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The Story of Beauty and the Beast. Part One.


Vicki FitzGerald (aka The Beauty) and Matt Crisci (aka The Beast) in Ireland


The Beast Speaks:


Call it fate or Irish luck, I first met Vicki at a writer’s conference in Dublin, Ireland. As the father of three sons, I knew little about raising girls—Mary Ann, my wife of 50+ years, and Bella, my feisty 16-year-old granddaughter, will attest to that!


Somehow, this intelligent and witty 30-something mom from South West England, and I, had instant chemistry. We talked over tea and sandwiches. I discovered behind Vicki’s wholesome, cheery mask sat a turbulent world of self-doubt that included broken relationships, marital infidelity, severe depression, grief, a spinal injury, and other bad choices.


I was stunned by her honesty, her fragility, and her determination to turn the page. I suggested her story, told correctly, could touch people’s hearts, perhaps even offer some life lessons without being preachy. She said politely, “No, thank you.”


One year later, we met again in Dublin, this time over a pint of Guinness. I said nothing of our prior conversation. I soon learned Vicki’s life had tumbled. She’d made attempts at suicide, endured an assault, a car crash, arrest, a court case, had even been sued by her best friend. I was gobsmacked. Eyes twinkling like two bright stars, Vicki then nodded, “I’m good now. It’s time.”


So began our 7,000 mile England to America collaboration. During the next year, Vicki unlocked the key to her soul. And now our book entitled Still Standing: One woman’s struggle with divorce, depression, and betrayal, sits in the Amazon bookstore, and the initial reviews have been heart-warming. As I suspected, readers, regardless of age or circumstance, remark Vicki’s story is one you will not soon forget. More importantly, the old Vicki is back, feisty as ever. She has vowed to live the rest of her life in the sunshine. I believe her. I applaud her. I love her like my own daughter.





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