J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “books”

Book Blitz – When Our Worlds Meet Again

~ Book Blitz ~

When Our Worlds Meet Again by Aniesha Brahma

16th November 2018

About the Book:

Wowma Cover copy

Two years after the events of ‘When Our Worlds Collide’, Zayn and Akriti are now leading extremely different lives. Akriti has come back from her stint at the business school and running her mother’s café. Zayn has run into trouble in his PhD program and has come home for a break. While he thinks that things are just as he’d left them two years ago, that is far from the truth. In a last ditch attempt to make Akriti remember the connection they had once shared, Zayn tries to recreate all their memories. But things are never the same when collided worlds meet again. 


Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

 

Read an Excerpt:

 

Prologue

2015.

Akriti was sitting at the cash counter of her mother’s little café going over the expenses for the day. Her headphones were plugged into her ears as she listened to songs on her phone. Her laptop was propelled open in front of her as she made notes on what else needed to be done the next day.

In the two years that she had been gone, the café had not changed at all. Her mother had kept all the renovations that Akriti and her colleagues had done two years ago. The only difference was that now there was a bulletin board next to the chalkboard menu that had been installed just a few weeks ago. On the bulletin board hung a poster that announced that next week’s Poetry Slam would start at 6PM sharp, and Suzanna needed to be contacted for early registration.

Akriti finished her work and shut down her laptop. She looked around the café in grim satisfaction and let out a happy little sigh. The music from her phone suddenly stopped playing. Glancing down she saw that her phone had started buzzing, flashing a number she had not seen on her phone in quite a while.

Debating for a minute, she received the call.

“Hi, Zayn.”

Airports have seen more sincere kisses than weddings it is said. As Zayn Banerjee waited to catch his flight back home, he witnessed one too many couples bidding each other teary eyed goodbyes. It was watching these strangers that he remembered how it had felt two years ago when he had left his home behind in pursuit of higher studies. How he had come to this alien land which had eventually led him to a lot of heartache and misery!

But there had been something good about those two years. There had been someone who had seen past all his imperfections and focused only on the good that was in him. Who had been his friend against all odds and yet, they had fallen out of touch with each other over the course of two years. He wondered if she was still using the same number. He wondered if she still had his number saved.

On an impulse, he pulled out his phone and dialed her number. She answered it on the third ring.

“Hi, Zayn.”

“Akriti.”

He was pleased as punch that she remembered him.

“Did you want something?”

“I am just calling to let you know that I’d be home soon.”

“Oh.”

“Oh? Honestly, I was hoping for a reaction better than oh.”

“Zayn, it’s really late here. Let’s talk when you’re in town?”

“I’ll do you one better. I’ll come see you.”

“Great. Safe flight.”

Then the line went dead. Zayn stared at the phone, wondering if their friendship was lost over the course of time. This wasn’t like the Akriti he remembered.

This wasn’t his Akriti at all.

Akriti hung up the phone feeling utterly drained. Once upon a time this was a source of her happiness but tonight he was a cause of her stress. The last thing she needed was for Zayn to come barging into her life once more.

She remembered all the memories that they had made together two years ago. The time when she’d finally felt okay to let her guard down and just be herself. It seemed to her like it was a lifetime ago. But he’d left. Like everyone else in her life and she had found herself consumed by her loneliness. Going off to business school had only made Akriti revert back to her old self.

That’s a lie they tell you, Akriti thought bitterly to herself, as she put her headphones back on and started listening to music again, time doesn’t heal a damn thing. It just burns the memories into your mind.


About the Author:
Aniesha Brahma copy

Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. She is the author of All Signs Lead Back to You, When Our Worlds Collide, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal. She compiled and edited the 10 volumes series, ‘Children’s Classic Stories’ with love and great efforts.


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Cover Reveal – The Hidden Children

~ Cover Reveal ~

The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1)

by Reshma K.Barshikar

‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly?

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Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn’t really rattled her. But something isn’t right anymore and it begins when ‘New Girl’ joins the school.


She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.


But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her.


Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?

Releasing on 10th November


About the Author:

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Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home.

Contact the Author:

Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads

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Favorite Ban

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This is banned book week, when libraries, bookstores, and all things literary celebrate the tomes that have been banned throughout the years for various reasons. It is interesting to see what books made the list. But the amazing part is that they were even banned in the first place, especially here in the states, where freedom of speech and expression are supposedly within our constitutional rights.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_banned_books

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My favorite banned book is Gone With the Wind. I absolutely adore this novel. I always thought it was so amazing that Margaret Mitchell published her book in 1936, and it immediately became a bestseller. Only a few years later, in 1939, it became a phenomenal film that won eight Academy Awards, one of which was awarded to an African-American person for the first time, Ms. Hattie McDaniel, for Best Supporting Actress. The movie also won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Editing, as well as two honorary awards for its use of equipment and color. It was the first color film to win Best Picture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind_(film)

I have to admit that, since I wrote my novels, the tide of Confederate sentiment has turned. It is quite strange and disturbing, but nevertheless, it has happened. I certainly hope my books don’t make the banned book list because of it, but if they do, they’re in good company.

 

Book Blitz – Storm From Taxila

~ Book Blitz ~

Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave

15th to 17th August

Book Cover

About the Book:  

BHARATVARSHA, LAND OF THE ARYAS: 270 BC

Bindusar, the Samrat Chakravartin of all the Aryas, ruler of the Indian subcontinent, is dead. Chaos rules across the empire. The royal succession turns upon intrigue, dark coalitions, violence and death. The realm stands divided and civil war ensues.

In Vidishanagri: Asoka kills his brother’s Ashwamedha stallion and marches to Patliputra with his army. The ancient Brahminical order rises in his supports, awaiting his entry into the capital. Have they made the right choice?

In Taxila: The rightful heir, Sushem, raises an army to meet the challenge posed by his ambitious and gifted brother, Asoka. He prepares to march to the capital and seize the throne by force. Will history repeat itself; will Sushem achieve what his grandfather Chandragupta did 50 years ago?

In Junagarh: Guild Master Hardeo sets out on a private mission to acquire the great salt pans of Sindh. Will he succeed in his secret enterprise?

In Vidishanagri: Radhagupta travels to fulfill the task allotted to him by the Order. Kanakdatta, the Buddhist, stands up to stop him. Will Radhagupta fail in his mission?

The winds of war howl over the sub-continent, blowing every last person one way or the other. Blood will be spilled, secrets revealed and men ruined. History shall be made.

In Book II of the epic Asoka Trilogy, the storm approaches; the harbinger of death and destruction. When the dust finally settles, the great question will be answered: Who is the next Samrat of the holy Lands of the Aryas?


Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

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Read an Excerpt:

Asoka was sitting on the steps to the throne, fastening his knee-high boots when Chanakya entered the chamber in his wheeled chair, dressed not in his usual long robe, but a cotton undershirt. Asoka did not look up but kept tightening the straps of his boots with both hands. The burning torches dispelled the darkness that blanketed everything outside.

As Chanakya rolled forward, his shadow fell upon the throne. “Why are you in armour, Prince?” he asked.

“I am in armour because we are under siege,” Asoka said, finishing his task.

“We have been under siege for a week,” Chanakya reminded him.

“But tonight the enemy is hammering at our walls,” Asoka replied, pointing a thumb over his shoulder.

“The walls will hold Prince.”

“I do not doubt that. It is I who cannot hold on any longer.”

Chanakya wheeled nearer. “What do you mean?”

Asoka got to his feet. “Order the Captain of the Guards to assemble his reserve force at the stables.” “But why?” Chanakya asked, perplexed.

Asoka looked down at him. “I plan to sally out,” he said coolly.

“I beg your pardon, Prince, but why such a foolhardy action?”

“It is military slang,” Asoka explained, looking around for his shield, “sallying out signifies a foray by the defenders, in the middle of the night, to carry out a surprise raid on the besieger’s camp.” 

“Well you are not sallying out,” Chanakya said firmly.

“Why do you say that, Prime Minister?”

“Isn’t it obvious? It is dangerous!”

“Great things cannot be achieved without facing danger, Prime Minister. You of all people should know that.”

“Great things!” Chanakya laughed mockingly. “What do you plan to achieve by sallying out, Prince?”

“Small things in this case,” Asoka replied, reaching for his scabbard. “We have about forty horses in the stables, Prime Minister. I and some of the city guards will ride out under the cover of night and raid Sushem’s camp. I am certain we will catch his men totally unawares. If we are lucky, perhaps Maharaja Sushem will fall to my sword.”

“And if you are unlucky,” Chanakya said, “you may fall to his.”

Asoka shrugged as he pulled out his sword and checked its sharp edge by moving a finger over it. “I am not afraid of dying,” He said.

“You do not need to do this, Prince,” Chanakya pleaded. “Everything is under control.”

Asoka pushed his sword back into the scabbard. “Everything will be under control once I am done with this raid,” he said softly.

“Your friend, Shiva of Avanti, comes with your army soon,” Chanakya said, following Asoka in his chair. “He will attack Sushem from behind and force him to lift the siege. That is the plan!”

“The plan!” Asoka stopped and turned around. “Is that your plan? Is that what you wish the people of Patliputra to say, that they were saved by others while their leader hid in the palace?” “Even your grandfather, Chandragupta, was not afraid to hide,” Chanakya said. “He knew that…”

“Stop!” Asoka said, raising one hand. “Look well, Prime Minister! Look at who stands before you! I am not my grandfather. I do not look like him. I do not think like him. Nor do I speak like him. But I am sure about one thing. If he were in my shoes today, he would do the same as I.”

“You are making a mistake,” Chanakya told him. “You will regret it later.”

Asoka sighed. “I regret not doing this on the first day of the siege.”

About the Author:

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Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing.

The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and garnered positive responses.

He is also presently working on several other manuscripts and completing the final year of his engineering Course.

Connect with the Author:

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Another Five-Star Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

ABGL Medium

I was recently interviewed by Linda Thompson of the Author’s Show on her podcast. After the interview, Linda expressed interest in reading my book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. I’m very flattered with her five-star review. Thank you so much, Linda!

Here is the review:

August 2, 2018
When it comes to war (no matter the era), men tend to gravitate toward the bloody bodies and the weaponry, and while some women think the idea of war as romantic, others are horrified at the cruelty. I’ve never seen war as romantic, anything to be proud of, or even remotely good, and parts of JDR Hawkins book was difficult for me to read. That being said, A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a very good story, well written with extremely engaging characters. The historical aspect is excellent and once I could get my head wrapped around the war and violence, I found this Southern family very engaging. I’m very interested in learning where the next book in Hawkins’ series will take us.

~ Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

 

A Not So Happy 4th

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This year marks the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. After three days of bloody conflict, Lee’s army retreated back to Virginia. It must have been a very sad 4th of July for the Confederacy indeed, as the South not only lost the battle in Gettysburg, but Vicksburg also fell.

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Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us, and how three sisters react to their unexpected “guest” on the 4th of July.

ARAU Medium

She slept for a few hours until distant voices awoke her. Sliding into her pale blue summer dress, she combed through her long blonde hair, parted it down the middle, contained it in a beige snood, and went to check on the soldier. He had bled through his bandages, so she gently replaced them, trying not to stir him.

Once she had finished, she quietly opened the door to leave, but heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Her heart leaped. Should her guests find the intruder there, Anna and her sisters would undoubtedly be in dire circumstances. She knew her neighbors were avid Unionists. If they discovered a Confederate in her father’s room, it would mean certain death for him and, most likely, a jail sentence for her. Being the oldest, she would surely be held responsible. Quickly, she scurried down the hallway to intercept the unwanted guest.

“Hello, my dear,” Mrs. Montgomery greeted her. “I was just coming up to give you this.” She smiled and handed Anna a small basket of handmade soap. “I fragranced them with roses. Your favorite.”

Anna returned the smile. “Why, thank you very much, Mrs. Montgomery,” she replied. “I’ll set these in my room and be right down. Go on ahead and help yourselves to some lemonade.”

Mrs. Montgomery turned and went downstairs. Waiting until she was gone from sight, Anna tossed the basket into her room, closed the door, and came downstairs to find her neighbors in the parlor. All were dressed in their Sunday finery, even though it was Saturday.

Mrs. Montgomery embraced her this time. Her daughter, Mary, mimicked the gesture. Stepping back, she looked Anna over. “Why aren’t you in mourning?”

“Father specifically requested that we not wear black or cover the windows, so we’re honoring his wishes,” Anna explained.

She remembered her father’s words while he lay dying only a few months ago: I don’t want darkness to befall my sunny girls. This explanation seemed sufficient for Mary, who smiled at her and walked over to talk with Maggie. Anna hoped the soldier wouldn’t awaken or start making a lot of noise…or even worse, come downstairs himself.

Inviting everyone to the dining room for dinner, she graciously went around the table, serving her guests. She couldn’t help but glance several times into the hallway, waiting for the soldier to clomp down the wooden steps in his worn out boots.

“Anna, are you all right?”

She froze like a deer in the rifle sights. “Yes, of course, Mary,” she replied. Taking a seat, she spread her napkin across her lap. “Why do you ask?”

“It’s just that you seem a bit distracted,” said Mary. “As though you are nervous about something.”

Anna and Maggie exchanged glances.

With a forced smile, Anna said, “It’s the heat. I’m fine, really.”

It was a lie. Truth be told, she wasn’t fine. Not at all. She wished they had never invited their neighbors over for an Independence Day celebration, and she also wished her guests would leave before something happened. Unable to eat, she dabbed at the perspiration on her forehead with her napkin. She listened for the slightest sound from upstairs and resisted the temptation to look out into the hallway or dash upstairs.

Once dinner was finished, everyone returned to the parlor. Abigail and Claudia played their piano piece flawlessly, encouraging everyone to sing along to “The Star Spangled Banner.” Their patriotic spirit soared.

Mr. Montgomery raised a toast for the preservation of the United States. “Here’s to our country’s victory,” he said. “To the Union!”

“To the Union!” everyone chanted together and raised their glasses. They sipped their lemonade like it was champagne.

“I’ve been informed this morning we have won the fight at Gettysburg,” Mr. Montgomery added. He lit a cigar and puffed on it while happily smiling.

Anna scowled. It’s as I thought. That Rebel did come from Gettysburg. She looked at Maggie, who raised her eyebrows, apparently thinking the same thing.

“What’s wrong, Anna?” asked Mary. “You appear to be unhappy about the news.”

Anna flashed a smile at her. “On the contrary. I’m elated.” She glanced around the room. “Why don’t we go out onto the porch,” she suggested. The room had become stiflingly hot.

They accepted her invitation and proceeded outside. As soon as they congregated with drinks in hand, it began to sprinkle.

“Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Montgomery. “I’m afraid we’ll have to leave now, girls. I left the sheets out to dry, and the chickens are out in the yard.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that, Mrs. Montgomery. But thank you for coming,” Anna said, trying not to appear too eager to be rid of them, even though she couldn’t wait for them to go.

Mr. Montgomery assisted his wife and daughter into the buggy before climbing in.

“Anna, we had a lovely time,” Mary said, her blonde pipe curls bouncing as she exaggerated her compliment.

Anna didn’t know if she was sincere or not.

“I’m only sorry my brother couldn’t be here today,” Mary added.

“Have you heard from Stephen?” asked Maggie.

“Yes,” Mary replied, tying on her pale yellow bonnet. “He said he would be home on furlough in a few months. Anna, he wanted me to tell you that he misses you.”

She smiled cordially, but secretly, she wanted to scream. She knew she wasn’t what Stephen missed. His attitude had changed, and it alarmed her. What he really missed was her farm. The thought of his counterfeit attraction enraged her, and knowing that he would be back in a few months to woo her repulsed her even more.

“By the way,” Abigail said, “how’s your dog, Corky? The one Anna mended?”

Anna’s eyes grew large. She stared at Abigail and hoped she wouldn’t say anything about a Confederate being in their midst.

“Why, he’s doing just fine, sweetheart,” Mrs. Montgomery responded. “Spry and lively as ever.”

“Well, goodbye all,” said Mr. Montgomery. He smiled through his neatly-trimmed beard and slapped the reins.

Their tall, dark chestnut horse pranced down the lane, pulling the buggy behind it. Watching their neighbors drive away, all four girls let out a sigh of relief.

“Let’s go check on the Rebel,” Claudia suggested.

She and Abigail ran into the house. Maggie and Anna followed. The girls gathered around the big bed, gazing down at the unconscious soldier.

“Is he still breathing?” asked Abigail.

“Yes, unfortunately,” replied Maggie. She looked at Anna. “I’ll go clean up the dishes,” she said.

As she went downstairs, Anna called out to her. “Maggie, could you please bring a spoonful of tallow when you come back up?”

“What do you need tallow for?” asked Abigail.

“Never mind,” said Anna. “Why don’t you and Claudia assist Maggie?”

“Okay.”

Claudia followed Abigail out. Anna heard them descend the stairs. She listened to the three girls engage in lively colloquy, their conversation accented by clanking dishes. A strong breeze blew in through the open windows. She realized it was getting much cooler, so she partially closed them. Noticing the Rebel’s forgotten pile of clothing that had yet to be disposed of, she started a fire in the fireplace. It had been several months since a flame had been lit there, not because of warmer weather, but because of her father’s passing. While she waited for the fire to blaze, she heard a church bell chime repeatedly in the distance. She stood gazing out the window in the direction of the Lutheran church she knew was positioned just beyond the hill.

Maggie entered, carrying a tray which held a teapot, cup, and a spoonful of lard. She set it on the dresser next to the porcelain pitcher and bowl.

“What do you imagine the bells are for?” Anna asked. “The holiday?”

“No, I think it’s in celebration. Because we won the battle,” Maggie replied.

They both looked at the Confederate soldier, who was sleeping peacefully.

Maggie shook her head and sighed. “We’re going to round up the livestock,” she said. “There’s a storm headed our way.”

Anna nodded in response. Her little sister left the room. She poured herself a cup of tea, carried the cup and spoon over to the bedside, and sat next to the Rebel. Gently, she rubbed the tallow over his dry, cracked lips with her fingertips in hopes it would soothe them. A chill wind blew in through the partially opened windows. Glad she’d lit the fire, she watched the flames grow higher before tossing in the Confederate’s clothing. She gazed into the fire as it consumed the worn-out garments. Once they were destroyed, she seated herself beside him, lit the kerosene lamp on the table next to her, picked up her needles, and commenced knitting. Rain began pelting against the glass. She stood, walked to the window, and looked out into the yard to see her sisters and Claudia scurrying about to gather the last of the chickens. They contained them in the coop and ran toward the house. She heard them enter downstairs.

Gazing back at the wounded soldier, she wondered how his horse was doing. Abigail and Claudia had secretly informed her during the party that they had gone out earlier to observe the spotted horse when they noticed his injured hoof. Finally relieving him of his saddle and bridle, they rummaged through the Rebel’s saddlebags and discovered a container of ointment, which they assumed was to be used on the horse. They also found a small Bible, along with some personal effects, a few items of clothing, and his slouch hat. Abigail had proudly informed her older sister she had brushed the horse down with his curry comb and applied the liniment to his hoof. She and Claudia had cleverly snuck the soldier’s belongings upstairs and hidden them in a dresser drawer while everyone else was enjoying dinner.

Upon this recollection, Anna walked over to the dresser. The Rebel’s hat, coiled belt, and buckle sat on top. She pulled the top drawer open. Beside her father’s forgotten socks, she found some of the soldier’s personal effects, including a tiny sewing kit, a pocket knife, a pouch of tobacco, and a Testament. She picked up the little Bible. Pulling the flap open, she discovered a tiny, hand sewn Confederate flag inside. It was saving a page of Scripture, Psalms 23. She glanced over the words.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Curious why his Bible was covered with dirt, Anna looked over at the young man. She noticed that, even though all of his items were from the South, they looked the same as any she’d ever seen. She placed the Testament back in the dresser drawer, set the Rebel’s hat in her father’s armoire, and returned to the rocking chair.

 

New Interview

 

J.D.R. Hawkins

I was recently interviewed by Ms. Fiona Mcvie for her blog, Author Interviews. The interview is as follows.

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age? Julie (J.D.R.) Hawkins, 59

Fiona: Where are you from? Sioux City, Iowa

Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.). I have been married for 36 years and have two sons, a daughter-in-law and a four-year-old grandson. I have a journalism degree from Iowa State University with a minor in design. My husband and I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with two dachshunds and a Siamese cat.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news. I will be a keynote speaker at the Colorado Springs American Association of University Women’s Author’s Day, and I am working on a few children’s books.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing? I have been a writer since I was six or seven-years-old, and began by writing poems and songs. Then I graduated to short stories, novellas and novels. I have always loved to write, and am constantly looking for interesting stories to tell.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer? When my first article was published in a children’s magazine, and I actually got paid!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book? After I visited Gettysburg, I was inspired to write a book about a typical soldier from the South, which was something different from what I had previously read.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title? A Beautiful Glittering Lie is taken from a quote included in the book. One Southern soldier referred to the Civil War as “a glittering lie.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging? I bring personal interaction into my books to make them come to life by using lots of dialogue. Since the war took place well over 150 years ago, it is sometimes difficult to imagine what it was like back then, and how devastating the war was. I also try to bring my readers into the heat of battle, so they can imagine the same horrors the soldiers experienced.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Some of the characters are based on people I know. The main character, David Summers, is loosely based on myself, my dad, and my oldest son. David’s best friend is based on my son’s best friend. The book is very realistic, because it is based on the journal of R.T. Cole, who was an adjutant in the 4th Regiment, Alabama Volunteer Infantry.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process? Before I started writing, I read about typography and observed old photos to get an idea of the terrain. Then I decided I should go to Virginia and Maryland to actually see these places. Fortunately, I was spot on!
Fiona: Who designed the covers? The novels in the Renegade Series are designed by Dawné Dominique, artist extraordinaire!

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I guess the true message is that, even though conflicts divide us, love conquers all, and ultimately reunites us.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you? I have a lot of favorites, so it’s hard to pick just one. My all-time favorite is Margaret Mitchell. I’m a big fan of the classics, and I love reading books with weird twists to them, like Gone Girl. My favorite authors are the ones who can convey a story without being overly descriptive or lewd, which allows their readers to use their imaginations.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author. I received a lot of support from my friends, from other members of my UDC chapter, and from social media friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? Absolutely!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Actually, I did change some things, because this is the second time I have published A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Originally, it was self-published, but I found a new publisher. I made some changes, and we re-edited the novel.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? I learned so much! When I studied history in high school, I had a super boring, monotone teacher (just like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), so I didn’t get into all the names and places that were unfamiliar to me. But as I researched, I discovered underlying reasons as to why the Civil War happened, and how  every soldier had a fascinating story to tell.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead? I would love to see some new faces so I could say my movie started their career!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers? Always believe in yourself and never give up. I was worried I couldn’t find an audience for my book, but I wrote it anyway, and low and behold, it won several awards!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers? Although there is a lot of anti-Confederate sentiment in the southern U.S. right now, please read the book. Then, you will hopefully better understand why the Civil War happened, and learn more about our history, just as I did.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now? I’m reading another Civil War author’s second novel. It is a sequel to Henry’s Pride.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read? Fun with Dick and Jane. Just kidding! The first book that really struck me was The Outsiders. I still have my original copy.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry? My husband. And just about every movie I see.

 

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why? General Robert E. Lee. I know he’s getting a bad rap right now with all the anti-Confederatism (my word), but he was an officer and a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. His wife was a direct descendant of George Washington, and his horse, Traveller, is probably the most well-known steed of the Civil War. He was deeply religious, loyal, and had unwavering integrity. That is why he was chosen to be the president of Washington and Lee University after the war.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies? I am also an artist and musician. My music is available on iTunes (Julie Hawkins/Julie Hawkins Band).

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching? The list is enormous. I can’t wait to see the new Jurassic World. I love all the superhero movies. My husband and I have been watching Westworld, Nashville and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And we are eager for the next/last season of Game of Thrones.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music? I love nearly all styles of music. I grew up in a musical family, and my dad loved Big Band music. My favorite color is blue, and my favorite foods are seafood, Italian and Mexican.

 

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do? Swim and garden. I’m a serious plant lover. In fact, I have so many plants that they need a room for themselves! I would also spend more time singing and performing. And, of course, I would spend more time with my grandson.

 

Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time? Yikes! Only 24 hours? Well, I live in Colorado, so I would get all my kids together and go to the mountains for one last sabbatical.

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone? I never thought about having a headstone. In fact, I told my kids I’d like to be cremated, with half of me going to Hanging Lake (above Glenwood Springs, Colorado) and the other going to Laguna Beach in California. It’s probably illegal to dump human remains in these places, but I’ve always been a rebel, so what the heck!

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers? My website address is https://jdrhawkins.com/blog. Please subscribe!

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Book Blitz – Dangerous Passions

About the Book:

Dangerous Passions Cover

Can bitter enemies find love?


Haunted by visions, Calypso sets out to find the man who stalks her dreams. Calypso, an ageless fae, is convinced this man will enslave and torment her just like the one who held her long ago. Determined to track him down and kill him, she’s prepared for anything, except for what she finds. The mortal male she encounters stirs embers she thought long dead, making her yearn for his touch.

Lucien has always believed himself to be a mortal slave. The truth, however, is more than he’s ever imagined. Born to a fae mother and a warlock father, he is a falock, a being of mixed blood hated by both races. And he’s destined for greatness…if he can survive the Roman gladiators’ games long enough to grow into his immortality.

When the slim beauty rescues him from the depths of his prison, Lucien comes face to face with the truth of who and what he is. Determined to protect the woman who rescued him, he’ll risk everything, including his chance at immortality.

Can a weary, distrustful fae and the falock she’s claimed overcome the obstacles in their path?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

He leaned forward, her soft whisper echoing in his heart. It seemed she was a slave just as he had been. Heat swirled around him, stirring the embers of want, of need as he traced over her face with the backs of his fingers. Delicately made, she appeared so fragile, yet he knew her strength and her skill. His fingers burned where they touched her skin as he trailed them down her neck to curl around in a loose hold. “I shall protect you.”

The vow fell between them like a stone. He caught the flare of something in her eyes. Fear? Nay, something deeper, something richer.

Leaning forward, he stared into her eyes, her face turned up, lips parted. He could feel the warmth of her breath on his skin, the softness of her hands on his chest as he pulled her into his body. Lucien brushed his lips over Calypso’s, the barest of touches. Soft, moist, her lips yielded beneath his. Again and again, he pressed gentle kisses along her mouth, her nose, her cheeks. The soft whimpers escaping her added fuel to the fire in his blood. Her hands slid around his shoulders, her nails digging in as his fingers tangled in her hair. Tilting her head back, Lucien offered a hint of a smile before he captured her lips in a deep kiss. He licked along the seam, tasting the sweet traces of the fruit she’d eaten. He nipped at her bottom lip, drawing a startled gasp. With a low groan his tongue darted inside, tasting her. Lucien devoured her, claiming her lips repeatedly. Desire licked at him, pushing him closer and closer to the brink.

“We mustn’t.” Calypso’s whisper crept over him even as he felt her move against him. The faint note of fear in her voice like a bucket of water. He pulled back, resting his forehead against hers.

“Aye, we must keep moving. Come, my lady. We’ve a long journey ahead.” He wrapped his fingers around her hand and shot her a quick smile before stepping back. Lucien turned her slightly and fastened her bodice in place. “I will keep you safe.”

“But who will protect me from you?” Her words, spoken so low he knew he wasn’t supposed to hear them, added to the confusion within his mind. What kind of female was the one who even now held his hand as they moved through the growing darkness?

About the Author:

Elise

Born in Northern British Columbia, Elise is a small-town girl. She writes in a variety of genres including paranormal, contemporary suspense, m/m in various lengths. Currently, she lives in British Columbia with her husband and son, one dog, one cat, and a gecko. Elise enjoys reading as much as she does writing, with some of her favorite books being read until they fall apart. 

She is currently working on the next book in the Forsaken Series, Burning Rain. As well she has a new contemporary she’s working on. For more information on Elise, or to check out her books you can find her on Facebook, twitter, and her website.

Contact the Author:

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Enchanted Waves by Ciara Lake

About the Book:

Enchanted Waves Cover

Tabitha Lock’s mundane life changes when her future walks out of the sea into her arms.

Attorney Tabitha Lock has put her career before everything, including her love life. Exhausted from too many late nights, early mornings, and endless days spent in court, Tabitha is at the end of her rope. Add to that the sensual dreams and voices that haunt her sleep, and she’s driven to the edge of her sanity.

Jax Aquila, Mer prince and son of Poseidon, is ordered to locate a mortal female in the twenty-first century. Although this woman is unaware of it, she has vampire heritage, but her immortality was forsaken to her due to the sins of her ancestor. Old hatred and prejudice toward vampires push Jax toward pursing his own agenda and avoiding his assigned task.

When Jax meets Tabitha, he has no idea this enticing woman is the one he was sent to find. The magic of their attraction drives him to pursue the beautiful woman. When he discovers the truth, can he accept Tabitha for what she is? And can Tabitha accept herself? As they struggle with the issues at hand, an ancient evil stirs, waiting in the darkness to reclaim their lost position among the immortals. When the evil ones make their move and Tabitha’s life hangs in the balance can Jax find her in time, or will she be lost to him forever?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

Calypso’s breasts heaved with each breath she took beneath the supple black leather. Stretching out beyond the full-length windows, lightning ripped through the night sky as Calypso opened the french doors and stepped out onto the patio. The subtle glide of leather-overheated flesh sent shards of heat through her.

A fine shiver raced over her body and she gasped. Somewhere out there he waited…the culmination of all her lust. From behind her the sound of Angrail and his mate’s passion could be heard and it fired her own. Long denied, her lust stirred, slithering through her body like some beast she longed to kill.

She closed her eyes, the image playing across her mind… Sweat slicked skin heaved with each swing of a massive blade. Thin, black lines danced across his chest, swirling down into the curve of a hip, the bulge of his shaft behind his pants teasing her. Muscles bunched and flexed with each step, each blow. Powerful, deadly, his essence called to her, seduced her with its warmth and need.

Calypso stepped to the edge of the balcony and peered over the ornate banister. Beneath her the roaring of the falls drifted upward in a silvery cloud of noise and mist.

She glanced over her shoulder, her fists clenching with emotion. Centuries of service, of loyalty, had been rewarded with freedom, yet she didn’t yearn for such a gift. Nay, she yearned for what was beyond her. Angrail was content, he was loved, and out of her grasp. Accepting it hadn’t come easy, long nights of bitter envy and tears had come before she’d realized it was necessary.

Come to me. As soft as the wind playing with her braid, the whisper slipped through the chinks in her armor and shot straight to her heart.

With a soft sigh, Calypso hopped onto the banister and inhaled a breath. Arms outstretched, she stepped into mid-air, years of training and skill set in her muscles. Fresh, sweet wind flowed along her body, wrapping her in a warm shawl of familiarity. Without a sound, she landed on the rocks below, her knees folding beneath her as her body coiled in to brace itself.

About the Author:

Ciara

Welcome to Ciara Lake’s World. Meet Gorgeous Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons, Mermaids, Wizards, Witches, Mythological Gods and Goddesses, Mere Mortals And More! Fiction has always been a passion of mine. Creating worlds and developing characters is a great way for me to relieve the stress and strain of my everyday world. In fantasy (paranormal) and sci-fi stories, the author has the unique ability to invent wonderfully exotic places and people. I do that in my books. These fantastic genres provide a limitless ability to be creative and inventive. My stories provide an escape into a special world filled with unique and otherworldly things. And there is always a happy ending.

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Book Blitz – Mauri

~ New Release ~

Mauri by Saiswaroopa Iyer


About the Book:

Mauri Cover

She wanted to kill the man who others called a God.

Love is but an obstacle in her path

With her father’s death shattering her world, Mauri is torn away from everything she had once loved. Anger replacing every emotion within her, she seeks only one thing. To kill her father’s killer. Even if the man is none less than Krishna Vaasudeva, the man who people worshipped as a God! Someone stands in the way, reining in her bitterness when she is the least prepared for it. The Rakshasa Prince Ghatotkacha! But by the time love sprouts within her, Mauri has gone too far in her thirst for vengeance. 


Can Mauri save herself and Ghatotkacha before the consequences of her own actions can destroy both their worlds?

Book Link:

Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

“Good aim! But that sorry-looking insult to all weapons is not going to take you very far.”

Mauri jumped out of her skin. The man who had found her out was a complete stranger. A closer look at him told her he was a Rakshasa. Her first instinct was to make a run towards the exit. It would be only a matter of time before this Rakshasa would go and tell Ghatotkacha. Then it struck her that she had never seen this man in Ghatotkacha’s team! Who was he?

“Your secret is safe with me, little one!” He beamed. The broken canine on his upper jaw could not be missed. He took her arm but she shook him off. “Alright! Remember girl, I am your well-wisher.”

“I don’t even know who you are!” Mauri backed away.

“Someone who can protect you from…,” he smirked and pointed to the gap between the two ornate pillars close to where she was hiding, “them”

Mauri peered through the gap. She could count up to six guards furiously searching for the culprit who had dared strike Krishna Vaasudeva. The foolhardy nature of her attempt struck her now. How had she even dreamt of escaping the heavily guarded palace after doing what she’d done?

“Come with me.” He held her arm. “If you want to escape without being seen, that is.” His voice assumed a lower note. “And if you want to get another chance at your target.”

Unsure and still guided by her frustration, Mauri followed him towards a secluded section of the vast palace garden. When she left the place a good couple of hours later, her mind reeled at the task before her. It was too much, what the Rakshasa had asked of her. But she could not have afforded to be caught by the palace guards. Possibly she could have lied about her aim going wrong when she was trying to get some fruit. The news would still have travelled to Dhatri, though, and who knew how she would react? On the other hand, the prospects that this Rakshasa promised, though at great risk, seemed more welcome. Mauri continued to walk in a daze, aimless and unmindful of the maze of paths. A shrill cry calling out to her brought her back to this world.

“Mauri! Where on earth did you disappear?!” Nandini ran up to her, and not very far behind was Dhatri!

For the first time, Mauri found herself tongue-tied, at a loss for explanations. “I…I came with Ghatotkacha. I lost my way.”

“Any guard would have guided you out of this place.” Dhatri’s voice had traces of annoyance. “And why did you not even inform us before leaving?” She sighed as Mauri slipped back into silence again. “I found us a caravan headed eastward. Let us quickly take leave of our hosts and start this afternoon.”

Mauri followed her without a word. She needed to be in Dhatri’s good books. “Mahadevi…after going back to Kamarupa, can I live with you?”

She saw Dhatri halt in her steps and look visibly delighted. She heard Nandini squeal with joy. Neither had a clue of what was going on in her mind.

When they left Indraprastha later in the day, Mauri looked back at the glorious looking arch receding into the distance. She had not taken leave of Ghatotkacha. It would have been nice to see him just one more time!

About the Author:

Saiswaroopa

Formerly an analyst with a Venture capital firm, Saiswaroopa currently writes Puranic fiction, with a focus on lesser known heroines of Ancient India. Mauri is her third work of fiction after Abhaya and Avishi. Her interests include Carnatic Music, Philosophy, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering Annamacharya Kritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

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