Tag Archives: Cleveland’s burning

Updates on Happiness, Raccoons, Writing & More!

It’s a stunning morning here in the Hinterlands! Hard to believe it’s supposed to be raining, yet again, by this evening.  I guess we’ll see. The only thing I don’t like about the rain, is that I have to go around and close all 22 of the windows I had already opened.

Since I last posted here, there have been all sorts of interesting things going on. For starters, my friend Diane came out to the Hinterlands and helped me FINALLY get my main barn door OPEN.

Yes! That means I was finally able to get into the main section of my barn. The part where the horse was kept long, long ago. The other section, the part where the buggy was kept, was really easy to get into from day one. And inside that section was the half-door for feeding the long-ago horse once  kept in the stall side, so I could at least look into that side of the barn. But what a cool feeling to actually be able to get into the other side and look at all the ancient stuff that’s still in there.

For one thing, we discovered that the barn had a front addition built onto it at some distant point in the long ago past. So the current (really old) front of the barn (pictured above) has perfectly preserved the original old front of the barn that was built in 1910.

I was going to get you photos of all this, but as it happened, at the last minute, a friend needed a place to store his 1965 VW camper van as he headed out to Yellowstone National Park for the summer. Since I can’t really afford to do the thousands of dollars worth of work that the barn needs right now, I offered him the use of the barn since we were finally able to get the door open, and now a great big VW camper van is taking up the entire space for the next few months…

Not this one — but this is a very reasonable facsimile!

 

There is enough room left along one side of the inside of the barn to kind of get one of the side doors of the camper open a smidge. So my friend generously offered that anytime I wanted to just hang out inside  the camper, I could!

Well, that was too cute! While it is often really fun to hang out inside those old VW camper vans, I have an entire new house to hang out in, as well as a really cool porch! But I did appreciate the offer, nevertheless.

My porch, by the way, is wonderful. Quite a few friends have already come by my new 117-year-old house in the Hinterlands  and they all immediately head for a chair on the side porch, plop down and get comfortable.  Not only is the porch really welcoming, but the screen door also opens right onto the kitchen, where the fridge is always stocked with beer. (Not the kind of beer that I drink, btw. Everybody around here seems to like Bud Light. Whereas, loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I like Newcastle Brown Ale — a far cry from Bud Light. My guy-friend was over the other day to say farewell before heading off to Alaska for a big fishing tournament, and he accidentally helped himself to my one and only bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. He said, “What the hell is this??!!” And I replied, “It’s MINE!!!” and I grabbed it away from him. My hostessing politeness only extends so far…)

Anyhow.  Not only is it so cool to finally have a great porch of my own that people actually stop by and hang out on, regardless of how deep into the Hinterlands I have gotten, but it is also cool that neighbors drive by — neighbors that I have not met yet — and they all smile and wave.

I don’t know, gang; I think I somehow ended up in Mayberry…

Mayberry — The Andy Griffith Show TV town

Yes, I am so happy here.

And for those of you waiting with bated breath on any updates regarding my raccoon… Ah yes. The dear little thing is indeed a female, and already has a pack of little cubs down inside the hollow of the tree.

No not these kinds of raccoon cubs…

These kind!!

And these kind get up onto the roof and create havoc a lot more frequently than the other kind do… Well, we’ll see how it goes as the unbelievably cute destructiveness pervades the upcoming summer months.

Meanwhile, I have been getting literally tons of inspiration for both of the mystery books I’ve had on the back burner for nearly 2 years (The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge (also a TV pilot), and The Miracle Cats: The Case of the Purloined Passport).  I just need to get some breathing room from the theater projects and the Cleveland’s Burning TV pilot. However, all of those projects are looking so incredibly promising right now, that they all seem to need my attention before I can get back to writing novels.

I can’t go into detail on the blog right now re: the one-woman musical I’m working on with Sandra Caldwell in NYC, but it is a really exciting development connected with the workshop/staged reading of the show. And it continues to bode really, really well for the stage adaptation I’m working on of  Tell My Bones, the play about Helen LaFrance that I’m writing as a vehicle for Sandra.

However, regarding my TV pilot, once titled Cleveland’s Burning but now known more affectionately as Untitled Cleveland Drama, I can say here that we have had interest in the project from several places within the last few days, including OWN, ABC-Disney, and Act 4 Entertainment. This is all just initial interest, gang, but it still excites me beyond belief.  I came so close to simply shelving the project forever, after working with several other producers who wound up not really sharing my vision for it and who completely exasperated me. But after I hooked up with the EVP of Development at Bohemia Group (for the Tea Cozy Murder Club pilot),  things with Cleveland’s Burning came back to life with them, specifically with the EVP’s all-out enthusiasm for the Cleveland project.

Well, as usual, the morning has now pretty much evaporated while I’ve been sitting here blogging at the computer! I must scurry, gang, and get some other stuff done.

Hope you have a terrific Monday that leads into a really amazing week, wherever you are! Thanks for visiting, gang.  See ya!

“That’s all, folks!”

 

 

Great Days!

Things are just moving along swimmingly, as they say!

I’m basically done with the inside of the new house, for now. Except for the upstairs bathroom, which is a decorator’s nightmare. It looks as if a 10-year-old was given free-rein in expressing his or her devotion to Mickey Mouse, literally.

But other than the upstairs bathroom, which needs a re-do from top to bottom, I’m happy with the inside of the house and will turn my focus to the outside, as soon as the weather gets nice and stays nice (i.e., we’re still getting occasional days of snow!).

I just bought this for my family room:

It is called a: “Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown”.

However, I call it, simply, my new chair. I love my new chair!!! It is the final thing I’m buying, for now. But this means people can come visit and not have to sit side-by-side on the sofa, or sit at the kitchen table. (It’s exciting, isn’t it? Imagine — coming to visit me! You would be sitting in that luxurious Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown!!!! Yay!! And the conversation alone would no doubt be intoxicating!)

Another cool thing that’s going on out here in my humble abode in the Hinterlands is that a robin is building her nest in the enormous old maple tree outside my bedroom window.  Most of the windows in this house are really long — 65 inches long, in fact. And that’s just the window itself, it doesn’t count the window casing, window sill, etc. Anyway, I can lay in my bed and easily watch her build her nest.  (It still amazes me, just how good they are at building nests.)

The other cool thing is that we have a new logline for the Cleveland’s Burning TV Pilot. It goes like this:

[Short version]:  Two African American brothers, raised in the church, choose different paths in pursuit of racial and social equality in 1960’s Cleveland.

[Slightly longer version]: Two African American brothers, raised in the church, choose different paths in pursuit of racial and social equality in 1960’s Cleveland: one, the nonviolent philosophies of Dr. King, and the younger, the ideology of the more radical Black Power movement.

And speaking of the church…in the evening on Easter Sunday, two really delightful young Mormon missionaries came by — 2 young women, which surprised me because Mormon women never used to travel and do mission work without men. They were so sweet and it was Easter, so of course I invited them in. We sat at the kitchen table and discussed their gospel of Jesus Christ for over an hour. Frankly, it was fascinating. And I enjoyed every minute of their conversation. It was a really nice way to spend an otherwise uneventful Easter (which is usually a very important holiday for me).

All righty.

I hope you have a terrific weekend planned, wherever you are in the world! I plan on spending it visualizing all the exciting people who will be coming to visit me in the Hinterlands and sitting in my brand new Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown!

And this means YOU! Yippee ki yi yay!

Don’t worry, if you’re Mormon, I won’t serve the Cokes!

Okay! See ya!

 

Lest we forget!

I know!

I’m always either talking about my upcoming new house, or about cruising around the Hinterlands in my nifty Honda Fit, or about how much I love animals, even when the deer were munching merrily away  on all my various blossoming flowers all summer — it’s easy to forget that I’m actually A Writer!

Well, lest we forget, I’ll take a quick moment to remind you that I am one!! And yesterday, the prestigious Black List gave my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot script (aka Cleveland’s Burning) a really positive review!! I was so thrilled.

It began, “There are some really engaging stories teed up for all the characters in the Robinson family that allow anyone watching to get invested in some aspect of the show. ”

And closed with, “This series has potential. The story itself provides an interesting way into the fight on civil rights and does a great job of bringing the audience in through the lens of the Robinson family. The members of the family are all set on their own journeys that are ripe with great character drama and conflict that could create a compelling series.”

So, off we go, gang!! It really just made my day.

On other fronts: the appraisal of the new house is happening Monday (!!) and after that, we CLOSE and the house becomes MINE! Then I will actually feel like I’m really moving & I can announce it to everybody. Explaining the new house to my cats will be at the top of my list of things to do. I know they will be really excited.

Some of my cats when they’re really excited!

Okay, gang. I’m going to go collapse on the couch for awhile and watch an old Sherlock Holmes movie on my iPad. Now that the weather’s warming up, I have a terrific sinus headache. Yay.

Thanks for visiting, though! Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re choosing to celebrate in your corner of the world! See ya!

Happy, Happy 2018!!

Well, except for yesterday’s “reblogging” of Ted Nottingham‘s recent video post, I haven’t been here since before Christmas.

So you probably don’t know that we had a white Christmas here! Yes! It snowed Christmas Eve!! What could be better? (BTW, I had the happiest Christmas Eve ever — probably in my whole life. And not just because it snowed; the snow was more the proverbial icing on the top.) Just so much great stuff going on and so much exciting stuff to look forward to.

And we had a seriously white –and freezing cold–New Year’s Eve here last night.  More snow than the Hinterlands has seen in a while, with temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I love snow! So these frosty developments only cause me to rejoice. Yay!

I was very tempted, yesterday, to jump into the sporty Honda Fit and drive deeper into the Hinterlands to see what my new house looks like in the snow! But, well, as  much as I love the cold and the snow, I really, really love not driving around in it. So here I remained.

One of the reasons I am having the happiest holidays, ever, is because of that new (very old) house. And I’m sure I will have plenty of winters ahead wherein I will discover what that house looks like in the snow, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about that great house all the time now. I just love that house, and I can’t wait to live in that strange and crazy tiny town (whose location, btw, cuts more than an hour off my drive to & from New York).

That said, though, I still have to get through the bank appraisal and the closing before I will know for 100% certain that it is my new house, even though it feels like home already. However, because of the looming bank appraisal and the official closing, I haven’t actually announced to people that I have a new house — except, of course, to you, gentle readers, who reside all over the world…

Another reason that it’s been the happiest of holidays here is because one of my theater projects with Sandra Caldwell in New York City is on track for Off-Broadway. I can’t discuss the details yet, and won’t be able to for a while, but things are going so great with that project.  I am so excited. And, out in L.A., TV-pilot shopping season begins in January (which is, of course, officially upon us!), so I am very excited about the prospects of my Untitled Cleveland Drama (once known as Cleveland’s Burning) very soon being sold.

The other thing that makes me so happy, of course, and the thing that makes all the other above-mentioned things a lot less stressful and even more delightful, is my new friend.  His personality, his experiences, his approach to life continue to surprise me anew every day.  He is such a cool guy and just so darned fearless.  It is such a joy to have someone in my life whose response to things is “Let’s do it!”, instead of giving the long litany of all the negative things that could go wrong with any given idea, as most people do.  God knows, I have been inundated with negative people throughout most of my life, going way, way back to my wee bonny girlhood, so he could not be more refreshing, nor his arrival in my life more perfectly timed.

All right, on that delightfully cheerful note, I’m off to the kitchen to make a huge pot of soup on this cold, snowy, frosty day.

Have a terrific 2018 wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re doing. As always, thanks for visiting, gang! See ya.

 

A lovely Saturday in the Hinterlands

It feels like it’s been a long time since I posted here. Life zips by at such an astounding pace.

Here are some updates!

First, and newest: I am currently managing Sandra Caldwell‘s website.  (She is the actress in NYC whom I write with & for.) There is not much posted there yet, but please visit and follow her, so that we can all stay updated on her (and eventually my!!) theater projects. Yay!

I will not be going to New York City this weekend. I had to postpone my trip until early October because everything is just kinda crazy right now.  And since The Great Comet closed (see my agonized post below somewhere, titled Requiem for a Comet) and we no longer had tickets to see that,  I decided to wait until Wayne (my ex-husband) is back from Morocco and Alaska, so that we can see Sandra’s play together instead.

Things seem to be moving along with my request for a mortgage!!  You know how you can get all sorts of alerts from various credit cards, banks, and credit reporting agencies to be notified if anyone accesses your FICO score? Well, a couple days ago, alerts came in like crazy, all at the very same time, notifying me that a mortgage broker had checked my FICO score… So I’m excited that it is moving forward, but it took forever to get all that paperwork together, filled out, and turned in. Hence my need to re-schedule my trip to see Sandra in NYC.

Other good news: the head of production at the production company in LA informed me that we are done with revisions and edits to my pilot for the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV proposal!! (This is the project that was originally titled Cleveland’s Burning.) So, we will be moving forward and I will keep you posted!! I almost cannot believe it.

What I super-duper quadruple cannot believe, though, is that I still have so many more revisions left to make on my theatrical adaption of Tell My Bones — my Helen LaFrance project for Sandra — that needed to be completed this week. The home-loan paperwork stuff really did take over my life for a while there. But now I can give the project my full attention. Again. [She said hopefully. — Editor]

Other good news, or promising news, I should say. The same production company in LA who is developing my Cleveland Drama, is interested in seeing a proposal for a limited streaming series based on my novel, Freak Parade.

So, as soon as the Helen LaFrance revisions are completed, I will begin wrapping my brain around that. How exciting.

All right. I’m gonna go collapse for awhile. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a really great end-of-summer weekend, wherever you are! I leave you with this!!  This CD is currently playing nonstop in my car (well, not “currently” per se — only when I’m actually in the car and driving.) It’s a classic from 1965, and it gets more lovely as the years race by. Okay, gang! Enjoy! See ya.

Hurray in the Hinterlands!

I could not be more excited!!

The response to the current draft of the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot script came in and it was: Really, really good. Lovely writing. Really strong. LOVE it.

I only need to trim some dialogue from Act 1, because the page count is running over. And then we are good to GO!!!!

Here’s a shot of Weenie yesterday, saying “Yippee ki yi yay!!”

OOPS! This is actually Weenie, doing what he does best: Living the life of Riley!

Plus, right now, things are looking very promising re: the home loan. Still tons of paperwork to fill out, so I will keep you posted! But I might just be able to unpack all of my boxes one day soon and stay put in the Hinterlands for a long time!!

Here are Huckleberry, Weenie, and Lucie, saying: “Yay!! We are so excited, we can’t WAIT!!”

OOPS. Wrong again…

I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it: We couldn’t be more excited around here!

Plus, by some miracle, I still have enough money in the bank to get to NYC for a few days to see Sandra in her show. I have no clue how this happened, however, we won’t:

LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH; WILL WE??!!

No! We will just keep moving happily ahead!! Keeping our eye on the prize.

Life’s good, gang.

Now I must take care of those final edits to the TV pilot. I hope you have a really great weekend planned, wherever you are in this world!  Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with this (play it loud).

See ya!

Happy Updates from the Hinterlands!

First and foremost: They should have a response to my recent revisions on the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot by the end of this week!

Wouldn’t it be spectacular if there were no more revisions needed?? After all, eventually the rewrites must cease and the production must begin…

I first got the idea for this particular TV series when I was studying for the ministry at the Ohio Christian University (once known as Circleville Bible College) a small school literally built out in the middle of farmland:

Ohio Christian University

I loved that school and I loved studying for the ministry (I was on the Dean’s List every single semester and graduated summa cum laude) and I loved becoming a minister, even while my views about Jesus are radical and heretical by evangelical standards. (I guess, by most people’s standards, come to think of it.)

Anyway, liberal and far-flung as I am psychologically, I still believe that Jesus himself gave me the idea for the premise of Cleveland’s Burning (now known more loftily as the Untitled Cleveland Drama).  After my involvement with 11 various producers in LA came to nothing, I set aside the script for a couple of years, until suddenly another production company in LA asked to read it and now, here we are, on the verge of actually getting the pilot made.

Interestingly, though, one of their recent comments about my script was to tone down the Christian stuff.  The pilot centers around a black family in Cleveland during the early 1960s, and most of the men in the family are ministers in various stages of their careers. So I wasn’t quite sure how “toning down the Christian stuff” would work…

But seriously, I wrote the show because it really irks me how, nowadays, people try to position DR. Martin Luther King in a strictly cultural and political sense, when in reality, he was more commonly  known for a long time as the REVEREND Martin Luther King; he was a Baptist preacher, completely at odds with political groups like the NAACP.

King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail is the focal point of the pilot episode of my TV series and that letter (addressed to clergymen) is nothing but Christian doctrine — which happens to be all about love, not politics. Hence, it really just irks me that contemporary society wants to sort of erase the Christian influence on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s. (Sort of like how early Christians erased as much of Jesus’s Jewishness and of his family life as they possibly could.)

Ah. But I digress. Anyway.

So I developed an entire TV series about the Christian “evolvement” of the Civil Rights Movement so that I might be able to sort of bang you over the head with it…. (Kind of kidding here, but kind of not!) And even though the producers want to focus more on the one non-minister brother who goes off to Vietnam and comes back a Black Panther/Black Nationalist (because I guess violence is more palatable today than any Christian doctrines of love), I am still indescribably excited and still believe wholeheartedly that Jesus gave me the idea while I was studying for his ministry and that’s all that really matters to me.

In other news… I have decided to buy a new house instead of rent. By “new” I am referring, of course, to really old houses, but they will be new to me! I’m still going to remain out here in the Hinterlands, where I have been so happy for the first time in my life. I am waiting to hear how it will go, mortgage-wise.

I want one of those home loans from the US Department of Agriculture, which mandates that I must purchase a home in a rural area, which includes the nearby lake region, which is just fine with me! Me and the kitties might become nautical!! I sure hope so. And I really hope to be re-located by Christmas, if I can. We will see. I will indeed keep you posted. (I currently have my eye on 2 houses: one is an old farm house from 1910; the other an old lake house from 1930. Both have been updated to modern standards, although the lake house, more so.)

Meanwhile, I must get back to re-writes on the theatrical version of Tell My Bones. It is slow-going. Mostly because it is distracting, knowing that I have to move soon and having all that drudgery of moving again hanging over my head.

Okay, thanks for visiting!! Have a great Wednesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  And if you’d like to hear a computer read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail  (and, frankly, who wouldn’t want to hear a computer read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail??) well, here ya’ go!!

See ya!!