Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Shemar Moore, who played the role of Malcolm on The Young & the Restless from 1994-2005 and won an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2000, announced last week that he’d be returning to the show where he made his acting debut on September 9 and September 10, 2014.

Since leaving Y&R, Moore appeared as Derek on the primetime hit, Criminal Minds, and in movies like Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

While it’s pretty common for actors to return to soaps after taking a few years off – General Hospital’s Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, for instance, left on separate occasions at the height of Luke & Laura-mania, only to come back after a decade’s absence – few do so after achieving lasting success in primetime or films.

However, Moore isn’t the first to cameo short-term on the soap that gave him his start.  (This is not to be confused with stars from other media making guest appearances ala Carol Burnett on All My Children, Elizabeth Taylor on General Hospital, Wayne Gretzky on The Young & the Restless, The B-52s on Guiding Light, Jerry Springer on Days of Our Lives, Liberace on Another World or Snoop Lion on One Life to Live.) Find out who else stopped in for a limited visit at my latest post for Entertainment Weekly at:

PS: When I interviewed Victoria Rowell (Dru; Y&R) for my book on Soaps' Greatest Moments, she had this to say about working with Shemar Moore:

There was a responsibility, all the way around, for the actors to do the best job that we possibly could.  Obviously, being leading African-American actors in a genre that typically is not African-American in front of the camera in large numbers, I knew that this was an awesome opportunity.  And Kristoff St. John, Shemar Moore, myself, and Tonya Lee Williams (Olivia), we worked to the best of our theatrical ability to make sure that we brought forth our best work.  Because we knew the gravity of the situation.  We knew that we were in a plum position.  And so, when we were given this extraordinary storyline, we wanted to give it its full due.  We knew the longer the story was written for us, this meant the audience was very captivated by this story, and we also knew that we were inspiring the writers to write for us.... The characters of Drucilla and Malcolm, they’re iconic soap figures.  With no race involved, they’re just iconic.  I think because Shemar and myself also navigate though primetime and film, this helped further and grow an audience for our daytime characters.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I started my career writing romance novels, The Fictitious Marquis, Thieves at Heart, Annie's Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman. I then transitioned into Figure Skating Mysteries, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop and Skate Crime.

The sequence of events for all of the above was straight-forward. I wrote a proposal, an editor signed off on it, I wrote a book, an editor recommended changes, I made changes, book was published, readers weighed in.

When I wrote the soap-opera tie-ins, As the World Turns' Oakdale Confidential and The Man From Oakdale, as well as co-wrote Guiding Light's Jonathan's Story, there were more voices chiming in, the shows' writers and producers, for instance. But because, at the same time, I was also producing ATWT and GL's official websites, I listened to the fans, as well. Incorporating characters no longer on the canvas that they missed, referencing history and putting in scenes viewers wished they could watch on air.

By the time I moved on to Another World Today for P&G, I was ending every webisode with a poll question and, depending on how readers voted, that's how the story would go.

This taught me a very important lesson. Despite soap fans insisting that, if only TPTB would listen to them and give them what they want the ratings would go through the roof, there is no such thing as an issue every single fan agrees on. Every single poll question I put up, no matter how seemingly benign, would trigger a variety of responses. Characters and couples some people loved, others hated - and vice-versa.

So here I am today, attempting to take everything I've learned from twenty years of writing novels and soaps and interactive series and putting them all together into my next book, which I am writing live in front of readers eyes at:

I am asking for reader suggestions as I go along, and so far:

One reader writes: I am thinking ahead already and believe that Laurie will be the victim of abuse (molestations, sexual, etc.).

While another concurs: My mind is going in one direction!!!! Oh no!!!! Will she be abused by this man???

And a third adds: I don’t think he’s going to abuse her. I think it’s more likely that she’ll be happy with him and finally have a stable life, then Junior and Mom will rip her away from a good home.

While these were more predictions rather than directions, it does go to show how different readers can see the same story in different ways.

I can assure the first two commentators that the lead charachter will not be abused. Why? Because I find child sexual abuse boring.

Not in real life. In real life I find it horrifying.

But in fiction, I find it a boring and lazy way to brand one character an unequivocal victim and the other a degenerate villian. Roman Polanski once said that the reason he added the incest angle to his movie, Chinatown, was because it was the only thing that still shocked Americans. That may have been true in the 1970s, but these days, in my opinion, it's short-cut storytelling at its worst.

There is nothing subtle about it. It beats you over the head with good and bad, black and white.  That doesn't interest me as a reader, and it doesn't interest me as a writer.

Frankly, I think there is so much more interesting damage a parent or guardian can do to a child without resorting to sexual or even physical abuse. Most of the time, the damage is done without even realizing it.  And certainly with the belief that what they are doing is for the child's own good.

Those are the kinds of psychologically complex stories I am interested in both reading and writing. I'm trying to do that now.  But I'll only know if I've succeeded if you continue commenting on my story as I spin it.

So please, stop by: and let me know what you think.

After all, in this day and age, why should someone have to wait for a book to be published before telling the author what's wrong with it?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


The big plot twist on General Hospital last week was that Rafe died, and his heart did not go to Alice, who’d been waiting for a transplant since roughly around the same time as Rafe got into his fatal car accident.

Although GH was not the first soap to do an organ transplant story, it did boast, arguably, the best: 1994’s saga of little BJ Jones’ heart going to her dying cousin, Maxie.

This week for Entertainment Weekly, I rate soaps' transplant stories, featuring entries from current shows like GH, Y&R, B&B and DOOL, as well as gone but not forgotten ones like AMC, OLTL, GL, AW and more.

I also ask probing questions like: Are you obliged to fall in love with the person your donor loved? What happens when the donor loved you? Can donating an organ make up for past sins? And, most importantly, can a transplanted fetus be considered an organ?

Get the answers, as well as many more questions at:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I have always hated writing description. When I was in high-school and first taking a stab at writing novels (no, you may not see them. A) Because they were terrible. B) Because when I moved out of the house and asked my younger brother to mail them to my new address, he packed them in a flimsy box and everything spilled out at the post office and was lost to the ages. This may not, in the end, have been a purely bad thing), I would be writing along, hit a point where structure dictated description was needed, and I would write DESCRIPTION is big letters, then come back to it later.

My process hasn't changed too much since then.

The reasons are three-fold (is that a thing?). One, I am a story person, not a description person. A producer I worked with in ABC Sports' Figure Skating Department once described me as a "visual wasteland." I could knock out shootable scripts in minutes (especially if we were live on the air at the time), but when it came to pictures to go with those scripts (TV is a visual medium, I'm told), I was at a total loss.

It's the same with books. Whether as a writer or a reader, I want to know what happens next, who does what to whom, and which witty rejoinder will they toss off while doing it. I really could not care less where they are standing or what they are wearing while it's happening.

I want to get on with the story. Description is the part I always skip. And as Elmore Leonard advised, "Try to leave out the parts that readers skip."

The second reason is that I prefer to imagine what things look like, instead of having it dictated it to me. For instance, based on her personality, I always assumed Scarlett O'Hara was a redhead. Margaret Mitchell's description of her raven black hair just distracted me.

And the final reason why I hate writing description is because, like I said earlier, I like action. And I don't like stopping the action to digress on what someone or something looks like.

The novel that I am writing live on the web - typos, edits, sex scenes and all - opens with a car careening down a Northern California highway, a heroine at the end of her rope emotionally, and a hero trying to talk her down - before she kills them both.

I didn't find a lot of spots there to talk hair-dos, eye color, facial features, or to wax poetic about the scenery flashing by outside their windows. I also didn't describe the make of car she is driving. Mostly because I have no idea what kind of car she's driving. When it comes to describing cars, I peak at "blue."

It's how I like to read but, since the entire point of my live writing experiment is to get feedback from readers prior to submitting the book for publication, I am asking you: Do you need description, or would you rather imagine events for yourself? What do you think of the description I did manage to include? Does it work for you? Would you like more?

Please tell me right in the document by clicking Comments!

Monday, July 21, 2014


This past weekend, in honor of Dick Button's birthday, I offered a Buy One/Get One Free Deal on my Figure Skating Mystery novels. Now, I am happy to report that all five titles will be available FREE to borrow via Amazon's new program, Kindle Unlimited, where readers can read as many books they like a month, all for the same price (in even better news, the service is offering a FREE one-month trial).

All five Figure Skating Mystery novels were originally released as paperback originals by Berkley Prime Crime. But, once the technology became available, they were turned into enhanced e-books, with professional skating videos courtesy of The Ice Theatre of NY performing my characters' routines.

Why just read about skating when you can watch it as part of the story?

Nothing like this has ever been done before, and I hope all skating fans - not to mention mystery novel fans - will check out this cutting edge multimedia experience, especially now that it's FREE!

Click on the links below to get your books!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Today is my husband's birthday. Today is also Dick Button's birthday. (To be clear, Dick Button is not my husband.)

However, I did have the honor of producing Dick Button's live Twitter commentary during the Sochi Olympics earlier this year.

It was an amazing experience. As I always tell people when they ask what it's like to work with Dick, "How often do you get to sit in the same room with a genius?"

So in honor of Dick's birthday - and my husband's - I have a special offer for my readers: Buy any one of my enhanced e-book Figure Skating Mysteries (you can use the handy links below, just click on E-BOOK), and I will send you a second enhanced e-book of your choice book absolutely FREE.

Email me at with a copy of your receipt from either Amazon or B&N and tell me which book you'd like to receive FREE, and I will send it to you next week. Offer good through Sunday, July 20.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Ryan's Hope's Delia Reid showing up on General Hospital as Ava's mother made me think of other soap-opera crossovers, both good and bad.

I recap the most memorable ones in my regular post for Entertainment Weekly at:

I mention The Young & the Restless, The Bold & the Beautiful and, for longtime soap fans, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Another World, All My Children, One Life to Live and more!

Check out the trip down memory lane and make sure to let me know what you think!

Monday, July 14, 2014


EDITED TO ADD ON 7/14/14: Christopher Walken will play Captain Hook in NBC's live production of Peter Pan (and, personally, I think he will be absolutely fabulous). But, does he have a secret Guiding Light past? The rumors have been circulating for years! I get to the bottom of them, once and for all!

The below was originally posted on 10/14/08

Believe it or not, the above is a very controversial photograph.

While everyone agrees that it is Charita Bauer playing the role of The Guiding Light's Bert, and Lyle Sudrow as Bert's husband, Bill, the identity of the little boy has long been in question.

Several sources claim that it is a very young Christopher Walken as Mike Bauer, even though the actor is officially billed as Glenn Walken.

It is true that Christopher is not the Oscar-winning actor's given name. But neither is Glenn. Christopher Walken was born Ronald Walken and, up until 1965, was billed as "Ronnie Walken" in Broadway plays and on television. His younger brother Glenn is still called Glenn to this day.

While there is some evidence that young Ronnie may have filled in for Glenn on occasion on The Guiding Light, the above photo is definitely of Glenn.

Glenn Walken played Mike from 1954 to 1956. He was born in 1945. Christopher was born in 1943 and would have been too old to be the boy in the GL picture, even assuming it was taken early in 1954.

In 1956, the Walken boys' mother told TV Radio Mirror:

Ronnie and Glenn parlayed their modeling careers into TV and radio careers via that bill-payer of all time – commercials. When he was five, Glenn got his first call for a commercial try-out … on TV’s Chance Of A Lifetime. Among the other contestants was brother Ronnie. Eliminations were made and eventually it dwindled down to the two Walken boys. Mrs. Walken started worrying. This was the first time any of her boys had been in direct competition with each other. One had to lose! How would he take it? How should she handle the situation should friction and jealousy result? 
As it turned out, her worries were all for naught. The directors obviously liked both boys, but the decision was made in favor of Glenn … Ronnie was a little too old and too tall. Upset? “Not one bit”, smiles Mrs. Walken. “And being the older and more experienced of the two – he had already done a number of commercials – Ronnie willingly did all he could to help Glenn over his first hurdle. In fact, it's been that way ever since....

For one so young in years, Glenn has shown a remarkable flair and ability dating right back to his early modeling days. “He always seemed to know just what to do,” his mother explains. “Long before the cameraman could tell him what pose to strike, Glenn would seem to sense that in this picture he probably should have his hand in his pocket, or be putting on his gloves, or whatever the case might be.” 
When Glenn went into TV and radio, this ability stood him in good stead, as did his very quick memory. He not only memorizes his own lines quickly but, by the time rehearsals are over, he’s apt to know most of the lines of the other characters. 

“Actually,” Mrs. Walken continues, “all three boys have fast memories, and when we’re studying scripts at night I’m always pleased to see how they honestly try to help each other and accept all criticism in the spirit in which it was intended.” 

This somewhat unusual Walken spirit is quite the talk of the network casting departments, for when one is called in for a tryout and told he is either too big or too little, the casting director is sure to hear: “I’ve got a brother …”

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Holiday episodes are a big deal on soaps. Sometimes, a single festive day can last an entire week (on Passions in 2003, one night lasted from August to November). Soap fans expect fireworks on their shows all year round (of the emotional, if not literal, variety), but they especially want to witness some dramatic explosions on the Fourth of July.

Did The Bold & the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Young & the Restless deliver the goods on the big day?

We rank this year’s drama pyrotechnics at Entertainment Weekly.

Click the above link to read the entire article and to find out how GH's Molly is exactly like her mom, Sharon's latest bit of warped logic on Y&R, Liam's confounding lack of self-preservation on B&B and the costumes DOOL's men should consider wearing more often. Like, all the time...

And make sure to leave a comment to demonstrate the power of soaps!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


My earlier post on TV and Theater actors too young to play parents and children was such a hit, that I've created a follow up version, Movie Actors Too Young To Play Parent and Child (this includes one All My Children star who was actually younger than the actor playing her son).

Find out who she was, along with a list of other odd casting choices, here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


It’s a right of passage for any soap opera fan. A person you’ve never seen before walks onscreen, and a distant voice intones from above, “The role of So-and-So is now being played by Total Stranger!”

Some character recasts prove almost seamless. Others require a period of adjustment, and still others never quite manage to gel at all.

Then there are those recasts that prompt viewers to sit in front of their screens, day after day, and wonder what in the world The Powers That Be (TPTB) could possibly have been thinking. Check out some of the strangest instances after the jump!

Read the entire post at: and please leave a comment. I hope I can count on your help to prove that soap operas still have plenty of fans and that they deserve more mainstream press coverage. Make your voice heard!