All posts by marilyn jaye lewis

writer, editor, publisher, thinker -- all-around joyful gal!

Beautiful, But Piping Hot, Sunday!

It will be around 93 piping hot degrees around here today and I am totally okay with it!

Yes, gang, 8 HUNDRED dollars later… the 25-year-old central AC in my 60-year-old house was finally fixed.  Alas, no, my home warranty company still would not approve a new & improved, energy-efficient AC for my house, but at least the old one finally got fixed and just in time for all these upper-80s, lower-90 degree temperatures.

So, even though it ate up all the money I had been trying to save to get the AC fixed in my 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium sedan from yesteryear, I am really, really grateful that my house is cool.

And Fluffy is really grateful, too. Yes, gang, she continues to persevere. I do not know how she does it. She can barely breathe, and she weighs next to nothing, but she is still in there.  Still engaged with her surroundings. Still eating whatever is placed in front of her in her small white bowl.

So on we go! Yippee-ki-yi-yay

New in my world, besides a functioning AC, is THIS:

Cuisinart Fruit Scoop Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart Fruit Scoop Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker

I bought it because it makes incredible fresh fruit sorbets. The first recipe I made was banana-chocolate chip sorbet. No added sugar, no dairy, very low fat, and it was really, really good.  However, if you visit that link above, you’ll notice that, not only does this ingenious little machine make healthy, nondairy fresh fruit sorbets in around 20 minutes, it can also make “totally rich, creamy, and decadent desserts” in the same amount of time!

What that means is that, once I tried my hand at organic strawberry-chocolate chip ice cream, loaded with sugar and fat and, most importantly, indescribable FLAVOR, suddenly the healthy, nondairy fresh fruit sorbets were no longer quite so taste-tempting.

Whether I find it in me to go back to the healthier recipes (and they are interesting, gang — balsamic strawberry-basil sorbet, for instance), or stick to homemade ice creams to die for all summer long, I am really, really happy I bought this little machine. (Plus, I got it on sale! I paid under $70 !! Yay!)

So, yes, everything is looking up this summer. For the first time in many years. Plenty of homemade ice cream. And the lawn and the gardens are finally getting back to how they used to look 3-and-a-half years ago — before the developers came knocking, saying they were tearing down my house.  The weeds are still a tiny bit out of control, but at least the grass is green and healthy again and there are plenty of flowers blooming amid all the weeds.

It helps a lot with my stress levels — to walk around my yard and see it looking a little bit “organized.” Alas, that also costs a fortune, so I need to sell a screenplay and/or a book, here, really, really soon!!

Okay, gang, on that merry note, have a delightful Sunday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, or not doing, as the case may be! Thanks for visiting. And I leave you with this timeless favorite! Enjoy your Sunday. See ya!

 (For some reason, the volume on the video is not working. Click the link to the YouTube version if you want to actually hear it!)

All this physical fitness must cease!! Pronto!

For the love of Pete!

The producer in L.A. was working out at the gym on Tuesday — yes, the very day of the much-anticipated meeting with the production company on Hollywood & Vine re: my script for The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge — when he tore something in his knee, ended up spending the entire day at the hospital, only to be released on crutches and so he had to POSTPONE the meeting!!

Ay caramba!!

What is this madness for physical fitness?? I’m only partially physically fit and I’m doing just fine. And while I was considerate enough to express concern, to say things that denote “empathy” and not dwell on the totally self-centered elements of this development, I am also searching high & low for a Get Well card that reads:

For Christ’s Sake, Get Better Already!

Meetings, meetings, meetings. When will my lousy knee get better?
Meetings, meetings, meetings. When will my lousy knee get better?

Life is okay!

Yes, folks, life is good okay! Fluffy continues to be a tiny furry little trooper, although that’s really a relative term right now.  She mostly sleeps and her breathing is labored.

Every morning, I wake up and think, “uh-oh, this is the day; she can’t go on like this much longer.” And even though I’d prefer to let her die here at home, I sometimes worry that I will have to have her put to sleep because her breathing is so labored. Then she wakes up and looks at me; really looks at me, like her tiny little self is still in there. Then she’ll jump down off the bed and drink some water and I think to myself, “I can’t kill her; she’s still in there!”

So we continue to take it one slow day at a time.

I should say one slow HOT day at a time. Loyal, long-time readers of this lofty blog (or, most likely, the lofty blog I had before this one), will no doubt recall that the central AC in my 60-year-old house is 25 years old.  I have a home warranty company that refuses to replace my central AC until the compressor literally dies. The unit leaks like crazy and R22 Freon is really expensive.

The tech was here to service it, yet again, on Monday. He put $330 worth of Freon into the unit and then a 25-year-old valve promptly broke and most of the Freon just went right out into the air. Aside from single-handedly affecting climate change state-wide (in a bad way), I basically threw $330 right into the trash can.

Another tech company is coming next week and I have decided to insist they fix ALL the leaks. They can’t leave until every last leak is fixed! This is not only a ridiculous request, it is also an impossible request! I am hoping that by insisting on being ridiculous and impossible, I will finally force the home warranty company to replace my central AC.

When the tech left here the other day, he said, “Don’t try to use the AC until you get that fixed! It could break the unit.”

However, I’m thinking, what sort of advice is that?? I’ve already ruined the ozone, and it’s 93 degrees outside, and I have a tiny cat dying of cancer upstairs who can barely tolerate the heat. The mission is not to save the AC unit, Mr. Wise-Guy, the mission is for it to die already so that I can get an environmentally-friendly new one!

Sometimes people make me nuts.

But on we go, right, gang?

Okay, I’m going to leave you with a little hillbilly ditty from yesteryear. I love this song.  I love Johnny Cash, in general.  This song came up in an email exchange I had the other day with a good friend of mine who works for NASA in Houston.  I hadn’t thought of this song in years. I regale you with it now! (Oh, you have to be drunk on bourbon before you can listen to it. Sorry, gang, but those are the rules.)

Okay, thanks for visiting! See ya!

 

Finally! I really do write!

The final revisions were made yesterday to my TV movie script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder At Parsons Ridge, AND I did the highly implausible: I wrote a logline that the producer said was “excellent”.

That’s a first.

Normally, my loglines suck. I usually marvel in awe at writers who can come up with a decent logline right off the top of their heads — or even right after they tinker with it for several days, laboring slavishly. I thought the one I came up with for Tea Cozy Murder Club was serviceable, at best. I imagined the producer would tinker with it until it was better than serviceable.

When he emailed me back and said it was excellent, I was dumbfounded. (“How can that be?” I wondered. “If I was the one who wrote it?”)

This is the logline (drum roll, please): The members of a small town book club that delights in solving cozy old whodunits suddenly find themselves with a very real not-so-cozy murder to solve.

Yes, you guessed it! The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder At Parsons Ridge is a cozy mystery. (So is The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport — see numerous posts below.) Even though everyone the world over knows me for my super-duper killer award-winning literary erotica, I haven’t written in that genre for nearly 10 years, and I only read it now when I’m hired to edit it. Nowadays, I only read religious tomes (this one is jaw-droppingly awesome and needs to be read by everybody you’ve ever known), or cozy mysteries. (I’m currently reading this one, by Louise Penny.)

So, the great news is that the producer will be taking The Tea Cozy Murder Club to a meeting with a production company in L.A. next week! I will keep you posted on how much they love it.

Yippee-ki-yi-yay!

On the Fluffy front (see post below about how my beloved Fluffy has advanced cancer): she is still with us and that makes it a great day! She is quite frail, though. This morning, at dawn, I scooped her up really gently in my arms and took her over to the screen door so that she could see the beautiful world that was awakening outside. It really was lovely out — and cool! 57 degrees! Fluffy was so alert and entranced by the outside world. The greenery everywhere, the flowers blooming and, most importantly, the happy birds chirping like mad.

I just love Fluffy. I will deal with my grief when I have to. For now, it’s just a perfect day.

Well, okay. On that note…Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a perfect day, too, wherever you are and whatever it finds you doing! See ya!

Alice through the looking glass is wonderful!!

My cousin and I both agreed the minute the movie was over that it was even more enjoyable than the first one (Alice in Wonderland) — even though I still love that first one.

But this sequel is really amazing to watch, incredibly empowering to girls (once again), and just never a dull moment.

It topped the box office overseas, but stateside, it hasn’t done so well this holiday weekend. But I highly recommend it, gang.  The special effects regarding Time and inside the clocks are spellbinding.

And the acting ain’t half-bad, either!!

Okay, have a great rest of the holiday. Thanks for visiting. See ya!

Opens Tomorrow!
Go see it, gang!!

From All Quarters… and Alice!

Life does indeed go on, even though it doesn’t look like it from the truly sporadic nature of my blog posts. (I like this definition of sporadic:  “Appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as  a disease.”)

Anyway, I hope my blog doesn’t strike you as a disease… ha ha

In an unfortunate segue, Fluffy is still hanging in there (see post below). She is actually doing better (which is a surprisingly subjective term when used to describe advanced cancer). She is thin as a rail and sleeps most of the time, but while awake, she is in happy spirits and even still a little feisty when encountering any of the other cats. I don’t think they have any conception that she’s dying. and in true “wild life” fashion, if they do know, I don’t think they care. That said, though, we are still a happy household, and I am always incredibly grateful each morning when I awaken and find her still alive beside me in the bed. Right off the bat, that makes it a good day. (Also a surprisingly subjective term. My use of the term “a good day” has truly narrow requirements these days.)

My stepmom, whom I adore, is also dying. It is getting near the end. She has struggled with MS for many years; the last 6 of which she’s been in a nursing home. She has always been an incredible optimist, always had the most inspiring outlook on life, always so uplifting to be around, even all these years that she’s been confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. But now her pain levels are off the charts and she’s on morphine, which signals the beginning of the end, however, “the end” is a surprisingly subjective term when it is forecasting what morphine will trigger in terminal illness…

I will miss her so much. Not only is she a wonderful, charming, warm, and generous Italian woman, but she has also made my Dad really happy while they’ve been together. And for whatever reasons, the words “happy” and my “Dad” were not usually words that appeared close together in a sentence for most of the decades I’ve known him.

On the writing front… I got word from the producer in LA last night, that he is sending the final edits (for The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge) to me in the mail TODAY. I should have them early next week. Today, I’m working on the outline for the first book in the series (the book has the same name).  I decided last night that if I can write at least 3 pages a day, I could complete the book by the end of the summer. (Not always an easy task, since I write, re-write, revise, and edit pretty much every sentence as it comes out of my brain — which is why voice-activated software is useless for me, but also why I usually only need a first draft of any manuscript I write.)

Even though Valerie and I are still working on The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport, we are both dealing right now with cats who have terminal cancer. It has stymied the flow of inspiration for the time being. So we’ll get back to it probably later this summer. Meanwhile, I need something to keep my spirits up, so I decided to work on the first book of The Tea Cozy Murder Club series.

Re: the car accident (see some sort of post below, where a cable TV repair guy totaled my beloved, albeit exceedingly OLD Camry)…his insurance company is being what my lawyer describes as “stingy.” So I am biding my time, it’s been 2 months already. As I wait for an acceptable settlement, I am driving a really lovely, albeit exceedingly OLD, Mercury Sable Premium LS. Wow, do I love it. However, it needs a lot of work. It looks great on the outside, but under the hood, it simply is nowhere near as awesome as my Camry was. But I have to say, every morning when I open my garage and see that sparkling silver luxury sedan from days of yore, I get super excited and say, “I love you!!” And I totally mean it.

So. A holiday weekend is practically upon us. I am busy through the weekend, but on Monday, my cousin and I are going to see Alice Through the Looking Glass !! I cannot wait. We loved the first one so much.

You know…I  was saddened to read that Johnny Depp’s mother had died recently. It always seemed like they were very close. But regarding Amber Heard filing for divorce from Johnny Depp (I guess, now that his mom’s dead)… Well, long-time readers of this lofty blog have probably noticed that I stopped writing about Johnny Depp after his engagement to AH. I did that because my grandmother always told me that if I can’t say something nice about someone then don’t say anything at all.  Well, now I feel like I can say something sort of positive about AH. And that is, the fact that she’s seeking spousal support after 15 months of “marriage” doesn’t surprise me at all. (MEOOOWWWW!! ha ha ha)

Anyway,  I sure hope this means that one day in the foreseeable future, Johnny Depp can go back to being “sort of” happy (and go back to being the incredible actor he was before the nuptials set in). We shall see, gang!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, if you live state-side. If you don’t, just have a great weekend. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

Opens Tomorrow!
Opens Tomorrow! Go see it, gosh darn ya!

Getting ready to say goodbye to Fluffy

My precious rag doll cat, Fluffy, who was 10 years old in March, has cancer and does not have too much longer to live.

I am spending every available moment with her. I am going to miss her so much.

Here are some views of her over the last couple years. Two different illustrations by my friend, Val, in Brooklyn (the woman who’s working on the mystery book series The Miracle Cats with me). And three photos. Gosh, do I love this cat.

Fluffy by Val -- from our book, The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport
Fluffy by Val — from our book, The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport
A sketch of Fluffy by Val.
A sketch of Fluffy by Val.
Fluffy on my bed.
Fluffy on my bed.
Apparently, Fluffy has spent a good deal of her life on my bed...
Apparently, Fluffy has spent a good deal of her life on my bed…
The cutie-pie with her tongue hanging out!
How I will remember her best!

Whacked-out April

I’m referring to the month of April being seriously whacky; not to some unknown woman named April who might be whacked-out of her mind somewhere…

Like everyone everywhere, I began the month of April on April 1st — a really lovely spring morning around here. By 8:30 that morning, though, a cable TV repair van ran a red light in the intersection in front of the library that led him directly into the driver’s side of my faithful 19-year-old Camry.

He totaled it.

I prefer to dwell on the fact that I walked away from the crash relatively unscathed, with only a few hours in the ER and 4 and a half days in bed, and will finally get a new car, which I needed anyway.

However, it has not been a fun month. And the release of SomethingDark Issue 3, out of Bristol, England, this month, brought another disturbing thing. While I’m the North American Editor for SomethingDark, this issue is a little late in being released and with its release came the news that writer/colleague/friend/radio host and person I edited in Issue 3, Michael Hemmingson, is dead.

I’m of the opinion that he’s not really dead but is living under an assumed identity with his daughter in some foreign land (i.e., Japan). However, if I must accept that he is really dead, I think he died under seriously questionable circumstances. He “died of a heart attack” in Tijuana, where he coincidentally  had lots of drug cartel enemies…

The whole thing was really disturbing news for me, making me wonder where the heck time flies to because Hemmingson has been dead for over two years already and no one told me! However, the issue of SomethingDark is truly worth waiting for, so check it out at the link above. And if you were long ago scheduled to be in Issue 4, the Japan issue, you will be hearing from me directly!

While researching cars online, trying to figure out what I will end up driving one day really soon (more than likely another Camry, even though I was planning on buying a Jeep Commander when I moved back to New York, but now that the move is indefinitely on hold…). Anyway, I came across this fantastic magazine ad from 1967. My father bought this very same car in 1967 — in red!! The lady in the insane hat did not come with the car, nevertheless, it was a seriously COOL car!! I was in the second grade when he bought the red Wildcat and I was astonished the afternoon he drove it up our driveway in Cleveland. Wow. It had a black leather interior. I had almost forgotten all about it!

Buick Wildcat 1967
Buick Wildcat 1967

So I wanted to share that fun news with you, rather than all the other not fun stuff that’s been going on around here.

Other good news… The producer in L.A. loved my Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge TV movie script. He only wants some very minor revisions, which I’m working on today. Then we shall see!

Meanwhile, as I await the check from the insurance company, I’m planting flowers in my garden and trying to get this property back to what it once was three and a half years ago…before it was scheduled to be demolished.

Hope things have been just as good wherever YOU are! Thanks for visiting, folks. Here’s hoping May is a little easier. I’ll keep you posted. See ya!

zwriter

 

 

 

 

Okay! Progress getting made

Since tomorrow is April 1st, it looks like it’s only been about 2 MONTHS since I last posted anything here (but what a fine and lively post it was! I hope you all listened to that wonderfully fun song! I am still listening to it in my car.) (Not exclusively — I listen to quite a panoply of Frank Sinatra tunes from the 40s & 50s while driving in my 19 (!!!) year-old car…)

Okay.  Many updates occurred while I was absent from the blog.  Some of them traumatizing — for instance, any and all developers and private real estate investors suddenly and without warning dropped all interest in commercializing my specific block on my street here in Gahanna.

This means that after keeping me in limbo for 3 and 1/2 years, telling me they were tearing my house down and re-zoning my block for commercial use, and hence my reasonably-foreseeable-future plans of moving back to New York — all of it came to a grinding halt.

It has something to do with City Hall, taxes, other residents, unhappy voters.  So now I am basically working around the clock to afford all the many, many repairs this poor house needs to make it livable again.

I know that the absolute minute I get it back to being the sweet little dream house it once was, they will knock on my door yet again and tell me they are tearing it down. But you know what? We’ll just have to see what we see. I can’t live in limbo anymore with a house falling down around my ears.

So.

The one-woman musical I’m working on with the actress in New York is basically done. Yay!! I think the premiere will be in Toronto, though, not New York City. I will keep you posted about that. It has something to do with funding from the Canadian Arts Council. But I can tell you, with complete certainty, that it is a GREAT show!! I am so thrilled to be a part of it.

Now she and I have 3 more plays/musicals to write together. I’m guessing that will keep me busy for a huge number of years. (The actress has been working on the above-mentioned one-woman show for maybe 7 years already. Writing, re-writing, workshopping it, performing it — it won an award in Canada already. Then I came on board to help significantly re-write it about 2-3 years ago. These things really do take forever.)

I have also finished writing my TV movie script for The Tea Cozy Murder Club!! It goes off to the producer in L.A. on Friday. He is excited to read it and I am super-duper excited to send it to him! This is an idea I have been developing for about 4 or 5 years. Now, I need to start writing the novels that go along with the TV movies (there is, at the very least, a series of 4.)

The mystery book series I’m writing with my illustrator friend in Brooklyn is still moving forward (The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport). We had to put it on hold, though, momentarily, until I completed the script for my other project because the producer’s assistant emailed me and asked if I was planning to wait on sending it until after the producer retired….

Anyway, so I finally had to stop juggling everything at once, and write one thing at a time. But now we are back to The Miracle Cats. Here’s the latest illustration. It is “Sister Thomasina”:

"Sister THomasina" aka known as Tommy Cakes!
“Sister Thomasina” aka known as Tommy Cakes!

I am also researching and putting notes together for a one-man play I want to write. I will go over more of those details as it goes along. But I’m very excited about it. It is somewhat connected to my ministry, but I won’t say more than that, lest I send you off on a complete tangent that would be wholly inaccurate.

Now that I’m done with school and staring down several years’ worth of paying off student loans… I am now learning Ancient Greek, and re-learning Biblical Hebrew (which I studied as a child, so a lot of that comes back to me). Anyway, learning them both at once is not really so daunting as it might seem because they have similarities. Sort of. Plus, I am strictly doing it on my own time and at my own pace, so it is really invigorating and fun.

I doubt I will ever learn enough Ancient Greek or live long enough to translate the Septuagint on my own, but we can dream, can’t we??? I’m already planning to write my own version of The Jefferson Bible (my minster at church refers to my plans as The Lewis Bible and it may well be that!). And I fully, fully intend to do this and maybe even publish it online! We shall see…

So, that’s it. That’s it. That’s where I’ve been. It is completely, 100% thoroughly safe to say that I am exhausted.  But that’s how it goes sometimes.

Right now, it’s a wonderfully rainy spring morning. The birds are singing outside my window and the many, many cats who live here are planted at the screen door, looking out at the beautiful, wet, singing world. I hope it’s just as peaceful and promising where you’re at today, gang. Thanks for visiting! See ya down the road.

rain