Rethinking

NUCLEAR TIME BOMB, published on Amazon June 2021, is my first novel and I worked on it several years as I worked on technique, paid for numerous editors, and read multiple books about writing fiction. Despite thousands of dollars on editors, readers have found mistakes. Consequently, I am going back through it, literally word by word out loud, checking for missing words, unnecessary punctuation, opportunities to improve showing rather than telling, and tightening up the story. BTW, the readers liked the story and reviews were good.

As I went through it, I was struck by several reviewer comments along the line of “this isn’t typically the type of book I read but I enjoyed the story, the twists and turns, and it kept me turning pages.”

I asked myself it wasn’t the type of book they would normally read and concluded two things. First, nuclear isn’t such a hot topic these days. Second, the cover is too busy.

So, I am contemplating changing the title to something more mainstream and changing the cover to something that captures the essence of the story. After playing with a number of possible titles and covers I am testing this. MALICIOUS DECEPTION.

Let me know what you think. Stay tuned and, as always, stay safe.

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NUCLEAR TIME BOMB

After quite a bit of input, most outside of Facebook, I decided to go with this cover. What do you think? Let me know at w.michael.hewitt@gmail.com and I will send you a copy of ‘For Want of a Friend’. That is a short story about Essie Openwaters, a 12-year-old girl who becomes scarred by the hatred and bigotry cast at her by schoolmates for being Native American and living in poverty.

Nearly a decade later, 21-year-old Essie is the heroine in NUCLEAR TIME BOMB where she struggles against a psychopathic killer (Ty Rettig) and federal and state bureaucracies to stop a nuclear time bomb.Get to know Essie now.

Let me know what you think about this cover at w.michael.hewitt@gmail.com and I will send you a free copy of the short story.

NUCLEAR TIME BOMB, the novel, will be released on Amazon in early 2021.

STRATAGEM

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on STRATAGEM, the sequel to NUCLEAR TIME BOMB.

In STRATAGEM, Essie Openwaters qualifies as a federal agent at the request of the Secretary of Energy who assigns her the task of tracking 15 Kg of plutonium-239 that was stolen from the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. Essie struggles with a number of new foes and one old one, Ty Rettig.

I think that you’ll enjoy its many twists and turns as its story line takes you into some of the shadiest corners around the globe.

I’m anticipating receiving NUCLEAR TIME BOMB from the editor next Tuesday. Then I will focus on getting it into a final draft for the proofread scheduled for mid-December.

Stay safe and take COVID-19 seriously– it’s nothing to fool with.

FOR WANT OF A FRIEND

A year ago Intangience published a short story that I wrote about Essie Openwaters as a twelve-year-old child struggling against bigotry. It was titled, Essie.

I decided that I could do more with that story so I am in the process of updating and enhancing it. I plan to publish it later this year under the title, For Want of a Friend. My intent is to give readers of NUCLEAR TIMEBOMB better insights into Essie.

Stay tuned as I plan to give free copies of the story to those that follow me.

Meanwhile, please stay safe, and let’s work together to eliminate COVID-19.

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NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE: PUREX LEAK — Introducing Al Rutgers

Al Rutgers, Manager of the Hanford PUREX Plant, has set new plutonium production records ever since he took command. But when the best engineer he had ever worked with left an “eyes only” memo on his desk in the dead of night, its message frightened him to the core. The nuclear timebomb it claimed was forming in PUREX Tunnel 1 would make Hanford, the Tri-Cities, and thousands of acres of surrounding agricultural land uninhabitable for 100 years or more. It would also lead to his dismissal and end any chance for his son and daughter to enter college. He revealed the memo to Ty Rettig, the AEC Manager, knowing that Rettig would cover it up to protect his own career aspirations.

 

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Nuclear Nightmare: PUREX Leak –Introducing Ty Rettig

Dr. Tyrone (Ty) Rettig is a genius. He is also a psychopath. He became the manager of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission’s Hanford Works in Eastern Washington when he was twenty-five. Now twenty-seven, he needs to return to Washington, D.C. where he grew up, the son of a powerful U.S. Senator and heir to a fortune. He craves the anonymity major cities provide in order to pursue his violent fantasies, something he can’t do in Richland, Washington where he is the big boss and constantly observed. But Craig Campbell’s memo threatens his promotion and his secret. Campbell must be silenced.

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NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE: PUREX LEAK — Introducing Sam Ackerman

 

Sam Ackerman, PUREX Solvent Recovery Supervisor, learned that he was way over his head when he hijacked Craig Campbell’s test rig. His failure to conduct standard pre-op tests resulted in a major solvent leak in Q-Cell that threatened the lives of everyone in PUREX if the solvent exploded or, if the solvent reached a depth of six inches on the Q-Cell floor, a nuclear criticality event would occur. Sam’s incompetence led to a nuclear timebomb being placed in PUREX Tunnel 1, a place where the most radioactive solid wastes from PUREX were stored under a few feet of dirt. As the diethyl ether degrades to a highly explosive and unstable peroxide form, the contents of PUREX Tunnel 1 may be blown into the atmosphere rendering the Hanford Site, the Tri-Cities, the surrounding farmland, and the Columbia River contaminated with radioactive fallout.

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Nuclear Nightmare: PUREX Leak — Introducing Craig Campbell

I anticipate publishing Nuclear Nightmare: PUREX Leak, as an Amazon Kindle novella in December 2020. I think it’s time to start introducing you to some of its key characters.

I’ll begin with Craig Campbell even though the first chapter of the manuscript features Ty Rettig, the antagonist.

But it is Craig Campbell who sets the intrigue in motion.

Craig Campbell is a loner because he believes that he has to be. At thirty-two years old, he has never had a sexual relationship with anyone. Craig fears that he may be gay and in 1965, a gay relationship would end his career as the chief chemical engineer at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission’s top-secret PUREX Plant. That is the facility where weapons-grade plutonium is produced.

When Craig discovers a horrible mistake that his supervisor (Sam Ackerman) made while Craig was hospitalized, Craig documents his fears in a memo to Al Rutgers, the PUREX Plant Manager. That memo warns of a nuclear timebomb being formed inside PUREX Tunnel 1 due to unstable chemicals in the highly radioactive materials that Ackerman had placed in the tunnel to hide his errors. That memo triggers a government coverup and a cascade of murders.

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Update

I am currently writing a novella and two novels, all works of fiction. Well, the US Department of Energy Hanford Site is real, as are the PUREX Plant and PUREX Tunnels, but the stories are fiction.

The following is intended to assist you in understanding how the novella and two novels relate to each other. Over the next several days, I will also provide you with insights into the key characters.

Nuclear Nightmare: PUREX Leak is a 40,000-word novella. I anticipate publishing it on Amazon this fall following editing. It tells the story of how an accident during a test of a new system at the PUREX Plant in 1965 resulted in a government cover-up that hid the existence of a nuclear time bomb hidden in Hanford PUREX Tunnel 1. Craig Campbell, a brilliant young chemical engineer dealing with sexuality issues, discovers the cover-up, documents it in an “eyes-only” memo to the plant manager. He hides a copy out of fear that the memo will be ignored. It is a techno-thriller complete with murder, corruption, and intrigue.

Nuclear Time Bomb is a 110,000-word novel that is complete other than final editing (I am currently weighing whether to self-publish or publish using traditional means.) It relates how a twenty-two-year-old newly hired female research scientist struggles with inner demons that threaten her career. Raised in poverty by her Native American father in a bigoted North Idaho town, Essie Openwaters suffers from trust issues that keep her from being a team player. Her struggles intensify when she finds a memo hidden in a surplus Atomic Energy Commission oak desk that she was refinishing in her home. The memo warns of the nuclear time bomb that was hidden 50 years earlier in PUREX Tunnel 1 (Nuclear Nightmare: PUREX Leak). Distrusting the US Department of Energy officials at Hanford Site, Essie pits herself against the evil former Atomic Energy Commission official that covered up the time bomb, elite assassins he sends to murder her, and state and federal bureaucracies. Her goal is to protect a quarter-million lives and thousands of square miles of prime agricultural land from a nuclear catastrophe. It is also a techno-thriller laced with murder, corruption, and intrigue.

Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb is a100,000-word novel that is approximately seventy percent complete. Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb continues the saga of Dr. Essie Openwaters, who has resigned from her position at the national laboratory to become a federal agent reporting to the Secretary of Energy. Essie is charged with recovering weapons-grade plutonium stolen from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, unaware that the plutonium has been sold on the black market for use against the United States by a rogue organization. As with the first two manuscripts, Electromagnetic Pulse Bomb is a techno-thriller replete with murder, corruption, and intrigue.

Stay tuned–more to come.

Progress

Nuclear Nightmare is progressing nicely. Chapter 2, which introduces Craig Campbell, the PUREX chemical engineer who is the protagonist, will be posted Wednesday, August 19th. Chapter 3, which adds depth to Ty Rettig, will be posted Wednesday, August 26th. Stay safe.