PARALLEL LIVES ((A Novel of the 1960s))

If you’re a fan of fiction, mystery, the 1960s, romance, and intrigue, 
you’ll love Parallel Lives!
I’m excited to share Maj & Billy’s story with you. 

A time of tremendous change, the 1960s San Francisco Bay Area as seen through the eyes of a mute girl and a reckless boy–two local characters with nothing in common but a mutual fascination of their seemingly random meetings. Maj and Billy’s lives implode during the wild migration of people from all over the world who pour into San Francisco, stick flowers in their hair, and see only their dreams of the place.

Spanning 10 years when the great divide of economics and culture no longer kept people separated, no matter how different, Parallel Lives demonstrates that our chances for love and happiness are never truly over or used up. Success hangs on readiness and timing. 

What if each of us is promised one wild and precious someone for a lifetime?
What if to seize this true love
first both parties must undergo an arduous and dangerous journey separately? 
Would you?

Maj Hawthorne, the beautiful and silent daughter of country club privilege, lives with her parents and Swedish-born grandmother in the East Bay area foothills at Great Oaks, a generational family estate. Pressed by her grandmother to speak or be destined to live by her looks alone, Maj struggles to learn to talk even as her mother plots to get her into the movies.

Billy Wayman Wolf, four years older than Maj, lives with his maternal, Potawatomi grandmother in the San Joaquin Valley. Punished for mouthing off and his petty thievery, Billy is sent to downtown Oakland where his mother lives in a flat over the Drop-In Club.

The first time their lives converge, though they come from opposite worlds, they know one another in a profound and certain way. Their paths cross again at a roadside accident, a Santana concert for farm workers, Caesar Chavez with Robert Kennedy in Delano, the Native American take-over of Alcatraz. During these brief encounters, they touch, they kiss, and they break each other’s heart as the currents of their lives bring them together and pull them apart, again and again. Until, finally, nothing is ever the same.

Deftly interweaving the lives of Maj and Billy, Parallel Lives is, ultimately, a coming-of-age tale of parallel lives, the power of communication, and the redemptive fire of love set against a time of cataclysmic change.

Now available on Amazon!

Parallel Lives novels

  *    *    *

Born in San Francisco, a fifth generation Californian, Martha Alderson grew up in the Bay Area in the 1950s and 1960s. She now lives and writes in Santa Cruz. 

Always a daydreamer, I’ve been writing fiction for more than thirty years.


the Avenue novels



With an open heart and a willingness to forgive, you can go home again.

Driven to the edge by the dissolution of her marriage, the foreclosure of her Nob Hill penthouse, and the bankruptcy of her business, fifty-year-old Jonna Russell is left with no money and no resources. Reeling from betrayal, she secretly withdraws the deserted studio of her father—whom she believes is dead—on a neglected corner of the sprawling estate of her 90-year-old estranged mother of 30 years. Locked behind a hidden gate in a vine-covered wall on a rundown and financially ruined dead-end avenue in Santa Cruz, Jonna hopes to plan and move on before her mother or her ex-husband’s loan sharks discover her.

Like so many others during the 2009 depression, Jonna quickly learns just how difficult mere survival is, especially so in the middle of a decaying surf-town neighborhood. An avenue of more boarded-up houses than lived-in, a dangerous drug house, characters living in abandoned cars, and a mysterious stranger steer Jonna into a yearlong journey of self-discovery and forgiveness.

Battling drug dealers and her own demons, Jonna works to restore her father’s garden shut away for nearly three decades. As she brings the weed-choked, garbage-strewn parkland to life as a vegetable garden to feed many, the changes she makes slowly reflect in the avenue’s outer alterations and the inner transformation she undergoes.

A dark, grown-up version of the children’s story The Secret Garden 
collides with a dangerous drug gang on an avenue of boarded-up houses 
as a mysterious stranger steers Jonna into
a yearlong journey of self-discovery and forgiveness in THE AVENUE.

Coming Fall 2017


Parallel Lives novels



Experience the 1960s first-hand through the eyes of a mute girl and a reckless boy who are haunted by the other and the lessons they each must learn to be united. Spanning 10 years across the ever-changing face of San Francisco when the great divide of economics and culture no longer kept people separated, no matter how different, Parallel Lives demonstrates that our chances for love and happiness are never truly over or used up. Success hangs on readiness and timing. 

Coming of age during the relative calm of the ’50s, Maj and Billy’s paths cross during the turbulent ’60s at pivotal historic moments as they each attempt to survive the edgy challenges of the great transition toward change. Now, as adults, before they can set out on their own, first they each must find and confront the unforgettable and mysterious other.

What if each of us is promised one wild and precious someone for a lifetime?
What if to seize this true love 
first both parties must undergo an arduous and dangerous journey separately? 
Would you?

A 1960s novel about parallel lives/power of communication/redemptive fire of love set against time of cataclysmic change

Buy Today from Amazon


Spirits at War



Author’s Note:

Our bloodline is our link to our past. Or is it? After my father’s death, I began to wonder what of the more metaphysical vital essence—our spirits? Is that too passed down in an organized generational fashion or at death does spirit randomly reappear somewhere else? These are the sorts of questions I began pondering when I discovered an old chest of his. Before that, I had always been much more interested in looking forward than looking back. I certainly never considered that there might parts of the past that were rightfully mine to delve into and others that were definite hands-off.

When I first spotted the copper-colored maple chest sitting on its four squat legs, I fell to my knees afraid to touch it. Even covered in cobwebs and dust, the age and beauty of the box shone out at me.

A three-inch smooth wooden lip framed a thick, teeming jungle with a miniature village, a place so vibrant as to be alive. Tiny people and animals and birds caught in the time it takes to draw a breath. Their next step, next flight, an illusion.

That day when I finally mustered enough nerve to run my hands over the smooth warm wood, I’m sure I heard the words:        

“Our past is who we are, Martha.”

 This early American historical novel is coming Fall 2018 




Just as Krista yields to the power of death, from somewhere deep inside her explodes the mightiest force of all–the will to live. Surrender is the tale of one woman’s search for spiritual strength the face of mortality and the mystical journey she must take to find it.

            Fifty-five year old Krista Ray hears the words she has dreaded throughout the endless days of her late husband’s suffering. Only this time, the doctor speaks to Krista alone, striking a death knell of frightening proportions: Malignant…Melanoma…Little time. Stunned, Krista refuses to enter the hospital. Instead, she and her only source of strength, her beloved dog Mara, journey up the Northern California coast where they join a demonstration to protest the impending clear-cutting of the largest old-growth redwood forest in the world. Desperate to know that her life has been worthwhile, Krista waits for the chance to martyr herself for the trees she loves.

            Just as the opportunity presents itself, her dog runs off into a forbidden section of the forest. Against all warnings not to proceed alone, Krista secretly goes in search of Mara. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the forest. Loggers angry about the threat to their livelihood make her the object of their retribution and leave her to die. Krista struggles to save herself so she can warn the other crusaders. In the process, she is forced to face her greatest fear–staying alive.

Coming Spring 2018