About That Other Pandemic…

2 min readApr 7, 2024


Medical suspense set in 1985, Deadly Little Secrets, a medical suspense fast paced stort pits friends against friends in this coastal conservative southern california town

Politics in the spring of 1985 causes conflict between school nurse Loretta Castini and her best friend since the fifth grade, Dr. Julia Brooks. Loretta is the nurse at the high school they both graduated from; her position includes teaching sex education to upper class students. When she and her co-teacher introduce an AIDS awareness module into the curriculum, some parents in this affluent seaside enclave don’t like it one bit.
Okay, it’s a conservative, affluent seaside enclave in Orange County, California whose residents have at least a portion of news filtered through their churches. Loretta ignores this fact when she speaks at the school board meeting defending the course. “AIDS knows no politics.” she proclaims, “It will kill anyone.” Weeks later, Rock Hudson’s appearance on world news affirms her proclamation. …

I began writing Deadly Little Secrets in the early 1990’s while still working as a psych RN practitioner in a ‘tony’ Orange County ,California psych hospital. I had a front row seat to the unfolding of the AIDS epidemic we began noticing in the early 1980’s. We called it G.R.I.D. back then. By the time I started writing this novel, my freelance career had taken root. My byline in community papers, (most of them throwaways) advanced enough for me to stay home, raise my kids and write for lifestyle magazines circulating along the coast of Orange County, California. Good gigs, all of them and they paid fairly well, too. Hey! It was the 90’s.

I never claimed to be a journalist but I am a storyteller. This novel took root from a fundraiser I covered in the early 1990’s, a nonprofit event whose guest speaker was a surgeon from the Bay area. She had been causing quite a ruckus within the medical community, enough for national news makers to notice. As evidence, the theater was filled with people on a workday morning. She delivered all that her reputation on the subject of AIDS promised, her words and the audience’s reaction formed one of the major conflicts threaded throughout Deadly Little Secrets.

In the early 2000’s I gave it to my agent. She liked it but concluded “AIDS isn’t relavent anymore.” Years later, in 2013, I ‘Kindle’ published this story and then took it down in 2014. I had my reasons and all this time later, and with all that’s happened in this country, I was wrong to take it down. It’s a good story, holds up and is fast-paced, which appeals to many readers in our 21st century reality.

I’m now with a publisher for a novel coming out next fall called SweetSpot: Now & Then and fingers are crossed that Deadly Little Secrets helps increase eyeballs on me, the kind that dig reading.

Afterall, that’s why we’re all out here. $1.99 through April 20th, Kindle/ebooks only





Writer/Author/WorkshopLeader @ SoCa.WritersConf. & SantaBarbaraWritersConf, www.MarlaMiller.com I&T: @writersmama https://linktr.ee/Writersmama , Psych RN,MSN