J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the category “Author”

Interview With Dixie Heritage Newsletter

Recently, I was invited to participate in a podcast interview conducted by Dr. Edward DeVries, who publishes a weekly newsletter known as The Dixie Heritage Newsletter. I was honored to have the opportunity to discuss all four of my published books, as well as upcoming projects. We also talked about music, the Confederate gold, and several other topics. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed recording it.

Dixie Heritage Banner

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Book Teasers

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Just for fun, and because this is the last week of Confederate Heritage Month, I thought I’d share some teasers that were made up for me by a previous publisher. The book is now out with Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think!

ABGL Teaser 3

ABGL Teaser 2

ABGL Teaser 1

 

 

Blog Tour – Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters

 Book Tour ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters 

by Shilpa Suraj

10th to 30th April

About the Book:
She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?


Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

She closed her eyes and let the nippy breeze cool her flushed cheeks. This moment of solitude in the middle of all the chaos felt like heaven.
“Private moment? Or can I interrupt?” 
Resigned to her fate, Alisha looked up. “Are you stalking me?”
“No.” Sitting down next to her and stretching his long legs out, Vivaan laced his hands on his stomach. “It was getting a little stifling in there, so I thought I’d come out for fresh air. I saw you sitting here alone and figured I’d see if you wanted some company.”
“Terrible,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.
“What?”
“Your excuse for being out here is terrible. If I wanted company, I would have stayed in there. And the only thing stifling you in there were the women throwing themselves at you.”
Grinning, he pointed out, “You weren’t.”
Tossing her hair, she said, “I have taste.”
“Ouch.” Wincing, he straightened from his slouch. “That hurt. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from that.”
“Oh please. Go in there and let one of those girls slobber all over you. You’ll be fine in minutes.”
“All those tasteless girls in there? No thanks. I think I prefer the discerning one out here.” Reaching out to touch a lock of her hair he twined it around his fingers and watched her reaction.
“Cut it out.” Slapping at his hand, Alisha stood up. “You shouldn’t be flirting with me.”
Rising with her, he faced her. “Why?”
“Because I don’t cradle snatch and I certainly don’t intend to start with my younger cousin’s brother in law.” She tried for both their family’s sakes to take the sting out of her words but knew she’d failed when she saw the expression on his face.
“How old do you think I am?”
Alisha sighed. “Do we have to do this?”
“I’m trying to understand,” Vivaan said. “The age thing matters so much?”
 Alisha stared past him to the crowd now leaving the bar and yelling out goodbyes to each other. Drunk, happy and carefree. She felt every inch of her exhausting thirty three years at that moment.
“For the record, I’m twenty nine years old.” His low murmur had her closing her eyes. Twenty nine. Shit. 
“I don’t think we should be having this conversation,” she said, starting to walk past him to the foyer.
Vivaan caught her hand as she crossed him and yanked her back, his grip firm and compelling. “Answer me. My age matters so much?”
“Yes,” she said, finally.
“Why? Does it make that much of a difference to who I am?”
“Why? What do you mean why? I’m older than you and divorced to add to that. You need any more reasons?” Giving her hand a slight tug, she groaned when his grasp only tightened. “Let go of my hand.”
“Does being older and divorced mean you can’t be friends with me?” 
“It means I can’t stand around holding hands with you.” Staring pointedly at their hands until he released hers, she stepped back and started to move away.
“What makes you think any of it matters to me?” His question had her stopping in her tracks and turning to look at him. “I don’t care, Alisha. I like you.”
“It doesn’t make a difference if none of it matters to you. All of it matters to me.” This time when she made her way into the crowd, she didn’t look back.

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

New Cover Reveal for A Beckoning Hellfire

A Beckoning Hellfire Book Cover

It came to my attention that the book cover wasn’t attached to my blog post yesterday, so I’m re-sending it out. Please let me know what you think! Thanks so much for all your support.

 

New Cover Reveal!

I’d like to officially announce that my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, has a new cover! This is in conjunction with my acquiring a new publisher.

It has been so much fun to reinvent my book and to breathe new life into it! A Beckoning Hellfire has been re-edited and improved. This book has received several awards and has earned many five-star reviews. It is the second book in the Renegade Series (the first is A Beautiful Glittering Lie). Stay tuned, because the third book in the series, A Rebel Among Us, will soon come out with a new cover as well.

Thanks so much for your continued support and interest in my books. I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you are interested, please let me know and I will send you a PDF!

You’ve Just Crossed Over Into the Twilight Zone

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Stranger things have happened. Coincidences, whether we admit it or not, are common occurrence, as are daja vu, although when they happen, we sometimes disregard them. I love watching old movies and late night TV. While watching an episode of the Twilight Zone the other night, I discovered something surprising.

It seems that one of the soldiers who was killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn was named David Summers. I found this freaky, since this is the name I chose for the antagonist in my Renegade series. Upon further research, I discovered that Mr. Summers of the 7th US Cavalry was from Missouri, but my main character is from Alabama. Phew!

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Another weird coincidence happened to me while writing A Beckoning Hellfire (soon to be re-released). I chose a character’s name, William Williams, and learned that my character and a real person had the same name, and fought for the same cause with the same Confederate cavalry unit. Strange but true!

I love researching history, because I frequently discover strange things like these. It’s fun and fascinating. Now I have a new challenge: how to incorporate my newly-acquired knowledge about David Summers into my next novel.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6086017/david-summers

Guest Post by Julian Lane

Occasionally, I like to feature fellow bloggers on my site. Although these blog posts typically discuss other topics than what I usually write about or feature, I still post them to give other writers a chance to be seen. This article is very interesting, and since my husband and I recently downsized, I thought you might be interested as well.

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8 Common Mistakes People Make When Downsizing Homes

As a society, we are shifting away from the “more is better” mentality that had us all looking for huge homes with unlimited storage space. In the face of piles of clutter and huge maintenance costs, downsizing to a smaller home has started to look like the best solution. 

Downsizing is not as hard as it seems, but getting it right can be tricky. Whether you are a family seeking simplicity, a senior planning their golden years, or a millennial who wants to embrace minimalism, here are the mistakes to avoid when you decide to downsize. 

Waiting Too Long

The longer you put downsizing off, the more money, time, and effort you will sink into a home you will have to move out of eventually. Signs that you should downsize include having a lot of unused space, home maintenance being overwhelming or unmanageable, a loved one getting older, or simply a desire to enjoy a simpler life. 

Expecting to Make Money

In the long run, downsizing will absolutely save you money on bills and maintenance. However, there are costs you need to consider, like moving, renovations, and HOA fees. You may also soon realize that smaller homes are not necessarily cheaper, especially in bigger cities. 

Not Considering Other Options

This is mainly an issue for seniors, who immediately assume downsizing to a smaller home is the best option for them. However, downsizing to an assisted living facility can also be a great choice, especially if they require some extra care. If you or a loved one are thinking of downsizing due to age, do tour a few local facilities to see if it could be for you. Bear in mind that the median cost of assisted living in Colorado is $49,140, so some facilities may not be in your budget. What’s also important is that you find a place that’s safe, secure, and suitable for your lifestyle.

Not Getting Rid of Enough Stuff

Many people are not selective enough when decluttering, which leads to cramming too much stuff into a smaller space. Not only will the house feel cramped, stressful, and unpleasant, but the clutter also poses a serious health risk, especially in the case of downsizing seniors. Specific clutter zones to watch out for include closets and cabinets, piles of paper under the bed, and things like shoes in hallways, which can cause you to trip and fall. 

Expecting the Same Furniture to Fit

Similarly, many people don’t consider how their furniture will look in a smaller home. Chances are it won’t all fit. Even if it technically fits, it may look clunky and out of proportion, or it may crowd the space (which, again, is dangerous for seniors). A free online digital room planner like Planner 5D can be an invaluable tool at this stage.  

Not Having a Decluttering Strategy 

A decluttering strategy is the most important element of staying motivated and on track. There are countless plans out there covering different approaches: a certain number of items a day, room by room, or just 15 minutes a day. Pick something that works with your moving and downsizing timeline, but give yourself plenty of time to accomplish these tasks. 

Not Having a Follow-Through Plan

Once you have finished sorting, you still have to actually sell, donate, or toss your items, and it is easy to lose momentum. Don’t let those boxes pile up, and have a plan for exactly how they will reach their intended destination. An easy solution is to get the things picked up — several charities offer this service, including Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. 

Doing It Alone

Decluttering is a lot of hard work, so make sure you get some help. For instance, if your aging parent is downsizing, get all the family to help out. Alternatively, you could get help from a pro. A professional organizer will make the whole process a whole lot easier, but be prepared to pay around $30 to $80 an hour for the help. 

More and more people are seeing the value of smaller, simpler homes, which are easier to maintain, cheaper to live in, and suited to a more streamlined lifestyle. If you think downsizing could be for you, don’t hesitate to get started, but do take a moment to plan things out. You won’t regret downsizing, but you might regret rushing into it.

Release Day Blitz – Something Old, Something New

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! A compilation of seven bestselling authors, with seven romance stories. Check it out!

Something Old Something New Banner 1 copy

Something Old, Something New
– A DRA Production

Something Old, Something New Cover copy

Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology.

What would you do for another chance with the one you love? 

Something Old, Something New – a unique novella anthology – tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas.

Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone.

Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!

My Warmest Sorrow

by Preethi Venugopala

Something Old Something New Creative (5) copy

What would you do when you come face to face with your past?

When Ajay, now an IAS officer, is added into his college WhatsApp group, he is welcomed warmly by all his classmates. Except by Diana.

Diana is still living with the repercussions of what had happened in the past. She is thrown into despair by Ajay’s presence in the group.

Diana and Ajay were inseparable while in college. Their relationship had transitioned from being best friends to love overnight. But then fate had intervened in the form of Diana’s tyrant father who had separated them ruthlessly.

Five years of silence has created a wall of sorrow between them. Their interactions in the class WhatsApp group are nothing like what they once used to be. Every moment is churning out more anguish and unpleasantness.

How much have they changed?

Is love still hiding underneath their public facades?

What are the lies they are hiding?

Read an Excerpt from My Warmest Sorrow

My mobile phone rang as I unlocked the door to my flat. Who was calling me now? It was eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night.

As the project deadline was looming near, I had stayed back in the office till nine to complete the chunk of work I had scheduled for today. Structural designing demanded full dedication, even for a small-scale project. And my current project was unbelievably complex.

Wearily, I slumped onto the couch and rummaged in my bag to locate the phone.

“Diana, you won’t believe what happened today. And, where were you? I called you so many times,” shrieked Ashima, my engineering classmate, the moment I answered the phone.

I rolled my eyes but a smile curved my lips. Ashima had a flair for theatrics. What was it now?

“Go slow. I just returned home after a gruelling day. We have a deadline this Saturday.”

“Eek. Be like me and find a government job. The perks of a government job are endless. Private jobs suck, ” said Ashima.

“Now, now… you must go to that magnificent job tomorrow, right? Why are you staying up all night?”

Ashima had been like our dorm room alarm while in college. She dozed off at exactly nine and got up at five in the morning, every day, without fail. What had kept her awake today? Or had her so-called relaxing job altered her lifestyle?

“Idiot, check your WhatsApp messages. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Thank me later. Goodnight for now.”

No! I wasn’t in the mood to drown in some WhatsApp group debate she might have started. Mostly, she called me for some additional support when she was on the verge of losing. Who was she arguing with today? Rahul or Avinash?

Most of my classmates were politically active and any new government decision or policies would undergo acute post-mortem inside our class WhatsApp group. Rahul was a devout follower of the Congress party, Avinash was a self-confessed Modi Bhakt and Ashima was a red comrade entirely. On some days, their arguments would last long into the night. I didn’t have the energy to jump into another such nonsensical discussion. All I wanted to do now was eat and sleep till the alarm rang at seven tomorrow morning.

I switched on the geyser to take a quick bath. Then I transferred the biryani I had bought into a plate and placed it into the oven to reheat it. In the present Bangalore climate, nothing stayed warm for long. I was not fond of the winters. It wasn’t the cold that bothered me, though. The winter season brought back long-lost memories, making me long for the warmth of a specific loving embrace. It also reminded me of my twenty-two-year-old self who had almost given up on life.

By the time I returned from the bath, there were two more missed calls from Ashima. What was wrong with this girl today?

As I dug into the tasty biryani, I turned on my phone data. Notification beeps began. I swiped left till I found the WhatsApp icon. I had 1200 plus unread messages just from the 2013 Civil Gang, my class WhatsApp group. Some serious discussion must be happening. I groaned inwardly. I was certainly not in the mood to drown in nasty arguments. But Ashima would probably kill me if I didn’t hop in and speak my bit.

Avinash and Ashima had sent me private messages as well. What was so urgent?

Curious, I opened the group chat. Avinash had added a new member. Though our class had a total strength of 60 students, there were only 45 were members in the group currently. Many of my former classmates were pursuing higher studies whereas some had landed jobs in distant lands. Hence, we had lost contact with many of them in the five years that had elapsed after graduation. Occasionally, a new member would be found and added by one of the admins. Then there would be a mad rush to get reacquainted with the new entrant.

The name of the person added today drove away all my lethargy in a second. I blinked twice to confirm if I had correctly read the name mentioned in Avinash’s welcoming message. Ajay Menon. Ajay… after all these years?

About the Author:

Preethi Venugopala copy

Preethi Venugopala stepped into the world of words during a sabbatical from her hectic civil engineering job after the birth of her son. She began as a blogger and wrote fiction to pass time. Her debut novel ‘Without You’ came out in 2015 and was received well. She was then mentored by eminent author Anita Nair at her writing platform ‘Anitas Attic’ in 2016. Since then, she has published 7 novels on Amazon and more than 15 short stories in various anthologies and platforms.

Giveaway:

First Prize – A Kindle

Second Prize – 6 Months Kindle Unlimited Subscription

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COVER REVEAL!

As promised, I would like to reveal the new book cover for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I’m so excited to share this with you! Please let me know what you think.

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This book has gone through quite a few transformations in the past few years. It was originally published by iUniverse, an “assisted” self-publishing company. Then it was published by a hybrid publisher. Now it is being published by Westwood Books Publishing, a new publishing company out of Florida. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Westwood Books Publishing family!

This book has received numerous five-star reviews, and is the recipient of the prestigious John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, as well as the B.R.A.G. Medallion. It also received special honors at the L.A. Book Festival.

I’d love to hear your feedback, so please, let me know what you think!

https://www.westwoodbookspublishing.com/books/a-beautiful-glittering-lie-a-novel-of-the-civil-war/

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Civil/dp/1643619942/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+le&qid=1581448921&sr=8-1

New Cover in the Works for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my three novels in The Renegade Series are being republished with a new company called Westwood Books Publishing. This is a fairly new publisher that is run by several literary agents. It is an indie publishing company, but has an interesting marketing plan in place.

Book Cover - Highest Resolution

The first book in the series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is the first to be republished. I have been working with Westwood Books to create a new book cover. This is the original cover of the book, which is a painting done by Don Troiani, titled “Up Alabamians.” The new cover will be completely original.

I can’t wait to share it with you and find out what you think. I’m hoping I can share it with you as soon as next week, so stay tuned!

 

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