Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

What better way to kick off a new month than to give away some great prizes! For the Spring Fling Hop, I'm giving away two of the hottest new releases from my publisher Astraea Press plus a $10 Amazon gift card. Three prizes = three winners!

Regency romance is soaring in popularity, and Astraea is home to some of the most popular regency authors in the business. I'm excited to offer two of the genre's current bestsellers as giveaways:

A Lot Like a Lady
Waltzing With the Wallflower
Thanks so much to Kay Springsteen, Kim Bowman, Rachel Van Dyken, and Leah Sanders for donating their awesome books for the giveaway!

WHAT YOU CAN WIN: A Lot Like a Lady ebook, Waltzing With the Wallflower ebook, or a $10 Amazon gift card

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below with your email address. You can earn extra entries by:
- Liking my Facebook page
- Following me on Twitter
- Tweeting about this giveaway (tweet @LadyWave4 so I'll get the notice) 

All entries must be received by midnight on May 7th

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hop and enter the other giveaways here!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop

Welcome to the Oh, My Hero Blog Hop, dedicated to the heroes who make us melt! Thanks so much to Jaycee DeLorenzo and Victoria Smith for hosting this!

I'm featuring Sergei, the hero in my debut novel Life on the Edge. You can find out much more about the book here! Sergei is a twenty-five-year-old figure skating coach from Russia. He coaches a number of pairs on Cape Cod, including his new star team of nineteen-year-old Emily and Chris. Sergei is firmly focused on his work until sparks start to fly with Emily. That's when everything becomes a lot more complicated . . .

I think it's pretty easy to see from these photos why Emily would fall for Sergei. Who could resist those mesmerizing blue eyes and oh-so-kissable lips?! And on top of the hotness, Sergei is a sweetheart and knows how to bring the romance. 

Sergei graciously agreed to be interviewed for the blog hop, so I'm going to try not to swoon too much while I ask him some questions :)

1) How would you describe your heroine? "Ahh, great question to start. What can I say about Emily?" Sergei's blue eyes sparkle, and he rubs the slight stubble on his chin. "She has this fire inside that drives everything she does - from the way she competes to how she opens her heart to everyone around her. She's not afraid to take chances. She throws herself one thousand percent into everything she commits to. And she's beautiful." His lips curl into a smile. "So incredibly beautiful."

2) Are you a morning or a night person and why? "Definitely a morning person. I've been waking up early for skating and coaching almost my entire life. Most mornings, I'm done with my workout in the gym and have had two cups of coffee by seven a.m." Sergei laughs. "I've probably seen more sunrises than you'll see in a lifetime."

3) If you won a million dollars what would you do with it? Sergei steeples his hands in front of his mouth. "Hmm . . . that's a lot of money. First, I'd buy a house for my parents on the Cape so they could move here from Russia. Then I'd hire Sting to play a private concert for me and Emily. We're both huge fans, and his concert in Mansfield was the first time we hung out together. With the rest of the money, I'd start some kind of program at our rink for kids who want to skate but can't afford the expenses."

4) If you had 24 hours to live what would you do/where would you go? Sergei's face grows serious, and he stares over my shoulder. "I'd start the day by watching the sunrise with Emily at the cliffs on Martha's Vineyard. It's a special spot for us. After that, I'd want to skate with her . . . to have her in my arms and feel that sensation of flying one last time. Beyond that, it wouldn't matter to me where we'd go as long as Em was with me."

5) If you had three wishes what would they be? "Only three?" Sergei smiles. "Well, I know my first one for sure - for Emily and Chris to win an Olympic gold medal. Second wish would be . . ." He pauses and his mouth tightens. "A better relationship with my father. And the third . . . the third is something I'd rather not talk about, but it would be amazing if it happened."

Umm, way to tease us, Sergei! What could be his secret wish? Hmmmm . . . Before I let him go, I gave Sergei a quick lightning round of questions:

Chocolate or vanilla? "Chocolate."
Summer or winter? "Winter."
Coffee or tea? "Coffee all the way."
TV or movies? "Movies."
Boxers or Briefs? "Boxer briefs." He grins, and I blush.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know my hero! You can check out lots more swoony guys at the other blog stops listed here!

Friday, April 20, 2012

What's the Skinny?

It's been quiet around my blog, and for that I apologize! I'm currently knee-deep in my current manuscript, Edge of the Past. But there are some fun things coming up I wanted to mention. Stop by for a visit next Friday, April 27 when I interview Sergei from Life on the Edge as part of the "Oh, My Hero" blog hop. And starting May 1, I'll be participating in the Spring Fling blog hop and giving away another Amazon gift card! I also have a special promotion in the works for Mother's Day that I'm very excited about. More details soon!

Before I go, I'll share another little teaser from Edge of the Past!

As usual, Dad took charge of easing the tension, directing Sergei and me to pose for funny pictures in Red Square. Sergei raised me up into the air, and I demonstrated my overhead lift positions as Dad photographed us with the multi-colored turrets of St. Basil’s Cathedral in the background. Holding me aloft with one arm, Sergei spun in a circle as if he was rotating on the ice. The other tourists around us applauded, and Sergei brought me down into his arms. A smile crept across his face, and I gave him a tender kiss, melting the tiny snowflakes on his lips.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - 4/14/12

For this week's Sweet Saturday Sample, I'm giving a sneak peek at my WIP Edge of the Past, the sequel to Life on the Edge. In this book, Emily and Sergei travel to Russia for a competition and Emily meets Sergei's parents for the first time. This scene captures her first encounter with Sergei's father:

“You are Emily,” a thick Russian voice said behind me.

I whirled around and found a middle-aged man peering at me. My blank stare prompted him to continue, “I am Sergei’s father.”

Of course! I saw it then in his strong cheekbones and slightly crooked nose. Since Max didn’t like to be photographed, Sergei hadn’t been able to show me any pictures of him.

“I . . . I didn’t think you were coming so soon. Anna said you couldn’t leave work, that you were very busy at the plant,” I babbled, so caught off guard I didn’t think to speak in Russian. He probably doesn’t understand a word I’m saying.

Indeed, his eyes narrowed and he appeared to be concentrating hard. I realized I hadn’t offered a handshake or a kiss or any greeting, but the time for that seemed to have passed.

“Sergei and his mother here?” He scanned the lobby with his piercing green eyes.

“Restaurant,” I said in Russian and pointed to the large arched doorway. Now I’m using sign language, too.

Max picked up his suitcase, which matched Anna’s, and walked toward the dining room. My legs took a moment to move, but I soon trailed after Max’s tall figure. He had the same posture and long stride as Sergei.

Max found the table where my parents, Anna, and Sergei were seated, and Sergei shot to his feet. “Papa.”

My parents and Anna rose, also, with matching looks of surprise. Anna asked Max a question in Russian that I vaguely understood as, “You were able to leave work?”

I couldn’t decipher Max’s mumbled reply, but he still wasn’t smiling. His stern face didn’t look like one that easily smiled. Anna swept her fingers through her long graying hair and cleared her throat. Sergei had a habit of clearing his throat whenever he was anxious.

“This is Emily’s parents,” she spoke slowly. “This is Sergei’s father.”

After handshakes were done across the table, Max looked at his watch. “Competition start in few hours?” He glanced at Anna then Sergei and me.

Anna’s mouth creased into a frown. “Emily’s partner was hurt, so they don’t skate.”

Max gave her the same confused stare he’d given me in the lobby. Anna switched to Russian and patted her right shoulder. In turn, Max grunted and spewed out a frenzy of agitated Russian that I couldn’t follow.

“What’s he saying?” I whispered to Sergei.

He didn't answer me. His cheeks had reddened, and the color was spreading down to the collar of his dress shirt.

Anna and Max continued to converse while the rest of us watched in uncomfortable silence. Finally, Max shifted his suitcase to his opposite hand and nodded to us.

“Good to meet you. Long on train, so I rest. Have good night.”

And with that farewell he left. Anna gave us an apologetic smile, and I sensed that was something she was used to doing.

“He work many hours. Very tired,” she said.

Too tired to even give his son a hug? He’d barely acknowledged Sergei’s presence in the room. The bad car accident Max had been in a year ago obviously hadn't made him appreciate his family more.

“We understand,” Dad said. “Traveling is always tiring, especially after a long day at work.”

Mom’s eyebrows were still raised as she returned to her seat. I stayed standing and tapped Sergei’s arm. “Can we talk for a sec?”

I led him away from the table to a quiet spot near the entrance. A couple of Canadian ice dance coaches passed us, and we swapped brief hellos. I retreated further into the corner and looked up at Sergei.

“What was your dad angry about?”

Sergei rubbed the back of his neck and let out a frustrated sigh. “He wasn’t happy that he left work and now you’re not skating.”

I laughed dryly. “So, now he has something else to hold against me.”

“No, it’s not you.” Sergei touched my cheek. “He doesn’t even know you. It’s just him . . . and the way he is.”

“When you said he’s not a ray of sunshine, you weren’t joking. He didn’t even shake your hand.”

“He’s never been good with expressing emotion.”

“I’m sure glad you got your mom’s personality.” I tugged on the end of Sergei’s purple tie.

He smiled and wrapped his arms around me, but I felt the tension in his body. What else could go wrong on this trip? With two days left in St. Petersburg and three more in Moscow, I was almost afraid to ask that question.

What more will Emily and Sergei have to endure in Russia? It doesn't sound promising!

If you haven't read Life on the Edge, you can check out the story of how Emily and Sergei fell in love here!

Friday, April 6, 2012

2011-2012 Season Favorites

I was so fortunate this past season to attend four major skating competitions - Skate America, Grand Prix Final, U.S. Nationals, and Four Continents - and I was just thinking back to some of the wonderful performances I witnessed. I thought I'd put together a post and share all my favorites!

Jeremy Abbott's Nationals free skate - Jeremy + Muse = TOTAL WIN

Meryl Davis & Charlie White's Nationals Short Dance - my favorite short dance of the season!

Gretchen Donlan & Andrew Speroff's Nationals Free Skate - graceful, beautiful, elegant, divine!

Daisuke Takahashi's Four Continents Exhibition - in one word: breathtaking. I almost swooned out of my seat.

Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt's Nationals Free Skate - they skated their hearts out and had such an emotional comeback after a tough 2011 Nationals

Jason Brown's Junior Grand Prix Final Free Skate - he has such a wonderful way of pulling the audience into his programs

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov's Grand Prix Final Free Skate - this was the program that put me firmly on their bandwagon

Adam Rippon's Four Continents Exhibition - I was completely entranced. No words.

Madison Chock & Evan Bates' Nationals Free Dance - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the playful feel and the choreography of this program and they performed it so beautifully and with so much joy

Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy's Grand Prix Final Exhibition - they are so in touch with the music and each other in this soulful performance

Maia & Alex Shibutani's Four Continents Short Dance - I'll never forget Alex letting out a "whoooo" in the middle of the program! They were both so into it.

Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig's Four Continents Short Program - so smooth and sophisticated!

Meryl Davis & Charlie White's Nationals Free Dance - the crowd was behind them from the first beat, and they fed off the love with a glorious performance

Jeremy Abbott's Nationals Short Program - brilliance.

Meryl Davis & Charlie White's Grand Prix Final Exhibition - such passionate and refined power in this lyrical masterpiece