J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Charlottesville Can’t Get Over Its Past


It seems the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, is so caught up in what they consider to be political correctness that they will do anything to eradicate their history. Specifically, the city plans to auction off two statues of Confederate generals to the highest bidder. Sounds extreme and bizarre to me.

As reported back in February meeting, the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia voted to tear down two monuments erected almost 100 years ago to Confederate Generals Lee and Jackson and to erase all vestiges of the town’s Confederate heritage. Now, after lawsuits were filed to stop it, the City is looking to sell the statues to the highest bidder.

After a series of contentious City Hall meetings where supporters of Heritage and those wishing to whitewash history battled over the council’s decision, City officials have doubled-down on the initial decision to eliminate its historical parks.

The decision to remove the two statues and redesign Lee Park to eliminate General Robert E. Lee’s name was calculated at $300,000, according to the City. Likely the costs would be far higher.

11 local citizens have joined together to file a lawsuit against the city to stop the removal of the statues. The plaintiffs, joined by the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. and the Monument Fund, Inc., cited a list of reasons for filing the lawsuit. Chief among those reasons is their contention that the City is in violation of a State law preventing alteration of such monuments. According to State law, it is illegal for local officials to tear down memorials to war veterans.

But now the City thinks it has a solution to its breach of State law. If the City can sell the statues to some other City or park that will maintain the historical integrity of the statues, officials think that might satisfy State law, according to Newsplex.

Both the local activists who want to preserve history, and those who want to eliminate all history they do not like, find the move to sell the monuments unsatisfactory.

If the courts rule that a City can sell monuments it would require the re-working of monument protection acts not only in Virginia but nation-wide.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, April 21, 2017 ed.)

Another Five-Star Review for A Rebel Among Us!

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I am so excited to announce that my new novel, A Rebel Among Us, has received another five-star review! Here it is in its entirety:

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

A Rebel Among Us by J.D.R. Hawkins is a Civil War novel with a powerful setting, great and compelling characters, and a plot that leaves readers no chance to put down the story, even for a moment. After the bloody battle of Gettysburg, the Confederates are badly beaten. Hit by a Union picket, David Summers is carried away on a horse to a Pennsylvania farmhouse where he is received and treated by a teenage girl, Anna Brady, and her three sisters. To his great dismay, David learns that his comrades have deserted, but what is more painful is what is happening to him — he is falling in love very fast with Anna. Anna has an unusual proposition for him and he finds himself in a dilemma: should he return to the army or follow through with her plan?

J.D.R. Hawkins has written a story that is as intriguing as it is gripping and there is just no way for the reader not to fall for the well-developed and interesting characters. The setting is wonderful, the Civil War period with many historical references. The plot is well-imagined and expertly executed and the reader feels as though the action is taking place before their eyes. The reader is hooked from the very beginning of the story. When Maggie calls her sister with urgency, telling her someone is in the barn, the reader becomes very curious to know who it is, what he wants, and… yes, there are many questions. The writing is stellar, laced with beautiful, vivid, and compelling descriptions. I love writers who don’t waste words and Hawkins happens to be one of those. She handles the conflict expertly and the different themes, including love, war, and humanity, are beautifully woven into the fabric of the tale. There is a lot that readers will love about this novel, from the gripping plot to the masterful writing, from the conflict to the satisfying finish; they will find A Rebel Among Us to be highly entertaining. One of the best books I have read this year.

Book Review: The Bearded Prince by Rajesh Talwar


Although this novel is set in ancient times, The Bearded Prince tells the story of a young woman who is intelligent, sophisticated, talented, and independent. I enjoyed learning about Indian traditions from long ago, and how the main character, Princess Roopali, was able to chose her Prince Charming, which is just the opposite of the classic Cinderella story. Princess Roopali and her parents, the king and queen of Fadidad, hold a swayamvara and invite all the princes, near and far. The event ends at sunset, and by then the princess must meet each prince and decide which one should be her mate. Unable to do this, she is given 24 additional hours to make up her mind. Princess Roopali is an accomplished painter, and sees the world through her artistic vision. When at last the time comes to announce her decision, the princess is able to chose her mate because of her vision. The story was beautifully written and very entertaining. Author Rajesh Talwar did an amazing job of transporting me back through time, and Princess Roopali was endearing. I’m looking forward to reading other titles by this author.

Side note: I loved the author’s references to beards as growing plants, like “facial foliage” and “sprouts a beard.”


After much persuasion, Princess Roopali, ‘the beautiful one’, agrees to have a swayamvara. This is an ancient Indian ceremony in which an unmarried girl who has come of age chooses a husband from among several suitors. According to the tradition, at the end of the ceremony, the princess is required to place a marigold garland around the neck of the prince she has decided to marry. She is happy to meet with all the princes who will attend the ceremony, and are keen to be chosen by her. She explains to her parents, the king and queen that she does not, however, wish to meet anyone with a beard. Over the past few years there have been a string of armed robberies by a gang of tough-looking bearded thugs. The princess has come to dislike beards. Her father, the king, explains to her that it would be discourteous for them not to extend an invitation to any eligible prince, but he would be surprised if any of them still sported a beard. Will Princess Roopali find the prince of her dreams? A delightful tale set in Ancient India the story provides a window into an exotic culture and will appeal to children from all age groups – particularly those from the ages of five to one hundred.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21004776-the-bearded-prince

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Bearded-Prince-Rajesh-Talwar-ebook/dp/B008CTMUP4

About the Author

Rajesh Talwar studied at the University of Nottingham after going to the UK on a British Chevening scholarship in 1996. He received his LL.M in Human Rights Law. He has also participated in a programme on Negotiation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and received a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. He began working for the United Nations in various capacities. His work with the U.N. took him to places such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Somalia and Liberia.

Talwar’s career in writing includes writing on different subjects for major media outlets including The Guardian, The Economic Times, The Sunday Mail, and The Pioneer. He has also published books on the topic of law, addressing law reform as well as trying to demystify the subject  such as in ‘How to Choose a Lawyer – and Win Your Case.’

Find Rajesh Talwar on :



The Day After


It’s difficult to comprehend what Southerners must have been feeling the day after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865. Yesterday was the anniversary of this event which, in both cases, happened on Palm Sunday. I imagine they were saddened by loss, and yet, relieved the war was finally over. They probably held out hope that, somehow, the South might still emerge triumphant, or they could have been enraged by the outcome and felt helplessness with the result. Some certainly were fearful about what the future had in store. Whatever each individual felt, I’m sure the majority were hoping for reconciliation and prosperity.

One thing many Southerners, especially soldiers, learned to do without during the war was coffee. Both armies, north and south, loved the drink. The following article describes their passion for it.


For the Union, coffee was a big deal. 
In fact, the word “coffee” shows up in Union letters and diaries more often than any other word-including words like “war,” “bullet,” “Lincoln,” and “mother.”
For Union troops, Coffee was a more regular part of soldier life than fighting. Every soldier was given a ration of 16 kilograms (36 lb) of coffee per year, and they drank it every morning.
One rifle company even made a rifle that had a coffee grinder in the stock.
Since most Union troops only fought two weeks per year, the coffee grinder ended up being used more than the bullets.
The Confederates, on the other hand, hardly had any coffee.
Union blockades kept the Confederates from getting their daily caffeine fix.
Some Confederate soldiers were so desperate for a java fix that they would brew potatoes and rye until they turned black, just to have a caffeine-free, bitter drink that the soldiers could pretend was coffee.
Caffeine may have actually made a strategic difference in the war. Union generals would time attacks based on when their men were most buzzed on caffeine, convinced that the extra rush from coffee gave their men a fighting advantage.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 31, 2017 ed.)

Two Cover Reveals in One Week! (Crazy!)

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Here it is! The new cover to my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie! This novel is being republished by my new publisher, Foundations, LLC. The cover design was done by the remarkably talented Dawné Dominique. I am republishing the first two books in the Renegade Series with my new publisher because they were originally self published. There are a number of reasons for my changing publishers, but the primary reason is because Foundations, LLC is a small press in Mississippi that is up and coming. They have an outstanding team that assists authors with editing, publicity and promotion. If anyone is looking for a company that publishes southern literature, I highly recommend them.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie is the first book in the Renegade Series. The second book, A Beckoning Hellfire, will be out later this year with Foundations, LLC. And the third book in the series, A Rebel Among Us, has recently been published by Foundations, LLC.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new book cover. Please let me know what you think! Thanks again so much for your support.

Cover Reveal!

Horses in Gray Cover

I am so excited to reveal the cover for my new nonfiction book, Horses in Gray. This book tells many fascinating stories about famous Confederate steeds and their masters. It also describes lesser known horses as well. All of them have amazing stories to tell, and were as brave and fearless as their riders. Pre-order copies are available through Amazon.


A special shout out to Pelican Publishing, Dan Nance for the cover art, and everyone else who helped make this book a reality. This is my first nonfiction book, and I’m very proud and honored to be able to publish it. Thank you so much!


A Writer’s Life

Beautiful woman in swimming pool

I wish I could say that writing novels means sitting around the pool all day, sipping margaritas, and writing whenever I feel like it. Maybe that’s true for some writers. I envision Jackie Collins living that way. But for me, it is a never-ending process, and writing is only one part of it.

Since I primarily write historical fiction, I do a lot of research before I ever start writing. On average, I spend about six months researching and six months writing. Once the research has been completed, I begin the writing process. For me, I find it best to work from an outline, so I start by plotting out each book, chapter by chapter. And then I start the book, and try to write one chapter every two days. Once the book is completed, I read through it once or twice, and then set it aside to ripen. After a few months, I read through it again. After that, I have it professionally edited and proofread. And then, I find beta readers to look for flaws. The manuscript is finally completed! But that’s only the first phase.

typewriter copy

The next step is finding an agent or a publisher. This takes a lot of work and can be quite tedious. The hardest part is accepting rejection. I’m very fortunate to have excellent publishers. After sending them the manuscript, the whole process of editing and proofreading starts again. Once the manuscript is completed, it goes to the typesetters. A cover artist comes up with a design for the book, which can sometimes be stressful as well. Next comes a cover reveal and pre-sales. And after that, the book is finally published! Thus ends phase two.

To me, the next step is the most difficult. This is finding reviewers, promoting, marketing, and doing anything and everything possible to get my titles out there. I typically spend two to four hours a day on marketing. This includes sending the book to reviewers, entering contests, participating in blog tours, doing author interviews and book signing events, etc. This process never really ends, but it is especially crucial during the first year in the life of the book. And so ends phase three. And then it’s time to write a new book and start the process all over again. But I love it!


Now you know all the work that’s involved with publishing a book. I wish I could say it’s all pools and parties, but it’s more like fear, frustration, fantasy, and for me, fun!

If you would like to help me with my book writing process, I would be more than grateful. Here is the link to become one of my cavaliers on Patreon. I hope you will consider supporting me!



Lawsuit in the Works


Recently, I reported how the city of Charlottesville plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee park. They also want to rename the park. But now, several citizens have filed a lawsuit claiming the city is acting unlawfully.


Dixie Heritage Readers in Virginia are fighting the City of Charlottesville over City Council’s decision to move a monument to Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee.

Councilors voted 3-2 on February 6 to move the statue of Lee out of Lee Park. They also unanimously voted to rename the park.

Descendants of its donor, Paul Goodloe McIntire, and sculptor are a part of this lawsuit against Charlottesville and City Council. Joining them in their lawsuit are The Monument Fund, Inc. and The Virginia Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. and eleven individuals: Frederick W. Payne, John Bosley Yellott Jr., Edward D. Tayloe II, Betty Jane Franklin Phillips, Edward Bergen Fry, Virginia C. Amiss, Stefanie Marshall, Charles L. Weber Jr., Lloyd Thomas Smith Jr., Anthony M. Griffin, and Britton Franklin Earnest Sr. Their attorneys filed their lawsuit in Charlottesville Circuit Court Monday, March 20.

The plaintiffs’ suit alleges Councilors acted beyond their authority and violated a State Law which prohibits removing monuments or memorials to war veterans:

That the Lee statue and the Jackson statue are Confederate monuments and memorials of the War Between the States protected by the provisions of Section 15.2-1812 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.
The lawsuit also argues Charlottesville is violating terms of McIntire’s gift in 1918 of the land for Lee Park and the statue:

    “Defendants [Charlottesville City Council] are required by law to protect and to preserve the aforesaid historic monuments.”

Weber, one of the plaintiffs and an attorney, says he joined the suit in order to protect history and the law. “I believe that our history is what it is. We don’t change it. We have to deal with it, and we have to come together to deal with it,” he said.

Don Gathers, who chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Monuments and Public Spaces, said that he expected their decision would face a legal challenge and the City is prepared to fight for the monument’s removal.
(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 24, 2017 ed.)
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A Way Back Into Love Book Tour


Title: A Way Back into Love

Author: Veronica Thatcher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Notion Press

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Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32998245-a-way-back-into-love

Buy links: Paperback – http://www.amazon.in/Way-Back-Into-Love/dp/1946641170/


                             eBooks – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B06WRR5FN3


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Author Bio:

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorthatcher/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/merderlover1

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/merder32

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16087807.Veronica_Thatcher

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Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.



The State Fights Back


I have been reporting on the state of things in Mississippi, specifically, state run, higher education institutions that are refusing to fly the state flag. There seems to be a politically correct problem with the flag as of late. Some critics say the flag represents oppression and racism, because a portion of it has the St. Andrews Cross on it. This emblem, otherwise known as the Southern Cross, has been associated with the KKK, when in fact, it was used as a battle flag for the Confederacy during the Civil War. One by one, state colleges and universities found their own authority to take down the flag. This goes against regulations, but regardless of students’ protests against removing the flag, it was furled, anyway. Now, state representatives are facing this PC wave head-on. Here is an article on the subject.



A new Mississippi Senate bill would grant two public colleges a tax exemption if they fly the State Flag, which is now flown by none of the eight public colleges because it features the Confederate battle flag.
Republic Representative William Shirley persuaded the House last week to withhold a tax break from universities that don’t fly the flag. When the bill came up for a reconsideration after amendment it failed to pass by a 58-56 vote. Since then, Shirley has been unsuccessful in his proposed Flag amendments.
Senate Bill 2509 would exempt the “lands and property” of both the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and Mississippi State University (MSU) from state, county and municipal taxes, as well as buildings and improvements that give “affordable board” to students, according to Campus Reform. Still under advisement is another amendment by Shirley to a bond bill that would force state supported colleges to display the banner or face financial penalties.
Without saying a word, Rep. Shirley went to the front of the House Chamber on Wednesday and waved two tiny flags – a Mississippi flag and a plain white flag.
Was it surrender? Shirley would not explain.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 17, 2017 ed.)

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