J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “A Beautiful Glittering Lie”

Excerpt from A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I am frequently asked how I came up with the title for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie (the first book in the Renegade Series). I derived it from this wonderful quote, which a Confederate soldier wrote in his journal.

“For it was the first Field of Glory I had seen in my May of life, and the first time that Glory sickened me with its repulsive aspect, and made me suspect it was all a glittering lie.” – Henry Morton Stanley, C.S.A. 

It is difficult to imagine what went through the young soldiers’ minds when they finally “saw the elephant” – horrifying, no doubt, and exhilarating at the same time. But soldiers weren’t the only ones who experienced such terror. This excerpt describes how their loved ones must have felt. Some of them never received word of what had happened to their brave soldiers. War always involves tragedy, but I think not knowing would be the worst part.

Word of the battle quickly spread to Huntsville, and within days, filtered down into Morgan County. Caroline had mentally prepared herself for what she anticipated would happen, but when the first battle finally did take place, she found herself ill-equipped. She did her best to shelter her brood, but realized it was just a matter of time before they learned of the event.

The following week, she found out that a list of fatalities had been posted, and knew she had to drive to Ben Johnson’s mercantile to have a look, but all the while, her heart felt as though it was breaking. She dreaded the list, dreaded the result of the terrible fighting, and especially, dreaded what the war might be doing to her home. Going alone, she reached her destination, climbed down from the wagon, hitched her draft horse, and approached the two-story wooden structure, her ankle boots clunking up the wooden steps and across the porch’s floorboards as she walked. She pulled the front door open, and a tiny bell above it announced her arrival. As she entered, she saw several others gathered around a notice that had been tacked to the wall. Ben Johnson nodded. He threw a glance toward the posted list. She knew what it meant.

Slowly, feeling as though she was floating, she passed by the dry goods, glass cases displaying pottery, clothing and sewing notions, and under farm equipment hanging from the ceiling rafters, approaching the others. Some of the women were sobbing, covering their faces with handkerchiefs, while others turned away and stared at her with vacant eyes. As they drifted off, she stepped toward the ominous poster, held her breath, and forced herself to gaze upon the names. When she had reached the bottom, she breathed a sigh of relief. Hiram’s name wasn’t on the list, although she recognized one who was. Turning toward the counter, she wiped a trickling tear from her cheek as she walked over, and requested a copy of the Southern Advocate.

Initially at a loss for words, Ben cleared his throat. “I reckon Hiram’s name ain’t on there,” he finally said.

The revelation had started sinking in. Caroline smiled. “No, thankfully not.”

Ben returned the smile. “Right glad to hear it.” He handed her a newspaper. “The editor of this paper, Mr. William Figures, has a son who’s with your husband’s regiment.”

“Oh?” she replied cordially. “He’s all right ain’t he? I mean, I didn’t see …”

“Yes ma’am, far as I can tell.”

“That’s mighty fine. Well, I’ll be on my way. Good day, Mr. Johnson.”

She turned to leave, and as she opened the paned-glass door, Ben called out, “When you write to that man of yours, tell him I said hello.”

“I surely will,” she replied. Walking out to the wagon, she untied Joe Boy, climbed aboard, and slapped the reins. She drove out of view from the mercantile, and pulled the vehicle to a stop. Uncontrollably, she burst into tears, sobbing convulsively until the ache in her heart finally subsided. She couldn’t show her weakness to her children: for them she had to be strong. After wiping her eyes with her handkerchief, she drove on toward home.

Another Stellar Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I received another flattering review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This book is the first one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Sophie Narey, for your review!

A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War
by 

J.D.R. Hawkins (Goodreads Author)

Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic) ‘s review

Jun 24, 2022

really liked it

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.

Two New Reviews for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

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!

VEdwards

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read

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.


Joshua Grant

5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and emotional look at the Civil War from the perspective of one family!

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!

Latest Happenings

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:

http://bookgoodies.com/?p=423787

For a limited time, this book is available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

(Click on book cover to see link.)

Another Stellar Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I recently received another five-star review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This is the first book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Tom Thompson, for your review!

Tom Thompson

5.0 out of 5 stars This was a very enjoyable read

Reviewed in the United States on April 28, 2022

Normally I haven’t read this type of novel, but this story grabbed from the beginning and is a page turner.
The author painted a picture that placed me into the storyline.
Voracious Readers gave me a complimentary copy of the book and I am glad that did.
You should read this civil war tale.

New Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

US Review of Books 

A BEAUTIFUL GLITTERING LIE 

A Beautiful Glittering Lie: A Novel of the Civil War by J.D.R. Hawkins Westwood Books Publishing 

book review by Kat Kennedy 

“It’s the end of all things as we know them.” 

At the beginning of the Civil War, Hiram Summers, a north Alabama farmer and father of three, enlists in the Confederate Army. When Hiram and his best friend, Bud, join the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment to fight in a war that many believe will last only a short time, he leaves his wife, Caroline, daughters (Rena and Josie), and son, David, to take care of the family farm. As the surviving son in the family, David realizes the enormity of this responsibility. “He came to the realization that he was now responsible for protecting his family, tending to the farm, and taking his father’s place as head of the household.” Both Hiram and his family soon discover the horrors of war both in battle and on the home front. 

This award-winning novel is well-researched, and the inclusion of historical battles and speeches give it authenticity. As readers follow the story of the Summers family, they are transported to both battlefield and family farm in an emotional narrative. Hawkins’ gift for storytelling is evident in each chapter. Her description of the battlefield and its horrors of war are so compelling that readers can almost smell the gunpowder. “Men dropped around him like flies, the thud of bullets sinking into them before their bodies exploded with blood.” Not only are the author’s descriptions of the devastation of battle intriguing, her attention to detail when relating the dangers faced by those on the home front is impeccable. “Two riders approached up the lane. It was still too dark for her to make out who they were. She rushed over to the gun rack, took down the shotgun, and walked out the front door to the porch.” 

The novel explores the theme of friendship and brotherhood through both the relationship between Hiram and Bud as well as the one between David and Jake. The way in which Hiram and Bud look out for each other on the battlefield is a testament to the love the two soldiers have for each other. “Hiram stopped to catch his breath, watching the smoke clear. He looked around for Bud until he finally saw him walking toward him.” David and Jake also share a close bond, which is evident not only in their banter but also in the way they engage with each other during a trip to Huntsville to check out the location of Northern troops. “David jolted awake, realizing it was daybreak. Chilled to the bone, he shivered as he stood, and went outside. Jake was nowhere to be seen. Alarmed by his absence, he looked in every direction… Jake! Answer me, damn it!” 

With its descriptive narrative, it is no surprise that this novel is the recipient of awards. The work won the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion. History buffs will appreciate the attention to detail and the inclusion of actual speeches, battles, and Civil War-era songs. The continuing story of the Summers family can be found in the next two books of the series, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us, which are also award-winning novels. This is a very good thing because the current book is a novel that engages the reader and leaves one eager to read the next one. 

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

More Reviews for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

The reviews keep coming! Here are a few more for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, which is the first book in the Renegade Series.

Jackie rated it really liked it  

The narration of this book is excellent. It is plain to see that the author has an intense fascination with the American Civil War. Her descriptions of people, animals and places make you feel as though you are there with them. As a non-American I found it a little difficult to keep up with where all the places are (my copy didn’t have a map in the cover, which would have been helpful!) and the names of all the generals were lost on me. I found it a little confusing with the many names of the different sides at first, having never studied American history. However, once I got going I found it easy enough to work out. The book shows the civil war through the eyes of an ordinary Southern family, which is an interesting perspective and does not glamourise the war at all. It is a working class family’s story, which makes it easy to relate to. Be prepared to read the rest of the series – the ending leaves you wanting more!

Samantha Wynd rated it it was amazing  

Although not the genre of book I would normally read I was given the opportunity to read and review this book by the author through Voracious Readers. Looking for something different I jumped at the chance and was glad I did. Hawkins writes in such a way that the reader feels they are part of the story. A novel written about America’s battle between the North and the South the closest I’d come to reading anything around this period was Gone With the Wind so it’s definitely not my normal style. However I saw every battle scene clearly felt every emotion and experience expressed by Bud, Hiram, David, Jake and their families, friends and comrades. I found myself praying for Bud and Hiram’s safe return, internally yelling warnings at the boys, and reaching for tissues when Sally was stolen and Hiram didn’t return as planned. A great book well written and one I’d highly recommend

A rated it really liked it 

The work follows how the lives of a family from a small town in Alabama are affected by the Civil War. I usually steer clear of historical fiction revolving around wars because they’re all battles or overly romanticized. The author of this work does an excellent job at finding a balance; this is one of the most realistic works of fiction I’ve read concerning the Civil War. The author did her research. The characters are also well-written and aren’t static, making the work engaging.
I received a complimentary copy of this work through Voracious Readers Only in exchange for my honest opinion.

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Civil/dp/1643619942/ref=sr_1_1?crid=113PP93DB6Q67&keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+lie&qid=1641421080&sprefix=%2Caps%2C608&sr=8-1

Interview By Sara Louisa

I was recently interviewed by friend and fellow author, Sara Louisa about my books and writing process. Here is the post. I hope you enjoy it! Please check out her website at saralouisaauthor.com. Thank you for the interview, Sara!

Award Winning Author J.D.R Hawkins’ Interview!

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s author interview!

I was absolutely thrilled to interview author J.D.R Hawkins, and get to know her better!

Hawkins began writing at an early age. Music inspired her to write song lyrics, which developed into poems. From there, she branched out into writing short stories, articles, children’s books, and eventually, novels. Hawkins has also written a non-fiction book!

I’m always interested in how fellow authors choose the names of their characters. For me, the name usually comes to mind straight away when starting a new project. Hawkins has an interesting way of finding her characters and putting a name to the person in mind! Hawkins says:

“I researched names in a baby name book, and chose the ones I felt would most closely fit my characters’ personalities.”

Writing the perfect scene is important to an author; we strive for that ‘wow’ factor, and we all have favourite types of scenes to tackle. I personally enjoy writing romantic scenes, and action sequences. Hawkins told me what her favourite scenes are to write, and why.

“I like writing scenes that have an eerie element to them. Mysterious happenings are always fun to write, as well as scenes that show friction between the characters. I enjoy writing dialogue, because it gives me the opportunity to reveal things about the characters and their backstories.”

Authors get their story ideas literally from anywhere, and everywhere: walking, driving, listening to music, or in complete silence. Hawkins says she gets her greatest ideas when it’s quiet in the early morning, or later at night. She says:

“It’s wonderful when an idea comes to me suddenly, but sometimes, it takes several days for an idea to come to fruition.”

J.D.R Hawkins writes about the civil war in her fantastic collection of novels, which I was quite excited to learn about! Canadian and American history is a huge passion of mine, which brought up my next question for Hawkins: Are these incredible novels based on true events?

“Since my novels are about the Civil War, there are many parts that are true. I have to write realistically and factually, or I will get called out by people who are very knowledgeable about this time in American history. Many of the characters are real as well, including Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, etc. My first novel, “A Beautiful Glittering Lie,” is based on the journal of a Confederate soldier.”

Hawkins’ answer was fasinating to me, because as a writer myself, I could just imagine the hours of research that would need to be done for such a project!

I always enjoy learning where fellow authors are from, and a little bit about their personal life. I learned in our interview that Hawkins is a retired postal carrier living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband. They have two sons, one daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.

Hawkins says:

“We also have three fur babies: two dachshunds and a Siamese cat. We love to travel and spend time with our family. My husband and I recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.”

Happy 40th anniversary to you and your husband!

The fourth book in J.D.R. Hawkins’ Renegade Series is due to come out later this year. It is titled “Double-Edged Sword,” and takes up where the last novel, “A Rebel Among Us,” left off.

Huge thank you to J.D.R Hawkins! Congratulations on your up coming release!

You can find J.D.R Hawkins, her books, and information on her website and links! Check out her fantastic book trailer and live interview at: https://jdrhawkins.com/

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Two More Awesome Reviews!

I recently received two more amazing reviews for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you, Paula and Kaye!

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Extremely interesting

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2021

This was my first time reading any of this author’s work. My knowledge of American history would be fairly scanty but I did find this an excellent read and I will be recommending her books to friends and family, and look forward to more of her books in the future.

4.0 out of 5 stars 

good read

Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2021

I have always been a fan of books revolving around the Civil War. This is no exception. Recommend without hesitation.

Awesome Review For A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I received another great review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. This is the first book in the Renegade Series, which tells the heart-rending story of a family from North Alabama, and how the Civil War affects them. Thank you, Stephanie, for your flattering remarks in regard to my book!


Today I am cover crushing over A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I was thrilled when I first saw this book being awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. First I’d like to say I am an avid reader of history and I am deeply interested in the War Between the States. I have this book on my Kindle and I am looking forward to reading it. I am thinking about buying a print copy as well since I love the cover and fascinated with the premise. Isn’t the title marvelous too! My hats off to J.D.R. Hawkins for writing a story in the view of a confederate soldier and his family. 

Be sure to check out my website for B.R.A.G. Interviews and other great post here.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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