J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “August, 2022”

Double-Edged Sword Receives Another Stellar Review

My new novel, Double-Edged Sword, has received a review from US Review of Books. This is the fourth book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Gretchen Hansen, for your marvelous review!

Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction – Book Four of the Renegade Series
by J.D.R. Hawkins
Book review by Gretchen Hansen

“All of his ideas, however, ended the same, with him being tried, convicted and strung up for murder.”

The U.S. Civil War’s aftermath and the painful period known as the Reconstruction era are at the center of the narrative in this fourth installment of the author’s sweeping saga. David Summers brings home his bride, Anna. He also carries with him scars —physical and mental— from his years fighting in the war. As their train travels deeper into the South towards his native Alabama, the visible destruction of his birthplace begins to weigh him down. The newlyweds hope to start a new life together and create something beautiful out of the horrors they have survived.

Anna, originally from Pennsylvania, is excited to meet her new family and start one of her own. David’s mom and sisters welcome her, incorporating her into the household. To the rest of the community, she is a constant reminder of their devastation at the hands of the North. Being an intelligent young woman full of Moxie, she contributes to the family finances by selling pies to the soldiers at the fort.

As beautiful and idyllic as the countryside seems, the harsh reality sets in. The war brought absolute destruction to the South’s infrastructure, economy, and society. It would obviously take decades to recover. Many people simply walked away, either starving or having lost their families. To add salt to the wounds, Union troops remained in Alabama.

With all this turmoil, David is desperate to help his community regain s ome of its splendor. He joins a group of men who intend to push back. At first, the intent is to scare people, primarily the freed slaves. However, it quickly morphs into something frighteningly violent. His participation will have consequences. Events are happening too fast. David must find a way to heal himself and keep his family intact.

Hawkins had a tremendous challenge in crafting a novel that carries the story forward with the same level of excellence found in the other volumes. However, she has acco mplished this and has written a book that could easily stand alone. The narrative is fully formed and engrossing, showcasing the author’s poetic, colorful writing style.

The endearing, true-to-life characters provide a unique perspective into a side of the Civil War story that is usually disregarded. Hawkins does not shy away from the heartbreaking truth or pain of the people experiencing the ruin. Rather, she treats these with honesty and emotional intelligence. The result is neither a plea for pity nor a glorification.

Hawkins is an award-winning author with several best-selling volumes focusing on the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Her works have been well received by critics and readers alike. They have a particularly unique role in modern culture, balancing the narrative about U.S. History. These works remind readers that those who lived in and fought for either the South or the North were not as different as one might want to believe. One simple yet profound example from the book is the immense joy apple pies brings to the soldiers. The author’s deep knowledge of history and passion make this book an exceptional pleasure to read. It is certain that fans who have been anxiously awaiting this newest volume will be delighted and that it will also undoubtedly appeal to many new readers.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Guest Post by Lucerin Saldana

I’d like to share this guest post, which discusses purchasing and and building a backyard shed. If you’re thinking about building a she shed or a he shed, this article is for you! Thank you, Lucerin Saldana, for your contribution.

How to Buy a Backyard Studio Shed

The backyard studio shed’s popularity is rising. For many Americans, “work from home” is here to stay, and they’re seeking for a peaceful space to do it, but not in their own house. Working in a studio shed has proven to be a great substitute for hiding out at the neighborhood coffee shop.

A backyard studio shed is a significant investment that you’ll have to make and live with for at least fifteen years. Here are some crucial factors to consider while looking for the shed that will function the best for you.

  • Landscaping

Think about how you’ll incorporate your studio shed into the landscape of your yard. Perennial or annual plants and garden beds will enable your outdoor shed merge into your yard. If your shed has wooden siding, placing trellises up against the walls will look fantastic with vines climbing up them.

  • Design

The studio shed should match your house’s design. For instance, a shed with a classic customized steel building design will go well with a home with a rural theme, and a shed with arched doors or window frames will match a home with such elements perfectly.

  • Foundation

Whatever the material of your backyard studio shed, it’s best to have it put on a foundation that holds it off the ground or any soggy areas. Concrete blocks, pressure-treated wood beams, or a gravelly bed can all be used as foundation materials. The rusting or rotting of the materials used in sheds can be avoided with a raised, well-draining base.

  • Siding and Wall Materials

Wooden, metal, and plastic are your three main siding and wall material choices.

Wooden sheds normally have plywood covering stud-framed walls, while more upmarket wooden sheds could have plywood sheathing over the studs and conventional lap siding over the plywood. On this kind of shed, asphalt shingles are frequently employed.

For the walls and top of metal sheds, a straightforward metal framework is commonly covered in factory- or vinyl-coated metal. Remember that if the protective covering or paint is scratched or destroyed, metal sheds may corrode.

PVC plastic sheds don’t require a coating or paint because the color is already there in the material. Additionally, they require relatively little upkeep.

  • Laws of Zoning and Rules of HOA

Find out if your city or municipality has zoning law restrictions forbidding backyard sheds before purchasing a studio shed. Some places permit sheds but have limits on their location and size requirements.

If you are a member of a homeowner’s association, be sure you are in compliance by reading the HOA regulations regarding sheds. For instance, you might have to build your shed a certain amount of distance from your property line.

  • Decorative Niceties

French doors and cupolas, which are distinctive features, can make a significant difference in whether or not your studio shed attracts attention. To give your shed some personality, you may also add items like window boxes, weathervanes, or shutters.

Release Blitz – Once Upon a Scandal

A moment of passion, a devastating scandal and a marriage between sworn enemies…

Aakash Thakkar knows his path. Family, duty, responsibility, tradition. His path does not lead to madness, chaos, wild passionate steamy nights, and her. Or so he tells himself.

Kanak Shourie lives for the present. Friends, fun, work, life. Her present does not include the weight of other people’s judgement, stuffy societal mores, discovering desire with uptight businessmen, and him. She refuses to believe otherwise.

What happens when the one you hate is the only one you want? What happens when you try to right a wrong but end up in something that feels more right than anything ever has?

Can Aakash and Kanak bury a lifetime of distrust and forge a life together? Or will the reasons that had them battling each other for years bury their tentative new beginning?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Once Upon a Scandal

Kanak gasped as his lips trailed a slow, sensual line of kisses down her neck. Her eyes closed and her head fell back giving him better access. 

He growled in approval, the sound thrumming through her. She fumbled with the buttons of his white shirt, her hand slipping through the gap and finding hard, firm, muscled skin. Her fingernails did a slow circle around his flat nipple making him nip her on her shoulder.

Her dazed eyes met his stormy ones, disbelieving, intense and confused. He lowered his head and took her lips in a kiss that solved her confusion, once and for all. 

She wanted this man, more than she’d ever wanted another. And she couldn’t deny it anymore. She fisted her hands in the thick, rough silk of his hair and pulled him impossibly closer. 

Their tongues met, dueled, and stroked making her moan, the breath of sound disappearing between his lips. He ground his hips against her, the movement making her legs fall apart, the better to cradle him with. 

The rough concrete behind her back scraped her skin but she couldn’t have cared less. But his hands slipped between the wall and her and flipped her over so his back was against it. She landed against the hard length of him, her hips doing an unconscious roll that had his head falling back.

She unzipped his pants, her fingers slipping in, searching and finding the hot silken steel of him. He cursed brokenly, his hips arching into her touch. She smiled, the heady rush of power over such a powerful man spooling through her. 

Until his hands cupped her breasts and her eyes rolled back in her head, pleasure swamping her and making it hard to focus. He dipped his head and took her breast in his mouth, the material of her flimsy dress damp in seconds from his attentions. His other hand pinched, fondled and stroked the other breast until her legs quivered. 

Kanak stroked harder, desperate for him to not stop what he was doing. He didn’t seem to want to anyway. He pulled her dress up, above her hips, the cool night breeze caressing her thighs and making her shiver. 

Kanak shoved frantically at his pants, pushing until she got what she wanted. It sprang free and she wrapped her hands around it, fisting it. 

The flash when it came lit up the darkness around them. Their small corner suddenly blindingly bright. He reacted with startling swiftness, spinning her so she was covered by the bulk of his body, unseen by whoever was out there. 

“Get the fuck out of here,” he growled over his shoulder, his furious laser like gaze sending a shiver down Kanak’s spine even though it wasn’t directed at her. 

Nervous laughter was the only answer. And then, another bright flash. 

“I am going to kill you,” he said conversationally to the person behind him.

In a matter of seconds, he tucked himself back into his pants and straightened Kanak’s dress with a deceptive calm. When he turned, still keeping Kanak hidden behind him, she heard the photographer squeak. 

“Give me your camera.” The words were soft, calm and deadly. The tone usually what you heard before you died. 

“No.” The man with the death wish giggled and moved back, out of his reach. “This is going to make me rich. And not just the photographs man. I got video too and it’s not on this camera. It’s with my friend who is already gone. You can’t catch him.” Another giggle. 

And before either of them could react, he disappeared into the dark. 

Ice slid through Kanak’s veins. What had she done? What had she allowed to happen? A sex tape of her on the internet, splashed across the tabloids, a sex tape with him…

“I will fix this,” he said, the same ice in his voice except his was directed at the mystery photographer. “I promise you.” 

She wanted to believe him. She almost did but Kanak knew that some things were out of even his control. 

A sex tape. Her head spun at the enormity of this fiasco. A sex tape with Aakash Thakkar, big shot industrialist, rising political power, and her number one enemy. 

She was screwed and she knew it. 

About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

Double-Edged Sword Receives New Review

I received another wonderful review from Hollywood Book Reviews for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. This is the fourth book in the Renegade Series, and tells the story of a family from Alabama who experience the horrors of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Thank you, Manik Chaturmutha, for your review!


J.D.R. Hawkins’ historical fiction Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction delves into the American Civil War which has destroyed cities and livelihoods. Amidst the tense atmosphere of conflict, a family attempts to recover socially and emotionally. However, the post-war continues to affect the many relations within the family; also, the external forces threaten to complicate their relationships even more. The prologue introduces the novel’s background and is ominous about the tangled story that lies ahead.

David Summers is an ex-confederate soldier who fought against the government, the Yankees, for his state of Alabama in the war. Recently released from prison, he travels home with his newly-wedded and pregnant wife, Anna. When he meets his family after a long time, he hopes it will provide him with some much-needed respite from the trauma of war, but not quite. David’s mother is disappointed that he ran away to the north to fight, leaving his family behind. Moreover, he married Anna, a Yankee. As his familial relations get strained, so does his marriage. Anna is desperate to return to her home as she faces a gruelling pregnancy, making her resent David. Furthermore, a sort of love quadrangle between David, Anna and their former suitors/friends threatens to crack their marriage.

Anna’s close friend Stephen is envious of David for having married her. David’s friend, Callie, is heartbroken since she assumed they would be married. Callie’s friendship with David causes a rift in his marriage, prompting Anna to leave for home. However, when David joins Anna in the north, he has a violent falling out with Stephen. This lands him in jail and the midst of a precarious court case. Will David be able to prove himself and live a life with his family? This is what remains to be found out.

Hawkins’ world-building through her vivid, imagery-filled text is sublime and compelling. She evokes a sense of nostalgia for a world that had been built before the war, and regrets for the way it exists after. The narrative consists of many strands–the post-war recovery of David and his family, marriage troubles with his wife and suspense regarding his future when he is jailed. Likewise, enough space is provided to fully imbibe the impact of all the unfolding plot themes. The characters of David and Anna are well-fleshed out, and their relationship is honestly written. The dialogues have been reported in the typical Southern-American dialect, thus providing a remarkable genuineness. It is a fascinating read. Readers of historical fiction with a dash of war drama, romance and suspense will enjoy this book.

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