J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Live Radio Interview

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Last week, I was featured on ArtistFirst, a radio program that spotlights artists and authors. It’s a bit ironic that my discussion with the interviewer included the destruction and/or removal of Confederate monuments. Since then, several events have taken place in the assault against Confederate monuments. Here is a link to the interview:

http://www.artistfirst2.com/Authors-First_2017-08-08_JDR_Hawkins.mp3

 

Horses in Gray Cover

Our discussion focused on my new book, Horses in Gray. This is my first non-fiction book, and highlights Confederate warhorses. Here is the purchase link for the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503026776&sr=8-1&keywords=horses+in+gray

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Please support me on Patreon. It is very similar to Kickstarter, but it is an ongoing sponsorship. I would be eternally grateful for your support! Anything you give will be rewarded with fun gifts! You can commit to as little as $1 a month. Here is the link:

https://www.patreon.com/jdrhawkins

Leave General Lee Alone!

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Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, “white-nationalists” protested the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park previously known as Lee Park, which has since been renamed. I’m not certain why these groups were demonstrating on behalf of the monument. They epitomize racism, and the KKK has flagrantly used the Confederate battle flag to represent themselves in the past, thus tainting the flag’s original meaning. Counter-protesters arrived and, sadly, one deranged young man, reportedly a Neo-Nazi, killed a demonstrator.

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A flurry of controversy and speculation postings on Facebook and Twitter has taken place about why the incident happened. Many wonder why the cops were told to stand down. Others think it was a way for the main stream media to avoid reporting negative publicity toward the Democrats. I believe that this entire movement is slowly chipping away at Southern heritage by claiming it to be racist, which is completely untrue. Unfortunately, extremist groups have become embroiled in the battle to preserve Southern history. What wasn’t an issue until just a few years ago has become an all out attack on Confederate history.

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The fact of the matter is, none of these monuments should be or should have been removed. In fact, none of the street names, schools, etc. should be renamed. History should never be erased, or we will forget where we came from. And those monuments are not a reminder of slavery, they are a reminder of how Southerners suffered and died for truths they believed in, and for defending their homes. In their eyes, the North was a tyranny, and they had every legal right to secede. To claim Robert E. Lee was a racist is nothing less than ridiculous. He was an honorable soldier and family man with strong Christian morals and beliefs. He didn’t own slaves during the Civil War. In fact, he inherited them and set them all free. So to claim he was a racist is ludicrous.

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I don’t think the white-nationalists had any business protesting the removal of General Lee’s statue. This should have been done by heritage groups. When word got out that this protest would take place, the Charlottesville police department should have anticipated trouble and should have been ready. Removing monuments, which honor our American war veterans and are supposed to be protected by law, is disgraceful. Destruction of these monuments of Confederate veterans and war heroes will only lead to more eradication of our history and national landmarks. Ex-presidents who are not considered to be politically correct today, such as Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and the father of our country, George Washington, are all future targets. This is the disintegration of America, taken down from within. President Lincoln predicted it himself.

And today, another Confederate monument went down:

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/08/just-protesters-destroy-confederate-monument-outside-durham-county-nc-courthouse-video/

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Book Blitz – Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal

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Indian Mythological Fiction

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When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik, exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.

Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes one of the most well-known sages of all times.

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If you like… Then you will enjoy Vishwamitra

  1. If you like to read about India’s rich, ancient history, in an easy to read manner, you will love Vishwamitra
  2. If you have ever wondered if the ancients had any knowledge of space & science, you should check out Vishwamitra, the story of the man who created an entire new star system!
  3. If you like reading romance, take time to check out this unlikely love story between a human and an Apsara! Did you know Vishwamitra & Menaka lived together for ten long years?
  4. If you like reading stores that inspire –  check out Vishwamitra, the story of an ordinary man who even dared to challenge the gods!
  5. If you have liked any retelling of India’s original epic Ramayan, you should check out Vishwamitra –  the story of the man who became the guru of Rama, the Scion of Ikshvaku!

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About the Author

Dr. Vineet Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues writing and photography as a passion.

He is the author of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’

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Release Day Blitz – Avishi

 

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Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita

Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda

But largely forgotten to the memory of India

Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.

Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?

Read an Excerpt

“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”

“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard.

“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.

Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child.

“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded.

Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out.

The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them.

As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead.

General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”

“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door.

“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised.

The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy.

“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”

“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”

“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’s arm.

The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”

Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”

Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”

“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”

“That does not answer my question.”

“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?”

The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure.

When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”

“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”

Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern.

“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet.

The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding.

“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon.

The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?”

“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink.

She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love…” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment.

It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!

“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away.

He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him.

That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life.

At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved.

The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.

 “K… King…”

Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move.

“Finish him!” The General shout behind him.

Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?

Sukratu would never know. 

About the Author:

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Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.

She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

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Confederate Monuments Under Attack

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Recently, the editor of the Dallas Morning News put the paper on record demanding the removal of Confederate monuments in Dallas. One of the paper’s soon to be unemployed writers used his column to challenge the editor’s.

The following appeared in the Dallas Morning News:
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In these very – I mean very – weird times of ours, few phenomena appear weirder than what I would describe as the mania for pulling down or otherwise removing memorials to dead Confederates. New Orleans has done it. My own University of Texas has done it. Dallas now talks of doing it, as my respected one-time colleague at The News, James Ragland, informs us.

I feel the urgent need to inquire of the iconoclasts, the breakers of images: Why? To what purpose? With what sensible aim in view?

The reply generally comes through clenched teeth: Hmmmph! On account of slavery, isn’t that clear enough? The promoters commonly think it is. Why, these unconscionable rebels – Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, John B. Hood, and so on – betrayed their country and fought to preserve slavery. Their images defile and deface the American community, sowing disharmony, perpetuating racism.

I find it’s generally a waste of time to interpose between Lee’s grave, bearded image and the wreckers’ wrath any information respecting the old general’s meritorious character and, equally to the point, his postwar commitment to healing the nation’s self-inflicted injuries. (During the war, his name for the soldiers of the North was always “those people.”) The statue wreckers are seldom interested in the kind of historical detail that schools used to impart about the war itself: with due attention paid to the diligent measures required over many years to heal the gaping, bleeding wounds of war.

Let’s go back to where we started. What are we trying to do here? We’re out, are we, to heal by destroying and displacing, thereby rekindling divisive passions? What an odd conceit, that we should forcibly replace old pieties with new ones, and expect thanks for it! I am sorry to inform the wreckers that, as we say in the South, that ole dog won’t hunt.

I can appreciate, as I think everyone must, that 1) the abolition of slavery represented an enormous gain for civilization, that 2) the sooner blacks and whites learn to function as a united people, the better for America, and that 3) the modern South teems with folk – Vietnamese, Cubans, Chinese, Mexicans, Californians – who wouldn’t know “Dixie” from a Mesopotamian funeral chant.

I am not in favor of, as many seem to be, re-fighting a war that ended 152 years ago. I am for continuing to absorb the experience all of the country went through then and forging even a larger unity than existed before this statue nonsense arose.

The whole enterprise of taking down statuary to appease the ideological passions of a talkative handful is silly. I cannot think of a better word for it. It’s ridiculous: unworthy of a mature and sensible people.

Once the statues are down, what have you got besides some suddenly vacant pedestals? Well, not moral unity, that’s for sure. You’ve made a lot of people mad who weren’t previously mad at you. You’ve called into question your intellectual bona fides by twisting historical facts to fit a manufactured and distorted narrative. To espouse a silly cause is to run the risk of becoming known as silly.

The matter goes still further. So Dallas goes along with unhorsing Gen. Lee, right there in the park bearing his name (which name, of course, has to be changed to something appropriately anodyne). Yet that’s hardly the logical end. The revolution is hungry. We have to wipe out school names, street names, fort names redolent of the late Confederacy. And not just the Confederacy. The American slaveocracy was large; it was powerful. Among its members: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, with their large monuments and even larger legacies. What makes Robert E. Lee a likelier target than the Father of Our Country?

This business of digging up the dead and exhibiting their shortcomings has no predictable end. Today’s heroes and heroines become fair game for great-grandkids: topics for future ridicule and disrespect. Seldom in our history – alas – has the counsel to look before you leap seemed more relevant, or more ignored, than right now.

(Courtesy Southern Heritage Newsletter, July 28, 2917 ed.)

Interview With Author Russ Colchamiro

For fans of Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Tom Robins, Third Rock from the Sun, Groundhog Day, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Harold & Kumar go to White Castle.

Finders Keepers (Finders Keepers #1) by Russ Colchamiro

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Traversing Europe, New Zealand, and the backbone of Eternity, Finders Keepers is a raunchy, sci-fi backpacking comedy that not only tackles friendship, sex, commitment, and desire, but also God, reincarnation–and what really happened to the dinosaurs!

On a backpacking trip through Europe, Jason Medley and Theo Barnes stumble through hash bars and hangovers; religious zealots and stalkers; food poisoning and thunderstorms; cute girls; overnight trains; fever-pitch hallucinations–and the spectre of adult responsibility!

But when a jar containing the Universe’s DNA falls from Eternity, these new friends find their loyalties put to the test . . . unaware that a motley crew from another realm is chasing them across the globe, with the fate of the Milky Way hanging in the balance.

For fans of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Tom Robins, Third Rock from the Sun, Groundhog Day, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Finders Keepers is the first book in author Russ Cochamiro’s scifi comedy trilogy.

Check out the Character Illustrations

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Genius de Milo (Finders Keepers #2) by Russ Colchamiro

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Milo — the Universe’s Great Disruptor and ultimate gremlin — is creating havoc in the galaxy, with the Earth fluxing in and out of Existence. Which, of course, means no rest for best pals Jason Medley and Theo Barnes!

After a backpacking trip through Europe and New Zealand that — thanks to a jar of Cosmic Building Material they found — almost wiped out the galaxy once before, Theo now finds that his twin girls are teleporting, and Jason can’t tell which version of his life is real.

Joined by the mysterious Jamie — a down-and-out hotel clerk from Eternity — Jason and Theo reunite on a frantic, cross-country chase across America, praying they can retrieve that radioactive jar, circumvent Milo, and save the Earth from irrevocable disaster.

In author Russ Colchamiro’s uproarious sequel to Finders Keepers, he finally confirms what we’ve long suspected … that there’s just no de Milo quite like a Genius de Milo.

Check out the Character Illustrations

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Astropalooza (Finders Keepers 3) by Russ Colchamiro

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Astropalooza, the greatest celebration in the Universe, is just days away. And it’ll be a party like no other — namely, the last one ever!

Backpacking pals Jason Medley and Theo Barnes have already saved the Earth — twice! — nearly obliterating themselves in the process, thanks to a missing jar of the Universe’s DNA. But things are about to get a whole lot … worse.

Because thanks to our bumbling heroes, the next Big Bang is imminent, with two massive energy waves barreling through space towards one another. When they collide, it’ll be the end of Existence as we know it.

Can Jason and Theo finally return their radioactive jar before those waves crash, wiping away the Cosmos? Can they save the Universe … again?

With Astropalooza, author Russ Colchamiro brings you the epic conclusion of his hilarious Finders Keepers trilogy. So join the party. You’ll never have so much fun going out with a Bang!

Check out the Character Illustrations

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About the Author

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Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Q: What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

A: “When you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, the day will come and you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.” – Zig Ziglar. Zig is one of my heroes. This quote epitomizes both a practicality that applies to every walk of life, but also speaks to a trust in the greater Universe- that things will work out … if you take care of what you need to. It means being proactive in your own success. Things don’t just ‘happen.’ You have to participate.

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

A: My wife and children. I have 7-year-old twins. A boy and a girl. My little ninjas. That we have a home filled with love, support, stability and laughter is immeasurable to me. My life isn’t perfect—far from it—and I’m not a perfect dad—far from it, but my family is my everything. That sentiment used to seem like a cliché to me. Now … it’s what matters most, by a mile.

Q: What inspires you to write and why?

A: Writing is what I do; being a writer is who I am. I simply have to write. Not writing simply isn’t an option for me.

Q: What genre are you most comfortable writing?

A: I’ve been a professional writer for more than 20 years, including as a journalist and an author, so I’m comfortable across various genres. Lately I’ve been focusing more on science fiction and fantasy, but everything I write has humor in it. I’m moving more now into crime fiction and mysteries, but the humor will always be there.

Q: What inspired you to write your first book?

A: During my early 20s I backpacked through Europe at a time when that wasn’t nearly as common as today. We’re talking 1994, so pre-Internet! I had one of those trips that in a real way changed the fabric of my life. Later, I took a two-week trip to New Zealand. I also had this wild scifi comedy concept that I was dying to explore. The two ideas—the backpacking and the scifi—fit together so well that I turned it into a 3-book series – Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza.

Q: Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

A: I’m now convinced of just how important it is to do ‘pre-writing’ and create outlines, like storyboarding a movie. The more I plan out the plot and sequencing of my books in advance of clacking the keys, the smoother and faster the writing process goes.  

Q: What is your greatest strength as a writer?

A: Other people tell me that I have an easily accessible style, which is intentional. My approach is to welcome readers into my worlds, help them feel comfortable, and then take them on a wild ride.

Q: Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

A: Of course! It used to frustrate me to no end. Banging desks, yelling at the Gods, etc. But now I find that motion—walking my dog, working out … and talking it out loud … usually snaps me out of it fairly quick. I find that getting stuck is a result of impatience. Sometimes the best way to speed up is to slow down. And get away from your desk.

Q: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A: I can’t, actually! I’m working on a top secret project, but once that’s done I’ll be staring my first full-length Angela Hardwicke book. She’s a private eye in that classic Sam Spade mold. She’s appeared in three of my books so far, but it’s time for her to take center stage. It’ll be in a scifi world, but the scifi isn’t the story. It’s Hardwicke being Hardwicke, doing that private eye thing. I love this genre. My plan is stick with it for the foreseeable future.

Q: How did you come up with the titles?

A: I spend a lot of time on the titles. Sometimes they come straight from the book itself, but I always a title that grabs you and doesn’t let go. Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, Astropalooza, Crossline, and Love, Murder & Mayhem.

Q: Who designed the covers?

A: Rich Koslowski is a good friend of mine and an award-winning comic book creator. He did the cover for Finders Keepers. My pal Roy Mauritsen has done my last three covers, and, if I’m lucky enough to keep working with him, will be doing my covers going forward.  

Q: Who is your publisher?

A: Crazy 8 Press. We’re an author’s collective. I’m a member. We have about 60 or so titles between us all, mostly scifi, fantasy, and humor. http://www.crazy8press.com

Q: What books have most influenced your life?

A: Farenheit 451, The Sirens of Titan, Lamb, Jitterbug Perfume, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Bridge, Truman, Watchmen, Body of a Girl.

Q: What contributes to making a writer successful?

A: Each writer needs to decide for him or herself how they define ‘success.’ I can’t do that for them. For some it’s being a best seller, for others it’s simply completing a story. For others it’s somewhere in between. It’s a personal journey.  

Q: Do you have any advice for writers?

A: Write every day. Don’t worry about whether you think it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Just write. If you stick with it, you’ll start to improve, and, hopefully, improve a lot. Also … ask only a few trusted readers to review your work and provide honest feedback, with notes that you can apply. Doesn’t mean you’ll agree with that they say, or want to hear it, but if you don’t share your work with anyone, or only give it to readers who tell you what you want to hear, chances are you won’t get very far.

Q: Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

A: My books are loads of fun. If you want to have a great time, you might want to check mine out!

The Sad, Strange Erosion of the South

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Recent events have proven that nothing is sacred, especially Southern heritage in regard to the Confederacy and the War Between the States. It’s strange how everyone these days assumes the Confederate battle flag, otherwise known as St. Andrew’s Cross (a beloved symbol taken from the Celts), represents racism. On the contrary. Southrons fought to preserve their rural way of life. Slavery was being phased out at the onset of the Civil War, but was still prevalent in some northern states. Robert E. Lee had no slaves, but U.S. Grant did, and he didn’t set them free until after the war ended. To say the war was about slavery is so far off kilter that it’s offensive. The destruction of Southern morals isn’t new. In fact, it has been going on for decades. The following article will bring light into what has been happening and why.

A Chronology of Southern Cultural Genocide:
The Eradication of a Region’s Cultural and Heritage
by Dr. Arnold M. Huskins
“But to tar the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier as simple acts of racism, and reduce the battle flag under which he fought to nothing more than the symbol of a racist heritage, is one of the great blasphemies of our modern age.” — Democratic Senator James WebbBorn Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
1970’s: The Univ. of Georgia’s “Dixie Redcoat Marching Band” drops the word “Dixie” from its name and discontinues playing the song which was played after the National Anthem; City of Atlanta, GA renames Forrest Street; University of Texas-Arlington drops its Rebel mascot
1990: NBNC-Texas asks Texas State Fair to discontinue the playing of Elvis Presley’s American Trilogy because of its “Dixie” content
1991: City of Atlanta renames street named after Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon; NAACP passes resolution “abhorring the Confederate battle flag” and commits their legal resources to removal of the flag from all public properties
1993: Governor Guy Hunt removes battle flag from Alabama State Capitol, it had flown there since Democratic Gov. George Wallace placed it underneath the state flag atop the dome upon Attorney Gen. Robert Kennedy’s visit in 1963; Senate votes not to renew patent on the United Daughters of the Confederacy logo; New Orleans ISD renames Jefferson Davis Elementary, PGT Beauregard Jr. High School, Robert E.Lee Elementary School, JP Benjamin School, and George Washington Elementary School (yes, that’s right, George Washington!)
1994: February – Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority votes to remove  the Georgia state flag from the Fulton County Stadium
June – Holiday Inn Inc. orders its hotels in Georgia not to fly the state flag with the battle flag emblem
July – NAACP calls for economic boycott of South Carolina for flying battle flag from its State House; Mayor Bob Coble of Columbia, SC sues to remove Confederate flag from SC State House
September – The University of the South removes all Southern state flags from its chapel.
October – Dixie Youth Baseball drops the battle flag emblem from its logo.
November – Louisiana State Museum removes newly found prototype of original Confederate battle flag from display after receiving complaints.
1995: January – First person killed: A 19-year-old father of twins, Michael Westerman, of Elkton, KY is chased down and murdered for flying a Confederate flag on his truck.
February – City of Cumberland, MD removes battle flag from its historic flag display
April – Jamie Kinley is suspended from his middle school in Anderson, SC for wearing a Confederate battle  flag jacket.
1996: September – Louisiana Senate Secretary remove a battle flag from Memorial Hall; Cracker Barrel chooses to omit the Confederate flag from a set of bookends featuring Gen. Lee  (without a flag)  and Gen. Grant holding a US flag.
1997: The University of the South’s mace, featuring Confederate symbols, is permanently retired.
February – State of New York removes the Georgia state flag from its capitol building.
November – Univ. of Miss. bans all stick flags, namely Confederate battle flags, from its stadium.
December – Texas A& M bans the Confederate flag in its ROTC Corps, equates it with Nazi flag.
1998: The VA discontinues flying the battle flag daily over the 3,300 graves at the Confederate POW cemetery at Point Lookout, MD.
2000: February – City of Pensacola, Fla. removes battle flag from its Five Flags Display, replaces it with Stars and Bars; L. M. Clairborne, Jr. head of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, orders all unauthorized emblems including images of the state flag to be removed from its vehicles.
April – City of Jackson, Miss. votes to remove the  state flag from its meetings and municipal buildings; The president of the Citadel bans the playing of “Dixie” by the band at the school.
May – City of Biloxi removes battle flag from its historic flag display, replaces it with Stars and Bars; Texas A&M official, Herbert Richardson, removes an official portrait of former Chancellor Gilbert Gilchrist from the lobby of the Gilchrist building because the portrait contains an image of Gen. Robert E. Lee in the background. The painting is moved to a conference room with a note explaining why Lee is in the painting and a new painting of Gilchrist (sans Lee) is placed in the lobby; the president of the Virginia Military Institute punishes two cadets during a New Market Day event for playing a few bars of “Dixie.”
July – The first removal of a Confederate memorial: Governor and Presidential hopeful George W. Bush removes two plaques featuring a battle flag and a seal of the CSA from the Texas Supreme Court Building honoring Texas Confederate veterans, Confederate pension money was used to build the edifice.  He also refuses to issue a Confederate History and Heritage Month proclamation; the state of South Carolina removes the battle flag from the State House which had flown beneath the state flag since 1961 when Democratic Gov. Hollings placed it there to commemorate the firing on Fort Sumter during the Civil War Centennial; the battle flag is removed from the legislative chamber as well.
September – Matthew Dixon, an SCV member and mechanic, is fired from his position at Coburg Dairy in Charleston, SC for refusing to remove two Confederate flag stickers from his personal toolbox after a black co-worker complained to company officials. Dixon took his case believing his First Amendment rights and state employment laws were violated.; three Federal judges ruled against him in May 2003.
October – Two employees at the John Deere facility in Pontiac, SC are fired-one for having a small battle flag on his tool box and the other for whistling “Dixie.”
2001: January – The Georgia Legislature votes to change the state flag which included the Army of Northern Virginia’s Confederate battle flag which was placed on the flag in 1956 to honor Confederate veterans. The new flag is not popular and it is changed in 2003. The NCAA announces a ban on tournament games in SC because of its memorial flag on the State House grounds.
March – Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush removes all historic flags, including the battle flag, from an historic flag display on the state Capitol grounds; the city of Madison, Wisconsin prohibits the flying of the Confederate battle flag, which was flown twice a year over a Confederate cemetery in the city.
September – Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America representing 22 Mississippi counties remove a uniform patch that contains the Mississippi state flag;  Ryan Oleichi, an 11 year old boy attending Labay Middle School near Houston, Texas is physically assaulted,  knocked unconscious and threatened with death by a black and Hispanic student and is hospitalized for three days. Prior to the incident, Oleichi wore a shirt with a Confederate battle flag patch and was suspended for three days and forced to apologize  and admit his  racism by the assistant principal.  The School fails to discipline his attackers.
October – A Harley-Davidson employee in York, Pa.  who was sent to the company’s Human Relations Office twice for wearing Confederate flag on his t-shirt and having a Confederate flag on his motorcycle helmet is again sent to HR for wearing his Confederate re-enactor uniform to work on Halloween, which he had done since 1995.  This time, he is suspended from work for three days without pay; Hays High School officials ban several fans carrying the Texas and Confederate flags from entering its stadium.
November – Comedian Dennis Miller compares battle flag to swastika on The Tonight Show; SCV member, Tim Meadows, is arrested for carrying a Confederate battle flag in the Mobile Veterans Day parade Matt Pitts, a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, returns to his dorm room and finds it had been vandalized and his Confederate flag torn to shreds; an 18 year old Illinois native is later charged with throwing a TV out the window and shredding the flag;Seminole County, Georgia School Board bans students from wearing clothing with the Confederate flag; a portrait of Jefferson Davis is removed from the Davis residence hall at Transylvania University in Kentucky and rehung in the Mitchell Fine Arts building.
2002: January – The Confederate Air Force changes its name to “Commemorative Air Force;”Louisville, KY renames street known as “Confederate Place” to “Unity Place;”Va. Gov. Mike Warner advises Lt. Gov. John Hager not to attend ceremony honoring Gens.Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Hager, who agreed to speak one year ago, complies.
March – College student arrested for burning Georgia state flag at private residence in Augusta; Univ. of Mississippi begins to phase out the playing of “Dixie;”Autauga County, Alabama School board removes Confederate memorial monument from school grounds erected by the local SCV who had gotten permission to place the monument by the School Superintendent.
April – “Wings over Dixie” Air Show in Peachtree City, Ga. changes name to Greater Georgia AirShow; Jefferson Davis monument vandalized in Richmond, Va.; Alabama pre med student assaulted for wearing shirt with Confederate battle flag and the words “Dixieland” in Gulf Shores, Ala.;Confederate memorial flag on SC State House grounds intentionally burned;pre-med student, John McDow, is assaulted by blacks in Gulf Shores Ala. for wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it.
May – Neosho (Mo.) School District tries to paint over a pavement painting of a Confederate flag that was painted by the  students on Senior Hill; the students stage a “sit in” to guard the painting;Univ. of Vermont Interim President asks students to refrain from hanging Confederate flags in their dorm windows.
June -Federal attorney, John Austin, attempts to stop a Confederate Memorial Day service in Knoxville, Tenn; his wife accuses attendees of using racial slurs.
August – Mobile Tricentennial Commission tells visiting tall ship to remove battle flag from its mast;the crew complies, however the captain, who was away when the flag is lowered, is angered and considers leaving the city; Aycock Middle School in Greensboro NC bans a essay contest sponsored by the UDC, states: UDC is “against basic goals of Aycock Middle School”
September – Vanderbilt Univ. announces plans to remove the word “Confederate” from dormitory hall funded by the UDC; McIntosh Middle School in Sarasota, Fla. bans Confederate flag clothing;sixteen students are suspended in Lawrence County, Ala. for wearing Confederate flag clothing; ten students in Lee County, Ala. are suspended for wearing Confederate flag clothing
October – Mississippi DMV omits state flag from its newly issued US veterans license plate; Florida man fired from 1 ½ day job with Mortgage Investors Corp. for having Confederate battle flag tattoo and the words “born a rebel, die a rebel” on forearm
December – Jefferson Davis statue in New Orleans vandalized; Bel-Air Mall in Mobile, Ala. boots Camo Unlimited from the mall after receiving complaints about its merchandising of Confederate flags and  Southern heritage T-shirts; cartoonist Scott Stantis of the Birmingham News draws a trash can containing symbols of oppressive regimes, one of which is a Confederate battle flag
2003: January The state of Missouri removes two Confederate battle flags at two state historic sites:Confederate Memorial Historic Site near Higginsville and Fort Davidson Historic Site after Rep. Dick Gephardt called for their removal.  The flag at Higginsville flew over a Confederate cemetery containing the graves of 694 veterans;the city of Clarksdale, Miss. votes to remove state flag from all city property;the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announces it will change its name to the “USA South Athletic Conference”  to show “sensitivity to ethnic groups and just making sure that the name is not offensive to anyone.”
February – The Town Council of Exmouth, England, scuttles plans for a ceremony to honor Gen. Collett Leventhorpe, an English General who fought in the Confederate Army, because the observance might be seen to have “racist undertones;” in an official directive (section 13.02 of its Advertising Standards), BellSouth states “Cuts of ALL Confederate flags are PROHIBITED from appearing in Yellow Pages advertising.”
May – Conference planners for a group of judges and court officials from Washington, DC mandate that the hotel staff of the Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center in Williamsburg, Va. remove or cover all images of the Confederate flag in WBTS battle scenes prints at the hotel.  As a result, two images were covered and  two images were removed. Conference planners  feared the images might be offensive  to some of the attendees.
November – The Robert E. Lee Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Richmond, Va. decides to drop the name of Robert E. Lee, which it had borne for over 60 years, from its council and its logo.
2004: May -Chickasaw County Miss. supervisors reverse their decision to allow the SCV to erect a Confederate memorial monument on the courthouse lawn and vote to allow a referendum on the issue;a Kentucky student is denied entrance into her high school prom because of her Confederate flag dress
July – Gettysburg College (PA) sponsors “a hanging of a Confederate flag.”
September – Augusta, Georgia Mayor Bob Young removes Second National Confederate Flag from historic flag display along the Riverwalk display.
November – Robb Gray, director of Oklahoma’s Tourism and Recreation Dept, orders 200,000 copies of their Annual Events Guide destroyed after finding that it featured a photo of a reenactment group with a Confederate flag, his action costs taxpayers $46,000.
2005: March – Charlotte NC removes memorial battle flag and flag pole over Confederate graves in city Cemetery; City of Ringgold, Ga. removes battle flag from memorial after NAACP requests its removal and  replaces it with Hardee Corps flag.
June – Palm Springs ISD renames Jefferson Davis Middle School in Jupiter, FL; Portsmouth, VA Confederate Memorial Monument vandalized
December – Savannah Mayor removes portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee and a mayor who was a Confederate officer from City Hall.
2009: February – South High School in Denver, CO changes its Rebel mascot to a griffin, previously it had changed its yearbook and newspaper names’ from “The Johnny Reb” and “The Confederate” respectively.
March – Dixie State University retires Rebel mascot and the name “Rebels.”
August – Jonesborough, Tenn. refuses to allow bricks inscribed with the names and units of Confederate veterans in the veterans’ memorial park.
October – Homestead, Fla Veterans Day parade bans battle flag
2010: March –  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ignores request for Confederate History and Heritage Month Proclamation.
April – Two Confederate cemeteries vandalized, one in Ala, the other in Miss.;Abilene Baptist Church in Carrolton, Ga. removes and disposes of Confederate battle flags placed on veterans’ graves in its church cemetery.
May -Flags stolen, ropes cut from poles at Confederate cemetery at Brice’s Crossroads Cemetery.
June -Movie theatre in Spotsylvania County, Va. alters War Between the States mural to remove a Confederate battle flag after complaints; potential recruits for US Marine Corps must acquire a waiver if they have Confederate flag tattoos.
October -Univ. of Mississippi discontinues “Col Reb” mascot, eventually choosing Rebel Black Bear as its mascot; Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announces he will no longer issue a Confederate History and Heritage Month proclamation.
November – Confederate memorial monument in Augusta, Ga. Vandalized.
December – History Channel forces local cable companies to remove Georgia Division SCV historical spots.
2011: January – City of Marshall, Ark. votes to prohibit flying of Confederate flag on public property.
May – Confederate statues of Lee and Davis vandalized in Richmond, VA;Memphis VA Medical Center removes paralyzed veteran’s small battle flag from wall and forces him to place it in a drawer; the veteran, a descendant of Confederate soldiers, almost cried when he told it must be removed;City of Reidsville, NC decides not to restore Confederate memorial monument destroyed when a van “accidentally” the statue, NC; UDC decides to move memorial to a local cemetery.
August – NC man fired from Forest City Housing Authority after displaying SCV logo on his vehicle.
September – Lexington, VA bans the flying of First National and Second National Confederate flags on light poles during celebration of Lee/Jackson Day; battle flag sign removed Confederate Powder Works Chimney in Augusta, Ga.
November – Missouri State Univ. President apologizes after its Pride Band plays Dixie during dedication of a new park on campus, states it will not happen again; Third National flag and flagpole removed from Confederate Memorial in Caddo Parish, La.; it had flown there since 1951; Texas DMV votes to prohibit SCV license plates with SCV battle flag logo.
2012: February -A Missouri students is penalized for flying Confederate flag on his vehicle on his high school Campus; a Minnesota student is suspended for failing to cover a battle flag tattoo blending in with a US flag on his tricep.
March – NASCAR prohibits golf pro Bubba Watson from taking the initial lap in his “General  Lee” car at the beginning of Sprint Cup series at Phoenix International Speedway; Statue of Lt Gen Nathan Bedford Forrest south of Nashville, Tenn. Vandalized; Lee and Davis monuments vandalized in New Orleans; vandals steal bust of Gen. NB Forrest from memorial monument in Selma, Ala. Cemetery.
April – Recently dedicated Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox refuses to fly any Confederate flag on its grounds; a Tennessee student is denied entrance into her high school prom because of her Confederate flag dress.
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May -SC Gov. Nicki Haley refuses to issue Confederate History and Heritage Month proclamation;City of Paducah, KY officials condemn flying of the battle flag in a nearby privately owned Confederate memorial park.
July – Las Cruces, NM Tea Party denied $1000 first prize after its historically themed float includes a Confederate battle flag in a 4th of July parade.
September – Confederate POW cemetery’s privately-owned Confederate Memorial Park at Point Lookout, MD is vandalized, a noose is placed around the statue’s neck and a swastika is spray painted on the base of the memorial.
October – Hays High School in Buda, Texas ceases playing of Dixie at football games.
2013: February – City of Memphis removes marker from Forrest Park, renames its three parks with Confederate names-Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park, and Confederate Park.
March 2013: Gov. Pat McCrory authorizes removal of ANV battle flag from historic display in NC’s Old Capitol Museum;City of Orange, Texas condemns the building of the “Confederate Memorial of the Wind”to be located on private property.
May – City of Jacksonville, Texas prevents Marine Corps League from placing Confederate flags on Confederate veterans’ graves;two Confederate flags removed from historic flag display in South Dakota VA Hospital.
September – Memphis’ Gen. Forrest statue vandalized.
December – Knoxville, Tenn. American Legion Post denies SCV to march in Veterans Days Parade; Museum of the Confederacy merges with Richmond’s politically correct Civil War Center.
2014: January – Jacksonville (Fla.) ISD renames Nathan B. Forrest High School.
February – Hero Dogs Inc. rejects donation from Maryland Division, SCV.
May –  California passes law to ban governmental sales or display of Confederate flags.
July – Washington and Lee University removes battle flags surrounding statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in its Lee Chapel, the tomb of Gen. Lee.
August – Univ. of Miss. announces plans to rename Confederate Drive, install plaques to explain Confederate Memorial and limits the use of the term, “Ole Miss.”
2015: January – Dixie State University removes Confederate statue, “The Rebels-depicting two cavalrymen-from campus.
February – Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA in Asheville votes to change name of Robert E. Lee Hall to Eureka Hall.
April – The state of Florida refuses to include three prominent Floridians who served in the Confederate Army in its Veterans Hall of Fame; St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay forms task force to consider removal of Confederate memorial monument in Forest Park, seeks to rename Confederate Drive to Freedom or Unity Drive.
June – Tragedy in Charleston, SC prompts removal of all things Confederate: SCOTUS rules against Sons of Confederate Veterans stating license plates are government property and can regulate its content;  “Dukes of Hazzard” program is removed from TV Land’s lineup;Miami, Fla car museum covers roof of Gen. Lee car on display; Alabama Gov. Bentley removes all four Confederate flags from monument on State Capitol; SC Gov. Haley signs bill to remove Confederate memorial battle flag from State House grounds, flag removed on July 10th;Univ. of Texas removes Confederate memorial from campus; City of Mobile removes all its historic flags from its city seal; Hillsborough County, Fla removes its historic flag display from the government center; Wichita, KS removes battle flag from Veterans’ memorial park; Cities of Columbus, Starkville, Hattiesburg, Magnolia and Grenada, MS remove state flag from city property, Natchez, Philadelphia and Vicksburg will eventually do the same; Virginia and Maryland discontinue their Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate program; National Park Service removes all historic flags from Fort Sumter, discontinues sales of  battle flags in its stores; NPS later reinstates Ft. Sumter’s historic flags on smaller poles; National Cathedral in Washington, DC removes Confederate flag imagery from its memorial reconciliation windows; Amazon, eBay, Wal-Mart, Sears, & Target discontinues sale of any items featuring Confederate Battle flag including already pre-ordered class rings; Flag companies Anin, Valley Forge, and Dixie Flag in San Antonio discontinue sale of battle Flag; Confederate monuments vandalized in Austin, Texas, Asheville, NC, Charleston, SC, Baltimore, MD, Columbia, SC, Richmond, Va. and St. Louis; Nashville restaurant, Acme Feed & Seed, removes Confederate flag artwork; Kentucky State Fair Board bans sales of Confederate flags, merchandise at state fair, fleamarket.
July – Black Confederate flag supporter, Anthony Hervey, killed in a suspicious automobile “accident,” his car had been followed by a car containing blacks who had demonstrated against the flag and whom Hervey had angered;Confederate flag bearing horse removed from carousel in Saginaw, MI; Fort Smith (AR) ISD votes to remove Rebel mascot, end playing of “Dixie” at Southside High; Mississippi state flag removed from state flag display in Santa Ana, CA civic center; Disney removes Confederate Third National flag from its Epcot Exhibit on American history; City of Memphis vows to exhume remains of Gen. Forrest and his wife, move his statue; Monument to Women of the Confederacy vandalized in Raleigh, NC; Confederate Memorial monuments are vandalized in Charleston, Bellmead, Texas, Denton, Texas, Reidsville, NC, Rockville, MD, Cornelius, NC, Durham, NC, Richmond, Va.,Oklahoma City and Charlotte, NC; Golfing Pro Bubba Watson decides to paint over the flag on the roof of his Gen. Lee automobile; Ohio State Fair bans sale of Confederate flags.
August – Univ. of Miss. states its marching band will no longer play any version of “Dixie;”VA prohibits flying of Confederate battle flag on large poles in its Confederate POW cemeteries, the flag was flown twice a year; College of William and Mary removes Confederate flag from its ceremonial silver mace and a plaque honoring students who became Confederate soldiers from its Wren Building; Univ of Texas in Austin removes statues of Pres. Woodrow Wilson and Jefferson Davis from campus grounds; Vanderbilt Univ. reimburses United Daughters of the Confederacy to allow the removal of the words, “Confederate Memorial Hall” from a campus dormitory;  Bexar County, Texas officials remove all Confederate memorial plaques and monuments from Courthouse square-none of which featured an image of the battle flag;  Georgia Gov. Deal renames Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday on state calendars to “state holiday;” Confederate monuments vandalized in Memphis, Chapel Hill, NC, Albemarle, NC,Charlotte, and Pensacola, Fla.; Wisconsin and New York State Fairs ban sale of Confederate flags or any other related merchandise; portrait of General JEB Stuart removed by a judge from courtroom in the Patrick City courthouse.
September – City of Winchester removes battle flag from its city seal, replaces with Stars and Bars;  Washington and Lee Univ. officials deny the SCV request to utilize Lee Chapel for Lee/Jackson Day services; City of Danville, Virginia removes Third National Confederate flag from site of last capitol of the Confederacy; City of Albuquerque removes first National Confederate flag from historic flag display; VA Hospital in Grand Junction, CO forces artist to paint over Confederate battle flag in mural depicting scenes from American history; Walton County, Fla. removes battle flag from Confederate memorial, replaces it with “Stars and Bars;” Boone Hall Plantation cancels Battle of Secessionville re-enactment.
October – University of Mississippi and Univ. of Southern Miss. discontinue flying state flag, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley, and Alcorn State have long since removed flag, Mississippi State will do so within a year; Florida Senate removes battle flag from its seal; monument to Florida’s oldest Confederate veteran removed in Crestview, Fla; Rockville, MD moves Confederate memorial monument from courthouse grounds to private property; Boone County, MO moves “Confederate Rock” veterans memorial from courthouse grounds to Centralia battlefield.
November – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, known as the “Cathedral of the Confederacy,” removes Confederate flag imagery and plaques that honor Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Confederate soldiers from their sanctuary, other plaques that feature a Confederate flag will be modified to remove the flag;  City of Charlotte NC moves its Confederate memorial monument from city hall grounds to a local cemetery.
2016: January – The words” Confederate Memorial” are removed from Orange County, NC Historical Museum Doorway; Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo bans Confederate battle flag, Second & Third National flags during events; Confederate graves are vandalized in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, NC; Arkansas teen prohibited from joining US Marines because of his Confederate flag tattoo with the words ” Southern Pride.”
March – Fla Legislature votes to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Kirby Smith from Statuary Hall in Washington DC;Austin (Texas) ISD votes to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School, San Diego (CA) ISD votes to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School; City of Charlottesville seeks to remove statues of Gen. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and rename their respective parks; Oregon removes Mississippi state flag from state flag display; Alabama attorney removes Confederate flags from veterans’ graves in Union Springs; Confederate memorial monument vandalized in McCracken County, KY; Washington County (NY) Fair bans sale of Confederate flags, merchandise; San Lorenzo High School in California drops its UNLV “Rebel guy” mascot which was changed in the 1990’s from  a “Colonel Reb” mascot with the battle flag.
April – City of Indianapolis prohibits placement of Confederate flags on the graves of Confederate soldiers buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.
May – Jefferson Davis Highway marker vandalized near Texas State University.
June – The Southern Baptist Convention passes resolution repudiating Confederate battle flag and asks its members to refrain from flying flag; Confederate flag removed from historic flag display in museum at Pennsylvania State Capitol; Douglasville, Ga renames Forrest Street.
July – Mississippi flag absent in state flag display at Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
September – City of Alexandria, VA renames section of Jefferson Davis Highway in the city; Jefferson Davis Highway marker removed from Texas State University campus; State of California bans artist and Civil War buff from displaying artwork featuring the Second National Confederate flag at the Big Fresno Fair.
August – Addison County (VT) Fair bans sale of Confederate flag merchandise.
November – City of Louisville Kentucky removes Confederate memorial monument, later the monument is moved to Brandenburg, Ky.; Long Beach (CA) ISD renames Robert E. Lee Elementary School; Florida State Senate changes its seal to remove its historic flags and removes an historic Five Flags mural from the State Capitol.
December – City of New Orleans votes to remove its three Confederate monuments; Oklahoma Baptist University removes the Confederate battle flag from one its “History and Government” stained glass window in its Raley Chapel.
2017: March – Arkansas separates holiday honoring MLK and Robert E. Lee with no state holiday for Lee.
February – Orlando (Fla.) ISD renames Robert E. Lee Middle School; South Burlington, VT high school drops Rebel mascot.
April – City of Demopolis, Ala. votes not to restore Confederate soldier statue on Confederate monument damaged by accident to original monument; Biloxi, MS mayor removes state flag from city’s municipal buildings; York County (SC) Clerk of Court removes Second National Confederate flag and portraits of Gens. Lee and Jackson from York County Courthouse; Confederate memorial monument in Brandenburg, Ky. Vandalized.
May – Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans removes the statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. P.T.G. Beauregard, and Pres. Jefferson Davis from New Orleans; Confederate memorial monuments vandalized in St. Louis and in Norfolk, VA
June – Baltimore, MD mayor states city wishes to remove and sell its four Confederate statues after initially installing “interpretative plaques” at each; Orlando Fla Mayor moves Confederate Memorial from Lake Eola Park to a local cemetery; City of Gainesville, Fla votes to remove “Ol’ Joe” Confederate memorial; St. Louis, Mo removes Confederate memorial monument in Forest Park; Caddo County, La officials will discuss removal of Confederate Memorial monument; Lexington, KY to consider removal of two Confederate statues; Macomb, Miss. votes to remove state flag from all municipal buildings; The Mayor of Richmond, Va. states the city will create a commission to add context to statues on Monument Avenue
July – San Lorenzo High School in California drops its “Rebels” mascot name; Bexar County, Texas votes to replace Courthouse Confederate Memorial with plaques honoring Texas Medal of Honor recipients.
He who controls the past controls the future.
He who controls the present controls the past.
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” — George Orwell 1984
(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 21, 2017 ed.)

I Received My Author Copies!

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My new book, Horses in Gray, premiered last weekend at the SCV Convention in Memphis, and today, I received my author copies! This is such an exciting experience for me to share with you. Getting this book published has been a roller coaster ride. I started writing it five years ago, and after moving three times, I finally finished the manuscript. I searched around and discovered a small press who was willing to publish the book. Several months later, the manuscript had been edited, formatted and indexed. It was finally ready to be published! But just as it was about to go to press, the publishing company folded. I was heart-broken. Now it was back to square one.

I put on a brave face and sent the manuscript to a few companies who publish Civil War nonfiction, but I only got reject letters back. Then I sent it to Pelican Publishing, and they accepted it! One year later, my book is finally seeing the light of day!

Horses in Gray Cover

This is my first nonfiction book, and I am very proud of it. Here is an excerpt from Chapter One:

Most horses used in the war were geldings or mares. Not many stallions were utilized because they were unruly and hard to handle. For ambulances, horses were used rather than mules because horses were less skittish.1

At the start of the war, Southern gentry considered Thoroughbreds to be superior. They were certain that the quality and breeding of their fine racehorses would assure the Confederacy’s victory.

One newspaper article printed in 1863 read: “Let the baser baseness of breeding scrubs and cold bloods be left to the Yankees: and let Virginia planters resume [breeding] the thoroughbred Virginia race horse.”2

It didn’t take long for Confederate soldiers to figure out that Thoroughbreds were too flighty for use on the battlefield. Instead, various other breeds were used. Percherons were preferred by the Confederate artillery for pulling heavy caissons and wagons. Saddlebreds from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, as well as Tennessee Pacers (Southern Plantation Horses), the forerunners of today’s Tennessee Walking Horses, were ridden by the cavalry.

Gen. Basil Duke, second in command to Gen. John Hunt Morgan, was the first to describe the Saddlebred breed: “If I be correct in my estimate of the Thoroughbred, then it must be conceded that the nearer he approximates him, the better another horse (the Saddlebred) will be. But the Kentucky Saddlebred horse has not only inherited, in a large measure, the excellence of the Thoroughbred in respects to which I have called attention, but has also retained certain desirable characteristics which have more peculiarly distinguished the humbler (non-Thoroughbred) strain from which he is descended.”3

The desirable characteristics to which Duke alluded were “the peculiar gaits which make their descendants so valuable for the saddle.”4 However, Morgans were the most popular riding horses used by officers and horse soldiers alike.

Morgans were one of the earliest breeds to be developed in the United States. They can be traced back to their foundation sire, Figure, born in 1789 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and later renamed Justin Morgan after his owner. The breed is smaller than the Thoroughbred and possesses a stocky body, sturdy legs, and a long, thick mane and tail. Morgans are alert, easy keepers, sustaining on little food compared to other breeds.

Used primarily for riding and harness racing, they also served as coach horses. Because they were accustomed to pulling vehicles and were able to keep calm under fire, both armies used the breed extensively during the Civil War.

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During the war, bays were the most common in terms of color. Bay horses are distinguishable by their brown coats and black points (i.e. black manes, tails, and lower legs). Browns were the second-most common, followed by chestnuts and blacks. Next in line were horses whose colors ranged from gray to white, followed by roans, which have white and any other hair color intermixed throughout their coats. Most armed forces did not use pintos, spotted, or white horses, since they believed the animals would be easy targets, but some soldiers took a chance and rode them anyway. Grays were used by trumpeters so that officers could easily locate them when they wanted to have a call blown. Musicians also rode grays.

Horses came to recognize the different bugle calls used during the war. The call to trot or gallop was synchronized with the rhythm of the horses’ hoof beats in those gaits. The animals also recognized certain songs, a favorite of theirs being “Stable Call” because when they heard the music, they knew it was time to eat:

 

Oh, go to the stable,

All you who are able,

And give your poor horses some hay and some corn.

For if you don’t do it,

The colonel will know it,

And then you will rue it as sure as you’re born.5

 

Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart (known as Jeb) had an immense love of music and assembled a band of talented musicians to entertain his division as they marched long miles. Some horses in his cavalry grew so accustomed to the melodies that they responded by prancing in rhythm to the tunes.

 

Here is the Amazon link to purchase the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501200364&sr=8-1&keywords=horses+in+gray

I am looking for reviewers, so please let me know if you are interested. Also, if you know of someone who might want to endorse the book and have their quote on the cover, send them my way!

 

 

 

How is This Any Different?

Last weekend, I flew out to California to visit my youngest son. While I was there, he told me about a trip he and his best friend took a few weeks ago to Sequoia National Park. I had never been there, so I was fascinated by the photos and beautiful scenery. That is, until he showed me photos of the Sherman Tree and the Grant Tree.

Sherman

The Sherman Tree, named after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, is the largest living single stem tree in the entire world. This massive tree is estimated to be about 2000 years old. The tree is 275 feet tall. The Sherman Tree is a giant sequoia located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park. Likewise, the Grant Tree is the largest giant sequoia in the General Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park in California, and it is the second largest tree, by trunk volume, in the world.

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I think these two trees are spectacular and amazing, but one thing bothers me about them: their names. How is it that the NAACP has a problem with all the Confederate statues, street names, school names, etc., but not with the Sherman Tree? Afterall, General Sherman was probably the biggest bigot the Union Army had to offer. He didn’t hesitate in drowning hoards of freed slaves who were following the Union Army in search of refuge and freedom. And he certainly didn’t have a soft spot for any Native Americans. In fact, he waved off the offer to run for public office, which is what his contemporary, General Grant did. Instead, Sherman went out West to annihilate the Indians. I don’t know of any Confederate officers who were so blatantly racist, and yet, there are plenty of street names, school names, and even a giant sequoia named after Sherman. By the way, Grant was no friend to the Native Americans, either.

This double standard is appalling to me, but perhaps I should be patient. Maybe after the NAACP and other groups like Black Lives Matter do away with Confederate heritage, they will attack other historical figures, like Sherman, Grant, Jefferson, Washington, and Jackson, to name a few. And let’s not leave out Lincoln. He was the one who wanted to ship the freed slaves off to their own little island, or back to Africa, and said the two races (whites and blacks) could never co-exist.

Maybe he was right. Maybe the NAACP and BLM would back off if it were their ancestors being attacked. How can they be offended by white heroes of times past? How is it that it’s okay for those of us who are against the demolition of history to be offended? Let me know what you think about this subject. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. In my opinion, all this political correctness nonsense needs to end NOW. Moving statues around isn’t going to solve the problem.

New Author Interview

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Last week, I was featured on a blog called Arvenig.it. Here is the interview.

Hi everyone!
This is the eighteenth post of my featuring authors series. Today I’m going to feature J.D.R. Hawkins that has written A Beautiful, Glittering Lie (I love this title so much!), A Beckoning Hellfire: A Novel of the Civil War and A Rebel Among Us! In this post there will be a bio about the author and one of her books, an interview and a giveaway!

1238370About J.D.R. Hawkins:

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of only a few female Civil War authors, and uniquely describes the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner, and A Rebel Among Us, which has just been published. These books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as another sequel for the Renegade Series.

website | goodreads | Patreon | twitter | facebook

 

32046971About the book A Rebel Among Us:

After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?

goodreads | amazon

Interview

Arvenig: Tell us a little about yourself and your background!
J.D.R. Hawkins: I am an award-winning author, and have written for various publications. My series about the Civil War, the Renegade Series, includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, slated for re-publication this fall, and A Rebel Among Us, recipient of the 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. I am a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I am also a singer and songwriter. My nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses, will be released this July.

A.: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
J.: 
 I have been writing since I was little, and started out with songs and poetry. From there, I graduated to short stories, children’s books, young adult novels, and finally, full-length books. Being a writer wasn’t a realization in my case. I just evolved into one.

A.: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
J.: Primarily that love conquers all, even when things couldn’t be any worse.

A.: What are you working on at the moment?
J.: I am working on the fourth novel in the Renegade Series as well as a young adult novel about Prohibition.

A.: Any last thoughts for our readers?
J.: I would love to hear from your readers! I am always looking for people interested in reviewing my books (I will provide free e-books). Please feel free to contact me about any questions you might have via my website. Also, please follow my blog, and my Patreon page.

Click on the link below to enter the giveaway and win a free ebook of A Rebel Among Us!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d10d23f924/

To read the entire interview, click on the following link:

http://www.arvenig.it/blog/fa-18/

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