Friday, August 29, 2014


Last week, I wrote about my sinking realization that, in the book I am writing live at:, one of the supporting characters was boring the hell out of me to write. Which meant he must be boring the hell out of you to read.

As I result, I went back and turned two (boring) chapters into two (hopefully less boring) pages (read all about it, here). I thought that was it and I could start moving forward again.

All went well for a couple of scenes. Or, at least, I was happy with them for the time being.  And then I realized that an argument that my hero and heroine, Seth and Lauren, were having at the end of Chapter Eight was very similar to one they'd had in Chapter Six. And there was no need for both of them.

Confession Time: I love plot. "What's going to happen next?" is what keeps me turning pages in whatever genre I'm reading. Maybe it comes from a lifetime of soap-watching. Or Sidney Sheldon reading. Maybe it's an undiagnosed case of ADD. Whatever the reason, I like action (though of the emotional and romantic, not violent and loud variety). I like "the good parts." In fact, it is my goal to make the whole of my next novel nothing but "good parts."

So, even though I liked many of my early scenes and thought they added to the overall character development, I made the tough decision to cut them - including the first argument and all of its subsequent follow-up - so that readers could get to the "good parts" faster. My hope is that the character traits high-lighted in those "lost" scenes will, nonetheless, appear elsewhere, even if only subliminally.

I cut Seth and Lauren's original argument, which means I cut the four years they spent not speaking to each other, her apology to him and their tentative reconciliation.

This also solved another problem I'd blogged about earlier, how to make time pass smoothly in a multi-year saga without resorting to The Princess Bride's "What with one thing and another, three years passed." I thought I'd come up with a pretty clever narrative solution, but that went away with this latest edit, so I just adopted a reader's earlier suggestion to put the date at the start of the chapter. (See, I'm keeping my promise to incorporate reader ideas into the story!)

I read a writing tip this week that said, "Don't edit as you write. Get the first draft down first."

But, here's the thing that doesn't make sense to me: If the beginning isn't right, how can what comes after ever be? And if I were to keep on writing in spite of my suspicion that the book had already gotten away from me, then wouldn't that just lead me further and further down the wrong path, which would then necessitate even lengthier rewrites in the second pass? I have an outline for my story. The first few chapters are supposed to set it up. When I felt they weren't working, I went back to fix them so that the next chapters could be more of what I was shooting for.

What do you think? Was it the wrong approach?

Let me know!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Two of my favorite topics, romance and figure skating, come together in Jennifer Comeaux's novel, Life on the Edge.

Set in the world Olympic skating, it tells the story of an aspiring American pair team but, in a non-Cutting Edge twist, the romance isn't between partners (and the man isn't a macho hockey player who decided to take up figure skating after an injury ends his NHL dreams, because, hey, the two styles are totally alike, and jumps, spins and lifts can be picked up by anyone in a few months time; but someone who actually likes to figure skate and has been doing it for most of his life), but between the girl of the pair, Emily, and her Russian immigrant coach, Sergei.

Here is my main problem with romance as a genre: Since we know the hero and heroine are going to live Happily Ever After, I need a plot reason beyond will they or won't they to keep turning pages - because I already know they will.

I prefer stories with a mystery aspect to them or, at the very least, a unique problem to warrant keeping the couple apart for 200+ pages.

Life on the Edge has that, and it's a good one, too. If word gets out that Emily and Sergei are dating, even though she's over 18, it might prompt the National Federation to censor Sergei, pull his credentials and forbid him from coaching. And then where will Emily be? She'd not only forfiet her own Olympic dreams (and the money and effort her parents have expended to support her), but that of her partner, too.

No, the stakes aren't life and death in the literal sense of the word, but they are damn serious, nonetheless, and not contingent on some silly misunderstanding that could be cleared up if only the two leads ever actually spoke to each other, instead of leaping to conclusions (a criticism that's been leveled, ahem, at my own book, When a Man Loves a Woman).

More importantly, the stakes are connected to skating. Often, a book's setting merely serves to provide some exotica, without having any substantial influence on the plot. Here, both skating and romance are front and center, making Life on the Edge a true skating romance, and a treat for fans of both.

Check it out by clicking the link below:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


It was raining in Port Charles last week, so, naturally, Sonny and Carly shared an ill-advised sex romp. (Not that fair weather would have stopped them, just that they’ll grab at any excuse.) Ill-advised sex romps, are about the only kind this couple ever has. Starting from their very first time, back in 1999, when Sonny wanted to prove to his best friend, Jason, that his girlfriend, Carly, was a slut (and, obviously, there is only one way to do that), up through the infamous “limo grief sex” (they were sad because it looked like their son, Michael, might never come out of his coma) to the sex they had because they were sad about post-coma Michael going to prison to now, where, sure, let’s blame it on the weather. Or the pizza. Or Carly’s new boyfriend, the reformed serial killer.

But lest you think General Hospital’s four-time married and divorced signature couple are they only ones in daytime who can’t stay together or apart, rest assured, they’ve got plenty of company.

Check out examples from DOOL, B&B, Y&R, AMC, OLTL, ATWT, GL and more at my latest post for Entertainment Weekly:

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Last week, I explained how my book had gotten away from me and announced plans to go through, slash and burn, delete everything that wasn't working and start again.

This week, I actually had to do it. (Funny how that works.)

The biggest problem was the relationship between my two lead characters, Lauren Briggs and Seth Danzinger, childhood friends who grow up and... well, it's a romance novel, no spoilers needed. Somehow, though, in my writing the first few chapters, their relationship evolved into a girl with a crush on an older guy who is completely oblivious to her feelings (or, at the very least, pretending to be). And that's not the relationship I wanted to write, at all.

Naturally, the first thing I had to do was delete all the interactions that gave that impression. Then I had to rewrite those interactions so that they gave the impression I wanted to give. (You can judge for yourselves whether or not I succeeded by going to:, the site where I am writing my book live with real-time feedback, and searching for "8/20/14," the latest revision date.)

But, the challenging part was, I had to rewrite those interactions to completely change the tone of Lauren and Seth's relationship, while still keeping the relevant plot points in place in order for subsequent scenes I'd already written to work.

There was also the matter of time passing. Personally, I love family sagas. Big, sweeping stories where readers get to watch characters age from kids to adults, and see everything that makes them who they are along the way.

Well, maybe not everything. No matter how much I love sagas, a day by day chronology would still be pretty dull. You've got to pick the exciting parts and skim over the rest. But you've got to skim over them somewhat gracefully.

With the rewrite, I know had to jump ahead three years in time. I considered taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, "The Princess Bride" (all the good stuff you love from the movie, plus a whole lot more!) and just writing, "What, with one thing and another, three years passed."

I refrained.

Since my project is a collaboration with readers, I asked for suggestions, and got some pretty good ones. The end result can also be found at:

Check it out and let me know what you think because, for the first time in my 20 year writing career, I'm putting together a book not to please editors, agents or reviewers, but a book to please only the readers! I can't do this without you!

Monday, August 18, 2014


My best reviewed title ever, Annie's Wild Ride, originally published by AVON in 1998, is finally back in print! (Read the reviews, here.)

You can get it as an e-book on Amazon,, or Smashwords.

Here's a sneak peek of the story:

When his ex-wife and daughter’s plane goes down in a snowstorm, Major Paul Gaasbeck is forced to break every US Air Force rule and betray his own honor code in his attempt to rescue them.

As both battle the elements in a desperate struggle for survival, Paul and Anne can’t help remembering all of the reasons why they couldn’t stay together – or apart.

From Colorado’s Air Force Academy to military bases all across America to the hostile skies above Libya and the battlefields of Iraq, romance lovers will be helplessly swept away – just like Paul – by ANNIE’S WILD RIDE. 

Plus, I made it to the website, Lousy Covers (considering the original Annie's Wild Ride had a pink duck on the cover, I consider this new one a massive improvement).

Click the below link to learn more:

Friday, August 15, 2014


When I started my live writing project at: my goal was to demonstrate exactly how a book comes together by exposing all the first (and second and third) draft typos, deletions, clunky prose and inevitable plot dead ends.

Well, a month into the project, we've hit our first plot dead-end. As often happens, my book has gotten away from me, with characters doing things I didn't want and heading off in directions I don't like.

The first issue is a couple of minor characters have taken over. I realized when I woke up in the morning dreading writing scenes with Lauren's new boyfriend, Steven, and that, when it came to re-reading, I was skipping over them, that if they were boring me, they had to be boring the reader. And not only is he boring, but he is pulling focus from the main couple. Clearly, Steven Erikson is in for a major overhaul (or possibly a complete deletion - still mulling over that one).

But, the biggest problem is the relationship between Lauren and her childhood friend, Seth. Somehow, the story has turned into a girl in love with a guy who doesn't see her as anything more than, at best, a kid sister. And that's not what I initially intended at all. 

(Not that I am comparing myself to Tolstoy in any way - except that my first language is also Russian - but he once said that he pleaded with Anna Karenina not to throw herself under that train, and yet she did it anyway. I don't know what kind of parent Tolstoy was, but I'm the kind who has no problem making her kids do things they don't want to do.  And if I'm like that with my kids, I can certainly be like that with my characters. So Tolstoy can let Anna dictate story. I have no intention of doing so. Spoiled brat characters are almost as bad as spoiled brat children.)

I am currently eight chapters into the book. Some scenes, I think work quite well - at least for a first draft. Others do not. So, painful though it may be, come Monday, I am going in and deleting about half of what I've already written, so I can start again from scratch. All the Steven stuff is going to go, and I'll be doing some serious re-writing of several key Lauren/Seth interactions. And I'll be blogging about why I made the changes to better serve the story.

So, if you haven't yet, pop on over to: and check out what I have there so far, then come back Monday for the slash and burn and rewrite - and make sure to tell me what you think!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Beloved “Family Ties” mom Meredith Baxter (with all due apologies to the now divorced Ms. Baxter, the weaned on TV kid in me will never be able to stop thinking of her as Meredith Baxter Birney) is joining the cast of The Young & the Restless on September 8. And while official press releases won’t admit to her being anything more than a drinking buddy for Nikki, savvy soap fans are already betting on her turning out to be the long-lost mama of Stitch and Kelly. You know, the one they’ve been talking about endlessly for months?

In a casting coincidence, Baxter’s “Family Ties” hubby, Michael Gross, also did a Y&R stint in 2008 as a former hippie who assumed a fake identity and went underground to avoid a murder rap. (As Steve Keaton, mild-mannered public television station manager, perhaps? Remember how he and Elyse were always rhapsodizing about their flower-power days?).

However, Meredith Baxter is hardly the first primetime sitcom mom to make the switch to daytime – and playing a character much less respectable than her earlier incarnation.

Read all about the sitcom moms who popped up on Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, As the World Turns, The Bold & the Beautiful and much more at:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


My oldest son goes to an NYC high-school that only accepts the top 2% of its 30,000 applicants. My middle son taught himself computer programming and is trying to prove his contrary theory that light is, in fact, not both a particle and a wave. And my youngest daughter completed the local library's summer reading challenge in the first week and wiped them out of all their prizes.

My kids are - there's no pretty way to put this - geeks.  Mega-geeks. Who don't watch much TV. Not that I have anything against TV. The fact that I write about it incessantly and am ashamed to say even got a Master's Degree in it proves that I think TV is the greatest thing in the history of ever. I also know the effect TV has on the developing brain, and so I limit my kids' screen-time. But, you know what I would really love? I would really love it if on those occasions when they do tune in, there was at least a smattering of programming available that didn't suggest being a smart, bookish kid is truly a fate worse than death, guaranteeing social isolation, the disdain of your peers and a loveless adulthood. For those of us from a previous TV generation, see Urkel, Doogie, the entire Head of the Class, The Smart Guy and more. (Intelligence also apparently causes asthma, near-sightedness, acne and obesity.)

Read the rest of my BlogHer post, What TV Gets Wrong About Smart Kids (and Adults), here, with examples ranging from The Simpsons, Modern Family, ANT Farm and The Big Bang Theory. Plus, find out who's the coolest geek on TV - I guarantee, it's not who you expect!

Monday, August 11, 2014


Charles Keating, the Emmy-winning actor who played Carl Hutchins on Another World on and off from 1983-1999, died this weekend.

Cast-mates including Linda Dano (Felicia), Alicia Coppola (Lorna) and Ricky Paul Goldin (Dean), shared their memories and tributes to the man over Twitter.

When Another World Today launched in 2009, Mark Pinter (Grant) recalled:

It was a great treat to be a part of the Another World family for almost ten years. I was very, very lucky. I got to work with some extraordinary people. I made life-long friendships from that show. Two of my best friends are Charles Keating (Carl) and David Hedison (Spencer). Charles lives ten minutes from me, I see him two, three times a week. Hedison was really my mentor. When I met him, we clicked immediately. Again, it was a case of me moving towards an actor who’d been around longer than I have. I see him as much as I can. David is 82 years old now and he wouldn’t mind me saying he looks extraordinary. He’s in great shape, great health. I love him dearly. As I do Charles. Charles is a one of a kind actor. Extraordinarily passionate, a beautifully gifted actor. And not just an actor, a writer, a composer. And then Vicky Wyndham (Rachel) lives in my town up here. All of these people, I took away from my time at Another World. It was a huge gift for me, more than just monetarily. It was a very important part of my career, and a very rich time in the history of Another World. I took away great memories.

To watch AW's final scene, featuring Wyndham and Keating, click here.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

HOW I KILLED SOAPS (AND SKATING. AND REGENCY ROMANCE)'s Fiction Writing site featured a Q&A with me about, where I am writing my next novel live in front of readers' eyes - typos, edits, sex scenes and all.

Of course, any interview about my writing career has to mention my soap opera tie-in books, my Figure Skating mystery series and my uncanny ability to destroy anything I touch.

Enjoy an excerpt below:

My background is in soap-operas. I worked for ABC Daytime and for the P&G shows, “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.” For the latter two, I wrote NYT best-selling tie-in books, which were collaborative works between me, the shows’ producers, writers and fans. Also for P&G, I developed a property called “Another World Today,” where each bi-weekly episode ended with a cliff-hanger and fans got to vote on what happens next. Based on my experience with AWT, live writing seemed like the next logical step.... 

When I started working in soap operas, in 1994, there were twelve shows on the air. Now there are only four left. When I worked at ABC, “Loving” was cancelled.  When I worked at P&G, “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” were cancelled. I worked on the on-line revivals of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” last summer.  They were cancelled, too.  And, in between my soap stints, I worked in Figure Skating coverage for ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBC, as well as wrote Figure Skating Mystery novels. When I got my first job as a writer and researcher in the industry, Figure Skating was the second most popular broadcast sport in America, after football.  Now, even the National and World Championships don’t warrant primetime coverage. This past Winter Olympics in Sochi, I produced 2-time Olympic champion Dick Button’s live Twitter commentary. The man is 85 years old. I am very worried.

Visit: for more, including how I got my first romance novel published (and ended up destroying an entire book line)!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Entertainment Weekly: SOAPS, SORAS AND SEX

Last week on Days of our Lives, the bitchy fallout continued from Sami’s plan to make her husband, EJ, pay for his affair with the young and nubile Abigail. Alison Sweeney, the actress who plays Sami, is 37 years old. James Scott, who plays EJ is 35, and Kate Mansi, who plays Abigail is 25.

Here is where it gets interesting, however. All three characters were born on-screen. Sami in 1984, EJ in 1997 and Abigail in 1992. This should make them 30, 17 and 22. (Abigail may be legally corrupting a minor, but Sami is the one doing some serious cradle robbing!)

Welcome to the wonderful world of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, known to fans as SORAS.  DOOL’s current triangle may be a pretty bad offender in that regard, but it’s hardly the worst ever. Check out some of soaps’ most mathematically challenging cases of SORAS ever in my latest piece for Entertainment Weekly at:

And, as an exclusive bonus, check out what Eileen Davidson had to say about playing EJ's mom, Susan, in my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments:

Tom Langan, who was the Co-Executive Producer at the time, told me they were going to try to get somebody to play the part of Susan.  I suggested that I play it.  She was supposed to be really different from Kristen.  (Headwriter) James Reilly put in the Elvis stuff.  He created the rough sketch, and I filled it in.  We added a padded suit, false teeth, contact lenses, and we tried out some wigs.  But, I created her personality.  I had a lot of input.  Susan was supposed to be insecure, from a small town, not very worldly, basically kind of ignorant.  She had an innocence.  I based a lot of it on innocence, not necessarily ignorance.  But, she was very intelligent in a certain way.  She was good at getting what she wanted.

(At first), they only had Susan in mind, and they really didn’t know for how long.  James just kind of took off.  He’s brilliant. The whole story was brilliant, with the teeth falling out at the wedding (below), all those things he wrote were so funny.  He took inspiration from me, I took inspiration from him.  For Susan’s different hairstyles, I watched Eight is Enough – which is strange because Dick Van Patten is now my father-in-law – but, one of the characters on the show, I don’t remember which daughter it was, wore her hair in pony-tails on each side of her head, and up high.  I was looking for different crazy hairstyles for Susan.  I was looking for anything and everything.  I would add things like Susan screaming at the vampire movie with popcorn in her mouth. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


There is no such thing as good writing or bad writing. Only writing that does what you want, and writing that doesn't.

If what you want is to write something you're happy with, then the only good writing is when you are pleased with the result. (Personally, I've never written anything I've been 100% happy with, but a girl can dream, right?)

If what you want is to get published, then the only good writing is writing that pleases the person who makes the decision about whether or not you get published. How you feel about it is irrelevant. I've had books that I thought were made better by an editor's suggestions, and I've had ones where I've felt they've actually either diluted what I meant to say or hammered the point home too heavy-handedly. Irrelevant. My objective was to sell the book, article, short story. So I made the changes they asked for, and the book, article, short story sold. That made it good writing.

If what you want is to get readers then, once again, the only good writing is writing that readers like. That's what I'm working on now.

Instead of thinking about pleasing myself or an editor, I'm running an experiment wherein I write my next book solely to please the reader.

At, I am creating my next book live on the web, right in front of the readers' eyes, and asking for real-time feedback. If you like something, tell me. If you don't like something, tell me. If you have a suggestion for what should happen next, I'm listening.

After exactly twenty years of writing professionally (my first book, a Regency romance called "The Fictitious Marquis" was published the summer of 1994 by AVON), and eight years before that of writing to please high-school English teachers and college professors (none of whom were exactly fans of genre fiction), I am not thinking about pleasing anyone but the readers.

It's all in your hands now. You tell me what's good writing and what's bad.

Because now, you're the only opinion that matters.

Monday, August 04, 2014


My best reviewed romance novel, the one people STILL bring up, a 1998 contemporary title from AVON, is finally coming to e-books later this month.

A new release warrants a new cover (which, personally, I think is much, much better than the original one; why a romance novel about two Air Force pilots had a ducky - okay, fine, it was a swan - on a hot pink cover, I will never understand).

Tell me what you think of the art in the comments, and I'll keep you posted about when/where you'll be able to buy Annie's Wild Ride once its released.

In the meantime, check out: to watch me write my next romance novel LIVE in front of your eyes (typos, edit, deletes, sex scenes and all) and become part of the storytelling process. After all, what's the fun of critisizing a book after its published and there's nothing the author can do about it?

Reviews for Annie's Wild Ride:

Book recommendation! Avon has a crackerjack of a romance called “Annie's Wild Ride” by Alina Adams.... Not only couldn't I put it down, but I couldn't write for a day after I finished it. That's my kind of book.
-         Susan Elizabeth Phillips

If you like strong heroes, “Annie's Wild Ride” should be required reading for you!  I was turning the pages as fast as I could because I so desperately wanted to know how she would end it. Alina Adams is an extremely talented writer and I look forward to reading anything else she writes.  She had me on the edge of my seat for most of the book and that isn't an easy thing to do.
-         The Writers Club Romance Group

Adams does a marvelous job creating complex, emotional and driven individuals whose love/hate relationship dominates their lives. This is a terrific read.
-         Romantic Times

A vibrant tale of a magnetically charming couple whose love for each other somehow turns to hate.  Ms. Adams' excellent writing takes her readers on an amazing journey to discover the divine healing power of love in this emotion packed tale.
-         Romantic Rendezvous

The author does a terrific job of allowing the reader to peek inside the characters' hearts and minds to see their tortured souls and feel their thoughts. ANNIE'S WILD RIDE is a great story with a lot of adventure, excitement, and some steamy love scenes... This was a realistic story and a page-turner for me, keeping my interest to the very end.
-         Bookbug on the Web

Go along for the wild ride in “Annie's Wild Ride.” Alina Adams weaves a compelling story of two people so desperately in love and the lessons they learn in life as they discover old mistakes and new beginnings and just maybe a way to start fresh and find a love that's ever-lasting. . . .
-         Romance Reader on the Run

Alina Adams writes a novel filled with human complexity.  The growth of the characters in “Annie's Wild Ride” takes us on a wild ride.  The unique plot, and manner of story telling, mesmerizes, hypnotizes, and enthralls.  Ms. Adams proves her versatility and mastery of her craft with this novel. Exceptional writing, creative narrative, and soul searing sensuality make this a must-read.
-         Booktrees & Etc.

In “Annie’s Wild Ride,” I learned a bit about airplanes, a bit about the accomplishments of women in the Air Force, and a bit about military life. I also got a good read that doesn’t have much of the dry humor implied in the intro, but has enough realism to make these two people real to me from cover-to-cover. I might not have laughed, but I certainly shed a sympathetic tear. I also want to add that it might be one of the most accurately named romances I have ever read.... I, for one, found it to be a book chalk full of enough emotion and personality to keep me reading way into the night.
All About Romance