J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “historical romance”

Double-Edged Sword Featured in Bloomberg

Recently, my latest novel, Double-Edged Sword, was featured in Bloomberg and Accesswire. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much for the amazing article!

Acclaimed Author J.D.R Hawkins Achieves Triumph with Latest Historical Fiction Release ‘Double-Edged Sword’

REDDING, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 18, 2023

J.D.R. Hawkins, acclaimed author of the Renegade Series, unveils another remarkable chapter, a masterpiece of historical fiction that captivates readers with its compelling narrative and profound exploration of the human spirit. Double-Edged Sword, released on April 18, 2022, has garnered widespread acclaim and solidified Hawkins’ reputation as a master storyteller.

Focusing on the enduring themes of courage, survival, and the consequences of war, Double-Edged Sword takes readers on a transformative journey through the post-Civil War era. Hawkins expertly weaves a tale that immerses readers in the complex aftermath of the conflict, capturing the essence of a nation grappling with the scars of its past.

From the opening pages, readers are drawn into the world of Confederate cavalryman David Summers, who returns to Alabama with his new wife, Anna. As they navigate the challenges of a society trying to rebuild, they soon discover that the wounds of war run deep. Hawkins skillfully portrays the emotional turmoil experienced by her characters, allowing readers to witness their struggles with empathy and understanding.

The Renegade Series has resonated with readers across the globe, and Double-Edged Sword is no exception. Hawkins’ ability to breathe life into her characters and transport readers to the heart of the Civil War era has earned her a devoted following. Her meticulous research and attention to historical detail further enhance the story’s authenticity, giving readers a captivating glimpse into the past.

The success of Double-Edged Sword can be attributed not only to its engaging storyline but also to Hawkins’ exceptional storytelling prowess. Her vivid descriptions, poignant dialogue, and richly developed characters leave an unforgettable impression on readers.

As the Renegade Series continues to unfold, readers are left with a profound sense of satisfaction and a renewed appreciation for the power of storytelling. Through the pages of Double-Edged Sword, J.D.R. Hawkins reminds us of the indomitable strength of the human spirit and the enduring quest for freedom and justice.

About J.D.R. Hawkins:

J.D.R. Hawkins is an acclaimed author known for her captivating novels on the Civil War era. With the Renegade Series, she has established herself as a master storyteller, blending historical accuracy with compelling narratives. Hawkins’ dedication to her craft has earned her a loyal readership and numerous accolades. Her ability to bring history to life through her characters and stories is a testament to her exceptional talent as an author.

Acclaimed Author J.D.R Hawkins Achieves Triumph with Latest Historical Fiction Release ‘Double-Edged Sword’ – Bloomberg

Five-Star Review for Double-Edged Sword

I recently received another five-star review for my novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Joshua Grant, for your review!

Joshua Grant

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Bringing the post Civil War Reconstruction era to life in a deep and meaningful way!

JDR Hawkins brings us a really interesting and human look at the Reconstruction era with Double-Edged Sword! With the end of the Civil War, ex Confederate David Summers returns to a war torn home and begins to attempt to pick up the pieces. But when a confrontation erupts with an old enemy, David is forced to stand trial. Hawkins always brings the past to life so vividly and seamlessly, and seeing Reconstruction through David and his family’s eyes was very deep and intriguing! I especially found the court case and the arguments around fairness in a postwar Union to be particularly fascinating, and I honestly had to keep flipping forward to figure out what would become of David! If you love historic fiction, the Civil War era, or even court dramas, definitely dive back into the deep South with Double-Edged Sword!

Renegade Series Featured in LA Weekly

Last Friday, I was honored with a writeup in the LA Weekly about my books in the Renegade Series. These books include A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, A Rebel Among Us, and Double-Edged Sword. Thank you so much, LA Weekly, for featuring my books in your publication!

The Renegade Series: A Family’s Tale of Courage and Survival Amidst the Civil War

Within the tumultuous pages of history, the American Civil War stands as a defining chapter, resonating with tales of bravery, sacrifice, and resilience. Amidst the chaos and devastation, one remarkable literary series emerges, offering readers a poignant glimpse into the lives of the Summers family from north Alabama. J.D.R. Hawkins’ Renegade Series transports us to a bygone era, where the boundaries of courage and survival are tested in the crucible of war. Embark on a captivating journey through the pages of this remarkable saga, where love and determination intertwine amidst the ravages of the Civil War.

The Unforgettable Characters

At the heart of the Renegade Series lies a cast of unforgettable characters, each grappling with the harsh realities of a world torn asunder. In the first installment, “A Beautiful Glittering Lie,” readers are introduced to Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three, who makes the fateful decision to enlist in the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. As Hiram departs for Virginia, his son David, filled with youthful curiosity, seeks adventure at home in Huntsville, Alabama, alongside his best friend, Jake Kimball. Meanwhile, Caroline, Hiram’s wife and David’s mother, holds their family together on the home front, finding solace in the letters she receives from her husband. Through their interconnected experiences, J.D.R. Hawkins paints a vivid picture of a family divided by the Civil War, each member facing trials and sacrifices.

The Struggles and Triumphs

“A Beautiful Glittering Lie” delves deep into the naivety of a young nation as the brutal realities of war test it. Hiram and David Summers, separated by duty, embark on separate paths that will forever alter their lives. Hiram, thrust into the chaos of combat, discovers the cost of defending his home and the required sacrifices. Meanwhile, David, driven by a longing for adventure, confronts the invading Yankees in Huntsville, unaware of the dangers ahead. Caroline is the backbone of the Summers family, who demonstrates unwavering strength and resilience as she keeps their home and farm intact, her world revolving around the cherished letters from her husband. Through the struggles and triumphs of the Summers family, the Renegade Series immerses readers in the profound challenges ordinary individuals face in the vortex of war.

The Latest Chapter: “Double-Edged Sword

In the gripping fourth installment of the Renegade Series, “Double-Edged Sword,” J.D.R. Hawkins continues the captivating narrative, diving deep into the post-Civil War era. Confederate cavalryman David Summers, accompanied by his new wife, Anna, returns to Alabama, only to find a land scarred by the ravages of war and a society struggling to heal its wounds. As David navigates the challenges of transitioning from soldier to civilian, he soon discovers that the battles of the past still haunt him. In this highly anticipated chapter, Hawkins explores the complexities of redemption, justice, and the enduring consequences of war. David’s path crosses with his old adversary, Stephen Montgomery, and their deep-rooted animosity ignites a powder keg of emotions. As their conflict escalates, David faces arrest and a trial that holds his future in the balance. The question looms: Will the jury believe his side of the story, or will his Confederate past overshadow any chance of justice?

Impact and Enduring Legacy

The John Esten Cooke Fiction Award-winning Renegade Series goes beyond mere entertainment; it offers a unique perspective on the Civil War, shedding light on the untold stories of ordinary individuals thrust into extraordinary circumstances. By highlighting the struggles and triumphs of the Summers family, J.D.R. Hawkins reminds us of the human cost of war, urging us to reflect on the consequences of our actions and the lessons history has to teach. Through meticulous research and immersive storytelling, Hawkins presents a narrative that captures the imagination and fosters empathy. The Renegade Series stands as a testament to the power of literature to bridge the gap between past and present and to uncover the untold tales that shape our collective understanding of history.


As readers turn the pages of the Renegade Series, they embark on an emotional journey through the lives of the Summers family, witnessing their unwavering courage and tenacity in the face of unimaginable adversity. J.D.R. Hawkins’ captivating storytelling invites us to reflect on the enduring impact of the Civil War and the unconquerable spirit of those who lived through it. Immerse yourself in the Renegade Series and experience the triumphs and tragedies of a family’s struggle for survival amidst one of America’s darkest chapters. Let J.D.R. Hawkins’ words transport you to a world where love and determination conquer the ravages of war, reminding us that the human spirit is capable of astonishing resilience even in the face of overwhelming odds.

Amazon.com: J. D. R. Hawkins: books, biography, latest update

The Renegade Series: A Family’s Tale of Courage and Survival Amidst the Civil War – LA Weekly

Awesome Review from Kirkus Reviews

My latest novel, Double-Edged Sword, just received a review from Kirkus Reviews. Thank you for the amazing review!

In the wake of the Civil War, a former Confederate soldier encounters problems with the law in Hawkins’ historical-fiction series installment.

In this fourth volume in the Renegade series, the author centers on her main character, ex-Confederate cavalryman David Summers, and his Pennsylvania-born wife Anna, who, after surviving the recently ended war, are making their way in Richmond, Virginia. There, they see the devastation all around them: “The Stars and Stripes waved atop flagpoles, only four months ago replacing the grand Blood-Stained Banner, a flagrant reminder of the recent victory won.” They’re hoping to make a better life for themselves in David’s hometown in Morgan County, Alabama. Little do they know that they will soon cross paths again with Stephen Montgomery, a nefarious, charismatic sergeant-major from earlier series entries—a schemer who had designs not only on Anna but on her family’s property. After he re-enters the couple’s lives, a violent confrontation leads to David being put on trial before a judge and jury who are far from sympathetic to the former Confederate soldier. Even though David swore an oath of allegiance to the United States of America, it’s not just the prosecuting attorney who suspects him of “still fighting the war.” As in the previous books in this series, Hawkins manages to craft a simple story that has plenty of energy and heart; it effectively features tested romance, rivalry, and courtroom drama. Its consistent readability goes a long way to compensate for the fact that David often comes off as belligerent and unpleasant. The … novel’s evocation to the postwar South (“Lonesome chimneys jutted from the landscape; ravaged reminders of the horrors his people had seen”) are uniformly well done. An atmospheric and often engaging drama of the Reconstruction-era South.

2023 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award Winner

As promised last week, I have big news I’d like to share. My latest novel, Double-Edged Sword, has received the recognition of receiving the 2023 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. This award is given annually (if there is a worthy recipient) by the Military Order of the Stars and Bars.

According to their website, “The Military Order of the Stars and Bars is the only Confederate heritage organization founded by Confederate Veterans. In 1938 in Columbia, South Carolina, fifteen former Confederate officers, twenty-six sons, and twenty-one grandsons of Confederate officers gathered to organize the Order. Included in this group were the sons and grandsons of six general officers; subsequently the sons and grandsons of an additional thirteen general officers also joined the Order. Initially membership was restricted to lineal descendants of a qualifying Confederate. Later the Order invited those with collateral relationships to Confederate officers or government officials to join.

“Each year the Order gives back to our country. We award college scholarships and recognize outstanding teachers through our Teacher of the Year program. We recognize outstanding authors who write about our Southern heritage. We also donate money to other heritage organizations to help them with their own heritage projects.

“We are mindful of the nearly one-million Americans who died in this conflict as well as those who survived it. Our mission is to perpetuate the idealism that animated the Confederate Cause and to honor the courage, devotion and endurance of those who dedicated their lives and services during four years of devastating war, and who, throughout the dreadful decade of reconstruction, labored heroically for the restoration of self-government as the most precious heritage of the American Revolution.”


This is a very tremendous honor, and I am once again humbled to receive the award. Thank you very much, MOSB, for choosing my novel as the recipient of the 2023 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award.

News and Happenings

This week, I was notified by Feedspot.com that my blog is one of the fifteen best Civil War book blogs and websites. That’s amazing! Thank you for the distinction, Feedspot!


In other news, I was also notified by Facebook that I have achieved rising creator status. Thank you for the distinction, Facebook!

I want to thank you for subscribing to my blog and following me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. (All of the links to my pages can be found on the “About the Author – Contact” page on my website.) Without your continuing support, I could never have achieved any of these things.

Stay tuned … I have BIG news next week about my most recent novel, Double-Edged Sword!

Happy Halloween!

As you might know, Halloween was invented by the Irish. Originally called Samhain, which means summer’s end, the ancient Celts also invented pumpkin carving. They carved turnips and other root vegetables and inserted candles inside to scare away evil spirits. They also invented bonfires, which were originally called bone fires. This is because the Celts sacrificed animals and burned their bones in fires to also scare off evil spirits. Just a few interesting facts about how the holiday started.

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us, which is the third book in the Renegade Series. I hope you enjoy it. Stay safe this Halloween!

On October 31, Patrick arrived with a bottle of whiskey and invited David to partake with him. They stood shivering at the back door, passing the bottle between them. 

“‘Tis Samhain tonight, lad. All Hallow’s Eve. Were ye aware of it?” 

David nodded. “Where’d you git this whiskey?” he asked. 

“Aye, ‘tis a grand thing the Meyers provide me with allowance for such an indulgence,” he replied. He pulled a pipe from his coat pocket and lit it. Puffing away, he shook his head and remarked, “Sure’n ‘tis a far cry from real tobacco.” 

A thought crossed David’s mind. “I’ll be right back,” he said. 

He went upstairs to his room, grabbed the pouch of tobacco, and brought it back down to his friend. 

Patrick peeked inside before taking a deep whiff. “Ah!” he sighed, relishing the pungent aroma. “Might this be the Southern tobacco I’ve heard tell about?” 

David grinned. “Jake brought it along for tradin’, and this here’s what’s left.” 

Patrick loaded his pipe, relit it, and puffed euphorically, smiling all the while. “‘Tis a wee bit o’ Heaven, indeed.” He glanced at his friend. “Now, have ye any scary tales from the Southland that might have me skin crawlin’?” 

David thought for a moment, “There’s a story from north Alabama about a place called the Red Bank.” 

Raising his eyebrows, Patrick said, “Let’s see if ye might be tellin’ it frightfully enough to send a shiver up me spine!” He happily puffed away. 

David grinned. He lowered his voice so it was a threatening grumble and delved into his story. Once he had completed the tale of an Indian maiden who had killed herself after losing her baby and had promptly turned into a ghost, he paused. 

Patrick puffed silently on his pipe. “Well, now, I have a scarier one.” He puffed again, took a swig from the whiskey bottle, handed it to David, and said, “Tis an old tale from the  motherland.” 

The wind blew past them, whistling off through the barren fields. Both young men shivered, suddenly aware of the ominous darkness surrounding them. 

David forced a nervous laugh before taking a swallow. “All right, Patrick. Let’s hear it.” 

He took a puff and slowly exhaled. “There once lived a wealthy lady who was courted by two lords. One of the lords grew so jealous of the other that he plotted to kill his rival. So one night, he snuck into the unsuspectin’ lad’s bedchamber. But instead of choppin’ off his head—” 

He said this with so much exhuberance David jumped. 

“He accidentally chopped off his legs instead.” 

A dog howled in the distance, adding to the nuance of Patrick’s eerie Irish story. 

“His torso received a proper burial, but his legs were tossed into a hole in the castle garden and covered with dirt. The murderin’ lord deceived the lady by tellin’ her the other suitor had abandoned his proposal to her. She agreed to marriage. But on their weddin’ night, in walked the two bodyless legs.” 

An owl hooted from somewhere off in the empty trees. 

“The legs followed the bridegroom relentlessly until the day he died. It’s said the legs can still be seen walkin’ round by themselves. ‘Tis a true phuca.” Upon this conclusion, Patrick puffed on the pipe. Smoke billowed around his head like an apparition. 

“What’s a phuca?” asked David. 

“A ghost,” Patrick responded. 

Raising a skeptical eyebrow, David snorted. “I reckon that’s the dumbest spook story I ever heard.” 

A gate near the barn caught in the wind and slammed loudly against the fencepost. The two men jumped. They chuckled at their reaction, but immediately felt the terrible chill. Reasoning they would be more comfortable inside, they entered the kitchen, consumed the remainder of the whiskey, and bid each other goodnight. Patrick returned home, and David retired quietly upstairs, careful not to wake the others. Relieved the fireplace had been lit for him, he undressed. 

Climbing into bed, he snickered at the thought of two legs unattached to a body, chasing after a rival. Once he’d fallen asleep, however, the thought invaded his dreams. The legs ran toward him. Right behind them rode the headless Union horseman. The torso raised its saber and swung it where its head should have been. Just as the blade came down, David jolted awake. He gasped to catch his breath, realizing, once again, his imagination had gotten the best of him. Slowly, he lay back. Unable to sleep, he listened to the wind rattle the shutters and shake through the skeleton-like tree limbs from outside the frosty, lace-covered windows. 

Double-Edged Sword Wins Award

I’m very excited and happy to announce that my new novel, Double-Edged Sword, has received the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion! This is the fourth book in the Renegade Series, and now all four books have received this distinguished award!

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.”

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to receive this award! Thank you, indieBRAG, for giving my book the distinction it deserves!

Two More Five-Star Reviews for Double-Edged Sword

My new novel, Double-Edged Sword, received two more five-star reviews! This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series, and tells the story of a family torn apart by the Civil War. Thank you so much, Evelyn and Chelsey McQuitty, for your awesome reviews!


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!

Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2022

Verified Purchase

It’s a suspenseful book that had me gripped, especially in the second half. I’ve always felt attracted by history. In this novel, the Civil war’s period is perfectly represented and this was an extra point, in my opinion.
The plot is interesting and richly descriptive. The settings are portrayed in such a good way that I could feel inside the book in more than one opportunity. The flow just worked nicely.
The characters surprised me from the very beginning. I had estimated a guess at which was the ending of the book and I was completely wrong; it was a real shock!!
I’m already looking for another piece of work from this author.

Chelsey McQuitty

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend this series!

Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2022

Verified Purchase

I’ve always been intrigued by this period in history, which is why I picked up the book. I went into the story thinking that it was going to be like most of the other books that I’ve read before. That is, bits of war mixed in with a few details that have been stretched to suit the narrative. Not the case here. The author creates a wonderful story with characters that are so real that they grow on you. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a series that will make you want to binge read.

Author Interview Featured

I was recently featured on AllAuthor. Here is the interview. Thanks for checking it out!

Tell us a little bit about your childhood and where you grew up.

I was born in Sioux City, Iowa. When I was one, my parents and I moved to Phoenix, but we moved back to Sioux City when I was six. I have one sister who is two years younger than me.Were you a big reader as a kid too?

I was not much of a reader when I was a kid, although I did like some books that are banned now, like Animal Farm and The Outsiders.At what age did you begin writing your first story?

I started writing stories when I was in junior high, and they were mostly about my friends. Before that, I wrote poems and songs.Which of your childhood dreams was the first to die?

Believe it or not, I wanted to be a jockey because I love horses. But my family lived in the city and I ended up being way too tall.Who all are a part of your family?

I have a wonderful husband who I have been married to for over 40 years. We have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons. My husband and youngest son are not really readers, but my older son has helped me out tremendously with my books. He helps to edit them, helped me come up with catch phrases, and even came up with the title for my most recent book.How did you come up with the idea for your book, A Beckoning Hellfire?

The idea came to me as I thought about what my protagonist must have felt, experiencing his first battle. He wants to be part of the excitement, but once he is in it, he realizes it is hell.What are the challenges of writing a nonfiction book?

Lots of research and precise descriptions. I try to incorporate dialogue where I can, so it is not such a boring, textbook read.As a writer, what consumes most of your time?

Research and plotting out the story lines.What is the best review you have gotten for your book, Rebel Among Us?

I have received numerous five-star reviews for this book, as well as some very flattering reviews from editorial reviewers.What is your writing dream? How close do you think you are to achieving it?

I recently became a bestseller, which was a dream. I would like to find an agent so that I can potentially sell more books.How many hours in a day do you write? Typically, 3-6 hours. Have you ever pulled an all-nighter writing?

YesWhat did being an author mean to you as a child?

It meant being an exceptional storyteller. What does it mean to you now? The same thing, only being able to incorporate elaborate detail and character arcs.Do you ever leave book reviews on other authors’ books?

Yes. What do reviews mean to you? They help the ranking of my books, and give me insight into what my readers think.How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written?

So many! Can you tell us about one? I am in the process of writing the fifth and final book in the Renegade Series. The story will open with my protagonist traveling out west in search of his pot of gold.When did you join AllAuthor? Several years ago. What has your experience been like?

My experience with AllAuthor has been fantastic. They support authors and provide tools that help us get the word out about our books.

Bestselling author Julie Hawkins was born in Sioux City, Iowa. She started writing stories when she was in junior high. She is one of a few female Civil War authors. Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, A Rebel Among Us, and Double-Edged Sword. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Read full interview…

Post Navigation