It makes me so happy to announce that my first book, Neptune & Surf, is officially 20 years old this year!
First published in 1999, it has remained continuously in print now for 20 years, both in English and in French. You can buy used copies of it in all its various print formats all over the Internet. However, the official version that is currently in print, is an eBook, published by Little Brown and Company UK, and available here.
When it was first published in trade paper, it looked like this:
And my official author’s photo back then looked like this:
The Guardian newspaper in London called Neptune & Surf “a sensational debut” and selected it as one of their Top Ten Summer Reads for 1999.
The American Book Review said it was “reminiscent of Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon A Time in America’”.
Neptune & Surf garnered me London’s Erotic Writer of the Year award.
And here is what my first reader reviews said on Amazon.com – where Neptune & Surf ranked in sales at #7 in fiction upon its release!!
I adored this book. Marilyn Jaye Lewis is a first rate erotic writer. I read it more than once, bought copies to give to friends. Her characters are so human, their stories so well developed, and the eroticism is…well, truly erotic. Everyone who appreciates erotic literature should read this book and everything else Lewis writes. She’s the best of the best.
My girlfriend got me this. I had no idea what the hell it was, but I was out of regular books, so I read this. I thought it would be all lesbian stuff but it’s *really* good and sexy and I’ve never really read *anything* like this. Totally cool.
Quality erotic literature is rare, and well-done examples even more rare; such an undertaking demands a deft, but sure touch. Neptune and Surf holds three novellas, which nicely complement one another: a set of stories that are literate, with well-drawn characters, imaginative plots, and a marvelous sense of atmosphere; which holds, underlying all like a subterranean lava flow, a theme that is frankly, unashamedly, erotic.
Lewis begins our journey with the title story, set in the gritty, ramshackle Coney Island of the 1950s, a squalid, slightly shabby land of dreams that’s lost its glitter long ago. It’s a neighborhood were the residents scratch out a living as best they can, and two lovers, Nat and Rosalie, become one, for a few brief moments of bliss in this sad world, and are moved by the power of life.
The Mercy Cure, takes us into the home of two lesbian ex-nuns, women who have lost their church, but not their belief. Their comfortable relationship is disturbed by the appearance of a former student, one who has kept alive her raging schoolgirl crush on the former Sister Margaret-Phillip – “…a lean and hard looking woman, her black hair cropped short, making her angular features and dark eyes seem that much more severe.” The girl drawn into their midst, yearns for a man’s touch, even as she’s driven to satisfy her obsession with her ex-teacher. She tries to explain her conflict to her lesbian lover: “…to have a guy wanting you that much, to be aiming all his lust right at you, so you can’t ignore it anymore, until you’re wanting it too”. What is revealed is a richly complex relationship of love and hate, punctuated with laughter and tears, a short but telling journey, a fast ride on an emotional roller coaster.
The final story, Gianni’s Girl, once again turns out to be a story of faith — the belief that even in the most forbidding circumstances, one can survive and triumph. Victoria is playing with fire when she gets involved with Paulie, a minor functionary of the mob. It is a world in which women are used, traded and bartered to satisfy male debts of honor. Victoria is forced to perform before these mobsters, made to engage in the most degrading sexual acts, and in the midst of this depravity, she meets Gianni – an unlikely hero, an innocent with boyish charm. Gianni’s notions of love are straightforward; a man who knows nothing of sin and guilt.
Lewis’ work is characterized by hope; sexual instinct fuses with the life force, driving the characters, in an affirmation of life itself. Her message is ultimately positive, speaking to the human spirit…and the human flesh.
A heartfelt thank you to all my readers all over the world who kept this book alive for 20 years…