Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Power of Music

When I sit down to write, I often listen to music. The wide variety of genres on my mp3 player - classical, pop, rock, movie scores, R&B - give me many different moods to sample. If I'm writing a skating action scene, classical puts me in the right frame of mind. If it's an intense emotional scene, I want to hear something with a lot of depth. Keane's "A Bad Dream," for example (someone needs to skate to this song, by the way). 

I like to work music into my stories, also. In LIFE ON THE EDGE, it plays a key role, not only in the skating aspect of the story but also in the relationship between the two main characters. There's something very powerful about the emotions that music can evoke. It can remind you of certain events, happy or sad, or certain people, and it can put you back in that place, experiencing everything you felt when you last heard the song or instrumental piece.

I've always made "soundtracks" to my stories - a list of songs that fit my characters plus songs/classical pieces I actually mention in the story. In this new age of e-books, I'd love it if there was a way to link audio files into e-books so the reader could listen to the soundtrack while reading, if so desired. I'm sure the copyright issues could be a huge barrier, but almost every song imaginable can be found on YouTube with one click, so perhaps this could be a possibility in the future. Is this a feature you would find interesting, too?

Below is part of the soundtrack for LIFE ON THE EDGE. When I first heard the song "Un-thinkable" by Alicia Keys on the radio, I knew the lyrics fit my main characters' situation perfectly. Have you ever heard a song and felt like it was written about you or something you experienced? Drop me a comment below!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ice Dance - It's the Shizzle

Of the four figure skating disciplines (ladies, men, pairs, ice dance), dance has become my favorite, and I remember the exact moment I fell in love with it. The year was 1999, and I was watching the U.S. National Championships Exhibition on TV. The junior ice dance champions, Jamie Silverstein and Justin Pekarek, appeared on my screen, and the rest is history. Here's the program that totally captivated me:

I was awed by their fluid movement, the way they interpreted Sting's music, and the spark in every step they took. They truly were "dancing" on ice. Unfortunately, Jamie and Justin's career was a brief one, but the talented young team left a lasting impression on me. Ice dance in the U.S. was an afterthought at the time, but I started paying much more attention to it. The next season, another young couple wowed me during the Nationals exhibition - Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. This team became the most successful American dance team of all time and inspired a surge of popularity in ice dance in the U.S.

Many more people have jumped on the dance bandwagon in recent years, but I'd like to see the discipline gain even more attention. With Meryl Davis and Charlie White winning the World Championship last season, the first for an American team, the media should put a bigger spotlight on dance. I know the single skaters will always get more publicity, but people are missing out if they don't follow dance. Ice dance programs have more depth, more connection to the music, more entertaining costumes. So many different themes are explored. The lack of jumps doesn't make the disclipline less exciting; it gives the skaters more time to relate to the music and to each other.

If you've ignored ice dance in the past, I encourage you to give it a look. With the talent and depth in the U.S. right now, Nationals is going to be an intense battle. I'll leave you with another gem of a performance, one that left me speechless at 2008 Nationals - Davis & White's "Eleanor Rigby" free dance:


Friday, September 23, 2011

My First Blog Post!

Hello and welcome to my blog! This is a new venture for me, and I'm excited to share my writing and my passion for figure skating with you. I recently completed a young adult crossover novel titled LIFE ON THE EDGE and have submitted it to a publisher. Currently waiting for a response and trying to be productive in the meantime!

LIFE ON THE EDGE is very special to me because it's my first completed manuscript, and I think the story can appeal to a wide audience. It's a sweet romance, starring 19-year old pairs skater Emily and her 25-year old coach Sergei. The story follows Emily's journey as she embarks on a relationship with Sergei while preparing for the 2002 Olympics. A number of obstacles present themselves, and Emily must rise above them to keep her dreams of Olympic gold alive. If the publisher accepts the manuscript for publication, I'll provide a few teaser snippets from the book on this blog!

As I've mentioned, I am a very passionate fan of figure skating, and I've included some skating-related items here. On the "Figure Skating Photography" page, you'll be able to find photos I take at competitions, and the "Favorite Skating Moments" includes videos of some of the performances I will never forget. Please feel free to add comments and let me know if you're a fellow fan of the sport!

Thanks for stopping by!