I am pleased to announce that my current Work in Progress has been awarded First Place in the Master division of the Ink and Insights 2016 Writing Contest. As part of the contest I received excellent feedback from the judges, editors and agents which will help me make the story even better. You can read an excerpt over at their website: https://inkandinsights.com/master-novels-winners-page.php Click on Read a sample.
Three of the BB-36 USS Nevada sailors we hosted back in February took the honor flight to Pearl Harbor to take part in the 75th Commemoration of the Pearl Harbor attack. Though they were not on board USS Nevada during the attack (they joined her later), they are representing this great ship, the only ship to get underway during the attack.
On October 22, 1913 the second deadliest mining disaster in America happened in Dawson, New Mexico. This is the setting of the current novel I’m writing. I plan to finish the next draft (number 4 since first starting last November) this November for NanoWriMo-National Novel Writing Month.
The story centers around three women from different backgrounds. Abbie, a white woman from a wealthy Boston family is disowned by her family and comes west with the stable boy. Cassie, a black woman who dreams of singing on stage in Dallas Texas, but follows love to the coal town in New Mexico, and an Italian immigrant who leaves her family and country to join her husband working in the coal mines.
The tragedy brings the diverse women together the night of October 22-23, 1913. As they wait for news of who lives and who dies, they seek comfort in the similarity of their circumstances. To pass the time, they share their stories of their lives and struggles and forge bonds which are made in The Waiting Shadows.
Please check back for more news (exciting news) to come regarding this story.
Here is an excerpt:
Deep inside Stag Canyon Mine Number 2, the miner entered the darkness, his lamp flickering over the black coal veins. The clanging of shovels and picks from men working further down the tunnel reached him. The shot firer placed the powder in the hole. At a voice he turned, knocked his lamp askew against a timber, and the gas flame escaped. The hungry spark tasted the coal dust, found the flavor pleasing, and in an instant stretched out for more. It searched through the tunnels, greedily licking up every pocket of dust and gas, until finally the blast ricocheted off the walls, bringing down dirt and timber braces. The blaze traveled through the chambers, followed the shaft inhaling air and fumes. Hungry, it craved additional fuel. At last, in one final fury, the flames belched out of the entrance, shooting out a hundred feet. Timbers flew, expelled out of the opening as if some ancient god spat them out in anger.
Left in the voracious fire’s wake, the mine shuddered, rocked below and above.
The miner, whose lamp initiated the catastrophe, saw only a bright white-hot light. His eardrums collapsed under the force of the blast. Thrown against the timbers and covered with rock and dirt, he knew nothing more. Others nearby heard only the blast before being smothered underneath tons of earth.
A few dazed men, covered in blackened dust, stumbled out of the entrance, supporting one another. One scorched man, then another and another—they coughed, choked for air. Long seconds passed before a few others made their way to daylight. Fifteen climbed out of the mine before too many minutes passed.
Beneath the land more than two hundred and fifty remained buried. Souls from all parts of the globe: Italy, Greece, Ireland, Austria, Mexico, Slovenia, Bohemia, France, Hungary, Russia, Scotland, Croatia, Poland, and Americans—black and white.
It was a little after three in the afternoon on October 22, 1913.
It's been a while since I've posted, but lots has been happening.
In February, Chuck and I hosted five WWII veterans of the USS Nevada for a reunion in Las Vegas. We had a grand time with them and people and organizations around the valley were very generous with their time and intentions to make the event a memorable one. Chuck's documentary, Battleship Nevada premiered at the SouthPoint Theaters. We made the front page of the Las Vegas Review Journal.
This month, we honored a WWII vet in Aberdeen SD (we summer here in South Dakota). Chuck premiered his film USS Hadley One Hundred Minutes in Hellfire which is now up on Youtube. (Click the title for the link). We had representatives from both SD senators, a representative of the SD Congresswoman, the mayor of Aberdeen. The governor's office proclaimed September 7, 2016 Dell Burt Hall Day in South Dakota. Chuck was on the news and again the event made the front page of the local paper.
I say all this because what we do matters to these veterans. Of course, these are the few who are left who represent our "Greatest Generation."
I'll post this weekend about my current novel I'm working on. In the meantime, check me out on Facebook for more current updates. https://www.facebook.com/TamaraEatonNovels/
Heroes come in many forms, those that fight and those who stand for their principles. Here is the story of a ship and a woman who both showed heroism 74 years ago.
On a peaceful December morning in Pearl Harbor Hawaii the quiet was interrupted by an attack on the US Navy and Airfields.
All of the Pacific Fleet battleships were moored in the harbor that morning, a rather unusual event. Only one ship was missing (undergoing a refit).
When the attack began at approximately 8 a.m. local time, the band on the USS Nevada was playing "Morning Colors." Immediately men rushed to their battle stations.
Within fifteen minutes of the attack, the USS Arizona was sunk and the USS Oklahoma had capsized and their war was over before it began. The officer of the USS Nevada knew they could suffer the same fate if they didn't get away from the ammunitions barge. They already had boilers running (another fortunate event) so they made a run for it, the ONLY battleship to get underway during the attack.
The Japanese airplanes turned their attention to the escaping ship. The crewman maneuvered her toward the mouth of the harbor, but knew if they sank, it would block the opening. Therefore, they intentionally ran her aground on Hospital Point.
The men of the USS Nevada became the most decorated with multiple Navy crosses and two Congressional Medals of Honor for their performance during the battle.
The next day (December 8, 1941) President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a short speech which began: "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
He then asked Congress for a declaration of war which they passed almost unanimously. Only one member, Jeanette Rankin (R) Montana voted against it because, “As a woman, I can’t go to war and I refuse to send anyone else.” She knew it was political suicide, but she voted her conscience anyway.
WEEPING WOMEN SPRINGS
On December 7, 1941 many US citizens weren't even aware of where Pearl Harbor was, after all Hawaii wasn't even a state yet. When word of the attack was broadcast, the first response of many people was "Where's Pearl Harbor?"
My book, Weeping Women Springs begins on the Homefront in a fictional Arizona town where they hear news of the attack.
The door at the end of the gym burst open and little Eddie Frolander ran inside. “The Japs bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted. “Melvin’s dad heard it on his radio.”
Everything went silent, all but the bouncing ball echoing through the gymnasium. The players surrounded Eddie and everyone began talking at once.
“Where’s Pearl Harbor?” Maxine asked me.
“I don’t know,” I answered. We climbed down the bleachers to join the players.
Nine-year-old Eddie’s words tripped over one another. “I dunno any details, but Mr. Bracht said to tell everyone. He said we might be at war and spread the word.”
“War.” The word was murmured repeatedly through the crowd.
“Pearl Harbor is in Hawaya. The president said they bombed the navy base there.” Eddie’s dark hair fell over his eyes.
Maxine rushed over to Billy and he threw a sweaty arm around her shoulders. At that moment, I longed for a shoulder to lean on too.
Donnie Frolander, Eddie’s older brother, sidled up to me. “If we’ve been attacked, what will it mean?”
“Surely the president will tell us what to do.” I said. “President Roosevelt has seen us through a lot already.”
“Maybe we ought to head over to Mr. Bracht’s house,” Billy suggested.
“The Council was mad when Mr. Bracht bought a battery radio last year,” Donnie said. “But maybe this is a good reason to have a radio in town. Imagine if we didn’t find out until Tuesday when Tularosa comes to play the game. Boy, would we look dumb.”
Available Now on Amazon
After several years in process, Weeping Women Springs is finally completed and published by Irksome Rebel Woman, an imprint of Irksome Rebel Press. For a limited time it is available on amazon kindle for 99 cents, and from Amazon in paperpack. Click on the picture to go to the buy link.
Today marked the beginning of the next step in my writing journey. I've completed the final draft of Weeping Women Springs and submitted it to the Kindle Scout program. If you haven't heard about the Kindle Scout program, you can check it out here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/
Essentially it is where readers get to choose what they'd like to read by reading the opening pages of a novel and nominating it to be published. Between the Kindle Scout editors and the readers a selection is made or not. If selected the novel is published by Kindle Press.
Tamara Eaton is a "western woman." She lives in the southwest, and wide open spaces of the desert and prairie are often portrayed in her work--fiction and poetry. Her novel, Weeping Women Springs, is a speculative novel set during WWII in the desert of Arizona and is available on Amazon. When not writing she is usually editing the work of others.