Tag Archive | soap opera

Alison Armstrong and the Independent Creators Alliance FB group

alison-armstrong-with-michael-easton-roger-howarth-aug-2016

Roger Howarth, Alison Armstrong and Michael Easton last summer.

Alison Armstrong is a gifted author I met through online fan groups for Michael Easton, the General Hospital actor who inspired my vampire soap opera thriller Hope Dawns Eternal. Alison and I met in person at a GH fan event in New Jersey in 2014. This morning she’ll be meeting Michael and his GH buddy Roger Howarth at another event in New Jersey. Since I couldn’t afford the trip this time around, I sent Alison a copy of Hope Dawns Eternal in hopes that she can hand it to him directly, along with a letter and a couple of poems I hope he’ll enjoy.

Back on October 8, 2016, Alison and I both participated at an Indie Authors Day held at libraries nationwide. Soon after, at my request, she sent me the following post about the event:

Having attended an Indie Book Fair recently as an author, I learned some valuable information regarding marketing and distribution; however, the overall message of the advice left me feeling disheartened regarding the arbitrary standardization of the publishing industry and upset about the commoditization of the arts in general.  Instead of focusing on creativity and literary talent, the speakers at the book event emphasized orthodoxy in page design (justified text, avoidance of stylistic content-driven page and paragraph breaks, etc.) .

Although I support the importance of proper grammar and punctuation and feel that these aspects, along with originality in content, expression, and style, are essential in quality writing, I do not believe that standardization of font, margins, and other traditional publishing practices should be given such a high priority.  Nevertheless, despite the increasing numbers of indie authors, the publishing industry persists in perpetuating typographic conventions that are usually not used in Word or other common writing programs.  In so doing, the publishing industry imposes an arbitrary standard to differentiate between traditionally published and print-on-demand authors so that the “indie” writers may feel pressured into purchasing services to make their work appear more like traditional published materials, thereby making their work less independent, more restricted by financial concerns.   Along with the standardization of text format , book publishers seem to be promoting an increasingly conventional approach to cover design, resulting in a glut of covers featuring monotonously similar figurative clichés associated with the book’s genre,  such as the faceless torsos displayed like slabs of cosmetically enhanced meat on the covers of lurid romance novels.

The arts in general, especially in the United States, are generally viewed in a similar way as those hunky yet generic slabs of flesh, something to readily consume as entertainment or profit from.  Favoring the familiar, the already established, the tried and true moneymakers,  publishing companies, recording companies, and movie studios sign fewer new authors, musicians, and filmmakers.  The newbies and the “indies,” therefore, seek new ways of gaining exposure for their work.  However, as with the “indie” book fair example, even some resources and organizations presuming to work on behalf of the independent artists devalue certain aspects of individualistic expression.

Independent authors, musicians, artists and filmmakers represent a challenge to the financially-driven industries that struggle to maintain a monopoly on the arts by propagating lookalike, superficially pleasing but often substanceless clones. The literary renegades, such as William Burroughs and J. G. Ballard, the ravaged voices of Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith, these muses of rebellion and individuality epitomize the freedom, intensity, and expressive potential of the independent, creative spirit.  

Inspired by artists such as these, I have created the Independent Creators Alliance group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/269464480120915/ ). I invite creators in any of the arts to join in solidarity, supporting each other and the ideal of artistic freedom. I envision this group as a place to express our ideas regarding the arts and integrity to our vision while connecting with other creative people. It can be a place to network, brainstorm ideas, share sources of inspiration, and collaborate perhaps on projects. In these rather depressing times, we need the arts more than ever to heal the soul.

alison-armstrong-indie-book-fair-10-8-16

Alison Armstrong at Indie Book Fair last October.

Alison makes some provocative points that are deserving of further discussion. I’ve joined her Independent Creators Alliance group on Facebook, and I hope you will too. And by all means check out her books Revenance and Toxicosis, both available on Amazon. But don’t confuse her with the other Alison Armstrong, who writes books about how women can please and communicate better with men. That’s definitely the wrong Alison!

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.