Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Kindergarten Connect 2017 is officially open!

Experts offer tips for surviving NYC's kindergarten application season
By Amanda Mikelberg

Parents of 4-year-olds have more on their holiday-patterned plates than wrestling for the Hatchimals in the toy isles: It is now kindergarten application season in New York City.

The Department of Education’s online application system, Kindergarten Connect, is open from Wednesday through Jan. 13, with placements released in March. And while Requests for Testing (RFT) for the city's gifted and talented programs were due on Nov. 14, insiders say the window is still open for special requests for a test date in January.

“It’s unspeakably important to know all of your options,” Alina Adams, author of "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten," and a private coach for families in the process, told Metro.

She stressed that the law does not at all guarantee placement in a local school.

Much like the daunting high school application process, rankings of 12 choices must be submitted for each of the 70,000 kindergarten-age kids. Ignoring this process is taking a major risk of convenience and quality.

Applicants must research the DOE's kindergarten directory. Public kindergartens are not created equal — there are small schools and big ones, gifted and talented schools, magnet schools with attractive features, dual language programs, as well as traditional or progressive teaching approaches.

“Many parents don’t know that they may not be able to get into their zoned school, or that they are welcome and have a right to apply to unzoned schools.”

Read the entire article, here.

Or, if you'd prefer to hear everything you need to know about zoned, unzoned, district, magnet and dual language public schools - how to apply and how to get in, listen to the below podcast from 2015.

For a step by step guide that you can refer to over and over again as you go through the process, check out:

Wednesday, September 07, 2016


Pose a Question

Alina Adams, author of The Figure Skating Mystery Series, says “the best tip I have for writing strong book descriptions is to pose a question the reader desperately wants answered – but can’t unless they read the book.”

Adams set up her question with this intriguing book description:

At the World Figure Skating Championship, the Ladies’ Gold medal goes to Russia’s dour Xenia Trubin over America’s perky Erin Simpson thanks to the vote of one judge, who then promptly turns up dead.

Who killed Silvana Potenza? A skater? A coach? A fan? An official? A parent?

Emphasize Enhanced Content

Adams’s mystery series also includes professionally made videos of The Ice Theatre of NY as part of the story. “In my book description, I make sure to highlight this unique feature, and – this part is critical – explain exactly what that feature is and how it works. Enhanced ebooks are still so new, customers don’t expect them, and don’t exactly understand what they are. It is my job to make that clear – and enticing – in the book description.”

More tips (from writers who are not me) at: Writing Effective Book Descriptions to Sell More Books.

Thursday, September 01, 2016


For my last Entertainment Weekly Community post, I did a round up of the Top 10 Soap Opera final episodes - with clips!

Check it out here and join the conversation about your favorites - and which ones you think I unfairly left out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


The original Lieutenant Uhura herself, actress Nichelle Nichols, will appear on the 11,000th episode of The Young & the Restless, September 1, 2016.

But turnabout (intruder; bonus points if you get the ultra-geeky reference) is fair play. Go to EW Community for a list of our top 5 favorite original Star Trek guest-starts who went on to play meaningful roles on soaps - plus classic video clips!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat….

No, that’s not the Olympic motto (they’re all about their Faster, Higher, Stronger…). But it is the tagline that ABC’s Wild World of Sports came up with for turning athletic competition into, well, a soap opera.

Faster, higher, stronger is awesome, but it’s the personal stories that keep viewers in front of the tube, cheering for athletes who don’t have a shot at a medal… as long as the story is a good one. Quick, name the folks who actually beat Eddie the Eagle in skiing, or the Jamaican bobsledding team. There. See?

But turnabout is fair play. If the Olympics are now just a multi-week soap-opera (that, ironically, is preempting an actual soap-opera, Days of Our Lives) with periodic bursts of running, swimming and tumbling to break up the tear-jerking but ultimately uplifting tales, why shouldn’t Olympians get the chance to periodically pop up amidst the tear-jerking but ultimately uplifting tales on soaps?

Check out our Top 5 favorite appearances at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, July 28, 2016


On The Young & the Restless, Victor is out of prison. Well, that was a stressful ten minutes. OK, fine, it was a couple of weeks… months, tops. Definitely not the decade-long sentence he was originally saddled with.

We all know that, in the real world, justice is rarely blind – or fair. Some people get the book thrown at them, while others escape with a slap on the wrist for the same crime. In the real world, your race, gender, religion, and socio-economic class play a big part in how Lady Justice feels like treating you. This would be true on soaps, too, if there were enough racial and/or religious diversity to accumulate multiple data points. As for social-class, when even the so-called “poor people” can jet off to Europe at a moment’s notice, one starts to suspect “I do not think (that word) means what you think it means.”

Still, different people do get treated differently when it comes to crime and time-served. Check out the most grievous examples from the four soap-operas still left on the air at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


“I thought I could change him,” whimpered pretty much every woman on daytime over the past few weeks, be it General Hospital’s Sabrina about her low-level mobster baby-daddy or Alexis over her high-level mobster one-night stand/baby-daddy turned husband. It also applied to The Young & the Restless’s Meredith who, as a prison doctor, should have known that maybe inmates are sometimes not the most straight-and-narrow of citizens, and The Bold & the Beautiful’s Katie, who’d seen Bill cheat on a multitude of women, but was shocked — shocked! - when he did it to her.

You can’t really blame the ladies. Soap operas are chock full of tales of very evil, kind of evil, and vaguely evil men reformed by the love of a good woman. If it happened once, it can happen again, right? Check out our top three favorite examples of when it worked … and when it didn’t at Entertainment Weekly!