the endless chatter of my wife. When I’m not writing, I make toys for children.

But beyond the boundaries of this ‘cholesterol rich’ coil, I am a rider of rapturous thoughts. I am a thinker, a philosopher, a seeker, a story-teller, a writer, a wanderer and every other thing that a thought can be. At times some of these figments fire out of my thoughtful bowl and command me to write, muse, create, recreate, destroy…EXPRESS!

Who Am I? I have been asking this question to myself since 33 years, and I got a different answer always. Sometimes I get confused and think, am I asking the right question to seek the correct answer? or may be that am I missing the  whole fantastic universal drama around me while I am busy finding an answer to an irrelevant question?

Does the answer even matter?

Contact the Author:

Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

 

Book Tour – The Speaking Stone

The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

~Book Tour~

11th to 17th November

The Speaking Stone Banner copy

About the Book:

The Speaking Stone 3D Cover copy

Mumbai, December 2016: 

A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the country. 

Chandannagar, December 2016: 

A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country to satiate her curiosity. 

Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover, a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to decode the final secret was with the missing part of The Speaking Stone. But in the process of unearthing old secrets their lives were also in danger… 

Book Links:

Amazon * Goodreads

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter 1

December 2016, Mumbai

“Sir, we are about to close,” a courteous but curt voice materialized from near his shoulder. These words, however, had barely any effect on him as he just groaned sleepily, without budging even an inch.

The middle-aged man standing behind him hesitated for a moment before placing his fingers on his shoulder and tapping on it.

“Sir, it is well past one-thirty. We must close now at any cost. You know those Colaba police, na?” the man in uniform urged him. After all, he could not afford to speak in an authoritative manner with someone who frequented their pub, always drank enough to make the pub owner richer by a few thousand, behaved well with all the butlers unlike many other young men his age, and, above all, was always generous to give tips to the workers in the pub. He was quite a favourite with the staff of this famous pub, Voodoo, a little behind Hotel Taj Palace in Colaba. They looked up to him for another reason, too. It was his demonic capacity to drink and remain composed and collected even after that. Never before had it happened that he placed his head on the table, pillowed on his locked arms and slept blissfully. Whenever he visited Voodoo on weekends he was accompanied by one or two friends and the attendants in Voodoo knew that one of those friends, who didn’t drink, was always at the wheel while they returned from the pub. But tonight he was all alone and completely drunk. They were not sure as to how he would ride home.

“Sir,” the uniformed man called him again, tapping on his shoulder, a bit impatiently now. This time as he leaned to touch the young man’s shoulder the hanging end of his tie touched his ear and earlobe. What the earnest request and tapping of the attendant couldn’t do, the hanging end of the tie seemed to have done it effortlessly. Probably it sent a tickling sensation down his spine as he raised his head with a sleepy smile.

“Sorry,” said he, looking up.

“Sir, we are well past our closing time,” repeated the man. He passed a searching glance about and as he found the pub empty except for him a sheepish smile came over his lips.

“I am sorry,” said he, trying to get to his feet. A pleasant sweet smell of Black Label whisky issued from his mouth.

“May I use the toilet once before leaving?” he asked with his usual politeness and then headed to the Men’s with an unsteady gait.

He returned from the toilet after a few minutes, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

“Are you sure, sir, you can manage to go all by yourself?” asked the concerned attendant.

“I will,” replied he and staggered to the entrance of Voodoo.

The attendant watched his six-foot-tall frame leaving the pub and hoped he would reach home safely. He consulted the watch. It was a quarter to two.

Outside the pub the young man stood for a few moments, trying to gather his thoughts. He looked around then. The street in front of him was deserted. At the corner of the street, two stray dogs were sleeping, coiling themselves against each other to feel warm in the cold winter night. A thin wisp of smoke was spiralling up from a small heap of ashes. He knew the durwans from the nearby buildings might have lit the fire with the foliage and old discarded cardboard to warm themselves up. He did a mental calculation and tottered ahead at a slow pace. All that accompanied him was his hesitant footfall and a faithful shadow. He walked past Kashmir Emporium, Rustic Rajasthan, and an antique shop whose targeted customers were usually foreign tourists, and arrived behind the Taj Continental where scores of four-wheelers were parked. As he looked at the cars, parked in an astonishingly disciplined fashion to make the most of the space, a thought struck him. Most of the cars were white. He had no difficulty in finding his car. He opened the rear door of the car and plopped himself down on the seat. It was not long before he stretched at full length, occupying the entire back seat. 

Soon he fell asleep when the crashing waves of the Arabian Sea, in front of Hotel Taj Continental, played a lullaby for him. It was the first night he slept in the car.

About the Author:
Ratnadip Acharya copy

Ratnadip Acharya is the author of two successful novels, Life is Always Aimless… Unless you love it and Paradise Lost & Regained. He is a columnist for the Speaking Tree in The Times of India. He contributed many write-ups in different collections of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Sophia and son, Akash.

Contact the Author:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Release Day Blitz

The Sinners by Sourabh Mukherjee

~ Release Day Blitz ~

12th November

The Sinners Banners copy

About the Book:

The Sinners Cover copy

Vikram Oberoi is found dead in his penthouse. A few hours ago, his involvement in a sex scandal in NexGen Technologies made headlines across the world.

Who is behind the sinister conspiracy that destroyed Vikram Oberoi, the philandering India Head of NexGen? Rivals within and outside the firm? One of his many jilted lovers or the miffed wife? A mysterious conspirator laying out honey traps to sabotage his plans? Or, is it the ghost of a sinful past that continues to haunt the Oberois?

The Sinners is a fast-paced thriller with a shocking twist that unravels against the backdrop of corporate warfare, illicit relationships and ruthless seduction games.

Book Links:

Amazon * Goodreads

Read an Excerpt:

Agastya picked up the call from a private number after the third ring, taking his eyes off the monitor in front of him.

“Is this Agastya Bakshi?”

“Yes… who’s this?”

“Agastya, my apologies for calling you late. I assure you this won’t take too long. But, we need to talk in private. Where are you right now?” The male voice at the other end of the line sounded authoritative. Agastya could not recall having heard the voice earlier.

Agastya looked around the near-empty office and said, “I am at work, but we can talk. Not too many people around at this time of the night.” His curiosity, by this time, was at its peak. 

It was past eleven. It was the third time that week that Agastya had to work through the night. Hired a couple of years back, his work as an engineer in the Network and Systems Division of NexGen kept him rooted in front of computer screens through his days and very often, his nights. Agastya did not have much of a social life. A clumsy desk littered with pizza crumbs, empty cartons and soda cans, and a paunch growing at an alarming rate – that was what his life had been reduced to. But, he did not complain. Agastya loved his job.

“Great! Then let’s talk business. I’m sorry I cannot disclose my name. I belong to a private investigation agency that’s currently looking into the dealings of the company you are working for. There are reports of certain financial irregularities in the business.”

Agastya sat up straight in his chair.

“Okay! But, what – what do you want from me?” Agastya asked tentatively. “I work in Network and Systems. I don’t think you have the right number!”

“Agastya, I know who I am talking to,” there was an almost imperceptible hint of annoyance in the voice of the man at the other end of the line. He went on, “We need access to the e-mail accounts of some of the top guys in your company to check their correspondences. And I’ve been told that you are the right man for the job.”

Agastya took a sip of the cola that had already gone flat.

“Why – why me? You can speak to my Manager in the morning. He -“

The voice at the other end of the line did not let him finish.

“Agastya, this is a covert operation and we are a private agency. We cannot turn up at your office with an order to gain access to these accounts. Also, right now, we’re not sure how many of the big guys are involved and in what ways. For all you know, your boss – the Systems Manager you are referring to – might as well be a party! Let’s not forget that, he has access to all records of transactions. We do not want anyone getting alert and tampering with the data we are looking for. We cannot risk exposure. It’ll take us some time to complete the basic investigation. And I’d really appreciate your cooperation while we are at it. Once we have enough evidence at our disposal, we will make this official.”

Agastya thought for a few minutes. The whole thing could be a hoax, for all it’s worth!

“Look… how do I trust you?”

“I knew you’re going to ask, Agastya. We’ll be completely transparent with you. One of my agents will get in touch with you. You’ll be working with her. I want you to hand over the details to her in person. This is for reasons of safety. And also, to make sure that you put faces to names. We want to win your trust and make sure that you are comfortable working with us because, as I said, this investigation isn’t going to get over in a day. We’ll need to work together for a while.”

“I – I’ll need to think this through. What’s in it for me?”

“We’ll most certainly compensate for your time and your cooperation. And I can assure you that, you will have no reason to complain about the money. Don’t worry about that,” the voice sounded reassuring. Agastya did a quick mental calculation of the remaining EMIs for his new car. Almost at the same time, the full front-page advertisement of the upcoming apartment complex in South Mumbai flashed before his eyes.

The voice continued, “So I gather we’re good to go here, right?”

Agastya mumbled an uncertain “Well…”

The voice did not seem to care.

“Thanks for your co-operation, Agastya. Ruchika will get in touch with you shortly. Have a good rest of the night at work.” The man hung up.

Agastya looked disbelievingly at his phone. Agastya wondered if he should call someone and discuss. The next moment, he decided against it. The man did sound like he meant business. And, in any case, Agastya was the one in charge. He was the one who had access to the data the agency was asking for. He was willing to give it a shot if the money was good. If, at any point in time, he had any reason to doubt the authenticity of the agency, he could always step back. Maybe even report the guy to appropriate authorities. He could always make an honest confession.

He put the phone down on his desk and went back to monitoring the data backup jobs. In a couple of minutes, his phone buzzed 

“Hey, this is Ruchika” – said the Whatsapp message.

About the Author:

Sourabh Mukherjee

Sourabh is the author of two psychological thriller novels The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight (Readomania) and  In the Shadows of Death: A Detective Agni Mitra Thriller (Srishti Publishers and Distributors); Romance Shorts, a collection of dark-romance short stories; a 2-part series Beyond 22 Yards (Srishti Publishers and Distributors) on stories of Love and Crime from the world of cricket and a 7-part series of short stories titled It’s All About Love (Srishti Publishers and Distributors). The titles in the series are The Gift, The Cookery Show and a Love Story, A Special Day, Masks, An Autumn Turmoil, The Hunt, The Death Wish.

A keen observer of human behaviour and cultural diversities, Sourabh loves travelling and has travelled widely across five continents. An avid reader of fiction, Sourabh is equally passionate about photography, movies and music.

Connect with the Author:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Blog

The Sinners 3D Cover copy

Giveaway:

A Paperback Copy of The Sinners by Sourabh Mukherjee.

Open till 25th November, 2019

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Distortion of History

Monument_avenue_richmond_virginia

Teresa Roane and I have taken up a crusade to defend Confederate monuments. She is more of an activist, and I am a writer, but we both feel the same passion about saving our history. Ms. Roane previously worked at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. She sees firsthand how the history of Richmond in relation to the Civil War has fallen under attack for the past few years.

Yesterday, she posted on Facebook:

“This is a sad day in Virginia. The fight to preserve Confederate heritage begins. I have not forgotten that one Richmond City Council member said that they hoped that the Virginia General Assembly would come under Democratic control. Why? Because then they could petition to eliminate Monument Avenue.

“Confederate memorials have existed for decades. An organization with a 5 million dollar endowment created a buzz phrase in 2017 and anyone who did not have a lick of sense spread that phrase all over this country. It created racial division and brought out such hatred. It also proved that ignorance about Confederate history reigns.

“Here is my question to the people who sat quietly on the sidelines. What are you going to do now? I have met so many people who said that they didn’t want the Confederate memorials removed. Will you stand up now? Will you let the politicians dictate history?

“We are in one heck of a fight……”

JEB

I cannot comprehend why this tragedy keeps escalating, although I understand why it occurred in the first place. If my ancestors were under attack, I’d be all in arms. However, my relatives came over from Ireland and Germany after the War Between the States ended. Still, I can’t believe how disrespectful it is that the great Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to disregard its heritage, along with so many other Southern states. Contorting everything related to the Confederacy by claiming it to be racist/Jim Crow is inaccurate, offensive, distasteful, and wrong. Keep distorting our historic remembrances by destroying and hiding them, and pretty soon, our history will all be gone. Erase our history, and after a while, history will be repeated because we will forget.

Here’s another jab against American heritage. It’s amazing how the past is being twisted into inaccurate, untrue current views.

Stonewall

H.R.4179 – NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS ACT

116TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION
H. R. 4179

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 9, 2019

Mr. Espaillat (for himself, Mr. Evans, Ms. Clarke of New York, Ms. Velázquez, Ms. Adams, Mr. Quigley, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Khanna, Ms. Jackson Lee, and Mr. Gallego) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Natural Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL To prohibit the use of Federal funds for Confederate symbols, and for other purposes.

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act.

2. Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1) The Confederate battle flag is one of the most controversial symbols from U.S. history, signifying a representation of racism, slavery, and the oppression of African Americans.

(2) The Confederate flag and the erection of Confederate monuments were used as symbols to resist efforts to dismantle Jim Crow segregation, and have become pillars of Ku Klux Klan rallies.

(3) There are at least 1,503 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces, including 109 public schools named after prominent Confederates, many with large African-American student populations.

 

(4) There are more than 700 Confederate monuments and statues on public property throughout the country, the vast majority in the South. These include 96 monuments in Virginia, 90 in Georgia, and 90 in North Carolina.

(5) Ten major U.S. military installations are named in honor of Confederate military leaders. These include Fort Rucker (Gen. Edmund Rucker) in Alabama; Fort Benning (Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning) and Fort Gordon (Maj. Gen. John Brown Gordon) in Georgia; Camp Beauregard (Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard) and Fort Polk (Gen. Leonidas Polk) in Louisiana; Fort Bragg (Gen. Braxton Bragg) in North Carolina; Fort Hood (Gen. John Bell Hood) in Texas; and Fort A.P. Hill (Gen. A.P. Hill), Fort Lee (Gen. Robert E. Lee), and Fort Pickett (Gen. George Pickett) in Virginia.

3. Federal funds restriction

(a) In general

Except as provided in subsection (c), no Federal funds may be used for the creation, maintenance, or display, as applicable, of any Confederate symbol on Federal public land, including any highway, park, subway, Federal building, military installation, street, or other Federal property.

(b) Confederate symbol defined

The term Confederate symbol includes the following:

(1) A Confederate battle flag.

(2) Any symbol or other signage that honors the Confederacy.

(3) Any monument or statue that honors a Confederate leader or soldier or the Confederate States of America.

(c) Exceptions
(d) Subsection( a) does not apply—

if the use of such funds is necessary to allow for removal of the Confederate symbol to address public safety; or

(2) in the case of a Confederate symbol created, maintained, or displayed in a museum or educational exhibit, with such designation as the Secretary determines appropriate:

(1) Fort Rucker, Alabama.
(2) Fort Benning, Georgia.
(3) Fort Gordon, Georgia.
(4) Camp Beauregard, Louisiana. (5) Fort Polk, Louisiana.

(6) Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (7) Fort Hood, Texas.
(8) Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.
(9) Fort Lee, Virginia.

(10) Fort Pickett, Virginia. (b) References

Any reference in any law, regulation, map, document, paper, or other record of the United States to a military installation referred to in subsection (a) shall be deemed to be a reference to such installation as redesignated under such subsection.

 

(Article courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Samuel A. Hughey camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Vol. 43, Issue No. 11, November 2019 ed.)

Erasing History Keeps Going

But who does it benefit, really? I mean, seriously, eradicating Confederate statues that have been in place for over 100 years is suddenly the “in” thing to do. I feel bad for all the descendants who see their ancestors’ monuments being taken down because the statues suddenly offend a few. And yet, the stupid keep taking them down, regardless of taking into consideration what has happened in other countries when they did this same exact thing. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.
forrest
PROBABLY NEVER COMING BACK
Now that the Tennessee Supreme Court has avoided its Constitutional duty, the nonprofit that “owns” the Confederate monuments removed from Memphis’ parks, Memphis Greenspace, will be able to act with impunity.
While they’re not sure, we suspect they are trying to sell the statues … Whoever they sell to, will no doubt have to promise that they will never be returned to Shelby County.
“Whomever takes the monuments, our restriction would be that the monuments can never cross Shelby County lines ever again and come back into this community, and this restriction would have to travel with the monuments,” Van Turner with Memphis Greenspace said.
Memphis Greenspace still has to finalize a lawsuit in local court with the surviving family of Forrest, whose remains are still at Health Sciences Park. “We will respect the wishes of the current family members,” Turner said. “All of that will have to be worked out in the local lawsuit pending in chancery court, and I think we’re up for it.”
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, November 5, 2019 ed.)

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