J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the month “August, 2023”

Five-Star Review for Double-Edged Sword

I recently received another five-star review for my novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Joshua Grant, for your review!

Joshua Grant

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Bringing the post Civil War Reconstruction era to life in a deep and meaningful way!

JDR Hawkins brings us a really interesting and human look at the Reconstruction era with Double-Edged Sword! With the end of the Civil War, ex Confederate David Summers returns to a war torn home and begins to attempt to pick up the pieces. But when a confrontation erupts with an old enemy, David is forced to stand trial. Hawkins always brings the past to life so vividly and seamlessly, and seeing Reconstruction through David and his family’s eyes was very deep and intriguing! I especially found the court case and the arguments around fairness in a postwar Union to be particularly fascinating, and I honestly had to keep flipping forward to figure out what would become of David! If you love historic fiction, the Civil War era, or even court dramas, definitely dive back into the deep South with Double-Edged Sword!

How to Extend the Life of Your Prefab Metal Barn

How to Extend the Life of Your Prefab Metal Barn

Being one of the most durable materials available on our planet, steel has outscored all its competitors. Its features like fire and pest resistance, durability, and strength are unparalleled to traditionally used materials like timber. Generally, metal structures are cost-effective and do not require much upkeep. Even though metal buildings require less maintenance, without a little care, they might start rusting and develop signs of withering. With proper care, you can extend metal building life. With suitable care, the metal barn can last up to 50 years or more, but without maintenance, it will last you only 10 years. Metal barn maintenance becomes essential for livestock cleaning, feeding, and washing inside the building. The area where animals frequently move around or sit will develop moisture. A good housekeeping practice must be implemented for animal health and hygiene. If you are using a barn to store crops, you must check moisture, unwanted rodents, and mildew growth. Following are some hacks you can adapt to extend metal barn life and help you with its maintenance.

Examine Rust:

It’s essential to check your building at least once a month regularly. If you notice any signs of rust or holes in your metal panels, addressing them promptly within a few days instead of waiting for months is best. This proactive approach can help prevent further damage and ensure the safety and integrity of your building. In metal barns, rust can spread if subjected to moisture, so that tiny hole might lead to a bigger impact in the future. Ensure your building is dry and clean to prevent any rust formation. If there is any water logging problem near your metal barn, fix it promptly. Failing to address this matter may lead to rusting in the long run and result in significant financial damage.

Oil Hinges:

Hinges are connectors to your metal structures found in add-ons like windows, doors, etc. They are in use frequently. Timely oiling of hinges will reduce friction. It may look unnecessary, but it will keep your windows and doors from jamming. Do not let a stubborn door get in your way to access your building. Replace hinges that have wear and tear signs. A broken hinge can cause your doors and windows to shift out of place or even fall off entirely.


Air circulation prevents the building of moisture, foul smell, and heat. When you buy a custom steel barn, ensure that you have proper windows and door plans for ventilation. If you have solar, wind, or gravity-powered ventilators, ensure they are cleaned regularly. Clean the blades of your barn’s ceiling fans and empty the dehumidifier reservoir where water is collected. 


If your insulators have passed their warranty period, get them checked and replaced if needed. Leakage and incorrect insulation may lead to condensation. Condensation damage is interior. It can lead to rusting due to moisture retention.Proper insulation plays a vital role in your metal barn maintenance. It might cost you more at installation, but it will prove worth every cent. Remember to get insulators when buying a custom steel barn; they will extend your metal building life.

Repair Damages:

In general, repair any minor damage that you notice in your metal barn. Metal buildings have power coating and durable spray coating that looks like paint. If you see them chip away or fade away, apply a re-coat. It will protect from rust and prolong the life of your metal barn. 

Washing Your Barn:

Over time, dust and sand can accumulate in your barn and cause it to lose its charm. If dirt and grime have accumulated on your steel barn, it’s time to wash them off. How? You can use industrial cleaners available for washing buildings. After cleaning, you can use a pressure washer at its lowest setting to rinse off. While dirt is not a problem for metal, it will feed and attract algae and moss growth. You can also wash interior walls and floors using cleaning solutions, and wearing a mask while cleaning is advisable so the spray does not enter your lungs.

Cleaning Roof and Gutters:

Any organic debris, like leaves, branches, etc., can stockpile on roof panels. Not just this debris make your barn look dirty, but they also absorb rainwater and moisture from the air. They dampen the roof’s surface, which might lead to rust formation if leftover time. Go for vertical roofs as they make cleaning easy due to their vertical steel panel.Cleaning your barn’s gutter is as important as installing it. While buying a custom steel barn, ensure you have gutter features installed. A gutter will collect all the rainwater and drain it from your metal barn into a drainage. This will help your barn to get dry quickly. Hence, there will be no time to develop moisture. A clogged gutter will restrict the flow of water.

Unplanned Updating:

If you plan to expand your metal barn, consult a professional rather than do it alone. Any unplanned modification might cause extra load on the building’s base. Barn is usually a large structure and requires proper planning to be extended in size. 


Besides the above points, ensure that your nearby landscape is also clean. Any plants or roots of trees can damage the barn’s foundation if left unchecked. It will take the life out of your metal building. Inspect your metal barn as soon as it is installed to remove any unwanted leftover material that may cause the metal structure to rust. Keep your unused stuff properly stored. So, how far should you have a plantation? Avoid having bushes and trees immediately beside your building’s base. Maintaining a foot gap will be advisable. When you buy custom steel barns, ensure they are coated for protection. It would be best if you preferred installing an insulator during construction because afterward, you might have to dismantle some panels, which will cost you extra. When buying a prefab steel barn, always choose certified galvanized steel. You can email us at Viking Barns for more information. If you are looking for a prefab metal barn or have any queries, please contact us.

Release Day: Lost (In Disgrace #2) by Shilpa Suraj

Lost by Shilpa Suraj.jpg

Lost is a story of love, betrayal, honour, revenge, and everything in between. It’s also a love story that sets fire to the world they live in leaving them with no choice but to rise from the ashes anew…


Lieutenant Rahul Jaishankar of the Indian Navy is a man of honour, principles and commitment. His love for his family, his ethics, and his integrity is only eclipsed by his love for his country. He has no time or space to love anything or anyone else. Until the day Ayaana Sahni explodes into his life. Suddenly, she’s all he can think of, all he can hope for, all he dreams of, awake or asleep…

But Ayaana isn’t a dream he can afford to have. She’s an illusion. Ayaana Sahni is actually Aarushi Mittal. And Aarushi Mittal wants only one thing…Vengeance. And no man, not even one as deliciously gorgeous as Lieutenant Rahul was going to get in her way.

An award winning, intrepid journalist, Aarushi spends most of her life abroad working on the kind of devastating stories that the world would never hear of if not for people like her. But it has come at the cost of her personal life, at the cost of time with family, and at the heartbreaking cost of her friend’s devastating tragedy.

Aarushi needs to atone for her negligence, she needs to right the wrongs done in her absence, and she needs to make the villain in her friend’s story pay. What she really needs to make that happen is a way into the tightly knit community of the Indian Navy and Lieutenant Rahul Jaishankar is it. And if that means there is some collateral damage along the way, then so be it. Even if the collateral being damaged makes her yearn for dreams that don’t exist. Surely, the Lieutenant would understand, wouldn’t he?

Aarushi isn’t built for love. She’s built to burn down the world for her loved ones instead. So what if this man makes her want things she’s never wanted? So what if this man makes her heart ache for something she’ll never have? So what if, suddenly, this man is all she wants?

Goodreads * Amazon IN * Amazon US

Read an Excerpt from Lost
She swung the door open, her eagerness on full display. Rahul leaned against the wall outside her flat, in loose tracks and a t-shirt that had probably been washed ten thousand times. He looked warm and rumpled and enticingly cuddle-able. “Hi Ayaana.” Rahul smiled, a weary smile. Ayaana. Her smile dropped in wattage as she held the door open and made way for him to enter. He didn’t move, instead waiting on the threshold for her to precede him.Oh right. The whole gallantry thing. She turned around and started hopping back down the little corridor. She heard the door shut behind her and then a warm hand captured her crutch holding hand. A shiver worked its way through her. He was so close. So big, so warm, so everything. A ridiculous urge to curl into his solid, stable presence and cry overcame her but she shook it off. She shook it all off. “Problem, Navy?” His eyes, so close to her own, flashed in amusement at the nickname. “You’re doing it wrong,” he murmured.“Doing what wrong?” Why was she breathless? “The crutch thing.”She raised one eyebrow and tried to look haughty. “You’re criticizing my ability to limp on a damaged foot?” But she ruined the effect with the breathless whisper that accompanied the words. He looked down at her, his gaze dropping to her lips before moving to land on her crutch. “You’re hopping too much. All the weight and pressure is on your shoulders and back. You’re not leveraging the crutch enough.”He slid one arm around her waist to anchor her, his other hand going to wrap around the knuckles she had tightly clenched around the handle of the crutch. He helped her raise the crutch in the air and place it forward while using his other arm to coax her body into not leaping into a hop to compensate. Only when her weight rested on the crutch did he let her body slide into step with it. “Better?” he asked, the word a waft of heat against the shell of her ear. Aarushi shut her eyes, as unreasonable sensations cascaded through her. She nodded her head, just once, in response to his question. He released her and stepped back, cold air rushing in to take the place of the delicious warmth of his body. She reached instinctively for him but stopped herself before she made contact. Her fingers curled in mid-air before her hand dropped to her side. 
About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj.jpeg

A published author with Harlequin India – Mills & Boon India Collection and Juggernaut, Shilpa Suraj’s books have hit both the Hot New Releases and Bestseller lists on Amazon. Her next novel, tentatively titled ‘Wrong,’ has been contracted by Rupa Publications and will release later this year. She is also part of the Flipped Anthology by Harper Collins and had an audiobook book Insta Reddy release with Storytel.
She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.
An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.
Contact the Author:
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Guest Post by Andre Griffin

The Art of Curating a Stellar Writer’s Portfolio

Photo by Pexels
The US has birthed countless creative talents, from Edgar Allen Poe to John Grisham. With the country’s literary heritage so rich, it’s clear the passion for storytelling runs deep. If you’re an aspiring writer aiming to add your narrative to this illustrious lineage, understanding how to get your work noticed is critical. This article, courtesy of author J.D.R. Hawkins, offers insight into strategies that can help you amplify your voice, secure an audience, and enhance your chances of making a living from your craft.

Securing Patronage for Your Literary Endeavours

Just as famous authors and poets, today’s writers might need to find their own champions. Harvard Business School notes that this begins by seeking potential investors who align with your vision and creative goals. Whether it’s securing a traditional publishing contract, pitching for grant funding, or leveraging the power of crowdfunding platforms, building a compelling case for your work is the key.

Creating a Compelling Portfolio

Just as artists have galleries, Authory points out that writers too must curate an engaging portfolio to show the world their unique voice and literary prowess. This portfolio may include excerpts from your works, samples of your writing style, and brief synopsis of your works-in-progress. Demonstrating a range of styles and ideas not only attracts potential investors but also builds your reputation with your audience.

Seek Opportunities to Showcase Your Work

Visibility is a crucial part of getting your work on the map. Besides traditional bookshops and libraries, consider digital platforms such as blogs, podcasts, and online literary journals to share your work. Utilize the power of self-publishing on platforms like Amazon Kindle or Smashwords. Don’t forget literary contests either; they offer the chance to win not just prizes but much-coveted recognition and readership.

Crafting a Personalized Website

In the digital era, a strong online presence is no longer optional. Creating your personal website is like building your online “home.” It’s a place to showcase your portfolio, share your writer’s journey, and connect with readers and potential collaborators. Make sure your site is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and representative of your personal brand as a writer.

Partner with Fellow Creatives

Harnessing the power of collaboration can significantly bolster a writer’s creative journey, opening up fresh paths of inspiration and broader exposure. Tactics such as guest blogging, co-authoring a novel, or organizing joint events can provide a mutually beneficial platform to expand your reach and generate innovative ideas. By pooling resources and audiences with other creatives, you’ll enrich your creative influence, carving out a stronger position in the literary landscape.

Amplify Your Online Presence

Embrace the digital world to extend your reach beyond geographic boundaries. Blog about your writing process, share snippets of your work on social media, or start an email newsletter. These digital marketing strategies not only help attract potential readers from around the world but also help build a community around your work.

Harness the Power of Local Literary Festivals

Engaging in local literary festivals and events offers a unique opportunity to connect with an audience that includes avid readers, industry insiders, and peers in writing. High-profile gatherings like the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the Library of Congress National Book Festival serve as significant platforms where you can learn, network, and even generate sales for your books. By making the most of these occasions, you can elevate your profile in the literary community and advance your career.

Digitize Your Literary Business

Digital organization is a less glamorous but crucial aspect of running a professional writing business. It involves turning essential paperwork like contracts and copyright forms into digital records, enhancing both accessibility and protection for your work. When it comes to drawing up terms and contracts for clients who commission work from you, you can use a tool that allows you to sign and fill out PDF forms online so your clients can sign documents without having to print anything out. As you look for an easy-to-use tool, you should check this out. The signed PDF helps to streamline your records and ensure quick and easy access.
While you’re weaving words and creating memorable narratives, remember to take time to strategize and market yourself. After all, your stories deserve to be read, and with the right steps, you can make that happen. Your masterpiece could be the next on the map!

Raving Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I recently received another flattering review from a person going by the name Cat Power on Goodreads. This review is in reference to my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, which is the first book in the Renegade Series. Thank you, Cat Power, for your review!

Whilst this isn’t one of my usual genres I received a complimentary copy from the author via Voracious Readers. I’d never thought about the people caught up in the American Civil war as people much like us simply trying to carry on with their lives. They’re usually portrayed as staunch slavers. This book gives a clearer insight and shows ordinary people caught in a fight that’s really not their own. I enjoyed getting to know the boys and seeing them grow up a little. Is an excellent read.

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