Oh, People! Not Again!

Gentle readers and fellow travelers, and loyal readers of this lofty blog!

You no doubt recall that, over the years, I have been confounded by collector’s copies of my various books that pop up all over the Internet at prices that even I cannot reasonably afford.

Usually I find it amusing. But I also find it a little jarring because all those books get snatched up pretty quickly and I cannot understand the perceived value in them or why anyone in their right mind would pay those kinds of prices. (Usually $300-$600 for a trade paperback.)

I can, however, understand people wanting copies of the original French edition of Neptune & Surf by Editions Blanche Paris 2001, because the cover was just way too cool! But those copies only go for around $99. This is what it looked like:I think this cover finally put to rest the very wrong impression that Neptune & Surf was a book about the sea…

Anyway. Yes! I digress!

I can’t remember how on earth I discovered this yesterday, but there are currently 16 copies of When the Night Stood Still being sold on Amazon by outside vendors for $203 – $247 each.

When the Night Stood Still is an erotic novel I wrote 15 years ago. I wrote it exclusively for Barnes & Noble to distribute, which they did. It sold out of its print run (thank you, gentle readers).

But the very curious thing about this current book that’s being sold on Amazon: It’s a hardcover edition. There was never a hardcover edition of When the Night Stood Still. Which I’m guessing is what makes these 16 books so valuable. To the crook who manufactured it, especially.

There is no cover image available for the current book, but this is what the book once looked like:

When the Night Stood Still by Marilyn Jaye Lewis

I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind chose to rob me blind by way of this particular book.

I wrote 3 erotic romance novels in the space of 1 year, all of which made me completely insane to write. I’m not a genre-fiction writer. I write literary fiction , although there is usually 700 million tons more sex in my literary fiction than in most other books of that lofty realm. (Except for maybe The Death of Bunny Munro — you’ve gotta read that book if you haven’t already, gang! It’s fantastic!)

Okay!! I digress!!

I hated writing those erotic romances because I had to turn them around so quickly.  Plus they each had to be 75,000 words and 255 pages. So fucking precise. The worst part was that, for the 2 titles I sold to Barnes & Noble (the 3rd went to Walden Books), I had to periodically turn in chapters to them so that they could ‘approve’ them and they always, without fail, said that I had to put in more sex.

Back then, I had a lot of sex. In my personal life, I mean. Anyone who knows me from back then would attest to this fact about me. Certainly people who were married to me would attest to that fact, and, in fact, a certain Divorce Decree might even attest to the prodigious amount of sex I was also having outside the marriage, outside the confines of connubial bliss, as it were.

It was just ridiculous, the amount of sex I had. However. That said. The Chief Mucky-Mucks at Barnes & Noble did not think my characters were having enough sex. And yet they were having more sex than I was having. It was just stupid, the amount of sex they wanted in those erotic romances. There was no way to make it a believable part of the plot. Although I did my very best to make it seem genuine to the characters. I really did. And that is why each one of those novels was a nightmare to write.

And the worst part, of course, was that back then, when the erotic romance genre was brand new, they would only let me write about male-female vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or masturbation; 2 participants or solo, but that was it.

My life wasn’t anything like that so that particular mandate felt like trying to keep my imagination in a vice-grip. It literally hurt my brain, trying to rein it in all the time. No anal sex, no questionably-consensual rape, no bondage, no discipline, no 3-ways or more-ways, no nothing. Just two intensely heterosexual people, refusing to admit that they’re in love (until page 255); yet 2 people so ridiculously horny that they must constantly, CONSTANTLY, have the most vanilla sex imaginable.

It really was insane. And of course, I wanted the characters to be likable and realistically well drawn, 3-dimensional, you know. What a year from hell that was! Although the money was good…

The thing I finally decided to do was to simply have the characters have sex in wildly different places. That way I could focus on the atmosphere, the surroundings, the accoutrements, as it were.

I usually chose various showers.  I have a thing for showers, personally. Not that I like to have sex in showers; I don’t. I find sex in the shower a little dicey — not the safest place. And also not the most comfortable place.  But I have some weird fetish about beautiful bathrooms.  Beautiful, opulent bathrooms have always taken my breath away. Or showers that pop up in unexpected places — outdoors, and such. I just love that.  So it was sort of like subterfuge: go into elaborate detail about the bathroom and the shower itself, and make the reader just in awe of my ability to imagine (ridiculously impractical) showers, and then the fact that 2 grown-up heterosexuals are having sex in there becomes beside the point.

Multiply that times 255 pages and, voila!, another Marilyn Jaye Lewis erotic masterpiece is born!

Seriously; do you really think that’s worth between $203 and $247, even with a hard cover added now?  By the way, you can buy the original trade paper of When the Night Stood Still at much more reasonable prices here. It actually is a well-written book, but it’s genre-fiction.

That said, though, if you are into genre erotic fiction, When Hearts Collide is a lot better, but it was much more popular and now it’s much harder to find.  Readers don’t seem to want to sell their used copies, which is really just totally endearing and cool in my opinion. (Thanks, gentle readers!)

When Hearts Collide
When Hearts Collide by Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Well, okey-dokey!! Sunday is upon us and I must get back to the re-writes on the play.  I do want to leave you with this, however. This is what I’ve been listening to in my car, over & over, when I’m out driving in the utter darkness of the hills and valleys here in the remote hinterlands of Muskingum County, Ohio. I love the regular “Do You Love Me” and I play that a lot, too, but the “Part 2” version is just wonderfully harrowing and  awesome, and perfect for driving alone and thinking at night in the middle of nowhere..

All right. Thanks for visiting, gang! I love you. See ya!

Onward! And Onward! And Onward I go
Where no man before could be bothered to go
Till the soles of my shoes are shot full of holes
And it’s all downhill with a bullet
This ramblin’ and rovin’ has taken it’s course
I’m grazing with the dinosaurs and the dear old horses
And the city streets crack and a great hole forces
Me down with my
soapbox, my pulpit
The theatre ceiling is
silver star-spangled
And the coins in my
pocket go jingle-jangle

There’s a man in the
theatre with girlish eyes
Who’s holding my
childhood to ransom
On the screen
there’s a death,
there’s a rustle of cloth
And a sickly voice
calling me handsome
There’s a man in the
theatre with sly
girlish eyes
On the screen there’s
an ape, a gorilla
There’s a groan, there’s
a cough, there’s a
rustle of cloth
And a voice that stinks of death and vanilla
This is a secret, mauled and mangled
And the coins in my pocket go jingle-jangle

The walls of the ceiling are painted in blood
The lights go down, the red curtains come apart
The room is full of smoke and dialogue I know by heart
And the coins in my pocket go jingle-jangle
As the great screen cracked and popped
The clock of my boyhood was wound
down and stopped
And my handsome little body oddly propped
And my trousers right down to my ankles
Yes, it’s on onward! And upward!
And I’m off to find love
Do you love me? If you do, I’m thankful

This city is an ogre
squatting by the river
It gives life but it takes it
away, my youth
There comes a time
when you just
cannot deliver
This is a fact. This is a
stone cold truth.
Do you love me?
I love you, handsome
But do you love me?
Yes, I love you,
you are handsome
Amongst the cogs and
the wires, my youth
Vanilla breath and
handsome apes with
girlish eyes
Dreams that roam
between truth and untruth

Memories that become monstrous lies
So onward! And Onward! And Onward I go!
Onward! And Upward! And I’m off to find love
With blue-black bracelets on my wrists and ankles
And the coins in my pocket go jingle-jangle

c- 1994, Nick Cave

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