Sunday, July 19, 2015

An Evening on Ice 2015


This weekend I made my annual journey to L.A. for the US Foundation's Evening on Ice show. It's always such a fun event with world-class skating. This year's post-show Meet and Greet was also especially fun as it was set up so we could mingle and talk more with the athletes. It was so great to talk to some of my favorite skaters and meet some new ones!

Here's a run-down of the show with a few thoughts:

Gracie Gold - "I Am Here" by Beyonce. Jumps were a little scratchy but she looked very engaged with the music.

Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford - "One" by Bono & Mary J. Blige. I LOVE seeing Meagan and Eric perform live. They really have a dynamic quality together.

Jeremy Abbott - "Black Skinhead" by Kanye West. Very modern and intense program. I prefer his more lyrical exhibitions, but this one was definitely entertaining.




Kimmie Meissner - "Latch" by Sam Smith (cover). There is so much joy in every movement Kimmie makes across the ice. She spoke to the crowd after the show, and she said five years ago she was really down about skating, and Nick and Tricia Laroche invited her to be part of the first Evening on Ice show and encouraged her to start skating again. It helped her find her love for the sport again, and she hasn't stopped performing since then!

Yuka Sato - I don't think I've ever seen Yuka skate live (unless she was on the '94 COI tour, which my old brain can't remember). Her blades are so quiet, and she looked so happy and peaceful in her performance.

Madison Chock & Evan Bates - "Interrupted Flight." I never get enough of seeing my faves! They bring so much elegance and beauty to the ice, and they are two of my favorite skaters off the ice, too. Get ready for a stunning free dance from them this season! ;)



Brendan Kerry - "Troublemaker" by Olly Murs. This was my first time seeing Brendan skate. He looks to have good basics, so I'd like to see how he can progress in the future.

Alissa Czisny - "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" by Madonna. Her jumps and spins were a bit off, but her simple glide across the ice is always so graceful and beautiful to watch.

Polina Edmunds - "California Dreamin" by Mamas and the Papas (cover). This was a new, edgier look for Polina, and I think she pulled it off. She did her trademark magnificent twizzle, which I love.



Shawn Sawyer - "We No Speak Americano." Shawn knows how to entertain, and his flexibility never ceases to amaze me. I could watch him spin and do spirals all day long.

Rohene Ward - "A House is Not a Home" by Luther Vandross. Very emotional performance from Rohene with some beautiful moves, including a killer layback and a hydroblade.

Richard Dornbush - "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin. He pulled off a great triple Axel and had his usual playful style working with the crowd.

Daisuke Murakami - "Bring Him Home." I really like the bones of this program and am excited to see its progression as his short program this season. Daisuke said at the M&G that Frank wanted to stretch him as a performer this year with this piece.

Courtney Hicks - "Amazing Grace." This was such a beautiful performance! I can see that Courtney has been working hard on the artistic side of her skating. It was one of my favorites of the evening.



Karen Chen - "Nessun Dorma" by Luciano Pavarotti. It looks like Karen has grown a bit, and it's helped her look more mature on the ice. She skated with wonderful speed and did a great triple Lutz.

Beatrisa Liang - "Give Me Love" by Ed Sheeran (piano version). I'm now obsessed with this version of the song and need to find it STAT. Bebe always picks great music and shows her love for skating in her performances.

Jonathan Cassar - "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel. The only way to describe Jon's skating is gorgeous and heartfelt. We all know he has killer spread eagles, but everything he does on the ice is special.


Derrick Delmore - I wasn't familiar with the song, but it sounded like Ricky Martin? Derrick can't stop smiling while he's skating, and it's obvious he's another one who loves any chance to get out there and perform.

Leah Keiser - "On My Own." Leah has grown so much and really has a striking presence on the ice. Loved her Ina Bauer.

Douglas Razzano - "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge. Any time I can see Doug skate and then chat with him afterward is a good day. I was very happy to hear he'll be a team leader for the Challenge Skate in Salt Lake City this year. He is a one-of-a-kind personality!

Braden Overett - "Feelin' Good" by Michael Buble. Braden has comedic skating down to a science. He was one of my favorites back when he was competing, and I'm so happy he's still performing. You can't buy that kind of charisma.



Here are all my photos from the show and the Meet & Greet plus a couple of videos. I wanted to take more, but I had some obstruction issues. => PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Just Couldn't Put It Down Blog Hop


Welcome to the Just Couldn't Put It Down Giveaway Hop! The third and final book in my Ice series will be released August 31, so I thought I'd share a little about the series. The first book is CROSSING THE ICE, and here's what it's all about!

Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team. 

The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though… 

The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross? 

Check out a clip from the audio book, narrated by Emily Stokes:




The second book in the series, LOSING THE ICE, was also just released in audio format. You can find both books on Amazon and Audible.

Now to the giveaway! Need some help funding your summer reading habit? Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card below!

Follow this link to hop around to the other sites => Giveaway Hop Central

Sunday, June 28, 2015

TAKING THE ICE Teaser

TAKING THE ICE has a release date! The third and final book in the Ice series will be released August 31. It will be a novella, as LOSING THE ICE was, but a bit longer ;) Here's another quick teaser!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

TAKING THE ICE Teaser

Only three more months until the final book in the ICE series is released! You can now add it to your bookshelf on Goodreads here!


Monday, May 11, 2015

RONE Award Voting


CROSSING THE ICE has been nominated for an InD'Tale Magazine RONE Award in the New Adult category! I would be so appreciative if you could take a moment to vote. It requires just a quick sign-up if you're not already registered. It would be such an honor to make it to the finals! You can vote HERE.

Friday, May 8, 2015

TAKING THE ICE Teaser

Hello! I haven't posted in a while, but I have great news! The final book in the Ice series, TAKING THE ICE, is coming along nicely and should be out in early fall. The cover is almost finished (I LOVE it so much!!), and I just need to come up with the back-of-the-book blurb (the hardest part!)

I thought it was time to share an excerpt with you :) Here's a quick look at the next part of Courtney and Josh's journey:

****

As soon as we removed our guards, the audience erupted with cheers. Goosebumps shot up all over my skin, and my heart thumped hard against my chest. I pushed off from the boards and took long, deliberate strokes.

While the score was read, Josh skated to my side and grasped my hand, and we glided over to Em and Sergei. The crowd had quieted for the score, but was now in full frenzy mode, yelling and waving signs of support. I took a tiny sip of water to wet my dry mouth, and I intertwined my fingers with Josh’s, holding on as tightly as I could.

Sergei leaned forward so we could hear him over the chaos. “You have a connection no other team has. Focus on each other, and you’ll make it all happen.”
Josh and I bobbed our heads and skated to the end of the rink for our introduction. The deafening cheers drowned out the pounding of my pulse in my ears. I looked up at Josh, and he squeezed my hand and mouthed, “I love you.”
I smiled and exhaled the long breath I’d been holding.
Here we go.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Stars on Ice 2015


This past weekend I traveled to Los Angeles to visit a friend and to attend the Stars on Ice show in Anaheim, and the show was simply spectacular!! Jeff Buttle deserves huge props for the choreography of the group numbers, and the individual performances also lived up to the tour's rich history.

Before the show I got to see part of the rehearsal, and it was fun to watch Charlie directing the troops like he used to do at the closing galas. Here are my photos and lots of videos from the rehearsal: PRE-SHOW


Now on to the show review! Here were my impressions about each program:

Opening - "Rhapsody in Blue": Absolutely beautiful way to open the show - intricate footwork and full use of the ice by the entire cast

Sinead and John Kerr - "Zombie": Great cover of the Cranberries song, and the Kerrs really had the dramatic angst on high volume as they skated to it.

Joannie Rochette - "Shot Me Down": Joannie brought the sex and looked as fit and fabulous as ever. Peter Carruthers was sitting behind me, and judging by his catcalls, he enjoyed the program very much.

Ryan Bradly - "I Lived": I live for Ryan's crazy leg kick/faux jump move that he does, and he did it in this program. I'd like to see him broaden his range of footwork as he seems to do the same in most of his programs.

Kimmie Meissner - "Chandelier": I've been dying for someone to skate to this song, and Kimmie didn't disappoint. She threw herself completely into the program emotionally. I was most impressed with her speed and commitment to the choreography. Loved her dress, too!


Evan Lysacek - "Take Me to Church": Evan's jumps looked strong, and I love how he still does the back spiral into the triple flip. It's like old times!

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto - "Boogie Shoes": Seeing Tanith and Ben on the ice always makes me so happy. It doesn't matter what they're skating to - they just exude pure joy!

Katia Gordeeva - "I Dreamed a Dream": I hadn't seen Katia skate live in fifteen years, and her skating is as gorgeous as ever. The purity of her blades to the ice is just amazing.


Patrick Chan - "Dear Prudence/Blackbird": My eyes could not be torn away from Patrick's feet. Every time I see him skate live I'm reminded how freaking fabulous he is. I want to marry his edges!

Group Number Tango - "St. Louis Blues": Tanith stole my attention at the beginning of this one. She was working the crowd with just a simple look. I loved seeing Patrick and Katia dance the tango together. There was so much goodness on the ice I didn't know where to look!


Gracie Gold - "Shake It Off": This is my favorite exhibition of Gracie's because she hits every beat perfectly and really seems to love every minute of the performance.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White - "Say Something":  So much emotion and intensity in this program. Sharna Burgess did an amazing job choreographing it, and Meryl and Charlie sold it all the way through.


Ashley Wagner - "One Last Night": I hadn't seen this exhibition before, and it's now my favorite of Ashley's. The song was fabulous, and she had a wonderful connection to it. I especially love watching Ashley's arms because they are so graceful and in tune with the music.

Ryan Bradley - "Mister Cellophane": I enjoyed this program of Ryan's more than his first as he was committed to the character throughout and really played to the audience.

Katia Gordeeva - "Sentimientos": A sultry contrast to her first lyrical number. She still knows how to work the crowd!

Evan Lysacek - "Black Swan": The footwork in this program was amaazzing. He would've brought the house down with this as a competitive program.

Joannie Rochette - "La Vie en Rose": Very pretty program with a totally different style from her first number. Joannie's jumps looked awesome!


Patrick Chan - "Steppin' Out": More fancy footwork from Patrick. He's such a wonderful dancer. I hope he stays pro because he looks so happy just to be out there having fun on the ice.

Group Number - "Stompa": I'd never heard this song, but I need to download it NOW. Loved the use of the chairs (SOI does have a thing for chairs as props!) It was a sexy program with a lot of sass. The guys all looked great in their black hats.

Sinead and John Kerr - "I Will Wait": They poured their souls into this program and had some very crowd-pleasing lifts, including a couple of reverse ones that got huge applause.


Kimmie Meissner - "Experience": The music was new to me, and it was gorgeous. Again Kimmie put her all into the performance and expressed the music with heartfelt emotion.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto - "A Thousand Years": Tanith was glowing as she skated in a beautiful white dress. Thoughts of her upcoming wedding on her mind, perhaps? She and Ben have such a wonderful connection with each other when they skate.


Meryl Davis and Charlie White - "Sleeping Beauty": Such sweeping elegance in this program. I especially loved the part in the beginning when Charlie was spinning around and looking very regal as he approached a sleeping Meryl.

Finale - "Shut Up and Dance": Another awesome song! So much energy in this number and a fantastic and joyous way to close the show.


Here are all my photos from the show: SOI PHOTOS

After the show I went to the Meet and Greet and got to talk to everyone except Ryan (he snuck out before we could catch him). I was so excited to see Marissa Castelli there since she's one of my favorite skaters. She was in town for a visit with Ashley. Here are my photos from the Meet and Greet: M&G PHOTOS


Overall it was such an awesome day! I hope the 30th anniversary show next year will visit more cities and I can fit it into my schedule around Worlds in Boston!