J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “A Beautiful Glittering Lie”

My Author Interview Featured on Renee’s Author Spotlight

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Today I am the featured author on Renee’s Author Spotlight. Renee asked me some interesting questions, and highlighted my new three-book email package, the Renegade Series.

My interview with Renee is as follows.

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I’ve been a writer ever since I can remember, and have written everything from songs to poetry to short stories and novels.

What genres do you write?

Primarily historical fiction, but I have also written children’s books and a nonfiction book.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

Five hundred words is a basic goal. When I’m writing a book, though, I shoot for a page a day.

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I would be Anna. She is strong and strong-willed, and although she has experienced personal loss, she has big goals and dreams.

What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever researched?

Battle scenes were the toughest. It gave me nightmares! I startled awake one time after I dreamt a bullet whizzed by my head. I drew a lot of description from actual journals and diaries, so the descriptions are real.

What are your goals as an author?

I would like to be an international best seller. I would also like to write three or four more books.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Show don’t tell. I fall into this trap frequently, which is easy to do when writing historical fiction. It helps to have a great editor to point these issues out.

How many books do you have on your “to read” list?

I’m really behind on reading some of the best sellers. I’d like to read The Girl on the Train and A Broken Kind of Beautiful.

Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

Mostly I write in third person, but one of my books is in first person. They are all in past tense. I thought that would be the most effective way to tell the story.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I don’t have a problem with coming up with titles. The first book in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, was taken from a quote a Confederate soldier wrote in regard to the Civil War, stating that it was “all a glittering lie.”

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre?

I wrote a book about my great aunt and uncle, who ran a hotel in my hometown, Sioux City, during the Depression. Supposedly, there was gangster activity going on there, and money was hidden behind the wallpaper!

What inspired your current work?

Seeing the Gettysburg battlefield was awe inspiring, because I had never seen a Civil War battlefield before. It inspired me to write the first book, which turned into a series.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

It was nonfiction, which I hadn’t done before on that large of a scale. There was so much research involved. It was exhausting!

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Write what you love and feel passionate about, and never give up!

Do you have anything specific you’d like to say to your readers?

I decided to write from the Southern perspective because it has nearly become lost to history. Slavery was an issue but it wasn’t the cause of the Civil War. I didn’t understand that because I grew up in Iowa and wasn’t told about the Southern side. So I researched it myself and discovered the truth.

Check out my entire interview here:

https://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-renegade-series-beautiful.html

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War Is Hell (Even When It’s Not a Battle)

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The tragedy that happened in Las Vegas last Sunday was terrible and possibly avoidable. How one psycho can premeditate such carnage is beyond my comprehension. The Vegas Strip suddenly became a war zone, changing hundreds of lives forever. My heart and prayers go out to all the people and their families who were effected by this disturbed individual.

It’s interesting how, when such a terrible thing happens, people come together to defend and protect one another. This is an admirable part of human nature. There are many reported instances of this happening in wartime. During the Civil War, Clara Barton risked her own life to go out onto the battlefield and help wounded Union soldiers. Although they fought on different sides, soldiers crossed enemy lines to assist one another.

One such soldier was Confederate Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland. Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, Kirkland risked his life by crossing the Federal line to give suffering northern soldiers drinks from his canteen. His actions were so revered that a statue was erected depicting his selfless act. Sadly, Sergeant Kirkland was killed less than a year later at the Battle of Chicamauga.

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Here is a brief excerpt from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describing Sergeant Kirkland’s actions. This description takes place following the Battle of Fredericksburg.

It had stopped raining, but bitter cold replaced it. Upon returning to camp, Bud and his comrades learned that they had lost five, with seventeen wounded. Their regiment didn’t fire a single shot. The Yankees, it was estimated, lost over nine thousand after making fourteen assaults that were all beaten back. The men heard of one brave soul, Sergeant Kirkland of South Carolina, who acquired a reputation as the “Angel of Marye’s Heights” for crossing enemy lines and benevolently tending to the Union wounded by providing them with blankets and water. John Pelham, an Alabama son who was in charge of Jackson’s artillery, received praise from General Lee for bravely executing an effective barrage by deceiving the Yankees into thinking his numbers were far greater than they actually were, and holding their lines in the process.

The Alabamians were told that Fredericksburg had been left in terrible condition. The Yankees were allowed to freely loot, ransack, burn, and pillage anything and everything, which infuriated the Rebels.

Is This Awesome Or What!?

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Over the weekend, I was informed by my United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) chapter’s president that I won an award at the annual Mississippi convention. What an amazing honor! I am so humbled to receive this special award for the publication of my two books, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and Horses in Gray, during the past year, and to win the award for my UDC chapter, Varina Howell Davis #2559.

ABGL B.R.A.G. Medallion       Horses in Gray Cover

(Click on books for purchasing info.)

The annual Mississippi UDC convention was held last weekend in Gulfport. This is a beautiful city near Biloxi. I can’t thank the Mississippi UDC division enough for this very special honor.

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To learn more about the Mississippi United Daughters of the Confederacy, please visit: http://mississippiudc.homestead.com/.

Visit my UDC chapter’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1327342747312231/

New Author Interview

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Recently, I was interviewed by Lorana Hoopes with Lorana Writes the World. Here is the intro to the interview:

Lorana Writes the World with Guest Author, J.D.R. Hawkins

WATCH SHOW BELOW INTRO ARTICLE

By TLBTV Show Host: Lorana Hoopes

Today’s guest Julie Hawkins, who writes as JDR Hawkins, has a fascination with the Civil War. She’s been writing since she was a little girl and she wrote the level her kids were reading while they were growing up. Once she moved to Colorado, she became fascinated with the history, but it was a contest that actually set her life on the trajectory it followed.

This contest sent her to a Civil War re-enactment field and her love for the Civil War grew and led to her series of books. Her books have even won awards from a distinguished Civil War group.

In addition to her Civil War series, she also has written a non-fiction book about Civil War horses. Her love of horses has been a part of her life for a while and led her to write a book about the horses in the Civil War. She even has some great stories about a camel, and her knowledge of History is amazing.

Even more interesting is how everything in her books just kind of fell into place for her. You’ll have to watch the discussion to find out how, and of course, check out her books, especially if you are a history buff.

To watch the podcast, check out the link below:

http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/tlbtv-lorana-writes-the-world-with-guest-author-j-d-r-hawkins/

About the Author/Host: Lorana Hoopes is  a The Liberty Beacon Project (TLB) Contributing Author and TLBTV Host. Lorana brings a solid background in education, teaching our children, as a published author, and many other talents into this project.

Read more TLB articles and see archived TLBTV shows by Lorana HERE

You can find Lorana’s Heartbeats series, newly redone to fit snugly in the Christian Romance section at The Heartbeat Collection. Her new children’s early chapter book, This Wishing Stone can be found there as well. And if you’d like a free novella, you can sign up for Lorana’s newsletter at Lorana Hoopes’s author page.

A special thanks to Lorana Hoopes for this interview.

 

 

Another 5-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

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My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, received another five-star review! I am so appreciative of readers taking the time to write a review. This is the first book in the Renegade Series, and was previously self-published. It was re-published in May by Foundations, LLC. The review is as follows:

Review – A Beautiful Glittering Lie

A warning to all who think war is some glamourous adventure filled with parades, flags, and stirring martial music – read J.D.R. Hawkins’ novel A Beautiful Glittering Lie. That lie is put to rest here in the book that begins Hawkins’ ‘Renegade’ series placed during the American Civil War and its aftermath. The book is perfect lead-in to the rest of the series that follows David Summers and his family through that horrendous conflict. My only regret about A Beautiful Glittering Lie is that I failed to read it before reading the follow-up books, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us. Hawkins does an excellent job of presenting those books as stand-alone volumes but they are best read after reading A Beautiful Glittering Lie. That said, this book left me wanting more even though I had already read the other two. Of course, there isn’t more until the next one in the series is published and released.

Portions of Hawkins’ novel are graphic. Any war story will be if it is truly well done. I would not recommend this book for pre-teens and would actually recommend 15 years and up. The story, away from the battle front, however, is truly heartwarming and presents a very realistic picture of the burdens and sacrifices carried by those at home. Though the story is told from the perspective of a Southern family in a region physically devastated by the war, the homesickness, the worry, the suffering, and the grief are universal themes that tragically played out in homes both North and South.

It is no wonder that A Beautiful Glittering Lie is the recipient of numerous rave reviews and awards. I too rate the book a solid five-stars. Hawkins tells me that all three books are in the process of being released in a new format. I think they will be collectors’ items. I have the second two books only on Kindle and look forward to acquiring all three books as the re-released editions. I also eagerly await the fourth book in the series.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Featured on Podcast

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Recently, I was asked to be a guest on The Author Inside You podcast. I had a great time talking to hosts Leah and Matt Rafferty. We discussed everything from what inspired me to write my books to what my next projects are. Here is the link:

http://www.theauthorinsideyou.com/

My interview took place on June 21. The podcast is live on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play as well.

A Rebel Among Us Wins John Esten Cooke Fiction Award

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I am so honored to announce that my novel, A Rebel Among Us, is the 2017 recipient of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. This award is given by the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. The MOSB was founded in 1938 to honor works of military literature concentrating on the Confederate perspective.

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This is the second time I have won the prestigious award. From what I was told, I am the only person to have received the award twice. My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, won the award in 2013.

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Thank you so much for the honor, MOSB. I can’t tell you how humbled I am to have received this award twice.

Featured in Author Interview

I was recently featured in an interview with Stephanie Hopkins of Indiebrag and Layered Pages. My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is the recipient of the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Here is the interview:

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Writing a story is an art in itself. Creating the right setting, the perfect characters, plot, believable dialogue and conflict. With those blended ingredients are what makes a story impact the reader’s imagination, mind and heart. The most important aspect of story-telling is to draw the reader in your character’s world. How are the stories written to do this and how does one make it work? Today, award winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.D.R. Hawkins shares with us her expertise on this.

Stephanie: What are the steps in creating a setting for your story?

J.D.R. Hawkins: Since I write about the Civil War, the settings are historically accurate. In my first book of the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the setting starts in Montgomery, Alabama, the first capital of the Confederacy, and moves with the story to various battlefields. I also chose an area in north Alabama as my protagonist’s hometown, so the story goes back and forth between north Alabama and Virginia battlefields.

Stephanie: There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do?

J.D.R. Hawkins: Because I have written a series, backstories become very complicated and intricately woven. Small details later resurface. One example is a buckeye that is given to the main character, David Summers, by his best friend’s father for good luck. This happens in the second book of the Renegade Series. Later on, the buckeye reappears, but this doesn’t occur until the fourth book. Another example is a peach pit that is introduced in the third book, and resurfaces in book four of the series. Visible backstories include David’s running from the law and how he deals with it after the war ends. I would avoid using too many backstories, because then it gets confusing. Some of my backstories are so subtle that it doesn’t matter if the reader doesn’t see them the first time through. They might see the backstories later on, which adds to the complexity of the story-line.

Stephanie: How much is too much conflict? And what do you do about it when it’s not working in the plot?

J.D. R. Hawkins: I think there is too much conflict when it muddies the plot and creates too much of a distraction from the story-line. I have read numerous books that get bogged down with too much conflict, and after a while, I just lose interest. Conflict is good, but it has to augment the story, not detract from it.

Stephanie: What are the steps in creating believable characters and dialogue?

J.D.R. Hawkins: For me, living in the South gave me the opportunity to learn the dialect and metaphors. I’m originally from Iowa, and lived most of my life in Colorado, so there was definitely a learning curve! I also studied speech patterns used during the 1860’s. Generally speaking, people back then spoke more eloquently than we do today.

Stephanie: What is the advice you would give to a writer when they get stuck on a specific scene or comes across a road block in their plot? 

J.D.R. Hawkins: Leave it up to your characters! If you give them a chance, they will take on personalities and assist with the plot. On numerous occasions, my characters rewrote the story to fit their personas. I also try to envision different scenarios for the plot, and usually come up with three or four different ideas. Then I chose the one that fits the story most accurately, and also complies with historical accuracy.

About Author: 

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, and A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner. Both books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war.

Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Recently, she completed a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as two more sequels for the Renegade Series. Learn more about her at www.jdrhawkins.com.

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New Author Interview

Last week I was interviewed by IndieBrag about my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, as well as my writing process. The interview is as follows:

ABGL Medium

Ingredients In Story-Telling That Impact A Reader’s Imagination

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Stephanie Hopkins

May 26, 2017

Writing a story is an art in itself. Creating the right setting, the perfect characters, plot, believable dialogue and conflict. With those blended ingredients are what makes a story impact the reader’s imagination, mind and heart. The most important aspect of story-telling is to draw the reader in your character’s world. How are the stories written to do this and how does one make it work? Today, award winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.D.R. Hawkins shares with us her expertise on this.

Stephanie: What are the steps in creating a setting for your story?

J.D.R. Hawkins: Since I write about the Civil War, the settings are historically accurate. In my first book of the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the setting starts in Montgomery, Alabama, the first capital of the Confederacy, and moves with the story to various battlefields. I also chose an area in north Alabama as my protagonist’s hometown, so the story goes back and forth between north Alabama and Virginia battlefields.

Stephanie: There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do?

J.D.R. Hawkins: Because I have written a series, backstories become very complicated and intricately woven. Small details later resurface. One example is a buckeye that is given to the main character, David Summers, by his best friend’s father for good luck. This happens in the second book of the Renegade Series. Later on, the buckeye reappears, but this doesn’t occur until the fourth book. Another example is a peach pit that is introduced in the third book, and resurfaces in book four of the series. Visible backstories include David’s running from the law and how he deals with it after the war ends. I would avoid using too many backstories, because then it gets confusing. Some of my backstories are so subtle that it doesn’t matter if the reader doesn’t see them the first time through. They might see the backstories later on, which adds to the complexity of the story-line.

Stephanie: How much is too much conflict? And what do you do about it when it’s not working in the plot?

J.D. R. Hawkins: I think there is too much conflict when it muddies the plot and creates too much of a distraction from the story-line. I have read numerous books that get bogged down with too much conflict, and after a while, I just lose interest. Conflict is good, but it has to augment the story, not detract from it.

Stephanie: What are the steps in creating believable characters and dialogue?

J.D.R. Hawkins: For me, living in the South gave me the opportunity to learn the dialect and metaphors. I’m originally from Iowa, and lived most of my life in Colorado, so there was definitely a learning curve! I also studied speech patterns used during the 1860’s. Generally speaking, people back then spoke more eloquently than we do today.

Stephanie: What is the advice you would give to a writer when they get stuck on a specific scene or comes across a road block in their plot? 

J.D.R. Hawkins: Leave it up to your characters! If you give them a chance, they will take on personalities and assist with the plot. On numerous occasions, my characters rewrote the story to fit their personas. I also try to envision different scenarios for the plot, and usually come up with three or four different ideas. Then I chose the one that fits the story most accurately, and also complies with historical accuracy.

J.D.R. Hawkins

About Author: 

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, and A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner. Both books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war.

Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Recently, she completed a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as two more sequels for the Renegade Series. Learn more about her at www.jdrhawkins.com

https://www.bragmedallion.com/blog/ingredients-story-telling-impact-readers-imagination/

 

First Novel in Renegade Series Re-Released

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A Beautiful Glittering Lie, the first book in the Renegade Series, was re-released this week in paperback and hard cover. This book won the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion. It also received honorable mention at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. There have been a few updates to the book, including a new cover done by the amazingly talented Dawne Dominique.

My publisher, Foundations, LLC, is sponsoring a book launch party on Facebook this week. Join in on the fun and participate in contests, questions, answers, and ideas. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1119450548160496/?notif_t=plan_user_joined&notif_id=1494512891852425&__mref=mb

The book is also being featured on a blog tour. Here are some of the links:

https://www.facebook.com/bookreviewvirginialee/
http://evermorebooks.weebly.com/blog
http://fictionalrendezvousbookblog.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/snspromotionsandreviews/

The tour goes on throughout next week. If you’re interested in following, let me know and I’ll send you the other links. Again, thanks so much for your support!

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