Monday, November 23, 2015


Last year, in honor of the holiday, we listed 5 Things SoapOpera Fans Have To Be Thankful For.

This year, we asked those same fans to list some of their favorite Thanksgiving moments from the past 70-plus years of daytime television.

One particularly high vote-getter was General Hospital’s Frisco and Felicia Thanksgiving of 1985, which included a celebration at the Brownstone with the same-initialed couple, as well as Frisco’s brother Tony, and his then-wife, Tanya, heading upstairs after dinner and presumably leaving Bobbie to clean up the mess. It also led to a morning-after Frisco and Felicia discussing how many children they’d like to have one day. Felicia offered six – or seven. Frisco didn’t look thrilled. Probably a major clue about the two daughters he would abandon down the road (not that Felicia stuck around much for Maxie and Georgie, either).

Kelly Applegate offered: My favorite was Guiding Light when they held hands while "We Gather Together" played and The Young & the Restless when Classic Billy and Victoria had their first Thanksgiving.

While Keith Alvarez recalled: There's All My Children when the combined Kane/Montgomery family had their Thanksgiving at the Valley Inn.

And another AMC fan reminded that Thanksgiving 1990 was Kelly Ripa’s debut as Hayley, all black goth wig and tough-girl attitude.

Meanwhile, few Days of Our Lives fans could forget 2004, when Cassie was stabbed to death and stuffed into a turkey piƱata the Salem kids were battering with sticks. (Of course, later it turned out that Cassie wasn’t really dead. She was merely another victim of a mind-controlled Marlena thinking she’d killed a bunch of people. How that explains all the folks who saw dead Cassie, I’m still not exactly certain.)

But the most interesting thing about calling out for favorite Thanksgiving memories was how many fans, instead of merely suggesting a scene or plot point, talked about year after year traditions.

In their honor, we count down the Top 5 Favorite Soap Opera Thanksgiving traditions at Entertainment Weekly.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It was The Towering Inferno on The Young & the Restless last week, as Newman Tower caught fire in the middle of their Halloween party. (Fun-fact, Emmy-winner Susan Flannery, who appeared on both Y&R’s sister-soap, The Bold & the Beautiful, and on Days of Our Lives actually co-starred in The Towering Inferno movie.)

Among the highlights were Stitch and Ashley getting trapped together and an injured Stitch confessing that he was still in love with her (this despite Stitch being engaged to Ashley’s daughter, Abby). The pair were rescued by Adam, who was supposed to be handcuffed to a hospital bed, but had escaped to go after ex Chelsea and son Conner. A vending machine fell on Patty, so Jack and Phyllis assumed she was dead. Having never, ever in their soap-opera lives seen people survive much more deadly encounters. A very much alive Patty ended up rescuing evil cult leader Ian. Dylan landed a helicopter on the roof to whisk the rest off to safety and absolutely nobody perished. They did cough a few times to convey the seriousness of the situation.

But soap-opera fires don’t necessarily need to kill people in order to heat up story. Check out some of our favorite blazing action at Entertainment Weekly, here.

Monday, November 09, 2015


The Ice Theatre of NY, which provides the video for my enhanced ebook Figure Skating Mystery series (watch an example, here), turned 30 years old in October, and I covered their Gala celebration for International Figure Skating Magazine:

Former World ice dance bronze medalist Judy Blumberg praised ITNY’s invaluable contribution to the development of artistic skating. “It has given so many people a wonderful place to explore new directions,” Blumberg said. “I’ve been so happy to be a part of it. ITNY can move in any direction. It is open to exploring so much in skating, bringing in choreographers from dance as well as other art forms. I think that’s made us all grow as skaters and performers.”

Sarah Kawahara agreed. “ITNY brought great visibility to the whole arena of ice theater, and now there are ice theater companies all over the world. ITNY is very much responsible for that.”

JoJo Starbuck said that the company has brought an awareness of a beautiful art form to a lot of young people that would not have otherwise known about it. “ITNY has been a real pioneer and made a huge difference in the sport,” she said. “It has inspired other companies to spring up. I just wish there were more companies like them.”

Moira North, who started ITNY in her loft 30 years ago, said it takes a village. “It has evolved into a substantial, major dance company on ice. I look forward to what we can do together in the next 30 years.”

Read the entire article, including tributes to honorees Dick Button and Toller Cranston, here:

Thursday, November 05, 2015


Though she retired from American Ballet Theatre this past June, ballerina Julie Kent will be performing at a special, one-night-only benefit for DEBRA of America on Monday, November 16 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Get your tickets before they're sold out, here!

But that's not all! Julie also talked to the NY Gifted Education Examiner about how her parents went about raising a dance prodigy, and how their example is helping her nurture her own gifted and talented children in Part #1 of her interview.

And in Part #2, Julie explains her new role as Artistic Director of ABT's Summer Program, how your child can apply, and the way in which early dance training helps in every aspect of life moving forward.

Read both parts at the links!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Days of Our Lives celebrates its 50th Anniversary in the real world this Sunday, November 8 while, on-screen, Hope is preparing to marry Aiden (she thought she’d figured out what his horrible secret was, but it turned out he was hiding something even more horrible). Meanwhile, Hope’s ex-husband (and love of her life forever and ever, amen) Bo is trying to make it back to Salem in time to stop the wedding (and he’d have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for that pesky airplane crash and a stingy farmer who doesn’t like strangers making long-distance phone-calls on his land-line.).

The scenario is reminiscent of 1984 (the year, not the George Orwell novel), when Bo swept in on his motorcycle to rescue Hope from marrying the hateful Larry in one of soaps’ most iconic Interrupted Weddings. It prompted a commentator named Sarcastic Bimbo to write (presumably in all non-sarcastic seriousness): Oh the Larry/Hope wedding and Bo riding in on his Harley was one of my favorite soap moments, EVER.

It also came up when I queried fans for my book, SoapOpera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments. A reader wrote: Bo kidnapping Hope from her wedding to Larry Welch with Howie standing in for her was great. Back then (soaps) made you laugh, cry and get angry but you still kept coming back for more. 

Watch the beloved sequences, here, and go to Entertainment Weekly for more fan favorite scenes - don't forget to add your own!

Monday, November 02, 2015


Many of you know me as the author of "Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments." For that book, I solicited fan memories, then went to the actors, writers and producers who made them for the behind the scenes scoop.

Now, I am writing a post for "Entertainment Weekly's" Community, focusing on your favorite moments from the past 50 years of "Days of our Lives."

Please share them below, or email me at to make sure your thoughts are included.

Thanks in advance and I look forward to reading what you have to say!

Sunday, November 01, 2015


It took me a long time to learn to like editing. With my first book, “The Fictitious Marquis,” back in the dark ages of 1993, when editorial notes actually came scribbled in the sides of a printed out manuscript’s margins, the first time I got a revision letter, I actually left it on the kitchen counter and tip-toed around it for an entire week before I had the stomach to read it in detail. Revisions? What do you means, revisions? Isn’t the manuscript perfect? Isn’t that why you bought it?

Cut to (I also write for TV) twenty years and over a dozen books later and I’ve worked with editors who had suggestions for nearly every line, and also ones who would give vague feedback like, “This scene doesn’t work. Make it work.”

I haven’t gotten much better at dealing with those sorts of notes, but I have taught myself to enjoy editing my own work. I look at it as sifting through the garbage and finding the decent story that’s buried underneath.

Usually, writers are advised to let their work sit and “air out” for a bit before diving in for a 2nd go. But as you can see by the dates of my live-written manuscript, I started it over a year ago, so aspiring writers could see what a real 1st draft looks like. I figure, by the time I got to the end, the beginning has aired out enough.

Writers are also advised never to show anything other than their very best work. That ship has obviously sailed. Now that I’ve demonstrated what a real 1st draft looks like, I’m going to do an equally ill-advised thing and show what happens in a 2nd draft edit.

As a reader, I like a tight manuscript that gets right to the good stuff. No description, minimal introspection, just tell me what happens next! During the course of writing the 1st draft live, I found that plugging a sentence into Twitter and making it fit the 140 character limit is a great way to hunt down excess words and unneeded adjectives. I intend to edit my entire manuscript using that method.

As of today, the document runs 96,566 words. My goal is to get it down to around 80,000 without sacrificing story - well, actually making it better.

Your input is welcome - live - at:

Let’s go!