Tag Archives: #MarilynJayeLewis

I am circumspect!

Yes, that’s me. Circumspect.

I was informed yesterday by the publisher of Dirty Filthy Lovely: Dark Erotica (another collection of my previously published stories, most of them rather exceedingly dark) has been picked up for sale by Walmart eBooks.

ME: “Really?”

PUBLISHER: “Yes.”

ME: “Walmart? You’re sure?”

PUBLISHER: “Why wouldn’t I be sure? It’s my company.”

I find this strange and even inexplicable, since Dirty Filthy Lovely is pretty much a panoply of “questionable consent” stories. How long before some irate shopper flags the book and it is pulled from Walmart’s illustrious virtual shelves? I guess we’ll find out, gang.

Meanwhile…. I managed to slow my car down to a crawl the other day, and I got a cool photo of the swans living in the flooded cornfield down the road from me! (Click on the photo and it gets much easier to see.)

Swans in the cornfield

It makes me so happy to see them, gang. These are the most swans I’ve ever seen in one place before. Never mind that they are out in a cornfield in the middle of endless farmlands.

Okay! Back to work around here. Have a really happy Saturday wherever you are in the world!!! Thanks for visiting. Sending you buckets of love, gang. See ya!

Neptune & Surf is 20 years old!

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:

Neptune & Surf, Masquerade Books 1999

And my official author’s photo back then looked like this:

Marilyn Jaye Lewis 1999

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!!

5.0 out of 5 stars  Brilliant

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.

5.0 out of 5 stars This is erotic fiction with believable characters.
No matter what I’m looking for in fiction, I always enjoy it more when I care about the characters. Ms. Lewis drops us “behind the scenes” into the thoughts of tangible characters in intriguing interaction. She’s also got a knack for the occasional sudden twist into a sexual situation – sometimes disturbing, sometimes gratifying.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Twisted but Nice but Not!
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.

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality erotic literature with a deft, sure touch
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…

I’m so sorry, gang!

While creating a new permanent section to the blog last night, called From the Vault, I inadvertently sent a bunch of unsolicited porn into everybody’s inboxes late last night!

I’m so sorry about this, gang. It was not intended. I thought I was uploading them as updates to the section, and not sending them out as individual posts.

Jesus. So sorry.

And on that inauspicious note… there’s a new permanent section to the blog now, called From the Vault, featuring older stories that were popular but that I’m not going to be republishing anywhere.

I’ve moved “Necessary to her Good” to that section, too, since that wound up being a really popular story on the blog last week.

And, yes, the Smashwords sale is now over. Thanks for making that frenzy of free downloads the busiest bunch of traffic to my Smashwords pages ever.  Normally, most of my sales come through Kindle on Amazon, but Smashwords is a really cool company, folks, so thanks for checking it out.

Of course, this also puts me in a quandary, since I don’t write erotica anymore and, obviously, since I’m giving away tons of old stories for free now, I haven’t written it in years. Blessed by Light, one of my new novels, has a lot of erotic elements to it, but it is definitely not the same kind of writing. And yet the old stuff is clearly what a heck of a lot of people want. So I’m just not really sure, gang, what – if anything – I’m gonna do about that.

My mind is simply in other realms now. Not that those realms aren’t erotic, but they also contain larger questions for me – spiritual things I’m trying to learn on this last half of my journey through physical life. I need to write about that kind of stuff now.

I guess it just gives me something else to ponder in that big vat of stuff I keep in my brain that I constantly ponder upon!

All righty. Sorry, again, everyone, for that onslaught to your inboxes during the night.

As I said in my post yesterday, I’ve got a lot of stuff I gotta get crackin’ on, now that January has arrived, so after right now, I’ll be returning to my blog-posting schedule of once or twice a week.

Oh! Yesterday, Nick Cave sent out another one of his letters. It was very charming, about his 10 most favorite pieces of music while growing up. You can read the letter here. (Or sign up to receive them; they’re always interesting and unpredictable.)

I’m guessing that if you live in Australia or New Zealand, you already know this (and if you don’t live there, there probably isn’t any real need for you to know this), but this month and next month, Nick Cave is going to be doing those solo engagements where he’s going to sing & play piano (?) but also take questions from the audience.

I can’t imagine missing that but clearly I will be – that part of the world is about 10 thousand miles from here. I guess I’ll have to wait until the tour comes to Crazyland…

Actually, in all seriousness, nothing comes to Crazyland. Ever. I think the last thing that came to Crazyland was when I moved here, 10 months ago. Really. You step out on your kitchen porch, turn your head in one direction and look that way; and then turn your head in another direction and look that way, and beyond those foothills and trees in the distance, you’ll see more & more sky coming your way and that’s all that ever comes to Crazyland. God and the weather.

Oh, wait! Something else really cool has come!! I hope to get a photo of it soon, but I’m always zipping past it at my normal 95 mph. However, in one of the lower-lying cornfields out on the main road, a sizable amount of rain water has collected since the fall and swans are living there!! Literally, I’ve counted a dozen of them! Swans!!! Those glorious white birds that mate for life. It’s just so lovely.

Related image
Swans but not the ones who live here

Okay. Gonna work now. Have a nice Wednesday, wherever you are in the world! Hope it’s a happy one.  I leave you with this incredibly beautiful and iconic love song from 30 years ago! Not about swans, but still lovely.  (I know, I know – if you’re an American, you’ve never heard it…but hear it now!) Thanks for visiting, gang! Sending you lots of love. See ya!

It’s Good to Think & to Be Smart!

Yes, that is my gentle reminder to you that today is the final day of the Smashwords sale, wherein all of my eBooks that are published with them are FREE to download, in any and all eReader formats.

I’m guessing, though, that you’ve already done that. Still. It’s good to think and to be smart. LOOK at your desktop or at your eReader device! If my eBooks are not in there [Twilight of the Immortal; Freak Parade, and The Muse Revisited Volumes 1-3.], then you’ve forgotten to download them and must hurry and do that today. The final day.

Or at least until the month of July, wherein, Smashwords does it all over again…

However, this means that in those months between January and July, you will have to pay 3 and sometimes as much as 4 dollars to download each of these books. Yes – I said 3 or 4 dollars! It looks like this: $3 or $4. And we don’t want to go that route, do we? Because then, I personally – as the writer- would actually receive most of those dollars. And that could set a very dangerous precedent. I might expect you to start purchasing my newer books forever after that. So let’s just avoid all that potential unpleasantness and go download those books today.

All righty!

Well, unfortunately, the merriment of the holidays is over and I seriously have to get back to work around here.  Someone in LA, who shall remain nameless, had the nerve to email me on New Year’s Eve – albeit, on Pacific Time, so to her, it was not yet dangerously close to the actual moment of merriment. But still. I get an email late last night explaining when & where & how I need to begin the endless hours of Skyping with producers re: my pilot script.

I so don’t want to do this, people, and yet I so have to. It was stressful just looking at the email. Because it isn’t actually Skype – it’s “Skype-like” and so I have to download yet another app and learn how to use it and how to send my script, etc. And I have about 24 hours to figure it out. And I still have not revised my show bible.

I know. I said I was doing it. I also said I was going to stop texting the guy I’m in love with because he’s really busy now and I wanted to give him some space… However, even though I opened the show bible Word file every single day for the past several days, I would simply look at it and my brain would just sort of glaze over with inertia. I got nothing done.

And so now, someone is going to say, “Okay, let’s see what you did!”

ME: “Nothing. I did nothing.”

Not gonna go over well.

THEM: “We were under the impression you were serious about your script and really wanted our input here.”

ME: “I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said that.”

Anyway.

So I kinda gotta scurry around here and get things in shape.

And this also means I will go back to my non-holiday blogging schedule of posting once or twice a week, instead of every day.

Plus, I’ve decided to go back to writing in my journal more and stay offline whenever possible. I’m seriously trying to break my texting habit.  Frankly, I really wish I were addicted to smoking instead of texting. I could light up in the privacy of my own world and just sit & think & smoke, instead of dashing off yet another annoying: “Plus, I just wanted to be clear about…[fill in the blank about what on earth it is that I could possibly be more clear about].”

And with smoking, at least you get that awesome nicotine rush.

Okay, gang. Off I go! Enjoy your New Year’s Day festivities, wherever you are! Thanks for making a quick trip here part of your busy day. Sending you great big bunches of love! See ya!

And I also text…

Blessings for a Beautiful 2019!

Thanks so much, gang, for hanging out with me in 2018! It has been really just an amazing year. And most of you have been with me through all of it:

  • Trying to find a house to buy out in the Hinterlands
  • Finally finding the 117-year-old home of my dreams & I move in!
  • I learn to live with an astoundingly noisy train that practically runs through my house
  • Me and my cats are overjoyed with a house that has 21 wonderful wide-open windows as spring arrives
  • Starlings and robins build nests all around the outside of my house and my world comes alive with birds
  • Baby raccoons are born in my tree and fill me with delight!
  • The Mormon missionaries come into my world  for 4 months and open it up to so many beautiful things
  • But then ultimately I decide I am a sinner and likely to stay that way!
  • I fall into lust (from afar) with all those 20-ish-year-old Boys of Summer and then
  • The Muse returns to my life with a  vengeance in July and I start really writing again
  • the Mob comes back, briefly, into my world and I realize I’m nuts!
  • I decide not to be nuts and then I fall in love instead which turns out to be exactly the same thing
  • I go to NYC. I go to LA. I once again have way too many projects on my desk
  • And now here we are, at the precipice of another breathtaking New Year!!

I hope it’s a really good one, friends. Fight to stay positive, even when you see a little darkness maybe coming your way. The darkness won’t last if you can be good to yourself and hold others in the Light.

Take care. I love you. Thanks for visiting!!

Me, going on forever back in October

Redemption & Black Rain

It’s Patti Smith’s birthday today. I think she’s something like 110 years old, but don’t quote me on that.

Pictured above is a photo of my original copy of Horses, that I got for Christmas 1975, when I was 15 years old.

To that point, it was the greatest Christmas present I ever got. I was only out of the mental hospital for a few weeks by that time (if you’re new to the blog, see posts from August, I think? One titled “ooh yeah, throwing up”.)

Angels truly blessed me by bringing Patti Smith into my world when I was at my absolute lowest. She kept me alive, and helped me believe in the validity of myself — kept me writing songs, too, until I was old enough to get the hell out of Dodge and go to New York City and become a singer-songwriter.

Directly before being put in the sanitarium, I had bought a copy of the book Cowboy Mouth, by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith. I bought it  at a library sale for 10 cents. I had no idea who either of them were back then. I bought the book because it was a collection of plays, and because I liked the feel of the book in my hands, you know?

When they came and told me I was getting locked up in a loony bin, I was absolutely terrified. And they came for me at the final moment, you know? They said: Pack some things, we’re putting you away. Right now. In my 14-year-old terror, I grabbed whatever I could find that I thought would save me, and as luck would have it, I grabbed the book Cowboy Mouth from the top of my dresser.

Obviously, confinement in a mental hospital was a truly low point in my life. And I didn’t “get better” in there, unfortunately. I got worse. Because I learned how to fake everything and conceal my problems, because I was always trying to avoid conflict with the staff and things like the “Isolation Room.” An actual padded room, with a metal bed, a thin mattress, no lights and just a small window way at the top of one wall. How my mind really, really wanted to get out of that window. But anyway.

I read Cowboy Mouth and fell in love with Patti Smith. I had never encountered a woman who could write like she could. She was transgressive and courageous. I didn’t really use those terms back then, I just knew she gave me a fierce amount of determination to survive all that had happened, and was happening, to me.

The angels stepped in again, while I was waiting to see my appointed psychiatrist one afternoon. There was a copy of Mademoiselle Magazine on the coffee table in his waiting room. I flipped through it to discover an interview with and photos of Patti Smith!! That was when I learned that she had a record coming out at the end of that year – Horses.

Honestly, it gave me something to live for. And made me more determined than ever to move to NYC as soon as I could conceivably do that. Because, clearly, Patti was NYC at that point — all those poets! All that rock & roll. Wow.

Well, Horses was the most amazing album I ever heard in my life. It changed me. It solidified my determination to survive my own life – all the rapes and the utter abuse and cruelty. The only other record album that had a similar effect on my determination to survive came 10 years later, in NYC, when I bought The First Born is Dead by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

You know, sadly, the man in my family who bought me Horses for Christmas, who made me so happy and gave me something to help me be courageous about life, was also the same man who, a couple years later, abducted me out to the country, drugged me and raped me for hours on end.

You know, the angels will give you something transcendent and beautiful, and then Life comes along and says “there’s a catch.” The angels have given you the key to your redemption already, but you have to remember to use it when the black rains come.

It’s sometimes a struggle to find that key when you really need it most.  But I tell you, gang, I keep working on it.

Anyway. Happy birthday to Patti and to everything she’s always stood for in this world.

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.

Like White on Rice, Gang!

The downloads of free eBooks are happening so fast and furiously that I have to wade through a literal ton of ping! alerts just to get to my actual email.

And 99% of those downloads are still for The Muse Revisited Volumes 1 through 3. The downloads are now far surpassing Christmas Day, which, until the days after Christmas, was my busiest download day in 10 years.

I’m not complaining, I just don’t really understand it.  The stories are really old. And yet it’s like a feeding frenzy.

And then – also on the day after Christmas – my year-end royalty check came from a publisher who’s been selling eBook editions of my 3 erotic romance novels for 10 years now (originally published in print by Barnes & Noble way back in 2004). And this same publisher also publishes a collection of my dark erotica, Dirty Filthy Lovely. Again, a collection of stories written a long time ago, and published in numerous print markets before being put out to pasture as an eBook.

Really old stories. I mean, really old. And I’m still getting checks. Or whiplash, in the case of this current download frenzy on Smashwords that keeps sending these ping! alerts to my iPhone, which only send my head spinning to my iPhone screen in breathless hopes that the guy I insulted beyond belief has suddenly realized he likes vitriolic vipers who are out of their fucking minds and so is finally texting me again — but au contraire!

Don’t mind us, says the iPhone screen. We just wanted a little more of your porn.

AAAaaarrrrghhhh.

I also got a really lovely Christmas card from Little Brown & Company in the UK. A huge publisher.  Known hugely for publishing incredible literature.

Why am I getting this lovely Christmas greeting from such an awesome publisher, I wondered blankly. Upon investigation, I discovered, Oh! Because they’re my publisher!

They’re the ones who publish Neptune & Surf . I didn’t know that! They bought the rights from somebody who bought the rights when Hachette took over the world.

Yes, another really old pornographic book that is still in print. And in just a handful of days, guys, that book will have been in print continuously, without interruption, for 20 years!!!!!

I sometimes even get letters in the mail from Virgin Publishing in the UK – forwarded to me from my ex-husband in NYC who still lives in our incredibly beautiful apartment on the Upper West Side but I am not bitter, gang. Not in the slightest… it does not bother me one bit that I lost everything I had in the world.  Except for my guitar. But I see these letters and I think, Hmm. Why is Virgin Publishing writing to me? And it’s, you know, because they own the rights to a German translation of a filthy dirty story I wrote a million years ago that now German people cannot get enough of.

Jesus.

You know, I bring this up because in the month of January, I have to spend a whole heck of a lot of time on Skype – several hours a week, for the entire month – working with some producers in LA to make sure I’m presenting my CLEVELAND TV pilot script in the best possible way. The production company that has already optioned the pilot has “strongly suggested” I do this. So I’m doing it. On Pacific Coast time. Which means, during my nighttime hours, when I’m already brain dead, I have to have these Skype conferences to nitpick my pilot script. All because I am an unproven writer in a new market. So even while everyone loves this TV pilot and its premise, especially this new revised version (because – yes! It now has sex in it!), no one will put money into it until I can get someone with a track record to attach to it.

I don’t even want to be a TV writer. I don’t. I just want the “created by” credit here. I want this particular show to be out in the world because I get the distinct impression the characters are going to matter to people.

ME: So. You like the writing. Everyone agrees it’s a good idea. But as a writer here, I’m “unproven.”

Hmm. Something’s really weird here. I can’t quite put my finger on it. “Unproven.” I see. Meanwhile the pings! continue…

All righty. I gotta get crackin’ here. Within these last few days of December, I have to re-write the show bible to match the revised version of the TV pilot script. So, onward!

Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a really blessed day. I love you guys!!

Best gift ever??!!

I think maybe it is, folks!

Kara, basically my one & only friend out here in the Hinterlands – and she’s from New York originally, so I guess that explains it.

But anyway. As luck would have it, Kara has been reading my novel, Freak Parade. We got together for dinner in town last night and to go see a play  (a revival of Gypsy), and she brought me a Christmas present!

This is not an appeal for anyone to read Freak Parade, it’s just that, in the book, the main character, Eugenia Sharpe, always  drinks Wild Turkey & Diet Coke.  And this is what Kara got me – a bourbon flask!!

How cool is that, really? How intensely targeted and thoughtful.

Yes, I used to also drink Wild Turkey & Diet Coke. But let’s not have that conversation again about  fiction versus memoir!

I don’t drink Wild Turkey anymore – I can’t handle hard liquor since becoming a vegetarian.  But I was still overjoyed to receive this gift and will just treasure it forever.

It is so wonderful to have a friend and to have the friendship just happen organically, you know? It’s not based on any sort of networking at all. Knowing Kara has really been incredible.  I’ve blogged about her before – she is definitely on her own planet, but it’s a planet I always enjoy visiting.

At one point, I finally told her I was a writer and she started not only buying my books, but also reading them! And we’re still friends. Go figure…

I don’t tell anyone out here that I’m a writer.  I came out here to the Hinterlands, to this wonderful, tiny, crazy town, to live in obscurity.  To have no past for anyone to know about; no career; no identity. In fact, I always remove my middle name from everything out here because it makes me even more intensely obscure once my middle name is removed.  I try to be friendly and everything when I’m actually out in the town and have to interact with people, but mostly I settled here because I just wanted to be a woman who practically didn’t exist anymore except when I was upstairs at my desk, all alone, writing.

In the last 15 years or so, I systematically lost pretty much everything in my life that meant anything to me. All I had left was my writing, and then my ministry. And I found a way to be content with that. I really thought that was going to be my life – writing, house in the middle of nowhere, 8 semi-feral cats, cemetery plot up the road.

I was so totally okay with that until I fell in love. And then everything inside  me changed and my head exploded. (I think that exploding head is what caused me to lose my mind – just a wild guess. Perhaps it’s on the floor here somewhere…) And then suddenly I wanted EVERYTHING.

Just everything.

But wait, I know what that means – it means you will once again lose everything. I can’t go there again, can I? The prospects of all that loss will kill me.

But who knows, right? I just gotta learn how to wake-up in the morning and try not to make everybody crazy right along with me. A tall order these days, gang! But I’m working on it.

And speaking of work… I gotta get back to the new novel today. So I’m off!

Enjoy Thursday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting. In spite of everything I grumble about, I’m real glad our paths are crossing, gentle readers. I mean that. See ya!

Yes, I Want You! The beginning of the end of sanity around here….

Should I Be Flattered?!

You guys are funny!

Twice a year, I participate in the Smashwords FREE download sale and I am usually pretty surprised by how many readers take advantage of the sale, but YESTERDAY, gang. Wow. You outdid yourselves!

I guess nothing says Christmas like free porn, huh? It was actually my busiest download day ever. And I’ve been participating in the sale for about ten years.

I don’t have access to any of your private information, but I do get an email every time a download of one of my books occurs.  And it was just ping! ping! ping! ping! ping! ping! all day and all night and into the wee small hours of the morning.

And almost everybody downloaded some combination of The Muse Revisited Volumes  1 through 3.  It really was astounding to me, because these are collections of really old stories that have been published already, repeatedly, all over the place.

So, yes, actually, I am flattered. However, the title of this post doesn’t actually relate to that. I question whether or not I am flattered because of something else.

Over the weekend, in anticipation of the free download sale, I posted the story “Necessary to her Good” in full here on the blog site. It is no longer here on the blog site because now the sale is happening, so if you want to read the story again, you can just go get it for free until New Year’s Day.

So, I’m sorry, but yes, the story is no longer here. But I also want to clear up a misconception that was brought to my attention by a gentle reader and that is: My stories are fiction.

If something I wrote is a memoir or an essay, then it’s true. Otherwise, it’s not true. It’s fiction. 95% of what I’ve written in the scope of my 30-year career as a writer is fiction, gentle readers.

When I say that stories are based on things that happened to me, or people I knew or was in love with, or based on specific eras of my life, it only means that there are true elements within the story that served as a springboard for my imagination.

So when a reader thinks that an intense story like “Necessary to her Good” is a memoir,  that’s when I have to wonder if I’m flattered that readers think my capacity for unbridled whore-dom is unfathomably boundless!!

Mostly, I’m just kidding, but it is kind of alarming. You think I did all that stuff? Multiplied times the stuff in every story I’ve ever written? And that I’m still just sitting here at my desk, drinking a cup of coffee and not off in a lonely forest somewhere screaming and trying to shoot myself in the head to make all the pictures stop?

Actually, I am kind of flattered, because it means I’m an effective storyteller. But if you’re new to my work – even though these stories were written years ago, to some readers they are brand new – they are still just stories. Stories I did work really hard at to make as believable as possible.

For some reason, God made me an erotic storyteller. I didn’t want it to be that way – trust me. I wanted to be much more commercial. But that’s the way my gifts came out.  Even as a little girl, I was always making up erotic stories in my head. It was just always the main way I saw the world.

Another story of mine that was popular and that got re-published a lot, is “Daddy’s Girl.” It’s a lesbian BDSM story. And it’s an homage to a babysitter I had when I was 7 years old that I was really smitten with. Just totally in love with her. She was a tomboy, an Italian who went to Catholic school. Even though she lived on my block, I knew nothing about her because no one in her family went to public schools. I have no idea if she wound up being a lesbian or not. I knew absolutely nothing about her.

When I was a little girl, I was really, really shy. So I would just sit on the couch and stare at her when she would babysit us.  Whenever she would speak directly to me, I would just melt inside. God forbid, I ever saw her out on the block, because I would just freeze; I was so in love with her. And at night in my bed, I would create these little fantasies where she would spank me. These fantasies were incredibly compelling to me and my imagination. And they became my world. I didn’t even know how to masturbate yet, or anything. I just had these stories in my head that overwhelmed me.

And that isolated segment of my childhood became a totally over- the-top BDSM lesbian sex story that everybody just loved.  Over 30 years after the fact. And I believe it’s because I could still tune in to who I was when I was 7 and how much I loved that 15 year old girl, who I never actually truly knew.

To me, erotic stories only work if they are as believable as possible – if the love is believable. When I was 13, I read Story of O and I thought it was real. To me, it was just so believable – more believable than anything erotic that I had read up to that point. Story of O just went beyond anything I could have imagined on my own at that age. And it turned out that it was written by a heartbroken writer in Paris because her lover (a publisher) had left her – and so she wrote something to make him remember her pretty much for all time. And then the book became a worldwide classic of BDSM erotic literature – because her desire for him was infused in every page; not because it was, as I had mistakenly believed, some sort of “memoir.”

It took me years and years of trial and error, gang, to get to that level of storytelling. It wasn’t by accident or anything, I did work really hard at it.  Like any other writer, my first stories were rejected and I was heartbroken, but I kept at it. Until a few years into it, I finally hit my stride and everything I wrote got sold and published.

Erotic literature is one type of literature that always gets judged really harshly. People usually even refuse to call it literature, since so much of erotic writing is actually genre fiction, and not literature. I’ve certainly written for genre fiction markets and those are my least favorite of my stories, because they are so restricted by  the formula of the genre. Even “Necessary to her Good” had a required formula, in that it had to be a love story, and so it had to have a “happy ending.”

In real life, the guy the story is based on was indeed married and his wife had hired a private detective. And when he came to tell me it was over, I was crestfallen, you know, because we’d had some amazing times, but I wasn’t devastated for months. I was over it pretty much by the end of the day. But that wouldn’t have made for a very moving love story, would it?

I want a reader to read “Necessary to her Good” and really think about love. What it makes us do or want, or how it makes us feel.

In Freak Parade, the first sex scene between Genie and Eddie lasts 20 pages. A 20 page sex scene. I had to sustain the eroticism for 20 pages.  Most erotic short stories, in their entirety, do not last even close to 20 pages, and I wrote one sex scene that lasted 20 pages. But it was because I wanted my readers to believe that these two people were in love. For real. I wanted my readers to get lost in it, to believe that erotic love can be that transporting.  I want my readers’ minds to feel loved after reading that scene.

Freak Parade was written for a man I was in love with. I wrote it because the night I met him, when he was 38, I knew I was meeting him at the most amazing point in his life  and I wanted that version of him to live forever. I tried to infuse an entire book with just that one feeling of how it felt to meet him for the first time. I had to set up the plots of an entire book to be so intense, that it would feel believable that a girl could merely see a guy’s face and finally find her reason for being.

Most of Freak Parade is based on real things, real people, real situations. However, its raison d’etre is to show that a girl can fall in love with a guy, and a guy can fall in love with a girl, and the world suddenly makes sense and changes forever. (And with luck, you get to have a heck of a lot of crazy sex in the process!!)

All righty!! On that lofty note, folks…

Have a happy Feast of St. Stephen! Enjoy what’s left of your Christmas spirit. (And in spite of the tone of this post, please don’t hesitate to write to me. I always enjoy hearing from my readers, even if they kind of think I have an unbridled capacity for unfathomably boundless whore-dom! I’ll find a way of looking at it so that it feels like a compliment!!)

Okay! See ya! And thanks for visiting, I love you guys.