J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “music”

Book Blitz – Curse of Dragon’s Claim

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About the Book

The flame within a dragon warrior’s heart awakens Arianna’s passion as she begins a journey in which she will discover she’s something more than she ever imagined possible.

The realm of the dragons is a world of magic, danger, and mystery. For centuries they’ve been at war with the vampires, but now the two enemies must work together to save all immortals, and the mortals they co-exist with, from an ancient evil. In order to do so, they need the help of the Forsaken, descendants of immortals who were cast out into the human realm, their memories wiped clean of their true heritage.

Clayne MacDagon is a powerful dragon warrior who is sent on a mission to find one of the Forsaken. Although he’s told that this woman is his fated mate, he can’t believe it could possibly be true. Arianna Mergliano possesses both dragon and vampire blood, and Clayne has an intense hatred for anything even remotely related to vampires, the evil beings who were responsible for his beloved twin’s death.

When Arianna meets Clayne, she’s convinced that the man is insane, or maybe he’s a warlock or even the devil himself, but whichever it is, she wants nothing to do with him.

Clayne knows he can’t fail at his mission. And once he meets Arianna he also knows that what he’s been told is true—she is, ironically, his intended mate.

Convincing her to accept him is only the beginning. He has to protect her from those who might want her dead. Together, they must face the shadows and evil that have long plagued the immortal realms and find a way to survive the coming war.

Curse of a Dragon's Claim Cover

Excerpt

Curse of the Dragon Claim Book Two

Curse of the Dragon Claim

“Arianna, please come and sit down so I can fix your hair.” Alba waved Arianna over to the chair in front of a long mirror.

“Sorry, I’m excited. Can’t sit down.” Nevertheless, Arianna obeyed Alba’s direction and sat down.

“We must be ready to leave within an hour. It’s quite a drive to the Allegretti summer home. I’m eager to spend time there. It’s beautiful.” Alba flitted around as she brushed then braided Arianna’s long tresses. “I’ve laid your emerald dress out. If you approve, I’ll pack it. I’ve another for you to travel in.” She pointed to the yellow traveling dress.

Arianna looked toward the bed where her garments were laid out in preparation. “Oh, a lovely choice.”

“Yes, it is. I thought it would make a wonderful impression for this afternoon’s luncheon. In the evening, you can wear your scarlet dress. You’ll be breathtaking.”

“Thank you, Alba. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“No thanks is necessary. I’m doing what your mama asked me to do.” Alba smiled. Arianna watched Alba in the mirror as she fussed with her hair, arranging it on top of her head.

“My hair looks wonderful.” Arianna appraised Alba’s handiwork.

“You should think more of things like hairstyles, dresses, and shopping. It’s what wealthy young women are supposed to do. You spend too much time thinking about other people. This event is important. Your papa and Signor Allegretti are depending on it to impress their new associates. Your papa is counting on you to charm them as you always do.” Alba set the carved jewelry box on the dressing table. “Perhaps you should pick some jewels out now so as not to risk taking all with you.”

“Perhaps.” Arianna frowned, her gaze locking on the older woman’s reflection in the mirror. “I feel particularly nervous about this garden party. For some reason I have this uneasiness…no, not really uneasy, I’m not sure what it is, but I’m worried.” Arianna placed her hand over her stomach. It pained her. “I feel something life changing is about to occur.”

“Hush now, Arianna.” Alba patted her arm. “Such talk makes people very nervous, including me. Change can be good.”

“I can’t help it, I feel something momentous will soon happen. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. I need to be able to speak of things to someone, and the only one I can reveal myself to is you.” Arianna pouted.

“Put these thoughts from your mind and relax. You’re merely nervous about meeting the eligible gentlemen your father invited. I overheard your father say there will be several eligible, well-respected businessmen there. A widower and one who has never been wed are said to be present.”

“Father doesn’t know what an excellent catch is.” Arianna rolled her eyes. “He’s only looking at their wealth.”

“Of course he is, Arianna. It would do you well to understand the way of it. You’d never wed a pauper. You are meant for greater things. Hold still, your hair’s almost done,” Alba instructed.

Arianna handed Alba another pin. The words swirled in her head, a familiar mantra she’d long since gotten tired of.

“There, you’re absolutely exquisite. I want you to look wonderful as soon as you step off the carriage. We’ll refresh you once you’re there. But first impressions, you know.”

“I can’t believe you think wealth’s the only important thing. Not you, Alba. Love’s important. Don’t you think? Isn’t love with physical attraction most important? I know most girls don’t think of this. But I do.”

“I know you think differently in many things, but don’t speak of this to any other. Just remember, love doesn’t pay your bills or buy your lovely silks. Love doesn’t do much, and it may not last.” She motioned for Arianna to stand, then helped her into her dress.

“Papa and Mama loved each other, theirs lasted.”

“Yes, a rarity in itself. If you can tolerate him and he’s wealthy, you’ve the makings of a good husband. Love may come.” Alba stood back, inspected Arianna, and smiled. “You look gorgeous. Let’s get downstairs. The carriage is already parked out front.”

“There will be other females there to charm the gentlemen. They’re much better at being amusing. Sarah’s always so charming and delightful.”

“Yes, but these men are eligible suitors. You’re in need of a husband.”

“I don’t need a husband, at least not yet.”

“Hush, you speak silliness,” Alba scolded as only a beloved servant could do. “You’re a young woman, you need a husband.”

“The other girls need husbands too.”

“Don’t be foolish, you know as well as I, Rafaela’s engaged, Jenna’s being courted by a very appropriate suitor, and Sarah…well, she’s Sarah. You most certainly need a husband. You’re nineteen years old, and getting older every day.”

“You make me sound ancient.” Arianna giggled.

“Someone must take care of you. It won’t be your father forever, he grows older too.”

“Truly, I can take care of myself.”

* * * *

Clayne relaxed against the ornate couch, a drink in his hand. He appraised the home with a quick eye, the luxury of the human’s dwelling spartan compared to the spacious townhouse he’d recently purchased in the heart of Florence. The invitation to the Allegretti home was most advantageous. It allowed him to continue his search without breaking his cover of a rich merchant who recently relocated from Rome to enjoy the art and culture of Florence, the jewel of the Renaissance.

It amused him to interact with these uncomplicated people. Signor Antonio Mergliano had been insistent that Clayne accept the invitation to the garden party, assuring him an entertaining visit. For some reason, Clayne was compelled to accept, he liked the old man.

Clayne shifted. While fortuitous, the invite was a hindrance. He should be searching for a godforsaken female with the mark of the dragon. No doubt the Forsaken bitch was an ugly, cold-hearted, half-breed bloodsucker. His blood boiled at the very notion of a vampire’s offspring.

There’s no fucking way she’ll be my mate. Mother’s prediction is wrong.

Clayne stood up, stretching his legs. Taking a sip of his drink, it cooled his inner heat. He burned with annoyance at having to do the Goddess Amuliana Synvera’s bidding.

His hatred for anything remotely related to vampires ate at him. They were only good for killing, as far as he was concerned. As loyal as he was to his king, this quest made his temper burn. He’d much rather be back in Ejdeha Dragoni having his teeth pulled than searching for this abomination in human form.

Mother’s wrong. How could the fates be so cruel to me?

He sighed into his drink. It had been years since he’d spent so much time among mortals. Only his trips for his king drew him from his seclusion, and the grief still stung at the loss of his beloved sister.

Perhaps he’d find a simple-minded human female to dally with, relieve his frustrations. Dragon females could be so complicated and greedy of his time. Often, human girls pretended to be virtuous, yet he knew better, seeing through their facade immediately. Allegretti’s daughter was one such female, she smelled of many men. Perhaps she’d be willing and eager to sneak off to a secluded place where he could get lost for a bit between her thighs. The thought brought a smile to his face.

 

Ciara

About the Author

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

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The Olympics

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The 2018 Winter Olympic games commenced today in PyeongChang. South Korea. The first modern Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece on April 6, 1896. Olympic games were held in Olympia, Greece 1503 years prior to this, from 776 BC through 393 AD.

Soldiers who fought in the Civil War had a lot of time to kill between battles, so they invented their own games to compete in, from baseball to “throwing papers,” otherwise known as gambling, to horseracing. But the most interesting winter “sport” they participated in was snowball fighting. Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describing the snowball fight that took place prior to the Battle of Fredericksburg.

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Hiram glanced around at his comrades, who were entrenched on either side of him, waiting for another Yankee advance. With time to reflect, he thought back to the previous month’s events. The 4th Alabama had abandoned their encampment and moved to Culpeper Court House. They remained there until November 22, when Lee discovered Burnside was headed north from Richmond, so he assembled his troops near the quaint town of Fredericksburg. The Confederate army swelled to almost twice its size, due to returning soldiers who had become ill prior to their march into Maryland. Remaining on the south side of the icy Rappahannock River, the Rebels gazed at the church spires that rose up from the town like bony, skeletal fingers, reaching to the heavens for sanctuary.

They waited for Burnside to pounce, but their wait was long-lived, for he hesitated. Since the men were required only to attend dress parade and roll call, they idled away their time by staging snowball fights, some so zealous that several soldiers were wounded, and a few were killed.

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They also spent time exploring the town, as well as the terrain north of camp. Fredericksburg had been nearly evacuated, except for a few citizens who still remained, because their only other option was to camp in the snowy woods until danger passed. On a few rare occasions, the 4th Alabama was detailed to picket duty in town, where they stayed inside deserted homes that housed fine paintings, extensive libraries, and lovely furniture, or they stood guard outside on the piazzas, and in the immaculate sculptured gardens, gazing across the river at the Union soldiers’ tents. They noticed how finely outfitted the Yankees were in their splendid blue uniforms, but the Confederates, in contrast, were clothed in ragged, tattered, dingy butternut.

Some of the Rebels managed to converse with the enemy, even though it was strictly forbidden, and exchange their tobacco for much-desired coffee and sugar. After a while, though, a treaty was established, and the Southerners sent across a plank, with a mast made from a current Richmond newspaper. The Federals sent their “boat” to the Southern port, using a mast constructed from a Northern newspaper. Thus, the two sides stayed abreast of what the media was saying.

On several occasions, Hiram heard music float across the river. The Yankee bands played new songs he had never heard before. One sounded like “John Brown’s Body,” but the words had been changed. This, he learned, was the Union army’s new anthem, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” He didn’t appreciate the lyrics, since they equated the Confederates to devils, but listened with interest, nonetheless. Another Yankee song they played repetitively was called the “Battle Cry of Freedom.” He liked that one better, but it still didn’t make his spirit soar like “Dixie” did. The Federals played “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hail Columbia,” songs the Southerners once held dear, and waited for Confederate bands to reply, but no reprisal came. As if reading Hiram’s mind, the Yankees rambunctiously played “Dixie’s Land.” Men on both sides of the river burst into cheers, which fell away to mutual laughter.

 

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish you a very happy New Year. May all your hopes and dreams come true in 2018.

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. It is New Year’s Eve, 1863, and the antagonist, David, finds himself in a predicament he never could have imagined. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the past.

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That evening, the family and their friends gathered in the parlor for a New Year’s Eve celebration, but David kept to a corner, avoiding the others. Anna had given him some wine, so he sat alone, contentedly sipping, and gazed at the two Currier and Ives paintings. Claudia and Abigail amused themselves with their stereographs and the carousels he had made for them. Anna and Maggie talked happily while Sarah and Grace conversed in the opposite corner. At midnight, they all gathered in the center of the room. Anna stood close to him as the mantle clock chimed twelve times.

“Happy New Year!” the ladies exclaimed, raising their glasses.

They clanked their crystals together, and everyone took a sip of wine. David glanced over at the doorway where a strand of mistletoe had been hung. He wished he was standing beneath it with Anna, so he would have an excuse to kiss her. Claudia and Abigail went around the room hugging everyone before they went up to bed. Once David had finished his glass, he excused himself and retired to his room.

He lit the fire, undressed, heated a bed warmer in the embers of the fireplace, and set it on the bed. While he waited for it to warm the flannel sheets, he checked on his Colt .44 and saw that it was just as he’d left it. Returning the warmer to its place near the hearth, he climbed into bed and shivered slightly, his breath barely visible in the firelight.

Closing his eyes, he thought of everything that had taken place the previous year: how he had traveled to Virginia and fought with so many fearless commanders and comrades, and how he had lost Jake and had ended up at the Brady farm. His mind wandered to home. He wondered how his mother and sisters were getting along and whether the Yankees had taken over their land. He hoped 1864 would see an end to the terrible war, but he also wished the South would be triumphant somehow. He thought of his hospitable hostesses and how they had saved him: Miss Maggie, who obviously loathed him; Miss Sarah, who tolerated him; and Anna, lovely Anna. If the war ended, she might be interested in him for some other reason than to provide her with an alibi. It seemed the only people who really liked him for who he was were the two little girls.

Thank God for their innocence, he thought.

His mind drifted back to Anna and her amazing smile. What this year held in store for them, he hadn’t a clue. Perhaps he would be able to return to Alabama soon, after all. It would be a welcome escape from the predicament he now found himself in. Anna was too close, too personal. He knew he was falling further with each passing day. His portentous, precarious situation reminded him of soldiers he’d seen walking enemy lines. He knew sparks could never fly between the two of them. It was the worst forbidden, foreboding situation he could have ever imagined. His affections toward her might potentially place Anna in horrific danger. The Yankees could blame her for treason. She would stand to lose her farm, or even worse, her life. Where would that leave her younger sisters? Guilt washed over him. He couldn’t restrain his feelings, yet he knew he had to. His only choice was to submit to his present condition: the most challenging, heart-wrenching situation he had yet to endure. He knew his family missed him and Callie needed him, but in his heart he wasn’t ready to go home.

The Decline of Memphis

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Earlier this week, I wrote about how the city of Memphis has been working to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from a city park (previously known as Forrest park until the city council changed the name a few years back). Last night, after the council voted, the statue was removed. Another statue of Jefferson Davis was also removed. I am heartsick that this has happened. The city council also wants to remove the remains of General Forrest and his wife, which are buried under the statue’s base. It is repulsive and deeply offensive that they would show such a blatant disrespect to the general’s descendants.

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Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans issued a statement saying they would fight the actions taken by the Memphis city council and would go through litigation to reverse the removal of the statues. Memphis seems to think that they could remove the statues because they sold the two parks where the statues were located for a mere $1000 each, and now that the parks are now privately owned, the new owners can remove the statues. However, this goes against Tennessee law that all historical monuments, names, etc. should remain intact.

Memphis has previously lost every court case, hearing and appeal to remove the statues. So they contrived a back door way of removing the statues and snuck around in the dark to remove them. I find this appalling and disgusting, not to mention illegal. But after living outside of Memphis for years, I totally get it. When we first moved there from Colorado, I was shocked about the mafia-like politics that take place there. It seemed so 1930’s to me, and yet, they frequently got away with all kinds of crimes. Now they have taken the law into their own hands and gone against it for their own behalf. But what does it really accomplish?

When I told a friend last night that Memphis was taking down the statues, she responded by saying, “Are they really still doing that?” I knew what she meant. Is the south still destoying its history? Wasting money that would be better spent elsewhere? I’m glad I live in Colorado now and don’t have to see this desecration. I only hope Memphis learns its lesson the hard way.

Stranger Things

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I started watching the series, Stranger Things, on Netflix the other night, and then got to thinking. There is nothing stranger than what is going on in our country right now. I am referring to all the blatant disregard toward American history, and more specifically, toward Confederate history. Monuments are being targeted, whereas last year, it was the Confederate battle flag that was under attack. Now, the statues are supposedly “racist,” and are being accused of displaying “white supremacy.” I have yet to figure out how some people associate these terms with Confederate soldiers’ statues.  The monuments were primarily placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the early 1900’s, and I seriously doubt those ladies purchased them to make racist statements. No, funds were raised to erect the monuments in honor of their lost loved ones and their beloved generals. Those soldiers were not racist. They fought to preserve their homes, and many gave their lives in doing so. In retaliation, the UDC is now being called an extension of the KKK. Absurd!

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The latest insanity is the cancellation of an annual reenactment at the Manassas battlefield this weekend. Today, the Charlottesville, Virginia, city council had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson covered with black tarps, as if that will accomplish anything. And earlier this week, a forum was held in Oxford, Mississippi to discuss the Confederate monument. The forum was not advertised. One woman in attendance complained about the statue of Robert E. Lee in front of City Hall. However, the statue is actually that of William Faulkner.

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These idiots don’t even know what they are protesting. Their ignorance is appalling. To claim that every Confederate soldier fought for white supremacy and was a racist is like saying they all fought to preserve slavery. So not true! This foolish misconception and misrepresentation is leading to more destruction and causing deeper rifts, and the amount of taxpayers’ money being used to move the monuments is enormous. In Memphis, it is estimated that it will cost the city around $7-800,000 to move the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. It’s hard to justify that tremendous expense when the city is drowning in debt, teeming with corruption, and has one of the highest crime rates in the country. When taken to a vote, the majority of citizens do not want the statues removed. Somehow, stupidity reigns supreme.

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Wonders Never Cease

The debacle over removing four Confederate monuments in New Orleans hasn’t been enough ridiculousness lately. It seems some groups just can’t have enough political correctness or they will never be happy. Not only are several other areas sporting the idea of removing their monuments (Florida, Maryland), but street names and other landmarks are also under attack. Personally, I find it all disgusting and disrespectful, not to mention idiotic, and a true indicator of certain groups being misinformed and uneducated.

Now a student petition is circulating Louisiana State University to change the “Tigers” mascot. The petition claims that the mascot is “the most prevalent Confederate symbol in the United States.” How stupid is this!

The petition also states that the mascot was chosen during the Civil War by “powerful white males” as an homage to the Confederate “Louisiana Tigers” regiment. Huh? According to the petition, the regiments’ members “were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battlefield.” Um, excuse me, but there was a war going on, after all.

Another reason the petition is trying to replace the mascot is because “It’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people…It is incredibly insulting for any African American to have to attend a school that honors Confederate militantism. It is already hard enough to be black at LSU, and these symbols must be changed.” Where to begin with this paragraph? Somebody is way too sensitive for their own good. I’m confused about the reference to a wild animal being caged for the amusement of privileged white people. What wild animal? Is the petition referring to the cute tiger cartoon on the logo? By the way, that sentence screams racism all over it! Here’s a news flash: there were black soldiers in the Confederate army! And why is it so hard to be a black student at LSU, anyway? This petition sounds a bit whiny to me.

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The petition concludes with a quote by Dr. Charles Coates, who was an LSU administrator from 1893-1939. He explained how the Tigers mascot originated in a 1937 alumni newsletter. LSU began its college football program in 1895. According to Dr. Coates, the team name was chosen because of Louisiana’s heritage, and he found it appropriate because the Louisiana Fighting Tigers were known for “getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently.”

Because of this explanation, the petition claims the tiger is a “symbol of white oppression” that must be eradicated. I don’t know how the petition’s author got that from Dr Coate’s opinion. White oppression? Seriously? Sounds more like football to me. The petition proclaims, “We must speak truth to power, and continue to march toward justice. That day is coming, the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down.” Okay, wow. Just wow. Not only do they have their facts twisted, but apparently, their panties are twisted in a wad as well. This isn’t the day of Malcolm X, for crying out loud! No one is being oppressed because the LSU logo has a tiger on it! This is certainly some sort of crazy.
Stay tuned for more bizarre, historically inaccurate accusations coming from your favorite places in the South! (Thank goodness Alabama has some sense.)

My Interview with Vanessa Kings

Recently, I was interviewed by blogger Vanessa Kings about my novels and my writing style. The interview follows:

Our guest this week is J.D.R. Hawkins she is the author of  A Beautiful Glittering Lie  among other books.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.
I am an award winning author who has had several titles published. My latest book is A Beautiful Glittering Lie. It is the first book in the Renegade Series.

How did you come up with the title of “A Beautiful Glittering Lie”?
The title is based off a quote from a Confederate soldier who fought in the Civil War. He referred to battle as a “glittering lie.” I loved that reference, so I expanded on it.

What is your favorite character of “A Beautiful Glittering Lie”?
My favorite character is David Summers, the son of a Confederate infantryman. Although he is obligated to stay at home, his longing for adventure leads him into trouble.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?
Primarily, I write historical fiction. It is fascinating to research history and see what ghosts, secrets, and little known facts I can discover.

How would you describe your writing style?
I think my books are fast paced, easy, exciting reads.

What authors inspire your writing? Do you have a mentor?
Other authors who have inspired me include Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Margaret Mitchell, J.K. Rowling and Charles Frazier. I don’t have a mentor.

What would you like to be if you weren’t a writer?
A musician and/or an artist. (I have music available on iTunes as Julie Hawkins)

What are you working on now?
My nonfiction book about the Civil War, Horses in Gray, will be published in a few months. I also have the third book in the Renegade Series coming out later this year.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Never give up! Write every chance you get. Take classes, go to conferences and join a writing group. The more you immerse yourself in the craft, the better you will become.

If you have to choose only one book to keep, knowing the others would be destroyed, which one would you save?
The Holy Bible.

Thank you very much J.D.R. Hawkins for stopping by to answer our questions!

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Civil War Celts: The Fighting Irish

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Because I’m Irish, I think it is only fitting to pay homage to some of the many Irishmen who fought in the War Between the States. The Irish played an enormous role in both armies during the Civil War, and many famous soldiers were Irish. Nearly everyone has heard of the infamous Irish Brigade, the 69th New York Infantry “Fighting Irish,” which still exists today. The Irish Brigade, led by Thomas Francis Meagher, played a significant role in many major battles, and there have been documented accounts of the Confederates hearing the approaching Irish Brigade chant, “Erin Go Bragh!” as the Irishmen marched toward them with the Union army. The 2,500 Irish soldiers stuck green sprigs in their caps to remind them of the “old sod.”

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On the Confederate side, six of the 425 generals were Irish. Patrick Cleburne saw the South’s plight as that of Ireland’s, in that the Union refused to allow secession, just as Britain disallowed Irish independence. General Cleburne, who would be celebrating his birthday today if he was alive, distinguished himself as a brave and innovative leader. Other notable Irish commanders included General Philip Sheridan, General George Armstrong Custer, John Barry, father of the American Navy, and the Reverend Abram Joseph Ryan, who served as a chaplain to Confederate troops and went against Union authorities to do so.

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During the course of the War Between the States, approximately 2.2 million men fought for the Union, 150,000 of which were Irish. In comparison, around 900,000 enlisted for the Confederacy, with 20,000 to 40,000 of these men being of Irish decent. The Irish influenced Civil War music as well. A popular song of the time, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” was written by Patrick Gilmore, who was, of course, an Irishman.

Romance and the Civil War

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Welcome to the Indie Love Blog Hop! As part of this blog tour, I have been asked to highlight an indie author, so I chose myself! Therefore, I have included a synopsis of my two printed novels and a short, romantic interlude from each book. Please read to the end to find out how you can win a book!

First up, a synopsis and excerpt from A Beautiful Glittering Lie:

Synopsis:

In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America chooses to fight for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. In north Alabama, the majority favors remaining in the Union, but when the state secedes, many come to her defense. Such is the case with Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three. He decides to enlist, and his son, David, also desires to go, but is instead obligated to stay behind.

Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although he doesn’t intentionally seek out adventure, he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat. In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Their escapade turns sour when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie addresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.

Excerpt:

Unintentionally, he fell asleep. He awoke to find his room dark. Quickly rising, he went outside to feed the animals, but was informed by Rena that his chores had already been done, so he ambled back to his room, lit the oil lamp, and picked up his guitar. He sat upon his bed, gently strumming it. Already, he had managed to figure out five different chords, and could play his favorite, which was the “Bonnie Blue Flag.” For some reason, that song made him proud to be a Southerner, and for believing in the cause that his father was about to defend, even though the concept was rather vague to him. He knew a few other melodies, too: “Old Zip Coon,” “Aura Lea,” “Old Dan Tucker,” and his favorite, “Cindy.” When he had gone through his repertoire a few times, long enough for his fingertips to start hurting, he put the instrument back in the corner.

Deciding to go outside, he stepped onto the breezeway. Voices were speaking from just beyond the corner, so he moved up close enough to see around it. His mother and father were sitting side by side, their silhouettes illuminated by the pale moonlight.

“Now don’t forget to write to me every chance you git,” she was saying.

He snickered. “I won’t forget, honey.”

“And I expect you to attend services every Sunday.”

“I will.”

“I’ll send you packages every week.”

“That’ll be jist fine.”

They sat in the dark momentarily as the faint hoot of an owl punctuated the silence.

“I don’t want you to go,” she finally said, “even though I know it’s your duty to uphold.”

“Now, Caroline, darlin’, you know I’ll be fine.”

“Yes, I do. But I’ll still fret about you.”

He softly chuckled. “There’s no need for you to worry your purty lil head.”

She took his hand. “I’ll miss you, my dear,” she tenderly whispered.

There was another extended silence, and then Hiram responded in a low, passionate voice, “I’ll miss you, too. You know that, Caroline. My heart belongs to you, and it always will.”

David stepped back into the shadows to the sanctuary of his room. He quietly closed the door behind him. For some reason, he felt consumed with gloom, but pushed the feeling aside. His father was leaving in the morning for excitement, honor, and glory. He forced his heartache to turn into anticipation.

And now, a synopsis and excerpt from A Beckoning Hellfire:

Synopsis:

During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

But once in the cavalry, David’s life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war.

A haunting look at the human side of one of America’s most tragic conflicts, A Beckoning Hellfire speaks to the delusion of war’s idealism.

Excerpt:

“Oh, Jake, darlin’,” Calle crooned, turning her face to his, “please go in and fetch me my shawl.”

Jake mooned over her. “Of course, Callie,” he said.

His countenance was that of pure adoration, dripping with too much sweetness for David’s taste. He watched Jake’s performance with one eyebrow cocked, and for a moment, looked away so that they wouldn’t see him frown. It was obvious that Jake wouldn’t be enlisting with him after all.

“Oh, and I believe your mother wishes to speak with you,” Callie added over her shoulder as Jake opened the screen door and went inside. She turned back to face David. “I would like to have a word with you privately,” she informed him.

“Yes, miss,” he responded.

A strange, awkward pause ensued. She moved closer to him. He could feel his face flushing.

“Do you remember last summer, when we were at the fishin’ hole with Jake and your two sisters?” she turned her head slightly to look at him out of the corner of her eye.

He nodded. This was making him uncomfortable. Callie reached out and grabbed hold of his hand. He felt like she was cornering him.

“Do you recollect what happened after they all left, and it was jist you and me remainin’?”

“Yeah.”

Regardless of how badly he didn’t want to remember, he couldn’t help but think back to the event. Jake had volunteered to escort Rena and Josie home. David made fun of the way Callie’s hair looked, she splashed him, he splashed her back, and then she swam right up to him, clasped onto his head with her hands, and planted a big wet kiss straight on his mouth. He recalled how shocked he was, completely taken aback, this coming from the girl who was supposed to be Jake’s. He remembered protesting, telling her that he had to leave, that Jake loved her, and that Jake was the one she should be doing that to. But to his surprise, she laughed, amused by his bewildered embarrassment. She informed him that, if anything were to ever happen to Jake, he would be her next choice. Reliving the moment in his mind made him feel even more awkward now. He looked down at his feet.

“David, I want you to know that I love the both of you,” she said. She reached out and pulled his chin up, forcing him to look at her. “And you know that I intend to marry Jake. But if he decides to go off to war, and somethin’ should happen to him …”

“Callie Mae Copeland,” he interrupted, “don’t you be thinkin’ that way.”

Callie looked deeply into his eyes. David blinked. She drew closer.

“If anything should happen, promise me you will return to take his place.”

“I don’t reckon he’s fixin’ to go.”

“He ain’t made up his mind yet.” Her penetrating stare bore into him. “Promise me you’ll come back to claim me as your bride.”

He felt his resolve melting. “All right, I promise,” he reluctantly agreed, knowing that it was the only way to escape the confrontation.

As part of this blog hop, I am sponsoring a book giveaway. What I ask is that you answer the following questions and email them to me at jdrhawkins@gmail.com. The contest runs through February 21, after which I will announce the two winners on my blog. Good luck and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. Describe your perfect Civil War soul mate:
  1. What is their name?
  2. Where are they from?
  3. What is their occupation?
  4. What is their age/gender?
  5. What are some of your soul mate’s personality traits?
  6. Please specify if you would like a copy of A Beautiful Glittering Lie or A Beckoning Hellfire.

Thanks for participating! I can’t wait to read what you send me. Stay tuned – winners will be announced on February 22!

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