2018 GOLD WINNER Human Relations Indie Book Awards


   email a request to lnaseem19@gmail.com

    A story of first love set in San Francisco in

    the late 60's against a backdrop of flower

            children, racial prejudice, and the

                            Vietnam War.


      Harv sees Lani in the fog, her dancer's gait carrying her across the grassy slope toward


       She is close enough now to touch, the rounded white headstones framing her long brown

  hair and navy-blue eyes.

       Those eyes scald him with accusation:  he never said good-bye.  His last words were, in

  fact, ugly, slashing at her like sabers to make her run away from the danger.

       "They were lies!" he shouts, and her eyes are ink running on wet paper.

       He reaches out to pull her to him and stroke her hair, her cheek, but the fog swirls her

  away and he is alone.

                                                                      CHAPTER ONE

       The mascara I didn't wash off before I went to bed has glued my eyelashes together.  It

  takes a minute to get my eyes open.

        I have been rolling around all night and now I am tangled in my waist-length brown hair.

        Dawn peeks in orange strips around the venetian blinds.

        I close my eyes again and wander into a dream I'd had when the war was a dragon

  devouring villages, rice paddies, American soldiers.  A flame-edged dream of hurling

  body parts.  A leg hits me in the chest and I tumble onto a muddy path under a high canopy

  of tropical green.  I open my mouth to scream but I see a soldier in olive drab walking ahead

  of me, black and big enough to fill the path and cast a shadow in the shadow-glutted jungle,

  his mud-caked boots squelching in mold-ringed muck.

       "Hey!" I shout, getting up and running after him.

       He doesn't answer.

       We trudge on in green half-light.

       The jungle is an oven, steaming air blistering my throat with each breath.  Sweat runs in

  rivers down my forehead, my back, my legs.  Dark damp splotches spread across my fatigues

  and that godforsaken mud sucks at my boots.

       Sure could use a cigarette.

       "Harv!" I call to the soldier.

       But he isn't Harv.  Harv isn't black.

       "You got a smoke?"

       He turns, a grin flashing across his face.  "Yeah, man."

       He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a cigarette pack.  His feet never stop moving. 

       His arm stretches back to me and just as my fingertips touch the pack, Fourth of July

  fireworks blast through the trees.

      The hand offering the cigarettes shoots straight up in the air.

      His leg flies backward and knocks me into the mud, and pain like a thousand knives stabs

  my chest, my belly, my legs.

      This time I scream, and my scream wakes me up.  Ash settles to the jungle floor and

  dissolves in the mud, and the two-room house in Monterey that was my home twelve years

  ago, in the fall of 1967, grows up around me.  The light flooding through the gaudy paintings

  on our windows---a sunk-eyed guy with waves of turquoise hair and a swirling purple beard,

  and a woman with yellow cat eyes and a star-spangled face---spatters the walls with


                                   REVIEWS & COMMENTS

   "Set in San Francisco in the mid-1960s during the height of the hippie  

 movement and Vietnam War, EDEN tells of the prophetic dream of teen

 flower child Lani, whose boyfriend Harv Stetson is sent home in a coffin.

 There's one twist to the story:  in a prophetic dream about his death, she'd

 seen him as a black man.  And when she opens his coffin, the same black

 man is there...not Harv.

   "Chapter 2 explains the puzzle from Harv's perspective, but adds an 

 extra dimension of angst as events unfold with the reader now cognizant

 of both Harv and Lani's very different realities. 

  "Between a sergeant who condones a deadly choice, a girlfriend who can

 never understand the politics and pressures of being a grunt in Vietnam,

 a prophetic dream that threatens the best-laid plans, and the atmospheric

 unraveling of American society during the 1960s, EDEN represents a

 compelling blend of murder mystery, 1960s social exploration, romance,

 and more...

  "As race relations enter into the picture to influence decisions and

 deadly  choices, readers are treated to an absorbing interplay of events

 solidified by events of the 1960s....

  "As truth, lies, dreams and reality become jumbled, readers receive a

 powerful survey that is mercurial and hard to put down.  EDEN is a

 powerful novel that will leave its readers reflecting long past its final

 surprises and insights." 

                           D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

  Read the full review at


 "I couldn't put the book down as I followed the young hippie, Lani, on a

 thrilling journey of love and lust in the 1960's Bay Area.  Linda Naseem's

 superb imagery turns the words I read into a mental movie. 

 Incredible!"                                                     AN, Colorado Springs CO

  "Having also grown up during the late 60's - this book brought me right 

 back to the feelings and issues of the times.  It was clear the author also

 experienced that era as well and I appreciated the opportunity to go back

 with her to revisit.  The story covered a lot - love, war, drugs, sex, racial

 questioning, friendship, self-growth...all woven into an intricate yet

 plausible plot.  I found the bookcompelling and well worth the time

 spent reading it."

                                                                          Pat Rullo, Speak Up Talk Radio

  "Sad ending.  I had to cry.  GREAT book...!!  Really great book....  I'm a


                                                                         NM, Colorado Springs CO

  "I was intrigued that you incorporated the race issue at the time and I

 thought that was well captured...I enjoyed it very much."

                                                                         RS, Seaside CA

  "Eden is a modern-day Macbeth, only even more poignant!  Listening to

 the voice of evil, even from a loved one, instead of one's own 'small voice,'

 and how this leads to tragedy of deceptions and insecurities is a universal,

 classic theme, but told in Eden in a way that engulfs one's very soul.


                                                                         GH, Glacier WA