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From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world.
--William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost (IV, iii, 350-53)
Secret Lives is a big novel about big issues—aging and death, the way our society treats its senior citizens, women’s friendships, the powers of love, the theory and practice of magic, the rebirth of the Goddess and Her ancient religion. It’s about the untidy mysteries of human life.
I built this novel out of a prologue and twenty-six braided stories (the chapters). This is twenty-seven chapters in all, 27 being a magic number (3 x 3 x 3). Except for the prologue and chapter 25, much of the action is set in Long Beach, California, in 1989-90 and takes place over about a year and a half. Long Beach is a real city, and many of the incidents, places, and people are drawn from real life. Among the characters in Secret Lives are old women and men, young women and men, dead people, at least two immortals, a talking cat, a dragon, and mythological powers gone mad in the modern world.
As the baby boom generation ages, the issues in Secret Lives become more significant to readers. Also more recognizable. Issues that used to matter only to their parents are now starting to pop up in the boomers’ own lives. This novel will thus appeal not only to the large audience that reads pagan fiction, but also to mainstream readers who love a good, complicated story and may have heard about pagans and gods and goddesses. As they read, they will learn a great deal.