Sunday, April 28, 2013

Five Suspense Novels That Inspire Me

I ran across an interesting little feature the other day on “The Daily Beast.”  The “Queen of Suspense,” Mary Higgins Clark, was asked what she thought were the five best suspense books of all time.  It got me thinking about what suspense books have inspired me in my writing.  Besides that, they’re just damn good books.

So, here are Five Suspense Novels That Inspire Me:

*The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich
No one knew who she was, where she came from, or why she had entered their lives. All they really knew about her was that she possessed a terrifying beauty-and that each time she appeared, a man died horribly. . .

What’s interesting about this story is that it is essentially about a female serial killer.  She’s more or less driven to kill by love – albeit in a twisted way, which is somewhat unusual for a serial killer.  Julie, the main character, is left a widow on her wedding day when her husband is gunned down on the church steps and in her grief, she methodically tracks down the men responsible, and murders them one by one.  You find yourself gasping more than once as the murders become more creative (and gruesome).  Julie is also a bit of a gray character – you know she’s doing terrible things, yet you kind of don’t want her to get caught.  To me, this book also shows the importance of understanding your character’s motivations beyond good or bad, black or white.       

Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret – a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

I was in junior high when I read this and I remember being terrified and fascinated all at once.  I’m sure at 14, I didn’t get the feminist subtext or the skewering of a male chauvinist society.  I do know I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  The “Stepford Wives” is a deft blend of psychological suspense, horror – even a little bit of science fiction – and I was left more than a little shaken when I finished.  It also resonated with me that it’s not a happy ending.  Doesn’t that always make things a little scarier?

The Collector by John Fowles
Hailed as the first modern psychological thriller, The Collector is the internationally bestselling novel that catapulted John Fowles into the front rank of contemporary novelists. This tale of obsessive love – the story of a lonely clerk who collects butterflies and of the beautiful young art student who is his ultimate quarry – remains unparalleled in its power to startle and mesmerize.

I mean, what can you say about “The Collector?”  It’s just brilliant.  The beautiful but doomed Miranda is captured like one of the butterflies the creepy, reserved Frederick, is so fond of collecting.  This book is not only a study in psychological terror, it is an examination of the class system in Britain.  I was truly shocked by the ending and much like the “Stepford Wives,” it taught me that not every mystery book has to have a nice, neat little finale.

The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark
A minor road accident landed county prosecutor Katie DeMaio in Westlake Hospital. That night, from her window, she thought she saw a man load a woman's body into the trunk of a car...or was it just a sleeping pill induced nightmare?

This book really did wig me out when I first read it.  It’s creepy, it’s relentless and worst of all (best of all?) you could really see something like this happening, which is perhaps, the best form of terror.  I loved how Clark took the reader inside the killer’s head, showing scenes from his and the protagonist’s viewpoint in alternating chapters.  I think it stands out as one of Clark’s best (though “Where Are the Children?” is a close runner-up.) 

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
One of the great crime novels of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith's “The Talented Mr. Ripley” is a blend of the narrative subtlety of Henry James and the self-reflexive irony of Vladimir Nabokov. Like the best modernist fiction, Ripley works on two levels. First, it is the story of a young man, Tom Ripley, whose nihilistic tendencies lead him on a deadly passage across Europe. On another level, the novel is a commentary on fiction-making and techniques of narrative persuasion. Like Humbert Humbert, Tom Ripley seduces readers into empathizing with him even as his actions defy all moral standards.

A master (mistress?) of suspense, Patricia Highsmith elevates murder to an art form in this character study of the charming sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.  This book is violent, absorbing and cunning and the dark twists and turns continually leave you shocked.  It is a sterling example of how character drives plot, and a departure from the “typical” suspense books in that Ripley is never caught, though he comes perilously close several times.  Stunning.     

*Book descriptions are from Amazon, cover images from Wikipedia

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Would Goldie Hawn Do?

A couple of years ago, I was watching a “Biography” on Cher, who, let’s all say it together now, is pretty fucking awesome.  Anyway, no show about Cher would be complete without an examination of her Oscar-winning role in “Moonstruck.”  “Moonstruck” was distributed by the same studio that produced the Goldie Hawn rom-com, “Overboard.”  As the story was told in this “Biography” special, the studio released both films at the same time, but put its money and promotional push behind “Overboard,” because it didn’t think “Moonstruck had any commercial potential and would probably die a quick death.


“Moonstruck” became a sleeper hit, spurred by – you guessed it – word-of-mouth and went on to gross over $80 million at the box office, while “Overboard” earned $26 million.  “Moonstruck” was nominated for six Oscars and won three (including Cher as “Best Actress”) and is considered a classic movie, making numerous “Best Of” lists over the years. 

So why did “Moonstruck,” which got no support from the mothership, do so much better than “Overboard,” which did?  Obviously, “Moonstruck” just resonated with audiences in a way “Overboard” didn’t. 

Even when all things aren't equal,
what makes one movie succeed over another?
(Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia)

Did “Overboard’s” lack of commercial success keep Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell from making more movies?  Of course not.  If it had, it might have robbed us of her terrific performance in “The First Wives Club,” or his turn in “Breakdown,” a fantastic thriller with lots of mystery and heart-stopping moments.  They could have tucked tail and gone home after “Overboard,” meaning we would have missed out on the numerous other successful and critically-acclaimed movies they’ve made since.

Trying to forge a successful publishing career isn’t all that different than trying to make a successful movie—it’s hard.  You just never know what’s going to be a “hit.” I see a lot of indie authors get discouraged because their one book hasn’t scaled the bestseller lists.  So they give up.  Or it hasn’t brought publishers salivating to their door with six-figure contracts.  So they give up. They had a terrific KDP Select promotion and then their sales plummeted.  And so they give up.  The book isn’t getting reviews.  So they give up.

Whenever I hear and see these stories about an author ready to throw in the towel because none of the above have happened or wondering why nothing is moving the needle for their book, I always wonder 1) if they’re writing the next book and 2) what other promotional efforts they’re cultivating beyond total reliance on KDP Select Free Days.  Are they doing guest blog posts?  Building relationships with book bloggers for reviews?  Taking advantage of the countless opportunities offered by book blogs for free author interviews?  These are just a few things off the top of my head – there are certainly lots of other creative ways out there to help get you and your books noticed.

Publishing is hard –no one ever said it wasn’t.  It’s even harder when you’re going the road alone and are confined to a shoestring budget (or even a no-string budget) and have to do everything yourself.  What you can’t do is decide because your one book hasn’t made you the next publishing phenom, that you should give up.  If movie producers got discouraged because one movie didn’t do what they hoped, there would never be any movies.  Then what would we do when we’re supposed to be writing?

You have to keep writing and keep looking for ways to break through and find your readership.  It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight.  It might not happen until the third, fourth, fifth, even tenth book.   But keep at it and it will.

Speaking of, back to writing.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meet my eBook Cover Designer, Torrie Cooney!

Meet eBook Cover Designer Ninja, Torrie Cooney!
Hardly a week goes by without someone reaching out to me to compliment the covers for Live and Let Die and the forthcoming, Sweet Little Lies.” I can’t take any of the credit. My bad-ass Ninja cover designer, Torrie Cooney, is the brains and talent behind my cover operations.

We can try and deny it, but the truth is, we DO judge a book by its cover. This is becoming particularly prevalent as indie/self-published books take on more prominence. As an indie author, the last thing you want is a book cover that screams “self-published,” i.e. amateurish at best, laughably bad at worst. The potential reader figures, “Well, the cover looks like crap, so the book is probably crap, too.”And they’re moving on to the book with the professional looking cover.

When I arrived at the “cover design” phase of “Live and Let Die,” I had the option of doing it myself (speaking of laughter, I just laughed so hard at that thought, I fell out of my chair) or finding a designer.

I know my limitations, so choice B it was.

I hunted high and low for an E-book cover designer. I either wasn’t crazy about their work, they never responded to my email requests for a price quote and other assorted questions or they were way out of my price range. Compounding my issue, I wanted a designer that would not only help me realize the vision I had for the cover of “Live and Let Die,” but someone who could help me brand subsequent titles; while my books are standalone and not a series, I still wanted the covers to be recognizable as a “Bianca Sloane book.”

An answer to my prayers came when I discovered Torrie getting big ups on the Amazon forums for her work. I loved her samples, her prices were amazing and she got back to me right away, answering all of my nagging questions.

Awesome out of the gate.

I’ve asked Torrie to share her insights on designing book covers (and also so I can lavish praise upon her) and what authors should expect during the design process.

First, let me say, you did an amazing job on my covers for "Live and Let Die," and "Sweet Little Lies." They're both beautiful.
Thank you! I really enjoyed working with you on both those projects.

What's your design background?
Art has always been a part of my life. My mom sold western/wildlife art at bazaars and in small shops. My dad was very talented in leatherwork. I began drawing/creating things at a very early age... but like I say in the "Meet Torrie" section on my blog, I'm a graphic designer/photographer trapped in a self-taught computer geek's body. Meaning, unless you count a short day course on creating eye-catching advertisements and a couple of basic drawing classes during my one year in college, I have no formal design education.
I was lucky enough to use some of my creativity at a former workplace by designing logos, creating print advertisements and publishing a small newsletter, but I continue to push myself to learn new things on my own, just because I truly enjoy it.

What made you decide to start designing eBook covers?
A good friend of mine, who recently began self-publishing, suggested it and one thing led to another...

Torrie can design, "To Be Revealed" covers to whet readers' appetite
Do you specialize in a genre and if not, is it difficult to "switch gears?"
No specific genre, yet.  It seems that I will pretty much tackle anything you can throw at me, which, so far, I have found to be a fun and interesting challenge. I think the process of starting a cover design, gathering the information and searching through stock images (and creating the right music playlist, of course), sets the mood easily enough that I usually don't have a problem changing directions.

What information should authors have when they approach you to design their covers?
This list seems to grow as I go along... but a good start is the blurb or a plot synopsis to get a feel for the mood they want the cover to set. From there, elements they would like to see included and those they want to avoid (such as defining elements like hair color, eye color, etc.) colors, likes and dislikes. Providing me with stock images they like the look of is also helpful, although I may not be able to use it. Although I may not be able to use a particular image, it gives me a good idea of what to look for. And on the technical side, what sites they plan to publish on in order for me to provide the correct size/dimensions.

On average, how long does it take for you to design a cover?
Depending on my current workload, it can take me up to a week to get started on the design. Once I begin, usually two days to come up with initial design ideas. From there, it varies with how many revisions an author requests (which, at this time, are unlimited until a final design is accepted.)

What's your price point?
So far, the most popular cover is the single image eBook cover which I currently have priced at $40, plus the cost of the stock images (usually between $5-$20). In addition to eBook covers, I do offer paperback design packages, all of which can be found in the "Pricing" tab on my blog.

What should authors keep in mind during the design process?
We can't read minds... and I'm not sure I would want to – mine is scary enough. The more information I get as to why a design is or isn't going in the right direction, the easier it is for me to find a design that works.

If you ever feel an author is going down the wrong path with the design they want, will you try and steer them in another direction?
I struggle with this. Authors put a lot of time and energy into the pages that are going to be behind the cover.  Novels, whose characters are part of their daily lives, autobiographies where the story IS their life or how-to's that require extensive research and organization of thoughts. The ideas they have in regards to the design may have been forming in their mind for a very long time before they contact me. I try to be respectful of that. I will, however, give my opinion on why I think something works better over something else.

Torrie also has pre-made eBook cover designs available
What's been the most challenging part of designing eBook covers?
When what I visualize for a design doesn't match what the author has in mind. Trying to figure out what they are seeing in their head instead of what I see in my own.

What's the biggest mistake authors make with the design or "vision" of their covers?
Probably being too literal. While the genre may have a particular style, as a reader, I don't need to see Professor Plum with the candlestick in the study to know I'm reading a murder mystery, nor do I WANT to see all of that... because there goes the mystery!

I think setting a certain mood, and possibly introducing a key element that makes a reader say, "Hey, I wonder what that's about?" is more important than trying to sum up the plot with a cover image. If the cover can pique enough interest for a reader to pick up the book (or click your thumbnail) then you have your blurb to tell them more and REALLY suck them in. :)

Do authors have misconceptions about their cover design?
So far, I've noticed that getting hung up on something specific can rule out a lot of good possibilities in a design. When searching for stock images that are in the $5-$20 range, it can be challenging to find an image that sets the right mood and still meets all of the requirements an author is looking for. "The image is perfect, but can we make her hat different?" Sometimes, sacrificing a small detail can make a positive difference in overall design.

What's the most fun part for you about designing book covers?
When a design starts to "work." It's not just one or two images sitting on the screen with some text; it's a whole design that works together. Sometimes, it goes in a direction that I didn't even expect; some are crazy bad and others make me stand up and do a happy dance.

Next to that, is working with the authors. Getting to interact with such a variety of people and personalities, some from other countries, has been a lot of fun. Even though I'm happy when we finally come up with a final design, sometimes, I'm sad when it's over!

What's the No. 1 piece of advice you would give an author about how to approach the design process?
Keep an open mind. Clear direction is key, but being too constrictive or specific can limit the possibilities.

Anything you would like to add?
I love that indie authors have these resources to self-publish and get their work out there. My good friend, mentioned above, keeps telling me it is all very much learn-as-you-go.  It's so true. These are just a few observations I have made in the short time I have been working with authors and if any of it can help the process go smoother, that's great.  But I don't believe there is a right or a wrong way; I learn new things from each person who contacts me.

And of course, thanks, Bianca, for asking me to be a guest on your blog! Looking forward to working with you again in the future.

Me too! In fact, I have a couple of covers I need to talk to you about...

For more information about Torrie, or to contact her for an eBook cover design, visit her blog at

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sneak Peek - "Sweet Little Lies" - Chapter 2

It’s getting closer; the release of my next book, “Sweet Little Lies.”  It’s been a long road and I am very excited about its impending debut.  Stay tuned for more information on an official release date.  

In the meantime, click here for a sneak peek of Chapter 1 and check out the first look at Chapter 2* below.

          What would you do if you found out your husband had been unfaithful?
            Divorce him? Take him back?

        Kill him?

        Mark Monroe becomes the victim of option “C” after his wife, Kelly, discovers evidence of an illicit affair and stabs him to death.  In a panic, she flees, deciding she will turn herself in the next day.

         But before she can, Kelly learns devastating secrets about her husband and starts a frantic mission to unravel the mystery of the man she married and
murdered—all while trying to stay one step ahead of a dogged police detective determined to bring her to justice.

The Confrontation...
            She heard the door open.  Slowly, her lids lifted as she waited for Mark.  He closed the door and she heard him drop his keys.
            “Kelly! Kelly, baby, where are you?”
          She continued to sip her wine, not saying anything.  He came running into the kitchen, sweaty panic smeared across his face.  When he appeared, Kelly’s heart stopped.  She could never get over how fine he was.  All caramel-colored goodness with deep, chocolate brown eyes, perfect white teeth and a lean, taut body.  And he always smelled amazing, a sensual combination of Ivory soap, the cocoa butter he’d used religiously for years and the faintest hint of Obsession cologne. 
            Be strong girl, this is no time to get caught up.  
         “Baby, it’s not what you think—”
           “Don’t bother, Mark,” she said as she picked up her wine glass.  “I already know.  You’ve been fucking some skank behind my back.”
            “It’s not like that.  Just let me explain.”
             She looked up at him. “Don’t.  Don’t say one goddamned word.  You can tell everything to my lawyer.” 
            “Kelly, please look at me,” Mark said, pleading.  She took a long swallow from her wine glass.  She put the glass back down and looked at him.
              “As you can see, I’ve already packed your things.  I would appreciate it if you would get out of my house.  Now.”
              “Baby, this is our house—”
              “The minute you brought your dirty business into our bedroom, this stopped being our house.  Now leave.”
               He shook his head. “Not until you let me explain—”
               She cut him off.  “I told you, I don’t want to know who she is, or how long—I don’t even know why you brought your dirty ass trick up into my house and fucked her in my bed.” Kelly’s hand dropped down on the table.  “No, all I want is for you to get the out of my house—and make no mistake, Mark—this is my house and I want you out of it.”
              She picked up the wine glass again, wanting to drink this whole thing away.  Mark licked his lips.
             “Just let me explain—”
             “Explain what?  ‘Oh, baby, she doesn’t mean anything to me—” Kelly stopped.  “It is a she, isn’t it?”
             Mark shrank back, stunned.  “Oh, my god, Kelly.  I can’t believe you would say that.”
          Kelly plunked the wine glass down so fast, the liquid sloshed over the rim, angry as she was it seemed.  “Don’t say what?  That you’re a disgusting liar?  A pig?  That I’m sorry I wasted three years being married to you?”
          His eyes glittered with tears. “You don’t mean that.”
             Kelly put her hand on her temple and closed her eyes.  “You know what Mark?  Shut up.  Just shut up.”  She opened her eyes and looked up at him.  “There’s nothing you can say.  It’s over.”
          He shook his head emphatically.  “No, no, no.  It will never be over with us.  We belong together.”
          Kelly snorted. “Please, Mark.  I don’t mean shit to you, you’ve shown me that.”
           She picked up her wine glass and took another long swallow.
           “Come on, Kel, talk to me.”
               “Shut up, Mark.”
               “I swear, if you’ll just let me explain—” he tried again.
            She could take it no more.  She slammed the wine glass onto the ceramic tile floor.  Mark jumped back as bits of glass jumped up and went flying everywhere. 
            “Don’t you fucking explain anything to me!  Our whole life together has been a lie!”  She felt the tears again and struggled to stop from shaking.  “How could you do this?” she whispered, looking him square in the eye.  “How could you be with some other woman, and then come home and tell me how happy I made you, how I meant the world to you, then make love to me?”  Kelly couldn’t stop the torrent of words from tumbling out of her mouth and now her head was starting to hurt.  Why wouldn’t he just leave?
              “Was it just one woman, Mark?  Multiple women?  Just in Chicago, or do you have a woman in every city?  God knows you travel enough.  How many times in our bed?”
            Mark held out his hand.  “Please, let’s go talk in the living room so you don’t hurt yourself.  There’s glass everywhere.  Come on.”
           “You don’t get to care about me anymore,” she sobbed. 
            He took a step towards her, and without even thinking, she grabbed a knife out of the knife block on the counter next to the wine bottle.  Maybe if she scared him, he’d leave.  Mark stopped short and held his hands up.
             “Mark, I swear to God…just get…the…fuck…OUT.”
             “Okay, I will, but first, baby, just put the knife down.  Please.”
             “You have no idea how much you’ve hurt me,” she bawled gripping the knife.  “You’re such a bastard,” she whispered through her tears.  Kelly closed her eyes, trying to contain the fury inside her.  She hated Mark so much right now.  Why wouldn’t he just leave her alone to feel sorry for herself and cry and grieve in private?
              She opened her eyes and saw he was still standing in front of her, a pained look on his face.  Kelly waved the knife in his direction.
              “Go,” she said.
              “Kel, please, come on, let’s go in the living room before one of us gets hurt.”
              She took a deep breath and shook her head, the black plastic handle of the knife sweaty in her palm.
              Mark swallowed and his own tears began their inevitable slide downward.  “I never wanted this to happen.  I was terrified this would happen,” he whispered.
              “Oh, I’ll bet you never wanted me to find out.  You’d have kept on screwing her if I hadn’t found out.”
               He shook his head. “No.  No!”
              “So what was today, one last screw for the road?”
               Mark pursed his lips and held out his hand again.  “No.”
               “Oh, planning to go at it again?  When, tomorrow?”
               “Just listen, for one minute, please.  If you let me explain—”
               Kelly waved the knife at him again. “I don’t want to talk to you.  Don’t you get it?  I just want to be left alone.”
               Almost as fast as it had come, the fight oozed out of her and all of a sudden, she felt tired.  Kelly placed the knife down on the butcher-block table in front of her, her hand resting on the handle.  She placed her other hand over her eyes and began to cry again.  She heard Mark coming toward her and not wanting to feel his hands on her flesh, she turned abruptly.
              “Mark, just leave me the hell alone!” she screamed as she swung around, the knife still in her hand.  
               It was like a dream.  No, more like a nightmare that would nestle deep within the recesses of her mind and play itself over and over again, like a DVD stuck on repeat.  She saw herself spin around in a kind of half arc to stop Mark’s advance towards her; he was closer to her than she realized.  How had she not realized how close he was?  And Mark—so determined to get her to listen to his lies, to charm her, sweet talk her into taking him back—walking into the knife.  They’d both gasped at the same time, locking eyes with each other at the moment of impact. Both their eyes glimmered with fear and shock. 
             She saw the blade slice into his stomach, felt the rip of his body as he came apart at her hand.  She yanked on the knife, trying to dislodge it from her husband, succeeding only in twisting it further into him. He grunted.  She wheezed.  His face coiled into a distorted mass of lines and circles.  She tried again.  Her hands were so slippery.  Soaked, in fact.  The handle swam in her hands.  She felt her feet shuffle a bit, knock into his.  They danced, him moving forward one step, she moving back a step.  They were welded together now, she unable to let go of the knife, and he unable to disengage from the cold, hard grip of the blade. 
             He groaned and closed his eyes, a soft hiss escaping his lips.  He looked at her again, tears and sweat sliding down his face.  He shook his head, just a little.
            He knew.
            And so did she. 
           “Kelly,” he whispered. 
*Published book may contain slightly different content from posted excerpts

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, “General Hospital!”

No April foolin’; “General Hospital” turns 50 years old today, marking so many TV milestones in the process, I can’t even keep count. 

In celebration of the show’s Golden Anniversary, SoapNet ran an old-school GH marathon over the weekend.   While I didn’t watch all 50 hours, I did watch a good chunk of it.  There were some great moments shown (Scotty catching the bouquet at Luke and Laura’s wedding, Frisco and Felicia’s wedding, B.J.’s Heart, the birth of Jason Morgan and of course, “Clink…boom”). 
However, in looking at the lineup of episodes, there were a lot of great moments from GH’s long and illustrious history that inexplicably didn’t make the cut.

So, in honor of GH turning 50 (just a year after being snatched from the jaws of cancelation, no less), here are some of my favorite moments and ones I selfishly think should have been included in the GH 50 Marathon:

Sean and Tiffany’s Wedding
O.M.G.  I laughed until I cried.  I laughed until I peed in my pants.  I laughed until my insides begged for mercy.  You have to figure when the dashing Sean marries the sophisticated Tiffany, elegance will abound.  Well almost.  Tiff had a little secret, which blew her carefully crafted chic persona out of the water.

I give you, Elsie Mae:


Lucy’s Red Dress
Mousy librarian turned scheming sexpot, Lucy Coe, always got what she wanted and in the late 80’s she wanted filthy rich doctor, Alan Quartermaine.  She planned and plotted and of course, she got her man.  She also got the honor of walking down the aisle in the reddest dress since Miss Scarlett crashed Ashley’s birthday party:


Tracy Withholds Edward’s Medication
Jane Elliot (Tracy Quartermaine) says she’s embarrassed that people like this scene so much.  It’s definitely disturbing and one of those seminal moments for the Tracy character.  I didn’t even see it when it first aired, but rather when it was re-run on the show several years later.  Try not to get the chills:


Frisco Comes Back from the Dead
I was a major Frisco and Felicia fan.  MAJOR.  Jack Wagner had me at “All I Need.”  J-Dubs wanted to leave GH for greener pastures, so Frisco was killed off (of course no body was found.  Of course.).  The Lady of His Heart, Felicia, moved on with Colton and lo and behold, who shows up on their wedding day but a not-so-dead Frisco.  He skulked around for weeks until finally, Felicia came face-to-face with her very much alive husband.


Faison Unmasked
Oh man.  This is a more recent event, but it was classic soap. Hell, it was classic everything.  Duke Lavery had also miraculously returned from the dead (this happens a lot in Port Charles) but was acting a little strange.  With good reason.  He wasn’t quite himself. 

Seriously, I think I fell off my couch when I saw this scene:

Anna and Duke Meet
One of my all-time favorite GH couples (or any show, really, daytime or primetime).  Off-the charts chemistry.  And couldn’t you just scoop up Ian Buchanan like ice cream?

Luke Sees Laura
Like I said, people come back from the dead a lot in Port Charles (Frisco, Robert, Luke, Anna, A.J., Robin, Duke, et al.)  Laura’s turn came after she disappeared from a shadowy pier and popped up like a year later.  She too skulked around Port Charles hiding from hubby Luke—something about murderous Cassadines being after her and she didn’t want to put Luke in danger, so she didn’t let him know she was alive.  Anyway, didn’t work; Luke spotted her and what followed was one of those OMG, edge-of-your seat, how-fricking-awesome-was-that moments.  I remember this like yesterday and if there had been a VCR in my house back then, this would have been replayed until the tape snapped.  Thank God for the Internet:


Edward Quartermaine’s Last Scene
Heartbreaking for so many reasons; because John Ingle, Edward’s portrayer, was dying in real life, because little Emma Drake is so stinking adorable, and because it was the circle of life: 

BONUS: Anna Holds Olivia Hostage
Oh, how I love Anna Devane.  No other words need to be said: