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From Then to Now

From Then to Now is a novel within a novel. Maggie figures that, with events being so old, it is safe to tell all. Figuring wrong is her first mistake. Downloading the manuscript onto her grown daughter’s computer is her second mistake.

Andrea is dismayed to discover Maggie’s infidelity in her first marriage and shocked to learn of her grandmother’s cloistered pregnancy and forced adoption of her newborn daughter. She uses the Internet to find the people mentioned in her mother’s story, more to satisfy her own curiosity than to bring her mother peace.

From Then to Now spans six decades and addresses changes, both individual and societal, in attitude, perception, and awareness. These changes, triggered in part by outside world events, bring about personal understanding achieved only after loss is experienced and enlightenment has been attained.

The Dangers of Kissing and Diet Coke

Return Receipt Requested

Diagnosed with malignant melanoma after years of being a sun bunny in Hawai`i, Madeline accepts that this is the time for dying. Her only regret is that she has missed out on lasting love, and she is determined to be held in the embrace of a man’s arms as she draws her final breath. The problem, as usual, is she can’t figure out which man. With a history of being a female philanderer, Madeline always picks guys with fatal flaws, absolving herself of the necessity to choose. With Beau the obstacle is his drinking, with Howard his marriage, with Max his age.

With time growing short, Madeline springs into action. Once again, however, she evades the decision-making process by leaving it up to the men. She writes a letter, changing only the name, telling each he is the most important person in the world to her and the one she would most like to be with as she goes toward that white light. She throws in a few incentives to sweeten the deal and sends the letters return receipt requested.

As Madeline awaits the answers, the story of each relationship is told, depicting three different stages in her life. Though highly unconventional her life decisions may be, they bring fulfillment and satisfaction to her and those around her. The sentiment which she sums up with sanguine simplicity at the surprising denouement is ‘The difference between living and dying is love.’

The Dangers of Kissing and Diet Coke

The Dangers of Kissing & Diet Coke

Mitzi’s head problems began in 1999 when a cat howling outside woke her as she was drifting off to sleep. In shock she realized it wasn’t a cat but her! A variety of nightly loud, strange, animal-like sounds were soon accompanied by major motor movements. She was sent to ‘Psych’ but her ‘tics’ only escalated until Mitzi was placed on an antipsychotic medication which turned her into an emotional zombie and created devastating side effects, convincing her to quit the meds. In 2011 she reunites with her first love after a forty-eight year absence. Goldie’s kisses lead to a virus which results in a headache that never goes away. This is the story of Mitzi’s search for causes to and cures from the strange neurological symptoms which plague her as she muddles through a morass of doctors, drugs and treatments. Mitzi’s medical mysteries and turbulent love affair are thought provoking and compelling, leaving the reader with a lot to decide.

Goldie, My First Love

Goldie, My First Love

Mitzi and Goldie went steady in 1962/63 back in Liberty, Massachusetts. Mitzi receives an e-mail from Goldie in 2010. He tells her she is the love of his life, at the center of it all, “always on my mind.” Mitzi is tentatively pleased to hear from Goldie, but since he is married she is concerned that their communication is ‘cheating,’ and she tells him that she does not want to be the ‘other woman.’ He opens his heart and confides to her that his marriage is miserable and he is on the path to effect change.

Their lives have been reversed in adulthood. He came from humble beginnings, she from privilege. He has achieved business and financial success “beyond my wildest dreams.” She has struggled through a series of job losses as a single mother. He lives on a thousand acre cattle ranch in Texas. She lives simply in Hawai`i.

Because of her past disappointing love life, Mitzi continues to be fearful of being hurt. In addition to daily heartfelt e-mails, Goldie sends Mitzi meaningful gifts as proof of his commitment. It is when he sends a note along with a signed first edition of a book intended to give her comfort that she has her watershed moment. He writes “I do want it back someday – but only if your hand places it upon the bookshelf.” This is when Mitzi first trusts, believes they are meant to be. He is thrilled that she has overcome her fear. They begin making plans to meet in San Francisco.

Goldie, My Last Love

Goldie, My Last Love

Mitzi and Goldie’s reunion in San Francisco is filled with joy and sorrow. After an absence of forty-eight years, time falls away as though they never parted. The dark cloud is an illness in his family. Following their time together, the daily e-mails continue, more meaningful than ever, as Mitzi comforts and consoles Goldie. Their bond deepens, enhanced by the physical intimacy they have shared.

Goldie continues to send Mitzi gifts, each imbued with meaning and significance. She continues to be doubtful. She writes an e-mail saying, “In my experience married men don’t leave, they simply break your heart. Please don’t break my heart.” He is offended that she questions his integrity and motivation. A rift ensues, is then resolved, as they continue stronger than before.

A new trip is planned, this time to Washington, D.C. It turns out to be both ‘heaven and hell.’ It is heaven because the relationship is so close. It is hell because they are both unwell.

Goldie suggests a third trip, to Niagara Falls. Mitzi knows this is the trip that will make all the difference, will cement their God-given union. Then the unthinkable happens.