J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “historic”

Another Awesome Review for A Rebel Among Us

I just received this review from Hollywood Book Reviews. Thank you so much for the amazing review!

Title: A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War (A Renegade Series) Author: J.D.R. Hawkins 

Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing 

ISBN: 978-1648030796 

Pages: 493 

Genre: Romantic Action & Adventure / War & Military Action Fiction Reviewed by: Jack Chambers 

Hollywood Book Reviews 

One of the things that people rarely ever think about or consider when discussing the impact of war throughout history is the immediate aftermath. There are many books written about the long-term effects war has on things like the economy, a nation’s power on the world stage, and politics as a whole, but the study of how we as individuals interact with one another in the wake of war and the mental struggle which occurs with those who fought in wars is rarely given enough attention. The need to advocate for peace in the wake of war is essential, and as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”

In author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War, the author brings readers back to the popular A Renegade Series with the third book of the franchise. The protagonist, David Summers, finds himself in a whole other world when he wakes up from his injury-induced slumber. After his dreams of chivalry and heroism are quashed by the horrors of the Battle of Gettysburg, a wounded David and his horse are taken in by four sisters in enemy territory who help restore him to health. Deserted by his Confederate brothers in arms, David struggles between his desire to avenge his father’s death and the love he begins to feel for the oldest sister, Anna. As she presents him an interesting offer, he must also contend with his identity being revealed lest he be labeled a traitor by the Union while also coming face to face with Anna’s longtime neighbor, now a Union soldier, who has been in love with her for years, and will stop at nothing to have her heart, even if it means having David arrested. 

The author crafted a truly beautiful, heartbreaking, and emotionally complex narrative. The balance struck between historical fiction and romance was eloquently written here, as the author brought enough of the historical setting and events happening around the cast of characters into their daily lives without sacrificing the personal conflicts or intimate developments that they made with one another. The concept of two very opposed sides of a bloody conflict such as this coming together to find common ground is something which feels more relevant than ever in our modern age, and the ability of the author to showcase all of the underlying causes of the conflict, and the lies and illusions that many average soldiers fell under from their leadership in the war made this story so fascinating to read. 

This is the perfect read for those who enjoy romantic stories, especially those set in a historical fiction setting and who enjoy, in particular, stories surrounding the American Civil War. As a fan of history, I was fascinated with the authors ability to get into each side’s perspective so equally and bring the setting and tone of the era to life so 

naturally, especially without sacrificing the natural character growth and story beats overall. Powerful, thought-provoking, and entertaining, author J.D.R. Hawkins’s A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War is the perfect historical fiction romance novel and a great new book in the A Renegade Series franchise. The rich dynamics that are presented between David and Anna especially are great to see, and how these very different groups of people find a way to work through their differences and find common ground in an era filled with untold violence and hatred is amazing to read.

Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword

I’m very excited about my new book, Double-Edged Sword, and I wanted to share an excerpt from the novel. This is from the first chapter. It will give you an idea of what it must have been like to see the South after the Civil War ended.

Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword

He turned and drove several blocks, trying to recall the direction of the house where he had stayed on his first night away from home. Everything appeared so different, and bluecoats were everywhere, swarming like flies. Down the street, a row of sutlers’ shops had been erected for the benefit of the Union troops. The newlyweds turned a corner and continued on, past structures that were once beautiful homes, but now sat empty, the glass in their windows shattered, their walls crumbling. Tent cities and clapboard structures cluttered vacant lots. Some of the boards were still adorned with wallpaper, an obvious declaration that the walls had been torn from citizens’ private dwellings. David recognized a two-story house, even though the paint was peeling around the window frames and the yard was filled with knee-high weeds.

“This is it?” Anna asked. “It isn’t quite how you described it.”

“It ain’t how I remember it, either,” he said.

He jumped down and tied the mule, then assisted his wife. They climbed the steps together. David tapped on the door. The brass knocker that had been there before was gone; holes from the bolts that had held it in place were all that remained. There came no response, so after a few moments, he tapped again.

“Last time I was here, she had a butler. Tall black feller, name of … Henry.” David nodded as he recalled. “He didn’t take to us much.” He flashed Anna a grin.

“He’s long gone by now, no doubt,” she said.

David tapped once more, but still no response came, so he tried the knob. The door stuck in the jam at first, but then creaked loudly on its hinges.

“Do you think we should go in there?” asked Anna.

He stepped inside. The long hallway was as dark as he remembered, but the lavish paintings that had adorned the walls were missing. Anna followed him down the hall to a large room that was empty except for a solitary wooden stool that squatted in the center. The ornate draperies David remembered had been ripped down, and a transparent gauze sheet had been draped across the broken windows in an attempt to keep insects out. The fireplace stood dark and empty, and the tapestries David remembered seeing were all gone, along with the furniture and knick knacks.

“I don’t think anyone’s here,” Anna whispered.

David walked to the window and looked outside. The back of the house was just as neglected as the front, and the stable doors yawned open with a passing breeze. There was nothing inside. He heard a thump and reeled around to see a small man standing behind Anna. She turned and gasped at the same time before rushing to her husband.

“Can I be of service to y’all?” the man asked feebly.

“Josiah?” David said, taking a step closer. “Is that you?”

The little man held his hand out to him. “That would be me. How may I help y’all?”

“Don’t you remember me?” asked David, trying to keep his voice quiet. “I’m David Summers. I came here with my friend, Jake Kimball. We met on the train from Huntsville, remember?”  

The man didn’t seem to recall, so David went on.

“Your wife, Miss Martha, she had us stay the night. And her sister was here. Miss Mattie?”

“When did you say this was?” The old man shuffled to the wooden stool and sat down.

“It was in April of sixty-three. We were on our way to jine up with Jeb Stuart.”

The words seemed to register. Josiah looked up and smiled. “Yes. Yes! I believe I do remember you!” He stood up and vigorously shook David’s hand.

“This here’s Anna, my wife,” he introduced.

She stepped toward him. “Sir,” she said, taking his bony little hand in both of hers.

“Where’s Miss Martha? I’d surely like to see her.” David chuckled. “She made me promise to stop by the next time I was in town.”

The smile vanished from Josiah’s furrowed face. Suddenly, he looked very old. “She’s gone,” he said flatly.

“Where did she go?” Anna inquired.

Josiah sank back down onto the stool. “She left me … when the Yankees came. She got so upset with the occupation that one day, she …” His voice trailed off.

David exchanged glances with his wife. “She what, Josiah?”

He looked up at them, his eyes filled with grief. “She took the pistol out from under the mattress … and put it to her head.”

“Dear God!” exclaimed David.

Anna’s mouth dropped open.

“It was more than the poor darlin’ could bear, havin’ Hooker’s army come in here and take everything we owned. They took the nigger, they took the horses, they even took the rugs out from under our feet. Stripped clean, jist like a plague of locusts.” He paused, the silence overwhelming, then said, “Wilst they were fightin’, there was a lunar eclipse. Do you reckon it was some kind of omen?”

David gulped. “What happened to Miss Mattie?” he asked, afraid to hear the reply. “Where’s Miss Martha’s sister?”

“She’s gone too. Ran off before they got here, and I haven’t seen nor heard from her since.”

“Do you know where she went?” Anna asked, taking her husband’s arm to steady herself.

“No idea. I’m all alone here. Have been for quite some time now.”

David was at a loss, not knowing what to say. “We could take you somewhere. So you ain’t alone,” he suggested.

“And where would that be?” Josiah stood, slowly straightening. “The whole of the South is like this now. And besides, this here’s my home, and I’ll be damned to leave it.”

“Can we do anything for you?” Anna inquired.

“Jist leave me be, young’uns. I can fend for myself. Nice of y’all to stop by, though.” He sashayed into the parlor, or what David remembered to be the parlor, and closed a dark oak door behind him.

“We should go,” suggested Anna.

David glanced at her, unable to speak. He felt helpless, like he should do something, but was at a loss as to what. She took his hand and led him outside, where they boarded the wagon in silence and rode back to the depot. Chattanooga, David understood, had aged tremendously, just like Josiah. The town of two thousand was now overrun with bluecoats who seemed unconcerned with the annihilation they’d caused. What was once an elegant town was now demoralized by Yankees, and the whole city appeared beaten down and ancient.

Please Vote For My Book Cover!

Every month, AllAuthor sponsors a book cover contest. This month, the cover for my novel, Double-Edged Sword, is a contender. There are four voting rounds, one for each week of the month.

allauthor.com
Cover of the Month
Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction Book Four of the Renegade SeriesHey Everyone,
I’m excited to tell you that my book has been nominated for the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor.com. This will help me a lot if I could see some votes coming in, so please remember to vote my book.
Vote Now »
https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/13313/

Would you please be so kind as to vote for my cover? I would be eternally grateful! Thank you so much in advance.

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/13313/

A Few Updates

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time last Tuesday to check out my post on the b00k r3vi3w Tourss book tour for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. If you’d like to check out the other bloggers who participated, here is the link:

https://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/2022/04/bookblitz-double-edged-sword-renegade-4.html

Some of the bloggers even posted a mini book trailer for the novel. Here’s the link to it:

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0?ui=2&ik=dcfad889c4&attid=0.1.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1731331053967453250&th=1806ec6bac552c42&view=att&disp=safe

The last time I checked, there were over 600,000 views! That was last Tuesday, so it’s probably over a million by now.

In other news, the book is now available for free on Kindle Unlimited (Amazon) for a limited time. And if you are interested in writing a review, I’d be more than happy to hear from you! Thanks again for all your support!

Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword

I’m very excited about my new book, Double-Edged Sword, and I wanted to share an excerpt from the novel. This is from the first chapter. It will give you an idea of what it must have been like to see the South after the Civil War ended.

Excerpt from Double-Edged Sword

He turned and drove several blocks, trying to recall the direction of the house where he had stayed on his first night away from home. Everything appeared so different, and bluecoats were everywhere, swarming like flies. Down the street, a row of sutlers’ shops had been erected for the benefit of the Union troops. The newlyweds turned a corner and continued on, past structures that were once beautiful homes, but now sat empty, the glass in their windows shattered, their walls crumbling. Tent cities and clapboard structures cluttered vacant lots. Some of the boards were still adorned with wallpaper, an obvious declaration that the walls had been torn from citizens’ private dwellings. David recognized a two-story house, even though the paint was peeling around the window frames and the yard was filled with knee-high weeds.

“This is it?” Anna asked. “It isn’t quite how you described it.”

“It ain’t how I remember it, either,” he said.

He jumped down and tied the mule, then assisted his wife. They climbed the steps together. David tapped on the door. The brass knocker that had been there before was gone; holes from the bolts that had held it in place were all that remained. There came no response, so after a few moments, he tapped again.

“Last time I was here, she had a butler. Tall black feller, name of … Henry.” David nodded as he recalled. “He didn’t take to us much.” He flashed Anna a grin.

“He’s long gone by now, no doubt,” she said.

David tapped once more, but still no response came, so he tried the knob. The door stuck in the jam at first, but then creaked loudly on its hinges.

“Do you think we should go in there?” asked Anna.

He stepped inside. The long hallway was as dark as he remembered, but the lavish paintings that had adorned the walls were missing. Anna followed him down the hall to a large room that was empty except for a solitary wooden stool that squatted in the center. The ornate draperies David remembered had been ripped down, and a transparent gauze sheet had been draped across the broken windows in an attempt to keep insects out. The fireplace stood dark and empty, and the tapestries David remembered seeing were all gone, along with the furniture and knick knacks.

“I don’t think anyone’s here,” Anna whispered.

David walked to the window and looked outside. The back of the house was just as neglected as the front, and the stable doors yawned open with a passing breeze. There was nothing inside. He heard a thump and reeled around to see a small man standing behind Anna. She turned and gasped at the same time before rushing to her husband.

“Can I be of service to y’all?” the man asked feebly.

“Josiah?” David said, taking a step closer. “Is that you?”

The little man held his hand out to him. “That would be me. How may I help y’all?”

“Don’t you remember me?” asked David, trying to keep his voice quiet. “I’m David Summers. I came here with my friend, Jake Kimball. We met on the train from Huntsville, remember?”  

The man didn’t seem to recall, so David went on.

“Your wife, Miss Martha, she had us stay the night. And her sister was here. Miss Mattie?”

“When did you say this was?” The old man shuffled to the wooden stool and sat down.

“It was in April of sixty-three. We were on our way to jine up with Jeb Stuart.”

The words seemed to register. Josiah looked up and smiled. “Yes. Yes! I believe I do remember you!” He stood up and vigorously shook David’s hand.

“This here’s Anna, my wife,” he introduced.

She stepped toward him. “Sir,” she said, taking his bony little hand in both of hers.

“Where’s Miss Martha? I’d surely like to see her.” David chuckled. “She made me promise to stop by the next time I was in town.”

The smile vanished from Josiah’s furrowed face. Suddenly, he looked very old. “She’s gone,” he said flatly.

“Where did she go?” Anna inquired.

Josiah sank back down onto the stool. “She left me … when the Yankees came. She got so upset with the occupation that one day, she …” His voice trailed off.

David exchanged glances with his wife. “She what, Josiah?”

He looked up at them, his eyes filled with grief. “She took the pistol out from under the mattress … and put it to her head.”

“Dear God!” exclaimed David.

Anna’s mouth dropped open.

“It was more than the poor darlin’ could bear, havin’ Hooker’s army come in here and take everything we owned. They took the nigger, they took the horses, they even took the rugs out from under our feet. Stripped clean, jist like a plague of locusts.” He paused, the silence overwhelming, then said, “Wilst they were fightin’, there was a lunar eclipse. Do you reckon it was some kind of omen?”

David gulped. “What happened to Miss Mattie?” he asked, afraid to hear the reply. “Where’s Miss Martha’s sister?”

“She’s gone too. Ran off before they got here, and I haven’t seen nor heard from her since.”

“Do you know where she went?” Anna asked, taking her husband’s arm to steady herself.

“No idea. I’m all alone here. Have been for quite some time now.”

David was at a loss, not knowing what to say. “We could take you somewhere. So you ain’t alone,” he suggested.

“And where would that be?” Josiah stood, slowly straightening. “The whole of the South is like this now. And besides, this here’s my home, and I’ll be damned to leave it.”

“Can we do anything for you?” Anna inquired.

“Jist leave me be, young’uns. I can fend for myself. Nice of y’all to stop by, though.” He sashayed into the parlor, or what David remembered to be the parlor, and closed a dark oak door behind him.

“We should go,” suggested Anna.

David glanced at her, unable to speak. He felt helpless, like he should do something, but was at a loss as to what. She took his hand and led him outside, where they boarded the wagon in silence and rode back to the depot. Chattanooga, David understood, had aged tremendously, just like Josiah. The town of two thousand was now overrun with bluecoats who seemed unconcerned with the annihilation they’d caused. What was once an elegant town was now demoralized by Yankees, and the whole city appeared beaten down and ancient.

New Release – Double-Edged Sword

I’m very excited to inform you that my new novel, Double-Edged Sword, is out! This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. The first three books in the series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, and A Rebel Among Us, are all award winners. The series centers around a family from Alabama, and what happens to them before, during, and after the Civil War. I’m very proud of this novel, and I hope you get the chance to read it soon! If you’re interested in writing a review, please let me know and I’ll send you a PDF version of the novel. Double-Edged Sword is available through Amazon, Westwood Books Publishing, and my website, jdrhawkins.com.

Cover Reveal!

Here is the cover for my new book, Double-Edged Sword. I’m so excited that I wanted to share! This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. I will post the purchasing link in a couple of days. Please let me know what you think!

A Rebel Among Us Wins B.R.A.G. Medallion

My novel, A Rebel Among Us, has recently received the B.R.A.G. Medallion. This book is the third one in the Renegade Series. Now all three books in the series are recipients of the B.R.A.G. Medallion. According to the IndieBRAG website:

“BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe. The word “indie” refers to self-published books, while B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. The name “indieBRAG” and the B.R.A.G. logos are trademarks of indieBRAG, LLC. The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a certification trademark owned and controlled by indieBRAG, LLC.”

My book is featured on the homepage of their website, https://www.bragmedallion.com/. It is also on its own page: https://www.bragmedallion.com/award-winning-books/historical-fiction/a-rebel-among-us/

The first two books in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, have also received the honor. Thank you, indieBRAG, for this distinguished recognition!

B.R.A.G. Medallion Report Card for A Beckoning Hellfire

B.R.A.G. Medallion Report Card 

Book Title: A Beckoning Hellfire 

Author: J.D.R. Hawkins 

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Our decision regarding your book was based on the following assessment. For more details about this process please read the ABOUT US/HOW WE DO IT section of our website. 

Ratings 

The book was rated on the following criteria using this scale: 

(If nonfiction, criteria in parentheses) 

5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Poor, 1 = Very Poor, 0 = Not Rated 

Title 

Intriguing, forceful, appropriate to the story 

Cover 

Striking, professional looking, appropriate to the story 

Plot (Subject Matter) 

Original, compelling, engaging, coherent 

Characters (Relevant Anecdotes) 

Interesting, appealing, believable 

Dialogue (Clarity of Content) 

Authentic, quotable, advances the story 

Writing Style 

Distinctive voice, pleasing rhythm, evocative 

Chapters 

Logical flow, advance the story, build momentum 

Copy Editing 

Grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice 

Content (Developmental) Editing 

Structure, coherence, continuity, accuracy 

Formatting 

Front matter, layout, font 

Additional Comments

I really liked this book. I am not much of an expert on the Civil War so am not a great judge of accuracy. However, I do love stories about the War and was not disappointed! I found the story to be concise and well-told, the construct of the story strong, the storytelling fantastic. My only observation was how David just took off and was gone for extended periods before riding back in. I would have thought he would have been considered a deserter or, at the very least, been interrogated as to what he had been up to. Also, not to be overly “gross”, why wouldn’t a starving army eat the horse instead of just burning it? Just a thought. In all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and hope to read the next one in this series. This is a very talented author! 

I have to award any book that was fun to read and challenged my understanding of military history enough to make me look up the battles to find they are all accurately depicted from a private’s viewpoint. I am so used to reading battles from an omniscient officer’s viewpoint or “god’s eye view” that it is refreshing to experience the confusion of a private down in the muck point of view. I have to admit that I doubt a couple of privates got as much freedom to choose as Jake and David did in this book nor as much freedom as David took going AWOL and returning with minimal disciplinary action. I’m a little disappointed that David’s trick riding skills didn’t get used in battle. It is also disappointing that his privileged position as a messenger was not used to give the view from the top to give a better overview of the various actions he was near or in and could have ridden through as a courier. Kudos for not giving in to the temptation to do either of these that I probably would have panned you for as pushing the realism envelope a little too far as it was a little stretchy here and there as it is, such as Renegade’s final run in this story to set up the next book. That is enough for now as I can’t wait any longer to read the third book.

*

This an excellent book. The principal character, David Summers, is believable and engaging. The story flows smoothly, albeit a bit slowly at first, and the cavalry battle scenes are stark, terrifying and appropriately brutal. I highly recommend this book for a Medallion. 

In addition to the numerical ratings, we ask our readers to leave a few brief comments or suggestions to help an author enhance their writing skills, especially if the reader is unable to rate a book on one or more of the above criteria. Please note, however, that not all readers choose to leave a comment. 

Copyright 2016 IndieBRAG, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

A Beckoning Hellfire Receives B.R.A.G. Medallion

As mentioned in an earlier post, my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, recently received the prestigious B.R.A.G. Medallion, which is only awarded to Indie books. According to their website:

“BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe. The word “indie” refers to self-published books, while B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. The name “indieBRAG” and the B.R.A.G. logos are trademarks of indieBRAG, LLC. The B.R.A.G. Medallion is a certification trademark owned and controlled by indieBRAG, LLC.”

My book is featured on the homepage of their website, https://www.bragmedallion.com/. It is also on its own page: https://www.bragmedallion.com/award-winning-books/historical-fiction/a-beckoning-hellfire/.

A Beckoning Hellfire is the second book in the Renegade Series to receive this award. The first book in the series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, has also received the honor. Thank you, indieBRAG, for this distinguished recognition!

Post Navigation