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Can she survive scandal, murder, madness, and a shocking secret that dramatically impacts her life? Set in London and San Francisco, real events are woven into the narrative from the aftermath of war through the hippie movement, the AIDS crisis, life among the rich and famous, scandal, madness, and murder. Turmoil unveils dysfunctional family relationships from just after World War II to the 1970s.

The story is presented in an unusual format full of twists and turns and unexpected detours. It may seem erratic at times but, like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces fit together and when it is finished you will see the whole picture.

Reader Reviews:

“Turmoil is sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, sometimes harrowing and totally fascinating.”

“I have never before read a novel in one day, but I couldn’t put it down.”

“I like the way she brings to life an array of unique characters who are totally believable. She tells a story so that you are captivated and enlightened by events that actually happened in the recent past. An enormous amount of research has gone into her writings. I also like very much the grammatical accuracy with which she writes.”


This is about my bizarre life. It is possible you might

not find my life bizarre at all, but you will need to

decide that for yourself. Like my life, my story is presented

in an unusual format full of twists and turns

and unexpected detours. My mind tends to jump

around in time, as most minds do, and I have allowed

it to follow its path. It may seem erratic at times, but

like a jigsaw puzzle all the pieces fit together and

when it is finished you will see the whole picture.

From as far back as I can remember I have always

been considered different. I have heard the phrase

“You’re very different,” over and over again and felt

it in the instant wary distance from strangers. Sometimes

I would ask, “Why do you think I’m different?

What do you mean?” and they would answer “I don’t

know. You’re just different.” Truth be told, I would

have to admit that I felt the difference too. I knew I

was separate from them, but I did not know why. I

still feel a separation from people while being completely

comfortable with animals. As a child, when

people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up

my immediate answer was always, “I want to be a

hermit.” That reply usually surprised people and

stopped the conversation in its tracks. The idea of living

in a cabin in the woods far from people with only

animals as friends still seems so appealing, but life

had other ideas which led me to have a great affinity

for the unwanted outcasts of world, perhaps because

I am one.

Do you wonder who I am? Do you want to know

what happened to me? Then let’s get started....


The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen was a guy

named Joe. We met in a musical theater production of

Affair Exchange at the Playhouse Theater in San Francisco

which was located next door to the Buena Vista

Bar, the birthplace of Irish Coffee. Joe played a Mod

and I played a hooker with a heart of gold. You know

the old story. I was often cast as a hooker, the plight of

a female blessed with a good figure. Still, it was a job

and far better than my previous job of scanning the

obituaries for people who had donated their eyes to


Joe and I quickly became fast friends. He had just

arrived in San Francisco from his family home in Mt.

Diablo. He was new to the city and excited by its possibilities

and at having finally reached the age where

he could leave home without running away. When I

say he was gorgeous, I am not exaggerating. He was

tall, slim and had natural platinum blonde hair, turquoise

eyes and amazing skin. I think I envied his

skin more than anything because I had battled terminal

acne since I was nine. We had been given strict

instructions by AJ, the play’s director, not to leave

the theater when we were in costume, but Joe and I

found a little known back door so we could sneak out

and go to the Buena Vista for the famous Irish Coffee

minus whiskey, and a whopping plate of their crispy

french fries, always managing to sneak back in time

for our cues. AJ and the play’s writer, whose name

escapes me, had taken two years meeting in parking

lots to write Affair Exchange. Some wealthy and possibly

misguided angels had put up the cash to produce

it. Amazingly, it ran for several months, during which

time Joe’s and my friendship grew. The play only ran

on weekends which gave us both an opportunity to

work on other projects.

I worked as a band singer at several different clubs.

Joe got a gig as a female impersonator at the Fantasy.

He invited me to see him on my lone night off and

he was amazing. He did Jean Harlow and you would

swear you were looking at a reincarnation. He was

also perfecting Marilyn Monroe. He did not lip synch.

He was talented enough to sing, dance and act well so

the illusion was complete. Basically, he blew the other

drag queens out of the water in his white satin 1930s

gown with his natural blonde hair styled to match the


The days passed with both of us working, rehearsing,

performing and running to auditions. Still we found

time to meet for lunch, or take a walk at one of my favorite

places, eerie and desolate Fort Point at the base

of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We were at a cast party where Joe was trying to teach

me to do the Temptation Walk, when he told me he

had met a man who was very nice to him, an older

guy but very handsome. Joe had moved into his lavish

home which had spectacular views. One morning

as I was vacuuming, the Beatles came on the radio doing

Day in the Life. It was the first time I heard it and I

was riveted. I had never heard anything like it before.

It totally blew me away so much so that I barely heard

the phone ringing. I grabbed the receiver. It was Joe.

He was happily jabbering away about how much his

life had changed since leaving Mt. Diablo and how his

parents had warned him about coming to the City but

he was so glad he hadn’t listened to them. I was still

distracted by the music so I was only half listening,

but we agreed to meet for lunch in a couple of days so

we could have a good talk.

I went to meet him but he didn’t show up. That was

very unlike him. He always kept his word and I was a

little worried. I would have phoned him but he hadn’t

given me his new address so I had no way of contacting

him as this was long before cell phones became

everyone’s obsession. Two days passed and still no

word. Then I saw it in the morning newspaper, not a

headline, but discreetly tucked away on page three.

The body of a young man dressed as a woman had

been found in the men’s room at Golden Gate Park.

Witnesses said he had been beaten to death by several

men dressed in army camouflage. The news was

shocking yet somehow expected. Joe was nineteen.

The police never found his murderers. They never


About the author

Cassandra Malcolm is one of my pen names. Under other names I have written seven nonfiction books for major publishers such as Prentice-Hall, Van Nostrand Reinhold, Pearson Education, and Cognella Academic. For ten years I was a featured writer for The Antique Collector magazine in London. view profile

Published on October 25, 2019

50000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary fiction

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