It’s gonna be a great summer!

Wow, gang. It’s already shaping up to be quite a terrific summer out here in the Hinterlands. Except for that pesky humidity…

(Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I just recently bought a very old house (117 years) out in the country that has no central AC. It has 22 large windows, though, so I’m not dying yet, technically-speaking.  Not yet, anyway…)

And those same loyal readers will also recall that while I wait to hear from seemingly every TV producer on the planet re: my TV pilot, Cleveland’s Burning; and while I await revision notes on the one-woman musical I wrote with NYC-based actor, Sandra Caldwell, (we are gearing up to workshop it Off-Broadway); I decided to go back to working on that illustrated novel-in-progress, The Miracle Cats — the mystery novel that I’m writing and that my pal, Val in Brooklyn, is illustrating.

Well, since moving out here to the Hinterlands, I’ve become very inspired to make significant changes to the premise of the The Miracle Cats. (The main one being that rather than have it be a “Miracle Cats” series, it’s now going to be a “Hurley Falls Mystery” series, although there will still be cats in it.) And the fictional Hurley Falls will now be based on this tiny village I now live in, rather than having it be a strictly fictional town, based on nothing real at all.

I’ve been doing research the last several days, trying to find out more about the history of this village, and I stumbled upon some really cool stuff, gang! One being that all these ancient burial mounds around the county were built by some really tall people! Charred skeletons and various burial-related accoutrements were excavated around here, nearly 200 years ago, and the excavations revealed that the skeletons were all between 8 feet and 9-feet 4 inches tall. Including an infant skeleton, 3 and 1/2 feet tall.

It just staggers my imagination. Of course, this is going back well over 2000 years, but those really tall people were walking around all over (what is now) this village.  Just too cool to imagine. And they didn’t appear to be related to any Native American tribal people. They were sun worshipers, more closely related to people from ancient Greece and Egypt.

Then I also did some research on the more modern-day founders of this village, nearly 200 years ago, as well. And to my delight, discovered that most of those early pioneers are buried in the cemetery a few blocks away from my house! It really brought everything “to life,” as it were.  I was so excited to discover all those graves so close by.  I walked around the cemetery, with my handwritten list of names, and it was like discovering an old friend each time I found a tombstone that matched a name that was on my list. (Another cool thing, is that you can find the grave of someone who died in 1817 and they’re buried not too far from someone who died in, like, 2005. You just don’t see that too often in places where I’ve lived in the past.)

In a sort of “Our Town” type of thing, or “Spoon River Anthology,” the spirits of the people who once lived in the town are part of the Hurley Falls Mysteries. So after I checked off all those names of those people who’ve been buried a really long time, I told them (out loud, unfortunately), “Get ready, guys!! You’re going to live again!!”

However, all that exciting stuff said, it was ridiculously humid out while I was doing all this tracking down of tombstones, and I had tickets to the theater last night. When I got back from the cemetery, drenched in sweat, I took a shower and was still drenched in sweat!

I thought to myself, I cannot possibly go to the theater tonight. I have to sit here for the rest of the night, completely motionless, and just try not to sweat…

However, since I already bought season tickets, it seemed ridiculously wasteful not to load my sweaty self into my air-conditioned Honda Fit, drive into town and see the show.

I am SO GLAD I did, gang. They were opening the season with A Chorus Line.

I saw the original NY road show of A Chorus Line back in the mid-70s, and it was a show that meant so much to me. And within a couple years of that, I was a professional singer, living in New York City, and a lot of my friends were on Broadway working  in chorus lines, some of them graduates of the old High School of Performing Arts, so wonderfully immortalized in the song “Nothing,” and while I never wanted to be in an actual chorus line, so much of that show became part of how life actually was for me and my friends in NYC — many of those friends having since died from AIDS 25 to 30 years ago.

Last evening, as I was cooling down in my air-conditioned Honda Fit, driving the 15 miles to the theater, I could not imagine a summer stock version of the show capturing anything close to what the original show had meant. And yet…

I have to say…

that I think the version I saw last night…

this version where all of the actors are only in their late teens, early 20s, and so were not even an idea in God’s mind yet, 40-some years ago during the show’s original run…

this version was even better. And it wasn’t “updated” for today’s audiences, or anything. It was the original show. Wow, gang.  It was wonderful!

Well, I leave you with this awesome song from the original 1975 Broadway Cast. Have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are, gang.  Go out there and expect some miracles! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

 

 

A rare occasion indeed!

While a few of the cats in my feral cat colony were named after Mark Twain characters, and a couple of them were named after characters in the Eloise children’s books, three of the cats in my feral cat colony were named after this famous literary family:

Zelda, Scottie, and F. Scott Fitzgerald

A couple of the ferals were adoptable and found good forever homes. One of the ferals died very young. And, as loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, all of my non-feral cats have since passed away, as well.

But this still leaves me with 8 (now semi-feral) cats in the cat colony. And while providing a forever home to  semi-feral cats poses unique challenges — specifically, they are all very afraid of humans who aren’t me; they tolerate being petted now and then but they aren’t at all cuddly; and, because they will still attack,  it’s next to impossible to get them veterinarian care, so they are all strictly indoor cats now. However, they are still extremely dear to me and a joy to have around.

It helps that they’re really cute.

Scottie (named after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s daughter, pictured above), is a very, very sweet little tabby cat. Here she was as a kitten:

For some reason, though, when she was still really young, all the other cats in the colony decided they were going to bully her. For a long time, she hid in a box in the far corner of the basement, in the dark, back in the old house. It was really, really rough.  I couldn’t touch her or get hold her because it terrified her, so I couldn’t even remove her to another part of the house. So she lived in terror of the other cats, hiding in an old box in the dark, and wouldn’t even use the litter box for fear that one of the cats would attack her.

It broke my heart because she was just so sweet. I worked really patiently with her, at a distance, and at last got her to at least  hide in the rafters near the basement window, so that she could get some daylight and so that I could easily see her every day and make sure she was okay.  And I was able to re-train her to use a litter box.

For years, I did the whole routine about praising her in front of the other cats whenever possible, and gave her treats before any of the others got treats (a lot of this took place while she was still living in the basement rafters). It literally took years of patient persistence, but eventually the other cats no longer bullied her. In the rental house and then here in the new house, she always found a place to hide for most of the day, but she would finally come out at meal times and join the other cats — and even let me pet her.

She became a really happy, un-bullied cat!

This new house has been a real blessing for all of the cats, in general. Lots of space for them and tons of windows for them to look out from and see all the birds. And except for the terrifying railroad train (!!), it’s an incredibly quiet and peaceful town. The cats seem extremely happy here.

And, over the last couple days, a real miracle has happened! Scottie has stopped hiding.

Here’s Scottie, yesterday, hanging out in the kitchen in broad daylight! Just enjoying a quiet summer afternoon. I am absolutely thrilled and amazed.

This new development has made me so happy.

Well, okay. Have a thrilling and amazing weekend, wherever it finds you and with whatever it finds you doing. Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya.

The 3rd and Final Volume, Now on Sale!

Yes, gang, it only took me 6 years to complete the collection, but the 3rd and final volume in The Muse Revisited series is officially published and available for download.

Again, I want to emphasize that if you’re unfamiliar with my earlier writing career (that spanned 21 incredible years), the stories in these 3 volumes of early erotica are decidedly hardcore and not for the average reader’s tastes.

However, if you’re not an average reader, here’s what one reader had to say about my early writing:

Marilyn Jaye Lewis is a first rate erotic writer. Her characters are so human, their stories so well developed, and the eroticism is…well, truly erotic. Everyone who appreciates erotic literature should read  everything…Lewis writes. She’s the best of the best.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reformatting the manuscripts for publication on Kindle, but for now, all 3 of the books are available on Smashwords in all eBook formats.  Volumes 2 & 3 for $3.99, and Volume 1 for $2.99

 

New collection of my early novellas

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m in the process of uploading the rest of the series in “The Muse Revisited” collection on smashwords.

As of today, The Muse Revisited, Volume II: Early Erotic Novellas & Longer Works is now for sale for $3.99 and available for immediate download.

Please be forewarned: if you are not already a reader of my earlier books and short stories, they are extremely hardcore and not aimed at the average reader. That said, though, here is what a couple of writers had to say about my early writing:

“Straight, queer, bi – whatever! Marilyn Jaye Lewis’s writing gets my blood pumping and leaves me breathless.”  — Greg Wharton, author of Johnny Was & Other Tall Tales 

“Exquisitely filthy sex scenes. Beautiful, lyrical, funny and poignant. Marilyn Jaye Lewis is a superb writer.”   — Lauren Henderson, author of My Lurid Past

Eventually, this eBook will also be available on Kindle with the rest of the series, but for now it is only available on smashwords, but in all Ebook formats.

Although it’s been for sale for 6 years (!!) already, you can also purchase The Muse Revisited, Volume I: Early Erotica

Coming in the next couple days will be The Muse Revisited, Volume III: More Early Erotica.

I will keep you posted!

Living the Dream!

I have a few more photos to regale you with, these are from inside the house and they focus more on — the cats!

However, loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recognize that  the really old-looking radio is actually a brand new record player (which I love, gang!! You will recall an earlier post that explained it not only plays records, but is an AM-FM radio, CD player, cassette player and also plays MP3 files!).

Daddycakes relaxing in the dining room.

And that the new “Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown ” is known more affectionately as “my new chair.”

Weenie under the new chair.

This next photo has little to do with any previous posts. It is just a photo of the critters having breakfast!

Daddycakes, Lucy McGoose, Tommygirl, Doris-the-Exploress, Huckleberry, Francis, Weenie, and Scottie Fitzgerald McPhee (in the center)!

My flowers (also from a recent post, see below somewhere) are just exploding in a  riot of color, gang. I can’t believe how well they’re doing. It’s a just a few flower boxes full of impatiens, petunias, and begonias that I planted on Memorial Day, but boy do they add a splash of life.

Yesterday morning, I was drinking a cup of coffee and standing in front of the open screen door, when a teenage boy and his mom walked past my side porch (you’ll no doubt recall that my house is really close to the sidewalk around here and that when neighbors pass by, they are, for all intents and purposes, walking directly inside my house ).  At the same moment that I saw them and said, “Hi”, I heard both of them say, “Beautiful, just beautiful.”

No, they were not talking about me, they were talking about the flowers blooming.

When I lived at the previous house, I had 11 cultivated flower beds, along with a bunch of window boxes full of flowers and some hanging flower baskets. Here, it’s just a handful of flowers, by comparison. But you never know what is going to brighten up a stranger’s day, do you, folks? Their reaction really took me by surprise.  In a good way.

All right, well. I have a lot of writing and editing to do around here for the next several days, so I have to get at it. Smashwords informed me this week that an eBook I published a century ago (The Muse Revisited, Volume One) indicated that it was in fact only one volume in a series and they were curious where the rest of the series was, and that it had to be re-categorized in the “Series” section, posthaste. And so it occurred to me that Volumes Two & Three really should have been published ages ago. They’re just collections of previously published stories, hence it’s really sort of a no-brainer type of project. So I’m trying to get those books up and published in the next few days.

Then, I am totally re-writing the Miracle Cats. This is the mystery series that I’m writing and that my friend, Val in Brooklyn, is illustrating. We began the project close to 3 years ago, when suddenly everyone in her family began dying and then a couple of my cats and a few of her cats, died, too, and then I moved, twice, so we were just not able to emotionally revisit the whole project until now.

But, revisit it we are, in fact, doing. And it’s become almost a whole new book. So that’s really cool.

Oh, before I close this post, I wanted to say that I’ve been reading a bit of history about this village I now live in here in the Hinterlands and I discovered that the railroad train that passes –yes– practically inside my house, was built in 1855, and that it runs on “a diagonal through the town.” Yes, that would be the very same railroad train! It was sort of cool to know that the train has been passing by this very house for 46 years before the house was even built. Knowing that made me feel really connected to all the people who have ever lived here before me in the last 117 years. I can’t tell you how much I love this place; the house and the old town.  It just keeps getting better and better.

The train! As seen from the kitchen porch.

All righty! As always, thanks for visiting, gang. See ya!

Holiday Weekend

For those of us living State-side, this past weekend was a national holiday.  When I was growing up, it was called Decoration Day because you decorated grave sites with flowers on that day, and it  was always on May 30th. It has since been more formally known as Memorial Day and it now falls on the last Monday in May, giving us the first 3-day weekend to officially kick off the summer.

Memorial Day weekend is when I usually go buy my summer flowers for the flower pots, because everyone’s got the flowers on sale. And this Memorial Day weekend was no different!

Well, the only difference being that I seemed to have trekked off to the store with only half my brain this time because I came home with a car chock full of petunias that I didn’t realize I’d bought…

I wanted a ton of impatiens for the front of the house because it not only faces north but also has that enormous maple tree to contend with, so the flowerbeds in front get no sun, and impatiens do really well in no sun.  Well, I only wound up buying half a ton of impatiens, because I’d accidentally bought all those petunias.

But I made do. And I also decided not to plant any impatiens in the actual flowerbeds in front because I think the beds need better soil and I wasn’t prepared to go to all that expense this year. So they are only in flower boxes (along with begonias):

While I had hoped to have lots more impatiens on the front porch than I wound up with, you’ll note that I tried to cleverly conceal as much of the cracking cement as I could with the flowers I had. I’m hoping to get the cement repaired this summer, but I’m not positive if I will.  I’ve got such a long list of outside repairs.

You’ll also note just how close the front of my house is to the street. The window behind St. Francis there looks in on my family room. (If you click on the photos, it gets larger.) The front door apparently hasn’t been opened in, literally, decades. It’s been painted shut many times over. At first, I thought I would want to get that front door opened and put up a new screen door, but then I realized it is really close to the street. Anyone walking by on the sidewalk is basically in my family room. So now I know why no one bothered to open that door all these years.

It’s a really cool old door though. The door, the iron door knob, and the inside lock appear to be original to the house, making them all 117 years old. The inside lock is a big old iron hook & eye thing. Too cool.

Anyway, here’s the side porch! The plethora of accidental petunias are in flower boxes down there at the front of the porch step.

The sagging gutter is where the starling built her nest. I think she had 3 babies. It was quite a busy & noisy affair for awhile there. But the birds flew the nest just a couple days ago and so all is silent again.

I was actually taking these photos for a friend in Brooklyn, who wanted to see more photos of the house, so I’ll regale you with a few more pictures.

The guest room, with Francis!

Her nickname is Peanut, because she’s as cute as one and is teeny tiny. The table is there so that many cats can conveniently perch there at once and look out the window!

And now,  3 shots of my sanctuary!!

My bedroom! Complete with stain on carpet that came with the house!
The wall next to the bed there was where the old coal-burning fireplace was a long, long time ago. It’s plastered over now.
My desk is at the foot of the bed.

Long-time readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that this desk has been appearing on my many blogs and on my various websites since 1998. The desk is actually 37 years old. It was a wedding gift to me from my first husband. He bought it from a small furniture store on 8th Avenue, where everything in the store was handmade, from pine.

When we got married, we lived on the corner of W.45th Street and 8th Avenue, in the Camelot Building in Manhattan’s theater district. I used to sit at that desk and type on my IBM Selectric typewriter, and look out over the gay hustler bars that were on the opposite corner of 8th Avenue back then. I bought the Selectric at a pawn shop, also on 8th Avenue, and thought it was the absolute coolest thing!

I always just assumed that I would buy a bigger, more professional desk at some point.  Especially in the late 90s, when desktop computers were enormous and took up the whole desk.  But the years went on, and I wrote 5 novels, edited 7 anthologies, wrote 4 or 5 novellas, about 100 short stories, 3 TV pilots, and countless essays, blog posts, letters, etc., at this very small desk!

I’m closing in on 60 years old, gang. I’m getting the feeling this will be my Forever Desk… Ah well. It works.

Okay, gang! It’s hot as blazes out here in the Hinterlands today.  I’m planning on staying inside for most of the day, working on story notes for The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport.  Then, at some point, I’ll probably just collapse from the heat and stare into space.  What could be better?

I leave you with this. I was playing it really loud in the car the other day and having a ball. I hadn’t heard this song in probably 20 years! And I suddenly realized that the chorus somehow became the story of my life — I don’t have TV anymore, I don’t read newspapers, I became a non-denominational ordained minister, moved to the country, planted a garden, etc., etc. I highly recommend it, folks! It worked for me…

Okay. See ya! Thanks for visiting!

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis