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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


With my husband being an M.I.T. man, I got a special kick out of the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium Weblog and their academic take on Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed.

Who ever thought our little Katie would make it to the hallowed halls of M.I.T....

Monday, November 27, 2006


I took my seven year old son to see Beauty and the Beast on Broadway over the weekend.

Amidst the dancing silverware and happy, French peasants, every effort had obviously been made to show Belle as a positive role model for little girls. She's smart (the townspeople call her odd for being bookish, but her doting Daddy assures her she's perfect the way she is, and later, she charms the savage beast not with music but by reading to him), she's brave (taking her father's place in the beast's dungeon), she's kind (treating the beast's wounds after he saves her from wolves) and she's loving. The perfect girl, the perfect heroine, the perfect role model.

Meanwhile, this is what we learn about the Beast. He was spoiled and arrogant, thus deserving of a curse (why exactly the wandering sorceress gets to stick her nose into his upbring -- was he bothering her? It's a big woods, you don't like this prince, keep going, lady -- is never explained, nor why her meddling should also extend to cursing his poor servants by turning them into objects). After the cursing, the Beast possess super-strength, being able to singlehandedly fight off four wolves who are attacking Belle.

After Beast fell in love with Beauty, however, he apparently not only loses his nasty temperament, but his ability to fight, as well. For when Gaston (Donny Osmond; yes, Donny Osmond) breaks into the castle and begins pummeling him, the Beast doesn't even bother trying to fight back.


Has falling in love sapped him of his strength?

Has being "tamed" made it impossible for him to defend himself?

Do girls only like boys who have been completely emasculated and cut off from their basic natures?

Are all boys spoiled, arrogant and violent, needing of first a nosy sorceress and then another girl to come in and make them more like... more like... them?

What a delightful message.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

On the official ATWT Message Board, a poster writes regarding Mike and Oakdale Confidential:

I'm surprised too considering (Mike) didn't pick up on the fact that the running theme of (Katie's) first book was Simon... what Simon did to her, her needing to get over Simon and comparing everything "good guy" Mike did to what "bad boy" Simon did.

This post intrigued me for a number of reasons.

First, I'm happy a reader picked up on the subtext of Oakdale Confidential. That layer was definitely there, though never blatantly stated.

Second, that subtext was there because I put it there. And I put it there because I believed, in spite of what was playing out on air at the time -- Katie and Mike in total love and planning to get married and live happily every after -- that Katie had never gotten over Simon.

That was my own personal prejudice. I just couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that any woman would prefer bland Mike over charismatic Simon. (This is no slight against actor Mark Collier, who is one of the nicest guys on the planet -- the indifference extends to the character of Mike only).

Simon is romance, adventure, and a sly twinkle in the eye. Mike is... Polite and tidy. Nothing wrong with polite. Or tidy. (Bet you he's a "measure twice, cut once" kind of contractor). Nothing too interesting about it, either.

So when I wrote Oakdale Confidential, I wrote it from the point of view that Katie was protesting way too much. Telling herself over and over again what a great guy Mike was to quell the part of her that couldn't let go of Simon. It's all over the book, just like the above posted noted.

And now, almost a year after I first wrote it, the story is playing out on air. Katie never got over Simon, and now her marriage to Mike is in tatters because of it.

In the movie Broadcast News, Albert Brooks calls Holly Hunter at work to give her a piece of news that she then feeds to William Hurt live on the air. Sitting at home watching TV, Albert marvels, "I say it here, it comes out there..."

I feel the same way.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Tuesday, November 14, 2006 is the official release date for Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed.

Amazon.com and BN.com were both supposedly shipping copies last week, but today is the day the book should be at BOOKSTORES NEAR YOU.

Because books need to be written so far in advance (was anyone else amused by Friday's episode of ATWT, wherein Lucinda told Katie and Mike that she needed to have the new pages, right, right now -- or else they wouldn't make their Thanksgiving publication deadline? I surely was) and soaps are done so close to air (six weeks lead time, tops) it was impossible back in the Spring/Summer, when we were brainstorming what the new story both on the air and on the page would be, to project exactly when the perfect day for publication would be to make it hit concurrent with story.

As a result, those who buy their copy of Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed this week (and who wouldn't rush out and buy it immediately, after all -- it's got pictures!) will actually end up with some advance story information for the end of November and early December.

(And for those who enjoy a good broken time/space continuum, again, note that the extra pages Katie has yet to write on the air are already available in the real world. Very Heroes, no?)

Friday, November 10, 2006


Television and the Internet took synergy to a new level yesterday, possibly breaking the space/time continuum in the process.

On the Thursday episode of As The World Turns, Katie put down in writing her feelings about having slept with Simon while married to Mike. (She put these feelings, foolishly, down in a file labeled Oakdale Confidential. Trust me, it won't end well).

ATWT airs on the East Coast at 2PM in most major markets. However, at nine AM, her essay was previewed on Katie's Amazon blog and promoted on the official PGP Classic Soaps blog as a spoiler sneak peek.

Which means that Katie's essay was posted on the Internet technically before she'd even written it (on air), to encourage viewers to tune in to watch her write on air an essay which had already been posted on the Internet.

Anyone else confused? I am, and I coordinated the whole thing!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Did Y&R's Lauren and Michael really name their son Fenemore? Fen, for short?

I get the whole mother's-maiden-name-as-first-name thing. I have a son named Adam, myself.

But, Fen? As in Phen-Phen? The banned diet drug?

Why not go with Nemo? (Look closely, it's in there). Not only is it literary (20000 Leagues Under the Sea), it gives you an easy birthday party theme for at least 5-6 years. Think practical, people!

For more on soap opera naming trends, click here.

Monday, November 06, 2006


On Friday night, the Oxygen network was airing Beaches, while a few channels over, on WE, we had A Message from Holly.

Lest you think they're the same movie, let me clarify: Beaches is the theatrical release featuring Bette Midler as the free-spirited actress who has to raise her straight-laced best friend's (Barbara Hershey) child when said best-friend dies. A Message from Holly is the made-for-TV movie where straight-laced Shelly Long has to raise her free-spirited artist best-friend's (Lindsay Wagner) child when said best friend dies.

So they're totally different. Except for that whole dead best friend thing.

Despite its morbidity, the above seems to be a very popular sub-genre of women's fiction.

In books we've got My Best Friend's Girl, Talk Before Sleep, and, of course, the original Beaches and its sequel. Heck, even in Gone With The Wind, a dying Melanie asks Scarlett to look out for her little Beau.

Seeing how frequently Beaches makes the list of Top 10 chick flicks, I've always been surprised that soaps, the ultimate women's genre, haven't given the tale a whirl.

Sure, GH kind of tried when Monica adopted Paige's orphaned daughter, Emily. But Monica and Paige's friendship was rather forced (they met when Paige was already sick), not the lifelong saga these things usually require. (A more interesting dynamic might have been Lois and Brenda, who were actual friends before the dying kicked in). The same with Carly agreeing to help raise Courtney's baby recently. That story was more about baby John's/Spencer's paternity, then about the women friends involved.

Guiding Light
came closer when Rick, on his presumed death-bed, asked lifelong friend, Phillip, to look out for Jude. But Rick and Phillip are guys. And then Rick didn't die, after all.

As poor Jennifer expired over on As the World Turns, she had tear-jerking good-bys with her husband, her parents, siblings, and baby Johnny. But where was her best-friend? Oops, Jen didn't have one.

Considering how important friends are to most women's lives, and how these relationships often outlast romantic and family ties, I'm surprised by the short shrift they get on soaps.

Would a story focusing on female friendship -- culminating with death or not -- appeal to you as a viewer?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


About ten years ago, friends of my parents who had children a few years younger than me would regularly send said children to me so I could dissuade them from going into show business/writing/production by relating tales of my own struggles in those fields.

I did tell them how hard working in the entertainment industry was. But I also told them how much fun it was. Basically, you get to play pretend all day, hang out with attractive and witty people, go to nicely catered parties in the evenings and travel to exotic locations. (In the midst of all that, you do get letters and e-mails from total strangers telling you how much you and your work suck, but then there are more parties).

Fast-forward a decade, and the same parents have given up on having me talk their children out of impractical careers, and now send the same children to me so I can tell them how great having kids is.

And I do tell them how great having kids is. And then I tell then that if they're even a little ambivalent about it, they shouldn't have them. The fact is, raising children is arduous enough when you are 100 percent certain it's what you want and have wanted since you were in the cradle yourself. Anything less than that, and it becomes way, way too hard.

Obviously, motivational-speaking isn't in my future.