Sunday, March 31, 2013

Music Monday

Whenever I hear that one of my favorite bands or singers is coming out with a new album, I get so excited to hear those first clips, that first taste of the new songs. Isn't it such a great feeling of anticipation, clicking on each song and hoping it will blow you away with its awesomeness? One Republic released their latest album Native last week, and I found a couple of songs that I loved upon hearing just a few seconds of them. I already featured "If I Lose Myself" in a previous Music Monday, and here are my two other favorites:

"Au Revoir" by One Republic

"Burning Bridges" by One Republic

Are there any album releases coming up that you're excited about? I'm always looking for new music!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Music Monday

Happy Monday! For this week's Music Monday, we're getting to know Aubrey from the EDGE series a little better since she'll be one of the featured characters in FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE, the next book in the series. I've stolen her cell phone so we can check out the ringtones she's assigned to some of her friends :)

First up is her ice dance partner Nick. They've skated together for twelve years, so they've grown up together, and Aubrey knows she can always count on Nick to have her back both on and off the ice. With the Olympics and possibly the end of their career coming up, they're focused on making this their most successful year ever. Inspired by that goal, Aubrey has made Nick's ringtone "Our Finest Year" by Better Than Ezra for this Olympic season.

"Our Finest Year" by Better Than Ezra

Next is her best friend Emily. If you've read the first two books in the series, you know Emily well! She and Aubrey have been BFF for over ten years even though their personalities are quite different. They do share a love for many of the same movies, though, and when they were roommates they always watched Center Stage together whenever either of them needed a pick-me-up. Because of their love of this movie, Aubrey's ringtone for Emily is the song "Candy" from the soundtrack. It's the song they always got up and danced to when they watched the movie :)

"Candy" by Mandy Moore

Then there's Chris. Aubrey has always known Chris as Emily's funny partner and her friend Marley's long-time boyfriend. But Aubrey and Chris will get to know each other a lot better in the next book. Her current ringtone for him is "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers because Chris is always optimistic and can usually find something good in any situation. He's a great person to have around when the going gets tough!

"Mr. Brightside" by The Killers

Over the weekend I shared a new teaser from FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE on my Facebook page. It's a snippet of a scene with Emily and Sergei. If you didn't see it, you can check it out here!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Worlds - Free Dance & Ladies FS Thoughts

Still recovering from Worlds PSED (Post Skating Event Depression), but I'll try to organize my thoughts on the final two events :) I'll do the ladies first since it will be brief. I only saw the final two groups (well, most of them - I wandered the concourse during Sotnikova and was dying with laughter when I spotted a guy sleeping out there. Seems he wasn't too enthralled by the ladiezzzz either). Anyhoo, it was great to see Gracie skate pretty well. I'd like to see her work on her posture in the offseason and add more difficult transitions. I hadn't watched her long program much this season, and I just noticed it was kinda empty.

Ashley's program was beautifully constructed, but she really needs to add that triple-triple. I know she can do it! Zijun Li gave one of my favorite performances. Her Sleeping Beauty program was quite lovely! I just shook my head when Kaetlyn Osmond fell twice and got a standing ovation. Someone who did deserve a standing O and who received a rousing one was Yuna Kim. I've never been a fan, but this really was a spectacular performance. I usually don't care for Carolina Kostner's skating either, but I enjoyed her "Bolero" program very much. It was so mature and just flowed from end to end. And all done with a bloody nose!

On to the free dance! The first group was very entertaining. I've always wanted an ice dance team to skate to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, so I was thrilled to see Tobias/Stagniunas use the piece. I loved their interpretation, especially the transition into the circular footwork, beautifully done on a powerful beat of the music. Hurtado/Diaz were also a highlight of the group for me. They've improved so much under Dubreuil/Lauzon! Wonderful sexy choreography.

It was amusing to see how many teams Igor and Marina had their hands on at the event. There appeared to be a contest over who could stand at the boards the most times. During practice, their respective entourages/co-coaches took up a mile stretch of the boards. But back to the skating... Zhiganshina/Gazsi's free dance is still one of my favorites of the season. No one could ever accuse them of not being 1000% committed to their zombie character.

Both Chock/Bates and the Shibutanis skated wonderfully, and I can't wrap my head around the fact that Ilinykh/Katsalapov received higher PCS than both teams. The Russians' Ghost free dance becomes more ridiculous with each performance. I hope in the post-Meryl & Charlie era that we'll see Chock/Bates and the Shibutanis battling for the national title and continuing to push each other. The haters can hate, but I love the pairing of Chock/Bates. I think they have great chemistry, and they can do both fun and romantic programs with ease. I'm excited about their future! I've liked Weaver/Poje's free dance a lot since I first saw it at Skate America. I couldn't identify the changes they made for Worlds, but I liked this version, too! Kaitlyn is such a rock star for coming back so quickly from injury.

Now for the top tier - Virtue/Moir were the first to skate in the final group. They skated their Carmen program better than they have all year, but it's still not my cup of tea. I much prefer Cappellini/Lanotte's Carmen. I like the romantic and subtly sultry style of C/L's program, and I'm so glad to see them skating with a lot of confidence now after some tough seasons.

Davis/White never cease to amaze me with how they always skate their best in the biggest moments. They did it yet again in London, putting every ounce of emotional and physical energy they had into the free dance. Their gliding face-to-face spirals make up one of my favorite moments ever in a skating program. And seeing Meryl and Charlie stand atop the podium in Canada was truly a special moment!

I was still too excited over Meryl and Charlie's victory to pay much attention to Bobrova/Soloviev and Pechalat/Bourzat's programs, so I don't know if the judging was fair there. If we have to have a Russian team on the podium (seems like that's a given heading into the Olympics), I'll gladly take B/S over I/K. B/S have made great strides this season, and I loved seeing how happy and excited Ekaterina was at the medal ceremony. It was really cute! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2013 Worlds - Free Dance & Ladies Free Skate

I have a super early flight tomorrow morning so I'll write up my thoughts on the events later. Here are my photos in the meantime!

2013 Worlds - Saturday Dance Practice

It wouldn't be an event for me without an early morning dance practice! Arrived at the Budweiser Gardens shortly after eight and got to see all four groups. Everyone looked solid, though most teams didn't do much of their programs during the run-throughs. I saw Kaitlyn Weaver's new costume for the first time, and I liked the old one a lot better. This one is too much white. I thought the other one looked more statuesque and fit the program better. I liked Andrew's old shirt better, too. 

Here are my photos!

2013 Worlds - Men's Free Skate

It's really late and I have to get up early for dance practice so this will be quick. It's a shame Denis Ten isn't the champion because he had the most complete event of all the skaters. He had two outstanding performances. It's so great to see him putting it all together! It looks like the older guys are getting pushed down in the standings as Takahashi and Joubert both skated pretty well and were dropped. Max Aaron gave us a great display of technique. I'm hoping his strong finish here will inspire his coaches to get him more complex choreography next year. He has incredible speed and solid skating skills so I think he can definitely handle more than we saw in his programs this year.

Here are my photos from the event!

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013 Worlds - Pairs Free Skate

Never a dull moment in the pairs competition! The highlight of the early groups for me were the American pairs. Castelli/Shnapir had a great skate, and Scimeca/Knieram skated amazingly for being such a new team! I'm so excited for the potential of both of these teams.

I thought Moore-Towers/Moscovitch had the best performance of the night. They were absolutely in the zone and just flying around the rink. Pang/Tong's program was stunning and I'll miss their grace when they retire. Duhamel/Radford definitely looked nervous and were noticeabley slower to me than M-T/M. They still skated great, though, and gutted out all the elements. I love those SBS triple lutzes!

Savchenko/Szolkowy didn't have their best skate, but their skills can't be denied. I'm still in awe at their gutsy move of doing the throw triple Axel in the last seconds of the program. That was amazing. I thought it was pretty crappy of the crowd to boo Savchenko/Szolkowy's score because it was higher than Duhamel/Radford's. The Germans didn't deserve such a lack of respect. It's one thing to boo a score that you think is too low, but booing a skater's score that you think is too high? Not cool. Volosozhar/Trankov finally put it all together, and their jumps and throws were divine. Not a big fan of their program overall, but they're looking pretty darn strong for gold in Sochi.

Here are my photos from the event!

2013 Worlds - Short Dance & Ladies SP

What a wonderful night at the arena!! But first let's backtrack to the Ladies' Short Program - I only saw the final two groups (I opted for lunch at The Works, which was fabulous! I tried poutine for the first time - pretty tasty!) I was very, very disappointed that Ashley left her triple-triple on the practice and warm-up ice. It's time to step it up and do it when it counts! There wasn't much to be excited about among the ladies I saw. Kanako Murakami was probably the highlight for me. 

On to the Short Dance - Team USA was amazing! I've loved Chock/Bates' short dance all year, and they put out another outstanding and engaging performance tonight. The Shibutanis looked much more confident and had their best SD performance of the year. And then there was Davis/White, who had an absolute blast and made everything look so easy. Their Giselle SD should be the model for all short dances. 

I thought the scoring was very interesting. After the top two teams, the rest of the top ten are extremely close. There could be lots of shifting after the free dance. I thought Weaver/Poje looked amazing after being out with Kaitlyn's injury (she's a rock star for being back on the ice so quickly), and Cappellini/Lanotte were one of my favorites, too. I didn't see much difference between Bobrova/Soloviev and Pechalat/Bourzat, so I think the scoring was fair there. So glad the hot mess that is Ilinykh/Katsalapov were buried in the standings.

Here are my photos from dance and pairs practice, the ladies SP, and the short dance! I also had one video from dance practice of Meryl Davis doing her gorgeous spiral and a video from the short dance with a little Gangnam Style flavor.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2013 Worlds - Men SP & Dance Practice

What a bizarre men's event! Can't say I ever thought Denis Ten would be in second place after the short program. He skated divinely tonight! I was thinking back to 2009 Worlds in L.A. and how that was when we first saw Denis burst onto the scene. I remember giving him a standing ovation after his free skate.

I thought Daisuke Takahashi was a tad undermarked (his quad looked fine to my naked eye). Kevin Reynolds impressed me - I hadn't seen him skate live in awhile and he's definitely come a long way. He interpreted his music excellently. Brian Joubert was classic Joubert and I loved every minute of it! People can rag on him all they want, but until you see him skate live and how much energy he brings to the building, you can't appreciate his presence on the ice.

I saw one group of dance practice tonight with the U.S. teams and I took a couple of videos. Here's Meryl Davis/Charlie White's short dance run-through. And Madison Chock/Evan Bates' short dance run-through.

And here are my photos from practice and the men's short program.

2013 Worlds - Pairs Short Program

The pairs short program was a pretty solid competition! I can't say that I agree with the results, though. I didn't think Volosozhar/Trankov's cheesy music and program was four points in PCS better than Duhamel/Radford's program. D/R had some amazing transitions (the one into the throw lutz was particularly awesome). I love what D/R are doing technically (they have the same technical content as my fictional pair, Emily and Chris). I wasn't impressed with Savchenko/Szolkowy today either. And Pang/Tong were a bit gifted IMO. I think James/Cipres were kinda hosed. They have all the skills plus lots of excitement in their program. 

Here's the link to my photos from the event!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Music Monday

For this week's Music Monday I'm doing something a little different. In LIFE ON THE EDGE, there are a couple of instances where Sting's Lyrics book plays a role, but because of copyright issues, I couldn't quote the lyrics in the story. So, I thought I'd share those lyrics here so you'd know exactly what Emily was reading as she went through the book :) If you haven't read LIFE ON THE EDGE and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading here!! Major spoilers below!


At the 2001 World Championships, when Chris is flipping through the Lyrics book and comes across one of Sergei's notes to Emily, this was the passage that Sergei had highlighted in the song "Desert Rose":

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Beside the lyrics was Sergei's note: "You are my desert rose."

Later that night when Emily is reading the book in bed, the first song she reads is "Next To You" and the highlighted lyrics are:

But I've never felt like this before
But I just don't know what's come over me
You took me over, take a look at me
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you

And the note from Sergei says: "I had to laugh when I started to read the book and this was the first song because all I'd been thinking about for months was how I wanted to be next to you. And here it was reminding me again."


When Emily is angry with Sergei for lying to her and he leaves the book and a rose on her doorstep, the song he marked was "Forget About the Future" and the lyrics are:

Let me ask your forgiveness, baby
My heart is ever full of sorrow
We got to move into the future maybe
And think about a new tomorrow

Emily had amazing willpower to resist this and Sergei's kisses!


In the proposal scene, when Emily finds the book on the patio, the marked song is "When We Dance" and the two highlighted lines that make her gasp are:

I would love you more than life
If you'll come and be my wife

I would've been freaking out too if I was her :)


Lots of skating coverage coming up on the blog this week! I leave for the World Championships in London, Ontario on Tuesday!! Look for photos from all events!

Monday, March 4, 2013


I have book news! FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE, the third book in the EDGE series, won't be out until later this year, but I wanted to share the official blurb. I mentioned in a previous post that this book will be slightly different from the first two in the series because you'll get both Emily's and Aubrey's POV! They each have a story to tell as they head into the 2006 Olympics, so they're going to share this book :) You'll still see lots of Sergei (and all his swooniness!), and Chris will also be prominently featured (and looking to break hearts!)

So, here's the skinny on FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE (EDGE #3):

Best friends Emily and Aubrey have skated almost all their lives, and they’ve had Olympic dreams just as long. Emily and her partner Chris are now one of the favorites for gold in pairs, while Aubrey and Nick are top contenders for a medal in ice dance. Off the ice, the two friends’ lives couldn’t be more different. Emily is enjoying marriage with her husband and coach Sergei, and they’ve mapped out their future together. Aubrey has avoided serious relationships and is unsure of her career plans after the Olympics.

With the Games only weeks away, they are on the edge of realizing their dreams. But when a raging snowstorm hits, it sets in motion an unexpected series of events that will test Emily and Aubrey in ways they never imagined, giving them more to fight for than Olympic medals.

In case you missed them, I posted two excerpts from the book last month. The first featured Emily and Sergei and the second Aubrey and Chris

If you've read the first two books, don't forget to pick up the free short story REACHING THE EDGE! It's an epilogue to EDGE OF THE PAST. You can find out more here!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

LIFE ON THE EDGE now an Audio Book!

I'm so excited to announce that LIFE ON THE EDGE is now available in audio format!! It's available on Amazon and I've been listening to it, and the narrator is perfect for Emily! And she does a Russian accent for Sergei :) If you listen to it, let me know what you think!

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Adult Giveaway Hop Winner

Congratulations to Heather Baker Schrock for winning the gift card!! Thank you so much to everyone who participated!