Thursday, February 26, 2015


February is a big romance month (what's more romantic than President's Day?) and, this week,'s Newlyweds Expert features a round-up of some of the most romantic things a husband has ever done for his wife.

Mine, as you may well imagine, isn't exactly hearts and flowers:

A Helping Hand

Alina Adams knows a thing or two about romance. She has written four romance novels. But you'd be surprised at what she thinks of as alluring nowadays. It's her husband's willingness to pitch in around the house that she finds most attractive. "The most romantic thing my husband ever did for me was clean up vomit when the kids threw up," she writes in an e-mail.

In a 2012 blog Adams wrote for she explained the difference between romantic heroes pre- and post-marriage. The wife and mother gushed about how her non-Jewish husband participated in her family's rituals, listened to them speak Russian, which he didn't understand, and went above and beyond as a father.

"I have never read about a romantic hero like my husband in any romance novel," she wrote. "To be honest, I think that if I tried to pitch one like him, nobody would believe me. ('But, what’s his motivation to do all this for you?' 'I dunno? He loves me?' 'Sorry. We can’t sell that.')" 

To read what other women had to say, click here.

And to enjoy my unconventional take on romance in fictional form, join me at, where I am writing my next book live online with readers watching - and directing what should happen next!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


My Figure Skating Mystery series of five books, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop, and Skate Crime, were released as paperback originals between 2003 and 2007. When it came time to re-release them as ebooks, I decided to knock it up a notch and turn all five into enhanced ebooks.

I secured a deal with the Ice Theatre of NY, who gave me access to their entire video library, meaning that I no longer had to just describe my characters skating. I could actually show it in footage right alongside the text.

Of course, since the books were written first, I had to find skaters whose looks matched what I'd already established. I knew one particular character would be the most challanging to match.

Antonia "Toni" Wright initially appears as a supporting character in On Thin Ice, and becomes a major one in Skate Crime. I based Toni on the legendary Mabel Fairbanks, ice show star, noted coach, and one of the first African-Americans in figure skating. (Read more about Mabel, here.)

Unfortunately, there aren't that many more African-Americans in figure skating today. And, to make "casting" her even more difficult, I'd written that Mabel once performed with a white pairs partner.  Quick, name an elite pairs team featuring a black woman and a white man. Yup. Exactly.

But, I got lucky. As it happened, Ice Theatre had a number, Once Again, starring Tyrell Gene and Alyssa Stith that fit the bill perfectly. Watch it below.

Tragically, Stith committed suicide this past November, at the age of 40.

Ice Theatre will be honoring her memory, as well as Black History Month, this Wednesday, February 25 at 1 pm as part of their 2015 Skate Concert Series at Rockefeller Center in NYC.

The performance is FREE and open to the public. More information at:

To win a FREE copy of Murder on Ice as well as Elizabeth Harmon's skating romance, Pairing Off, click here.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Regular readers of this blog know that I was born in the former USSR, my first language is Russian, and that, in addition to soaps and romance novels, I spent several years working as a researcher, writer and producer for figure skating broadcasts on ABC, TNT, ESPN and NBC (which provided me with plenty of material for my Figure Skating Mystery series). That's why, when I heard about author Elizabeth Harmon's new book series, Red Hot Russians, and it's kick-off novel, Pairing Off, out this month from Carina Press, I knew I had to get her on the blog to talk about it.

Elizabeth graciously agreed and, not only that, she also offered to give away a FREE copy of her book, in either mobi or epub format, to one lucky reader. Not to be outdone (hey, it's my blog, after all!), I decided to sweeten the pot by throwing the first book in my Figure Skating Mystery series, Murder on Ice, into the rin(k), as well. So how can you win this double twist (see what I did there?) of Love, Death & Figure Skating? Couldn't be easier. Just send me an email to with "Win Skating Books" in the header, and you'll be entered into our drawing. Winner will be notified by email on Monday, March 30 (right at the end of the 2015 World Figure Skating Championship).

In the meantime, please enjoy this guest post from Elizabeth Harmon, below!

Romance on Ice
By Elizabeth Harmon

A book I started to write but never finished, inspired me to write the book that made me a published author.

I love sports movies and romance novels, and a few years back, decided to write a romance with an ex-baseball player hero.  Though that book remains unfinished, I knew if I tried another sports romance, the heroine would be an athlete, competing in one of my favorite sports, figure skating.

I had no idea what would happen to my figure skater heroine until I read about an American basketball player’s decision to compete for Russia in the Summer Olympics.

The controversy surprised me. Athletes competing for other countries isn’t new. This player had established a pro career in Russia, and come on, isn’t the Cold War supposed to be over?  But the negative reaction got me thinking, and served as the seed for my story. Because I write romance, there had to be a gorgeous man involved.  A coach? The guy she left behind...or another skater?  Throw in my love for “The Cutting Edge”... and voila! “Pairing Off” was born.

Though I skated casually as a kid, and take lessons as an adult, I felt unprepared to write convincing figure skater characters, so I did a lot of reading and lurking. My reading list included Christine Brennan’s “Edge of Glory” and “Inside Edge,” as well as Joy Goodwin’s “The Second Mark,” which offered amazing insights into pair skating. The knowledgeable posters on two popular skating fan sites, Figure Skating Universe and Golden Skate, offered a wealth of information as well.

I also turned to some gracious people in the skating community.  Several skaters and coaches from my rink were enthusiastic sources and beta readers.  Carrie’s skating passages were reviewed by 2014 U.S. Adult National Ladies Championship Level 4 gold medalist Cindy Clay Crouse.  Rockne Brubaker, 2012 U.S. Pairs silver medalist, reviewed Anton’s and a number of other passages too.

Even with such great information and expert help, there are still some areas where I took a bit of creative license. In real life, it’s doubtful Carrie’s release to skate for Russia would have come so easily, but to avoid the book becoming a saga of red tape, I resolved it early and quickly. Because IJS can be difficult to understand, I avoided delving into it in great detail, limiting it to reflections on what judges would or would not like in terms of presentation.

Writing "Pairing Off" taught me so much as a writer, skater and fan, and I look forward to adding even more detail and dimension into my next visit to the skating world (men’s singles this time) in “Getting It Back” an upcoming installment in my Red Hot Russians series.

For now, Happy Reading.


“Speaking of Lake Placid…we ought to consider a new costume designer. That yellow thing you wore at Cup of China?” Carrie grimaced.

Anton looked up and grinned. “Is that why you didn’t want anything to do with me that night? Because of my ugly outfit?”

“It’s hard to take a man seriously when he’s dressed like a giant flower.”

He glared in mock offense. “I was not flower. We were birds.”

“Well that makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Anyway, the guy Cody and I used did nice classic looks. No feathers. No sequins. I could see you in something dark and simple, maybe open in the front. Definitely short-sleeved to show off your…” Her eyes feasted on his gorgeous upper arms. What the man did to a faded T-shirt ought to be against the law. He grinned as he caught her looking. Again. Her face burned and she gave a guilty smile. “…hard work.”

Anton shook his head. “For competition, no short sleeve, no low cut. I would have to get waxed. I hate wax.” He pouted like a little kid about to get a booster shot. “It hurts.”

“You’re such a baby! I can’t believe you’re afraid of a little manscaping.”

“Do you like it?”

Well. Obviously she wasn’t the only one who’d been checking out their partner that day in the pool. Then again, he’d been involved with a skater for years. It wasn’t like he’d never seen a Brazilian before. Her cheeks flushed again. “Only in pair skating would I have a conversation like this with a straight guy I hardly know.”

“What do you mean, hardly know? You know about my family, where I grew up, what music I like, what sports I like, what I studied at university. And now you know how I feel about man-wax.”

“Fine, you win. No man-wax.”

He leaned back, his arms crossed, regarding her with narrowed eyes. “Seems I’m the one who hardly knows you. Every time I ask something, you turn around and ask me instead. Why do you do that? Why do you want to be so much a mystery?”

She rested her chin on her hand and smiled across the table. “What difference does it make?”

He started to answer, then stopped. Shaking his head, he laughed. “God, you are aggravating!”

Buy "Pairing Off" on:


Barnes & Noble

Google Play


Carina Press

Find Elizabeth Harmon on:




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Goodreads Author Page:

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Exactly a year ago, when I was interviewed about figure skating and the Sochi Olympics, the subsequent articles had so many factual mistakes in them that I made a game out of it and offered readers a free Figure Skating Mystery for every error they found.

Then, last month, a NY Post about my husband's and my NYC meet-cute got our ages and other details wrong. (Read it here.)

Now, on, I'm quoted in a post called Real Brides Talk: The Moment I Knew He Was the One:

Other men were lame in comparison.
Alina Adams knew she liked her boyfriend but wasn't sure if the relationship had legs until the pair double dated. The New York writer recalls, "That night I found myself watching my friend's boyfriend and thinking how annoying and lame he was, and how everyone I'd dated in the past was exactly like him." Then she looked at Dan and thought, "He is so, so much better." Sixteen years and three children later that is still how she feels!

What's true in the above paragraph? Well, the fact that, according to my husband, I am probably the most unromantic person ever - especially for a romance writer. And that I do still feel that way about my husband to this day.

What is not true in the above paragraph?

Who is Dan? I am not married to someone named Dan. There is no one named Dan in the above story. (Not even my friend's now ex-boyfriend.) And this was not a phone or in-person interview where the writer could have misheard. This interview was conducted via email. Where the heck did this "Dan" come from?

Now do you see why I never, ever, ever believe anything that is written about me - or anyone else - in the press? And why I stick to writing fiction, myself?

So now that you know how unromantic I am in real life, check out my romance novels. I promise, they are nothing at all like me. (Though, to be fair, in the book I am currently writing live online at, I did just author a marriage proposal that's a bit on the... unusual side. Let me know what you think at the link!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Days of Our Lives’ Hope isn’t the first character in history to come face to face (to axe to knife) with the pitfalls of falling in love with a mysterious, grieving widower.

Back in 1847, Jane Eyre taught aspiring young governesses to always check the attic, in case your beloved’s insane “dead” first wife just might be living there. And in 1938, Rebecca added to the cannon the reminder that when your aloof, aristocratic new husband looks like he is desperately missing his first wife, it could very well be that his, rather, feeling guilty over killing her. (This revelation brings great joy to the narrator, who clearly hasn’t taken a moment to ponder what might happen to her should she displease the man in similar fashion.)

But lets assume Hope never read either novel. In the early 1980s, she went from 10 year old to high-schooler in the space of a few months, so obviously key English literature classes were skipped.

That’s probably how she found herself in her current predicament. Is dreamy Aiden:

·    A sad, single dad whose wife tragically died?
·    A sad, single dad being framed for his wife’s murder?
·    An evil, single dad who killed his wife?
·    An evil, single dad who killed his wife and now wants to do the same to Hope?

Days of Our Lives is promising answers this week, but it’s a soap so, you know, don’t write anything down in stone.

But even if Hope hadn’t read Jane Eyre and Rebecca, what about Gone Girl? And if books aren’t her thing, couldn’t she have at least bought a clue from the following soap-opera stories?

What other shows went down the moody widower with the mysteriously dead wife road - and how did it end for our intrepid heroine? Find out at Entertainment Weekly with examples from All My Children, Guiding Light and more:

Thursday, February 12, 2015


ABC’s new comedy “Fresh Off the Boat” premiered last week, with two new episodes airing tonight. My family and I have been looking forward to its debut since the fall, when the trailer made my 15-year-old laugh so hard, he literally fell to the floor, clutching his stomach. (In comparison, “Black-ish” made him muse, “Maybe the actual show will be funnier.”)

Neither my oldest son nor I are Asian. In fact, the closest thing either of us gets to Asian is that we both attend(ed) selective public high schools for the “gifted”; me in San Francisco, him inNew York City, where the majority of the student bodies are Asian.

But race wasn’t the commonality either he or I found with “Fresh Off the Boat.” It was, rather, the American immigrant experience, which I know of first-hand, having moved from the Soviet Union with my parents when I was 7, and which my son gets to enjoy second-hand, due to his good fortune in having been born my child.

Eddie, the lead character and narrator of “Fresh of the Boat” (the series is based on chef Eddie Huang’s bestselling memoir), is the American-born son of Taiwanese parents, living in Florida in the 1990s, who just wants to fit in at his new school. And, oh yeah, he also worships black rappers, and African American culture, in general.

To Eddie, fitting in means brings Lunchables to school, not the Chinese food his mother packs him. “I want white people food,” he insists.

I may not have expressed myself in exactly the same terms, but I do remember informing my mother that it seems American children do not eat beef tongue sandwiches, red caviar with thick butter spread on black bread, or kholodets, meat frozen in its own aspic jelly. So, could we, uhm… change up that menu a bit?

Read more at:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The Bold & the Beautiful star Linsey Godfrey, who plays Caroline, was struck and pinned down by a car on Monday, February 2. After being rescued by bystanders, she was rushed into surgery to repair her broken legs. Though the actress is expected to make a full recovery, she did tweet yesterday that she was facing a "long road."

This, of course, begs the question of whether or not B&B will write her injury into the storyline, or whether they will opt for a temporary recast until Godfrey is back on her feet.

Unlike movies, which can shut down production or reshuffle their schedule when an actor gets hurt, or primetime, which shoots many fewer episodes a year, daytime doesn't stop for any man - or woman.

Sometimes, there is no choice but to go with a recast, no matter how jarring that might prove to the audience, in order to keep the story going. Check out some of our favorite fill-ins at Entertainment Weekly, and how they worked out!

Which three P&G actresses kept trading roles amongst themselves? Which actress was accused of making her predecessor sick? Which actor got a regular gig on a show after stepping in for a fan fave - but as a different character? Who is daytime's all-time temporary recast MVP and more, all at:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Black or White, which went into wide-release on Friday, January 30, is the story of a grandfather, Elliot (Kevin Costner), who loses his wife in a car accident, and is then forced to fight off a custody battle for the granddaughter they’d raised since birth from her other grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer).

I saw the film last weekend in a Harlem theater with my African-American husband.

In case you’re not familiar with the actors and characters of Black or White, Costner is white, Spencer is black, and (like my children) the little girl in question is biracial.   Her birth was the result of an affair Elliot’s now dead 17-year-old daughter had with Rowena’s drug-dealing, deadbeat 23-year-old son Reggie (Andre Holland).

During the course of the film, Reggie comes back into little Eloise’s (Jillian Estell) life, claiming to be clean and taking over the custody suit, himself. But, it doesn’t matter. The movie is stacked so squarely on Costner’s side that it’s amazing the judge (played by a scene-stealing Paula Newsome) even considers the case, at all. She actually says as much at the first hearing.

Eloise has lived all eight of her years with her mother’s parents. Tellingly, she calls both grandmothers "Grandma," but calls her grandfather, "Papa." The man is presented, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, as her father, and he is a perfectly decent one. (The script stretches a drinking problem that’s cured by some diligent learning of French to suggest there’s a single, easily resolvable issue on which to challenge his parenting).

But what about that pesky race issue in the movie title? Isn’t that what this movie is really about?  Is a little African-American girl really better off being raised by “an old white man,” as her grandmother calls him, instead of her black grandmother and the large, extended family she (we’re told she runs six different businesses out of her garage) is supporting at her home in South Central Los Angeles?

Spencer hires her brother (Anthony Mackie), a high-powered corporate attorney (apparently, in this world, family law practitioners don’t exist, as Costner is represented by a friend who is also a corporate lawyer) to plead her case, and he’s the one who decides to pursue the racial angle at the expense of all others.

Because, really, what else is there, according to Black or White?

To find out, read the rest of my post on BlogHer Entertainment, where I explain all the issues they missed - age, class, gender - and compare the movie to Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (It's not a compliment):

Monday, February 09, 2015


In honor of Valentine's Day, the New York Post ran a special feature: 6 real-life meet-cutes that prove you can find love in NYC, and one of the couples featured was my husband and I!

Alina Adams and Scott W.
Met in June 1997

Eighteen years ago, Alina Adams and Scott W. found themselves under the Washington Square Arch, meeting a mutual friend for a play. What happened next depends on whom you ask.

“I show up there and this beautiful woman walks in,” Scott, a schoolteacher, says. “Our friend was late and I was a little tongue-tied. So I said, ‘You go see the play, I’ll wait.’?”

“My recollection is that we were introduced, and he turned around and wandered off,” says Alina, 47.

Once their friend arrived and they were all reunited, the play was ignored. “Antigone” may be a tragedy, but it was a love story for these two.

“I thought he was really smart and funny, interesting,” Alina, a novelist, says. Scott, now 51, remembers watching her instead of the show.

Their first official date was a year later at the Museum of Radio & Television, now the Paley Center for Media, the perfect spot for the TV-loving pair. Married in 1999, the Upper West Side couple now has three kids.

“Scott grew up in Harlem. I was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated with my family,” Alina says. “But the things that are important to us are exactly the same. And the things on the surface that look different about us are really irrelevant.

“We always point the Arch out to the kids and say, ‘See, that’s where we met. No Arch, no you.’?”


(A couple of corrections: It was July, not June, and I'm 45, not 47, while my husband is 47, not 51. But, you know, media....)

Read the other five couples' stories at:

And while we're talking romance, the very first romance novel I ever published, The Fictitious Marquis (AVON 1995) is finally out as an e-book!

Check it out at:






Google Play

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


The hottest soap opera of 2015 isn’t on daytime television. It’s Empire, and ratings have been going up steadily for each week it’s aired so far.

Naturally, this isn’t the first time suds have ruled the prime-time airways (“Who Shot JR?” or the Moldavian massacre, anyone?), but it does go a long way toward suggesting that the reason daytime soaps have been falling like dominoes in this century is because family melodrama fans can now get their fix elsewhere.

Primetime TV is just the tip of the iceberg. There is also the Internet, where independent web soaps have been slowly and steadily building audiences for over a decade. They already have their own awards show, the Indie Series Awards (2015 nominations to be announced this Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m.). Plus, in acknowledgement of this brave new world, the Daytime Emmys added a new category, Outstanding Special Class Format—Daytime, in 2011, which morphed in 2014 into Outstanding New Approaches—Drama Series.

Go to Entertainment Weekly right now to read our list of the best web-soaps you should be watching, including all the GH, DOOL, ATWT, GL, SB and more stars that appear on them, and if you have a favorite you want to add to the list, make sure you tell us in the EW Comments!