J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “September, 2022”

Double-Edged Sword Wins Award

I’m very excited and happy to announce that my new novel, Double-Edged Sword, has received the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion! This is the fourth book in the Renegade Series, and now all four books have received this distinguished award!

According to their website, “BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe. The word “indie” refers to self-published books, while B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. The name “indieBRAG” and the B.R.A.G. logos are trademarks of indieBRAG, LLC. The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a certification trademark owned and controlled by indieBRAG, LLC.”

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to receive this award! Thank you, indieBRAG, for giving my book the distinction it deserves!

Excerpt from A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I am frequently asked how I came up with the title for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie (the first book in the Renegade Series). I derived it from this wonderful quote, which a Confederate soldier wrote in his journal.

“For it was the first Field of Glory I had seen in my May of life, and the first time that Glory sickened me with its repulsive aspect, and made me suspect it was all a glittering lie.” – Henry Morton Stanley, C.S.A. 

It is difficult to imagine what went through the young soldiers’ minds when they finally “saw the elephant” – horrifying, no doubt, and exhilarating at the same time. But soldiers weren’t the only ones who experienced such terror. This excerpt describes how their loved ones must have felt. Some of them never received word of what had happened to their brave soldiers. War always involves tragedy, but I think not knowing would be the worst part.

Word of the battle quickly spread to Huntsville, and within days, filtered down into Morgan County. Caroline had mentally prepared herself for what she anticipated would happen, but when the first battle finally did take place, she found herself ill-equipped. She did her best to shelter her brood, but realized it was just a matter of time before they learned of the event.

The following week, she found out that a list of fatalities had been posted, and knew she had to drive to Ben Johnson’s mercantile to have a look, but all the while, her heart felt as though it was breaking. She dreaded the list, dreaded the result of the terrible fighting, and especially, dreaded what the war might be doing to her home. Going alone, she reached her destination, climbed down from the wagon, hitched her draft horse, and approached the two-story wooden structure, her ankle boots clunking up the wooden steps and across the porch’s floorboards as she walked. She pulled the front door open, and a tiny bell above it announced her arrival. As she entered, she saw several others gathered around a notice that had been tacked to the wall. Ben Johnson nodded. He threw a glance toward the posted list. She knew what it meant.

Slowly, feeling as though she was floating, she passed by the dry goods, glass cases displaying pottery, clothing and sewing notions, and under farm equipment hanging from the ceiling rafters, approaching the others. Some of the women were sobbing, covering their faces with handkerchiefs, while others turned away and stared at her with vacant eyes. As they drifted off, she stepped toward the ominous poster, held her breath, and forced herself to gaze upon the names. When she had reached the bottom, she breathed a sigh of relief. Hiram’s name wasn’t on the list, although she recognized one who was. Turning toward the counter, she wiped a trickling tear from her cheek as she walked over, and requested a copy of the Southern Advocate.

Initially at a loss for words, Ben cleared his throat. “I reckon Hiram’s name ain’t on there,” he finally said.

The revelation had started sinking in. Caroline smiled. “No, thankfully not.”

Ben returned the smile. “Right glad to hear it.” He handed her a newspaper. “The editor of this paper, Mr. William Figures, has a son who’s with your husband’s regiment.”

“Oh?” she replied cordially. “He’s all right ain’t he? I mean, I didn’t see …”

“Yes ma’am, far as I can tell.”

“That’s mighty fine. Well, I’ll be on my way. Good day, Mr. Johnson.”

She turned to leave, and as she opened the paned-glass door, Ben called out, “When you write to that man of yours, tell him I said hello.”

“I surely will,” she replied. Walking out to the wagon, she untied Joe Boy, climbed aboard, and slapped the reins. She drove out of view from the mercantile, and pulled the vehicle to a stop. Uncontrollably, she burst into tears, sobbing convulsively until the ache in her heart finally subsided. She couldn’t show her weakness to her children: for them she had to be strong. After wiping her eyes with her handkerchief, she drove on toward home.

Release Day – All Kinds of Wrong

What does a lifestyle guru do when her life starts to fall apart?

Alia Dubey is being stalked. The problem is no one believes her. Not the cops, not her family…and well, she doesn’t really have any friends.

Until the day her sister calls in a favour and asks her friend from the Intelligence Bureau to check on Alia and the gifts she’s been receiving.

Officer Avinash Rathore has better things to do than babysit a spoilt socialite with delusions of danger. Until he walks in to find her home broken into and an innocuous bouquet of red roses placed there. While everything points to an obsessed lover, Avinash’s instincts are screaming that there is more at play.

The gifts keep arriving, escalating from roses to far more sinister things…each with an intimate note hinting at a personal agenda. But whose?

The police have a primary suspect – Alia herself. They’re convinced she’s mentally ill and the one planting the evidence that points to a stalker.

But Avinash knows there is more. Far from mentally ill, the ditzy socialite he’d expected to meet is incisively intelligent, staggeringly attractive and devastatingly dangerous to his otherwise sensible mind.

They find themselves in a race against an unknown opponent who has only one thing in their mind – to destroy Alia’s life and leave her standing in the ruins.

And then Alia goes missing. And Avinash realizes that he stands to lose not just the race but, everything. For the ditzy socialite, the one who is All Kinds of Wrong for him is suddenly the only one who can make his world Right again.

Book Links:

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Read an Excerpt from All Kinds of Wrong

Red roses. There were twelve long stemmed, perfectly budded red roses in her drawing room. Inside her locked drawing room. The lock to which only she had the key. 

Alia Dubey’s heart raced as she considered the quiet, empty space around her. This home was her haven. Until now. Her hand fumbled for the switch to the lights flooding the room with more light than necessary at this early part of the evening. 

She couldn’t see anyone but that didn’t mean anything. She more than anyone else knew the truth of that. She moved as silently as possible towards her hall cupboard and looked for anything that could be used as a weapon. Her enviable shoe collection looked back at her. They were very sexy but that didn’t help her right now. Except…

Hoisting her knee-high stiletto boot over one shoulder, Alia slowly moved around her flat. She moved from room to room, switching on the lights and being met with only silence and empty spaces. She opened cupboards, looked under beds, followed every tip she’d imbibed from every horror movie she’d watched and nothing. Whoever had left those flowers behind was gone. Leaving only this sickly fear behind. 

“Excuse me?” 

Alia shrieked and turned, flinging the boot in her hand on instinct. It hit the head of the man standing in the middle of her drawing room with a satisfying crunch. 

“Bloody hell,” he exploded, holding one hand to his forehead and glaring at her.

“I’m calling the cops,” she screeched. “Right now.” 

He held his hands out in a gesture of surrender, a trickle of blood making its way from his forehead to his eye. 

“I’m Avinash Rathore, your sister Aria’s friend.” 

The name rang a dim bell. One of her sister’s boyfriend Karan’s colleagues and friends. 

“What are you doing in my living room?” she asked him suspiciously. 

“I’m in Mumbai on holiday for the next month. Aria asked me to check in on you. She said you’ve been having some issues?”

She stared at him, looking unconvinced. 

“Look,” he said, completely stone faced. “If you promise not to throw another shoe at me, I’ll show you some ID and maybe you can call your sister and check?” 

Alia nodded slowly, still more than a little freaked out at this man’s sudden appearance in her home. 

He handed her his driver’s license which had his name and the worst photo she’d ever seen of any human being. He looked like a chimp that had lost its way in the evolution path. 

She dialed her sister, one eye still on the strange man standing in the middle of her cream shag carpet. She eyed his dusty sports shoes doubtfully. 

“Would you mind standing to the side?” she asked, politely, as the phone rang in her ear. She didn’t want to be removing his brown footprints from her gorgeous carpet. 

He looked down and then back at her. A small twist of his lips and he moved off the carpet to the marbled flooring. 

She heaved a sigh of relief just as Aria picked up. 

“You sent someone by the name of Avinash Rathore to my house?” she asked without preamble even as the man’s eyebrows rose in response to her brusque tone. 

“That someone is one of the most respected agents in the Intelligence Agency and one of my closest friends,” Aria’s dry voice came through. “Behave yourself Als. I’ll come there and throttle you if you’re rude to him.” 

Good thing Alia wasn’t scared of her big sister, she thought as she watched the blood still trickling down his temple. 

“Why did you send him here?” 

“I told him about your stalker problem which the cops aren’t taking seriously and asked if he could help me out as a favour.” Aria’s voice had gone very quiet. “I’m worried about you okay? And there is no one I trust more than Avinash to help. Please let him.” 

 Alia murmured something in agreement and disconnected. The strange guy was still standing in the middle of her drawing room, hands shoved in his jeans pockets, blood trickling down his face, looking completely out of place. 

“Maybe,” Alia cleared her throat. “we should start over. I’m Alia Dubey, Aria’s sister.” 

“Avinash Rathore, Karan and Aria’s friend,” he smiled. 

And her breath caught. That slow, small smile transformed the man’s otherwise ordinary face. 

Alia ruthlessly squashed that softening in her heart. 

“How did you get into my house?” she asked, her tone bordering on rude.

His smile disappeared, a lone eyebrow rose. “You left the front door open. I called out but I guess you didn’t hear me.”

No. No, she hadn’t. She’d been too busy pretending she was a ninja warrior. Alia’s gaze went back to the roses. 

God, she was in trouble. 

Across from her, the man watched her carefully. 

Big Trouble.

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:
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Two More Five-Star Reviews for Double-Edged Sword

My new novel, Double-Edged Sword, received two more five-star reviews! This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series, and tells the story of a family torn apart by the Civil War. Thank you so much, Evelyn and Chelsey McQuitty, for your awesome reviews!


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!

Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2022

Verified Purchase

It’s a suspenseful book that had me gripped, especially in the second half. I’ve always felt attracted by history. In this novel, the Civil war’s period is perfectly represented and this was an extra point, in my opinion.
The plot is interesting and richly descriptive. The settings are portrayed in such a good way that I could feel inside the book in more than one opportunity. The flow just worked nicely.
The characters surprised me from the very beginning. I had estimated a guess at which was the ending of the book and I was completely wrong; it was a real shock!!
I’m already looking for another piece of work from this author.

Chelsey McQuitty

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend this series!

Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2022

Verified Purchase

I’ve always been intrigued by this period in history, which is why I picked up the book. I went into the story thinking that it was going to be like most of the other books that I’ve read before. That is, bits of war mixed in with a few details that have been stretched to suit the narrative. Not the case here. The author creates a wonderful story with characters that are so real that they grow on you. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a series that will make you want to binge read.

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