J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Gettysburg”

Cover Reveal For My New Book!

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I’m thrilled to introduce the new cover to my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire. This book was previously published with another company and had a different cover (thank you, Dan Nance). However, since I changed publishers last year, two of my previously self-published titles have been republished. Now all three books in the Renegade Series are available from Foundations, LLC.

A Beckoning Hellfire is the second book in the Renegade Series. It tells the story of Confederate cavalryman David Summers and the battles he witnesses from Chancellorsville to Gettysburg. The first book in the series is A Beautiful Glittering Lie, and the third book in the series is A Rebel Among Us. Now that the first three books in the series have been published, all the covers are consistent (thank you, Dawne Dominique). Look for the fourth book in the series to be released next year.

A Beckoning Hellfire is available in e-book format for pre-sale. The cost is only .99 cents! Here is the link. Sign up for your copy today!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/75984

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One More Five-Star Review!

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I’m so honored to have received another 5-star review for my new novel, A Rebel Among Us. Thanks again, everyone, for your continuing support!

on January 30, 2017
I was looking for a book to lose myself in after finishing Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ and found an engaging and well-written dramatic love story in ‘A Rebel Among Us.’ The author uses detailed and powerful language to bring readers back to the Civil War, giving us a realistic glimpse into the lives of soldiers, slaves, and the challenges that come with war-time love. With a well-developed plot and uniquely charming characters, ‘A Rebel Among Us’ is an absorbing tale that kept me up reading way too late at night! I’m looking forward to reading the other books in The Renegade Series.
Thank you, Katie B!

Just For Fun

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For those of you who haven’t seen these yet, I’d like to share three teasers my publisher put together for my new novel, A Rebel Among Us. These are just for fun, so enjoy! Let me know what you think, and which one you like best. Have a happy weekend, everyone!

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/665424

https://www.foundationsbooks.net/book/a-rebel-among-us-by-j-d-r-hawkins/

Featured on Awesomegang

Yesterday, I was a featured author on Awesomegang, which highlights authors and their work. Here is the interview:

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Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an author and a singer/songwriter. I have written several books. So far, I have had three published. They are the first three books in the Renegade Series.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
A Rebel Among Us. I was inspired to write it after I visited the Gettysburg battlefield.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to listen to Civil War music when I write to help put me in the mood and mindset of Victorian America.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Gone With the Wind, Cold Mountain, Widow of the South

What are you working on now?
A nonfiction book about Confederate warhorses.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My own website, http://jdrhawkins.com, and various social media sites, as well as my publisher’s website, http://foundationsbooks.net/library.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep writing and never give up. Write what’s important to you.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t get discouraged by reject letters. Use them to wallpaper your bathroom.

What are you reading now?
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What’s next for you as a writer?
My nonfiction book will be out next year, and I will be publishing the fourth book in the Renegade Series.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Holy Bible, Gone With the Wind, The Yearling, and Old Yeller.

Author Websites and Profiles
JDR Hawkins Website
JDR Hawkins Amazon Profile
JDR Hawkins Author Profile on Smashwords

JDR Hawkins’s Social Media Links
Goodreads Profile
Facebook Profile
Twitter Account
Pinterest Account

http://awesomegang.com/jdr-hawkins/

The Notorious Point Lookout

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Although it isn’t a battlefield, one of the most haunted places in America related to the Civil War is Point Lookout in Maryland. Point Lookout was a notorious Confederate prison camp during the war. At one time, over 50,000 men were held captive, which was far more than what the prison was designed to hold. Because of overcrowding, over 3,000 men died due to the horrific living conditions. They were buried in the swampy marsh of Chesapeake Bay.

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The place where the prison once stood is now a national park and historic site, and the men who died at Point Lookout are remembered in a war memorial cemetery, which is actually a mass grave. Not surprisingly, many strange things have occurred on this haunted and hallowed ground. Visitors have reported a multitude of paranormal phenomena, including ghostly figures of soldiers seen running from the location of where a smallpox hospital once stood, which was a regular escape route for prisoners. A slender man has often been seen loping across the road into groves of pine trees.

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Rangers have described how frequent, low lying, damp fog would suddenly become impenetrable and chilling. The sudden change in atmosphere sent their dogs into a panic. Recorded devices have picked up strange snippets of conversation at all hours of the night. Some of the phrases heard included a man say, “Fire if they get too close to you.” A woman’s voice was heard saying, “Let us take no objection to what they are doing,” and a child’s voice asked to play in the water.

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Point Lookout’s lighthouse has experienced the most activity. Former park ranger Gerald Sword said his Belgian Shepherd regularly lunged at unseen figures. Once, Ranger Sword saw a young man in a sailor’s uniform enter the lighthouse and then disappear into thin air. Voices and piano music frequently float through the lighthouse halls, and fishermen have often told him they’ve heard phantom cries for help coming from the water.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Haunted Battlefields: Part I, Gettysburg

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In the spirit of Halloween, I will be posting the next few articles about hauntings related to the Civil War. The number of haunted places and things associated with the War Between the States is virtually limitless. New reports of strange occurrences surface nearly every day, and each story is more fascinating and creepy than the last.

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It goes without saying that the most haunted place in America associated with the Civil War is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This small, sleepy town suddenly found itself in the crossfires on July 1, 1863. The battle would last three days and claim over 50,000 lives (including dead, wounded, and missing). The tragedy left a lasting imprint on the land. Over 150 years later, ghostly apparitions still dwell on the battlefield and nearby town.

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The Farnsworth House is reportedly one of the most haunted places in Gettysburg. The house was riddled with bullets during the battle, and the scars still exist outside the building’s facade. Tourists say they have seen a specter of a distressed man carrying a child in a quilt, as well as the ghost of a fallen Confederate sharpshooter. Outside of town, the Daniel Lady Farm, which served as a Confederate field hospital where over 10,000 Confederate soldiers lost their lives, is host to numerous hauntings.

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At the Cashtown Inn, the first soldier of the battle was killed. The owners claim to have photographic evidence of spirits floating around the premises. Guests have witnessed someone knocking on doors, lights turning off and on, and doors locking and unlocking by themselves.  The Gettysburg Hotel and the Baladerry Inn are also reportedly haunted.

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Gettysburg visitors have reported hearing the sound of whirring bullets and the screams of fallen horses and soldiers. Some have had direct encounters with the deceased.  Devil’s Den is one of the most haunted places on the battlefield. So is the Triangular Field and Sachs Bridge. Visitors have captured apparitions on camera. In one instance, a long-haired young man told a tourist, “What you are looking for is over there.” The ghost then quickly vanished.

(Next up: Antietam)

Book Trailer For My New Novel

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Here is a link to the book trailer for my new novel. Check it out and let me know what y’all think!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tILNmZIukmc

The book is available for pre-order through Smashwords. It will be on sale this coming Monday, and I will have a launch party next Tuesday. Stay tuned for more details!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/665424

 

Cover Reveal in One Week!

I am so excited to announce my new novel, A Rebel Among Us, is near completion. The book is due to launch in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I would like to tell you about the book, as well as the process I went through to get it published.

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Originally, I wrote A Beckoning Hellfire after visiting the Gettysburg battlefield. Coming from Colorado, I had never seen an actual Civil War battlefield before, so as you can imagine how astounded I was. Silly me, I thought it would be the size of a football field. Far from it! Needless to say, after I experienced this event, I was inspired to write a novel about it, but not a typical Civil War novel about officers and presidents, or even Union soldiers, such as The Red Badge of Courage. No, my novel would be about a typical Southern soldier. So I chose to write about a Confederate cavalryman who originated from North Alabama near Huntsville (Ryan Crossroads, to be exact).

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Cover Art

I wrote my heart out, and by the time I was finished, I realized I had enough material for two novels, so I split the book in two. The second book became A Rebel Among Us. From there, I wrote a sequel, which has yet to be published. And then I went back and wrote a prequel to the story, which is titled A Beautiful Glittering Lie. So what started out as a single book became a series, which I call the Renegade Series. I intend to write a fifth novel in the series later on.

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The first two books in the Renegade Series were self-published. I also self-published A Rebel Among Us, but then I found a new hybrid publisher called Booktrope. This publisher provided me with an excellent team of talented people. We were just about to publish the book when the company folded. ARGH! So I had to start all over. Luckily, I had a contact through NaNoWriMo ( which stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place every November). Because I had entered A Rebel Among Us in this contest, I learned of a new startup small publisher located in Mississippi. Enter Foundations, LLC, who loved my book and agreed to publish it. Finally, my book will see the light of day! Thank you Foundations!

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All of the books in the Renegade Series center on a family from North Alabama and how the war impacts them. For each novel, I spent about six months researching and six months writing. I traveled to the battlefields I wrote about, as well as the Pennsylvania countryside, where A Rebel Among Us primarily takes place. This book is a little different than the first two in the Renegade Series, because it involves more romance and less battle. I learned a lot along the way, received amazing help from many people, and had a blast writing the story. I can’t wait for it to come out and for you to get a chance to read it. Please tune in next Thursday for the big cover reveal. It is nothing less than awesome!

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More Absurdity

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The Confederacy is still under attack across the country, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. Now, Sons of Confederate Veterans’ camp signs are being taken down. I’m sorry, but this is a living history group that does a lot of good things for their communities. If it was any other group being attacked, I’m sure there would be a lot more outrage. But because of all the misconceptions surrounding the Confederate battle flag, it seems to be okay that everything Confederate should be eradicated, because it is now considered to be all evil, racist, hateful, and wrong. However, this  misconstrued image is, in itself, wrong.

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Another example is a group of schools in Houston, Texas. They include Lee High School, Albert Sidney Johnston Middle School, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson Middle School, John Reagan High School, Richard Dowling Middle School, Sidney Lanier Middle School, and Jefferson Davis High School. The school board voted in May to change the names, and has approved to spend $1.2 million to do so. What a waste of money! Wouldn’t it be better spent in educational programs? Just sayin’.

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Protests are underway to get rid of the Confederate battle flag during Civil War reenactments. One such case was heard prior to this year’s anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Democratic state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown said she has “been to a lot of reenacting and the reenacting does not tell the stories accurately.” What? Republican Rep. Dan Moul says it doesn’t make sense to not use a Confederate flag when reenacting Civil War battles. I’m with him.

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This political correctness is nothing less than absurd, but because a small minority complains, the rest of the country has to bow down to their ridiculous, hysterical whims. To me, these attacks are also attacks on our freedom of speech and expression. It has to stop now before it’s too late, and all of our history, regardless of whether it is considered to be good or bad, is gone.

http://candler.allongeorgia.com/confederate-emblems-removed-in-reidsville-after-racial-concerns/

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/article95634022.html

http://abc27.com/2016/06/30/pa-lawmaker-questions-use-of-confederate-flags-in-battle-reenactments/

A Battlefield Victory

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It’s always amazing when something like this happens. A few days ago, I received an email from the Civil War Trust, stating that they had secured 10 acres of the battlefield at Brandy Station. The area is known as Fleetwood Hill, where Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart had his headquarters before the surprise battle took place.

The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle to take place on North American soil. It happened on June 9, 1863, following  a Grand Review by Stuart’s troops. Union General Gregg saw the dust that was stirred up and surprised the Confederates early the following morning. The Rebels managed to reign the day and fulfill their mission, which was to mask General Robert E. Lee’s infantry as they made their way north. Brandy Station was a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Last year, the CWT secured 56 acres of the battlefield. This is significant, because housing developments had been encroaching on the area for years. It doesn’t make sense how this could have been allowed to happen, since it is hallowed ground in my opinion, but it isn’t the only Civil War battlefield that has been neglected or destroyed. The CWT has now secured over 1,900 acres at Brandy Station.

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Other significant battlefields that the CWT has been working on include Antietam and Gettysburg. A few years ago, I visited the Wilderness Battlefield, and was appalled to see how many houses were built on the hallowed site. Hopefully, the CWT can secure more land in that area as well.

Read more about the Battle of Brandy Station in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.

http://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/0595435319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462942766&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beckoning+hellfire

 

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