Ripped from the headlines

  • 6.13.18 We are officially old: Simon Le Bon is a Glamfather. Er, Grandfather


    Duran Duran fans, it’s official: We are old.
    How do I know this?
    Because — as had to happen eventually — Simon Le Bon became a grandfather on June 6.
    I figure there are stages in the life of teen fandom:

    You find the object of affection (OOA)
    You lust after OOA
    You write fanfic about OOA (OK, maybe that’s just me)
    OOA gets married and you mourn and then you try to pretend to be happy because he’s happy and Idon’tcarenotreallyanymoreIcanbemature
    While meeting OOA you realize, “He’s kind of a doofus,” which is endearing but makes all of ... continue

  • 5.22.18 How To Review Your Friend’s Book in 5 Easy Steps, and Why Authors Keep Asking You To


    A friend writes: “Someone close to me has self-published her book and asked me to write a review. I helped her with edits years ago, but haven’t read it since she published. It wasn’t really my style, but I was happy to help. I have no idea what to write for a review. We’re trying to sell books. I don’t think my review will do it. Any ideas?”
    I am so glad you asked this question. First of all, you’ve already done yeoman (yeowoman?) work in reading the thing in the first place, so you are already on the Good ... continue

  • 5.17.18 9 Ways I Know ‘Book Club’ Will Stink, Based on the Poster


    Last night, Dear Husband and I were talking about what we might do this weekend. (We still haven’t seen Black Panther, which is a stain on our character, and that is probably what will happen.) But then he brought up Book Club.
    I’m not sure if my eyes dropped out right then or a few seconds later, but my first thought was: He might be the only heterosexual male in the world to suggest that we go to this particular film. Then my second thought was, Oh, right, he likes Candice Bergen and Murphy Brown so OK.And then I ... continue

  • 5.13.18 How a musical called ‘Chess’ keeps making all the wrong moves after 34 years


    Chess is not a great musical. It is not even one of Tim Rice’s greatest musicals. But if you’ve ever heard “One Night in Bangkok” or “I Know Him So Well,” you know this: it’s got some pretty awesome 1980s-era pop music. And I love it dearly.

    How could I not? Along with Rice, the musical’s two other co-authors are members of ABBA (Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus), and based on the soundtrack – which was all I had to listen to for years, until a version came to Broadway – there was some terrific, pointed commentary on politics, greed, ... continue

  • 04.03.18 Farewell Steven Bochco, who knew TV audiences wanted to be ‘transported’


    He was the man behind Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law and Cop Rock. OK, nobody’s perfect. But Steven Bochco, who died of a rare form of leukemia on April 1 at age 74, bridged classic old TV procedurals with a new, edgy way of storytelling that was also hugely commercial.
    As I grew up, his name was synonymous with television — and damn good television at that. I spoke with him twice over the years, and he was never uninteresting. Below, excerpts from our chats where he talks about other classic TV guys like Stephen Cannell and Grant ... continue

  • 3.31.18 Shiny, Happy, Drunken People … and a Dash of Racism


    Surely, no one wants to read about my first cruise. But if you do, then you are totally in the right place.
    This is a long one, so settle in, won’tcha? Also, here’s a shortcut to a few high- and low-lights:
    The Ugly
    In Conclusion
    Ah, cruising.
    When I was a kid, my parents went on a cruise. They did not take their kids: we were left in the care of my then-kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Casey, and I had the best week ever by not going on a cruise. She was awesome. This says things ... continue

  • 3.07.18 My grandmother was the president of my fan club


    I always knew my grandmother loved me. We called her Buddie, because I wouldn’t or couldn’t say “Bubbie” and it just stuck. But there was never a question that she was on my side and would have thrown herself in front of an oncoming train if it meant saving my life.
    Turns out she was also my memory-keeper and president of my fan club. I don’t even know when I got my braces, my driver’s license or (gasp) my period, but she was taking notes. Literally.
    My mom (her daughter) was moving house recently and had to discard a lot ... continue

  • 12.31.17 Arisia 2018 Schedule


    Come find me at Arisia in Boston over MLK Weekend in 2018! Here’s my schedule:
    Friday, Jan. 12, 11:30pm – 12:45am (Bulfinch)
    Author’s Late-Night Writer’s Cafe
    Night owls … is the Muse talking, but you can’t go back to your room? Bring your laptops and tap away at your keys, building wonderful worlds and heart-wrenching characters, hanging out with other writers until the wee hours of the morning, unworried about whether your mumbled dialogue or computer’s blue screen is keeping your roomies awake. Bring your own extension cords! Note: This is a writer decompress event; come prepared for some inspiration ... continue

  • 11.20.17 Answers to Award Season Stupid Questions: Kenneth Branagh orients us about Hercule Poirot’s mustache


    One of the more wonderful aspects of award season is I get to ask all of the weird questions of directors, writers, producers and sometimes actors about things that often have nothing to do with the reason I got them on the phone. Here’s the first in what I’m hoping will be an ongoing series as I get answers to all the dumb questions.
    Hercule Poirot’s Gigantic Mustache (Murder on the Orient Express)
    Now, if you know Poirot, he’s the greatest detective ever and knows it, yet is not obnoxiously egocentric. Howeve,r he is vain … and his fussy, oversized ... continue

  • 11.10.17 Fame, Fortune and Fifteen (Dollars)


    Excitement! Fame! Fortune!
    OK, well, mostly just excitement. And “fame” if you don’t mind it in quotation marks. And fortune … well, if $15 counts.
    But I’ll take it!
    A couple quick updates I wanted to share with y’all, so no one can say they are not in the loop.

    I’m No. 2! I’m No. 2!
    My story, “Can’t Keep a Dead Man Down” was one of the first stories Astounding Outpost published in early October, and as per their rules, at the end of the month they a) compiled all the stories (the theme was zombies) into a ... continue