Friday, November 16, 2012

Anna Devane – Charter Member, Bad-Ass Women Hall of Fame

I’ve been watching soaps since the womb – I was raised on the classic ABC/Love in the Afternoon lineup, from “Ryan’s Hope,” straight on through to “General Hospital.”  While “All My Children” (R.I.P.) was my favorite soap, my absolute, hands-down favorite soap heroine of all time is Anna Devane (Finola Hughes), superspy extraordinaire on “General Hospital.”

Anna was highly unusual as far as heroines went on the soaps.  You had your sweethearts (Laura on “GH,” Dixie on “AMC”) vixens (Tina on “One Life to Live,” Ava on “Loving”) matriarchs (Maeve on “Ryan’s Hope,” Ruth on “AMC”) barracudas (Rae on “Ryan’s Hope,” Dorian on “One Life to Live”) and tough, but fair career gals (Jill on Ryan’s Hope,” Brooke on “AMC”).  In other words, fairly stock soap characters.

But there was no one like Anna.  She was beautiful, of course – pretty standard prerequisite for a soap heroine.  And being a heroine, she was one of the good guys (eventually, but that’s another post for another day).  It was more than that, though.  She was smart, tough and fearless.  She didn’t need the man to save her – hell, SHE would probably be the one to save the man!  And look awesome doing it!  Yet as bad-ass as she was, she defied stereotypes yet again by actually being – gasp! – a woman!  Anna was not some sexless, alpha female who shunned intimacy and emotional attachments.  She had a passionate marriage to the dashing Duke, a loving relationship with daughter, Robin and shared a playful rapport with ex-husband, Robert.  AND she had girlfriends to gab and commiserate with.  

My all-time favorite Anna scenes were when she trapped psycho beeyotch, Olivia St. John, in an elevator and forced her to confess to all her crimes.  I remember being glued to my TV during those scenes, just DYING over how kick-ass the whole thing was.  Who HASN’T wanted to put their mortal enemy in an elevator to shake them up?  Am I alone here?  Okay, never mind.  At any rate, Finola Hughes gave an absolutely brilliant performance and even after all these years, I cheer like I’m back on the Spirit Squad when I see Anna wielding that blowtorch. 


Awesome to infinity.

Alas, Anna left Port Charles and turned up in Pine Valley where she was totally wasted, but I still loved her.  She made sporadic trips to GH over the years, but it was never the same.  Fortunately, “Cartini” saw fit to bring Anna home where she belongs and she’s just as awesome as ever.  She’s been appointed the police commissioner and is actually – gasp! – busting criminals! Solving crimes! Cleaning up corruption! That hasn’t happened in Port Charles since the 80’s.  Because she's a tad vulnerable right now due to her daughter's "death," I’ll forgive that whole sleeping with Luke and ignoring the warning signs about Faux Duke stuff.  Since the real Duke is alive, I’m putting my trust in Cartini that they’ll reunite them for real in due time. (As Robin said, “nothing gets past Anna Devane.”  Faison’s day of reckoning is coming).

While I don’t write about female superspies or cops, I DO like to write about strong, capable, fearless women who don’t dissolve into hysterics in the face of a crisis.  They tap into their smarts and exploit their ingenuity to kick over whatever obstacle they may be facing.  They’re okay with getting an assist from a man when the need arises, but they are more than capable of standing on their own two feet.  Kind of like Anna! 

So here’s to Anna Devane, first inductee into my Bad-Ass Women Hall of Fame.  She’s in good company, standing alongside Detective Olivia Benson and Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.  And Wonder Woman.  Of course.  But to me, Anna will always be in a class all her own.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Men Plan, God Laughs

It’s a pretty empowering feeling to know you’ve kicked adversity’s ass.  In other words, accomplishing something you, or other people, deemed impossible.

I thought I could kick formatting’s ass on the manuscript for my E-Book, “Live and Let Die.”  As great as it would be to just upload your manuscript and have it translate beautifully across various e-readers, it’s a little trickier than that – there’s margins, paragraphs, spacing, etc., to contend with.  I knew trying to copyedit myself was silly and forget designing a cover – about the best I would have been able to do was some crayons on a page.  However, after doing some research, I decided to take on the formatting myself.  It looked like something I could master so I went for it.

It was a good idea in theory.  Not so much in reality.

After numerous tries threaded with a series of mini breakdowns, I had to face the sad fact that formatting would get one up on me.  I couldn’t get the fonts or spacing to behave and the end result looked like a bad cut and paste job.  Rather than put out an inferior product, I pulled “Live and Let Die” and sent the manuscript to a professional formatter.  I’ve been given a timeframe of mid-December (possibly sooner) for completion, so while I’m disappointed that I will have to push back the release of my book for another month, it was the right call.  I only have one shot to get this right and putting out something I know looks like crap would surely come back to bite me. 

Not worth it.

So, the waiting game continues, but as always, I will continue writing.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cover Reveal - "Live and Let Die"

Whoa, boy…it's almost here…the release of my first ebook, “Live and Let Die.” (Available November 8, 2012)

In the meantime, here’s the cover and blurb:

On a bitterly cold January evening, Tracy Ellis went for a jog along Chicago’s snowy lakefront and disappeared.  Her body was discovered days later, her beautiful face bashed in with a rock.  Police determine her brutal death to be a mugging gone wrong and drop the matter into their cold case files.
Over a year later, Tracy’s sister, Sondra, still can’t come to grips with what happened.  She throws herself into her work as a documentary filmmaker to try and forget the cruelty of her sister’s death.  However, a chance encounter with a man from Tracy’s past rips the wound open and sends Sondra on a desperate search for answers about the secrets from her sister’s life that may have led to her death.
As Sondra struggles to uncover what happened to Tracy, she’s launched into a tangled web of deceit and danger that put her on a collision course with life and death…
More details to come!!