Tag Archives: Cleveland’s burning

Oh for heaven’s sake, people!

Okay, I’m just kidding. Nothing makes me happier than having readers download my books, whether or not they’re free.

But, seriously, this is getting insane. I have no clue where all these people are coming from. The numbers long surpassed the amount of followers I have on my blog.  And I only advertised the Smashwords sale on my blog. And only deranged lunatics would download the same eBooks over & over & over, ad infinitum.

And I like to think my followers are not deranged lunatics. It reflects better on me when they aren’t. My followers are all really cool, smart people!

Anyway, it just astounds me.  Where do they come from? And now people are starting to download Freak Parade like crazy. I have no clue why all of the sudden that happened.

And what’s funny is that almost no one downloads Twilight of the Immortal. It has erotic sex scenes in it, but it is certainly not graphic sex. And it is really well written fiction. But nobody wants it! They’d rather have, I don’t know, 5 pages of graphic fellatio or something. It’s just so funny.

I’ll tell you, though, sometimes I read over these old stories (from The Muse Revisited Series) and I am frequently flabbergasted.  The short story titled August on the Lake (in Vol.3) was written expressly for a French publisher and was immediately translated into French (as Aout sur le lac). I think the only English version of the story is in The Muse Revisited.

I was told that, in French, it was a really beautiful story. That it was literature and not the usual smut. (Thank you. I like to think that my entire life is beautiful literature and not the usual smut! Anyway.) I’d forgotten that it was written specifically for a French publisher and for an anthology about: Yes,  fellatio.  And as I re-read it, years after its publication, I was dumbfounded. Why would I go on & on about fellatio here? It was not a topic my work was ever really known for. It actually made me uncomfortable to re-read it. Like, What the hell was on my mind when I wrote this strange story that seems to be, in a lot of ways, about my second husband?

Eventually I figured it out. But really, I don’t remember any of my stories verbatim.  And if I happen to re-read one, it becomes brand new to me, and I’m reading it as any other reader would and oftentimes the stories are a little shocking. Yes, even to me. If a story wasn’t written  for a specified topic, then the stories almost always reflect something that’s going on in my mind, my world, my relationships, my life. (A reflection, not a memoir…) And sometimes it’s just too intense to revisit it.

“Awake in the Dream of Life” was only published once in print (although it’s included in the eBook, Dirty Filthy Lovely: Dark Erotica). A woman originally published it, even though she wasn’t really happy about it but she wanted me in her anthology of popular women writers so she published it – I guess in the category of: Popular Women Writers Who Are Out of Their Fucking Minds.

When I re-read the story several years ago, I was, like, Holy Moly. No wonder women were upset by this story. Men loved it, of course. Men into BDSM, I mean. One of my long-time publishers at the time read the piece and said it was the best thing I ever wrote but that he could never publish a story like that; he wouldn’t want to deal with the reader backlash.

At the time, I just could not understand why people were so upset. But I was in such a bad place and had no clue my mental state had sunk into that. Happily, though, it is now documented for all time! Because I’m a writer and I write stuff and out it goes — into the world!

I’m not even really kidding, you know? It’s one of the reasons I don’t actively seek “followers” on any of my social media accounts. If you want to be following me, thank you. That’s great. It is. But you have to actually want to be here of your own volition because only God knows what I am going to wind up putting into your world.

It was one of the reasons I was actively seeking obscurity. I had no control over the amount of people coming into my world by way of my writing. In the old days, I had thousands and thousands of people reading my blog every day. And those weren’t “followers” because there was no such thing back then. They were actual readers, every day. And nothing I could think or do or say was private anymore. Including, naturally, my family.

MOTHER: “Are you really that much of a drunk??!! Is that all you do is sit around and drink booze??!!”

ME: “Um, no, I was just being funny on the blog.”

COLLEAGUE IN SOME FOREIGN COUNTRY: “Is that what you really think about my writing??!!”

ME: “Um, no, I was just being funny on the blog.”

FATHER: “Is that what you really think about the President of the United States??!!”

ME: “Um, yes, that’s what I really think about the President of the United States.”

And for that comment, I was promptly disowned, disinherited, cast off, forgotten by my adoptive father. Seriously. Blogs can be a real pain, and sometimes damaging to me, when people are actually reading them.

But my attempts to live here in Crazyland in obscurity have come to naught.  I mean, I don’t want my career to be obscure. I just wanted my private life to be obscure within the town I am living. But it just doesn’t work if you have a blog that people read. Obscurity is an impossibility.

The other day, when I said that Kara was my only friend out here in the Hinterlands, someone wrote to me, personally, and reminded me that she was my friend, too. Oh gosh.  Of course you are. I’m so sorry if I hurt your feelings. I had no idea you were reading my blog…

And then also the other day, my niece, who doesn’t live too awfully far from Crazyland, sent me a link to an essay she wrote. She wants to be a writer, like me. It was a good piece of writing, but it was all about how she struggles with depression.

And I was, like: No, no, no! This is not acceptable. You were born to have a life that was better than mine.

When my niece was born, it was at a time in my life and in my marriage when I was coming to grips with the fact that I was going to remain childless. I was so excited for my brother when his daughter was born. And I was excited for me, too. A little girl, connected to me, who gets to have a much, much better life than mine was. A life not full of the garbage I had to deal with. And yet, all these years later, she’s dealing with depression. And here I blog about my crippling depressions and I guess I make it seem somehow okay.

But it’s not. It’s not an acceptable way to live. Her life is supposed to be better than mine.

Well, how is she supposed to know that, I had to ask myself; if you ignored her for most of her life?

Because I had a falling out with my brother – but the outcome for my niece was still the same. I was gone from her life from the time she was 4.

Choosing obscurity, choosing to isolate – I see now that it isn’t really very fair to other people, because they still exist. I know I still have to find a balance between the people who are toxic to me and the people who aren’t; and how to protect my private life but still be a public writer. But I’ve got to deal with it.

That balance is tricky for me, but I’m learning. When I consulted that reader in London a couple weeks ago, as a Christmas present for myself, I knew I was having some very serious problems with my mind. I needed help finding my balance; to feel grounded again, to get clarity.  How to show up in the world as myself, and not to detach and dissociate.

The reader in London was so helpful to me. He really was. He told me what I needed to work on, 3 times a day for twenty minutes each time. And he said, “Stick with it, and in 3 days things will begin to turn around. And if you stay with it for a month, you will be amazed by the difference in your life.”

Well, he was certainly correct.  Everything is changing, sort of at warp speed. And I think this indescribable frenzy of eBook downloads is part of the river of change. That flow. Suddenly, more and more people are also following the blog, and all my other social media accounts. People are just suddenly showing up, you know? Including my niece. And yesterday, even Mob Guy #2 returned very suddenly and said, “Please, Marilyn. Come on.  I’m still waiting for you to come back to me.”

What the heck??!! Where did you come from all of the sudden??!! (My answer was still no, but it was nice to be so suddenly thought of, so intensely.)

I mean, it’s certainly not bad stuff, but it is a lot of stuff. And I have to step up and be accountable for all of it, even the stuff that I totally fucked-up and can’t repair, because I’m not obscure. I do exist in the world. So. It has been very, very interesting. To say the least.

Okay, you guys have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for visiting Crazyland!! I’m always happy to see your bright, shining faces. I love you guys! Take care and see ya.

PS: I don’t actually live in Crazyland. It’s a play on words – on the name of the actual town I live in, which was founded by  a Mr. Samuel Frazey in 1828.

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.