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The Daughters of Freya

The Daughters of Freya

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The Daughters of Freya

208 страниц
2 часа
15 окт. 2012 г.


Journalist Samantha Dempsey never imagined her life would turn out like this. Her 19 year-old son has fallen in love with an older woman. Her mother is a basket case, still haunted by the death of Samantha’s brother in a car accident years ago. Her once-promising career as a journalist has ground to a halt. And the cracks in her marriage are wide and getting wider.

In the midst of all this turmoil, Samantha gets an email from a desperate friend whose 21 year-old daughter has joined The Daughters of Freya, a California cult that believes sex is the solution to the world’s problems. He wants Samantha to write a story that will expose the cult as a fraud.

Samantha pitches the story to Jane Sperry, the editor of a San Francisco magazine and an old college friend. Sperry sends Samantha to Marin County to write a piece on the cult but she soon finds out that there is more to the cult than meets the eye.

She discovers that the cult’s ‘spiritual guide’ has a secret and insidious agenda, and wealthy and powerful partners who will stop at nothing to prevent her from revealing the truth.

As Samantha risks her life in an attempt to penetrate the inner workings of the cult, she must deal with a personal life that is threatening to fall apart and a past she thought she had left far behind.

15 окт. 2012 г.

Об авторе

Michael Betcherman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He is the author of the young adult mystery novels Breakaway (finalist for the John Spray Mystery Award) and Face-Off (finalist for the Arthur Ellis Mystery Award). Michael has numerous writing credits in both dramatic and documentary television. He is also the author/creator of the groundbreaking online novels The Daughters of Freya and Suzanne. Michael lives in Toronto.

Предварительный просмотр книги

The Daughters of Freya - Michael Betcherman



Michael Betcherman and David Diamond

Copyright 2012 Michael Betcherman and David Diamond

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This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the authors.

What the Critics are saying:

The Daughters of Freya is a gripping, fun mystery novel that takes the form of a series of emails between the players in the story ... The story revolves around a Canadian investigative journalist who lands a gig doing a cover-story on a Silicon Valley sex-cult. Before long, the action turns to murder and intrigue. I had a 200-page print-out of the whole thing that I sucked back in about two hours, nonstop. Almost missed a plane so that I could read the ending, which was really tense! -- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net

What makes it so much fun ... is the surprising way it puts you smack into the lives of [the] characters. -- Marietta Dunn, The Philadelphia Inquirer

... an intriguing story of cult worship in San Francisco ... a taut cleverly conceived tale. -- Mike Gillespie, Ottawa Citizen



Subject: Need your help

From: Don Jackson

To: Samantha Dempsey

Dear Samantha:

Karen and I need your help. Six months ago Lisa dropped out of Berkeley and joined a cult in Marin County north of San Francisco. This isn’t like the moonies or hari krishna or any other cult you’ve ever heard of. I wish it was. Believe it or not, Lisa is running around having sex with strangers out of some crackpot belief that this is going to lead to world peace.

We just returned from California an hour ago. We went there in the futile hope that we’d be able to persuade Lisa to leave the cult. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to see her but the cult leader, excuse me - the spiritual guide - a bizarre woman named Simone couldn’t have been friendlier. She knew damn well that Lisa wasn’t coming back home with us.

Simone invited us to sit in on one of their workshops. It was called Freeing Sexual Energy. The girls took turns talking about the sexual attitudes in their homes when they were growing up. When it was Lisa’s turn she told everyone how Karen and I raised her to believe that sex was dirty. When I denied that we had ever said anything like that, she said she was referring to the subliminal messages we sent out. It was very clever - how could we deny doing something we weren’t aware of? Then she told us that she forgave us. Everybody applauded. It was the most humiliating day of our lives.

As you can imagine, we’re both heartbroken about this. We haven’t told anybody except Danny. Frankly we’re too ashamed. I’m only telling you because we have nowhere else to turn. Karen has taken it especially hard. Of course it’s not her fault but she blames herself anyway. She’s had to go on disability leave from the school board; it’s all she can do to drag herself out of bed in the morning.

When I saw you at the boys’ graduation, you said you wanted to get back into investigative journalism. Believe me, there is a great story here - I’ve only given you the tip of the iceberg - so if you’re interested, please call me as soon as possible. Maybe if you reveal the truth, Lisa will come to her senses.

Hope you, Peter and Max are well. Please call me.




Subject: Greetings and a pitch!

From: Samantha Dempsey

To: Jane Sperry

Hi Jane,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than thirty years since we used to perch on the Wall on College Avenue, smoking a joint after one of Dr. B’s lectures on Law and Ethics and giggling at the parade of absurdity that was Penn State circa 1972. Remember those all-nighters at the Collegian when you, Tom and I would be trying to put the paper to bed, arguing over every word as if a misplaced comma would prolong the war?

Last time we spoke was at Dr. B’s retirement ceremony in the summer of 1979--you were with a charming Englishman and Peter and I were newlyweds--but I’ve been following your career in The Penn Stater and am really proud of what you’ve achieved. A bookstore here in Toronto started carrying Left Coast a couple of years ago and I haven’t missed an issue. The piece you guys did on the Reno murder was spellbinding, particularly the way the writer worked backwards from the murder. Definitely deserved the National Magazine Award.

Peter’s well. He’s a partner in an international construction company that specializes in resort development. The business is booming but his travel schedule is brutal. The last few years he’s basically been commuting to Bangkok--his firm was building a resort in Phuket--and now he’s in Moscow bidding on a development in the Caucasus. I’m not sure we’d ever see each other if he wasn’t committed to the neighborhood dry cleaner.

We have a son, Max, who is now a freshman in college. He goes to Wilfrid Laurier University, which is about an hour west of here, where he’s majoring in his girlfriend Amy. I have to confess I’m not thrilled about this--Amy’s very sweet, and she’s absolutely gorgeous--but she’s 25 years old, and this is my baby we’re talking about. Peter pretends to sympathize but he’s secretly proud, as if this confirms the outstanding genetic legacy he’s bequeathed to Max.

After Max was born, I started working freelance for a few trade publications, mainly filing reports about the latest information technology developments. It wasn’t exactly stimulating but the flexibility of working from home was great while Max was growing up. Now that I don’t have to sit around cold, drafty hockey arenas at six in the morning--a prerequisite for obtaining Canadian citizenship--or help Max with his homework, I’ve got time to take on more ambitious journalistic projects, which is my second reason for sending you this e-mail. I want to pitch a story that I think is perfect for Left Coast.

I just met with the father of one of Max’s old hockey teammates. He was in a panic because his daughter has dropped out of school and joined a cult in Marin County called The Daughters of Freya. It’s an all-female cult and is run by a woman, which to me sounds newsworthy in itself. But what really got me intrigued was his description of the cult’s philosophy. Apparently--and this sort of thing would never fly in Toronto--these women have decided to devote themselves to bringing sexual fulfillment to the world.

According to their ‘spiritual guide’, a woman named Simone Jorgensen, our deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy manifest themselves in the destructive behavior that leads to war, hunger, crime etc. In order to heal our damaged psyches and bring about heaven on earth, Simone has persuaded her acolytes to have sex with strangers. I’m not making this up!

I did a Google search and there is plenty of material about Freya--she’s the Norse goddess of sexuality--but nothing on this group. There were a few Simone Jorgensens--a retired high school teacher from Minnesota, a former high-tech exec from Silicon Valley and the 11 year-old winner of a spelling bee in Seattle--but no cult leader.

Are you interested in an article about this cult? Thought I’d offer it to you first before going elsewhere with it. Let me know if you think there’s something here for you—and on what you’re up to. Did you ever hear any news about Tom? And what happened to the Englishman?



From: Jane Sperry

To: Samantha Dempsey

Hi Sam,

Fantastic to hear from you although it’s more than a little disturbing to realize that Max is the same age that we were when we first met. Where did the years go? And why do I keep asking myself this question? The only good thing about it is that my mother has stopped asking me when I’m going to make her a grandmother.

I ended up moving to London and marrying the Englishman, only to discover that beneath the plummy accent and diffident British charm lay the soul of a crushing bore. We eventually divorced in ‘89 after years of bitter wrangling that enriched only my lawyers and the forensics accountants I hired to trace Jeremy’s offshore assets. I stayed on with the Guardian for a few more years but without Thatcher to mock, the gray skies and endless drizzle eventually got to me and in ‘93 I moved back here to make it easier for my mother to harass me.

I freelanced for a while before I succumbed to the allure of a regular paycheck and took a PR job with a Silicon Valley startup. I quit a couple of years later when the line between fiction and reality got so blurred it no longer existed. In ‘99 we launched the magazine - thanks for the kind words - and even though it’s been a struggle, I’m proud we’ve been able to stay afloat without resorting to puff pieces about Hollywood’s favorite spas.

This is the part where I should tell you about my personal life but I don’t have one. No lover, no kids, not even a cat. Hell, I can’t even remember the last time I ate at home. I’m not complaining, I made my choices but reading about your domestic tranquility did elicit a pang of envy - or was it heartburn from the dim sum I had at lunch?

I haven’t heard a word about Tom, but I’m not in touch with anybody from the old days so I’m probably not the right person to ask. My guess is he’s digging wells somewhere in Africa. The last time I saw him was the day he came into the office and told us he wasn’t going to hide behind a student deferment while poor kids were dying in Vietnam. I’ll never forget the look on your face.

I ran your idea past our story committee. Everybody loves it! A cult devoted to getting laid! That covers two of our readers’ favorite subjects. The cult must be fairly new on the scene because we ran a LexisNexis search and nothing came up. So it looks like it’s a go. One more thing. Our May cover story fell through and we’ll need a first draft by March 16. So we’re going to have to get moving right away. I’ll call you later today to go over the nitty gritty.

Go Lions!


Jane Sperry


Left Coast Monthly

595 Harrison Street, Suite 3240

San Francisco, CA 94113



Subject: Welcome Aboard!

From: Jane Sperry

To: Samantha Dempsey

Hi Sam,

Great talking to you last night. I’m delighted that we’re going to be working together. Just to confirm our conversation, your piece should cover these topics: 1) the goings on at the cult; 2) a look at Simone - who she is, where she came from and why she’s doing what she’s doing; 3) one of the girls’ stories (at least); and 4) your own reflections on the cult’s philosophy.

As far as #4 is concerned, the more personal the better. For example, you might consider including the story you told me of the first time Max’s girlfriend slept over. You and Peter in bed, him joking about the ceiling coming down and you wondering if you’ll ever experience that kind of passion again. Very funny, very poignant, and something our readers will identify with. It reminded me of the time the three of us shared a motel room in Harrisburg when we were covering the anti-war protest at the Capitol. I hate to tell you this darling, but I was only pretending to be asleep while you and Tom were going at it. You know what they say about a watched pot? Well it’s true!

But I digress.

The article should be between 3-4000 words and we pay $2 a word. And of course we’ll cover all your expenses while you’re out here. My assistant Bonnie will get in touch to make the arrangements.

Thanks for being willing to accommodate our deadline. If you’d like us to track down a cult expert, or if there’s any other research you need done, let me know and I’ll assign an intern to help you out.

Can’t wait to see you.



Subject: Itinerary

From: Bonnie Hooper

To: Samantha Dempsey

Cc: Jane Sperry

Hi Samantha,

You’re booked on Air Canada, flight 757, leaving Toronto on Sunday, March 7 at 9:30, arriving in San Francisco at 12:08. I gave the travel agent your frequent flyer number and your meal request. She’ll send you the e-ticket and car rental information later today.

We’ve reserved a room for you at the Valley Inn of San Geronimo. It’s 15 minutes away from the Temple. It will never be featured in Conde Nast Traveler but friends of mine have been there

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