Friday, August 31, 2012


On September 19, 2012, it will be a year since my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments, came out on Amazon and B&N.

Among the actors interviewed are:

Julia Barr (Brooke; AMC)

Linda Dano (Felicia; AW)

Eileen Davidson (Kristen/Susan, et. al. DOOL)

Victoria Rowell (Dru; Y&R)

Hillary B. Smith (Nora; OLTL)

Eden Riegel (Bianca; AMC)

Lane Davies (Mason; SB)

Jon Lindstrom (Kevin; PC)

As well as writers like:

Susan Dansby (ATWT)

Jill Lorie Hurst (GL)

Thom Racina (GH)

Michael Malone (OLTL)

The book retails for $9.99 and has sold well enough to regularly climb to the top of Amazon's Television Bestseller list.

This makes me very happy.  But, I want to make this tribute to the soap genre available to as many people as possible.  Amazon has a lending program that allows their Prime members to borrow books for free.  In order to make Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatst Moments free to loan, I would need to take it off B&N, and make it exclusive to Amazon.

I'm not sure if I should do that, until I know whether or not there is demand for it to become a Prime book.

Please let me know!  I'd like to make my decision by September 19.

Thanks and have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


From the time I graduated college, I have worked exclusively in two television fields: Soaps and skating.  (I confessed my deep, dark skating past, here.)

Periodically, my two worlds would collide:

1998 Olympic Champion Tara Lipinksi appeared on Y&R (and the Daytime Emmys, where the original intro written for her made no sense whatsoever - skating-wise - and I proceeded to throw a temper tantrum until it was rewritten).

AMC's Rebecca Buding (Greenlee) learned to spin and jump for Skating With the Stars.

I once interviewed GH's Rebecca Herbst (Liz) about her competitive skating days.

And then, of course, there's DOOL's John and Marlena explaining the 2002 Olympic Figure Skating scandal.  (The video is a must see!)

Now, comes another intersect.  1979 World Pair Champion, Tai Babilonia, has joined the cast of the independent comedy soap, Bloomers.

To raise funds for their second season, the show is offering all sorts of perks to donors, including a private skating lesson for two with Tai!  Get all the details at We Love Soaps.

And, if you want to know just how soapy the skating world can be, check out my series of Figure Skating Mysteries.  Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime, now they're enhanced e-books, with skating videos included as part of the story!  (Any resemblance to real-life skaters living or dead is strictly a coincidence.  Says the legal department.)


Amanda ventured, "Remember how, as soon as the particulars about Carl’s money being pulled got out, there was a major dumping of Cory stock all over the world?”

“A rather difficult thing to forget."

“Well, it’s been bought. Every last share. By a single investor.”

“That is suspicious,” Rachel agreed, surprised, but not really.

“Iris?” Amanda guessed.

“Iris,” Rachel sighed.


Rachel and Amanda call Iris on her underhanded actions, Frankie and Cass discover incriminating evidence, Steven fills in Kevin on what he's found, Charlie compares her situation to Felicia's, Grant responds to Rachel's offer, and Marley makes a discovery about Sarah.  But, how much does she really want to know?

You decide at:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Now that news has broken about Steven Burton (Jason; General Hospital) checking out of one world, Port Charles, I thought it would be fun to look back on a time when he was Out of This World, and co-starring in this syndicated weekend sitcom (scroll to about 4 minutes in):

Not to mention, guest-starring on Who's the Boss?:

And flying high with Circus of the Stars:

It's Steven like you've never seen him before.  Though, now that he's leaving GH, you may see him this way, again....


Monday, August 27, 2012


In a bit of serendipitous luck (granted, is there any other kind?), the awesome romance blog, Dear Author, features several quotes from me on the appeal of serialized stories, on the very same day that my newest book, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga (Volume Two) is out on Amazon.

As I explain to Dear Author, my latest project, a continuing, romantic story where what happens next is up to you, was directly inspired by my soap work:

At the same time as I was writing Regency and Contemporary romances for AVON and Dell, I was also working for soap operas, first at ABC Daytime, and then later for Procter & Gamble Productions.  In addition to writing tie-in novels for their shows, “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” I also developed a property for them called “Another World Today,” which was a twice weekly romantic serial, at the end of which, readers actually got to vote on where the story goes next, and I wrote based on their feedback.  I loved the interactive component, of basically writing a story along with my readers.... However, what I’ve learned from my previous soap work, especially, is that there is no such thing as one topic on which every single reader agrees on.  Even when you think there is no way somebody could want the story to go in this direction, someone inevitably does.  I’ve had votes so close, they’ve literally been mathematically 50-50, with a singe vote making the difference.  What’s also interesting is that, since I leave the votes open indefinitely, sometimes they can flip months after the original question was posed and the scenes already written.  The whole interactive aspect is what I find so exciting about writing a serial.

Read the entire piece at:

And, if you are a fan of my work on Another World Today, Mindy's Twitter, Oakdale Confidential, The Man From Oakdale or Jonathan's Story, please check out the Counterpoint series.  My readers have been so giving and loyal, I can't thank you enough.  If everyone buys a copy of Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga (Volume Two) today, we can drive it to the top of the best-selling charts on Amazon, and prove the appeal of serialized storytelling, once and for all!


Alice held up a hand to put Rachel off momentarily. “First of all, Rachel, before you get to whatever it is you intend to say, please allow me to convey my deepest condolences. I would never claim to know how you feel, grief is simply too individualized for that kind of easy platitude. But, do believe that you have my most sincere sympathy.”

“Thank you,” Rachel said, then hesitated. “I presume Jamie filled you in on how he thinks this is all a deception on Carl’s part? And that not only is he alive somewhere with my children, but that he also has Lorna in his clutches?”

Alice answered cautiously, “Jamie did tell me that, yes.”

“And you think he’s right?”

“I think that it’s none of my business.”

“Carl wouldn’t do this to me. He would never, ever put me through this kind of pain. Carl knows what it’s like to lose a child. He wouldn’t inflict the same on me.”

“I’m sorry that you are forced to go through it, Rachel. I’m sorry for you, sorry for Jamie, sorry for everyone involved.”

Rachel clearly heard the dodge in Alice’s reply. But, she decided to let it pass in favor of the business at hand....


Rachel turns to Alice for a favor, Donna asks Matt to make a sacrifice, Jamie gets support from an unexpected party, Frankie and Cass do what they do best (well, second best), Kirkland confuses Charlie, and Steven gets a clue regarding Horace's true intentions.

It's a day of give and take in Bay City at:

Friday, August 24, 2012


On the last episode of Soap Opera 451, I had just spent seven hours in line in the heat in Central Park to get tickets to The Public Theater's production of "Into the Woods," by Stephen Sondheim.

Having seen the show last night, I can report two things:

My nine year old son and five year old daughter managed to stay awake for the entire thing.  (It started at 8, ended at 11:15.)

There were soap stars in the cast!

The most surprising, to me, at least, was Tina Johnson who, back in the early 1980s, played the virginal young ingenue, Lurlene, on Texas.  Check her out in the clip below:

Last night, I watched her in action as... Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. (Okay, who else feels old?  And who recognized a very young Jay Hammer, best known for playing Fletch on Guiding Light, in that clip, too?)

Tina is the one in the pajamas:

Also featured were Chip Zien, who recurred as Erica Kane's agent on All My Children, as The Mysterious Man (after having originated the role of The Baker in the first Broadway production) and Donna Murphy, who once played a District Attorney on Another World, as the Witch.  (For those familiar with the show, she absolutely killed it on The Last Midnight.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Why was I late putting up a post this morning?  Because from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., I was standing in line in Central Park, waiting to get tickets to the Delacorte Theater's production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods."

Mission, as they say, accomplished.  And, to celebrate, please enjoy the post below, featuring a variety of soap stars singing Sondheim.

SOAP FOLLIES (Originally ran on July 25, 2011)

With news that Ron Raines' (Alan; GL) production of Follies is coming to Broadway (check out a behind the scenes special feature with him below) -

It reminded me of Mark Pinter (Mark, GL; Brian, ATWT; Grant, AW; Agent Raynor, GH) talking about playing the same role with his then-wife, Colleen Zenk Pinter (Barbara, ATWT), Colleen's daughter, Kelsey, and Mark's son, Dylan:

We did Follies at Little Theater on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois. We have six kids, and two of them are actors, Kelsey and Dylan. Kelsey graduated Musical Theater from Syracuse, and Dylan graduated Theater from Catholic University in Washington.... We had only four days of rehearsal, and then we were all off-book. Often times you say to yourself in the middle of all that, “Why? Why am I doing this?” Or just before the curtain goes up, you look at each other and say, “This is really not fair to us, putting ourselves out there like this.” It’s just horrifying. It’s so horrifying, it really gets your attention. I played Ben and Colleen played Phyllis, and then Kelsey played Young Phyllis and Dylan played Young Ben. We got to work with them, we got to watch them do scenes together. We would be backstage, crying our eyes out, watching them dance and sing together, and then we’d have to get our act together and go back out and do our stuff, too. It was (an experience) I’ll take to my grave. (Read the complete interview at:; The above photo features Mark, Colleen, Kelsey, Dylan along with DOOL stars Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes.)

Another Hayes, Kathryn (Kim, ATWT) also appeared in a production at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.

Other notable soap/Sondheim actors include Tony Geary (Luke, GH) in Into the Woods, John McCook (Eric, B&B) in Putting It Together, and Victoria Mallory (Leslie, Y&R), most notably in A Little Night Music.

Watch Geary and TV son Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) perform a song from Into the Woods, below:


Iris accused, "Carl Hutchins made no secret of the fact that destroying Mac Cory was his life’s ambition. And now he’s finally done it. With your eager help, no less.”

“I will never, ever let your father’s legacy be destroyed,” Rachel swore. “We’ll find some way out of this.”

“We can release more stock on the general market,” Amanda piped up. “Raise some capital that way.”

“Or we will do as Amanda suggested, and go to our friends for help.”

“Alice Frame,” Iris snorted distastefully.

“Actually, it’s Alice Harrison,” Rachel knew it was petty, but she couldn’t help getting that particular dig in. “She’s Spencer’s widow. Or hadn’t you heard?”

“I heard.” Iris attempted to dismiss.

“I must admit, we were all rather surprised by the development. Didn’t Spencer once say something about never getting married again?”

“I believe that only applied to me,” Iris got her own dig in to prevent from handing Rachel the satisfaction. “And I don’t know why you would find it so shocking. After all, Alice always did have a penchant for my cast-offs. There was Elliot, of course… Then again, Elliot was only a place-holder for Alice while she waited for Steve to wash his hands of you, once and for all.”


Rachel and Iris trade barbs over Iris' offer to bail out Cory Publishing, while Jamie deflects Morgan's criticism of his search for Lorna.  Donna gives Matt an answer - and a warning, Lucas blames himself for his family's predicament, Allie challenges Sarah's plans for Grant, and GQ and Kevin nearly come to blows.

Find out what happens next at:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


In honor of Soap Classics releasing a new DVD set dedicated to Bob & Kim's wedding (including the introduction of Julianne Moore as Frannie), we take a look back at Bob and Kim's tortured relationship, which was very much based on the equally tortured life of GL AND ATWT's creator, Irna Phillips.

PERSONAL BEST  (Originally published 1/5/09)

These days, it's rare when a child on a soap opera isn't born illegitimate (or at least with some initial paternity confusion). Nobody thinks twice about it.

But back in 1939, when Guiding Light's Rose Kransky (an Orthodox Jewish girl - something else you don't see a lot of on soaps these days) became pregnant by her boss, Charles Cunningham, it was still a major scandal. Charles promised Rose that he would divorce his wife, Celeste, and marry Rose. Celeste countered by naming Rose as "the other woman," and allowing the newspapers to tar and feather her (in a way that, unfortunately, you still see all too much of these days).

Charles, ever the gentleman, stood up in court and proudly announced that he'd had nothing to do with Rose Kransky. Ever.

What a guy.

Despite a friend's offer of marriage, Rose decided to raise her son, Johnny, on her own. Her actions were inspired by events from GL creator Irna Phillips' own life.

In 1919, an eighteen year old Irna had an affair with an Ohio doctor and became pregnant. When he denied paternity, Irna took him to court and won. She was determined to raise the child on her own, but her infant was stillborn.

Of Rose, Irna said, "(I had her) follow a path I would have taken had my own baby lived."

In 1973, shortly before her death, Irna was still telling the story dear to her heart, this time with As The World Turns Kim becoming pregnant by her brother-in-law Bob, and vowing to raise the child on her own.

Irna said, "Kim Reynolds is really me -- at a much younger age. She's fiercely independent, as I was, and she won't settle for second best. She's having a child out of wedlock that will be only hers; I adopted two children, Kathy and Tommy, without having a husband. We're both the same. And she's going to have that child to prove that a woman can do it alone."

Unlike Rose Kransky, however, Kim did end up marrying a man she didn't love -- John Dixon (above) -- to give her child a name (when ratings plummeted in response to saintly Dr. Bob's affair, P&G fired Irna from ATWT and dropped her projected long-story for Kim). Tragically like Irna's, Kim's newborn ended up being stillborn. (For a few years, anyway, by 1986, the dead baby boy was a living, gorgeous, college-aged redhead with a British accent and played by future movie star Julianne Moore.)

Irna's daughter, Katherine Phillips, would go on to create the short-lived ABC soap opera, A World Apart, in 1970. It was the story of a soap writer, Betty Kahlman (played first by Elizabeth Lawrence - later Myra on AMC; and then by Augusta Dabney -- Anne Holmes on ATWT and best known as Isabelle Alden on Loving) who'd adopted and raised two children, a son and a daughter, on her own.

The title was supposed to refer to how Betty's workaholic tendencies kept her "a world apart" from her children. But Irna, who reportedly left her job at ATWT to help her daughter by becoming story editor on Katherine's fledgling show, gave the title a different spin, telling Variety, "It's indeed a world apart that we live in. Race is separated from race, parents are alienated from children -- and we hope to sew it up a little in A World Apart."

The soap, which lasted a little over a year, also starred Matthew Cowles (Mr. Christine Baranski and the infamous Billy Clyde on AMC), David Birney (one-time Mr. Meredith Baxter and star of St. Elsewhere), Susan Sullivan (Another World's Lenore, Falcon Crest's Maggie and the delightfully bitchy Kitty on Dharma & Greg), Robert Genry (Ed on GL and AMC's Ross; pictured with Lynn Adams who played son Rick's mother, Leslie), Dorothy Lyman (AW's Gwen and AMC's first Opal) and Susan Sarandon, who played Betty's daughter Patrice (i.e. Katherine Phillips) and recalled to TV Guide in 1988, "I loved it. I was the girl everything happened to. I aged from like 17 to 20 in a year. My boyfriend was this terrorist who was dying of mercury poisoning. I also had a nervous breakdown and became a nurse's aid -- all in about a month. And then I got pregnant -- after unbuttoning on button of my nurses uniform."

The final episode of A World Apart in 1971 dealt with unmarried Patrice having given birth to her own child.

Grandma Irna would be proud.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Let's be honest: I lie for a living.

I'm a writer.  Primarily fiction.  That means I make things up, hope that people will believe my lies, and even pay me money for them.

So, what am I supposed to tell my daughter about the practice now that she's adopted an alter-ego, a superhero named Weather?

I will call her Weather, and clap vigorously at her ability to move clouds across the sky, and wince only a little as she leaps off the couch to demonstrate her flying skills. What I will not do is play along when my daughter does something she shouldn’t–like, say, make a mess in her room… and blame it on Weather.

I will not let either Weather or The Girl Who Plays Weather pull the wool over my eyes in some circumstances.

I will not let The Girl Who Plays Weather use her alter ego as an excuse to lie to me.

Of course, this brings up the logical question: Isn’t all fantasy play lying? When I go along with believing that she really is the one keeping it from raining on our picnic, aren’t I sending the message that some lying is okay? (And, its addendum question: Isn’t some lying okay? Come on, grown ups, admit it.)

Does this sort of fantasy lying fall into the same category that parents often indulge in? Jews may not have the “Is Santa Claus real?” dilemma but, tell the truth, does Elijah the Prophet actually come to your seder and drink his wine? I know my prophet’s portion ends up in the sink when the kids aren’t looking. And let’s not even start on the ecumenical tooth fairy.)

My daughter may not be a criminal mastermind, but she’s no dummy, either. I have no doubt that she is using Weather to manipulate me in that regard. Testing to see how much she can get away with, gambling that I won’t press her too hard while she’s in disguise. Not to mention deflecting. When I call her on misbehaving, she will, as often as not, insist that it was Weather, Weather, all Weather’s doing; bursting into tears that I don’t believe her and completely brushing the actual offense aside.

I think she’s doing it on purpose. So I refuse to buy into it.

Will she be telling her therapist in years to come about how her mother, not unlike… oh, let’s say Amanda from The Glass Menagerie, tore apart her fragile fantasy world, leading to a lifetime of trauma and Tennessee Williams stylized dialogue?

Maybe. But, at least her toys will be picked up off the floor in the meantime.

Read the entire piece (and check out her superhero costume) on:

And if you've got advice for me, go ahead and chime in!  I could use it!

Monday, August 20, 2012


With all the Paul Ryan talk these days, I thought I'd resurrect this post from 2006 to help folks really get to know the man behind the name... from birth on up.

TRANSITIONS: Paul (Stenbeck) Ryan... Then (1984) and Now (2006)

ATWT's Paul first made an appearance in Oakdale in 1980, as Barbara Ryan's illegitimate son. Three years earlier (off-screen), Barbara gave birth to the boy and allowed her friend, Claudia, to adopt him. Claudia loved little Paul. Unfortunately, Claudia's husband, Raymond, did not.

When Paul's biological father, James Stenbeck, learned he had a son, he pursued Barbara until she agreed to marry him and raise Paul as a Stenbeck. At which point James proceeded to cheat on her with, among others, Margo, lie to her, and generally psychologically torture Barbara in a host of amusing ways.

Tow-headed Danny Pintauro played Paul for most of the torture years, before heading off to primetime stardom in Who's The Boss.

The next Paul, in 1985, was a pre-teen Christopher Daniel Barnes, who left Oakdale for Starman, Day by Day, and The Brady Bunch Movies (in which he co-starred with Paul's future brother, Will, a.k.a. Jesse Lee Soffer; a fun fact you can only get here at the PGP blog!)

Andrew Kavovit took Paul through the teen years (1986-1991) and his very first dysfunctional fling with Emily (aw... isn't that cute... They had no idea of the angst still ahead...) Andrew went on to appear in The Magnificent Seven and The David Cassidy Story as David Cassidy (which isn't exactly a Brady Bunch reference but, for a lot of people, The Partridge Family is just as dear in the cannon of classic TV).

By the time Roger Howarth (above) stepped into the role in 2003, Paul was a fully grown man who'd already faked his own death (aww...just like Daddy) and gone through a series of tortured love affairs.

Currently, Paul is involved with Meg Snyder who, the first time their paths crossed on-screen (1986), was a randy teen (played by Jennifer Ashe) seducing true-blue Dusty Donovan (then-Brian Bloom) away from innocent Lily Walsh (Martha Byrne), while little Paul (Barnes) was still busy throwing temper tantrums about his mother's new relationship with Brian McColl.

Ah, daytime tykes... they grow up so fast, don't they?


“We could lose it all, Mom," Amanda admitted.

“No.” Rachel shook her head. “Impossible. Not Mac’s company. Never.”

“We’re hemorrhaging money. As soon as word got out about Carl’s funds being forcibly withdrawn, other investors started pulling out, as well. I’m tap-dancing as fast as I can, transferring cash out of one account to cover another, but it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, and all of Wall Street knows it. In any case, we don’t have enough liquid assets on hand to meet every expense.”

“What can we do?”

“Outside of temporarily shut down and try to regroup? Raise some capital?”

“Out of the question. Subscriptions have been dropping for years as it is. If we shut down even temporarily, there is a segment of customers we will never get back. They’ll lose the habit of reading Brava in print, migrate over to the Internet, and that will be that. We don’t have the time to get our electronic publications up and running in the meantime.”

“Okay, well, then, a private loan. Let’s beat the bushes among our contacts.” Amanda hesitated. “You know, Mom, Spencer left Alice a pretty sizable fortune to do with as she sees fit. Alice knows how much Cory Publishing meant to Daddy. Maybe she’d be willing to…”

“Why in the world,” a voice behind them prompted both women to turn around, as Iris entered the drawing room, already in the middle of a conversation. Their conversation. “Would either of you be considering approaching an outsider, and a woman with little regard for this family as it is, when the more obvious solution to your dilemma is right in front of your noses?”


Iris offers a helping hand to Rachel as Marley stuns Grant.  Kirkland blindsides Jamie with an unexpected request, Matt appeals to Jeanne and get more than he bargained for, while Cass and Frankie catch sight of their prey.

You can't miss a moment at:

Friday, August 17, 2012


Between producing and writing enhanced e-books, contributing to a variety of parenting websites and blogs, continuing, not to mention the husband and three kids, I don't have a lot of time left over for... much of anything.

Which is why my guilty pleasures are few and far between.  However, when I stumble onto one, I tend to get... oh, what's a pleasant way to put it... obsessed.

My latest time suck is  It is, quite simply, crack for pop culture junkies, as it meticulously tracks every trope ever employed in film, literature, anime, manga, fan works and, of course, television.  It is massive, and it is addictive.  Like Pringles, once you pop, you can't stop. 

Considering I have spent literaly hours every day of the past month clicking through it's multiple pages (yes, they have entries for daytime soaps.  And nighttime soaps.  And soaps spoofs.  And... everything), you can imagine my giddy delight at finding myself included among the listings!

There's Virgin Vision:

The first chapter of Alina Adams figure skating mystery Death Drop starts with the researcher heroine listening to commentator insisting "You can always tell a virgin by the way she skates." She thinks the non-virgins skate better. She turns out to be right in her assessment of the skater they were watching.  (For those interested, yes, this anecdote is based on a real incident from my days as a figure skating researcher.)

And also Engineered Public Confession:

At the end of the Alina Adams mystery Death Drop, the heroine engineers a situation for the murderer to make a confession to a certain acquaintance of his with a reality TV show in a storeroom full of cameras; he didn't check to make sure none of them were on. Thanks to a waiver he'd signed earlier, it was not only an on-camera confession, but a court admissible one. (This has not happened in real life... yet.)

To find out how those two tropes go together, check out Death Drop: Enhanced Multimedia Edition by Alina Adams on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Two articles for two different publications which I wrote nearly a month apart ended up running simultaneously yesterday, which made for a funny juxtaposition.

For, I argued that Olympic athletes like the young women of America's gold-medal winning gymnastics team didn't have to grow up to become maladjusted adults, as some seem to believe:

The myth that elite athletes can’t grow up to become well-rounded, self-actualized adults with good relationships and satisfying careers is quite simply that–a myth. Sure, some former stars fail to find themselves after the spotlight spins elsewhere, fading into drugs, desperate self-destructive behavior, and even suicide. But, so do everyday people who never stepped near a gym mat or swimming pool.

Alternatively, when you spend many hours a day locked inside a tiny TV announcer booth with former Olympic champions month after month, year after year, you get to know them pretty well. And while I can report that Peggy Fleming, Dick Button, and Brian Boitano have their personal quirks, I can also say that they are interesting people who live full lives, which include parenthood, non-sport hobbies (Brian has his own cooking show now!) and professional success in a variety of fields on and off the ice. (So do folks like Mary Lou Retton, who is exactly like you would expect her to be even 20+ years after her own Wheeties box appearance. She bounded up to introduce herself to me at the 1998 Olympics with a big smile and a perky, “Hi! I’m Mary Lou!” I was tempted to reply, “Hi, I’m Alina, and you must think I was in a coma all through 1984.” But, I didn’t. Because that would have been rude. And she was just so damn nice.)

Read the entire thing at:

Meanwhile, over at Red Tricycle, I listed my favorite kiddie gymnastics classes in NYC, along with pictures of my own kids hanging upside, climbing rope walls, and leaping over uneven bars.

Read it, here, but don't draw any conclusions.

As I also explained on Kveller:

So would I encourage any of my three children to give up a “normal” childhood for a “different” one? If that’s what they really wanted, sure. But, because I know exactly how difficult it is to be the parent or guardian of such a child (for the record, I saw nothing wrong with how Aly Raisman’s folks behaved. I’ve gotten nervous for athletes I only know on a casual basis. If I were their mom… oy!), I would have my aspiring stars wait until they were old enough to do the heavy lifting–like transportation, keeping a schedule and, most importantly, sitting around for multiple, dull hours while the kids practice–themselves. And while I can testify that a majority of elite athletes aren’t too overly scarred by their experiences, I can’t say the same about their parents.


“This,” Rachel waved her hand in the direction of the window, through which her last few guests could be seen getting ready to leave. “This is all Chase Hamilton’s fault. He abused the power of his office to selectively prosecute my husband for a series of ancient crimes. He gave Carl no choice but to run, knowing he could never get a fair trial while Emperor Hamilton was on his throne. He killed my husband. He killed my children. And I have no intention of letting him get away with it.”

“Sounds reasonable,” Grant responded, still wondering where all of this was going.

“When Hamilton came to arrest Carl, I called him a disgrace. The son of a bitch responded that I was welcome to express my displeasure at the ballot box. I intend to take him up on his offer. That, and much more."


Rachel buries her husband and youngest children, while making plans to bury Chase, as well - turning for help to a most unlikely source.  Meanwhile, Iris reacquaints herself with Sarah, Kevin pushes Jamie to take action, Felicia and Lucas briefly reunite, Marley worries over Grant, Charlie demands a response from Zeno, and Rachel wonders what might have happened if everything were different.

You are cordially invited to the memorial service for Carl, Cory and Elizabeth Hutchins at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Heather Pearson at Books and Quilts reviews my Figure Skating Mystery, Murder on Ice, and has this to say:

Rebecca 'Bex' Levy, has been hired as a figure skating researcher for a popular news network even though she has no skating experience.  She is a very competent researcher and has proven herself time and again during the previous seven months of the skating season.  Now at the world championship in San Francisco, her boss is calling on her once again to save their broadcast.  Bex thought that this would be nothing out of the normal, dealing with bickering co-hosts, frazzles nerves and hectic work hours, but then a seemingly controversial judging decision sets every one on edge.  To top it off, one of the judges is found dead in a room where she had no logical reason to be.  Bex can't accept that it was an accident but who would want to murder her, or better yet, it turns out, who wouldn't want to murder her....

This story explored the egos, insecurities and jealousy of the competitors, their families and their coaches.  Ms. Adams also kept me off balance by tossing in revelations that came totally out of the blue.  After each of those, I had to stop and re-think my whole grasp of what I thought had happened.

Read the complete review at:

Read an excerpt from the book (which explains just why it is television sports commentators talk so much) at:

Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition is available on Amazon and B&N.

Monday, August 13, 2012


To some, he was Malcom X from Roots (and then Elijah Muhammad in Malcolm X, a pretty neat trick), to others he was My Sweet Charlie, while others perhaps only knew him as an instructor at Howard University.

To soaps fans, however, Al Freeman Jr. who died on August 9, 2012, he was One Life to Live's Captain Ed Hall.

Freeman won a Daytime Emmy for his role (watch him as part of the round up tribute in 1999, here), the first African-American actor to do so, at a time when representation was few and far between (you know, kind of like now).  In 1968, he was part of OLTL's ground-breaking story of a Black woman passing for white.

In 2010, as part of our roundtable discussion on Diversity on Daytime, actress Mariann Aalda (Didi; Edge of Night) talked about what that storyline meant to her as a viewer, and as a performer.  Read it, here.



“Why, Sarah…” Grant realized he was pleading with her. “Why would you…”

“You deserve to have a baby. One you get to raise from the first day. One nobody will try to take away from you or turn against you. A baby who’ll love you just as much as I do. Marley thinks so, too. She – “

“Marley,” Grant leapt onto his wife’s name, clinging to it as means for retaining some vestige of sanity, not to mention balance. He felt like the floor might fall out from under him at any moment. “Where does Marley fit into this plan of yours for me?”

Sarah turned her palms up, unconcerned. “Wherever you want her to.”

“What the hell does that mean?” He roared.


Grant's reaction to her news stuns Sarah, Frankie and Cass jump at the chance to relive their past, Felicia tries to make Dean see the error of his ways, Matt makes the last request Donna ever expected, and Chase drops another bombshell on Rachel.

All at:

Friday, August 10, 2012


In my piece on being a latch-key kid, I suggested that perhaps spending hours upon hours alone as a child, watching TV and ruling my elaborate, closet paper doll kingdom with an iron fist may have contributed to the slightly anti-social–alright, downright misanthropic–aspect of my adult character.

Fortunately, the story had a happy ending. I met a fellow TV watching misanthrope, and we lived happily ever after. (Or at least, 15 years and counting.)

Though we weren’t alone for long. Soon, we had a bouncing, baby misanthrope of our own. Like Mom and Dad, my oldest son could sit for hours, drawing, looking at books, living in his own head. At the playground, he’d sway dreamily on a swing, or repeatedly meander down the slide, as if the other children weren’t even there. In school, he made one close friend, and he was perfectly happy with that, even though every single conference we went to, his teachers urged us to urge him to expand his social horizons. (Which would have been a true case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”)

And then, we had our second son. The one who, after five minutes on a playground, would suddenly develop an entire crowd around him, all wanting to do what he was doing. Kids listened to him. Kids followed him. And kids wanted to play with him. During school, after-school, on weekends. I soon needed a separate calendar just to keep his personal, social schedule.

And then we had our daughter. Also a social butterfly. But, in a different way. In preschool, she developed her small clique of girls. More than my older son, less than my middle one. But, the difference was, while my middle child was pretty much happy to play with anyone, my daughter fashioned a very select group. And she preferred they do everything together. She also soon required her own social calendar.

And one more thing: An escort.

Both my son and my daughter, when they were too young to be dropped off for play-dates and then picked up an hour later (followed by a half-hour of whining, “Do we have to go home noooooow? But, we’re having soooooo muuuuuch fuuuuuun!”), required an escort.

Which meant that Misanthropic Me was obliged to stick around and make small talk with the other moms for the duration of said play date.

Read my entire confession at:

Thursday, August 09, 2012


As promised, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga (Volume Two) is due out shortly.

Like Another World Today, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga is a story you help me write.  Read all about it, here.

And check out excerpts from Volume One, here.

Enjoy an exclusive preview of Volume Two, below:

     Victoria offered, "You look like hell."
      It was a solicited opinion.
      Robin had come into an Elizabeth Fund Board meeting unshaven, and wearing a dark blue sport-coat with black slacks – a Fashion Don't even Victoria recognized, and one that, a few weeks ago, he would have never tolerated on a stranger, much less himself.
     He'd plopped himself in a chair across the conference-table from Victoria, three other board members buffering them on either side, and propped his forehead up with his hand, wincing when the light hit his eyes, and aimlessly scratching the notepad in front of him with a chewed fingernail.
     She couldn't stop looking at him. The sight of Robin dressed badly, much less poorly groomed, broke her heart.
     And it annoyed the hell out of her.
     Heck, she wasn't feeling too chipper these days, either. But, at least, she still made the effort to come into work looking like a professional. She still made the effort to keep up appearances.
     But, then again, Victoria did have the advantage of knowing that, whatever misery she was going through, she'd brought it upon herself.  And, at least, she'd gotten something positive – she'd saved Gabriel – in return.
     Robin had the roof dropped on him with no warning, no reason, no explanation. And, unlike Victoria and her tormentor, the lovely Miss Simonge, the blow had come from someone Robin trusted.
     She didn't blame him for reeling.
     And every time she looked at him, she died a little.
     Robin, however, did not like her looking at him, at all.
     He waited until the other board members had filed out of the room and Victoria was the only one left, before deigning to glance up at her.
     "What?" he snapped, flopping back in his chair, crossing one leg over the other and sneeringly studying Victoria over the eraser of an upraised pencil.  "What's the matter, Miss Morgan? Something wrong with the way I look?"
     That's when she offered the solicited, "You look like Hell."
     "And you give a damn, because...."
     "Because," Victoria said. "You taught me there was no valid excuse for fashion faux pas."
     A second earlier, he'd looked half-poised to fling the pencil at her. Robin was wagging it back and forth, one eye squinted, as if measuring the perfect distance for burrowing the sharpened point somewhere in the vicinity of her throat. But, then, rather than following through, he opened his errant eye, straightened an inch in his chair, and slowly lowered the pencil to, once again, lie neatly parallel to the notepad with Cooper Shipping emblazoned along its top. His voice was almost human when he asked, curious and suspicious and cautiously hopeful, "You listened to me?"
     "Sure. When you know what you're talking about, why not?"
     "Thanks for the qualifier."
     "I didn't want you getting a swelled head."
     Robin propped his forehead against the heels of both palms, dug his nails into his scalp, and squeezed hard, closing his eyes and mumbling, "Too late."
     "No, thanks, already – "
     "Got one," Victoria finished for him. "Oh, Robin, now I am disappointed in you. That line was old when Adam first got drunk on apple wine." She sighed, "Considering how familiar this state is for you, I presumed you'd always carry a handy-dandy cure."
     "That would require planning ahead."
     "Forgive me, I forgot whom I was talking to for a moment."
     He grunted. Under the circumstances, Victoria guessed it was the pinnacle of his creative banter.
     "Here." She crossed the room to stand behind Robin's chair. "Let me try."
     The words were out of her mouth before Victoria's brain fully realized what she was offering. She'd already raised her arms to his shoulders. They froze in midair. Victoria's fingers curled into fists. Instinctively, she forced them open, stretching all ten until she feared popping a muscle or tearing her skin. Because she wasn't a coward.
     No matter what, Victoria had never been a coward.
     And she did want to touch him, again.
     Just for a moment.

Stay tuned for more!


“Rachel, my dear!” Iris walked into the Cory Mansion as if she’d last left only a couple of hours ago, and proceeded to address her onetime stepmother as if they were already in the middle of a conversation. Not to mention on speaking terms. “How dreadful! How absolutely dreadful for you! You must be positively prostrate with grief! How are you possibly managing to remain upright? Truly, if I were in your agonized position I should have gone thoroughly catatonic. Oh, Rachel, you are indeed an inspiration to us all!”

At that, Iris proceeded to embrace her. Leaving Rachel with no choice but to hug back. Or, at least, to remain standing where she had been. Prostrate if not with grief, then with shock.

“What are you doing here, Iris?’

“Isn’t it obvious?” Mac’s oldest daughter signaled to the driver who’d been standing quietly behind her up to this point, indicating that he could commence bringing in her luggage. All of the seemingly infinite, matching pieces of it. “I came to be with my family in their hour of need!”

“After eighteen years?” Rachel asked incredulously.

“Well, I was rather inopportunely detained for a portion of that time…”

“You were in jail for trying to kill my husband,” Rachel was in no mood for euphemisms.

“An accident, as I made clear at the time of my sentencing. And beyond.”

“What do you want, Iris?"


Iris strikes a nerve with Rachel - without revealing her true motives, Cass and Frankie get a clue regarding Carl, Jamie's sons offer him a warning, Marley has a suggestion for Matt regarding Donna, Felicia's life gets turned upside down, and Sarah drops the mother of all bombshells on Grant.

Don't miss a minute at:

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Check out some truly phenomenal (and very much of their time) commercials featuring some of your favorite actors... before they were soap stars!

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Kendall; All My Children):

Finola Hughes (Anna; General Hospital):

Alison Sweeney (Sami; Days of Our Lives)

Rebecca Herbst (Liz; General Hospital)

Josh Duhamel (Leo; All My Children):

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


 Michael Park, who won two Emmys for playing Jack on As the World Turns, and appeared in the Tony-award winning revival of How to Succeed in Business... is coming to a big screen near you!

Park appears in Supercapitalist, a movie shot on three continents about an Asian-American financial whiz kid sent to Hong Kong to close a deal.  I can only presume that wackiness ensues.

Catch a glimpse of Michael in the trailer below:

Want to learn more about Supercapitalist?  The producers are generously offering a private screening in NYC and a Q&A with Michael afterwards.

If interested in attending, go to: and register your support!

In the meantime, enjoy a flashback below to my interview with Emmy-Award winner Susan Dansby, describing the day she directed Jack and Carly's first kiss on ATWT!

Originally published on March 7, 2012


Yesterday,, which earlier released an As the World Turns boxed set, a Guiding Light boxed set (check out the two show value pack by clicking on the link below), a Reva compilation, and an ATWT Christmas special, announced a Carly and Jack 10 episode edition.

In honor of this gift to daytime fans, we visit with Emmy-award winner Susan Dansby, who recalls directing Carly and Jack's first kiss:

I had been fired from my directing job on Port Charles; and, though I made many claims to the contrary, took a real hit to the ego.  My agent arranged for me to direct three episodes of As the World Turns – which was kind of inconvenient. I lived in LA and ATWT shot in New York. But I figured it was worth the airfare to prove to myself I still had serious directing chops – hopefully.

On one of those three days, I was lucky enough to direct Maura West and Michael Park having one of their first on-screen kisses (the ice cream scenes at the cabin in Montana).
During the dress rehearsal, Michael was playing Jack as "nice guy." So, when I went out to the studio floor to give notes, I suggested to him that Carly was throwing down a challenge; and rather than running from it (as Carly anticipated), Jack's G-man persona would come to the fore and give Carly (in the form of a toe-curling kiss) WAY more than she – or I – expected. I still remember that kiss. Have mercy!
I fell in love that day with Michael and Maura. With their skill as actors, and their willingness to play in the creative process.
Read more from Susan, including how she also ended up writing Carly and Jack's brutal break-up in 2006, in Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments Enhanced E-book:

Also available at Barnes & Noble.

Monday, August 06, 2012


It’s a rare day indeed when I don’t receive an e-mail offer to “ENHANCE YOUR ROMANTIC LIFE!!!!!” This usually entails some very uncomfortable looking pumps.

On the other hand, who doesn’t want to enhance their romantic life? Especially if they could do so without the aforementioned pumps?

And within the safe confines of a romance novel?

The concept of enhanced e-books has been around for several years. It makes perfect sense with works of non-fiction. History books can be enhanced with interactive maps. Cookbooks can offer video of the proper way to separate eggs whites. Exercise manuals are naturals for step-by-step instructions, and any rock star’s biography can only be made better via audio clips of their best performances.

When it comes to fiction, however, the applications are less obvious. Some horror titles have added creepy sound effects to compliment the action. Children’s books boast touch-screen games. Mystery novels prompt you to hunt for clues along with the sleuth.

But, where does that leave romance? What kind of sound effects would you expect to find (that you won’t be arrested for playing in public)? What precisely would the screen encourage you to touch? 

Read the entire piece as I blog about the possibilities for enhanced romance (inspired by my work with and Mindy's Twitter) at:

Please stop by and offer a comment!


Rachel smiled sadly.  “Thank you, Matthew.”

“For what?”

“For not coming in here with a diatribe against Carl. I know how you felt about him, once upon a time.”

“And I know how you felt about my expressing those feelings. You cut me off. You told me to accept Carl or…”

“I actually thought you would. I honestly thought that when you, Amanda and Jamie realized just how much Carl loved me, and how much I loved him in return, you’d be able to get past your resentment.”

“We tried,” Matt couldn’t help defending himself and his siblings. “We all tried.”

“I accepted Lila when you married her. And Donna. I accepted Amanda with Grant, and Jamie with Vicky. I didn’t merely try. I did it. Because it made my children happy. Because those otherwise very questionable people made my children happy – at least for a time. All I asked was for the same consideration in return.”


After a chat with Donna, Matt reaches out to Rachel, but even he can't protect her from yet another shock.  Marley can't stay away from Jamie while Grant defends Lila's honor to Chase.  Morgan questions Amanda's choices, and Allie does the same to GQ's conclusions. 

Plus, a familiar flower blooms in Bay City...

Thursday, August 02, 2012


The Razzies are the anti-Oscars, awards given out for the most dubious cinematic achievements of the year.

Reading a book by one of its co-creators -

- I made a stunning discovery.  Of all the soap operas past and present, General Hospital is disproportionally represented.

Razzie winners include:

David Mendenhall (Rick and Lesley Webber's adopted son, Mike, who was eventually revealed to be the biological child of Ginny and Derek.  The ungrateful little brat played one set of parents off against the other until Lesley died, Rick married Ginny, the two had a son of their own, and Mike stomped off in a huff to live with Derek and his new wife, Lorena.  I'm sorry, am I editorializing?  In case it isn't clear, I could not stand Mike.  And I was his age, so he was supposed to be someone for me to relate to!) won Worst Supporting Actor in 1987 for Sylvester Stallone's Over the Top, a big budget, Rocky-style movie exploring the cut-throat world of... professional arm wrestling?

Janine Turner (the Laura lookalike who was supposed to make Luke think she was his Laura after Laura died then take Laura's place in viewers hearts.  Didn't happen) was nominated Worst Supporting Actress in 1993 for - surprise! - yet another Sylvester Stallone movie, Cliffhanger.  It was not, alas, the soap opera kind, but the kind where character literally hang off a cliff.

Demi Moore (the Laura lookalike's sister, Jackie, big time reporter - at the age of 19, no less! - also brought on to romance Luke and make viewers forget there ever was an Original Recipe Laura.  Despite the fact that Jackie's actual chemistry was with Robert, not Luke.  Jackie and Robert did eventually get together.  Until he married Holly.  Who was pregnant with a presumed dead Luke's baby.  And fell in love with her.  Jackie was not amused.) is a multi-Razzie nominee for The Butcher's Wife, Nothing But Trouble, Indecent Proposal, The Scarlet Letter, and Passion of the Mind, and a Winner for GI Jane, The Juror and Striptease.

As the above are too numerous to link to, enjoy, instead, this classic clip of Demi on General Hospital:


“Rachel, I…” Donna fumbled to perform the proper social convention.  “I, of course, I wish to convey my – “


Donna gasped, bringing a hand to her throat.

“Save it, Donna.  I need neither your condescension nor your crocodile tears.”

“I know what it’s like to lose a child.”  Donna blocked Rachel’s path.  It was one thing when she’d been deliberately avoiding her.  But, Donna would not be dismissed like this.  “I’ve lost all of mine, in one way or another.”

“And who’s fault was that?”

“Who’s fault is this?” Donna snapped back instinctively, regretting her words the moment she said them, but realizing it was too late to retract now.

“Do you really want to hear the answer to that?” Rachel challenged.

“Do you?” Donna refused to back down.


Rachel receives Donna and Amanda's version of sympathy, Marley forces Grant to truly consider his actions for the first time, Alice challenges Lucas' defenses, Charlie shocks Zeno, and Amanda shatters Morgan.

Read it all at:

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


I was interviewed by National Public Radio recently about this article I wrote for  I don't know when it will air yet and, considering the host introduced me by promising that our discussion "will push people's buttons," I also don't know how I'll come off sounding.

Since NPR is headquartered in Washington, DC, I did my interview from a local PBS studio.  And the entire experience made me think of A Martinez.

I'll explain.

In 1994, I was working for E!'s Pure Soap, a live, daily, half-hour talk show about, what else? soap operas.

Over the course of the year during which it was on the air, we had some phenomenally terrific, gracious, fun guests, most notably Eileen Davidson, J. Eddie Peck, Darlene Conoly, Wally Kurth, Louise Sorel, Catherine Hickland, and Jean Carol, among others.  (We also had some truly obnoxious ones, but I won't be listing their names here.  Like I wrote in my post about figure skating below, I'll pen my tell-all book when I'm sure I never, ever want to work in the business again.)

The guest who impressed me the most, however, was A Martinez.

The Santa Barbara star (this was pre-General Hospital and One Life to Live) was on to promote his record album (yes, we still had records then).  When blew me away about him was that, in addition to being wonderful to the cast and production staff, A also went out of his way to introduce himself to every member of the crew - stage manager, camera-men, audio, etc... - asking their names and shaking their hands.  Before leaving, he said good-bye and thank you to each one individually.

His behavior stuck with me to the point that, eighteen years later, I tried to do the same when it was my turn to be in front of the microphone.

There aren't a lot of actors - or people, in general - you can say that about.