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Moments in Time: When One Heart Opens, Two Hearts Collide


This moving debut novel explores the psychological effects of falling in love and adds a dose of conflict-ridden realism.

Loss, grief, and love intermingle in this realistic story of a passionate woman’s choice to live with fervor despite the inevitable heartache. Moments in Time, by Nina C. Payne, tells the story of Cassandra Peyton, a vibrant soul learning to accept the impending death of her terminally ill brother while falling for her charismatic yoga instructor.

In a difficult phase of her life, Cass struggles with emotional upheaval as change thrusts her in unanticipated directions. She watches as her beloved sibling dies, slowly deteriorating and losing his battle with cancer. In candid, descriptive detail, she follows him on his spiritual transformation and suffers through his physical exodus.

Juxtaposed with these gut-wrenching scenes is a romance with an older man. A balm to her senses, this sexual attraction is a potent narcotic. Desire and death—one has the power to obliterate the other. In Payne’s novel, this underlying theme sets the somber yet life-affirming tone. The plot explores the psychological effects of falling in love and adds a dose of conflictridden realism. The protagonists are married to others, yet their affection for each other flourishes despite their commitments.

Payne’s distinctive voice can be heard on every page, but the tendency to focus on the devastating details of terminal illness, unpleasant and depressing, overwhelms the most important aspect of the book, which may be to inspire and lift the audience from the depths of excruciating loneliness. More a drama than a love story, this mainstream novel veers into medical tragedy and will appeal to anyone dealing with similar feelings.

Outstanding passages, especially in dialogue, allow an inside look at the heroine’s turmoil:

Grief doesn’t care about children, family, age, future. Grief doesn’t care how much money you have or don’t have, how nice or how mean you are, how good or how bad you are. Grief doesn’t discriminate; it’s an equal-opportunity destroyer. It just drags you down to your knees as you beg it for mercy from the agony that’s ripping you apart from the inside out. At that point you’d be willing to make a deal with the devil for a single moment of relief from the stranglehold it has around your neck, making it so you can’t breathe, hear, or see. That’s despair. That’s darkness.

Payne has drawn heavily from her own experiences to write this moving debut novel. Her poignant first person narrative creates the immediacy necessary to draw one into an unforgettable introspective journey of the heart.

Julia Ann Charpentier


“Reading Moments In Time was a delight. I stayed up reading through the night and until morning. Nina C. Payne writes in a way that forces readers to place themselves in the proverbial shoes of her characters (and contemplate walking a mile in them). Cassandra’s journey is paved with multiple struggles, and how she chooses to face and deal with life’s struggles is what makes her a multi-dimensional and relatable character. Although this is a love story, it is by no means the common, everyday, fantastical and unbelievable romance so often found on the shelves of our bookstores today. There is no easy choice. There are struggles, heartache, and loss. The situations are real. The characters are real. Each character is flawed. Yet, this does not take anything away from the story. In fact, it only adds to it and makes the story that much better and relatable. I truly enjoyed reading this book and am very much looking forward to the next chapter in Cassandra’s journey.”

Kat Madison, San Diego




I get called on to write all kinds of stories about all kinds of people. Usually I jump at the chance but recently I was assigned to interview two women who have written outstanding books. These are accomplished authors with superior talent. Patricia Ward Kelly who documented the life of husband Gene Kelly was gracious and gave this amateur a wonderfully candid interview and a generous amount of her time. Yesterday, Nina C. Payne, did the same for me and did so very charmingly.

Nina told me she started writing at a very young age, somewhere around 4th grade. She loved writing essays and poetry. Even though she admits some of her early poetry was on the “dark side”, her teachers must have been ecstatic at having such an avid writer. I asked if she had kept a journal or diary to which she said “no because she felt her thoughts and feelings were too personal” and she felt that “she would be too exposed”. Her two children are also poetry writers and her older brother is an accomplished artist. Obviously artistic talent runs in the family.

As she grew older, Nina continued to write and she found another love… Yoga.
Her new ninacoverbook titled “Moments in Time” and subtitled “When One Heart Opens, Two Hearts Collide”, is a fictional novel but it weaves her love of Yoga with her personal life experiences into a complex romantic narrative that is loaded with intense and realistic dialog.

This book wasn’t the culmination of a lifelong dream. It was born during probably the worst time of Nina’s life. Once she began writing it she couldn’t stop not even to acknowledge her own 13 and 16 year old kids. She poured it out for over 4 months like a swollen stream breaks through a small dam. In the book’s storyline, the main character, Cassandra Peyton is forced to cope with the illness and ultimately the death of a sibling. The descriptions of Cassandra’s relationships with her family, friends and lover parallel a similar event in Nina’s recent past. Nina captures the reader’s interest with gut-wrenching and honest exposure of feelings that come from deep inside her. Few authors make themselves so vulnerable or capture so poignantly the dynamics of a family in crisis. There are several love stories to be found in this 197 page work of fiction that is often poetic in the humanistic content. I usually find books that are described as Romantic Novels to be too mushy and too feminine orientated. Nina’s book falls way outside that category and it is a book for all ages and all genders. Everyone who reads it will find a character or an experience to identify with.

Don’t take my word for it, I’m just a newspaper hack but I absolutely couldn’t put down this book once I started reading it. However, it isn’t just me, the book has also been getting rave reviews by experts like Julia Ann Charpentier. “Moments in Time” is soon to be released through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Goodreads. Nina expects the book to be available no later than the first week in November. I would recommend you get a copy and read it this Fall and then pass it on to another family member. If you know a family in crisis, this book is inspirational and it would be an excellent way to give them support. The topics of medical strife and deep felt grief are dealt with in a remarkable light by this remarkable author.

On Saturday Oct. 18th, 9 to 11 AM at Allen’s Alley Café in downtown Vista, the author, Nina C. Payne, will be autographing copies of this wonderful novel. Even if you don’t intend to buy her book at this time you should come by and meet Nina. The book has inspired Nina to engage in speaking appearances to talk about the heartache, grief, and depression that accompanies real life tragedies.

Again, that’s Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 to 11 AM at Allen’s Alley Café. (located at 124 Hanes Pl. for those of you that don’t like the best biscuits and gravy on the West Coast) and did I mention that Nina’s mother owns the Café?

Pat Murphy