Tag Archive | John McBain

Michael Easton’s mysterious doctor Hamilton Finn

Michael Easton as Finn shooting up 4-8-16

Michael Easton as Hannibal Finn

It’s been two weeks since Michael Easton returned to General Hospital as the mysterious doctor Hamilton Finn—three episodes per week, for a grand total of six, and in half of them he’s been shown shooting up with some mysterious substance from a gigantic syringe. We don’t yet know the contents, but the phases he goes through from craving to semi-stoned satisfaction give him a wonderful opportunity to show off his acting chops, something he couldn’t do as the tightly controlled John McBain and Silas Clay.

Like most fans, I don’t believe he’s shooting up an illicit drug, at least not of the opioid variety, but it could well be something experimental he brought back from his travels in Australia and heaven knows where else, perhaps something derived from his “service lizard,” the bearded dragon Roxy that he’s keeping caged at the Metrocourt hotel.* He’s probably self-medicating in hopes of curing some exotic, potentially fatal disease.

michael-easton-hamilton-finn-lizard

Finn with his “service lizard,” the bearded dragon Roxy.

Fans are loving this latest reincarnation of Michael’s. He’s edgy, temperamental, quick to anger, with a sardonic sense of humor. Friday’s scene, when he was cajoling and shouting at Tracy to wake up following her brain surgery, was marvelous—she may have been near-comatose, virtually at death’s door, but how could she resist such a gorgeous doctor luring her back to life?

For me, this is by far the most fascinating character Michael has played since the late lamented vampire Caleb Morley on Port Charles. He’s already inspiring me to plunge back into Sunlight and Shadow, the sequel to my vampire soap opera novel Hope Dawns Eternal. My enthusiasm had flagged since they killed off Silas Clay last July 31st, which happened to be my birthday. But I’m eager to get back into the adventures of my Jonah McQuarry character, who’s just beginning to embrace his true identity as a vampire, and his lady love Abigail Hastings, who’s hiding more secrets than he can possibly imagine.

What are your theories about Dr. Hannibal Finn? Who is he, really? Why does he want to stay in Port Charles, and what characters will he become involved with? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if through his “service lizard,” he’s seeking a magical elixir that will give him eternal life? Then he’d be sure to stick around awhile.

Michael Easton as Finn brooding 4-8-16

*Thanks to Alison Armstrong for researching bearded dragons and posting an article from an Australian museum that states: “Recent research has indicated that Bearded Dragons possess primitive venom glands, the use of venom in dragon lizards is not yet understood, however a bite from this species should pose no long-term ill effect. The bite site should be cleaned with a mild disinfectant, as with any animal bite.” They rarely bite, however, but they do puff up their bodies, including the “beards” under their jaws, to appear more formidable to potential aggressors.

Please visit me at http://www.Amazon.com. Just type Julie Lomoe into the search box and all three of my books will come up: Hope Dawns Eternal, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, and Eldercide. I could really use some sales!

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

Soap Operas: Fifteen Unwritten Rules

HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL, my new paranormal soap opera thriller, is practically finished. I plan to have the final edit completed by my birthday, July 31st, and to make it available online in September, so it’s high time I start building some buzz about it.

Michael Easton as John McBain

Michael Easton as John McBain

My hero, Lieutenant Jonah McQuarry, is the narrator. With his years of experience as a soap character, he has an expert but often cynical take on the venerable traditions of daytime drama.

Here are fifteen of the conventions he talks about. While they’re not hard and fast rules, they occur more often than not. See what you think:

  1. When two friends or former spouses share a hug, usually in times of tension or grief, one of their significant others discovers them. That person may sneak away to brood in silence or may confront them openly, but either way, he or she refuses to believe it’s just a friendly hug.
  2. People don’t phone ahead to set up appointments or check whether someone is available. They prefer to drop in unexpectedly.
  3.  When someone knocks, those inside open the door without asking who it is, much less using an intercom or peephole.
    An exception occurs when there is no answer, the visitor barges in, and two people are caught in bed in flagrante delicto.
  4.  When a man and woman have spontaneous, unplanned sex, the woman gets pregnant.
  5. If the pregnancy is unwanted, it never ends in abortion. The woman may consider terminating the pregnancy and may even discuss it, but always decides to keep the fetus, which is always referred to as “the baby” even in the first few weeks.
  6. When two people are shown in a car, there will be a crash, usually resulting in a fatality or at least a life-threatening injury. It’s never just a fender bender.
  7. When people share confidential information with each other, they do so in a public place, and usually in perfectly audible voices. Preferred locations are parks, hallways, bars and restaurants. It follows that:
  8.  Someone is eavesdropping. That person will share the information in nefarious ways.
  9.  The people who shared the information will be flabbergasted that the news got out, and will usually blame each other for spilling the secret.
  10.  Anyone who shares a secret on condition that the other person swears never to tell another soul is delusional, because that person always confides it to someone else.
  11. People spend enormous amounts of time discussing and bringing each other up to date on the goings-on of everyone else.
  12. Many of these people have professional careers or run newspapers or corporations, but they are rarely shown at work, and they never let their responsibilities interfere with the more important business of discussing the other characters. Partial exceptions include cops, doctors, lawyers and others whose jobs impact directly on the plot.
  13. Those with no discernable jobs or income nevertheless live in lavish or at least comfortable living quarters.
  14. These living quarters are always immaculate and clutter-free, though the inhabitants are never shown cleaning house.
  15. Unless someone is shown actually dying, for example flat-lining in an intensive care unit, that person can never be considered unconditionally dead. Even flat-liners can sometimes be miraculously resurrected. At the very least, they can come back as ghosts.

Can you think of any soap opera conventions I’ve left out? Do you disagree with any of mine, or do you want to elaborate on them? Please leave me your comments. And please subscribe to this blog so as not to miss any exciting new developments as publication of HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL draws near.

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.

 

Soap Operas: tried and true plotting tricks

As I was agonizing over the plot of my new novel today, I took my customary two p.m.break to watch my favorite soap opera, One Life to Live, and it got me thinking about the recurring themes and conventions that drive the multiple story lines.

Some of these plot devices are so unrealistic and/or overused that they’d be unbelievable if used in a novel. But if the story line is engrossing enough, it’s possible to suspend disbelief.

Here are a few that come to mind about the denizens of Llanview, Pennsylvania:

  • People rarely phone ahead, preferring to drop in unannounced on the folks they want to talk to. Occasionally they knock, but they never wait for someone to open the door; they simply barge in.
  •  Invariably these visits interrupt something critically important: someone is about to confide a long suppressed secret or declare undying love, or a couple is discovered in bed, whether before, during or after sex. Sometimes the discovery results in a plot twist, but usually it’s just an excuse to extend the same theme for days, weeks or months without resolution.
  •  Comas and amnesia are amazingly common.
  •  People do a great deal of eavesdropping. This is a piece of cake, because the characters frequently deliver confidential tidbits in a normal tone of voice and in public places – bars, restaurants, hospital corridors, airports.
  •  People long thought to be dead come miraculously back to life. When a new actor is cast, the altered appearance is sometimes attributed to plastic surgery.
  •  Even when just getting out of bed, everyone is impeccably groomed, and like Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London, their hair is perfect.
  •  Men spend a lot of time parading around with their shirts off – at least the guys who have six-pack abs and obviously spend a lot of time at the gym. Their bodies are usually waxed and hairless. Those less fit or hairier have the good sense to keep their shirts on. Women stay relatively covered up, perhaps to avoid provoking jealousy in the primarily female audience.
  •  Men fall in love quickly and easily, are amazingly eager to get married and invest a great deal of emotional energy in fatherhood and questions of paternity. Currently, Brody Lovett (seen below) has kidnapped a baby that’s not even his, while John McBain (seen above), the true father, is in hot pursuit.
  •  People get married multiple times, often three or more times to the same person. But many wedding ceremonies are torpedoed by someone with a grudge to settle or a major plot twist to reveal just before the point of “I Do.”
  •  Many characters have high-level professions (mayor, newspaper editor/publisher, CEO of  a billion-dollar company) but are rarely or never seen at work. Police are an exception, since their work is more dramatic and impacts more directly on the unfolding plots. In addition to their primary professions, an amazing number own bars or restaurants, while those less fortunate wait tables or tend bar.
  •  The citizens of Llanview spend a great deal of time in said bars and restaurants, even in the middle of the day. Many secrets are spilled, and confrontations are frequent.

Speaking of bars and restaurants, it’s after five, and my interior clock tells me it’s time for a libation. No doubt I could come up with many more soap clichés – or perhaps you can add some of your own.

Sadly, ABC is canceling One Life to Live after a run of more than 40 years, and some of the featured actors have been around for almost that long. The network cites rising production costs, falling ratings, and changing viewers’ tastes as the reasons, and the last new show will be aired in January. OLTL’s hour slot will be filled by a show on health subjects, no doubt with a panel of obnoxiously cheery co-hosts along the lines of The View and The Chew, so I’ll be able to reclaim the hour that interrupts my creative flow just at my most productive time of day. (Yes, I could watch it at 9am or 9pm on the Soap Channel, but when there’s a real cliff hanger, I like to watch it ASAP.)

But all is not lost – a company by the name of Prospect Park plans to launch a new “Online Network” in January. They’ll feature all-new episodes, and reportedly many of the current actors have already signed contracts with them, including my favorite, Michael Easton, who plays John McBain.

By the way, my NaNoWriMo novel is coming along well. I’ve now passed the midpoint of 25,000 words, but I’m a couple of days behind. Stay tuned . . .