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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Ken Levine, over on his blog, has written a post about nice actors he has worked with other the years:

My partner and I have worked numerous projects with "stars"” and I've encountered a few more on my own in my directing life. I'm a firm believer that money and power just make you more of what you are. Last week I alluded to Mary Tyler Moore (when you see her throw her hat in the air, it's really my liver) but I've been more than blessed by being able to work with Ted Danson, Alan Alda, Nancy Travis, Michael Douglas, Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Tom Hanks, John Candy, and many others.

Inspired by his positivity and thinking of my own post of last week about the general negativity of the internet, I decided to do a post about some of the nicer people I've worked with during my daytime career.

1) Michael O'Leary (Rick; GL), Michael Park (Jack; ATWT), Trent Dawson (Henry; ATWT) Stuart Damon (Alan; GH) and Walt Willey (Jack; AMC) will make you laugh so hard you'll forget what you were interviewing them about... but you'll be having such a good time, you won't care.

2) Ron Raines (Alan; GL), Robert Newman (Josh, GL), Peter Bergman (Jack; Y&R), David Canary (Adam; AMC) and Real Andrews (ex-Walker; ATWT) will make sure to ask how you're doing and actually appear interested in hearing the answer.

3) Jennifer Landon (Gwen; ATWT) is an original and you might not always comprehend what she's saying right away, but you will never be sorry you stopped to chat.

4) Terri Colombino (Katie; ATWT), Beth Chamberlin (Beth; GL), and Yvonna Wright (Mel; GL) are always happy to talk kids with other moms. And if you don't stop us, well, we won't stop.

5) Martha Byrne (Lily; ATWT), Mark Collier (Mike; ATWT), Stephanie Gatschet (Tammy; GL), Marcy Rylan (Lizzie; GL), Jordan Clarke (Billy; GL) Colleen Zenk Pinter (Barbara; ATWT), and Ellen Dolan (Margo; ATWT) are always available to give a quote or a soundbite, and they'll keep going till they make sure they've given you a good one, too.

6) Peyton List (ex-Lucy; ATWT) and Jessica Dunphy (ex-Allison; ATWT) were two of the loveliest, sweetest, hardest-working young women I have ever met in this business, and I hope they'll both be huge stars so that others will see how it's done.

There are probably many more whom I've forgotten. (Please note that leaving a name out doesn't mean they are horrible, rotten people who can only be approached with garlic and a cross. I've simply highlighted those who go above and beyond the call of graciousness, especially in television.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


In the latest TIME Magazine, Lev Grossman writes about his mortal enemy:

His name is Edward Champion, or at least I assume it is. That's the name he blogs under. I've never met him. I don't know what he looks like, how old he is, or pretty much anything about him (or her?). Except that every few months he calls me an idiot on his website.... Champion has also tossed out "preposterous," "irrelevant" and "malarkey." The first time I noticed Ed criticizing my writing I e-mailed him a response. His answer was so sarcastic it practically damaged my retinas. I want to be clear: I don't think Ed Champion is an idiot. I've read some of the other, non--Lev Grossman-related posts on his blog (which is mostly about books), and have found them to be highly opinionated but otherwise cogent and well-informed, and sometimes even charming. Ed Champion is not insane. He's just unswervingly committed to the position that I am a complete tool.

As I and Oakdale Confidential have also been the subjects of similar blogs coming to similar conclusions, I'm afraid I have to confess: I don't get it.

Not why someone would believe I am a complete tool, I understand that part. What I don't understand is why someone would want to waste the time, effort and bandwidth to sit down and write this all down?

After all, if my work is not worth their time... why is it worth their time to criticize it?

Why, instead of creating something positive and constructive of their own, do so many bloggers instead choose to dwell on the lousiness of others?

At the very least, their efforts bring attention to products they believe aren't worth paying attention to.

I too have been a disappointed consumer. Shows like Chicago Hope, Sports Night, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer started out inspiring my love, then proceeded to suck. (Don't even get me started on what General Hospital recently did to my favorite soap couple of all time, Robert and Holly Scorpio).

But I didn't fire off disgusted missives explaining in great detail why the writers/producers/key grips were morons of the highest order. I simply... stopped watching. And went on with my life, doing things I enjoyed, instead of watching shows I no longer did.

In conclusion, Grossman writes:

Let's take each other seriously and respond in good faith. Let's not bandy words around thoughtlessly or maliciously... After all, at the end of the day, we're not so different, you and I. Except that I'm getting paid for this.

Uhm, ditto.

Monday, September 18, 2006


What's old and new and soapy all over?

The brand new PGP Classic Soaps blog!

Go there now to find out which P&G Classic Soap episodes are airing on the AOL Classic Soap Channel, as we speak!

Plus, Behind the Scenes, Where Are They Now, Trivia and all the latest news on As The World Turns and Guiding Light!

It's a soap lover's dream!

So what are you waiting for? PGP Classic Soaps blog.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Since "Oakdale Confidential's" release, a lot of people have asked me how I feel about the book being ripped apart by certain segments of ATWT fandom who thought it should have been about something else, written in a different way, marketed in a different way, or simply burned prior to publication.

My response comes from a 1989, very short-lived television series that hardly anybody saw, called "Homeroom." (Trivia buffs take note, it was written by future "Desperate Housewives" kingpin Marc Cherry).

In the pilot episode, an old man played by Bill Cobbs, explains:

"I spent forty years driving a bus, thinking about what a pea-brain the District Supervisor is. Then I become District Supervisor, and I realize I've got hundreds of guys driving around thinking what a pea-brain I am. But, you know what? They're stuck driving a bus, and I'm the District Supervisor."

My sentiments exactly.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Not only was the best-selling "Oakdale Confidential" a tie-in to Procter & Gamble's historic soap opera, As the World Turns, but now comes word of P&G's expansion in the book biz:

The latest example is CATHY'S BOOK, a novel due out Oct. 2 about a teen determined to find out why her boyfriend dumps her, then mysteriously disappears. Procter & Gamble wrote a deal with the authors to include products such as Cover Girl's "Shimmering Onyx" eye shadow and "Metallic Rose" lipstick in exchange for promoting the book on P&G's teen website BeingGirl.com.

More about product placement in books of all kinds at Galleycat.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Am I the only one who, whenever Maura West (Carly) and Paul Leyden (Simon) hit my screen, starts humming "You're So Vain?" (Am I also the only one who periodically slips and refers to them as Paul Simon? So many musical references, so little time...)

In any case, if "You're So Vain" is plaguing anyone else's afternoon hours, here is a list of other Carly Simon songs that might fit the occasion:

Anticipation (self-explanatory)
Coming Around Again (ditto)
Haven't Got Time for the Pain (play whenever they're drinking)
Do the Walls Come Down (maybe Mike can sing it to them)

Do you have any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Well, kind of...

As of today, the new chapters for the November 14, 2006 publication of "Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed" have been approved by ATWT's Executive Producer Christopher Goutman, by Headwriter Jean Passanante, and by publisher Pocket Books.

The photos, have been approved by the ATWT PR Department, by the Legal Department, by Mr. Goutman, and by Pocket Books.

"Oakdale Confidential" was my first time writing a tie-in novel. Up to that point, I was used to writing a book, sending it to an editor, the editor would either buy it or not buy it and, if she bought it, there would be some notes for changes and that's it. Done. Publication time.

For my Figure Skating series, I sold the books off proposed outlines, so there was a bit more nervousness on my part about how the complete manuscript would be accepted. But, in the end, it was still up to only one person, the editor, to say yay or nay.

Writing a tie-in has been very educational, to say the least. So much input from outside source. On the one hand, it was fun to sit with Christopher Goutman and Jean Passanante and come up with a story that would work both in book and in show form (and they both couldn't have been more cooperative or supportive or helpful).

On the other hand, a soap opera is like a runaway train -- it stops for nothing and slows down for no one; every time a change was made on the show's end, I had to figure out a way to make it work on my end, too. It was almost like writing backwards.

Not to mention that my book goes to the printer in September 2006. Printer -- as in, no more changes. The story it serves won't be on the air until November/December. I live in terror of Chris and Jean suddenly getting a brilliant idea and deciding to change their on-air story.

Like ATWT's faithful viewers, I can't wait to find out what happens next.