Thursday, June 25, 2015


The Astronaut Wives Club, a limited run series based on Lily Koppel’s book of the same name, premiered Thursday, June 18 on ABC (right before the network’s 2-hour season 3 debut of Mistresses, which offered a pretty good idea of where ABC expected The Astronaut Wives Club to fit into its line-up demographically).

I flinched a bit when one of the very first scenes featured Alan Shepard’s wife, Louise (Dominique McElligott), exchanging stink-eyes with the female yeoman she “caught” sitting on a couch in her husband’s office. The yeoman gave back as good as she got, instantly setting up the single v. married/working v. housewife & mom dynamic. (Louise also laments to her husband that now that he’s in the space program, “I’m about to be forced into bridge and bake sales with a bunch of wives.”)

It didn’t help when a few moments later, a pair of the titular wives went head to head, comparing their husbands’ career trajectories, flight-hours, and qualifications for becoming the first American in space. It was amazing they didn’t pull out rulers.

Read my entire post at Blog Her Entertainment:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Last week, on The Bold & the Beautiful, Liam married Ivy in order to keep her from being deported back to the horrors of Australia.

Forget that Ivy’s father is American, and she should be a dual citizen. (The show attempted to tap-dance around that by saying her flake of a dad – he is played by Fred Willard, after all – failed to fill out the proper paperwork.)

Forget that Ivy is a cousin of the mega-rich Forrester family, and working for their company, to boot, which means they should be able to get her an H-1B special talents visa by snapping their fingers – and throwing a bucket-load of money at the problem.

The important thing to focus on here is that Liam married Ivy, whom he’s been dating for months (see their romantic trip to Amsterdam), only to suddenly decide that he’s still in love with his ex-wife, Steffy. The same Steffy who, a few weeks ago, Liam was swearing he had no feelings for. But, you know, things change.

Currently, Ivy is swearing to Liam that she understands their marriage is merely a business relationship and that nothing has to change between them, while Steffy is ranting that she will not be Liam’s second choice (again), and wants nothing to do with him.


We’re all experienced soap viewers here. How long do we really expect those respective stances to last?

We’ve all seen our share of “business arrangement” daytime drama green-card marriages that turned into something else.

The most famous example is probably General Hospital’s Robert and Holly. Back in the 1980s (when all soaps were better, let’s have no arguments on that point), Holly’s love, Luke, was presumed dead in an avalanche (Luke’s love, Laura, had earlier been presumed dead after disappearing off a pier – neither death stuck). Holly was pregnant with Luke’s baby, and in danger of being deported back to England (a place obviously as horrible as Australia). Luke’s best-friend, Robert, nobly stood up and married Holly in order to keep her in the country, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Jackie (played by Demi Moore; and we all know what happens when Demi Moore gets dismayed).

Holly lost Luke’s baby, but fell in love with her husband (overall a fair trade), only for Luke to return, alive. Munch angst ensued but, in the end, Holly chose Robert and, for many years, they were the prototypical example of that rare species: A happily married soap-couple who didn’t have children over whose paternity there was always a question, but, instead, chased criminals together, him as the Port Charles Police Commissioner, her as his unofficial helper. They even left town together to presumably live Happily Ever After. But, we know how that goes on soaps. (And if you don’t, click here for the depressing answer.)

So that was a green-card marriage gone right. (Luke didn’t mourn Holly for long, as Laura returned soon after, and the reunited couple moved on to their own aborted Happily Ever After.)

There are many more examples of a green-card marriage gone wrong.

Read all about those at Entertainment Weekly:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


A. Michelle Blakely, the SF Small Business Examiner, has 44 Ways To Market and Sell Your Self-Published Book.

Among them is mine:

Can you write in front of an audience? I am promoting my romance novels by writing my next romance novel live at and taking reader feedback on where the story should go next. No one else is doing anything like it, which gives me a promotional hook. Alina Adams, 

(The part about destroying your career is optional, but always a possibility.)

Read all the tips, here.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Thank you to Anna Bowling of Buried Under Romance for mentioning me in her post this Saturday, The Appeal of Medical Romance:

The Mammoth Book of ER Romance hits readers hard and fast with an abundance of tales where time is of the essence in love as well as medical care, and no wonder that it’s a winning combination. Stakes are never higher than when a loved one’s life is on the line, and there’s an immediate trust a patient and their family must put in the doctors, nurses, paramedics and technicians whose job it is to keep the grim reaper away and remain calm while doing so.

There is a commonality in the medical world; we are, after all, all the same beneath the skin, and anyone who’s been in a major hospital, even to walk through the halls, will know that the medical world is diverse. Readers looking for characters from different walks of life may well want to give medical romance a try. Alina Adams, herself a Soviet immigrant, infuses her Jewish Russian-American heroine and Russian hero with some of her own heritage. Dyann Davis gets real with the romance between African American nurse, Heaven, who is Christian and Pakistani physician, Hamid, who is Muslim, in Let’s Get It On.

Read the entire post at:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Nearly a year ago, I wrote a post lamenting soap-operas' troubling tendency to reform bad girls into good girls via rape.  A reader took offense with my interpretation. Anyone who writes regularly is used to that. But this particular reader happened to be actress Alicia Coppola, who won a Soap Opera Digest Award for playing Another World's Lorna, one of the characters I name-checked in my piece.

She wrote a very heartfelt, very gut-wrenching response. Read it at my latest for Entertainment Weekly:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


In my Kveller review of the new Bravo series, Odd Mom Out, I mention that the show about life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan got some key details wrong about the admittedly very complicated and stressful process of applying to NYC Kindergarten. (I also helpfully mention that I've written a book on the subject. Buy it now on Amazon! Subtle, I am not.)

What exactly did they get wrong? Behold!


To crib from Senator Lloyd Bentsen, I’ve applied my kids to NYC schools. I’ve blogged for Kveller about applying to NYCSchools. I wrote an entire book on applying to NYC Schools. Odd Mom Out is not how you apply to NYC Schools.

The major flaw in their “applying the twins to Kindergarten” story is that the twins have an older sister. Where does she go to school? Why can’t her siblings go there? Even if she goes to an all-girl school, at least her sister can attend, which means they only have to stress over placing the brother. And since it’s been established that both parents grow up wealthy in NYC, where did they go? Why aren’t their kids legacies?

That said, the moment when their preschool director tells Jill, “Your children are young 4s, given their late July birthdays. So unfortunate…” rang extremely true for me. NYC private schools prefer children to be on the older side when they start Kindergarten, which is why they are reluctant to accept summer birthdays, especially boys. Jill tells the director they’re applying to both private and public schools. But then the birthday cut-offs wouldn’t match. With summer birthdays, you often have to go through the public school process one year, and private the next.

(Another, non-school related nitpick is Jill’s claim that “Getting a sitter on two hours notice is like the Triple Salchow of parenting. It can’t be done.” The Triple Salchow is actually the easiest of the Triple jumps; it’s being performed by juniors these days. I wrote a book on FigureSkating, too. Which you can also buy on Amazon. See? Not subtle!)

But, you know what? The above really doesn’t matter. It’s a sitcom, and the most important question is: Is it funny? 


Monday on The Bold & the Beautiful, Steffy lamented to Wyatt, “Honestly, I just really want a summer of fun and romance and love and adventure.”

Wouldn’t we all, Steffy? Wouldn’t we all?

While, initially, soap-operas were created to sell products (and to entertain – in that order) housewives and stay-at-home moms year-round, by the early 1980s, they’d become summertime must-see-TV for kids home from school and college.

It all began with General Hospital’s Luke and Laura on the run in 1980. She was married to a nice, young lawyer (yes, latter-day fans, Scotty used to be the nice one), he was presumed dead after escaping his own marriage to the mob, they had a stolen book of clues, there was a left-handed boy, and a hit-man dressed in drag, and farmers, and a blanket between their beds and you really had to be there, because it was glorious.

The following summer, no longer married (not even to each other), Luke and Laura embarked on an even grander adventure, stowing away on a luxury yacht to an island where an evil mastermind was planning to freeze the world using synthetic diamond dust (Mikkos Cassadine tried to warn us about global warming, but did anyone listen?). This time, there was a dashing, Australian super-spy (a.k.a. Robert Scorpio, known to most fans now as Robin’s dad… or Emma’s grandfather), a spoiled movie star, Days of Our Lives Tony DiMera under another name, the original Baltar from the original Battlestar: Galactica, tropical fevers, and a very, very obvious password to stopping the doomsday machine that all of us at home were yelling the entire hour it took Luke to figure it out. It was even better than the previous year’s caper.

With the explosive success of GH’s summer adventure, other shows quickly followed suit. DOOL had Bo and Hope fighting communism… on ice (details, here), and Kimberly and Shane dealing with drug-dealers in Florida (must see video of the cast in full Miami Vice mode, complete with Phil Collins soundtrack, here). All My Children’s Jenny and Jesse fled to New York City, and even the more traditional soaps ventured outside of small-town America. On As the World Turns, Tom and Margo, after battling South American rushing rapids and snake bites, found themselves in a castle booby-trapped with explosive, poison darts in themed rooms referencing Alice in Wonderland, among other literary classics. Their torturer was a drug-dealing, evil dwarf. For the record, the entire storyline kicked off with a little girl putting on the wrong hatband.

Meanwhile, over on Search for Tomorrow, Travis and Liza faced danger in Hong Kong, where evil people of indeterminate agenda (possibly more drug dealers) were intent on stealing Liza’s jade necklace, for equally indeterminate reasons. The only thing known for certain was that this was SFT’s big summer, adventure storyline. To drive the point home, they made sure that Travis sported a blond perm identical to Luke’s on GH.

Clearly, summer was the time when soap-opera producers were intent on hooking young viewers, who might then grow into lifelong fans (this was back when soaps weren’t being cancelled right and left, so you really could watch one show from cradle to grave).

To read more about soap's classic summer storylines - and why they seemed to have come to an abrupt end in this century, go to Entertainment Weekly at:

And to go behind the scenes with some of soaps' best summer - and year round - storylines, check out Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments. Response was so terrific to me making the book FREE to borrow on Amazon, that I've decided to extend the freebie for another month. Don't miss getting your copy, today, here!

Monday, June 08, 2015


When I was a tween (before that was a word) spending time at my aunt's house, I loved reading the women's magazines she had lying around (yes, I was a weird child).

Redbook was my favorite. Now, a scant 35 years after I picked up my first issue, I'm excited to announce that I'm featured in their June 2015 issue (the one with Sofia Vergara on the cover).

What's the subject? What else? How to live within your means (yes, even in NYC) - and feel happy about it.

In addition to writing the NY Frugal Family column for, I also just wrote a post for Kveller about how we fit 5 people into a 2 bedroom NYC apartment (prompting comments about how I was depriving my children with my selfish lifestyle).  Check it out below:

In New York City, where real estate space is at a perennial premium, my husband and I made the decision to give (our oldest son) the master bedroom while we took the smaller one. After all, he played on the floor much more often than we did. My theory was, if I gave him his own, larger room, his toys wouldn’t migrate out and take over our living area. (I was so, so wrong. Just like work expands to fill the amount of time designated for it, children’s crap also creeps out like kudzu, until it has thoroughly dominated the local eco-system.)

Plus, my husband and I knew something our oldest son didn’t: We planned to give him roommates.

After the first few months spent in a bassinet next to me, my second son moved in with his big brother. The twin bed was pressed against the wall, and a crib took center-stage. I folded up the preschooler-sized reading nook, and bought a dresser big enough to hold both their clothes. The area above the heater where once he’d lined up his Jay Jay the Jet Plane stuffed fleet was retrofitted to support a baby-changing table my father made from an old computer desk someone had thrown out, that he’d dragged home off the street, sterilized, and covered with a rectangle of foam. (Nothing goes to waste at our house, not even other people’s trash.)

Read the entire post at:

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


This summer, soaps are taking a giant step back to the future (otherwise known as the halcyon heydays of the 1980s, when they were one of the most profitable genres on television, and scheduling college courses around show-times was considered cool).

In March, Days of Our Lives announced the returns of Peter Reckell and Stephen Nichols, just in time for the show’s 50th anniversary....

Meanwhile, hot on the heels of Genie Francis returning to General Hospital as Laura (though Anthony Geary is leaving as Luke, supposedly permanently this time, but, eh, he’s done it before), GH also announced a comeback for Emma Samms as Holly.

Francis, of course, made history as one half of daytime television’s most watched event ever, Luke and Laura’s wedding, in 1981. She’s been coming and going ever since, sometimes staying a few years, other times a few weeks.

Samms was brought to Port Charles in 1982 as a replacement for Francis, playing con artist Holly. She was initially hooked up with Luke, but ended up with his best friend, Robert. Her character was also killed off, then brought back to life to continue coming and going from the show. Her 21st-century series of appearances revealed that Holly had a son (a chip-off-the-block con artist) who initially claimed to be Robert’s, but then turned out to be Luke’s.

And therein lay the problem. The last few times Holly showed up, she was acting so out of character that fans dubbed her Pod Holly, finding no resemblance to the heroine she’d been in the 1980s. (Poisoning a town, then blackmailing the residents for a cure? Giving up a child? Having an affair with Luke while she was married to Robert—and he to Laura? None of it rang true.)

In addition, two other GH past fan favorites, AJ (Sean Kanan) and Duke (Ian Buchanan), were recently brought back from the dead, only to be unceremoniously killed off a few years later. Another 1980s icon, Anna (Finola Hughes), has been turned into a shadow of herself, as the former double-agent kickass badass (with amazing hair) appears to be falling apart after executing the man who’d murdered her beloved Duke, needing newcomer Sloan (Grayson McCouch) to hold her hand. And other body parts.

Yes, fans want to see their old favorites back on the shows that first made them famous. But they want to see the characters they loved, not some weird, warped versions used to rekindle nostalgia, plug in stray story points … then get killed off?

Angry about the treatment Duke and AJ received? Nervous about what's in store for Laura and Holly (and DOOL's Bo and Steve, too)? Read the rest of this post on Entertainment Weekly, and make sure to leave a comment telling TPTB how you feel at:

Monday, June 01, 2015


“We love to play games with our children,” generalizes the official website for the new show, The Whispers, premiering Monday, June 1 on ABC. “But what happens when someone else starts to play with them too? Someone we don't know.”

At a time when Free-Range parents quote statistics proving that American’s children are safer than they’ve ever been, while their helicopter brethren look for even more way to protect their own offspring because, you know, better safe than sorry… and police across the country feel perfectly justified in arresting parents who let their children walk outside alone, ABC has obviously decided to dive head-first into the Parental Paranoia pool.

According to ads and trailers, The Whispers is the story of kids in the Washington DC area (all are, amazingly enough, white, despite our nation’s capitol actually housing the 4th largest Black population in the country) who suddenly start chatting with their invisible, imaginary friends. And said invisible, imaginary friends are telling them to hurt their parents. One moppet rigs a tree house so that her mom falls through and goes hurtling to the ground. And then there’s the president’s little girl…

Creepy children possessed by malevolent forces – whether of the ghost or alien variety – are a historically familiar theme in the movies. 1956 gave us The Bad Seed (pig-tailed little devil driven by the bad genetics of her serial killer biological grandma). 1961 brought Village of the Damned (aliens impregnate all the women in town, who give birth to creepily blond, glowy-eyed monsters; it was remade in 1995). The Innocents (is the hysterically frigid governess just imaging her charges are possessed by a pair of dead loves or is she the only one who can see the truth?) came in 1961, with The Exorcist (girl, devil, green projectile vomit) in 1973, The Omen (devil-boy and his demon-dog) in 1976 (and 2006). 1989 got two Stephen King adaptations, Pet Sematary (toddler hit by truck comes back… crankier) and Children of the Corn (are these kids really, really Free Range, or is He Who Walks Behind the Rows the ultimate Helicopter Parent?). Finally, in 2013, Mama demonstrated what might happen if you leave your children alone – in this case, in the woods for five years as opposed to at home for fifteen minutes. Someone else might come to watch over them. Someone you don’t know….

At the same time, television tended to stay away from the haunted child theme, save for a random episode of Star Trek (children possessed by divorce attorney Melvin Belli – no, I am not kidding) or a Monster of the Week on Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel.

In 2012, however, the “reality” series My Little Terror was announced, promising to “show what happens to children in the aftermath of paranormal activity within the home. It appears only one episode was produced and aired exclusively online.

2013 brought Lifetime’s similar venture, Ghost Inside My Child, set to “explores many parents' most closely guarded secret: Their child is a reincarnation of someone who died violently and came back to life.” According to one participating mother, evidence of this phenomenon came from the fact that “(My daughter) would just be happily playing with me and then all of a sudden, she would start to be upset and very emotional, just out of the blue. She would suddenly start crying. Nothing had happened, there was no reason - she would just get more and more emotional.”

(If your child has also ever engaged in such unprecedented and aberrant behavior, you may want to contact the show’s casting department.)

But juvenile supernatural matters didn’t really hit critical mass until 2015, when The Whispers was set to debut the same summer as the second season of Extant (the shows share an executive producer, Steven Spielberg). Last year, Extant told the story of Molly (Halle Berry), an astronaut who returned from a year-long solo mission in outer space, pregnant. The “baby” turned out to be a homicidal alien who can control people’s minds, leading them to see what they want to see, and making them do whatever it needs.

Also now playing at a theater near you is a remake of yet another Spielberg production, the 1982 horror classic, Poltergeist, the movie that made an entire generation terrified of toy clowns, sprawling suburban sub-developments and analog television static (good thing the government took care of the biggest threat first).

Meanwhile, over on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, viewers learned that Vanessa’s (Eva Green) possession by the devil began when she was a little girl – and she hasn’t quite managed to shake it since.

So what’s going on here? Why the sudden panic over children being taken over? And why now? Is it merely the logical, 21st century extension of a paranoia that first reared it’s head during the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War (if your child could be taken over by a demon or a ghost, what’s to stop them from becoming… Communists)?

Is ISIS/Ebola/Recession the new Red Scare? Or is it something a lot less political, and a lot more personal?

Get the answer - and share what you think in the Comments - at: