The Unwept Tear

Monday I walked downtown for a nice late brunch at Mud Street Cafe, my favorite veggie hashbrowns and a double latté. Finished the opening pages of a fourth book in the “People of the Water” Cycle (#PGAN4). Working title: “The Unwept Tear.” (This is the third working title so far!) But I think I have a good story to tell for what looks to be the final book in the series.

But never say ”never.” Or “final.”

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Crystals and the Arkansas Mountains

Eureka Springs is home to a number of rock and gemstone shops, hearkening back to a day when it seemed every rural highway in the Ozarks and Ouachita mountains featured a number of them.

My daughter’s favorites include Crystal Waters, Magic City Crystals, and until recently the late-and-lamented Nature’s Treasures. You’ll also find selections at many other shops in and near town like chain store Earthbound Trading Company (22 S. Main) and family-owned Onyx Cave Park’s gift shop and Razorback Gift Shop and Tower.

Their popularity doubtless stems from a long association of esoteric and scientific properties as well as innate beauty, even when unpolished. There is a local legend that one lady citizen, some years ago, petitioned and was granted permission to install quartz crystals in the well of Basin Spring in its city park.

And our two mountain ranges are blessed with mineral wealth. In the Ozarks, caves with flowstone formations and onyx deposits pock the hillsides. In the Ouachitas, quartz crystals abound.

So, naturally, quartz crystals found their way into the essence of the stories in the “People of the Waters” Cycle. They help the People of the Waters recognize each other, perfectly clarify their memories of the past, even distinguish between helpful and harmful waters.

This article describes a four-ton quartz formation of record size that was mined in the Ouachita Mountains (south of the Ozarks in Arkansas), and now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History.

The museum’s new natural quartz weighs a whopping 8,000 pounds. It was found in an Arkansas mine in 2016, making it a quintessential American mineral specimen. James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution
Quartz crystal at the bottom of Basin Spring’s well at Basin Park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
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The Lost Third Ozarka Spring

This KUAF Radio feature on the Ozarka Water Company, and the discovery of its long-lost third source spring goes right to some sources that are local legends, including John Fuller Cross himself.

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SpaceX Mission to have Native American commander

Nicole Aunapu Mann is scheduled to be the first Native American women to fly into space and the first female mission commander of a NASA commercial spaceflight next month. She will oversee the SpaceX Crew 5 mission to deliver four astronauts (including, at this point, one Russian cosmonaut) to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon.

If you’ve read any or all of my novels in the People of the Water Cycle, you’ll understand why I’m both overjoyed and feeling that this is LONG overdue.

Nicole Aunapu Mann, shown in 2018 photograph / NASA

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Fourth Book – New Title

Last night as I was walking, the working title of my forming fourth novel in the series changed in a flash of inspiration. And with the steps leading home, came the resolution of the main conflict in the story.

I may actually have something worth writing now.

Detail of a painting

Detail: The Beloved Woman of the Cherokee – Nanyehi by Sharon Irla

(See and even purchase this painting at

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Eureka Springs Testimonials from the 1920s

This large and colorful brochure was issued by the city’s Commercial Club some time after 1919, the date of several of its testimonials to the curative powers of the spring waters.

The quality of the color printing, staple binding and die-cut shape — giving this brochure the appearance of a water glass at a fancy restaurant — is absolutely superb. It’s 6″ wide and 8-1/4″ tall, so it was printed on paper stock larger than 8-1/2″x11″ in order to get that perfect die-cut finished shape. Not an inexpensive printing job, then or now!

Several hotels and other buildings are pictured. Those still standing/operating include the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, the Allred (now the New Orleans Hotel), Palace Hotel and Bath House (now a hotel and spa), and the 1886 Crescent Hotel. The Crescent is featured twice because part of the year it operated as a girls finishing school, and part of the year as a hotel. The pictured electric plant and ice house still stands, though mostly as a ruin. A frame building attached to it serves as the commissary for the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway‘s luncheon and dinner trains. Mattock’s Garage was demolished decades ago on the site of what is now the downtown trolleybus depot.

(Scans from original brochures by me. Click for larger image in a new window.)

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Did Eureka Springs Waters Actually Heal People?

In an earlier post, I asked a more generic version of this question: Did Spring Waters Actually Heal People?

But let’s get more specific. What about the waters of Eureka Springs, back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. What claims were made about the curative powers of the spring waters of Eureka?

I don’t know that anyone, any library or any museum has the personal case histories of the many doctors who practiced in my little resort town back then, but there was plenty of advertising filled with the testimonials of people who claimed to have been cured (or others close to them).

This is one of the oldest brochures I’m aware of, 3-1/4″x5-3/4″, published by the city Commercial Club (a forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce) sometime after 1909, and it is typical of the broad range of tributes that were published in those days.

If these had been sworn to in court, they would have been admissible evidence.

(Scans from original brochures by me. Click for larger image in a new window.)

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Ozarka Water and the Basin Park Hotel

The Ozarka Company and the new Basin Park Hotel, both managed by William W. Duncan, printed this very early 6.25″x14″ fold-out health travel and tourism brochure. The spring water company began operating under him in 1905 and the hotel opened the same year. Duncan purchased the water company from John S. Tibbs, renaming the water product “Ozarka.” He was also major shareholder in the hotel. Guessing from the appearance of the automobiles (and horse carriage) in the hotel illustration, this was published not too long after 1906, after the creation of the iconic “Ozarka Girl” used in advertising, and the introduction of both carbonated Ozarka water and Ozarka brand ginger ale.

Did the spring waters of Eureka bring about the miraculous cures claimed by visitors and residents of the late 1800s and early 1900s? Certainly the characters in the People of the Water Cycle would say so. But besides the scientific analysis of the United States Geological Survey of its mineral content, was there evidence?

I’ll look into that in a future post!

(Scans of original brochure by me. Click to see larger images in a new window.)

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New Synopsis

Today I wrote new copy for the synopsis of the series for its Amazon page, emphasizing the mystery aspect of the books:

A quaint Victorian village in the Ozarks. A history of haints and hauntings. And a secret of seven tribes, hundreds of years older than the town: spring waters that heal wounds and diseases — and may also prolong life.

This is the world of 1886, in which astronauts Jennifer Cloud and Stan Lowell are stranded when their Apollo capsule is catapulted through a ring-like object orbiting Earth and they must attempt to land without their vanished commander, “Mac” McClanahan. It’s a world they know but don’t know at all, before their time; and they must do the one thing that they have not been trained to do: nothing. Nothing that would change the 87 years until their launch in 1973.

Except plumb the town’s secrets and mysteries — where the waters came from; what benefits they offer; what limitations they have. As well as trying to find a shortcut back to their own time.

Their research continues for decades; something that their son Nate discovers after they too have gone missing, like their fellow astronaut Mac. Guided by the Cherokee sage George who helped his parents, Nate and his friends Kris and Breanna seek the truth about them, more secrets of the Waters of the Stars, and the colossal burden of responsibility that it places upon their shoulders.

And when they encounter not only Mac, but a couple who are identical to Nate’s parents but don’t recognize him at all, the mysteries only deepen.

Then Kris vanishes as well ….

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All Aboard!

One of the sources of information for my novels is the award-winning 1993 documentary filmed by Claude Wiatrowski called “All Aboard for Eureka!” I’ve owned both the commercially-sold VHS and DVD copies of the film, and a couple of years ago, he uploaded it to YouTube for everyone to enjoy free of charge.

It’s a fine overview of Eureka Springs history, as well as the various incarnations of The North Arkansas Line, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

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