Tag Archive | Caleb Morley

A lonely birthday marred by murder of my favorite soap opera character

The bar at Ashfield Lakehouse (winter snowmobilers, but a similar crowd)

The bar at Ashfield Lakehouse (winter snowmobilers, but a similar crowd)

It’s not often a man strikes up a conversation with me in a bar, but then it’s not often that I find myself alone at a bar in a strange town where I know no one.* New York City doesn’t count—I met my husband at a bar there over 40 years ago, Max’s Kansas City, to be specific. And when I’m in Manhattan for the day, I sometimes treat myself to a libation in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel or the Marriott Marquis before heading back to Penn Station. But those are elegant upscale establishments with overpriced cocktails and comfy upholstered chairs that invite lounging, so they don’t count.

The Ashfield Lakehouse, on the other hand, is the quintessential blue-collar pub, and the man who asked me about the book I was reading at the bar when I took refuge from the storm was a perfect match for the place—middle-aged and moderately paunchy, with curly brown hair and a ruddy complexion suggestive of Irish origin. I’m not sure he was actually hitting on me. Perhaps he was just being friendly. But when he told me that like Abraham Lincoln, he had kind of an evil side, I decided it was time to settle my tab and make tracks back to Wellspring House, where I’d gone for a writer’s retreat week.

Whatever his intentions, I’ll admit I was flattered, especially since my seventy-fourth birthday was just hours away.

Robb and his motorcycle

Robb and his motorcycle

Back in my room, when I logged back online, I found a Facebook message from my husband wishing me an early Happy Birthday. I poured myself a nightcap, settled into bed with Abe the vampire hunter, and read myself to sleep.

Friday was the first birthday I can recall spending alone in over forty years, and the first day my voluntary solitude weighed heavily on my mood. The dozens of birthday greetings from friends on Facebook brightened the day enormously, but I missed Robb, and I longed to hang out in my garden with my dog Sirius and my cat Lunesta.

Although I had no access to television, I knew Friday’s General Hospital would end in a cliffhanger, and it was hard to focus on my writing. Would they really kill Silas Clay? I thought it more likely that they’d string out the suspense until the next week, maybe close with a pointed gun or an off-screen scream. But no, by 3:00pm the reports started flooding Facebook—he was dead, lying face-down on the floor, stabbed in the back. The only cliffhanger was the mystery of who had murdered him.

Silas Clay, stabbed in the back on my birthday!

Silas Clay, stabbed in the back on my birthday!

At first I felt surprisingly calm. After all, the rumors of the murder had been flying all week. But as I surfed through the messages pouring in, the sorrow was contagious. Women were crying nonstop, some for hours. One had vomited, another fainted. Many swore they would never again watch General Hospital. Like me, many had watched Michael Easton since he played the vampire Caleb Morley on Port Charles, then Lieutenant John McBain on One Life to Live and GH, then Dr. Silas Clay on GH. Fourteen years in all—it was like losing a member of the family, a close friend, a fantasy lover.

Elmer's (photo by Peacebear222)

Elmer’s (photo by Peacebear222)

I drank some wine, went for a swim, then headed to Elmer’s for a solitary birthday dinner. The place was crowded, though with a clientele very different from the Lakehouse. More upscale, dressed in country chic, speaking quietly with their partners—and virtually everyone seemed paired off with a partner. I was glad I’d be checking out the next morning.

I began this post as an exploration of my writing experience at a retreat house, and how it compares to the experience of writing at home in my own office. But I veered off on a tangent—much the way my writing got derailed by a drama being played out across the country in a Hollywood studio.

So in conclusion, I’d say I didn’t give the retreat experiment a fair trial; thus the results can’t be considered valid. If I ever decide to repeat the experiment, first I’ll treat myself to a computer or tablet equipped solely with a word processing program—one that doesn’t connect to the Internet.

*This is a continuation of the saga I began last time, in the post dated August 10th. If you missed it, I recommend you read that one first so you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Michael Easton Leaving General Hospital

Michael Easton at Comic Con 2015. Thanks to Taylor Rose for permission to use this great photo!

Michael Easton at Comic Con 2015. Thanks to Taylor Rose for permission to use this great photo!

GH Fan Fantasy Auction. Laura Wright is auctioning off Michael's book while Maura West hugs him and Lisa Del Cicero reacts

GH Fan Fantasy Auction. Laura Wright is auctioning off Michael’s book while Maura West hugs him and Lisa Del Cicero reacts

Michael as Caleb Morley on Port Charles

Michael as Caleb Morley on Port Charles

Michael as Dr. Silas Clay with Ava's baby, January 2015

Michael as Dr. Silas Clay with Ava’s baby, January 2015

 

It’s official: Michael Easton is leaving General Hospital. Rumors have been flying recently, but yesterday his departure was confirmed by official sources. Reportedly he wrapped shooting at the end of June and in all probability his character, Dr. Silas Clay, will soon be murdered. I’ve got lots to say, but for now, I’m just going to share a few favorite photos.

Me and Michael at Fan Fantasy day, April 2014

Me and Michael at Fan Fantasy day, April 2014

First Editions, Final Sale: Eldercide and Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders

Eldercidefrontcover[1]Want an autographed first edition of Eldercide or Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders? I can get it for you wholesale! I have only a few dozen copies of each novel left, and I’m offering them for $12.00 apiece, or $20.00 for both. If you want more than two, each additional copy will also go for $10.00. Shipping and handling is additional.

I self-published both books with the print-on-demand company Virtualbookworm, and for now, they’re both available from Amazon at $14.95 each. You’re welcome to order them there, but I’m suspicious: many people have told me they ordered them, but my royalty checks have been pitifully few and far between. Soon I’ll be withdrawing these editions from Amazon and replacing them with new editions on Kindle and CreateSpace, to coincide with the launch of the new paranormal novel I’ve been blogging about.

Thanks to my fellow Michael Easton fan, Alison Armstrong, for inspiring this idea. Her vampire novel Revenance looks intriguing, and we agreed to trade books via good old-fashioned U.S. mail. She said she’d prefer I send the one with the character based on Michael. Sorry, I thought, I haven’t finished that one yet, but then I remembered: his Caleb Morley character was a major inspiration for Gabriel in Eldercide – a charismatic and charming serial killer with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. Below, I’m reprinting the segment of Chapter One that introduces Gabriel. He’s killed an elderly woman a few hours earlier, and Claire, the nursing supervisor for the home care agency providing live-in care for the woman, has just learned of the death.  I hope this excerpt intrigues you enough to buy a copy and read more about him!

 From Eldercide, Chapter One

Copyright 2008 Julie Lomoe

Across the lake, Gabriel squinted through the telescope. Claire Lindstrom sprawled motionless on the chaise, her head turned toward the morning sun. Her wavy blond hair curtained her face from view. Too bad – he’d have liked to see her expression. When she’d made the call, her back had been turned. He felt a flash of anger. Watching was part of what made his work worthwhile, and she was depriving him of the pleasure.

The scene was deceptively idyllic, like a watercolor on the cover of an L.L. Bean catalog. The slender blonde in a turquoise tee and khaki shorts stretched on the forest green, Adirondack-style chaise, her skin still summer tanned. The big dog, its hair a shade lighter than Claire’s, lying nearby on the lawn that swept down to the water. The kayak, a nifty accent in fire engine red, pulled up on the beach, the lake sparkling in the morning sun, encircled by deep green hills.

Maybe he should start painting again. He’d taken a couple of courses in college, and the instructor had told him he had talent worth pursuing. The network kept him fairly busy, but although the number of assignments was increasing, there were still stretches of inactivity. And painting might bleed off some of the nervous energy he felt when he’d successfully completed a mission. 

Last night, for example. The old lady’s death had progressed perfectly, exactly as planned. He had shone the flashlight full into her face, watched the confusion, the slow dawning of comprehension segueing into terror, the creeping paralysis as the drug took hold. Even after the breathing stopped, the eyes clung desperately to life. It was hard to pinpoint the exact moment she crossed over, but he kept the light focused on her face for a full five minutes as he watched the life glow fade from her eyes. Then, still wearing the latex gloves, he closed her lids.

Death by paralysis had to be ghastly, but at least the suffering was short-lived, infinitely superior to the endlessly prolonged agony and degradation that modern medicine inflicted on the chronically and terminally ill. He’d had his fill of that in the nursing career he’d abandoned.  

The new affiliation had come as a godsend, and the money wasn’t half bad. But the role they’d cast him in was too limited, too predictable. The powers that be had cautioned him to follow their protocol precisely. No room for creativity or improvisation. He was just a cog in a much larger machine. But that could change with time. If he played by their rules, they promised, the potential for advancement was virtually limitless.

He watched through the scope as Claire climbed off the chaise. She raked her fingers through her hair, daubed at her eyes. He caught a glimpse of her elegant features before she turned and headed for the house. Before long she would probably be at Harriet Gardener’s place. He wished he could join her there, savor her reaction. But that was out of the question. 

He’d called in his report hours ago, and a day of enforced idleness yawned in front of him. All at once he knew how to spend it: he would drive to New York City, pick up some supplies at that discount art supply store in SoHo. Pearl Paint, on Canal Street, near Chinatown. He’d be down and back before nightfall, and if they had a new assignment for him, they could always reach him on his cell.

He decided to buy oil paints. They had a squishy, sensuous feel that was more satisfying than acrylics. Cadmium red light would be perfect for the kayak, and it was good for mixing flesh tones, too. He wanted to do justice to Claire.

Caleb Port Charles promo 

 If you’d like to read more, e-mail me at julielomoe@nycap.rr.com and we can work out the details. I’ll be delighted to inscribe the books to you personally, and who knows – they may be worth more than ten or twelve dollars some day!

A real-life afternoon cliff hanger

Michael Easton as Lt. John McBain

Michael Easton as Lt. John McBain

The daytime drama surrounding ABC’s General Hospital has escalated since my last post, and I’m not talking about fictional plot lines. Instead some of my favorite actors are caught up in a real-life melodrama, replete with multiple rumors and cliff hangers, and no one seems to know how things will play out.

When ABC cancelled One Life to Live and its sister soap All My Children in 2011, an upstart company by the name of Prospect Park bought the rights to the soaps and their characters, intending to continue the programs in a new format that would be available only online. Some of the newly unemployed actors committed to the Prospect Park venture, but it ultimately fizzled. 

End of story, right? Not quite. Amazingly, like many a seemingly deceased character on daytime drama, Prospect Park came back to life –  with a vengeance and presumably a healthy transfusion of cash – and resurrected their plans to go ahead with OLTL and AMC. Meanwhile, ABC had transplanted some of the OLTL characters from the fictional town of Llanview, PA, to the fictional GH town of Port Charles, NY – the very town that spawned the vampires and vampire hunters of Port Charles, the General Hospital spin-off that folded a decade ago. But now PP is telling ABC that as of this month, GH can no longer use these characters – including John McBain, the Michael Easton character who inspired my novel.

Are you confused yet? I’m barely scratching the surface of the messy dispute between ABC and Prospect Park. In a futile effort to understand what’s going on, I’ve been slogging my way through a myriad of online sites, from fan groups to soap magazines, whiling away hours I should be devoting to finishing my novel. The plot came to a roiling boil last Friday when Michael Easton posted a message on his Facebook page advising fans not to bring birthday presents to the GH studio in California, since after February 8th, he will no longer be there. Instead of the Irish whiskey and other goodies they’ve been accustomed to bringing, he suggested they donate to the American Cancer Society.

Here’s Friday’s follow-up from Soap Opera Network:

 

Roger Howarth aka Todd Manning

Roger Howarth aka Todd Manning

“Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.

“‘General Hospital’ is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson

Kristin Alderson aka Starr Manning

Kristin Alderson aka Starr Manning

and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing its decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”

So how will ABC keep these actors on the show? There are lots of tried and true soap solutions. An actor can return as his own heretofore unknown identical twin, albeit with a different surname. He can turn out to be someone else entirely, someone who suffered from amnesia and created a new identity, only to learn that identity is totally phony, and who recovers and reclaims his original self. Or he can have dissociative identity disorder and be banished by one of his alter egos.

I’m betting John McBain will morph into the vampire Caleb Morley. Several newcomers to Port Charles are already convinced that’s who he is, including a teenage boy who’s accused him of murder and who may turn out to actually be his son.

I promise I’ll blog about something else one of these days, but for now I’m begging your indulgence as I pursue this obsession, the better to fuel my inspiration. When I’m in the throes of creativity, I tend to develop a one-track mind.  And now, back to my novel.

   

Out of the closet at last: my vampire soap novel!

Michael Easton as Caleb Morley

Michael Easton as Caleb Morley

True confessions time: my novel-in-progress is paranormal fan fiction, inspired by the ABC soap operas General Hospital, Port Charles and One Life to Live. Since I began it last spring, I’ve been keeping the subject a deep dark secret, because I was convinced it was so brilliant someone would steal it. Well now, somebody has – and the culprit is ABC. 

 Unbeknownst to me, the creators of General Hospital were thinking along similar lines. Michael Easton, who plays Lieutenant John McBain on GH, played the vampire Caleb Morley on Port Charles, a GH spinoff that was cancelled a decade ago. Kelly Monaco, the Dancing with the Stars finalist who plays Sam Morgan on GH, was Livvie, Caleb’s love and eventually his wife on Port Charles, which happens to be the name of the fictional New York town on General Hospital. What if Caleb Morley were somehow to return and take over the character of John McBain? And what if John and Sam, who already have great chemistry together, were to have a strong feeling of deja-vu? How would things play out?

General Hospital hasn’t taken things quite that far yet, but they’ve been talking about vampires for

Caleb and Livvie

Caleb and Livvie

the past couple of weeks, ever since Lucy Coe, a Port Charles alumna played by Lynn Herring, came back to town, took one look at John McBain and swore he was Caleb Morley. She tried driving a wooden stake through his heart but only managed to wound him in the shoulder, and he’s making a good recovery. Meanwhile, everyone thinks Lucy’s gone crazy, and they’re playing the story for laughs.

 

How will the new vampire plot line evolve? If head writer Ron Carlivati knows, he’s not telling, but the online fan sites are abuzz with gossip, and the Caleb/John- Livvie/Sam connection was even featured in TV Guide. Probably the fate of these characters depends to a great extent on fan feedback, which as of this writing seems to be running against the vampire theme.

TV Guide

TV Guide

I was devastated when I first learned of this new plot line. How dare ABC steal my paranormal thunder?  Was my novel dead in the water? Should I give up and scrap it entirely? I succumbed to gloom and doom for a day or so, then realized this turn of events could actually work to my advantage. The show’s ratings would probably go up, and the thousands of people who wouldn’t have cared about a long-defunct soap opera could well become my future readers.

No matter how the paranormal story line plays out on General Hospital, mine will be totally different – and, I hope, funnier and more outrageous. I’m still not giving away any details, but I’d damn well better finish the thing and get it up on Kindle before the end of February Sweeps.

Stay tuned for future episodes in my race against time. I welcome your comments, and I hope you’ll subscribe if you haven’t already. A special shout-out to the PC and GH fans I’ve been connecting with lately – your enthusiasm helps keep me going!

Michael Easton on General Hospital today. Yes, my tree is still up, but I've promised my husband I'll take it down tomorrow.

Michael Easton on General Hospital today. Yes, my tree is still up, but I’ve promised my husband I’ll take it down tomorrow.