J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “historical”

My Author Interview Featured on Renee’s Author Spotlight

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

My interview with Renee is as follows.

Why did you decide to be a writer?

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

What genres do you write?

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

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?

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

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

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

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

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

What are your goals as an author?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What inspired your current work?

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

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

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

Do you have any advice for other authors?

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

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

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

Check out my entire interview here:

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

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Senseless Actions Explained

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I thought the author of the following article put the issue of destroying Confederate Monuments into perspective, so I wanted to share.

The Danger of Taking Down Confederate Monuments

By Christine Barr

Christine Barr is a Texan from Tennessee writing for the Paris Post- Intelligencer.

She is the mother of four children.

It becomes tiresome pointing out the same old historical half-truths when talking about the War Between the States. So in the interest of not getting distracted from my main point, let’s ignore the many reasons other than slavery behind the formation of the Confederate States of America (CSA).

Why not? Most do already.

Instead, let’s talk about why current politicians’ taking down monuments to CSA soldiers and politicians is far more dangerous than allowing them to remain.

First, a word about symbols. It is entirely possible, and in fact most often the case, that symbols can contain a multitude of meanings. That meaning is determined by the context in the which the symbol is seen, and by the person the viewer of the symbol is.

You may see the U.S. flag, and feel inspired as it reminds you of patriotism and love of country; citizens of other countries often have a far different interpretation.

I see the cross, and am reminded of the inestimable love of Jesus, while non-Christians may have a negative reaction.

And who is to say that one side is wrong?

Symbols do not have meaning separate from the context in which they exist. The meaning is an artificial construct – a red rose is simply a flower until someone from a culture which view both the flower and its color as significant sees it.

That means that it is entirely possible that the person who tells you a Confederate monument or flag represents pride in regional heritage is not in fact racist.

That does not mean that to someone else, the flag or monument does embody racism – usually the argument against the flags of the CSA are predicated on the fact that slavery was an economic issue behind the South’s dissatisfaction with remaining in the Union.

This completely ignores the objective fact that the Union did not disavow slavery upon commencing actions against the CSA, and continued to have slavery be legal in the slave states of the Union even AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation freed some slaves in very specific areas.

It is usually also brought up that racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan have used the flags, again ignoring the role of the U.S. flag in the racist groups’ rallies, etc.

Minus any evidence to the contrary, the fact is that it is the willful ignorance, or conscious ignoring, of these facts that allow politicians and various organizations to manipulate the public through craven appeal to a simplistic understanding.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars – from some unknown source – were used to remove statues and memorials in New Orleans. Now the mayor can gleefully claim to have fought the nasty racists, and undoubtedly those who have rewarded him with accolades and their applause will continue to congratulate him and his cronies on this grand stand against racism.

It’s an easy – if tawdry – way to get a bump in approval. But at the end of the day, how has it made the life of even one New Orleans minority citizen better?

The supposedly private funds used to destroy part of the history of a city with a large amount of historical tourism might have been used to help rectify the housing shortage which continues to burden the largely minority workforce that enables the tourism industry to succeed.

It could have been used to help transform the lackluster public education system, enabling even the poorest citizens to have confidence that their children were receiving the kind of education which would equip them to take their place in society and be the kind of leaders so desperately needed in New Orleans.

Instead, it went to the wanton destruction of items that had no impact on the day-to-day lives of the very population most in need of having the real legacy of racism erased.

The greatest danger in this kind of empty political stunt is the fact it enables smug, self-satisfied Yankees and “progressive” Southerners to once again make the CSA and the South their racial scapegoat.

Northerners won’t have to grapple with the embedded racism that informed their region in the 1860s, and which continues to this day. Those self-hating Southerners can pretend that they have risen above it.

How glorious to be amongst the non-racists of the United States! How grand to know that there is nothing other than removing those statues that need be done!

The hard work of ensuring equality for all requires all hands on deck.

By seeking to alienate a large portion of citizens who rightly wish to preserve their historical heritage and NOT support racism, those who take advantage of the ignorance and easily swayed opinions of otherwise well-meaning liberals do the cause of freedom, justice and equality an extreme disservice.

It also doesn’t serve our nation in the long run to ignore large chunks of our history and pretend that the complexities of our past just didn’t exist.

It doesn’t advance us; it puts us on the level of ISIS and all those who delight in bombing statues, destroying museums and trying to erase that which doesn’t support their agenda.

(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, November 24, 2017 issue)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I hope everyone has a very safe, happy Thanksgiving. In honor of the holiday, here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. Endulge and enjoy!

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A week later, on the following Thursday, the Montgomery’s invited the Brady household to celebrate the nation’s first Thanksgiving Day. Since David had no desire to partake in a Northern holiday with strangers and was still unable to come to terms with the deception he was embarking on, he gladly agreed to remain behind. After hitching Alphie, he watched the girls and their aunt ride toward the Montgomery farmstead, visible at the top of a hill about a mile away. He knew he had the opportunity to leave, but his conscience gnawed at him and compelled him to stay. It wasn’t because of Renegade. It was the look in Anna’s eyes, those magnificent blue-green eyes, and the expression on her face when he told her he’d stay. He couldn’t bring himself to disappoint her. She was relying on him.

Entering the kitchen, he sat down at the table and looked over the newspaper while he ate the meal Sarah had prepared for him. He read about another battle that had taken place a few days prior near Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. The reporter referred to it as “the battle above the clouds.” This time, the Confederates didn’t fare so well, and he was glad the family wasn’t there to witness his disappointment. He walked out to the barn and tended to the animals. After checking on Renegade, he led him out to the yard, walked a short distance from him, and whistled. Pricking his ears, Renegade gingerly trotted over to him. David looked at his hoof. The crack was nearly sealed shut, but David was still apprehensive about putting extra weight on it. Perhaps in another month he would start riding him again.

He spent most of the afternoon with his colt, treating him to carrots, handfuls of oats, and an apple before leading him to his stall. On his way back to the house, it dawned on him. This was his chance. He looked upstairs and explored every room in search of his elusive pistol. Coming up empty-handed, he went downstairs and ransacked through the kitchen cupboards. He discovered items he’d never seen before: a bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, a few cans of Van de Camp’s Pork and Beans, Borden’s Condensed Milk, and Underwood Deviled Ham. He checked the dining room, scoured the parlor, looked under the piano lid, and came upon a loaded shotgun stashed under the upholstered sofa. His search led him out to the front porch, as well as to the spare bedroom across from the parlor now occupied by the girls’ aunt. Still, no pistol appeared. At a loss, he went back upstairs to start again. He found no sign of it in Abigail’s room, but this time he noticed her toys. Along with the patriotic ones she had previously shown him, she owned several dolls, a doll house, and a wooden horse on wheels. All were neatly placed against the walls. The bedroom Anna and Maggie shared held virtually no hiding spaces, except for one loose floorboard where they had hidden twelve silver dollars. He searched the storage closet across from his room but still couldn’t locate his pistol. The quest led him back to his bedroom.

He plopped down on the bed and sat there thinking. An idea came to mind, so he pulled out each dresser drawer and felt around inside but found nothing unusual. He walked across to the armoire, opened the doors, and peered inside. Mr. Brady’s old clothes still hung there. He pushed them aside but failed to see anything out of the ordinary. Reaching inside, he rapped his knuckles against the back while turning his right ear toward the sound to hear. A hollow echo reverberated. He felt inside the back of the dark, wooden wardrobe. Finding a hollowed out groove, he pulled on it. The door slid open. David discovered his missing handgun ensconced in its holster. He withdrew it and smiled at it like it was a long lost friend. Tempted to let out a whoop, he restrained himself and checked inside the chamber instead. Five balls still remained. He put it back in its hiding place, amused he had outsmarted the womenfolk without their knowing it.

Later that evening, when the girls and Sarah returned, he walked out to greet them. “Ladies, did y’all have a nice time?” he asked, smiling like the cat that had eaten the canary. He helped Sarah out of the carriage.

Anna failed to return his smile. “Fine, thank you,” she said, allowing him to assist her. “Would you please unharness Alphie and come inside? We have something to tell you.”

He helped Maggie down. “Had that good of a time, huh?” he sarcastically remarked.

“It isn’t that,” Anna said, quickly turning away.

Abigail smiled sadly at him and tagged behind the others.

Wondering what could be so dire, he led Alphie to the barn, unhitched him, lightly brushed him down, and put him in his stall. After rubbing Renegade gently on the nose, he walked back to the house; but as he entered the kitchen, only grim expressions greeted him.

“David,” Sarah began. “I’m afraid we have unpleasant news to tell you.”

He apprehensively stared at her.

“Today, we learned our beloved Union has gained control of Chattanooga.”

His mouth dropped open. Consumed with remorse, he sank onto a kitchen chair and recalled the train ride he and Jake had taken. Their first night away from home had been spent in Chattanooga. He thought of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Confederate infantrymen he and Jake had met on the train, and wondered if they were still alive. Then he remembered Miss Mattie and Miss Martha, the two elderly sisters who had taken him and Jake into their elaborate home and provided them with accommodation before the boys had ventured on to Richmond to join up with General Stuart’s cavalry. His heart ached as he thought of those two rebellious, precious old women. The Yankees were undoubtedly demolishing all that was in their wake, pilfering, ravaging, and defiling everything they could get their hands on. He knew Miss Mattie and Miss Martha’s spectacular townhouse was no exception. In a way, he felt a twinge of sympathy for the loathsome Yankees who were confronted with the scorn of Miss Martha. He wished he could be there to hear her cuss them out. But more than that, he hoped, with all his heart, the dear soul survived the Union Army’s terrible assault.

“I’m so sorry, David,” Anna said softly.

“It’s a sad victory,” Sarah reiterated.

He sat there for a few moments, unable to look at them. Finally, he drew a deep breath.

“Ladies, I’ll see y’all in the mornin’.”

Avoiding eye contact, he walked upstairs to his room, closed the door behind him, and locked it. He sat down on the bed and remembered the two elderly sisters and the loss of his best friend, Jake. His thoughts turned to his father.

If only I could have defended them all somehow, he thought.

His father’s best friend, Bud Samuels, had given David the pistol he now owned. The handgun gave him solace. He walked across the room and pulled his Colt .45 army pistol out from the back of the armoire. Hot tears burned their way out, searing their way down his cheeks. This was yet another defeat for the Confederate cause, and he felt defeated along with it. Once again, his heart burned with all the hatred and contempt he had previously held for his aggressors. He decided he was prepared for any Yankee tyrant who dared try to take him against his will because he was more than eager for the chance to blow a hole through the vermin. On this first Thanksgiving holiday, he had no reason to give thanks. This was war, and he was still willing to fight.

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

Happy Halloween!

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. In the spirit of all things spooky, sereal, and spectral, here are a couple of excerpts from my books. The first two are from A Beckoning Hellfire, due for re-realease this November. The third is from its sequel, A Rebel Among Us. Don’t let the frights terrify you tonight!

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(Excerpt from A Beckoning Hellfire)

Jake leaned in toward his friend. “You should ask him about your pa,” he reminded.

The other soldiers looked at David, waiting for him to speak. He took a deep sigh, and said, “My pa is buried here somewhere, and I was wonderin’ if y’all might know where I could find him.”

The Georgians exchanged glances.

“Can’t rightly direct you,” Michael said. “The burial site’s mighty large, and not every grave is marked. It could take days, or even weeks, and you still might not find him.”

David bit his lower lip and gazed into the fire, disappointed with the answer he’d received.

Jake quickly changed the subject and they were soon engaged in telling one chilling horror story after another, most of which the other soldiers made up. David enthralled them with “The Tell Tale Heart,” a story by Edgar Allen Poe, which none of the others had heard before. To his amusement, the others actually shivered at his telling of the story. The four soldiers talked on into the night until they realized it was late and decided to retire. As the Georgians departed, Jake leaned back, mumbling something unintelligible. David fell asleep but was soon startled awake by the bugler’s invasion.

(Also from A Beckoning Hellfire)

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David shivered. Deciding to move around for warm, he slid from the saddle, but stumbled in the dark. He noticed a round, white rock, so he knelt down and picked it up. Oddly, it was much lighter than a rock. He turned it in his hands. Empty eye sockets bore into him, and the bony teeth grinned at him from death. Impulsively, he screamed, and tossed the human skull away in a panic, which sent it flying over the field. Horrified, he suddenly became aware his surroundings.

Long white bones stuck out from mounds of dirt that at one point must have served as makeshift graves. Weathered woolen uniforms and knapsacks, still intact, clung to the skeletal remains. Cannonballs sat scattered about, an eerie reminder of what had happened here.

Realizing that he was in a terrible graveyard, he shuddered. For some reason, the Yankee whose head he’d lopped off popped into his head. He glanced around, expecting the headless soldier to ride out of the darkness and attack him. An owl hooted. David nearly jumped out of his skin. Anxious to depart the frightening scene, he hurried back to Renegade, mounted, and prompted his colt to trot.

For the rest of the night, David walked Renegade along the side of a road, and carefully avoided the horrible scene of death. He had no need for coffee. His fright kept him wide awake.

When he returned to camp the next morning, he told Custis what he’d seen, and how he had held a dead man’s skull in his hand, just like a scene from Hamlet.

“Oh, that must be what’s left of those poor fellers who fought over yonder last year. We’re right close to Manassas. You didn’t know that, did you, Summers?”

Wide-eyed, David shook his head.

Custis giggled. “Reckon you got a good scare, then!” He guffawed.

(From A Rebel Among Us)

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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 exuberance 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 did hear.”

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.

Dishonoring Memphis’ History

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Memphis just can’t leave well enough alone. In 2013, the city council voted to change the names of three parks in the city, specifically Forrest Park, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park, to names more politically correct and anti-Confederate. It’s astonishing to me how some Southern cities like New Orleans, Charlottesville, Dallas, and of course, Memphis, want to disregard their history. Not only that, but some members of the city council want to move General Forrest and his wife’s bodies from Forrest Park (they are now buried beneath the statue of the general on King Philip) and move them to Elmwood Cemetery. There is a reason General Forrest and his wife were moved to Forrest Park from Elmwood Cemetery in 1905: out of enormous admiration and respect. Now the city wants to disregard this and display flagrant disrespect.

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MEMPHIS CHAMBER OPPOSES MONUMENTS

The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce is mobilizing support for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s request for a State waiver to allow the City to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in violation of State Law.

In advance of the Oct. 13 meeting on the Tennessee Historical Commission, where Strickland will make his case, the chamber’s board of directors has drafted a letter “in behalf of the business community.”

The letter calls the statue of the Confederate general, “one of several divisive symbols that hamper our city’s efforts to attract and retain top talent for the skilled workforce that is critical to our success.”

The Chairman of the Historical Commission has told Mayor Strickland that the Commission will not hear the city’s request for a waiver at the Oct. 13 meeting in Athens, Tennessee.

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(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Oct. 6, 2017 ed.)

Is This Awesome Or What!?

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

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

(Click on books for purchasing info.)

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

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

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

Horses in Gray Receives Celebrity Endorsement

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My new book, Horses in Gray, has received a special endorsement from Mr. Patrick Gorman. If you are unfamiliar with who he is, Mr. Gorman played Confederate General John Bell Hood in the movie Gettysburg. He has also starred in many other movies, including Gods and Generals, Three Days of the Condor, Wild Bill, and Rough Riders. Mr. Gorman has appeared on numerous TV shows as well.

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Mr. Gorman’s endorsement is as follows:

“Civil War history buffs can supplement their knowledge with these well researched horse tales. Your heart will go out to these seldom mentioned heroes, the mount of the Confederacy.”

Thank you, Mr. Gorman, for your endorsement! To learn more about this amazing actor, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0331112/.

A Rebel Among Us Receives International Recognition

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My novel, A Rebel Among Us, has received honorable mention from ReadersFavorite.com. This is an amazing honor, because thousands of authors compete for the award. My book will be featured in Publishers Weekly, and has also received a five-star review. Here is the press release:

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Reader’s Favorite recognizes “A Rebel Among Us” in its annual international book award contest.

The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.

Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).

“When the right books are picked as winners we pay attention. We will be spreading the word about Readers’ Favorite.”–Karen A., Editor for Penguin Random House

Readers’ Favorite is proud to announce that “A Rebel Among Us” by J.D.R. Hawkins won the Honorable Mention in the Fiction – Historical – Event/Era category.

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You can learn more about J.D.R. Hawkins and “A Rebel Among Us” at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/a-rebel-among-us where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.

Readers’ Favorite LLC
Media Relations
Louisville, KY 40202
800-RF-REVIEW
support@readersfavorite.com
https://readersfavorite.com

I Received My Author Copies!

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My new book, Horses in Gray, premiered last weekend at the SCV Convention in Memphis, and today, I received my author copies! This is such an exciting experience for me to share with you. Getting this book published has been a roller coaster ride. I started writing it five years ago, and after moving three times, I finally finished the manuscript. I searched around and discovered a small press who was willing to publish the book. Several months later, the manuscript had been edited, formatted and indexed. It was finally ready to be published! But just as it was about to go to press, the publishing company folded. I was heart-broken. Now it was back to square one.

I put on a brave face and sent the manuscript to a few companies who publish Civil War nonfiction, but I only got reject letters back. Then I sent it to Pelican Publishing, and they accepted it! One year later, my book is finally seeing the light of day!

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This is my first nonfiction book, and I am very proud of it. Here is an excerpt from Chapter One:

Most horses used in the war were geldings or mares. Not many stallions were utilized because they were unruly and hard to handle. For ambulances, horses were used rather than mules because horses were less skittish.1

At the start of the war, Southern gentry considered Thoroughbreds to be superior. They were certain that the quality and breeding of their fine racehorses would assure the Confederacy’s victory.

One newspaper article printed in 1863 read: “Let the baser baseness of breeding scrubs and cold bloods be left to the Yankees: and let Virginia planters resume [breeding] the thoroughbred Virginia race horse.”2

It didn’t take long for Confederate soldiers to figure out that Thoroughbreds were too flighty for use on the battlefield. Instead, various other breeds were used. Percherons were preferred by the Confederate artillery for pulling heavy caissons and wagons. Saddlebreds from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, as well as Tennessee Pacers (Southern Plantation Horses), the forerunners of today’s Tennessee Walking Horses, were ridden by the cavalry.

Gen. Basil Duke, second in command to Gen. John Hunt Morgan, was the first to describe the Saddlebred breed: “If I be correct in my estimate of the Thoroughbred, then it must be conceded that the nearer he approximates him, the better another horse (the Saddlebred) will be. But the Kentucky Saddlebred horse has not only inherited, in a large measure, the excellence of the Thoroughbred in respects to which I have called attention, but has also retained certain desirable characteristics which have more peculiarly distinguished the humbler (non-Thoroughbred) strain from which he is descended.”3

The desirable characteristics to which Duke alluded were “the peculiar gaits which make their descendants so valuable for the saddle.”4 However, Morgans were the most popular riding horses used by officers and horse soldiers alike.

Morgans were one of the earliest breeds to be developed in the United States. They can be traced back to their foundation sire, Figure, born in 1789 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and later renamed Justin Morgan after his owner. The breed is smaller than the Thoroughbred and possesses a stocky body, sturdy legs, and a long, thick mane and tail. Morgans are alert, easy keepers, sustaining on little food compared to other breeds.

Used primarily for riding and harness racing, they also served as coach horses. Because they were accustomed to pulling vehicles and were able to keep calm under fire, both armies used the breed extensively during the Civil War.

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During the war, bays were the most common in terms of color. Bay horses are distinguishable by their brown coats and black points (i.e. black manes, tails, and lower legs). Browns were the second-most common, followed by chestnuts and blacks. Next in line were horses whose colors ranged from gray to white, followed by roans, which have white and any other hair color intermixed throughout their coats. Most armed forces did not use pintos, spotted, or white horses, since they believed the animals would be easy targets, but some soldiers took a chance and rode them anyway. Grays were used by trumpeters so that officers could easily locate them when they wanted to have a call blown. Musicians also rode grays.

Horses came to recognize the different bugle calls used during the war. The call to trot or gallop was synchronized with the rhythm of the horses’ hoof beats in those gaits. The animals also recognized certain songs, a favorite of theirs being “Stable Call” because when they heard the music, they knew it was time to eat:

 

Oh, go to the stable,

All you who are able,

And give your poor horses some hay and some corn.

For if you don’t do it,

The colonel will know it,

And then you will rue it as sure as you’re born.5

 

Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart (known as Jeb) had an immense love of music and assembled a band of talented musicians to entertain his division as they marched long miles. Some horses in his cavalry grew so accustomed to the melodies that they responded by prancing in rhythm to the tunes.

 

Here is the Amazon link to purchase the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501200364&sr=8-1&keywords=horses+in+gray

I am looking for reviewers, so please let me know if you are interested. Also, if you know of someone who might want to endorse the book and have their quote on the cover, send them my way!

 

 

 

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