Lisa Borders is the author of two novels, The Fifty-First State (Engine Books, 2013) and Cloud Cuckoo Land, the winner of River City Publishing’s Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Cloud Cuckoo Land also received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Lisa lives in the Boston area and teaches at Grub Street, where she leads the Novel Generator program. Find out more about her work at www.lisaborders.com.

On Hope and Hillary
by Lisa Borders

All of my life, I have been told I talked too much, too loudly, had too many opinions and should keep them to myself. The grammar school bullies taunted me for being “smart” and using “big words” – while the boy who was my chief academic rival was popular, admired.hcknown
In almost every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been told at some point that I came on too strong, or was too aggressive, or too emotional. I’ve been accused of not being a team player because I advocated for myself the way a man would. It wears us out, the jockeying and calculating, the attempts to calibrate what percentage of a woman’s thoughts and ideas men (and sometimes, sadly, other women) will tolerate our sharing.


imagesMaybe that’s why I was crying when I saw Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Because I’ve watched her go through everything I’ve gone through – and then some. Every hateful thing that’s been said of her has registered to me as a personal attack. I’m not saying she’s immune to critique because she’s female; she’s far from perfect, just like every other politician. I’m talking about the level of vitriol, the nastiness towards her. It’s an exaggerated version of what we women all deal with on a smaller scale, every damn day.


The world felt like it shifted a little this week – for the better. What a surprising thing, to feel a sliver of hope in such a bitter time.


(photos: GoogleImages)

“I don’t want to die,” Prince proclaimed in 1999, “I’d rather dance my life away.”

"My name is Prince, and I am funky. My name is Prince, the one and only."

My name is Prince, and I am funky. My name is Prince, the one and only.”

It will take time to determine the cause of superstar Prince’s untimely death.  But there is no doubt that Prince gave his all to his music and his fans.  Sadly, new reported speculation points to the possible role in his death of powerful pain medications the dynamic 57 year old performer allegedly may have used to keep ‘dancing like it’s 1999.’

Famously, the Prince of Pop resisted the siren lure of recreational drugs.  Drinking and ‘swearing’ were forbidden at the ‘Paisley Park After Dark’ parties in his mansion/recording studio compound.  As performer and producer, Prince controlled every aspect of his music.images

Even a seemingly ageless Prince, however, can’t completely control time, as darkness eventually dims the brightest stages and most brilliant stars.

Prince was always on the move.  His body was found in a Paisley Park elevator.  Whatever the causes, his wild ride of a life stopped much too soon.  But here on earth, in his forever catchy, sexy and passionate music, Prince dances on.  RIP– and in DMSR.

Prince PS: Longtime blog wise man Litotes has this to add:

I vaguely remember ‘way back when’ Prince changed his name to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, someone asked him what were his plans. He looked heavenwards and said “The Stairway”. So maybe he saw something in the future.

While unsuccessfully trying to verify the above story, I came across this Prince quote, which instantly became my favorite:

“When I found out that there was eight Presidents before George Washington, I wanted to smack somebody.”

(photos: GoogleImages; cnn.com; artcreation.com)

UGLY TRUMP: Women Hear What You Are Saying

images-1“Women hear what Donald Trump is saying.” This was candidate Carly Fiorina’s simple dignified debate response to Donald Trump’s ugly mocking of her face. The GOP debate crowd roared with cheers. It was Fiorina’s best campaign moment. And it made Fiorina perhaps the only political player this season to land a punch on The Donald. Until Heidi Cruz.

I’m no fan of Ted Cruz– but as a middle-aged woman, I am repelled by Trump’s ugly unwarranted attack on Heidi Cruz and her appearance. However offended Trump was by the snide super-PAC ad on his super-model wife, he had no right to mock Heidi Cruz for not looking like a model herself.

imagesThe smart attractive Ms. Cruz responded with grace and restraint in the eye of the Twitter tornado. Up to 75% of US women already have an unfavorable impression of Trump. Let’s see how high that number climbs post-Heidi.  There’s only one ugly person in this picture and that’s The Donald.images-1

Regarding his repulsive words and actions, to paraphrase Fiorina: women hear exactly what Trump is saying.  And female voters in November from both parties will likely be voting for Hillary, maybe thanks in part to Heidi.  For once, I agree with Ted Cruz. “Leave Heidi the Hell alone.”

UPDATE: after what HuffPost aptly called ‘a particularly ignoble week’ in the GOP race, Ted Cruz and Trump seem locked in a race to the bottom: who can limbo lowest?

(images: mediaite, GoogleImages)

gopages-2What a joy it was to watch the three GOP frontrunners ripping each other apart in their Texas debate like Scorpions in a jar.

We loyal Democrats have got months more of this to come.  FINALLY some OPPOSITION RESEARCH unleashed on The Donald.GOP

Each new charge is an Attack Ad in itself, which Rubio with his newfound money will be releasing as we speak– love it that Trump is being SUED FOR FRAUD this summer over the ludicrous Trump University.

That is a great ‘counter’ to any trumped-up ‘Scandal’ they might throw at the Democratic nominee, whoever he/SHE may be.

Love the illegal worker questions, the Trump jobs overseas and the unreleased Tax Returns (GO, MITT!) (Hillary Clinton, BTW, has released ALL her tax returns ever filed…)

Love the insane hypocrisy of TOILET-MOUTH TRUMP demanding an apology from the feisty Mexican leader for using the F-word.images-1

The Donald can dish it out but he sure can’t take it. His loony-tunes 30% will stick with him but the saner 70% of the GOP voters will continue to divide and conquer their own party.

These candidates are doing the Democrat’s job for us.

And Rubio, the most plausible of the bunch, is going to have his own Scandals served up to him by Trump (the credit card issues; the house sold to the lobbyist; the Republican money going to Rubio’s home repairs…) Ted Cruz has a much more serious Goldman Sachs issue than giving a speech.  NONE of these clowns can play the Scandal Card without having it boomerang.

Plus dear Dr. Carson– “the FRUIT SALAD of their lives”– who could make this stuff up?  Go, GOP!

(images: GoogleImages, politics.concordmonitor, startelegram.com)


Happy to announce the upcoming publication of a star-studded ANTHOLOGY ON SOAP OPERAS co-edited by blog-mistress Elizabeth and stellar author Suzanne Strempek Shea— the book will be out in MARCH of 2017 from McFarland Books.  Among the acclaimed authors who will hold forth on Soaps is the fabulous Nancy Holder, with her own distinctive take on DARK SHADOWS…the book will also feature dark and shadowy thoughts from Susan Lilley (see her own DS essay)

Nancy Holder John Urbancik HiRes 1Nancy Holder is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of five Bram Stoker awards for her horror fiction. She has also received a Scribe award for Saving Grace: Tough Love based on the TV show of the same name, and a Young Adult Pioneer Award from RT Booklovers. In addition to her original horror and dark fantasy, she writes licensed “tie-in” novels, short fiction, and episode guides for TV shows and movies including Crimson Peak, the new Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Beauty and the Beast, Teen Wolf, Hellboy, The Rocketeer, and many others. A dedicated Sherlockian, she is creating a Holmes world for a new gaming system. She also edits and writes comic books and teaches on the popular fiction faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program offered through the University of Southern Maine. Forthcoming in June is the teen thriller, The Rules. Socialize @nancyholder.

DARK SHADOWS: Look Homeward, Vampire

by Nancy Holder


The Internet Movie Database describes Dark Shadows like this: “The rich Collins family of Collinsport, Maine is tormented by strange occurrences.” To which I reply, “No kidding.” The Collinses were hung as witches, chained in coffins, dragged backward in time, committed to asylums, left on the doorsteps of foundling homes, and bedeviled by curses.

This Gothic soap opera came on the air in 1966 and lasted for 1,225 episodes in its original five-year run. Dark Shadows games, novels, comics, a comic strip, audio plays, fan conventions, and two motion pictures fed the enormous fan base, which at one time numbered over twenty million viewers. It had a rocky start, credited to a slow pace and the presence of an unknown, relatively untested, ingénue named Victoria Winters as its protagonist. The series was saved by the introduction in episode 211 of Barnabas Collins, a vampire and the ancestor of the Collinses who reside in (and bicker in) the ancestral home in Maine. Victoria Winters’s last episode was 665.dimages-1

A prime-time reboot occurred in 1991, which lasted only one season, and another reboot was attempted in 2004 but was not picked up. Most recently, Johnny Depp starred in a 2012 remake. Big Finish, a UK company, continues to produce DS audio plays; Lara Parker, who played Angelique, writes Dark Shadows novels for Tor Books, and mystery and chick-lit writer Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Josette DuPrés, Barnabas’s ill-fated fiancée, keeps the flame alive with DS memoirs and behind-the-scenes “making of” books.

simages-2What makes Dark Shadows so eminently watchable, and so beloved? Why does it continue to come back from the grave of cancelled shows and rejected pilots? To answer this question, I decided to do something I’d never done before—watch the first two years of episodes, and many others I had missed. And I found my answer.

When DS came on the air, I was living with my family on a US Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan. We had no TV in English, and our newspaper and radio station were produced by the military. The Viet Nam War was raging, and our base was one of the places where sailors came to get patched up so they could go back to hell. We got news about the States from the new kids, but they forgot to tell us about all kinds of things. Anti-war protestors. Hippies. And Star Trek. And Laugh-In. And Dark Shadows. Continue Reading »

The Donald the Loser: The Price of Cheap Laughs

dtimagesCall it a Loser Boomerang.  Being a bully cuts both ways. Back when he seemed so inevitable, Donald Trump would do anything for a cheap laugh– mock a disabled reporter, taunt Jeb Bush like a schoolyard bully, make bathroom jokes about Hillary Clinton. But, as he is only beginning to discover, there is a price for cheap laughs.images-1
When the tables turn on a bully, they turn with a well-deserved vengeance. The Donald woke up the day after his Iowa defeat to find his name linked to Loser.com. A commentator and Jeb Bush supporter on MSNBC unleashed her Donald impression first thing in the morning, branding Trump in Trump tones the night’s biggest looooser.images
If it were anyone else, I’d feel some sympathy. Instead I feel a relief as if a fever had broken. Maybe America and the GOP have not gone completely round the bend after all. Maybe we are not doomed to The Donald. We can thank, partly, Iowa Nice for refusing to drink the Trump campaign Koolaid.
But Nice alone cannot defeat Mean. You must fight fire with fire. So credit must go to the mean-spirited but tireless Ted Cruz, who marched through 99 Iowa counties to roundly defeat the lazier more arrogant Trump.
As MSNBC noted, ‘Trump has a ceiling and he has reached it.” Or as Larry King, a former king of our celebrity culture himself, once observed: America gorges itself on a story, then pauses, then belches. I don’t dare think the Donald is vanquished, but I think America the celebrity glutton has reached that pause before the final big belch.
Then maybe we can begin to clear the air.

(photos: business.com)