Thursday, September 29, 2011


I talk Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments, as well as what it will take for All My Children and One Life to Live to succeed on-line with Prospect Park, based on my experience with Another World Today and Mindy's Twitter on Laurie Baker's Outtakes Internet radio show.

Listen at: and make sure to let me know what you thought!


Hey, turns out you can listen to the show right here just by clicking the link below! Who knew? We really do live in the age of miracles and wonder! (And now cheaper Kindles, too.... America, what a country!)

Listen to internet radio with OutTakes on Blog Talk Radio


“Have you completely taken leave of your senses?” Rachel gaped at Donna as the latter calmly stepped out of her Mercedes, having methodically and thoroughly crumpled the rear end of Carl’s Rolls Royce with her own front bumper.

Donna patiently checked her make-up before snapping shut her compact and waving her fingers in Rachel’s direction. “Be a dear and call your dog of a husband to heel, would you? I have something I wish to discuss with him.”

“What you have is thirty seconds to get off my property before I – “

“Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear,” Donna smiled tightly, casually retrieving a gas can from the trunk of her battered car before upending the container over the roof of Carl’s prized Rolls, the gasoline fumes hitting Rachel’s nose. “Summon your husband or I will summon him for you. You forget, your unhinged daughter-in-law gave me a little lesson on the motivating power of fire… Oh, why, good day to you, Carl,” Donna greeted the figure hurrying down the walk even as she threw the gas container to the ground and pulled a lighter out of her purse. “How gracious of you to finally join us.”

“I could never miss the glorious possibility that you might immolate yourself through a combination of hubris and gaucherie.”

“Why the hell are you here?” Rachel broke up the banter, deeply concerned about the lighter clutched in Donna’s hand and its proximity to the gasoline soaked car.

“I came to find out why your husband allowed my – our – grandson to be kidnapped.”


A fed up Donna strikes back at Rachel and Carl, Spencer struggles to get through to Kirkland who makes his own tentative overture towards Grant, Zeno continues to toy with Cass and Felicia, Lila gets a shock from Doug, Kevin warns Amanda, and Matt hears the last thing he ever expected to from his mother - twice.

All at:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


As it has been well established previously, I love soap operas, figure skating, and musical theater.

While I have had some success in the soap opera field, my biggest stumbling block with the latter two (aside from the fact that I do not enjoy falling down on cold, hard wet surfaces) is that I have no musical ability.



It's pathetic.

My brother, the one-time ice dancing champion, will put on the simplest piece of music imaginable and taunt, "Find the beat, Alina."

Needless to say, Alina cannot do so.

So while in my wildest dreams I would like to be the next Stephen Sondheim, let's just say there is no chance of that happening ever.



So what do I do instead? I work with talented people in musical theater. Like Dan Elish. He wrote the book to the Broadway musical, 13. And before that, he wrote a musical, "The Worldwide Dessert Contest," which was based on his children's fantasy novel of the same name.

So while Dan did the, you know, actual stuff that requires talent, I produced an enhanced e-book version of "The Worldwide Dessert Contest," which features all the text of the original, plus all the songs from the musical combined into one.

You can experience "The Worldwide Dessert Contest" on your iPad, your tablet, your phone, your laptop or your PC. Anything with an Internet connection will do. All you need is to download the free Amazon Kindle app and you're good to go!

Check it out at: (After all, who can say no to a great dessert?)

In the meantime, for a taste of what a Dan Elish musical book might be like, watch the trailer another of his children's books, "The School for the Insanely Gifted" below.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


When Another World's Ada McGowan gave birth to her late in life daughter, Nancy, in 1974, the newborn was played by Danielle Burns, who stayed in the role for a whopping nine years before the character was inevitably aged into a teenager. (Considering that most babies on soaps are SORASed right around the time they start walking into pre-schoolers due to toddlers being notoriously difficult to work with, Danielle must have been an extraordinary tot, indeed!).

Now, Danielle is back in soaps, headlining the upcoming web-series, "Our World."

Another World Today
caught up with Danielle for a look back at growing up in Bay City, and what she's up to now!

Read all about it at:

Monday, September 26, 2011


Thanks to everyone who made Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments #1 in the Television Guides category on Amazon Sunday night!

Plus, we got our first review!

Dee625 wrote: I downloaded the Kindle reader for PC so I could read this. I enjoyed the reminiscing about great scenes from the soaps I watched and learned about scenes from soaps I never watched. The downside - now I'd like to see some of those long-gone storylines. The upside - interviews with producers and actors about the scenes you loved. Thanks for the memories Alina. I agree with Linda Dano - I never plan to watch that last episode of Another World (it's around here on tape in case I ever wanted to). That would make it over, and it never will be for me.

Thanks, Dee! And remember, as a thank you to readers of this blog, AWT and Mindy's Twitter, I am offering a free autographed book! Details, here!

Stunned by the possibility that this might, in fact, be the Zeno Tantalus they were looking for, Cass blurted out, “How old are you?”

“Nineteen,” the boy said good-naturedly, before narrowing his eyes and accusing, “Wait a minute, are you two here from the city council? Because I’m telling you right now, you can forget about it. I did my research. I’m old enough to own property; you don’t have to be twenty-one. I’ve got the paperwork if you want to see it. This place is mine, fair and square. You’re not going to find any loop-holes in my age, I can tell you that now.”

“We’re not from the city council,” Felicia assured him, hoping to calm Zeno down.

“Are they trying to take your property?” The lawyer in Cass couldn’t help inquiring. Well, that and the knowledge that, as long as he kept focusing on periphery issues, Cass wouldn’t have to find out something he didn’t want to know.


Zeno takes Cass and Felicia for a ride, Sarah challenges Kirkland on Grant while Grant attempts to make peace with his own father, Donna gets a shock from Steven, and Carl forces Rachel to take a good look at herself.

All at:

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Thank you everyone for helping make Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in the category of Television Guides and Reviews (we even beat out Star Trek's Will Wheaton!) on September 21 (also, coincidentally, the author's birthday)!

As a show of gratitude to the readers of this blog, as well as Another World Today and Mindy's Twitter, I would like to offer a thank you gift.

If you buy the book on Amazon at: and write a review (good or bad!) on its page and/or on your own personal blog or website, then send me a link to the review at:, I will send you a free, autographed copy of either The Man From Oakdale, or Jonathan's Story (2nd edition with bonus chapter). Supplies are limited, and if I run out of books before I get to you, I'll offer up another option, also soap-related.

I am unspeakably grateful for all of my wonderful readers, and I wanted to demonstrate just how much!


“God, I hate the outdoors,” Cass sneezed for what felt like the fifth time in the same number of minutes. He rolled up the windows of his car, trying to keep whatever the natural evil currently clogging up his nasal passages at bay. “Why does everyone think it’s so great, anyway? Give me air-conditioning and an antihistamine any day.”

“Less talking, more driving,” Felicia jabbed her finger into the map she’d been holding for them both to look at after the GPS gave up and decided their destination didn’t exist. “You’ll miss your exit.”

“Turn left at the rooster is hardly specific. You may have noticed there are quite a few of them around here. And,” Cass lowered his voice conspiratorially. “They’re starting to look at me funny.”

“Professional courtesy. One cock of the walk to another,” Felicia reassured him absently, peering out the window, searching desperately for any landmark to match the ones on the map before calling out, “There! There! Right there! See that mailbox? Tantalus! Turn there!”

Cass did as directed, albeit with a minimum of enthusiasm. This may have all been his idea, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

He asked Felicia, “Is it too late to get the nuns’ habits out of storage?”


Cass and Felicia discover the last thing they expected, Matt and Donna put their plan into action, Lucas attempts to make amends with Alice, Lila turns to a surprising person for guidance, Cory learns more than he wanted to about his parents, and Jamie faces a difficult decision.

All at:
By Nicole Walker

Erica Kane has had her share of suitors over the years some of which I’ve loved (Adam Chandler and Dimitri Merrick), some I’ve hated (Ryan Lavery and David Hayward), some that were laughable (Charlie Brent, Jr.? Really Erica?) and others I was indifferent to (Jackson Montgomery always felt like a heel when it came to Erica and a glutton for punishment constantly running back to her for more).

But there was one Kane husband that has a special place in my heart for not only being a good match for Erica as a lover, but also a good match for her as a fighter as he was the only man to truly win against Erica Kane and happily leave her and never look back.

And that man was Travis Montgomery.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved Travis and Erica as a couple and if they had gone the route of making them a true love pairing I would’ve supported them. I mean check these two all wet eyed and gushy at their first wedding…

But unfortunately (or fortunately if you were a Jack/Erica fan) with the arrival of Travis came the arrival of his annoying brother Jackson, who also had his eye on Erica and who Erica had her eye on even while being courted by Travis. When Travis made a biggie of an oopsie that even I admit had Erica rightfully ending their marriage, Jackson was all too happy to ease Erica through that painful time and she was all too happy to allow him. But in true soap fashion Erica and Travis weren’t quite done with each other yet and due to a promise made to their ill daughter, Bianca, the two remarried even though the love between them was gone and they loved and desired other people (Barbara for Travis and Jackson for Erica).

FFWD to months of rising tension where Erica secretly renews relations with Jack after learning of Travis’s betrayal with Barbara which, frankly, yeah, he slept with Barbara but it wasn’t because he still loved her (even though he did) it was about conceiving a child to save the life of his and Barbara’s daughter, Molly. Travis’s actions were that of a desperate father, not that of a cheating husband but to Erica who was looking to get back on the Jackson Montgomery express the details and motivations didn’t matter. She wanted to get hers.

And get hers she did when poor little Bianca happened upon Erica and Jack in a clench and was so upset she tried to burn her uncle in little Ken doll effigy causing a fire that almost burned down the house and sent Erica to the hospital. Refusing to stay the night alone, Erica left her hospital bed to go get some sexual healing from Jack only to be caught by Travis (who Bianca had earlier confessed to starting the fire because she saw Mommy kissing Uncle Jack sparking Travis’s realization that Erica was up to no good) in flagrante delicto and prompting Erica to huff -in outraged indignation as she’s pulling sheets up to cover her nakedness!-perhaps my most favorite line of hers ever: ‘Don’t you know how to knock?’

Can you imagine? ( I wish YouTube had a clip so that you didn’t have to imagine it but they don’t.) You’ve been caught naked in bed with your husband’s brother the same night you nearly died in a fire set by your traumatized daughter because she knows you’ve been banging her uncle behind her daddy’s back and you have the brass ovaries to be indignant and scold your husband’s lack of bedroom decorum?

I gaped at the television screen. Then I ‘ohhhh’d’ at the look of pure disgust on Travis’s face as he backed out of the room, off to start his payback to Erica for the pain and humiliation she’d done him and their daughter.

And boy did he get her back.

Not only did he saddle her with Adam Chandler as a business partner by selling him his shares of Enchantment, but he went for the throat by suing Erica for full custody of Bianca and winning because (Oh, the Irony!) her current slampiece Jackson wouldn’t lie for her on the stand in the custody hearing and blew her chances of retaining custody out of the water.

Of course Erica didn’t take that betrayal lightly and so there was no more nookie for Jackson coming from her.

Unfortunately, for Erica she had no daughter to raise or even visit to fill those many empty hours since Travis was up and moving away from Pine Valley with Barbara and their two kids and taking Bianca with him. As Erica stood utterly devastated- no husband, no daughter, no lover- in the courtroom hallway watching Travis leave completely victorious with his family (Off to what I had hoped to be a happily ever after but of course Erica had to win in the end so they made Travis and Barbara suspect parents to Bianca before killing off the man with a stroke so Erica could dance on his grave) I applauded.

I cheered. I grinned like an idiot because the great Erica Kane had fallen and fallen hard. Maybe the punishment outweighed her crimes, but that’s part and parcel of being a soap heroine; not even the great Erica Kane can escape falling on her bum every so often-and in Erica’s case it’s such a rarity that she’s caught with her skirt bunched in her pantyhose by anyone much less a man. When Erica does get rapped across the knuckles it’s a moment to be savored and enjoyed not just because of her getting the pain that is owed to her (because the woman is no angel and often has her setbacks coming for one plot or another) but also because we know that she’ll rise again. Erica Kane is not a woman you can keep down for long. She’s a tenacious scrappy fighter who will always manage to claw her way back to the top in amazing, engaging, spectacular fashion.

But it’s still nice (especially in those days when Erica was as much a schemer as a heroine) to see her get a big helping of karmic payback-especially when delivered with as complete and utter destruction as Travis Montgomery accomplished.

Coming up tomorrow my favorite AMC ‘O…M…G!’ moment. It even had men ‘who didn’t really watch soaps’ commenting and shaking their heads….


Nicole Walker is Associate Producer of Another World Today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


By Nicole Walker

As I’ve previously posted I inherited my All My Children love from my mother in the 80s. After picking me up from afterschool care and coming home from a long day of work she would rewind her VHS tape and play her ‘stories': All My Children and As The World Turns. I’d sit (or lay sprawled on the floor in a prime viewing spot) to watch the shows and slowly became enamored with the scandalous people of Pine Valley and Oakdale. So much so that when my mother ‘took a break’ from All My Children I continued to tape it myself out of habit and loyalty mostly.

Until Janet Green arrived in Pine Valley on her more glamorous sister’s, Natalie’s, doorstep....

Then I began paying a little more attention to the story-especially since we got the ‘Uh oh’ reveal of frumpy Janet trying on a wig that suddenly transformed her into a near double of her sister Natalie.

‘Uh oh’ because when you saw Janet in that wig you knew some wacky twin hijinks was a’comin.

‘Uh oh’ because Janet was such a dead ringer for Natalie that Natalie’s beau, Trevor Dillon, mistook her for Natalie and planted a kiss on the little lady sparking an instant love and obsession with him that guided story in Pine Valley for nearly twenty years.

Because in that moment a psychotic was born. A psychotic (to be later) named as Janet from Another Planet.

An apt moniker given to her by Trevor’s niece, Hayley, as Janet was everything Natalie wasn’t: frumpy, socially awkward, unsophisticated, eccentric, although they did share a propensity to have very flexible morals (Natalie’s early years on the show had her scheming, scamming, spying, with the best of them but by the time Janet came along Natalie had veered more into victimized heroine territory until her unfortunate demise).

Janet was a loser at life at everything while Natalie (in her view) had been a winner and slowly but surely Janet slipped from admiring her sister and being moderately jealous of her, to resenting her and coveting her life (especially Trevor) so much that a plan began to take root.

Taking over her sister’s life by becoming her sister. By being that winner.

There was just one thing she had to take care of in order to make this plan work.

She had to get rid of her sister.

And so Janet, not wanting to go as far as kill Natalie as she had the foresight to realize she may need to pump Natalie for information on how to successfully be her (and maybe because she just couldn’t bring herself to listen to all the voices in her head and kill her)

Threw Natalie down a well.

She threw her sister down a well and came to visit on a regular basis to gloat about it!

Oh, the craziness! The insanity. The tension of just how far Janet would push this and how soon would Natalie be rescued. If she was rescued!

And that’s I became a bona fide in my own right fan of All My Children, anxious to get home as soon as possible to rewind my VHS tape and watch Janet torture Natalie from her safe perch above the well, frustrated and groaning and enraged right along with Natalie as Janet insinuated herself into Natalie’s life by mothering Natalie’s son, Timothy, by taking over her company, and finally after many near misses, bedding Trevor which took things to a whole new level.

I was hooked. Hooked!

How long was this to go on!? When would Janet get her comeuppance and be exposed?! When would Natalie get out of that stinkin’ well and those stinkin’ clothes already and go beat Janet and Trevor senseless. Her for stealing her life and Trevor because he didn’t know he was sleeping with the wrong sister?!

I was hooked for weeks- months- completely unable to miss a moment of Janet’s rise and slow, slow, slow downfall, happily clapping and fist pumping when Janet couldn’t keep the gig up any longer and was busted by Hayley with Trevor searching for Natalie and having to fight for her all over again after his betrayal.

And then when they found out Janet was pregnant with his child. Oh the drama!

But to get back to what started it all, Janet and the whole dropping Natalie down the hole thing, major props need to be given to Kate Collins for being up to the task of taking on two roles and not doing too shabby a job of it. As Natalie she was prim and snooty and sophisticated while making Janet markedly different with awkward hunched shoulders, furtive shifty eyes, and a zany irrational rational screw loose thought process that just made you laugh even while you wanted to throttle her. Kate had a flair for comedy and sure she could be hammy and campy but that’s part of what made Janet fun and what made the story work. I do applaud what Robin Mattson did with a more layered Janet during her own stint upon Janet’s return to Pine Valley after a stint in prison and a mental hospital, but Kate’s Janet was the first and what got me hooked and thus holds a special place in my AMC loving heart.

Coming tomorrow my favorite AMC 'Oh, you just got owned!' moment. And it involves Erica Kane. Being on the losing end...

Nicole Walker is the Associate Producer of Another World Today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saying Good-Bye to All My Children
by Nicole Walker

Sadly, All My Children is ending this week after nearly 41 years on the air. This was a soap I inherited from my mom as a wee child in the 80s due to the magical invention- the VCR. You see, my mom was a working woman and didn’t get off of work until 4:30 to pick me up from my Afterschool program at 5:00 to finally get home at 5:30.

And that’s when she would decompress from the day by watching her two soaps- All My Children and As The World Turns. Since I had already completed my homework earlier that afternoon, I’d hang out on the couch and watch them with her, eventually becoming hooked to the point that when she finally broke things off with All My Children (apparently she was sick of Erica getting over on Brooke) I kept taping the show for myself (even going so far as earning money for my own VCR and TV so I could tape the show in my room- which was cool since I kept my grades up and was a banner child).

I hung with the show well into the mid-90s before I went off to college, dropping my daily habit as I only could afford time to watch one soap in those days and that was just gonna have to be General Hospital so I could get my Jax &Brenda fix.

So I parted my obsessive ways with AMC, but always knew what was going on as; kind of like how you always check in with old friends to see how they’re doing, if they have anything exciting to report or if they’re still acting stupid so you just wave and keep moving on. Every so often I’d visit for a good month or three when I had the time, but it rarely gripped me like it did in the late 80s and 90s.

And boy did that show hook me. For almost 10 years I taped that show religiously and happily made Pine Valley my home. Erica and her many romances. The Palmer v Adam fights. Adam and Brooke. Natalie and Trevor. Ross and Ellen and Mark. Charlie and Julie. Angie and Jesse. Cliff and Nina. Palmer and Opal. Dimitri and Edmund and Maria and Erica. Kendall and Bianca.

The list goes on and on. AMC was a huge chunk of my childhood, a soap my mother gave me and that we bonded over. To this day she’ll ask me what’s going on with Erica, astutely knowing that I’m up to speed, and we’ll good-naturedly argue and gossip like old times.

It sucks losing this soap. It sucks losing all these soaps lately, but after the other shared soap from my childhood (ATWT) ended last year, all my mother had left of the old days was AMC. And now that’s gone, too.

But I’m not writing this to make myself more depressed but to celebrate the soap opera that was a large part of my youth and thank the many people who wrote, directed, acted, produced, and created such a compelling, fun, serial drama that made after school evenings with my mother so very special.

Thanks, All My Children. You were loved and you will be missed.

(PS. I know you’re scheduled for a run with Prospect Park- and I hope that truly does happen- but I gotta give props to the 40+ year war horse that you were on broadcast television. Whatever you evolve into with Prospect Park, I had to show my love for you as I knew you)

Here is the point where I should bow out gracefully, cue the fade to black but I must do one more thing.

Everyone’s been doing a countdown of top this and that about AMC as we get to its final airing and I feel compelled to do the same. However, these aren’t top 25 random moments but my five firsts of soap opera watching that may not be the most popular or memorable for others, but they were memorable for me.

So to start, I want to shine a spotlight on the first soap couple that was MY couple even if they weren’t billed as AMC’s next great super couple (due to Tad and Dixie hogging the limelight)…

AMC’s Nico Kelly and Cecily Davidson

Nico and Cecily.

The year was 1989. Robert Duncan McNeil’s Charlie Brent, Jr. (Cecily’s object of romantic obsession) left town to fly Federation Starships through the delta quadrant/start over and Nico was reeling from the end of his marriage to Julie Rand Chandler, who had also left town to marry Jim Carrey/for a fresh start.

Anyhoo, this left Cecily and Nico, who had been thrown together and across each other’s paths due to their participation in the Cecily/Charlie/Julie/Nico quartet, alone, devastated, and out of sorts. Cecily, the beautiful, comical, snarky, sometimes daffy and infuriating, but endearing debutante and Nico, the rough around the edges, wrong side of the tracks bad boy trying to reform and make good were ripe for the classic romance trope of old- opposites attracting, hating, uniting for mutual benefit and slowly, shockingly falling in love.

As soon as Cecily begged, nagged, pleaded, wheedled the reluctant Nico to marry her so she could get her trust fund money you knew it was only a matter of time before....

The tease was excruciating for these two to get together (as you can see in the promo below)…

But when they finally admitted their feelings for each other, you were happy and grinning from ear to ear that they both finally wised up and stopped fighting it and gave in to their love culminating in the squee worthy Hawaii ‘For reals!’ wedding.

Unfortunately, Nico and Cecily’s story kind of shifted into the ‘supporting sidekick couple’ for rising super couple Tad and Dixie. Practically as soon as Nico and Cecily got firm ground under them they decided to leave Pine Valley for fame and fortune in California. I was miffed that we didn’t get a chance at a Kelly baby (even more miffed that as per usual on soaps when you bring back one half of a united departing couple. Nico and Cecily broke up with Cecily returning to Pine Valley with her tail between her legs. I choose to ignore it. Although she did get her Charlie and a baby in the end so that’s something to be happy about for Cecily.)

How could you not love this couple? The Lucy and Desi of Pine Valley? (Which is ironic as Maurice Benard (Nico’s portrayer) did play Desi Arnez in a CBS Lucy and Desi Biopic. And yes, I watched it expressly for him because I loved him that much at the time!)

Watch more cuteness below. How adorable is Maurice playing a man who enjoys getting his balls busted by his wife?

Tomorrow I post my first run –home- from- school -storyline on AMC. Can you guess what it is…?


Nicole Walker is Associate Producer of Another World Today.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I announced Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments on the first day of February 2011.

Since then, I've had the best (and busiest) time reading over all your suggestions for which soap opera moments from the past 75 years exemplify daytime at the very, very top of its game.

Not only that, but I then turned around and went to the actors, writers and producers involved with those moments to get behind-the-scenes stories and more.

I added links to the scenes (where available) and to the actors, writers and producers' personal websites so you can contact them directly.

I even put in a message board where you can tell me your thoughts about the scenes we picked, agree, disagree, and suggest more of your own favorites.

The end result, between the multimedia features and the crowd-sourcing of content, is Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments, a first of its kind soap enhanced e-book, now available on Amazon at:

I couldn't have done it without you! This book is by soap fans for soap fans. It talks not about what's wrong with the genre, but about what's right with it.

I hope you'll click the above links, take a look and help spread the word. Let's show the doubters the passion (and the purchasing power) of soap fans!

“I won’t do it,” Matt informed Donna, slamming the file on Jeanne that she’d given him atop Donna’s desk at KBAY. “I won’t blackmail Jeanne back, not with this.”

He braced himself for the explosion sure to come.

It didn’t come.

Instead, Donna merely stood up, wrapped her arms around Matt’s neck and told him, “I love you.”

He pulled back in order to look her in the eye. “Where did that come from?”

“From me. Thank you for reminding me of what an incredible, generous, loving, good man you are. Thank you for reminding me why you’re worth fighting for.”

“But, not like this,” he clarified. “This is… out of bounds. I’ve known women who were raped, okay? Marley, Lorna, Toni Burrell. I remember what they went through in the media before it even got to the courtroom in Lorna and Toni’s cases. I will not put Jeanne or her mother through that. I won’t even threaten to. I’m sorry.”

“I understand,” Donna said. “I do. It was wrong of me to ask you to do it.”

“Why are you being so reasonable?” Matt asked, pleasure wrestling with curiosity and just a touch of suspicion.


Donna surprises Matt with her latest proposition, Cory receives an unwelcome lesson in family values from Carl, Frankie and Cass compare notes with Chase and Doug, Allie's lies trigger Amanda's suspicions, and Alice and Jamie race to save Spencer.

All at:

Friday, September 16, 2011


Part #1

Part #2

Part #3

Part #4

Part #5

In Part #6 of the 1998 ceremony, we've got the premiere of Port Charles and General Hospital's baby Michael and his many, many Daddies (and this is even before Sonny arrived on the scene!), and a tribute to the woman who changed the face of daytime drama: Gloria Monty.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


"There’s a Zeno Tantalus,” Cass disclosed. “Who is, believe it or not, a farmer in Oakdale.”

“A farmer,” Felicia repeated slowly. “In Oakdale.”

“Frankie grew up on a farm,” Cass stated the obvious. “And Oakdale is where she was living when…”


“Wait. It gets better. This guy isn’t just your average farmer. Apparently not only is his place organic and pesticide-free and harvested strictly according to the natural cycles of the moon, but it’s a co-op, mind you, where migrant workers – documented and illegal – get a share of the crops they pick. They also offer a jobs program, a shelter for women escaping domestic abuse, a communal kitchen, an abandoned animal sanctuary….”

“Wow,” was all Felicia had to say.

“Sounds like it’s Heaven on Earth. It’s certainly everything Frankie believes in.”

“Well,” Felicia tried putting a bright spin on things. “It’s not as if you’re against any of those things….”

“And yet I’m hardly out there every day, rain or shine, putting my money – and my manure – where my supposed beliefs are. Limousine liberal, that’s me. All lip-service, no follow through. Well, no limousine either these days. But, that’s neither here nor there. Why wouldn’t Frankie prefer – “

“Okay, first of all,” Felicia corrected. “There is one key reason why this Zeno Tantalus place could never have been Heaven on Earth for Frankie.”

“The overabundance of aforementioned manure?”

“The lack of you.”


Cass and Felicia wonder what to do about Frankie's mystery man, Carl fills in Rachel regarding Lucas' accusations, Sarah forces Grant to see matters from a different point of view, Jamie receives a frantic call for help, and the Hutchins twins make a grisly discovery.

All at:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


As a thirty-plus years soap fan, I tend not to write about reality shows - for obvious reasons. (I did make an exception for Russian Dolls, but I explained myself there.)

Now it's time for another explanation.

In addition to soaps, I've also worked in figure skating coverage for ABC, TNT, ESPN and NBC. I wrote a series of five figure skating mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime which I am currently turning into enhanced e-books primarily as an example of how soap operas can work in this brand new multimedia, text and video format. My five skating mysteries were written serialized drama style, in that each book can stand on its own, but some characters are featured in multiple books, with their stories evolving from one to the next. (Check out a sample for only $.99 cents at:

I've always thought the skating world would make a wonderful soap opera (I even developed a television pilot for a production company once on that very theme).

And now it looks as if Lifetime agrees with me. Only instead of a scripted series, they're going reality. I received the following yesterday:

Collins Avenue is seeking kids (ages 6-13) and their moms, along with their coach(es), who are serious about competing and winning ice skating competitions. Moms or Dads must be actively involved in helping their kids train and prepare for each competition. It must be a top priority for these families but it doesn’t have to be their only interest. Collins Avenue is seeking families and coaches with strong personalities, talent, passion and the desire to win! This is a very short casting process so please submit NOW! If you or anyone you know are interested in this TV project, please email or

(Ed note: I'm sure the success of Lifetime's similarly themed Dance Moms has nothing to do with this...)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


For the past several months, I've written numerous articles for, Buried Under Books, and Kindle Fever touting my hope that enhanced e-books might be a way to both continue and revive the soap opera genre.

Now comes another option: Doing it on-line in animated (among others) form as Jordan von Haslow Dramatic Serials announces the premiere of OUR WORLD, a new dramatic serial airing daily across multiple media platforms beginning Monday, October 3, 2011.

Presented through a unique integration of audio, illustration and animation, this multi-generational soap opera pairs intrigue and romance against the backdrop of power and privilege as it chronicles the scandalous tale of wealthy teenagers and their families in Oakhurst, an exclusive New England enclave.

Created by and starring a team of daytime television veterans, the OUR WORLD writing staff includes Emmy®-nominated former All My Children scribe Susan-Sojourna Collier, and the cast boasts Danielle Burns, best known to daytime audiences for her nine-year stint as the original Nancy McGowan on the hit NBC soap Another World.

In addition to the official show website,, OUR WORLD will be syndicated to more than 15 different Internet, social media and television outlets, including: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, AOL Video, TIVO, Sony BIVL and iTunes.

OUR WORLD follows two prep school students (Drew and Owen) as they navigate the excitement and pitfalls of adolescence (i.e. sex, drugs and getting into the college of one’s choice). When their alpha male status is threatened through a series of unfortunate and shocking events, adulthood is suddenly thrust upon them. The youths discover how quickly the age of innocence ends.

Adding coal to the fire, Owen’s mother (a jet-setting, young widow) learns—at the reading of her late husband’s will—that her wealth has all but evaporated. A moral dilemma ensues. How far she will go to maintain appearances and her rung on the social ladder?

Her partner in crime is a beautiful socialite who seems to have it all: a successful, loving husband; the perfect teenage son (Drew); and a secure place at the top of the social pyramid. With the arrival of her obsessive, status seeking mother, her world comes crashing down in a scandal of infidelity, abuse and—potentially—murder.

The first thirteen weeks of programming begins on Monday, October 3, 2011, and is comprised of 65 episodes.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I am in the process of updating my personal website, in anticipation of the 9/19/11 release of Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments Enhanced E-Book.

Much to my surprise, the designer, who was recommended to me by the book's publicist, was an As The World Turns fan!

Meanwhile, I wrote a guest blog about my enhanced e-book skating mysteries, including Skate Crime, for Murder Must Advertise, and it turns out the site's owner was an ATWT fan, too!

What's doubly interesting is that in both cases the fans are men; professional men - not quite the stereotype of your average soap viewer.

Which just goes to show - listen up, networks - soap fans are a diverse group... and there are a hell of a lot more of us than you think!

“Carl can’t be trusted,” Jamie spat. “Forget about Carl. If he was willing to put Kirkland at risk – “

“Wait a minute,” Lorna cut Jamie off. “What are you talking about? Carl didn’t…”

“There’s a lot more that’s been going on than either of us realized,” Jamie cautiously prefaced before going on to tell Lorna everything Alice had filled him in on earlier.

“That does sound like Carl,” Lorna offered cautiously. “The old Carl, anyway. And he had to know that framing Spencer meant putting his entire family in danger.”

“My mother knew it, too,” Jamie groaned. “And she went along with it. All of it. She even went to Alice and… “ He trailed off. “She’s my mother. I want so much to believe she isn’t capable of that level of callousness, of cruelty. But, you know what you said before? About the old Carl? There’s an old Rachel, too….”

“Maybe Alice misunderstood,” Lorna clung to hope, knowing that losing faith in his mother would absolutely destroy Jamie. “Her and Rachel’s history is complicated, to say the least.”

“You’re telling me?”

“Things could have easily gotten out of hand, both of them saying things they didn’t really intend to. I know how much Alice means to you. But, you can’t just take her word, not over something as critical as this. You have to get your mother’s side of the story.”

Jamie shook his head. “I do that, and I’m liable to learn things I just don’t want to know. Things I won’t be able to ignore… "


There is plenty of culpability to go around following Kirkland's kidnapping, as Lucas points the finger at Carl, Jamie grimly notes Lorna's father's role - as well as Rachel's, and a devastated Kirk simply blames himself. Plus, Matt attempts to blackmail Jeanne, only to receive a shocking response in return, and Donna goes after Morgan for what he did to Marley.

All at:

Friday, September 09, 2011


One of our most loyal readers, Derek from Canada, gave me a heads up regarding a piece on We Love Soaps and daytime's biggest blunders:

13. Networks not merchandising the soaps

All the networks and soaps have missed a great opportunity over the years by not promoting their shows with books, tie-ins, and other merchandise... (W)ho knows how much more popular the shows would have stayed. Or how much more money they could have made to help contribute to production costs. There have been some examples of getting it right. The "Reva: The Scarlett Years" and "Roger Thorpe: The Scandal Years" VHS tapes released by GUIDING LIGHT were well done and are still fun to watch to this day. P&G wrote some books in the voice of AS THE WORLD TURNS and GL characters. ABC has released some wonderful wedding DVDs from their soaps. But think how much more of this could be done?

Read the entire piece at:

I can't speak for ABC (or, obviously, for P&G, either), but as the author of the ATWT and GL books, I can contribute that while "Oakdale Confidential," "The Man From Oakdale" and "Jonathan's Story" made quite a bit of money for the publisher, the sum that P&G received was a tiny drop in the bucket, incapable of making a significant dent in production budgets. (Several hundred thousand dollars is considered a hit in the publishing world. It's virtually nothing to a television show.)

As for the GL videos, I was told "Roger" was profitably enough to justify the production of the "Reva" one, which did quite poorly in comparison, which is why no more were produced.

As a member of the International Tie-In Writers Association (and an avid reader of the genre), I would love for there to be more tie-in products released for all the remaining soaps on the air (and the ones now off, too). However, shows see the tie-ins as promotional vehicles, not money-makers (even the TeleNext-sanctioned was to promote the reruns on Hulu).

And there's (currently) no perceived value to promoting an off the air brand.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


OLTL's Blair's loss of her unborn son with Patrick, and AMC's Maria's loss of her daughter to Erica were both up for top story of the year, and Ruth Warrick (Phoebe; AMC) is honored by Julia Barr (Brooke;AMC), Peter Bregman (Jack; Y&R, ex-Cliff; AMC), Jennifer Bassey (Marion; AMC), Jill Larson (Opal; AMC), Michael E. Knight (Tad; AMC), Kelly Ripa (ex;Hayley; AMC) and more!


“That’s neither here or there,” Donna dismissed blithely. “I am proposing that we merely aid Jeanne in keeping her private life private.”

“For a price,” Matt said grimly.

“Well, of course, darling. I’ve never been the benevolent sort, I think you’d know that about me by now. Besides, to coin an expression your darling Jasmine might employ: She started it.”

Matt continued staring at the documents in his hands. Dully, he said, “You know that Clarice was my mother’s stepsister? Charley Hobson, he married my grandmother Ada. ”

“Yes, I believe I may have been aware of that.”

“You want me to expose something so personal, so horrible – “

“You’re not listening, Matthew,” Donna sighed. “I don’t want you to expose her. That’s the entire point.”

“But, you want me to threaten – “

“Well, yes, threats are rather imperative to a successful blackmail venture.”

“You’re enjoying this,” Matt accused. “You’re smiling.”

“Of course, I’m smiling. I’m happy that we finally have something with which to check that little bitch once and for all. Have you forgotten everything she’s done to us? She blackmailed me over Marley. My daughter is in a mental hospital – “

“That’s not Jeanne’s fault!”

“It didn’t help,” Donna said.


Donna urges Matt to use Frankie and Cass' discovery against Jeanne, Jamie makes a confession to Alice, who offers him shocking news in return, Allie receives a disturbing welcome back to school, Felicia and Lucas get drawn into Carl's web, and Grant wrestles with yet another ghost.

All at:

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Sunset Beach debuted with a hot love quadrangle, Eileen Davidson played a quadruple role on DOOL (a story we highlight with an exclusive interview in our upcoming book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments), plus Joan Rivers on AW, Charlton Heston and Phyllis Diller on B&B, LeeAnn Rimes on DOOL, BB King, Roseanne and Elizabeth Taylor on GH, the B-52s on GL, Sammy Davis Jr. on OLTL, Oprah Winfrey, Carol Burnett and Rosie o'Donnell on AMC...

Check it all out below!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Annie's phantom fetus was the nominee for story of the year on Guiding Light, plus a tribute to GL casting director Betty Rea, featuring tributes from Kim Zimmer, Jerry ver Dorn, Robert Newman, Grant Aleksander and Michael O'Leary, and classic soap clips of Meg Ryan, Dana Delaney, Marissa Tomei and Kevin Bacon.

Monday, September 05, 2011


“Where’s your sniper?” Jamie wondered of the older man.

That rattled Spencer’s Zen a little. “How did you know?”

“Lorna figured that would be your strategy. Plant a sniper somewhere in the vicinity so if anything goes wrong – "

“My son can end up in the line of fire?” Grant nearly shrieked.

“Keep your voice down,” Spencer hissed. “My man has strict orders to hold his fire. Unless he sees anyone trying to double-cross us. I’m not looking for trouble.”

“If Lorna could figure out what you’re up to, odds are so can they,” Grant jerked his thumb in the direction of the eerily still woods.

“Good. More reason to stick to their end of the bargain.”

“Their end of the bargain didn’t include you initiating a gun-battle. This isn’t the OK Corral!"


Jamie, Grant and Spencer attempt to rescue Kirkland - then face an even tougher challenge down the line, Cass and Frankie use other people's relationships to muddle at a truth towards their own, and Chase finally offers Lila an answer... and a very surprising resolution.

All at:

Apologies if this week's episode and communications are spotty. We've still got an intermittent Internet connection here on the East Coast! Hope all others are recovering from Hurricane Irene! Happy Labor Day from AWT!

Friday, September 02, 2011


How my work in soaps inspired me to pioneer a brand new medium...

I come to enhanced e-books via two separate but equal paths. At the same time as I was writing romance novels for AVON and DELL and mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, I was also working in television, covering figure skating for ABC, NBC, TNT and ESPN, and soap operas for E!, ABC, and Procter & Gamble Productions. I even combined my two favorite media and wrote three best-selling tie-ins,
Oakdale Confidential and The Man From Oakdale for As The World Turns, and Jonathan’s Story (with Julia London) for Guiding Light.

It was while at P&G and working on the on-line revival of their soap opera,
Another World, that I came up with a whole new way to tell a story. Another World Today combined text that you read with video clips that you watched. It was both a book and TV at the same time!

Deeply excited by the possibilities of this hybrid medium, I next took an excerpt from one of my own books, Skate Crime, the fifth in my Figure Skating mystery series, and, in partnership with The Ice Theatre of New York, added in professional skating videos to enhance the story. The result was Skate Crime: Multimedia.

My next step is to enhance all of my skating mysteries, including Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop and the complete edition of Skate Crime. I also intend to enhance my romance novels, When a Man Loves a Woman and Annie’s Wild Ride, and an original title, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments.

However, the $100,000 dollar question is: Do I think that e-books, especially enhanced e-books, are just a fad, or here to stay?

Entire interview at:

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Best year's storyline from Another World? As The World Turns?

Plus a tribute to Eileen Fulton (Lisa; ATWT) with an introduction by Don Hastings (Bob), vintage clips, and quotes from Colleen Zenk (Barbara), Lesli Kay (Molly), Ellen Dolan (Margo), Kelley Hensely (Emily), Christian LeBlanc (ex-Kirk) and a pregnant Maura West (Carly)!

Check out Part #2 from the 1998 Soap Opera Hall of Fame induction ceremony below:

(And scroll down for Part #1)

"You handed Carl this war, you arrogant bastard!" Grant could hear Vicky railing at him from beyond the grave. "Our son’s blood is on your hands."

“I’ll die before I let that happen. I’ll die before I let them hurt our son.”

"Is that pledge supposed to impress me?"

“My actions will speak for themselves. I’ll show you what kind of a father I can be.”

"If you’re true to form, Kirkland is as good as dead. Like his uncle Ryan."

“I won’t make the same mistakes again.”

"Mistakes are all you do, Grant. Mistakes are all you’ll ever do. Just stop talking, go away, go to Hell, let me rest in peace."

“I need your help,” Grant refused to be cowed by her imaginary rants. “I need…”

"What? A backbone? Balls? A conscience? Absolution? Piss off."

“I need you to watch over Kirkland. Keep him safe. Give him courage until I…until Jamie and I get there.”


Grant turns to Vicky for help with Kirkland, while Jamie struggles to convince Lorna that history won't be repeating itself. Spencer searches for a way to say good-bye to Alice and Carl uses his relationship with Rachel to set an example for his children.

All at: