atomic

Colleen, I miss you.

Colleen making her  NPR  debut.

Colleen making her NPR debut.

Into the lobby of Greenfield Assisted Living stepped a vision of sassy Christmas cheer. She was bedazzled in glitz, animal prints and smiles with a blinking holiday-light necklace draped around her neck and antlers sprouting from her head. Now burned into my memory like some nuclear-powered yule log, this was my first glimpse of the force of nature that was Colleen Black.

Colleen entered my life as a potential interview subject for the book I was writing at the time, The Girls of Atomic City. She was surprised I wanted to talk to her about her role in the Manhattan Project. After all, she assured me, she had no idea what she was working on at the time. While she couldn't imagine why I would want to hear about her adventures as an 18-year-old single gal living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during World War II, I couldn't imagine this vibrant 80-something-year-old not having plenty to say once I'd sat with her for a bit. Boy, was I right.

Long after interviews were logged and the manuscript edited, Colleen and I stayed in touch. We wrote and called, and I often visited whenever I was in town for an event. If I didn't get a hold of her beforehand, I always knew I could find her holding court at Panera's after morning mass, where their old-timer's coffee klatch often turned into impromptu book signings for Colleen. Friends and strangers often approached and asked her to sign their copies of The Girls of Atomic City. Colleen would write to tell me about these and other "celebrity" experiences, as she called them. She was Skyping with book clubs across the country, speaking to school kids down the road, and charming everyone in her path with her ration tales, wartime songs and Irish country wit, all wrapped up in that Tennessee twang.

I have a collection of collages Colleen has sent me over the years, most of them given to me long after the work on my book was done. Photos casually snapped in her apartment showed up in my inbox and mailbox, draped with historic news clippings and photos of the other atomic city "girls."  She was always there with a daily joke or up-by-your-bootstraps encouragement, with remembrances and prayers for my own mother, who is next to me as I type this, sleeping, waking and sleeping again, nearing the end of her own time with me. Colleen's daughter Suzanne called me earlier today to tell me that Colleen had died this morning. We had been in touch, Suzanne and I, two daughters waiting and watching as the mothers they loved began to move on from this world.

She is a collage all her own now, my Colleen. My mind today is a visual mish-mash of leopard-spotted, fuzzy-slippered, sing-songy snippets of chats—both on the record and off— and babblings over cheap wines with goofy or naughty names that gave her a giggle. (Fat Bastard was a house favorite.) Colleen died as she lived, surrounded by family and song and love, held close in the hearts of many of us who knew the joys of her friendship. I will lift a glass of  Marilyn Merlot in her honor. I can almost hear her laughing.

Paperback Tour for "The Girls of Atomic City"

Yes, it’s about that time to hit the road. Here are the cities I’ll be visiting in the coming months. Check back for additional dates. Hope to see some of you out on the road!

Monday, February 24, 2014

New York, NY

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

*Event Closed

 

Saturday, March 1, 2014, 9:15 AM

Long Beach, CA

Long Beach Festival of Authors

Long Beach Convention Center, 110 Pine Ave.

 

Monday, March 3, 2014, 11:15 AM

Denver, CO

American Physical Society - Annual Meeting

Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street

*Registration Required

 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 7:00 PM

South Hadley, MA

Odyssey Books, 9 College Street

 

Thursday, March 13, 2014, 7:30 PM

Fredericksburg, VA

University of Mary Washington

Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

1301 College Avenue

*Ticketed Event

 

Saturday, March 15, 2014, 5 PM

Asheville, NC

Malaprop’s Bookstore Cafe

55 Haywood Street

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Noon

Oak Ridge, TN

ALTRUSA Literacy Luncheon

Oak Ridge High School

1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike

*Ticketed Event

 

Friday and Saturday, March 21 - 22, 2014, 2:00 PM

Charlottesville, VA

Virginia Festival of the Book

 

Monday, March 24, 2014, 7:00 PM

Austin, TX

Book People

603 N Lamar Boulevard

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 7:00 PM

Houston, TX

Brazos Bookstore

2421 Bissonnet Street

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 3:00 PM

Oxford, MS

Oxford Conference for the Book

Journalism Panel moderated by Curtis Wilkie

Overby Center at the University of Mississippi

555 Grove Loop, Suite 247

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 7:00 PM

Ann Arbor, MI

Nicola’s Books

2513 Jackson Ave. (in Westgate Shopping Center)

 

Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 PM

Cincinnati, OH

Joseph-Beth Booksellers

2692 Madison Road

 

Monday, April 7, 2014, 7:00 PM

Naperville, IL

Anderson’s Book Shop

123 W. Jefferson Avenue

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 6:00 PM

Wichita, KS

Watermark Books

4701 E. Douglas Avenue

 

Thursday and Friday, April 10 - 11, 2014

Boone and Hudson, NC 

Caldwell Community College

Details forthcoming

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Enter to win THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY by Denise Kiernan

Book giveaway over at Riffle! Three copies available. Only eight days left!

rifflenonfiction:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY was hailed by top media outlets as “fascinating” and “a phenomenal story” when it was first published earlier this year. It hit The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Best Seller lists, made Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of…

Autographed and Personalized Books for the Holidays

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It’s gift-giving-buying season once again. I am, as always, working with my fantabulous independent bookstore Malaprop’s to offer personalized, autographed copies of The Girls of Atomic City and other titles. Signed books always make great gifts and autographing eReaders simply hasn’t taken off yet. I work with Malaprop’s year round, but during the holidays I get lots of questions about wrapping  and shipping and so forth.

Here’s the skinny:

The easiest way to get an autographed book is to call Malaprop’s directly at 1-800-441-9829 or 828-254-6734. The store is chock full of helpful, cheerful folks. Once one of these charmers answers the phone, just tell them…

  1. Which book you want to order and the author’s name. 
  2. How you want the book personalized. To you? To the mother-in-law you’re always trying to suck up to? Do you want it to say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” “For a history buff,” or nothing at all?
  3. Give them your payment information and shipping address.

That’s it! Malaprop’s will get me in to sign and will ship your book out to you or to the person of your choice, autographed and ready to go.

But what about gift wrapping?

Yes indeed, they gift wrap. I told you they were wonderful. So, you can have that autographed book gift-wrapped AND have a gift card slapped on it. That package of holiday reading cheer will be shipped wherever you want and will arrive ready to be shoved under a tree, stuck in a (larger than usual) stocking, placed next to the menorah, or swapped at an office party.

Can I order online?

Technically, yes, but calling is much more efficient and, in the long run, will take up much less of your time.

Which books of yours can I order?

Any of them, really. Here are some of the most popular titles. Others can be found on my website.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence

Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Constitution

Stuff Every American Should Know

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed

Happy shopping, and thanks for supporting a local independent bookstore!

A friend sent this along knowing I’d love it.  
 "In 1951, A.C. Gilbert, inventor of the ERECTOR set, released the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. Using real radioactive materials, one could witness mist trails created by particles of ionizing radiation. 
   The set included four Uranium-bearing ore samples, and originally sold for $49.50, and one could order replacement radioactive materials.   Note: Geiger Counter sold separately.”  
   

A friend sent this along knowing I’d love it.
"In 1951, A.C. Gilbert, inventor of the ERECTOR set, released the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. Using real radioactive materials, one could witness mist trails created by particles of ionizing radiation.

The set included four Uranium-bearing ore samples, and originally sold for $49.50, and one could order replacement radioactive materials. 

Note: Geiger Counter sold separately.”

 

"We'll Back Our Boys: The Southern Home Front During World War II"

Here’s the official release and invite to a symposium at the National Archives in Atlanta at which I’ll be speaking. I can’t say enough about the Archives and how important they are to our culture, our educational institutions and our society. If you’re going to be in the area or know someone who will, please stop by and do pass on the information.
Invitation to “We’ll Back Our Boys:” The Southern Home Front During World War II, a symposium at the National Archives at Atlanta, Saturday, September 21 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Featured speakers:
Denise Kiernan, author of the New York Times Best Seller “The Girls of Atomic City” featured on the PBS News Hour and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
 Fritz Hamer, University South Caroliniana Library curator and author of “Charleston Reborn: A Southern City, Its Navy Yard and World War II, 1940-1946”
Courtney Tollison, Furman University professor, historian for the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, SC, and author of “We Just Did Everything We Could”
Edward A. Hatfield, Emory University Ph.D. candidate with dissertation in progress: “The Too-Busy City: The Politics of Growth and Development in Atlanta, 1946-96”
Nathan Jordan, NARA Atlanta archivist of military-related records
To promote research in its World War II Home Front records and to highlight scholarly works based on these holdings, the National Archives at Atlanta is hosting “We’ll Back Our Boys:” The Southern Home Front During World War II, a symposium on Saturday, September 21.   The nearly 7,500 cubic feet of records relating to the Southern Home Front during World War II envelop a wide variety of subtopics ranging from labor relations, transportation, ordnance production, naval intelligence, civil rights, women in the work force, and many others.  Make plans now to participate in this event at the Southeast’s largest archival facility.  
Pre-registration is required and limited to 200.  There is no cost to attend.
To register for the symposium, access www.archives.gov/atlanta/wwii-symposium
For more information on the Southern Home Front holdings of the National Archives at Atlanta, visit our online exhibit at http://nationalarchivesatlanta.omeka.net/exhibits/show/wwii
We encourage you to circulate this information among your staff. Professors and students of twentieth century and Southern history may take particular interest.
The National Archives at Atlanta is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road in Morrow, Georgia and holds federal records for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For a comprehensive description of the record groups held at our repository, go tohttp://www.archives.gov/atlanta/holdings/index.html
For questions about the symposium, contact:
Joel Walker
Education Specialist
National Archives at Atlanta
770-968-2530

Dates set for " The Girls of Atomic City" National Tour

Girls of Atomic City — National Tour in May & June

I’m hitting the road in May and June to promote my book, The Girls of Atomic City. Here’s the list of cities, bookstores, and events. The first half is a driving tour through the Southeast; the second half will see me bopping around the U.S. to various bookstores and festivals. If our paths cross, stop by and say “hi”!

SOUTHERN DRIVING TOUR

Charlotte, NC

Thursday, May 2

Park Road Books 7 pm

4139 Park Rd.

Charlotte, NC

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Greenville, SC

Friday, May 10

Fiction Addiction 12 pm

Venue: City Range Restaurant

615 Haywood Rd.

Greenville, SC

*Lunch Event & Signing

Nashville, TN

Tuesday, May 14

Parnassus Books 6:30 pm

3900 Hillsboro Pike

Nashville, TN

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Raleigh, NC

Thursday, May 16

Quail Ridge Books 7:30 pm

3522 Wade Ave.

Raleigh, NC

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Southern Pines, NC

Friday, May 17

Country Bookshop 4:30 pm

140 NW Broad St.

Southern Pines, NC

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Chapel Hill, NC

Saturday, May 18

Flyleaf Books Noon

752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Chapel Hill, NC

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, May 21

Union Ave Books 6 pm

Venue: The East Tennessee History Center Auditorium

601 Gay St.

Knoxville TN

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, June 4

A Cappella Books 7 pm

Venue: Carter Presidential Library

441 Freedom Parkway

Atlanta, GA

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

August 30 - September 1, 2013

Decatur Festival of Books

Details TBD

Sylva, NC

Saturday, June 29

City Lights Bookstore 6:30 pm

3 East Jackson St.

Sylva, NC

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

* * *

*NATIONAL TOUR

Milwaukee, WI

Saturday, June 8

Boswell Books 2 pm

2559 N Downer Ave.

Milwaukee, WI

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Chicago, IL

Sunday, June 9

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Festival

Solo Presentation

Details TBD

Lexington, KY

Wednesday, June 12

Joseph-Beth Booksellers 7 pm

161 Lexington Green Circle

Lexington KY

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Denver, CO

Friday, June 14

Tattered Cover 7:30 pm

2526 East Colfax Ave.

Denver, CO

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, June 15

Vroman’s Bookstore 4 pm

695 E. Colorado Blvd.

Pasadena, CA

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

San Francisco, CA

Monday, June 17

Book Passage 6 pm

1 Ferry Building

San Francisco, CA

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Seattle, WA

Wednesday, June 19

Elliot Bay Book Company 7pm

1521 Tenth Ave.

Seattle, WA

*Talk, Q&A, Signing

Albuquerque, NM

Friday, June 21

Bookworks 

Albuquerque, NM

Venue: National Atomic Museum

Omnivoracious: How I Wrote It: Denise Kiernan on "The Girls of Atomic City"

Sharing a blog post here that I did for Omnivoracious over at Amazon about writing “The Girls of Atomic City.”

daggyland:

You can hear my wife Denise Kiernan talking about her new book The Girls of Atomic City via this link from this interview which aired this morning on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Denise was interviewed along with two of the women she profiles in the book.

The article accompanying the audio link also includes a free chapter of the book.

* * *

Geez, I hope this post comes through okay. Been having problems. More stuff has been going on, too. Will post about it soon.

Thanks, baby! Homemade pizza for you later!

Goodreads | Book giveaway for The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Thanks Touchstone Books and Joseph D’Agnese for setting up this giveaway of my upcoming book over at Goodreads.

Manhattan Project National Park Round-Up

“This is a major chapter of American and world history. We should preserve what’s left.”

—Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation

As the 112th Congress prepares to wrap up, supporters of an effort to preserve sites associated with the Manhattan Project—in Los Alamos, NM, Hanford, WA, and Oak Ridge, TN— are hoping for another vote on a measure to create a national park that would commemorate work done at all three sites. 

The New York Times, Boston Globe, and International Business Times have recently weighed in. Read more at the links below.

New York Times 

Boston Globe

International Business Times

daggyland : 
 
 This just in! 
 My wife and sometimes co-author Denise Kiernan just got the cover of her next book,  The Girls of Atomic City,  about the women who unknowingly worked to create the fuel for the first bomb. 
 It’s a true story—a narrative nonfiction title that will be published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in March 2013. 
 I’m proud of her. It’s a project she’s been working on, in various ways, for the last seven years or so. 
 To find out more, you can check out  Denise’s website … 
 Sign up for the newsletter at the  book site … 
 Check out her old-timey WWII-era images on her  Tumblr blog . 
 You can pre-order via  Amazon . 
 Or pre-order a signed copy via our indie bookstore,  Malaprops .  
 I’ll post again about this when she gets a trailer together. 
 
 Thanks to my hubby for posting this. I can take no credit for designing this cover, but I am so very happy with it. Book is finally feeling real after all these years…

daggyland:

This just in!

My wife and sometimes co-author Denise Kiernan just got the cover of her next book, The Girls of Atomic City, about the women who unknowingly worked to create the fuel for the first bomb.

It’s a true story—a narrative nonfiction title that will be published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in March 2013.

I’m proud of her. It’s a project she’s been working on, in various ways, for the last seven years or so.

To find out more, you can check out Denise’s website

Sign up for the newsletter at the book site

Check out her old-timey WWII-era images on her Tumblr blog.

You can pre-order via Amazon.

Or pre-order a signed copy via our indie bookstore, Malaprops

I’ll post again about this when she gets a trailer together.

Thanks to my hubby for posting this. I can take no credit for designing this cover, but I am so very happy with it. Book is finally feeling real after all these years…

nbcnews:

Ceremonies mark 67th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bomb attack

Top Photo: Kimimasa Mayama / EPA
Bottom Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP - Getty Images 

Arata Yamamoto, NBC News reports from Tokyo — As dignitaries from 71 countries joined a crowd of 50,000 on Monday to mark the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack, Japanese officials vowed to revamp energy policies in the wake of the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident.

Read the complete story.

nbcnews:

Ceremonies mark 67th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bomb attack

Top Photo: Kimimasa Mayama / EPA
Bottom Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP - Getty Images 

Arata Yamamoto, NBC News reports from Tokyo — As dignitaries from 71 countries joined a crowd of 50,000 on Monday to mark the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack, Japanese officials vowed to revamp energy policies in the wake of the devastating Fukushima nuclear accident.

Read the complete story.