Finally! A collection of deep, delightful stories on love, friendship, joy and pain by… oui, c’est moi!
For decades I’ve been editing stories by other writers, and in between I’ve written a few myself. Now they’re ready to face the world as a collection. And no, they aren’t sex stories, which some readers expect from me, since I’ve published plenty of those. The eleven short stories in Love and Other Illusions are mainstream literary fiction, some sexy (I hope) but nothing explicit. I’d like to think they still generate heat and passion: I was feeling passionate when I wrote them.
As I say in the introduction, I’ve always been drawn to novels—both reading and writing them—more than to short stories, just because I always want more, and I’m sorry when a story ends. But in the time I spent preparing these for publication, the genre began to grow on me, and I developed more respect for the form. I’ve even been reading more of other writers’ short stories.
I’ve edited a dozen collections of women’s erotica, wrote the self-help Sex for the Clueless, and a memoir, Perfectly Normal. I also ghosted eight books of nonfiction under other people’s names. These stories, however, are a different breed: all were written by me, are credited to me, and are being promoted by me. (My publisher, the brilliant Jean Marie Stine, says the time for humility has passed!) The point is, you never know if and when there’ll be more where these stories came from,so don’t miss reading them.
Brief story synopses:
LO SIENTO: Martha leaves her live-in boyfriend at home and goes to Mexico to ponder their relationship. Will she leave him? Will she stay? I’m not telling!
(Lo Siento means “I’m sorry” in Spanish.)
WHAT: The anxieties of commitment are overcome and love conquers all—doesn’t it?
LETTER DELIVERED AS A DREAM: A couple share a summer idyll with a colony of ants in this short-short story.
THE UNIVERSE WILL PROVIDE: Will it? The answer would be a spoiler, so you’ll just have to read it to find out.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: What makes a woman beautiful? How do her looks affect her life and personality? Her loves and her friendships? Even her career is affected in one way or another, especially if she’s extremely beautiful or extremely not. Every woman privately knows—even if she won’t admit it—that what she looks like is one of the most basic yet complicated issues in our lives.
A woman’s decision to sell her couch brings the house of cards she’s built, and the man who’s in it, crashing down around her.
BAD AIR DAY: What begins as another bad air day for asthmatic Sharon ends up just the opposite when someone new comes into her life. Caution: This story might Feed your Head with its mind-reading and other psychic phenomena.
NEVER LOOK BACK: The most popular story among baby boomers these days seems to be the loving reunion of high school sweethearts, years or decades later. In this case he’s a Vietnam vet, she’s an anti-war ex-hippie. Can they find each other again?
THE FOURTH AND FINAL MARRIAGE OF SADIE NUSSBAUM: When octogenarian Bernie Solomon has a heart attack, his adulterous affair with Sadie Nussbaum is exposed. After he dies, his agoraphobic wife doesn’t even notice he’s gone, while Sadie plays the role of grieving widow and his daughter finds out about them.