Monday, December 21, 2015


Tis the season to think about ice-skating... and murder!

Did you miss Ice Theatre of NY's free skating show and tree lighting at Riverbank State Park last weekend?

Don't worry, you can still see America's premiere ice dance company for free this Christmas by downloading a copy of the enhanced ebook, Murder on Ice.

Who killed the judge that awarded the gold medal to Russia's dour ice queen over America's perky princess? Was it one of the skaters? One of the coaches? A parent? A fan?

Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition features all the text of the original, Berkley Prime Crime paperback release, alongside professional skating videos by the Ice Theatre of NY to compliment the story. (Why only read about the characters skating, when you can see it?)

And it is absolutely free to download this Christmas, December 25 and 26, 2015. Make sure you get your copy and tell a friend!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Last year, I wrote about Chasing Tomorrow, the sequel to Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes, jumping 24 years forward in time without the characters aging a day.

Now there's a new book out, Reckless: A Tracy Whitney Novel by Tilly Bagshawe, the same woman who's been writing all the Sidney Sheldon titles since the author's death.

In 1980, the still alive Sheldon had a blockbuster hit with Rage of Angels. He later said, though, that one of the biggest regrets of his writing career was (35 year old spoiler ahead) killing off the heroine's son; readers were so upset. When the book became a mini-series, the little boy got to live. Though, in the sequel that wasn't based on a Sheldon book, he did spend some time in a coma from a head injury (the cause of his death in the book). Got that?

Bagshawe, however, decides to kill off Tracy's son (it's not really a spoiler, you figure it out reading the promotional flap copy) within the first few chapters, apparently not having heeded Sheldon's lesson. (Granted, it's not a great loss, as he's a thoroughly obnoxious teenager, no matter how many times Tracy thinks that he's as handsome and charming as his father, and she can't stay mad at him. I don't have that problem. The kid needs some discipline, not a mother who thinks everything he does is wonderful.)

And one other thing: Listen, I've worked in soap-opera for a long time. I get it. Happy Ever Afters are hard if you want to keep the story going. If Tomorrow Comes ended with Tracy and fellow criminal Jeff seemingly on their way to one, but Chasing Tomorrow broke them up for some pretty flimsy reasons. (Two of the world's best con-artists don't recognize a con when it's being played on them?) Reckless continues the will they or won't they, trumping up yet another false obstacle to reunion, even as the characters proclaim they're the loves of each others lives and always will be. It's pretty tedious.

"Tomorrow is the great adventure," Jeff tells Tracy. "And it's coming whether we want it or not."

The next Tracy Whitney adventure may be coming. But I don't think I'm going to read it.


Last Christmas-time, I asked soap fans for their favorite Christmas memories, and received responses ranging from All My Children’s Father Clarence visits to Days of Our Lives’ ritual hanging of the named ornaments to Guiding Light’s Phillip and Beth meeting St. Nick to the final episode of Texas and Ashley’s miraculous return home. (Read the entire list, as well as the fans’ reasons for their selections, here).

This year, once again, just as I did for my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments, I returned to the internet and social media to crowd-source fan opinions on what gift (or lump of coal) they’d give various soap-opera characters, past and future.

See the results at Entertainment Weekly:

Friday, December 11, 2015


Joy director David O. Russell has been getting justifiable praise for his comment about soap-opera actors.

Vulture reports:

But rather than include clips from a pre-existing daytime soap, Russell shot original scenes with soap veterans Susan Lucci (Erica Kane on All My Children), Maurice Bernard (Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital), Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos on General Hospital), and Donna Mills (Abby Ewing on Knots Landing). After working with these actors, Russell praised them in this week's THR directors roundtable, calling them "professional athletes."

I'd go, "Donna Mills! Susan Lucci! Let's have a catfight." They don't go, "Oh wait, what's my motivation?" They just go, bang! I was blown away by the power of these women actors.

Compare the above to an excerpt from actor Cary Elwes' book, As You Wish: Inconcievable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride.

Elwes reports that director Rob Reiner described his future co-star, Robin Wright as "She's on this TV show, Santa Barbara - it's a daytime soap. But don't let that fool you, she's amazing."

For the record, Elwes goes on to say lovely things about Wright's talent and her work ethic, includuing working long hours and instantly taking direction, ascribing a big part of it to the rigor of doing a daily soap

Thursday, December 10, 2015


For my next Entertainment Weekly soap-opera post, I want to hear from you!

Last year, you shared your favorite soap-opera Christmas memories with me. (Read what those were, here.)

This year, I want to hear what gifts you'd give your favorite soap-opera characters, past and present.

Does DOOL's Abigail need fire-proof baby clothes?

Should GH's Jason find a lie-detector test under the tree?

Shock-absorbers for B&B's Ivy?

A lump of coal for Y&R's Victor? Billy? Phyllis?

Tell me in the Comments, below!

Thursday, December 03, 2015


Missed the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Skating Show starring Brian Boitano, Johnny Weir, Nancy Kerrigan and Davis & White that I wrote about here? Fear not! We've got pictures (plus the inside scoop on NYC's next free tree lighting and skating show courtesy of Ice Theatre of NY)!

And if you're from out of town and want to get the Bryant Park skating experience (this time without Boitano, Weir, Kerrigan or Davis & White... though you never know who else might show up), check out the 70 Park Avenue Hotel's Skate at WinterVillage Package, which includes:

        Two (2) nights accommodations
        Four (4) tickets to skate at Winter Village
        Roundtrip car service from 70 Park Avenue to Bryant Park’s Winter Village
        $25 gift card for Silverleaf Tavern to warm up with Peet’s Coffee & Tea 

Learn more by emailing: 

And enjoy our photos below! 

All images by: Colin Miller Photography

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Last month, in my post for about the new musical sitcom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I wrote:

Our first clue that Rebecca might be Jewish comes when we meet her teen self at drama camp in 2005. She confesses to her boyfriend, Josh, that her mother is “just pissed because I didn’t do the mock trial summer intensive.” Jewish mothers be crazy, am I right?

Read the entire post at:

Then, this past Monday, we finally had a nice long visit with Rebecca's mother (previously, she'd only been a voice on the phone or a badgering figure in flashbacks). At the end of the episode, she gives a long speech about why she's so tough on her daughter (spoiler: Cossacks are involved). For those who thought it was a bit extreme, especially for a family who's been in America for generations, here is another post I wrote for Kveller, back in 2013:

"The moral of Passover is when you’re told to get up and go, you get up and GO. You don’t start digging through your junk. You take what’s most important, and you leave everything else behind. That’s impossible to do if you live in this kind of mess. How are you ever going to find what you need? If the Israelites didn’t even have time to wait for their bread to rise, trust me, they did not have time to go searching for socks that matched or ponder which book series to pack, Harry Potter or Narnia!"

And that’s when it hit me that perhaps my tirade wasn’t only about a messy bedroom–though, trust, me, that was indeed a substantial part of it. That, just perhaps, it was also about my on-going, ridiculous, irrational, yet nonetheless persistent fear that, someday soon, it may be time to flee. And my kids won’t be prepared.

I know it’s totally absurd, but, every time we have to run for the subway, and I tell my sons and daughter, “Hurry,” and even the 5-year-old grabs my hand and hustles up the stairs double-time, not asking questions about why, not dawdling, not fussing, while the older two momentarily stop their sniping and one-upsmanship and do exactly as I say, I honestly feel a sense of relief that goes beyond being grateful we didn’t miss our train. I genuinely think, “Good. If this were a real emergency, they’d have made it through.”

And if the above doesn’t go off like clockwork, I sincerely panic and wonder, “What would have happened if this were a real emergency?”

Apparently…I have issues. Year-round ones. Which Passover happens to bring out in particular.
I realize that we live in America. Where, I fervently believe, even the most right-wing fundamentalist extremists and/or the most left-wing Communist sympathizers will never accumulate enough political or social power to rouse my family from our beds in the middle of the night and issue the historically familiar edict, “Gather up your things and get thee out.”

But, just in case it ever does happen, I’m ready to flee at a moment’s notice at the first sound of galloping Cossacks approaching.

Read more at:


It is very important for NYC parents to remember that they are not guaranteed a seat at their zoned school. The Kindergarten Connect application, which opens on Monday, December 7, 2015 and runs through January 15, 2016, is not first-come/first-served. For instance, The New York Times recently announced that Manhattan's District 3 (Upper West Side) will not be rezoning their very popular (and very overcrowded) elementary schools for the upcoming 2016 school year.

What this means is that schools like PS 199 and PS 87 will continue to turn away local families, and to choose the kids who do get to attend via lottery. These are not the only schools with more applications than there are seats. Several Brooklyn schools are in the same boat. It is entirely possible that you will be wait-listed at your local school and sent somewhere else.

What options do you have? Several.

Check out our podcasts below for the Secrets to Getting Into NYC Schools.

And make sure you RSVP for my free Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshops (the last ones before applications are due):

* Tuesday, December 8 at 6 pm at the littleBits store in SoHo. Space is limited, register here.
* Wednesday, December 9 at 6:30 pm at Torly Kids in Tribeca. RSVP via EventBrite.
* Tuesday, December 15 at 6 pm at Crave It Bakery. RSVP to

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