[EXCERPT] Fukushima on the Hudson by LA Smith

Jane Blackwater

September 19th, 11:32 am EST
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC

It’s happening. After all my efforts, all the work of my fellow patriots, it’s happening. Political gridlock destroyed this country. We didn’t heed the warnings. Now it’s happening. 

Blocks from the White House, in the corner office of my Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters, I’m staring out the window, praying for a miracle. Alarm simmers in my scorched, black eyes. The worst-case scenario. It’s here. 

Right now, Superstorm Eve is wreaking havoc on the eastern seaboard of this once-great country. Already, entire coastal communities have been swept into the Atlantic. Official death toll has climbed to ten million and will climb much higher. Much, much higher. Will there be anything left for us? Impossible to know. We could have done something to stop it. Could have acted. But our government failed us. And here we are.

In a desperate, probably futile effort to stop an even more insidious disaster, one that could definitely bring this country to her knees, every nuclear power plant from Maine to Delaware has been taken offline. Even so, grim-faced government officials warn that continuing seismic activity, combined with the impending storm surge, will likely trigger multiple, catastrophic meltdowns. Just like Fukushima. No way to stop it from happening. Could have told them that. Did tell them that. At least, I tried. The result will be damage, death and radioactive ruin on a scale never before seen and impossible to imagine. Implications for this country’s future are dire. Unless something changes, unless some sort of miracle occurs — and soon — much of the US east coast, including the city of New York, will be a radioactive wasteland. What will become of us, then? How will we go on? Increasingly, I’m convinced we won’t. 

Here in Washington, a few hundred miles from the eye of the superstorm, the sense of doom and urgency is palpable. As the President and Congress struggle — together, for a change — to deal with fallout from the cataclysmic event, a deluge of Biblical proportions is pounding downtown DC. Looks like a hurricane raging outside my office window. Trees uprooted, power lines downed, winds gusting upwards of a hundred-twenty miles an hour. For two days, I’ve been camped out in my headquarters as the electricity flickers off and on — mostly off. Although it’s late morning, I can barely see the US Capitol through the torrential downpour. Can barely make out the hazy outlines of the dome.

One way or another, I’m gonna die. We all are, but I wanted a little longer. A few more years. I’m not good with failure. Not good with defeat. 

In front of me, raindrops crash against the window like desperate points of punctuation, before sliding down the plated glass. Can’t help it. My lips tremble. I want to crumble, want to break down and cry, but I won’t. I have to be strong.

“Ms. Blackwater?”

The sound so startles me, I want to jump out of my skin.

Emanating from the speakerphone on the desk, the disembodied voice continues, “The courier’s here.”

I try to steel myself for what’s coming next. The final, devastating phase of the catastrophe. “Send her in.” Against all odds, I think I sound calm.

A heartbeat later, the door opens and a woman I know very well hurries into the office. Tall with pale blue eyes, her coat drips with rainwater, her hair’s pasted to her skull. She pulls a legal-sized, gray envelope from a waterproof pouch and without a word, she walks toward me, stops at my desk and drops the envelope on the corner. Her lips form a taut line.

“So the worst case. It’s here?” Although I’m trying my best to stay steady in the face of tragedy, I can hear the emotion-filled catch in my voice. “Despite everything?”

The courier nods and I see dread in her eyes.

Grabbing the envelope, I rip it open, removing the single sheet of yellow paper. Knew this day might come. Did everything I could to stop it. But our work, our hard work, all our warnings, they were in vain.

HOMELAND SECURITY BULLETIN

The US Geological Survey Earthquake Early Warning System (EEW) has issued an urgent new security bulletin for the city of New York and surrounding areas. Seismic activity continues along the Ramapo Fault Zone thirty miles from Wall Street as Superstorm Eve batters the east coast for a second day. At the Danger Point nuclear power plant, containment facilities are flooded. A Fukushima-scale catastrophic event is imminent.

NY Governor Cuomo has expanded the mandatory evacuation order. 

“What’s the status of the order?”

“It’s an exercise in futility.” She brushes away a drop of rain or maybe a tear from her cheek. “Most of Manhattan’s already under water. Brooklyn Battery and Holland Tunnels flooded as soon as the storm surge hit. The few streets above the waterline are jammed with abandoned cars. Staten Island’s submerged, Statue of Liberty’s nearly up to her feet in white caps. Thousands of desperate New Yorkers, maybe tens of thousands or more, have jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson, which is a raging torrent.” She bursts into tears. “Millions are dead already. Ms. Blackwater, anyone still alive has no way to leave the city!”

What can I do? What the hell should I do? “We warned them this would happen! God help us!” Frantic, I reach over the desk and pick up the phone.


Get a copy of Fukushima on the Hudson by LA Smith at your local independent bookstore or order a copy on Amazon or digital on iTunes.

Book Launch was a Delicious and Smashing Success!

 

Sincere thanks to all who joined us on Saturday, June 10th, for brunch at Redwood Restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, to celebrate the launch of Fukushima on the Hudson, by LA Smith. It was great to see so many avid readers turn out for the occasion and, judging from the laughter and feedback, a wonderful time was had by all!

As LA read a passage from the book and took questions, the crowd enjoyed Redwood’s signature cheddar-scrambled eggs with bacon and muffins. Nixie Publishing co-founders, Kharma Finley-Wallace and Bela Gary delivered remarks on the company and presented the author with a bouquet of white hydrangea. The brunch and reading were followed by an author book-signing.

One of the guests remarked, “It’s so exciting to see another local, Washington-area author find success.”

Another told us, “My brother works in the nuclear field in New York State and I can’t wait for him to read the book.”

Nuclear Power: Lesser Energy Evil or Health and Homeland Security Nightmare?

A recent article in the New York Times, How Retiring Nuclear Power Plants May Undercut US Climate Goals, by Brad Plumer, June 13, 2017, discusses the difficult energy quandary faced by the US and countries around the world regarding nuclear. Relying on at least two sources connected to nuclear power plant owner, Exelon, the reporter explores second thoughts held by some pro-environment organizations with respect to closing nuclear power plants, which can’t compete economically with cheap natural gas produced by hydraulic fracking.

But what the article fails to address on any level, are the serious health consequences related to radioactivity exposure, not to mention, the spent fuel issue and homeland security threat posed by many, if not all, US nuclear power plants — most specifically, Indian Point on the Hudson River, a few dozen miles from Wall Street. The plant has been called “the biggest existential threat in the region,” and it’s the one described in Nixie Publishing’s new book, Fukushima on the Hudson by LA Smith.

 

 

[book excerpt] “We’re on a path to self-destruction, Bill. In a single century, we’ve ruined the earth in the name of ‘progress.’ The industrial revolution? The arms race? Energy development? It will be some miracle, Bill, if the human race endures.”
     “And so, what?”
     “And so, because your Congress won’t deal with the issue,” I begin, as the gusty wind whistles around us. “Won’t eliminate the threat posed to the city of New York at least, as it concerns that nuclear power plant, we will. We’re planning to do something.”
     “Sometimes doing nothing is better.”
     “Very good, Bill.” I give another a humorless laugh. “That could be the motto for all of Congress these days. Do nothing. It’s better.”
     “Sometimes it’s better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing.” He can’t help but sound frustrated. “That’s what I’m trying to say.” 
     Sweeping down the hill from beyond the bunker, a burst of arctic air swirls the top layer of snow into a gauzy cloud that drifts over to us. Beside me, Senator Halloran is shivering. Sliding his bare hands out of his coat pockets, he rubs them together in the cold air again and returns them to his pockets. It’s as if he can’t decide where exactly his hands should go. Should have brought thick leather gloves and a heavier coat. This is his state, after all and the coat he’s wearing is no match for the upstate cold. He should have known better, but he’s soft. Unfocused.
     “Do you think the North Koreans give a damn about their radioactive waste?” I ask him, eventually. “The Iranians? Hell, the Pakistanis? Russians? It spreads, Bill, a point I’m told you made in the hearing. Radioactivity can’t be contained. The country of France, as you probably know, is the second largest generator of nuclear power in the world after the US. Do you know where the French store their spent fuel rods?”
     He shakes his head and looks sad. Once a wounded little boy, today a longtime US Senator serving on a committee in charge of funding nuclear waste clean up programs and he can’t say what the French are doing with their nuclear waste.
     “After centuries of civilization, Bill, we humans have created a new kind of trash — trash with the lethal power to destroy us.” [end excerpt]

 

 

Just last month, here in the US, the first-ever shipment of liquid, radioactive waste travelled by truck from Ontario, Canada, through New York State, among others, to South Carolina. Liquid radioactive waste is considered even more dangerous than solid. Imagine the implications if this shipment were to be targeted in a terrorist event. Or if there were an accident on the highway. And why is the US importing dangerous radioactive waste from other countries, in the first place? Why isn’t this widely reported?

Following are links to a provocative news series on a related subject produced by Pulitzer-prize winning, investigative reporter, Doug Pardue, and published by the Post & Courier. It concerns South Carolina’s “nuclear graveyard,” the Savannah River site near Aiken, one of the most contaminated places on planet Earth.

Part 1:

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/deadly-legacy-savannah-river-site-near-aiken-one-of-the/article_d325f494-12ff-11e7-9579-6b0721ccae53.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

Part 2:

http://www.postandcourier.com/the-remaining-mission-of-the-savannah-river-site-clean-up/article_186a2452-3039-11e7-83da-47bb41f904b2.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

 

Mind Blowing Sex

Do I have your attention now? 

So, I am not really going to write about mind blowing sex. This is not that kind of blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…but I was thinking about creativity. Creativity can be just as mind blowing. You suddenly have an idea you need to spit out, spin it, put in on paper. But you get stuck. The idea seems to freeze in your brain, like an ice cream brain freeze and you can’t get it to flow to your fingertips. You type “It was a dark and stormy night….” and delete delete delete just for fun.

 Where does creativity come from? Imagination yes, but most of the thoughts that fall to paper come from real life experiences. Things we have felt or often are currently feeling; things which affected us deeply. Things that emanate from the deepest part of our soul. That’s the easiest thing to write about, in some ways, and also the hardest. To reach deep within requires strength, you need to overcome the fear of being exposed. Most people live static or sterile lives. Most people never experience mind blowing sex, beyond the physical, an intimate connection between two people. You build your connection to your creative soul in the same way.

Think about something recent that gave you immense pleasure (Ok guys, stay about from mind blowing sex!) Maybe you just met someone that changed your life forever, or you experienced a great adventure or a sudden death. Sometimes your feelings are confusing, sometimes you just can’t get them out. You need to find a way to share these moments and feelings and get them out in the open, tell your story, share your soul and express yourself as you, the real, deep and honest you. 

 It's important to express yourself. Although we women have a bigger voice in our society today, we still sometimes get shut down. Some men (and even other women), feel they can stop you from talking (nevertheless, she persisted!) without even thinking that you have a right to speak. You can't let yourself be bullied into submission. Or have your voice taken away.  That’s why its important to pay attention. Sometimes its subtle. A belittling comment, and brush off with the hand wave. But it serves the purpose of silencing you. 

When you write about this new event or person, that came into your closed world, closed because you were living your life without seeing, you think about how they or it impacted your life. Perhaps it was in a positive way. It may even have been in a negative way. But let’s stay positive. You think about the kindness or maybe the love this person showed you and you express it with words. You start with short sentences and then keep adding on, building paragraphs, pages, chapters…and you finish. And you look at the words and you the intense feeling you feel, the accomplishment, the story, the words that emanated from within you, are there, and your mind is blown at what you wrote. You didn’t know you had it in you and then suddenly, here it is….the creative process. Almost as good as sex.

This is what Nixie is about. Publishing writing that comes from deep within, allowing authors to expose themselves and their stories…

Liberals, Protests and Ann Coulter

Let me begin with a clarification on my feelings because as you read, you may get confused. I try to never allow hate so I will say that I intensely dislike Ann Coulter. No. I actually hate everything she stands for and her smug attitude, her extreme ignorance and of course, for those who know me, her politics. 

However, between us, my far left liberal tribe...

Our craziness has to stop. 

There is a culture of unreasonable anger that is taking over rationality in the United States. Trump was elected president to the surprise of many and yes, we should be angry but when you prohibit freedom of speech and refuse open conversation then understand that your anger is now petulant and immature. 

Time to put your big girl pants on. 

In recent weeks there have been some pretty big upheavals at colleges where conservatives have been scheduled to speak. Protesters have resorted to least of all extreme disruptiveness and worst of all violence... and for what? The common soundbite is that "hate, racism and whatever else won't be tolerated or welcome." That sounds fantastic and very much in line with any decent persons thought but I'm struggling with how do you deal with hate, racism and whatever else without rational communication? 

I am a staunch supporter of Freedom of Speech which means I strongly believe everyone has a right to say or write how they feel and what they think to whoever wants to listen or read - no matter how wrong I think it is.  You don't like what Ann Coulter, Charles Murray or others have to say?...I won't say, then don't listen, but I will say REALLY listen, and then counter it.  Not with shouting or insanity or even a mild 'my way or the highway' attitude.  As nuts as they may sound to you, someone out there is listening and hearing what they have to say (November 8th, 2016 happened, clearly people are listening).  It's ok to be angry, hell, I'm angry but there has to be an allowance for adverse thoughts and ideas so that our thoughts and ideas can be better communicated and understood.   

Are we not the same liberal left that opposes war and violence? Think about the images and sounds that are coming from the left in this country right now and how all of that anger without any rational thinking can only turn to violence, ridicule, more verbal ammunition and propaganda for the right/alt-right. 

Think about this quote from Ann Coulter

"Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11."

Then let's take a look at ourselves and try and see what the world is seeing.  Do we hate America?  NO! Do we hate flag-wavers? NO! Do we hate abortion opponents? NO! (cmon, we all have friends and family who oppose abortion though a women's right to make that decision is where the line should be drawn).  Do we hate all religions?  Absolutely NOT!

So, why do we look like we hate? 
Don't become what they keep trying to tell the world you are - an unhinged, anti-American, elitists-think-you're-better-than-everyone group of wackos.  Don't ever become anything in the name of hate and anger.

Handle it better.

I'll leave you with one more quote that my husband says to me frequently (no idea where he got if from)... "From a distance, you can't tell which one is the fool."

[Author: Kharma]

Make More To-Do Lists for You Not Others

I work out or walk nearly every day. I have to get my 10,000 steps in to keep up with my boot camp group. Someone in our group (you know who you are!) averages 25-30 k steps a DAY at times and although I aspire to reach that goal, I just do not have that much time in my day to get those steps in. But I work out with my boot camp group, a group of friends that have meant the world to me in difficult times.

Women need support. Sometimes we take on too many to-dos. For those who have a family, we take care of them before we take care of ourselves. We are the bottom of that daily list. And when the list is done (well, is it ever done??) we realize we haven’t even been part of the list at all…

I realized this last year. I needed more time for myself, time to do things that I want to do. After 18 years of raising kids (my daughter is going to college this fall), I realized I have been living for other people and not for myself. So I joined a boot camp. Walked in with my weights, mat, and water and there was “The Sarge”, a man nearly 20 years older than me, but in far healthier shape. I was scared. This was boot camp and I was out of shape!

It was tough and I was sore for days. But I came every day. I worked hard and started to feel better. In a few months, I became fit, healthy and energized. I got my Fitbit and joined the group competition and started walking 20K steps per day.

But the best part for me of this workout group was the people. We are like family. Everyone is different, yet we all support each other and laugh A LOT. It became therapy for me. This one hour each day, lunging, crunching and sweating, I bonded with women and men who cared for me for who I was. We have done social things together and we walk on the river. We say what we think and don’t judge each other.

I have become a different person, a better person since I started taking care of myself.  I started to not be someone who has a huge to-do list for others, but someone who has a huge to-do list for herself. All women need to this. Need to look at their lives and see what they can do for themselves. After all, we are just as important as all of those we take care of every day.

[Author: Bela]

Let Them Eat Junk Food

In another discriminatory policy move that is either tone deaf or smugly cynical or both, the new administration’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue — who looks a lot like most of the other new cabinet members in terms of age, race and gender — has decided to decimate current standards regarding nutritional value of school lunches. His reason? “The States” should have flexibility. Right. And the Civil War was fought over “States’ rights,” not slavery. By the way, did you know that President Andrew Jackson might have prevented the war had he not owned so many slaves? Oh, and been dead when it occurred? A portrait of this vehemently pro-slavery, anti-native American former President now hangs on a wall inside the Oval Office for “inspiration.”

What an inspiration! And why hasn’t anyone ever asked important questions about the Civil War until now? But I digress ….

In the case of this child-hostile policy affront, studies show many of “The States” Master Sonny wants to “protect,” cannot afford to provide lunches with solid nutritional value to their students. Master Sonny may not know it since he probably has someone do his grocery shopping for him (or maybe he just eats out at pricey restaurants), but fruits and vegetables are expensive! Many states are too poor to afford them for school lunch programs without federal subsidies. And so, due to a little geographical undesirability beyond their control, American boys and girls in these poorer states will have no option but to build their lunch around junk foods that are cheaper to buy on the front end but on the back end, fuel the expensive and devastating epidemic of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. But hey. At least one of the biggest swamp monsters around, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, will be very, very pleased by the move.

Let those poor kids in the poor states eat junk food!

Marie Antoinette couldn’t have said it better.

[Author: Laura]

Trump & Journalism

If any previous President of the United States stood at a podium and spoke out against an entire profession in a negative way, he would have been damn near impeached.  So, why then, do we put up with this president's constant berating disrespect of journalists in our country?

Becuase everyone is cynical and distrustful of everyone.  This is what this country has become. As a country, we don't trust people who don't worship how we are supposed to, look like we are supposed to, are the gender we are supposed to, love who we are supposed to and with the digital age, we can't trust what anyone writes or says regardless if they are a journalist or not.  

Just how I don't like when others bash the military, I fail to understand how bashing journalists is ok. Especially from our supposed 'leader'.  This morning listening to the NYT Daily I (as I do many mornings) am disgusted, again, at Trump.  While the White House Correspondence Dinner was taking place, he was off in rallying supporters in Pennsylvania and had choice words about the event...

"A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now," the president told a roaring crowd. That seemed to spur him on: "They are gathered together for the White House correspondents' dinner — without the president." ~ NPR Politics

I really can't get over how it's a joke to him that he missed what is essentially his dinner, he is the resident of the White House now! Ok, you have issues with the media - they hurt your feelings and you want to take your ball and go home? Then just take your ball and go home. No need to pout and show out just so you can be whatever your definition of "cool" is.  Unbelievable that the President of our, or ANY, country would be so incredibly childish.  

Will he attend during his term, should it last?  Not for me to speculate but he did tell Reuters news agency last week, "I would come next year, absolutely,".  To that I say - Don't bother.

Rude and disrespectful.

[Author: Kharma]

Welcome to Nixie Publishing

Nixie Publishing was born out of activism.  Led by women who have an activist nature that believe in giving voice to those who want to be heard.  Women who want to see and read about the success of other women in real life or fictionally.  We want to produce stories and publications that support strong female characters and strong female writers.

Bitter against men?  Hell NO!  We don't fall into false stereotypes.  We welcome male authors who support and write about dynamic women characters.  Human emotion, strength and will are where great stories lead and we intend to follow.

Here at Nixie, we care about environmental issues, racial oppression issues, LGBTQ+ issues and are creating a space where women, men, and children of all religious faiths, ethnicities, colors, cultures and lifestyles can come together and appreciate one another.  

A Nixie is a mythological creature called a sprite.  The word, sprite, is derived from Latin meaning spirit and a Nixie is a water spirit.  Water sprites are said to be able to breathe water or air and sometimes can fly. 

Welcome to Nixie Publishing. We’re so happy to have you here.