This is not the usual type of book that I read but the blurb was the thing that completely drew me into it. This is the first book in the series , set in the Civil War , we follow Hiram Summers as he is thrown into the combat , his family who have to stay behind struggle without him there but know he had to enlist and fight for the cause. Hiram and his son uncover the meaning of the war and soon realise that the choices they have made have torn the family they love apart.
It is brilliantly written , it has lots of action , secrets and drama to keep hold of your attention and keep you reading on. The book is only 199pages which for me is the perfect length of book in this genre , it is quick to read for the fact it flows so well throughout the book. It definitely makes me want to read on the rest of the series.
Here is the book trailer for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series, and describes what a family goes through during Reconstruction following the Civil War. I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think.
I was invited to attend the 16th annual Mountain of Authors event last Saturday. The Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs sponsors the program. The keynote speaker for the event was none other than Craig Johnson, who is the bestselling author of the Longmire books series. The Netflix series is based on his books. I participated in the “Showcase of Authors.” It was limited to 30 participants, all of which were local authors. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other writers of all genres. It was also an opportunity to talk about and sell my books. Thank you, PPLD, for allowing me to participate!
I just received this review from Hollywood Book Reviews. Thank you so much for the amazing review!
Title: A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War (A Renegade Series) Author: J.D.R. Hawkins
Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing
Genre: Romantic Action & Adventure / War & Military Action Fiction Reviewed by: Jack Chambers
Hollywood Book Reviews
One of the things that people rarely ever think about or consider when discussing the impact of war throughout history is the immediate aftermath. There are many books written about the long-term effects war has on things like the economy, a nation’s power on the world stage, and politics as a whole, but the study of how we as individuals interact with one another in the wake of war and the mental struggle which occurs with those who fought in wars is rarely given enough attention. The need to advocate for peace in the wake of war is essential, and as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”
In author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War, the author brings readers back to the popular A Renegade Series with the third book of the franchise. The protagonist, David Summers, finds himself in a whole other world when he wakes up from his injury-induced slumber. After his dreams of chivalry and heroism are quashed by the horrors of the Battle of Gettysburg, a wounded David and his horse are taken in by four sisters in enemy territory who help restore him to health. Deserted by his Confederate brothers in arms, David struggles between his desire to avenge his father’s death and the love he begins to feel for the oldest sister, Anna. As she presents him an interesting offer, he must also contend with his identity being revealed lest he be labeled a traitor by the Union while also coming face to face with Anna’s longtime neighbor, now a Union soldier, who has been in love with her for years, and will stop at nothing to have her heart, even if it means having David arrested.
The author crafted a truly beautiful, heartbreaking, and emotionally complex narrative. The balance struck between historical fiction and romance was eloquently written here, as the author brought enough of the historical setting and events happening around the cast of characters into their daily lives without sacrificing the personal conflicts or intimate developments that they made with one another. The concept of two very opposed sides of a bloody conflict such as this coming together to find common ground is something which feels more relevant than ever in our modern age, and the ability of the author to showcase all of the underlying causes of the conflict, and the lies and illusions that many average soldiers fell under from their leadership in the war made this story so fascinating to read.
This is the perfect read for those who enjoy romantic stories, especially those set in a historical fiction setting and who enjoy, in particular, stories surrounding the American Civil War. As a fan of history, I was fascinated with the authors ability to get into each side’s perspective so equally and bring the setting and tone of the era to life so
naturally, especially without sacrificing the natural character growth and story beats overall. Powerful, thought-provoking, and entertaining, author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War is the perfect historical fiction romance novel and a great new book in the A Renegade Series franchise. The rich dynamics that are presented between David and Anna especially are great to see, and how these very different groups of people find a way to work through their differences and find common ground in an era filled with untold violence and hatred is amazing to read.
I’m very excited about my new book, Double-Edged Sword, and I wanted to share an excerpt from the novel. This is from the first chapter. It will give you an idea of what it must have been like to see the South after the Civil War ended.
Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword
He turned and drove several blocks, trying to recall the direction of the house where he had stayed on his first night away from home. Everything appeared so different, and bluecoats were everywhere, swarming like flies. Down the street, a row of sutlers’ shops had been erected for the benefit of the Union troops. The newlyweds turned a corner and continued on, past structures that were once beautiful homes, but now sat empty, the glass in their windows shattered, their walls crumbling. Tent cities and clapboard structures cluttered vacant lots. Some of the boards were still adorned with wallpaper, an obvious declaration that the walls had been torn from citizens’ private dwellings. David recognized a two-story house, even though the paint was peeling around the window frames and the yard was filled with knee-high weeds.
“This is it?” Anna asked. “It isn’t quite how you described it.”
“It ain’t how I remember it, either,” he said.
He jumped down and tied the mule, then assisted his wife. They climbed the steps together. David tapped on the door. The brass knocker that had been there before was gone; holes from the bolts that had held it in place were all that remained. There came no response, so after a few moments, he tapped again.
“Last time I was here, she had a butler. Tall black feller, name of … Henry.” David nodded as he recalled. “He didn’t take to us much.” He flashed Anna a grin.
“He’s long gone by now, no doubt,” she said.
David tapped once more, but still no response came, so he tried the knob. The door stuck in the jam at first, but then creaked loudly on its hinges.
“Do you think we should go in there?” asked Anna.
He stepped inside. The long hallway was as dark as he remembered, but the lavish paintings that had adorned the walls were missing. Anna followed him down the hall to a large room that was empty except for a solitary wooden stool that squatted in the center. The ornate draperies David remembered had been ripped down, and a transparent gauze sheet had been draped across the broken windows in an attempt to keep insects out. The fireplace stood dark and empty, and the tapestries David remembered seeing were all gone, along with the furniture and knick knacks.
“I don’t think anyone’s here,” Anna whispered.
David walked to the window and looked outside. The back of the house was just as neglected as the front, and the stable doors yawned open with a passing breeze. There was nothing inside. He heard a thump and reeled around to see a small man standing behind Anna. She turned and gasped at the same time before rushing to her husband.
“Can I be of service to y’all?” the man asked feebly.
“Josiah?” David said, taking a step closer. “Is that you?”
The little man held his hand out to him. “That would be me. How may I help y’all?”
“Don’t you remember me?” asked David, trying to keep his voice quiet. “I’m David Summers. I came here with my friend, Jake Kimball. We met on the train from Huntsville, remember?”
The man didn’t seem to recall, so David went on.
“Your wife, Miss Martha, she had us stay the night. And her sister was here. Miss Mattie?”
“When did you say this was?” The old man shuffled to the wooden stool and sat down.
“It was in April of sixty-three. We were on our way to jine up with Jeb Stuart.”
The words seemed to register. Josiah looked up and smiled. “Yes. Yes! I believe I do remember you!” He stood up and vigorously shook David’s hand.
“This here’s Anna, my wife,” he introduced.
She stepped toward him. “Sir,” she said, taking his bony little hand in both of hers.
“Where’s Miss Martha? I’d surely like to see her.” David chuckled. “She made me promise to stop by the next time I was in town.”
The smile vanished from Josiah’s furrowed face. Suddenly, he looked very old. “She’s gone,” he said flatly.
“Where did she go?” Anna inquired.
Josiah sank back down onto the stool. “She left me … when the Yankees came. She got so upset with the occupation that one day, she …” His voice trailed off.
David exchanged glances with his wife. “She what, Josiah?”
He looked up at them, his eyes filled with grief. “She took the pistol out from under the mattress … and put it to her head.”
“Dear God!” exclaimed David.
Anna’s mouth dropped open.
“It was more than the poor darlin’ could bear, havin’ Hooker’s army come in here and take everything we owned. They took the nigger, they took the horses, they even took the rugs out from under our feet. Stripped clean, jist like a plague of locusts.” He paused, the silence overwhelming, then said, “Wilst they were fightin’, there was a lunar eclipse. Do you reckon it was some kind of omen?”
David gulped. “What happened to Miss Mattie?” he asked, afraid to hear the reply. “Where’s Miss Martha’s sister?”
“She’s gone too. Ran off before they got here, and I haven’t seen nor heard from her since.”
“Do you know where she went?” Anna asked, taking her husband’s arm to steady herself.
“No idea. I’m all alone here. Have been for quite some time now.”
David was at a loss, not knowing what to say. “We could take you somewhere. So you ain’t alone,” he suggested.
“And where would that be?” Josiah stood, slowly straightening. “The whole of the South is like this now. And besides, this here’s my home, and I’ll be damned to leave it.”
“Can we do anything for you?” Anna inquired.
“Jist leave me be, young’uns. I can fend for myself. Nice of y’all to stop by, though.” He sashayed into the parlor, or what David remembered to be the parlor, and closed a dark oak door behind him.
“We should go,” suggested Anna.
David glanced at her, unable to speak. He felt helpless, like he should do something, but was at a loss as to what. She took his hand and led him outside, where they boarded the wagon in silence and rode back to the depot. Chattanooga, David understood, had aged tremendously, just like Josiah. The town of two thousand was now overrun with bluecoats who seemed unconcerned with the annihilation they’d caused. What was once an elegant town was now demoralized by Yankees, and the whole city appeared beaten down and ancient.
I recently received two new five-star reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, VEdwards and Joshua Grant, for your reviews!
It was interesting to read a book on the Civil War from the average Southern resident’s perspective. I haven’t really found any that tell of the bad things the Northern soldiers did to the Southern cities and people. The North is painted in such a positive light by most books that you really don’t get a realistic sense of the truth. The writing was excellent and the characters interesting. Descriptions of both everyday life and battle were well written and distinctive. I look forward to reading more from JDR Hawkins.
JDR Hawkins brings the Civil War to life through the eyes of a family in A Beautiful Glittering Lie! The Confederacy has just broken away from the Union and Southern farmer Hiram Summers decides to enlist in the army, soon getting whisked away to war. Meanwhile, his wife Caroline and son David discover the realities of war on the home front. I loved Hawkins’ focus on this one family as it gave the avenue to see the war from three different perspectives: that of the soldier, the youth, and the mother trying to make ends meet on the farm! This is a novel with great feeling and intrigue, and I loved the characters and getting to experience their moral struggle. If you’re interested in the Civil War and want a good emotional novel, come enlist with A Beautiful Glittering Lie!
Recently, three of my books were featured via my publisher, Westwood Books Publishing, at the London Book Fair. I wish I would have had the chance to attend! It was an amazing turnout, and a great opportunity for people across the pond to see my books.
In other news…
My new novel, Double-Edged Sword, is being featured on BookGoodies. Here is the link:
This guest post relates to what my husband and I have been going through. We started to have an addition put on last June, and it still isn’t completed. We’ve had to start from scratch by hiring another contractor. Word of advice: don’t go through Home Depot’s Pro Team! Make sure the contractor you hire is licensed and insured. Ours lied to us, so here we are a year later, with an uncompleted project. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this article.
10 Ways to Find a Reliable Contractor For Your Upcoming Home Renovation
Finding a reliable contractor is a vital part of your home renovation plan, and knowing how to find the perfect one will ensure that the job is done right. Check out our tips for hiring the best contractor for your home remodel.
10 Ways to Find a Trusted Contractor
1. Ask Around
Word of mouth is often one of the best ways to find a great, trustworthy contractor for your job. Ask for professional recommendations on community social media platforms and from neighbors, friends, or family.
2. Search Online
Do some research online to find reputable contractors in your area. Home service apps are becoming popular sources for professionals to advertise their business with their qualifications, experience, and reviews right at your fingertips. You can also search your city’s website for recommendations. Sometimes there is even a list posted by the city of trusted contractors that keep up-to-date on building permits and regulations.
3. Read Reviews
When you find a contractor, look for reviews about their previous projects. Reviews could sometimes skew more positive or negative, so reading between the lines is an important factor when reading through them. However, by sifting through them, you will be able to start building a clearer picture of what doing business will look like with certain contractors.
4. Seasonal Expectations
Depending on the type of project, some home renovations may have seasonal highs and lows. Most indoor repairs tend to happen during the winter months, while spring through early fall is when most outdoor work is carried out.
Keep the season in mind when you are planning your project because it could be a busy season for your contractor. Remember that although you want your project completed right away, a company having a full schedule speaks to the quality of their work.
5. Interview Prospective Contractors
Interviews are a great way to get to know contractors and how they like to carry out business. Start simple by asking questions about your project over the phone to narrow your search.
Once you have focused on a few select contractors, have face-to-face interviews or consultations so you can show and talk more openly about the project, price, and time frame.
6. Ask for Bids
After researching your project’s estimated costs and narrowing down potential contractors, have your final group submit bids for the work. Review the offers and find the best one for the job. Beware of a price that is too high or too low and be sure to ask about any fees that may come later down the road.
7. Check for License & Certification Information
It is crucial in home renovation projects to ask the contractor about which licenses, certifications, and insurance documents they possess. Not having some of these items could invalidate their work when the city checks the job or when you sell your home. You also do not want to be held liable for any on-the-job injuries, so make sure your handyman service has an insurance plan.
8. Make Sure They Obtain Permits
You will know a good contractor because they will be on top of procuring the necessary permits themselves. If a professional asks for you to get local permits, that is a sign they may not be the right handyman for the job. If they say you don’t need permits, you could be putting yourself at risk for city fines or redoing projects that were not approved. A reliable contractor will take care of all the documentation the city deems mandatory.
9. Discussing Payments and Schedule
Going over payment plans and schedules should always be a topic discussed prior to the work getting started. This way, the contractor and the client can set expectations about what is acceptable for the duration of the project. Discuss specific goals and time frames for those goals.
Scheduling days and times that work best for you and your home renovator is essential to your plan. You want everything to run smoothly and quickly without disrupting your life as much as possible. Having a conversation about the working hours the team can commit to will help create an environment that is less disruptive for both parties.
10. Going Over the Contract
Once you have finally found the contractor that fits your needs, it is time for the contract. Make sure to carefully review the contract before signing to ensure that all the agreed-upon points are present in the writing. When you and your contractor have all the details hammered out on paper, sign your name and get the project going!
Find the Best Contractor
Contractors know there are many other home service professionals vying for your business. The best ones will put in the extra effort to ensure your satisfaction. By doing research, reading reviews, interviewing, and asking for specific bids, you will be able to find the right contractor for your home renovation project.
Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.
An illegal union, a banned birth, a Great Lie, and now, genocide. Vampire lawyer Donovan Trait and his wife, chemically-turned Judge Shirley Magnusen, are battling for their lives and the lives of their children. The Vampire Coalition wants them dead, but now the despots have also decided to expand their net, targeting any vampire whose blood is mixed with human or Were. Half-bloods are already treated like dirt by the Vampire Nation. They have been subjected to centuries of discrimination and cruelty at their hands. As the Coalition embarks on a campaign of terror, destruction, and slaughter, millions of half-bloods emerge from the shadows, ready and willing to reclaim their place in the Vampire Nation. The problem is, war cannot be unleashed out in the open in the human world, battles must be fought in other ways. Even with an island of highly-skilled vampire nuns and a few Weres and humans at that their side, it appears the Traits may be fighting an unwinnable war. Their only option may be to sacrifice their own lives in the hopes of setting all other half-bloods free.
Donovan shifted on the lounger and muttered incomprehensively, then he emitted a rumbling snore.
“Hey, y’all. So yeah, vampires are real and they’re not above doing the dirty to those who share their blood. Take a look at this.” The Tik-Tokker grinned. “You are not gonna believe it. It’s so shady.”
Video of the Coalition camps rolled across the screen. Occasionally, the camera zeroed in a dirty or bruised Millennial, or a guard pushing a group of people into a building, their ankles locked together with some sort of rope. They were seen eating off of metal plates and lined up to fill a metal cup with something from a barrel. It wasn’t water. The liquid was rust-colored and thick, like blood.
“And the dudes running the place have a Marie Antoinette fetish. You know—” The woman mimicked a knife across her throat. “Off with their heads?” She giggled.
A guillotine appeared on camera. About ten people were in line, each with a black hood over their heads and their arms bound behind them. One at a time, they were pushed onto a stage and forced to their knees, their necks positioned directly under the blade. With manic efficiency, a guard released the blade. Most heads flew into a barrel in front of the platform. The ones that rolled off onto the stage were kicked to their final destination. The headless bodies were tossed onto a pile on the ground.
“Oh, grosss,” the woman complained. She leaned toward the camera. “Kind of like a bad zombie movie, isn’t it?” She sat back in her chair and made a face. “Whatever. I mean, like, are we supposed to believe that’s really happening? Isn’t that against the law or something?” She cackled. “As if.” She leisurely stretched her body, her crop top exposing a belly button ring. “I’m so shook.”
The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled. “Now, I’m not sharing this for the views. It is kind of sus. But if this shit is real, someone needs to get off the pot and do something about it. Aren’t there any woke cops out there who can play the James Bond card? Before anymore—” She swiped her finger across her throat and giggled. Then the screen went black.
Donovan shot up in his chair and blinked. Once. Twice. He shook his head and attempted to gather himself. What the hell? Sure, he had needed the sleep, even if it was only a thirty-minute nap, but the dreams he could do without. It had been less than forty-eight hours since the worldwide kidnappings. Donovan knew preparations for rescue were underway. But he also knew Bengotten and Hannigan were capable of even greater cruelty. He could only imagine the terror and the torture the victims were being subjected to.
It was difficult to understand how the vampire world was capable of this. He had long prided himself on their natural superiority, their ability to rise up above the petty politics and unjustified violence in the human and Were worlds. Yet overnight, vampires had become the monsters, the tyrants capable of such evil. That astonished him. For the first time in his long existence, Donovan was ashamed of being a vampire. If it was possible, he might very well submit to being turned into a human or a Were. He buried his face in his hands. Yes, he could live as a human. Perhaps he could ask Dr. Alvarez to find a way to turn off his vampirism, maybe using the gene-editing Marilyn could not stop talking about.
About Seelie Kay:
Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.
Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.
When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.
Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!
Two people open themselves to the truth and open themselves to each other.
Her marriage in ruins, violinist Teagan Whitloch Munroe escapes into her music and the solace she finds at the Crystal Creek Ranch. Practicing in the woods helps her piece together her life, but she isn’t alone. When she hears someone hiking nearby, she demands he reveal himself, but the only revelation she gets is a soothing voice that heals the pain in her heart.
Maimed by a crushing accident, the once famous architect Phineas St. Cyr protects the world from his disfigurement by sequestering himself in the woods on the Crystal Creek Ranch. When he hears the intoxicating strains from Teagan’s violin, he can’t resist the beauty that quiets his aching soul, and he yearns to know the woman who creates such beauty.
Teagan finds sanctuary in her friendship with this connoisseur of music, but soon realizes Phin’s hiding more than his hideous scars. As they become entangled with each other, Teagan is stunned to learn they share more than a love of music. They are caught in a web of deceit by someone threatening to reveal Phin’s secrets. His exposed past endangers Teagan, and he can no longer walk away. This time he must face the enemy determined to defeat him. He’ll fight to the finish to protect the woman he can never love. No price is too high to keep buried the secret that will mark Teagan for destruction.
Teagan Whitloch Munroe was trembling. She was trembling, and she couldn’t stop. She’d been trembling for more than two hours—since she’d left the downtown Denver condominium she shared with her husband, Dr. Wilbert Munroe. What she’d seen inside the condo—in their bedroom—made her want to vomit. A cold knot of disgust and revulsion gripped her stomach.
When she’d walked into the master bedroom, she must’ve gasped. Will was lying on the bed, but he wasn’t alone. He’d lifted his head from the pillow. He looked right at her.
He didn’t look surprised. He looked annoyed.
She’d pressed a hand over her mouth.
Blinded by tears, she’d backed into the doorjamb and stumbled into the hallway. She didn’t remember running out of the condo, but she must have. Her legs throbbed, and her chest ached. The only thing she remembered was her husband calling her name. What had he said? Let’s talk? She didn’t know if she should laugh or sob.
And she remembered the dulcet laughter of the naked woman who was servicing him in bed. Teagan’s and Will’s bed. Teagan had thought Ginny Andrews was her friend.
Some friend. Ginny who was svelte and toned. A contrast to Teagan who’d struggled with her weight since she was seven years old.
A shuddering breath rocked through Teagan’s lungs. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She wiped them away.
She barely remembered driving to the Crystal Creek Ranch, throwing a saddle on her favorite horse, Champagne, and racing through the meadows until she reached the aspen forest covering Crystal Peak.
Fighting against the despair that filled her, she wrapped shaky fingers around the reins and urged the Arabian horse through the trees bursting with spring green leaves. Her vision blurred, and she tried to focus on the pink wild roses and purple elephant’s head mingling with the green undergrowth. The splashes of Crystal Creek tumbling over rocks sounded next to the trail. It was happy and musical and far from the darkness that crowded her heart. Her stomach roiled and begged to be emptied of the half sandwich she’d eaten during the orchestral rehearsal that afternoon.
She ran her hand over the horse’s neck damp from perspiration.
About the Author:
A native of California, Laura Haley-McNeil spent her youth studying ballet and piano, though her favorite pastime was curling up with a good book. Without a clue as to how to write a book, she knew one day she would.
After college, she segued into the corporate world, but she never forgot her love for the arts and served on the board of two community orchestras. Finally realizing that the book she’d dreamt of writing wouldn’t write itself, she planted herself in front of her computer. She now immerses herself in the lives and loves of her characters in her romantic suspense and her contemporary romance novels. Many years later, she lived her own romantic novel when she married her piano teacher, the love of her life.
Though she and her husband have left warm California for cooler Colorado, they enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and snow skiing. They satisfy their love of music by attending concerts and hanging out with their musician friends, but Laura still catches a few free moments when she can sneak off and read.