Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CROSSING THE ICE Teaser

Are you ready for a new love story on the ice? I'm working on an EDGE series spin-off novel that follows Courtney's journey as she and her partner Mark try to make the 2010 Olympic team. Working title is CROSSING THE ICE :) Here's a little bit more about it!

Courtney and Mark haven't enjoyed the same success Emily and Chris had. They have only one shot left to make the Olympic team, and they vow not to let anything get in their way. Enter Stephanie and Josh, talented siblings with the same dream. Courtney knows she should keep her distance from the rival team, but as she gets to know handsome, quiet Josh, she becomes more and more intrigued. Will their blossoming friendship grow into more or will the competition tear them apart?

I posted a brief teaser last month, and here's a longer look at the story!


****

Josh followed me through the wood-paneled dining room to the French doors leading outside. The marsh grass surrounding the deck swished in the breeze, and the late afternoon sun reflected off Nantucket Sound. It would’ve been beautifully serene if not for the ridiculous anxiety that had begun to churn in my stomach.
“So… the tango,” Josh said. “It’s a bit different from the usual ballroom hold. Have you done any ballroom dancing?”
I shook my head. Slow dancing at my prom was the extent of my partner dancing, and that had been more swaying while standing still than anything.
“Good. Then you won’t know the difference.” He smiled. “If you’ve watched videos, you’ve seen the tango has a close hold.”
He took a tentative step toward me but kept his arms at his sides. “But I’m not sure how close Emily and Sergei want you and Mark to be.”
I got a stronger whiff of his cologne, which smelled expensive. And sweet. Like him. Oh, dear God.
“Umm… we need to be pretty close in some parts of the program,” I said.
He shifted nearer, sliding his hand around to my lower back, and the heat from his touch radiated through my cotton shirt, my skin, and into the deepest cells of my body. I didn’t dare look up because there would be only a narrow space between our faces. Between our mouths…

****

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Olympic Extravaganza Giveaway #5

Today is the ladies' free skate, so that means it's time to give away the fifth and final prize in the Olympic Extravaganza! Today's prize is an EDGE series swag pack filled with goodies, including a custom series keychain!


And the winner is Lynn Zieske! Congratulations, Lynn!! And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered and helped make this such an awesome event the past two weeks! It's been so much fun celebrating the Games with you!

There are only a couple of days left to grab FIGHTING FOR THE EDGE at the 99 cent sale price! It will go back to its regular price once the Olympic flame is extinguished.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Olympics - Meet the U.S. Ladies


Today is the ladies' short program in Sochi, so let's get to know the U.S. ladies team!

Gracie Gold

Gracie Gold trains in El Segundo, California and won her first national title last month. She burst onto the junior scene a couple of years ago and immediately had people talking because of her huge tripe-triple combinations. She was a little rough around the edges artistically, but since she's teamed up with legendary coach Frank Carroll I see a huge difference in her carriage and presentation. My favorite program of Gracie's is her current short program. She skates to Grieg's Piano Concerto, a piece I used in my first book and one I wish more skaters would use!



****

Ashley Wagner


Ashley Wagner trains in Artesia, California and is a two-time national champion. Ashley first made us take notice of her when she won the bronze medal as a teenager at the 2008 national championships.She had a lot of spunk, and it's been fun to watch her style mature over the years. She's become an elegant and sophisticated performer. My favorite program of hers was her 2012-2013 short program to the soundtrack of The Red Violin.


****

Polina Edmunds


Polina Edmunds trains in San Jose, California and was the junior national champion in 2013. I love the way Polina seems to float over the ice when she skates. She has a very ethereal quality about her. I knew she had a bright future when I watched her win the junior title last year, but I wasn't expecting her to make the leap to seniors and immediately make the Olympic team! She was so impressive at nationals this year, though, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for her. My favorite program of hers is her current long program. 


Don't forget to enter my Olympic giveaway! The final prize will be announced and given away tomorrow after the ladies' free skate!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Olympic Extravaganza Giveaway #4

Today is the free dance in Sochi, so that means prize #4 in the Olympic Extravaganza will be given away! Today's prize is a custom EDGE series charm bracelet made by Crazy Creations. It has all the book covers and some beautiful series-related charms!


And the winner is Krysten Hager! Congrats, Krysten!! Keep entering in the Rafflecopter because the final prize will be given away on Thursday!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 Olympics - Meet the U.S. Ice Dancers


Today begins the ice dance event in Sochi - an event that I have been anxiously awaiting for four years. Let's meet all three teams that will be representing the U.S.!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White

Meryl Davis and Charlie White train in Canton, Michigan and have been skating together for seventeen years. They are six-time national champions (the most ever national titles by a U.S. ice dance team), two-time world champions, and the 2010 Olympic silver medalists. They have brought American ice dance to all new heights, and throughout all their success, they remain two of the most genuine, down-to-earth people around. So many of their programs I've loved, but if I had to choose one to feature... well, I can only narrow it down to two! The first is their Samson and Delilah free dance from the 2008-2009 season. It was the program that made the world take notice of them, and when they performed it at the world championships in L.A. and the building was shaking around me, I knew it was a moment we'd talk about years later.

video

My other favorite program of theirs is their Notre Dame de Paris free dance from 2012-2013 season. This was another program I was lucky enough to see live at the world championships in London, Ontario, and it was another moment I'll never forget. This program elevated the emotional connection between Meryl and Charlie and showcased the raw passion in their skating. There was something so breathtaking about how they threw themselves completely into the program and lived each note of the music.


And here's one of my favorite photos I've taken of Meryl and Charlie - this was during their free dance at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver:


****
Madison Chock and Evan Bates


Madison Chock and Evan Bates train in Novi, Michigan and are a relatively new team. They've been skating together for less than three years, but their chemistry was palpable right from the start. With their large height difference, they are able to perform stunning lifts, and I love how they're able to do both light-hearted and powerful, romantic programs well. My favorite program of theirs is their jazzy Chopin free dance from their first season together in 2011-2012. It was so different from anything I'd seen, and I love the playfulness and danciness of it.


And here's one of my favorite photos I've taken of Madi and Evan - this shows one of their light-hearted programs, their short dance at 2013 nationals:


****

Maia and Alex Shibutani


Maia and Alex Shibutani train alongside Meryl and Charlie in Canton, Michigan. I first saw this brother and sister duo at the junior level at the 2008 national championships. They already had people buzzing, and they quickly shot up the ranks and made a huge splash in their first year on the senior level, winning the bronze medal at worlds. It's been so fun watching them grow up into seasoned performers. I've always been so impressed with their technical precision and their musicality. Their elegant style was very much on display in their 2008-2009 Cinema Paradiso free dance, which is my favorite program of theirs.


Here's one of my favorite photos I've taken of Maia and Alex - showing how intense they were about their Michael Jackson free dance at nationals this year:


I love all three of these teams so much and hope they have the time of their lives performing their Olympic programs!

Don't forget to enter the Olympic Extravaganza giveaway below. The fourth prize will be given away tomorrow!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Olympic Extravaganza Giveaway #3

Today is the men's free skate in Sochi, so that means prize #3 of the Olympic Extravaganza will be given away! Today's prize is another awesome Winter Olympics-themed read, and this time it's an entire series! I'm giving away an ebook set of Alina Adams' Figure Skating Mysteries, which includes five books. I've read all of these and loved every single page of them. Here's a little more about the set:


BOOK ONE - MURDER ON ICE 

At the World Figure Skating Championship, the Ladies' Gold medal goes to Russia's dour Xenia Trubin over America's perky Erin Simpson thanks to the vote of one judge. Who then promptly turns up dead. 

Who killed Silvana Potenza? A skater? A coach? A fan? An official? A parent? 

It's up to Bex Levy, intrepid television researcher, to figure everything out before the end of the competition, or lose her job - and maybe even her life... 

BOOK TWO - ON THIN ICE 

Bex Levy’s search for a pair of athletes who mysteriously dropped out of the sport years earlier leads to a host of shocking secrets, a kidnapping – and a murder! 

BOOK THREE - AXEL OF EVIL 

Bex Levy races to discover who killed an ice skating coach during a competition in Moscow. Igor Marchenko defected from the USSR to the States in 1977 and this is the first time he's been able to return home. But he soon turns up dead, poisoned by a pair of gloves. And once Bex does the rounds, she finds that plenty of people had plenty of reasons to bump him off. 

BOOK FOUR - DEATH DROP 

Bex Levy investigates the mystery behind an infant left in the arena at the Nationals, and why the baby's mother, an ice dancer who mysteriously took off a year ago, is hanging dead from a sequined belt. But leery from events in the past, Bex is hesitant to follow the clues that will uncover personal secrets... and a killer who'll do anything to keep them from coming out. 

BOOK FIVE - SKATE CRIME 

When a world-famous coach is murdered on the eve of his televised tribute, the suspects include the former partner he dumped as soon as something better came along, the much younger new wife that he turned into a clone of his old one, his resentful daughter who always had to battle Daddy's students for his attention, the skater whose life he nearly destroyed, and the one he guided to Olympic Gold. 


Learn more about Alina on her website and follow her on Twitter!

The winner of the ebook set is Madeline Klepec. Congratulations, Madeline! There are two more prizes two be given away next week, so keep entering in the Rafflecopter below!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Olympics - Meet the U.S. Men


Today the men's event kicks off in Sochi, and the U.S. has an incredibly strong team of Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown. Let's get to know these two fantastically talented guys!

Jeremy Abbott

Jeremy Abbott is a four-time national champion, and he trains at the Detroit Skating Club. Jeremy is a true dancer on the ice. I could see him seamlessly transitioning onto the TV show So You Think You Can Dance without missing a beat. He hasn't always been able to put all the jumps together, but his in-between skating has always been gold-medal worthy. Jeremy has a way of interpreting the music with his entire body that is beautiful to watch. My favorite program of his was his "Hometown Glory" exhibition. Every movement went perfectly with the music!



One of my favorite photos I've taken of Jeremy - from his elegant and emotional "Bring Him Home" exhibition at nationals this year:


****

Jason Brown


Jason Brown, who trains in Colorado Springs, is one of the sport's brightest young stars and simply the nicest person on the planet (I'm being totally serious). I first saw Jason skate in the novice division at nationals in 2009. He stood out because of his ponytail and his unique style. There was something very special about the way he performed so easily to the crowd at such a young age. I watched him steadily move up the ranks over the next couple of years, and then in 2011 he had a moment at nationals I'll never forget. This also ties into my favorite program of his - his Turandot long program. When he performed it at nationals that year, he had everyone on their feet before the program even ended (just as he did at 2014 nationals!)



One of my favorite photos I've taken of Jason - at the 2011 Grand Prix Final gala where he showed off his incredible flexibility:


With such a deep international men's field, this should be an intense and exciting competition. Hoping we see some amazing performances!

Don't forget to enter the Olympic Extravaganza giveaway below. The third prize will be revealed and given away on Friday!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympic Extravaganza Giveaway #2

Today is the pairs free skate, so that means prize #2 of the Olympic Extravaganza will be given away! Today's prize is a wonderful Winter Olympics-themed book from my fellow Astraea Press author Beth Pond. Podium Finish is a young adult romance featuring both hockey and figure skating. Here's the skinny!


With six months until the Olympic Games, seventeen-year-old Harper's life is pretty much perfect. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world, until she runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee, thereby sentencing herself to six weeks in a cast and possibly ending her Olympic dream before it even starts.

For seventeen-year-old Alex, being anything less than the best is unacceptable. That's why, after a miserable debut season at the senior level, the former junior national singles champion switches to ice dance. Her skating partner, Ace, is an "all skating all the time" type of guy, which would be fine, if he'd stop keeping secrets about the real reason he and his former partner broke up. Now is not the time for second thoughts, but how can Alex skate her best if she can’t trust her partner…or herself?

As the pressure to make the Olympic team builds, the girls must rely on each other, because if there’s one thing they both know, it's that the only thing harder than skating to the top is staying there.
****

Podium Finish is currently on sale for 99 cents on Amazon!
Learn more about the author on her website and follow her on Twitter.

The winner of the ebook is Chanpreet Singh! Congrats, Chanpreet! Plenty more prizes to come, so keep entering in the Rafflecopter. The next prize will be revealed and given away on Friday. But stop by tomorrow to get to know the U.S. men's team before they skate their short programs!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Olympics - Meet the U.S. Pairs


Today begins the pairs event at the Olympics with the short program tonight. For each event during the Games, I'm going to introduce you to the American skaters and share my favorite programs of theirs. Let's get started!!

American pairs haven't historically earned many medals at the Olympics, but we've seen some great performances from our pairs over the years at the Games. I'm expecting more special performances this year from our two pairs - Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir and Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, the 2013 and 2014 national champions, train at the Skating Club of Boston. I first saw them compete on the junior level where they captured the bronze medal at Junior Worlds in 2009. I loved how huge all their elements were. Over the past few years they've grown so much as performers and have become so in sync as a team. My favorite program of theirs is their tango from the 2012-2013 season. The choreography was wonderfully intricate, and they totally sold it from beginning to end!



One of my favorite photos I've taken of Marissa and Simon - when they learned they'd won their first national title:


****

Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay


Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay train in Ellenton, Florida. They've come such a long way in their three years together. I remember seeing them at the U.S. International Classic in September 2012 and thinking they had a lot of potential, but they still had that "new team" look. Now they have completely gelled as a team! My favorite program of theirs is their Les Miserables long program this season. They skated the heck out of it at nationals and brought the house down!



One of my favorite photos I've taken of Felicia and Nate - near the end of their amazing free skate at this year's nationals. The joy on their faces is unmistakable:


I hope all the pairs skate lights out and we see lots of personal best scores. Wishing loads of luck to all the competitors in the short program tonight! Don't forget to enter the Olympic Extravaganza giveaway in the Rafflecopter below. The second prize will be given away tomorrow!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Olympic Extravaganza Giveaway #1

Today the first medal will be awarded in figure skating in the new team event, so that means the first prize will be given away in my Olympic Extravaganza! Today's prize is an awesome EDGE series swag pack!


And the winner is Chrissy Wolfe! Congratulations, Chrissy!! Don't despair if you didn't win - there are still four more prizes to be given away! Continue to enter in the Rafflecopter below:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Romance Is In the Air Blog Hop


Welcome to the Romance Is In the Air Blog Hop! I'd love to share with you a romantic excerpt from Fighting for the Edge, the third and final book in my EDGE series. 

****
“Bust a Move” had just begun playing, and Chris danced along to the hip-hop rhythm as he closed the space between Aubrey and himself. He set his hands lightly on her hips, and she felt the tingle again. It had been over a month since she’d gone a date, so she was probably just excited to have the attention. Or maybe it was the wine making her giddy.

Their bodies moved together in time to the music, drifting closer and generating more heat with each beat. Aubrey wrapped her fingers around Chris’s biceps, and he tensed, his fingertips putting more pressure on her hips. She clutched him harder and fought the urge to roam her hands over all his other taut muscles.

In her stiletto heels she wasn’t much shorter than Chris, so she had a prime view of his smile, which never left his face. She couldn’t stop smiling either. She hadn’t felt this kind of energy in a long time. Or possibly ever.


Chris leaned toward her ear. “Do I pass?”


His warm breath puffed against her cheek, causing her to shiver. Oh, yeah. With flying colors. He pulled back to face her, and she looked up at his big grin. Get a grip. It’s just silly, nice-guy Chris. This is only a game.


****

All three books of the EDGE series are currently on sale for $0.99 in celebration of the Winter Olympics!


Enter in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card! And if you'd like more chances to win more prizes, visit my Olympic Extravaganza celebration which will be ongoing throughout the Games. Prizes will be given away every few days!

And hop around to the other sites on this blog hop for lots more fun and prizes!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Olympic Extravaganza!


It's here! As an Olympic junkie, I look forward to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics like a kid looks forward to Christmas. And the Winter Olympics are even more special to me because we get to see my favorite sport, figure skating, on sports' biggest stage. This year the competition begins the day before the Opening Ceremony, so the action begins in a few hours!

To celebrate the 2014 Winter Games, I'm going to have a two-week long party here on my blog. There will be posts introducing you to all the American figure skaters, spotlights on some fabulous skating books, and giveaways every day that a skating medal is awarded!

Also, for the duration of the Games, Fighting for the Edge will be on sale for $0.99 on Amazon! Life on the Edge and Edge of the Past are already discounted, so you can get all three books of the EDGE series for only $3!

To kick off the celebration, I want you to meet a new author, KJV (Katie Van Ark). She's also an adult skater who's competed at Adult Nationals.

She just released her debut novel, a YA skating romance, and you can read it for free on Swoon Reads. Here's a little bit more about Pairing Up:


Madelyn Spier spends hours each day holding the hand of the most popular boy at school…on the ice. She wants more than their figure skating partnership, and a romantic new program could be her big break. Or a big break-up, since the only thing that rivals Gabriel Nielsen’s number of medals is his number of ex-girlfriends.
Gabe knows Maddy has a crush on him but he hasn’t spent years braving a freezing ice rink at five in the morning only to have his dreams shattered by yet another break-up. He’s not getting involved with Maddy, until their coach convinces him to pretend to be in love with her. As the lines between pretend and reality blur, Gabe must decide what he really wants to win.
Read the entire novel free on Swoon Reads! And learn more about Katie on her website and Twitter.

****

And now for the giveaways! There will be one Rafflecopter for the celebration, and I'll include it at the bottom of every blog post so you can enter the contest daily. Prizes will be revealed the day of the medal events in figure skating, and winners will be announced shortly after each event. Here's the schedule of when prizes will be given away:

February 9 - Team Final
February 12 - Pairs Final
February 14 - Men's Final
February 17 - Ice Dance Final
February 20 - Ladies Final

Start entering now! The first prize will be given away Sunday, the day of the first ever figure skating team final!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Moves

Since we're on the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics (YAYYYY!!!!), I thought I'd feature a move from one of my favorite Olympic exhibition programs. Katia Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov came out of the professional ranks to compete at the Olympics in 1994, and they were magnificent in winning their second gold medal. I had the entire 1994 Olympic exhibition on videocassette, and I watched it obsessively for months. This program was one of the standouts. Every move in it is exquisite, but I particularly love the dance lift where Katia goes onto Sergei's back and their arms and legs are stretched in perfect unison, showing off their gorgeous lines. There will never be another pair like them!


And speaking of the Olympics, get ready because I'm going to be giving away lots of EDGE series and skating-themed prizes during the Games! I'll also have special features on all the American skaters so you can get to know them a little. The blog will be hopping starting Friday, so you'll definitely want to stop by!