Friday, October 17, 2014


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RUNNING OUT OF TIME, my time travel novel that's included in the Turquoise Morning Press's Enchanted Lover--Tales of Everlasting Love boxed set, takes the heroine back fifty+ years to West Germany during the Cold War. Younger readers may have missed the Cold War. Some of us remember the tension and terror of the constant threat of nuclear war. Scary times.

Take fifty-two years ago this month. Perhaps you've read or seen history programs about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was in junior high school and the crisis is permanently etched in my memory. On October 14, a U-2 spy plane shot photographs proving that Soviet missiles were being erected in Cuba. To prevent alarming the American public, and to conceal his evidence from the U.S.S.R. (and some say, for political timing because of the upcoming midterm elections), President John F. Kennedy kept the buildup of Soviet missiles in Cuba a closely guarded secret. On October 17, a second U-2 plane photographed more missiles, missiles with enough range to strike anywhere in the continental United States. 

Diplomacy failed on October 18 when Andrei Gromyko denied any buildup of military weaponry in Cuba. Rather than confront him with the evidence, President Kennedy maintained secrecy and met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a course of action. As a teen, I knew only what the president told us in his televised speech on October 22. The United States would quarantine the island of Cuba (a nice way of saying "blockade") until the missiles were removed. It wasn't until years later I learned how frighteningly close we came to war. The military wanted to invade Cuba, and who knows what would've ensued.

Fifty-six USNC warships and eight aircraft carriers circled the waters around Cuba enforcing the quarantine. As I remember it, the next few days were the most stressful of the Cold War. U.S. military bases worldwide were on high alert. Nuclear war seemed imminent when a U-2 stationed in Alaska wandered into Soviet airspace and encountered Soviet fighter jets. Fortunately, the U-2 escaped and returned unharmed, but not before a group of American fighter jets launched. In Cuba, a U-2 was shot down. The nation was on edge, and I suddenly wished my dad had built that fallout shelter we'd seen on television.

Eventually, both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Premier Khrushchev backed down from their military threats and reached an agreement. The Soviets would dismantle and remove all missiles from Cuba and the United States would lift its quarantine and remove missiles from Turkey. By the end of November, all Soviet missiles were gone from Cuba. One year later, President Kennedy was dead and by October, 1964, Khrushchev left office. He never recovered from losing face. Backing down from Kennedy was viewed by party leaders as a sign of weakness for the USSR.

My story takes place in the weeks following the Cuban Missile Crisis and is set in an actual U.S. Army base in Germany. It isn't a good time or place for a modern time-traveling Hooter's girl! 

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Maddie James said...

Time travel books unite! I love the premise of this story. I don't think there is anything else like it out there. Everyone should check it out!

Author JM Kelley said...

Sounds like a great story, Cheryl. Looking forward to reading it!