Sunday, December 30, 2012

Music Monday

It's the final Music Monday of the year! I could pick my favorite songs of 2012 to feature, but there are too many! So, I'm going to highlight two of favorite musical "discoveries" of 2012 - artists I hadn't heard of before this year.

I heard this first band on my local alternative rock station, and I found the song incredibly catchy. I couldn't help but turn it up!

"Impossible" by Anberlin

I discovered this next band when I heard their song in an awesome Once Upon a Time fan video. The song is so haunting, and it really pulls at the heartstrings. Here's the Snow White/Prince Charming video and then the full version of the song.

"Hymn For the Missing" by Red

Stay safe tonight and start the new year here tomorrow! You'll be able to enter a huge giveaway as part of the New Year's Blog Hop, and I'll be posting a special New Year's Eve deleted scene from LIFE ON THE EDGE! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Book Sale

The Holiday Book Sale
Today's hottest fiction ebooks are on sale for .99 from Dec 28-Dec 31! And LIFE ON THE EDGE is included!

Mystery, romance, young adult - there's something for everyone ...
... including the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My Early Writing Days

I was looking through some old books and binders at my house and found a binder of all the stories I wrote when I was a kid. Talk about some funny stuff! I had quite the imagination, and I was cracking up while reading my "books."

I thought I'd share some bits of my stories so you can laugh along with me and see where my writing roots began. I couldn't find any dates on the loose-leaf paper, but I think this first "book blurb" was written when I was seven or eight years old. That was about the same time this photo was taken. Me and my prized Cabbage Patch Doll!

Here's the book blurb for "Gatlinburg in the Scaries":

A family went on vacation and spent a few days there, but days grew to weeks and weeks grew to months. Indians had been watching them from down below.

As has happened with quite a few of my book ideas, this one never materialized. But it sounded like it could be a great thriller/suspense novel!

Here's another snippet from a book about three kids who spend a lot of time at their aunt and uncle's house. I think this was also written when I was around eight. This is from the chapter titled "The Thief":

The next day Michael put his library books down on the table and went straight to the living room. The first thing he saw was the TV screen all messed up and the dog laying on the carpet, and to top it all off a ski mask with a gun on top of it.

Did the robber shoot the TV antenna? LOL. And then he leaves the evidence of his ski mask and gun lying on the floor? Not a very bright thief, LOL. Oh, and to ease your worry, the dog isn't dead. Later in the story I mention bringing him home from the animal hospital :)

I have more snippets to post later, including some from a story about a stalker terrorizing a family. I sure was into writing thrillers when I was a kid!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Music Monday

Merry Christmas! In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to share my favorite Christmas songs. I couldn't find a video of my favorite rendition of O Holy Night - John Legend's performance at the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree in 2006 - so here's a gorgeous skating performance by Braden Overett:

"O Holy Night"

This song is an oldie but goodie - an 80's gem from my youth...

"Last Christmas" by Wham

And a true classic sung by one of the most memorable voices of our time...

"The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Promise For Her Love by Elaina Lee

If you're looking for a great Christmas read this holiday season, my super talented cover artist Elaina Lee, also an award-winning author, has just released a wonderful Christmas romance!

A Promise for her Love (Elaina Lee)

Christmas is supposed to be the most joyful time of year. Instead,  Caylie Abrahams finds herself consumed by doubts and misgivings as her wedding date to Rick Marshall approaches. From two different walks of life, Caylie fears Rick’s family, and his money, will be too much to handle. Matters don’t improve much when Rick is forced to give her a prenuptial agreement.
Knowing the marriage contract may be the last straw for Caylie, Rick has to find a way to show his bride-to-be the agreement doesn’t mean their marriage is doomed. Not only does he need to make sure her worries are addressed, but the pressure of keeping his hands to himself until their wedding night is proving more difficult than he anticipated.
ONLY 99 cents! Find it @ Amazon Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

A Promise for Her Love – Excerpt

Caylie Abrahams checked her suitcase one more time, pointing to the neatly packed compartments and mentally checking off things she’d already put inside. Butterflies danced in her stomach. She tried not to think too hard on the evening to come.
For the first time since they’d become a couple six months ago, she and Rick Marshall were going to spend the night together. Alone.
Taking a deep breath she raced to the bathroom and then quickly filled a cup with water. Hands shaking, she gulped down the cool fluid. Deep, loud laughter drew her attention away from what felt like prom night.
She set the cup on the counter, debating whether to keep packing or to make sure her brother would be fine for the weekend without her. Eighteen now, Kyle didn’t need to be watched over. However, he still lived under her roof, and she expected him to follow the rules.
A little reminder here and there about what she expected never hurt, so she headed down the hall to his room. At his door, she lifted her hand to knock. His muffled voice sounded through the slivered opening, and she paused. Pressing a hand to the frame to steady herself, she leaned closer, wondering if she’d heard correctly.
“Look, it’s not that I don’t want to do it, I just…No, hey, come on Gloria, that’s not fair.” He laughed again.
Caylie considered rushing down the stairs and snatching up the other phone. What little vixen was trying to demoralize her brother? She’d been down that path before with Kyle; she didn’t want to deal with bad influences again.
“See, here’s the deal,” he said, his voice turning somber. “My sis and her fiancĂ© are waiting until after they’re married to do it, and I was thinking about it and, I think that’s right.”
Blinking, Caylie backed away from the door, heart pounding. The diamond on her ring finger glittered in the dying light of day. She had to call Rick. Before she could make it to her room—and her phone—a heavy pounding sounded on the door downstairs. On the way down she shouted to Kyle that she had the door.
The thick shadow on the other side of the front door glass made her heart skip. Nervousness and excitement collided, causing her hand to pause over the doorknob. Inhaling deeply, she yanked the door open and couldn’t stop the smile, her eyes settling on the face she never grew tired of seeing.
“Hey, gorgeous,” Rick said, his voice low and silky, causing a wonderful shiver to race up her spine.
He wrapped his arms around her waist, and she let loose a squeal as he scooped her against his firm body. The door banged closed. In a split second, he pinned her to the wall. Breath rushed from her lungs. Feverish and demanding, his lips sought hers and Caylie didn’t deny him.
For over a week they’d sufficed with phone conversations, texts and emails—all difficulties of a semi-long distance relationship. On the weekends, they stayed at each other’s house, in separate rooms out of respect for Kyle. Their weekdays were spent dealing with their individual lives; they were only able to support each other over a phone line. Caylie couldn’t wait for the day when they would be together for good.
The thought made her remember Kyle’s words, and with frustration, she pulled away. Pushing her hands on his chest to keep him from advancing again, she shook her head. Breathless, she said, “We can’t go alone to the lake this weekend.”
Confusion etched his handsome face, and he pulled back slightly. “What are you talking about? Why?”
Dryness suddenly coated her throat, and she swallowed. Unable to look at him, she focused on his shirt buttons. “I overheard Kyle talking to his girlfriend. He thinks we’ve made the choice not to sleep together until we’re married.”
She met his stare. “So, he’s decided to make the same choice, because of us.”
“But we didn’t make that choice…did we?” The desperation straining his voice almost made her laugh. However, the same pent-up desire guided her body too, and it was screaming for her to forget what she’d heard.
Ignoring the heat coursing through her veins, she patted his chest and whispered, “I have.”
ONLY 99 cents! Find it @ Amazon Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Music Monday

Hello again! I had to skip Music Monday last week since I was participating in the Mating Game Blog Hop, but I'm back this week! I've been working on the third book in the EDGE series, and I thought I'd give a sneak peek at some of the music that will be included in the story.

The book is set around the time of the 2006 Olympics. The Olympic season is when skaters want to have "iconic" programs, so their music choices are extremely important. Emily and Chris have been planning for this season since the flame was extinguished at the 2002 Winter Games, and they won't be happy with anything less than gold. They've chosen a very dramatic and passionate piece for their short program, aiming to showcase their emotional connection with the audience and with each other.

Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber

Aubrey and Nick compete in ice dance, which has a required rhythm for the original dance segment of the competition. The rhythm for the 2006 Olympic season is the Latin Combination, which includes the Merengue, Cha Cha, Samba, Mambo, and Rumba. Unlike Emily and Chris, Aubrey and Nick just want to get on the podium. They're hoping they can wow the judges with their sexy dance moves in their Ricky Martin medley.

"Casi Un Bolero by Ricky Martin (Rumba)

"Por Arriba, Por Abajo" by Ricky Martin (Samba)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Mating Game Blog Hop

Welcome to the Mating Game Blog Hop! I'm one of a number of blogs participating in the contest, and my fictional couple Emily and Sergei from the EDGE series will be playing the game together. First, let me introduce you to them....

Emily is a competitive pairs figure skater with Olympic dreams, and Sergei is her young Russian coach. Their story starts in LIFE ON THE EDGE and continues in EDGE OF THE PAST. They're very excited to play the Mating Game today and are ready to face the questions posed by our blog hop hosts! I'll be stepping in to conduct the interview :)

Question #1: Tell us about a memorable experience you shared together.

Emily and Sergei give each other thoughtful looks. "Hmm... there was that night in Tokyo..." Sergei says with a slow grin.

"I think we should keep that to ourselves." Emily smiles.

Sergei leans in close to her. "You don't want to tell everyone how we broke the rules?"

Her pulse quickens as Sergei's warm breath whispers against her ear. She sees me watching them and sits up straighter. "Maybe we should stick to a skating-related memorable experience. We've had a few of those."

Sergei nods. "Nationals in Boston was definitely one."

Emily turns to me. "I was crazy nervous because I was competing in my hometown, and I was all over the place with adrenaline. But Sergei calmed me down before Chris and I went out to skate. He knew all the right things to say, just like he always does." She squeezes Sergei's bicep, and he beams at her.

"I was so proud of her. She and Chris were under so much pressure, and she channeled all that nervous energy and embraced the moment. She was absolutely on fire." Sergei locks his deep blue eyes on Emily's. "I'll never forget how beautiful you looked in that white dress. When you came off the ice and I hugged you, I didn't want to let you go."

Both Emily and I melt into our chairs. I study my notes and remind myself I'm supposed to be professional in hosting the game. On to the next question!

Question #2: What would you do if the one you wanted was terrified of their feelings and pushed you away?

"We've sorta been down that road," Emily says, her voice dropping. "Sergei and I got so close, and then all of a sudden everything was so messed up, and I didn't think he'd ever admit how he felt about me. I didn't know what to do, how to get him out of my head."

Sergei reaches for Emily's hand and gently grasps it. "Pushing Em away was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Because of our situation, I thought I had to do it to protect her. But seeing her every day and not being able to be with her..." He shakes his head. "It was torture."

The troubling memories are reflected on both Emily and Sergei's faces. I want to get them smiling again, so I quickly refer to my notes for the next question.

Question #3: What is one of the roadblocks standing in the way of you getting together?

"Well, it looks like you're happily together." I smile. "So, why don't you tell me about a roadblock you've overcome?" 

Emily laughs and looks at Sergei. "Which one should we tackle? My mom? The skating federation? Your past?"

"The federation was the first one we had to overcome." Sergei faces me. "In other countries, you see coaches hooking up with skaters like it's no big deal, but the U.S. Skating Federation has a completely different view on the situation."

Emily adds, "They want to protect their skaters from a relationship where the coach might abuse his or her power. It's totally understandable, but not everything is black and white, and our situation proves we know how to handle that balance of power and make a relationship work."

"You can tell we've had to answer this question a few times," Sergei says with a chuckle.

I peer at him over my clipboard. "I'd like to hear about your past and how that's affected you as a couple. I bet that's a juicy story."

Sergei's jaw tenses, and Emily throws a nervous glance in his direction. "It's probably best not to get into that right now."

I'm even more intrigued, but I don't want to push and have them clam up for the rest of the game. The next question looks more light and fun, so I breathe easier.

Question #4: How would you describe the other person using only one word at a time?

"You want to start?" Sergei asks Emily.

She gives him a big grin. "Hot."

He lets out a loud laugh. "That's the first thing you think of?"

"I'm covering the on-the-surface stuff first."

"Well, in that case, my first answer is gorgeous."

Emily turns to me. "I told you he knows all the right things to say."

"I have another one," Sergei says. "Competitive."

"Creative," Emily replies.



Sergei smiles and kisses the back of Emily's hand. "Sweet."

Her gaze travels slowly over his face, zeroing in on his mouth. "Ditto."

They seem to have forgotten I exist, and I'm afraid they might start making out at any moment. I clear my throat and jump to the next question.  

Question #5: What was the first thing you noticed about each other?

"Oh, his eyes. For sure," Emily says. "First time we met, I walk into the rink, so nervous because I'm meeting this new coach and trying to start a new career in pairs, and I see Sergei... and he smiles at me, and I feel like I could just drown in his eyes. I couldn't stop staring at them. They were so crystal blue, like an ocean in paradise."

Sergei's cheeks turn a light shade of pink, and Emily leans against his side. "He's not too comfortable with gushy compliments."

Sergei laughs. "Let's see how you do with those."

"Bring 'em on." She grins.

He stares at her a few moments and then licks his lips. "When I met Em, I noticed everything about her. How her smile made her eyes even brighter. The way she fiddled with her necklace because she was nervous. How she looked at the ice like she couldn't wait to get out there. But most of all, she had this warmth about her, this energy that drew me in and convinced me I had to work with her. Best decision I've ever made in my life."

What do you think - are Emily and Sergei pretty compatible? Hop around and meet all the other couples! You can find a list of the participating blogs here! 

**EDGE series news: EDGE OF THE PAST is now available in digital and paperback on Amazon, and LIFE ON THE EDGE is still on sale for 99 cents for all digital formats! Book Three of the series is currently in progress :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Grand Prix Final SD Thoughts

Last year at this time, I was walking around the snowy, enchanting streets of Quebec City and enjoying every moment of my first Grand Prix Final (and the amazing cuisine in QC!). Oh, how I wish the GPF was held in North America more often! It's such a spectacular event with the best of the best on both the senior and junior levels competing.

I've only seen some of the Junior Men's event on YouTube and the Senior Short Dance this morning on Universal Sports. Congrats to Josh Farris on his silver medal! I wish he could've had a better free skate, but maybe he'll save his best for Nationals this year. It's about time he had a good competition at Nats! I adore both of his programs and want to see him skate them lights-out.

Some thoughts on the Short Dance...

Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte - I don't know how anyone can avoid smiling when these two skate this program. It's just plain fun! One of the things I love about it is the continuity of the music. With so many teams using bad music cuts in the short dance this year, I love the seamless nature of this program. It all flows, and they keep the upbeat energy throughout. So happy for them earning level four on both sequences of the Yankee Polka! (And a thumbs up to Igor!)

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov - And then we have the lounge-y disco Uzbek polka. They skate with a ton of speed and perform the program very well save for some shaky twizzling by Nikita. Compared to their hot mess of a free dance, this program is divine, but the music is just blah.

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev - I keep trying to get into this program, and it keeps falling flat for me. I think they've made some strides this year in their overall skating skills, but their material is kinda snoozy. Happy to see them firmly ahead of I/K, though!

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat - My friend called right as they took the ice and she's had a rough week, so I couldn't ignore her call. Their score says they skated well!

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir - Scott wobbles a bit on the second twizzle, so I think that might be where the level three came in? Everything is crisply done, but the overall feel of the program is a little cold. It just doesn't have that spark that I think they need when up against Meryl and Charlie's outstanding short dance this year.

Meryl Davis/Charlie White - Their Giselle program is one of the most complete (if not THE most complete) short dances I've seen since the SD was created two years ago. From the first moment, they set the tone with an abundance of joy in every step. The entire sequence starting with the toe steps and then the Yankee Polka is brilliant use of choreography and music. It brings in the crowd and builds to the end of the program with so much energy. This will be known as one of their signature programs.

Free dance very early tomorrow morning. Going to have to shorten my late-night writing tonight!

Release Party Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of my release party giveaway! 

Donna Weaver - Life on the Edge prize pack
Emily Ragsdale - Life on the Edge prize pack
Anubha - $20 Amazon or BN gift card

Thank you so much to everyone who participated! The paperback edition of Edge of the Past is now available on Amazon!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Edge of the Past Release Party!

Emily's skating career and personal life have never been more golden. She and her partner Chris have won every competition they've entered this season, and she's found the man of her dreams in her coach Sergei. But when one of the biggest competitions of the year takes Emily and Sergei to Russia, Sergei's past explodes into the present and makes Emily doubt everything in their future.

It's time to celebrate the release of Edge of the Past! For those of you who read Life on the Edge, you'll be continuing on Emily and Sergei's journey with them as they deal with the ghosts from Sergei's past. If you haven't read Life on the Edge, you'll be introduced to Emily and Sergei and won't miss a beat. (But pick up the first book if you want to read the story of how they fell in love. It's currently on sale for $0.99!)

To celebrate, I'm giving away three prizes! You can enter through the Rafflecopter below. Lots of chances to win! The prizes are:

2 Life on the Edge prize packs
$20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card

You can enter to win until Friday, Dec. 7. Good luck and thank you so much for celebrating with me!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Monday

It's Edge of the Past release week! So, this week's Music Monday features two songs from the soundtrack. The first is "Fragile" by Delta Goodrem. The emotion of the song reminded me of what Emily feels during a large part of the story.

"Fragile" by Delta Goodrem

The second song is "I'll Be Seeing You" by Billie Holiday. This is one of my favorite songs on The Notebook soundtrack, and I used it in Edge of the Past at a moment when Emily is having a very hard time dealing with issues from Sergei's past in Russia.

"I'll Be Seeing You" by Billie Holiday

The release party will be later this week! There will be giveaways and lots of chances to enter to win!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 NHK Trophy FD Thoughts

More late night skating - wheeee!!!! We've had some between event entertainment of Domo and friends on skates and now we're ready for the free dance!

Xiaoyang Yu/Chen Wang - They shall always be remembered for their Cats free dance. Nothing from them has been quite as memorable since. The lifts all take a lot of time to develop. But the costumes are an improvement over past years!

Xingtong Huang/Xun Zheng - Buble'! And it's the "untied tie" look again that I harped on last week. Aww, the crowd is clapping along. Xun has a nice position in the camel spin. Boot slide! Have they been hanging out in Novi? They're stuck in the mud, as my friend Nordyica used to say, but it's a really cute program!

Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland - Twizzles out of sync. Very cool upside down lift. The program felt classical and now it's got a Broadway feel. Another neat upside down-position lift. They're rather adorable.

Cathy Reed/Chris Reed - A Mad Men program maybe? Oh, it's Kim and Brent's Beatles music! Interesting entry into their first lift with her putting her leg over his back. Chris's tie is tied - props to him! Wait, their last lift very closely resembles one of Kim and Brent's lifts. Hmm.... Quick side note and a look ahead to U.S. Nationals - Kristen Nardozzi and Nick Traxler will be doing a mash-up of Kim and Brent's Beatles FD and Meryl and Charlie's Eleanor Rigby.

Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams - Hello, bright green dress. They have good carriage and speed across the ice. Nicole's legs look long, but she gets in and out of the lifts more smoothly than some other leggy girls.

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov - The train wreck of a program that just keeps on giving! From Elena's sad sack dress to the awful voice overs to the gunshots.... I don't know how I'm going to sit in the stands at Worlds and not crack up. If this is what sleeping with the boss gets you, I'd rethink that strategy. But the judges are rewarding the crap for whatever ridiculous reason....

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani - Great twizzles. Need to tighten up some of the holds in the circular footwork. Very crisp movements and a lot more spark than Rostelecom Cup, understandably. Glad they've gone with a more lyrical program this year.

Meryl Davis/Charlie White - Couldn't type notes while they were skating because I was too captivated by the amazingness of this program. The emotion from them was bursting through my television. Soooo freaking good! I love all the little changes they've made. Everything was right on every beat of the music, perfectly timed and soaring. Gorgeous times one hundred!

Friday, November 23, 2012

2012 NHK Pairs SP Thoughts

I love being able to watch events live! And this is a good field of pairs! Excited for Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knieram competing in their first Grand Prix event, and so nervous for Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir. Here we go!

Alexa Scimeca/Chris Knieram - Throw flip is HUGE. SBS spins a little slow. Nice SBS triple salchows. Overall need a bit more speed, but wonderful connection and Alexa's positions are lovely. We have ourselves another team in the mix for the podium at Nationals!

Lindsay Davis/Mark Ladwig - Mark spins out of the landing of the SBS triple salchows. Mark is traveling toward the boards on the SBS spins. Lindsay ekes out the throw loop. Love their music. Need to work more on their connection.

Anastasia Martiusheva/Alexei Rogonov - New team to me. She spins out of salchow landing a la Mark. Very nice throw flip. Huge triple twist. Bahhhh, commercial interruption. End of their footwork sequence looked nice! Not a fan of Alexei's tuxedo - looks like Sir Penguin.

Nicole della Monica/Matteo Guarise - Hair clips must go. Is this the guy Caitlin Y skated with for awhile? She's down on the SBS sals. Messy throw sal. They look like they're in slow motion. Whoa, I looked down to take notes and I think I missed a botch death spiral?

Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir - Huge triple twist nailed. SBS triple sals nailed. Throw jump nailed. YAYYYYYY!!!!! Sorry for the fangirl moment, but I love these two! And they rock this program like nobody's business. Those little hop twisty moves they do near the end are awesome. Marissa's sassy ponytail is the bomb. Okay, I'm done gushing :)

Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch - Cute costumes and neat choreography. Twist is very lateral.  Dylan's a little swingy on the SBS jumps. Dylan starts the lift from his knee (which I first saw done by Steven Pottenger). Nice program from them!

Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov - These two have been trying to break through forever it feels like. Eat a biscuit, Vera. Her throw jump landing reminds me of Elena Berezhnaya. Beautiful twist. Love Vera's dress. They're still kinda bland, but I'll take them over Kavaguti any day!

Free dance coming up next!

2012 NHK Trophy SD Thoughts

So sad that we've already reached the final event of the Grand Prix season :( But happy NHK Trophy is here because some of my favorite skaters are competing in Sendai! And I love how the time difference always works out for NHK because I can watch some of the events live. Stood up late last night and watched the short dance....

Cathy Reed/Chris Reed - Music sounds like a movie score. Their circular footwork pattern appears shallow - they need to push it out more. Noooo, not another overhead camera! They all need to die like the Smuckers Sky Cam. Wait, is this Seven Brides For Seven Brothers? That combined with the kiss at the end makes the program a little icky for a brother-sister team....

Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams - If they were going to use John Michael Montgomery, a nice choice for the slow section would've been "I Love the Way You Love Me" instead of the hundredth version of "Tennessee Waltz" we've heard this year. Would've made the music cuts a little less jarring perhaps.

Xioyang Wu/Chen Wang - It's Tanith's 2008 country OD clone! They look slow after the Canadians. Rough twizzles.

Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng - I think Xun's outfit might work well as a prince costume for Charlie White in his and Meryl's SD. This team brings the pretty. It seems like every team begins their circular footwork with the same step. I guess there are only so many options - thanks, CoP.

Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland - Commercial interruption wipes out most of the program. I get to see the kiss at the end. I should've been keeping a tally of how many kisses we've seen in the short dances this year. There've been a lot!

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov - The disco-loungey-middle eastern-folk music confuses me. Very messy twizzle from Nikita. Deductions all over the place. I'm looking forward to their free dance because it's pure unintentional comedy!

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani - Alex lost the headband and is the Karate Kid no more. They have more attack than they did at Rostelecom Cup. Their hand movements are very sharp. Maia looks more comfortable in the Yankee Polka sequences than Alex. Anyone else think Oleg Epstein looks like Mr. Bean?

Meryl Davis/Charlie White - Sitting back and enjoying the gorgeousness of this program. They put on a master class and show the rest of the field how it's done. The lift at the end looks too long and too sticky (yep, they get an extended lift deduction). Glad Charlie stuck with the huntsman costume.

Yay that both the pairs short program and the free dance are at reasonable times tonight!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Edge of the Past Cover Reveal

I'm so excited to show you the cover for Edge of the Past! The wonderful Elaina Lee at For the Muse Designs created it. She did such an awesome job! 

Next week I'll be having a release party here with lots of giveaways. Hope you can join in the fun!!!!

Edge of the Past Sneak Peek!

We're less than a week away from the release of Edge of the Past!!!! So, I think a little sneak peek is in order. Here's a never-before-seen excerpt!


After I got comfortable in my pajamas, I climbed into bed with my laptop to check email but never made it to my inbox. Thinking back to the conversation at dinner, I pulled up a search engine and typed Sergei Petrov and Elena Gorshkova. With a click on the Images tab, I landed on a page of photos from Sergei and Elena’s competitive days.
I’d looked at the pictures before – Sergei and Elena with their World Junior Championship gold medals, action shots from their winning free skate, and their celebration in the kiss and cry when they received their scores. But now I studied them longer, knowing I’d soon be in the city where all the history had taken place.
Elena and I had the same petite build, perfect for pairs skating, but our other physical features differed greatly. Her raven hair, cut in a bob, contrasted with my long, dark blonde locks. And her eyes were brown, almost black – the total opposite of my blue ones.
Even though Sergei and I had a lifetime together ahead of us, a twinge of something – perhaps jealousy, perhaps curiosity – hit me as I stared at the photos. Elena had given birth to Sergei’s child. His first child. They’d always have that bond, no matter the time and distance between them. Going back to Russia would surely trigger old memories for Sergei, especially since his father was obsessed with past mistakes.
I shut my laptop and burrowed deeper under the blankets. The ghosts must finally be put to rest.

I hope to be able to show you the cover for Edge of the Past before release day. Stay tuned! Oh, and Life on the Edge is currently on sale for $0.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so please spread the word!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Music Monday

It's a happy Monday because it's a short work week! To celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm listening to a couple of bands for whom I'm very thankful. The first is Muse. I didn't discover their music until Sinead and John Kerr skated to "Ruled by Secrecy" in the 2008-2009 season. I loved that song and then soon found another favorite, "I Belong To You (Mon Coeur S'ouvre A Ta Voix)." This song had a couple of special uses - it was on the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack, and it was also used by Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt for their free dance in the 2010-2011 season. Lynn and Logan are two of my favorite skaters - not just because they're awesome performers but because they're two of the nicest people around. For this Music Monday, you'll get a video with Lynn and Logan's performance of Muse's hit at 2010 Skate America!

"I Belong To You (Mon Coeur S'ouvre A Ta Voix)" by Muse

The second band for whom I'm thankful is Kings of Leon. Their song "Use Somebody" was played quite a bit on the radio, and I've become a big fan of their music since that song debuted. My beloved ice dance team of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto skated to "Use Somebody" a few years ago for a show program, and it's one of my favorite programs they've ever done. I miss Tanith and Ben :( Here's their performance from the Shall We Dance show:

"Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon (with an acoustic version by Tyler Hilton)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 Trophee Eric Bompard SD Thoughts

The roster of competitors at Trophee Eric Bompard is a little underwhelming this year. I'm already looking forward to NHK Trophy, which will have a crazy loaded field of men and a couple of my favorite pairs and dance teams. But we must get through Paris first! So, let's see how the Short Dance will play out....

Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier – Paul has a flying scarf a la Ian Lorello. Very cool and difficult-looking entrance into the twizzles. Glad the first part of the program is the instrumental version only (Mary Poppins). All the Mary Poppins programs should've stuck to instrumental and spared us the spoons full of sugar and supercalifragi-whatever. They look very fast on the Yankee Polka. Side thought - Paul/Islam didn't have a GP event this year? :( I really want to see P/I at Worlds.

Julia Zlobina/Alexei Sitnikov – Probably going to jinx everyone, but this year I’ve seen better twizzles from competitors than ever before. Voidy polka. It sounds like techno pop. I liked their FD last year. Not sold on this program, however. Wow they got a higher score than Gilles/Poirier.

Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue – I’ve seen the “untied bowtie” look way too much this season. Another cool twizzle entry. I see they've gotten rid of the straight-leg twizzles (aka The Delaware Special) this year. Madi's skirt flaps around a lot. This isn't the actual jig music used in Titanic, is it? I really wish they hadn't included lyrics during the footwork sequence. It sounds too country. Nice dance overall, but they looked peeved at the score. Both Chock/Bates and Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt scored higher at their GP events. Battle for the World Team at Nationals is going to be INTENSE.

Ekaterina Pushkash/Jonathan Guerreiro – Oh goodness, what is this mess? Only Nikolai could come up with these costumes. Oh, it’s Chock/Bates' polka music! I guess the costumes are supposed to be Cirque du Soleil then. Bad twizzles. I jinxed them.

Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko – Here comes a superior Russian team to the previous one. They are very pink/lilac! They bring the pretty. Ekaterina is looking down at the ice during the Yankee Polka? Much improved speed over last year.

Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones – We can't go one week without lasso arms, can we? Still can’t get over the change in Lloyd Jones' appearance. From blah blond pup to brunette cutie. Sadly, the team's skating hasn’t made as drastic an improvement. Is Tennessee Waltz the ONLY country waltzy piece of music skaters know?! Look up some Tracy Lawrence! Some George Strait! There's hundreds more.

Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte – So stinkin’ cute these two. Little shaky on the twizzles. Bursting with personality. So happy to see them finally rising up and skating with supreme confidence.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat – The slowed-down Can Can is just weird. All I can think of when I hear Can Can is The Cutting Edge. Whoa, is Nathalie wearing underwear and not a leotard under her skirt? I thought I saw some skin when she shook her skirt. Fabian is ticked at the score. Sorry, bud, you’re not going to score higher than Davis/White and Virtue/Moir. And better watch out behind you because you know Russia's going to push one of their teams for bronze in Sochi. They managed to get a crippled Max Shabalin a medal in Vancouver, so anything can happen.

In other notes, Ashley Wagner was divine in the ladies short program! I hadn't seen her Red Violin program yet this season, and I love it. From what I saw of the men, it was pretty ugly. I'm lighting candles that Brian Joubert can stay healthy and make it to Worlds so I can see him and all his porniness up close one last time.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Music Monday

Happy Monday! It's a big movie week with the premiere of Breaking Dawn Part 2 coming up this Friday. The first song I'm listening to this week, "Turning Page," was on the Breaking Dawn Part 1 soundtrack, but I didn't fall in love with it until I saw Kylie Duarte and Colin Grafton skate to it. It's such a romantic song, and I love these lines in particular - "I've waited a hundred years but I'd wait a million more for you. Nothing prepared me for what the privilege of being yours would do." Perfect for weddings!

"Turning Page" by Sleeping At Last

The second song I'm listening to this week is "Roslyn" from the New Moon soundtrack. The New Moon soundtrack is my favorite of the Twilight series. The score is fantastic and there are some great songs!

"Roslyn" by Bon Iver & St. Vincent

Are you going to see Breaking Dawn Part 2 this weekend? I'm going on Saturday and will be wearing my traditional Team Carlisle shirt! :)

Don't forget to stop by my Life on the Edge blog tour this month and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card. All the stops are listed here! Final galleys for Edge of the Past have been proofed and are in production for the book's release in a few weeks!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

2012 Rostelecom Cup SD Thoughts

Hard to believe we're more than halfway through the Grand Prix season already! This week's dance event at the Rostelecom Cup should be interesting because we have a number of teams making their GP season debuts. Time to check out some new programs!

Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams - That's quite the belt buckle on Thomas. Oh my goodness, they're skating to "Sold," a John Michael Montgomery country song from my college days. It used to make my ears bleed back then and it's not any better now! Who wants to bet $1000 we'll see "lasso arms" as part of the choreography? Yep, there they are. Not once, not twice, but three times! The skating doesn't look half-bad, but the costumes and the music are overwhelming me.

Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin - I like them right off the bat. They look stylish and charismatic. Ksenia is a little hunchy and their Yankee Polka is sloppy in parts, but I like the overall package. 

Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin - I skipped them since I didn't feel like seeing another country program (and I just saw them last week at Cup of China). Just saw their score and am wondering if they made drastic improvements in one week?

Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland - The music is sorta country-ish, sorta Irish jig-ish? They've had some cute programs recently. Not loving this one because of the music. 

Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi - I think Nelli's new dress is an improvement over the gray and pink dress she wore at Skate America. I love the neon green under the skirt. This team's skating basics may not be the strongest, but I appreciate how they always stay fully in character and completely engaged in the program.

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov - Elena's costume is a little loud, to put it mildly. They look more prepared than they have the past couple of years when they came out like a sloppy mess. Not sure why Elena is wearing a sourpuss face upon seeing their score. What was she expecting - 70? In the current hierarchy of Russian ice dance, I'd like to see some other teams catapult past them. I'll even take Hunchy McHuncherson (aka Bobrova) over them.

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani - Maia looks like she'll be skating to Firebird. Midline no-touching step sequence nicely executed and close together. Their lift is a repeat from last year (seems like a lot of teams are using repeat lifts in the SD). Would like to see something new. Some interesting choreography in spots, but overall I'm not sure this program has enough excitement.

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir - Tessa's nightgown/slip must go. There's too much fabric swinging around. I think they could do more with their midline step sequence. The program doesn't leave a lasting impression on me. Similar to the Shibs, I feel like this needs more excitement. It's all very pretty but nothing to write home about.

A couple of thoughts on the other disciplines - I haven't been able to get into Patrick Chan's programs the past few years, but WOW WOW WOW - his short program this year is brilliant. I was a Jeff Buttle fangirl back when he competed, so I'm not surprised I adore his choreography. He's crafted the perfect program for Patrick.

So happy to see Agnes Zawadzki skating well. She has such a mature and powerful quality to her skating, and I'd love to see her gain some consistency!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Music Monday

I've missed a few Music Mondays now that the skating season has begun, but I'll try to get back on track! Today I'm featuring a couple of songs from my soundtrack to EDGE OF THE PAST. The first song is from one of my favorite TV shows of all time, Due South. It was a show in the 90's about a Canadian Mountie who partnered with a Chicago policeman. I don't usually watch cop dramas, but this show had a lot of humor, and I loved the banter between Fraser the Mountie and Ray the cop.

The song, "Victoria's Secret," is Emily and Chris's short program music in EDGE OF THE PAST. It was composed by Jay Semko.

The second song I'm featuring is "The Rain" from the soundtrack of Kikujiro. It was composed by Joe Hisaishi. This song is played during a very special part of EDGE OF THE PAST that I don't want to spoil ;-)

And now for some exciting news! In anticipation of the release of EDGE OF THE PAST, I'm doing a month-long blog tour for LIFE ON THE EDGE and will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Listed below are all the stops on the tour. I hope you'll visit and enter to win!

November 6 - My Devotional Thoughts 
November 7 - Becky's Barmy Book Blog 
November 9 - Pretty in Fiction 
November 10 - Moosubi Reviews 
November 12 - Rolling With the Moments 
November 14 - The Other Shelf 
November 14 - Jenn Renee 
November 15 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews
November 16 - Addicted to YA Books 
November 17 - Journey With Books 
November 17 - Andi's YA Books 
November 18 - Shelfspace Needed 
November 19 - Reader Girls 
November 20 - Comfort Books 
November 21 - Kaisy Daisy's Blog 
November 22 - Berds Fly 
November 23 - Lov Liv Life Reviews 
November 24 - Cozie Corner 
November 26 - YA Book Addict 
November 28 - Cocktails and Books 
November 29 - In Between 
November 30 - Genuine Jenn 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2012 Cup of China FD Thoughts

After a busy Saturday, I'm finally catching up on all the Cup of China action. Let's see what kind of entertainment we'll get from the Free Dance!

Xiaoyang Yu/Chen Wang - Am I dreaming or did they wear these costumes last year but had different music? Were they the ones who did Howl's Moving Castle last year? Some of the choreography and lift entrances look Shpilband-esque.

Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng - Aww, they look really cute! No wacky costumes this year. Yellow and hot pink  wouldn't have been my first choice, but I like the design and the colorfulness. Nice selection of music with Michael Buble tunes and At Last. They look a little crisper than their country-mates. I'm starting to wish that certain ice dance lifts be retired or banned because I've seen them so many times by so many different teams.

Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin - I love Victoria's dress. The music not so much. They have a wild on-the-edge quality to their skating. I'm not quite sure what to make of them yet. I find Zhiganshin's sister (Nelli) and her partner much more entertaining.

Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri - I'm enjoying this program a lot! Hehe, they obviously went to Novi with Skary Babs over the summer because they have one of Meryl and Charlie's lifts from the tango and the Latin OD. And they also twizzle very nicely. I don't know if the video is distorted, but this team looks like they're flying across the ice. Love the music (Four Seasons by Vivaldi). I'm putting this pair on my radar.

Madison Chock/Evan Bates - They have great lifts in this program just like they did in their FD last year. Definitely one of their strengths. Madi's white dress looks more Dr. Zhivago-ish than the purple one she wore at the Senior B in SLC, but I thought the purple dress was gorgeous. They look confident and invested in the program. I thought Igor would wear a white tie to match the costumes, but he's tie-less today.

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje - Kaitlyn's hair looks pretty down, but I thought the braid up-do she had at Skate America looked more "statuesque." I really love this program and the incredible flow of movement, but I'm still bothered by how open it feels. There seems to be a lot of parts where Kaitlyn and Andrew are skating independent of one another.

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev - Honestly, it's late and after seeing this program in practice numerous times at Skate America and during the competition, I don't feel like watching it again. I find my eyes glazing over during it. Moving along to the French....

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat - I'm not a Rolling Stones fan, so the music doesn't do anything for me. Nathalie and Fabian look super cute again, though. This is my first time seeing the program, and I'm not wowed by anything. There was one lift I thought was pretty cool. I think W/P definitely got the better free dance on Team DSC.

Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 Cup of China SD Thoughts

Cup of China always seems to have an entertaining dance event because there's always the question of what kind of crazy costumes the Chinese teams will wear. I'm watching the videos of the Short Dance on YouTube because Universal Sports had "technical difficulties" and hasn't posted the broadcast of the event yet. To whomever is responsible for shafting IceNetwork this year as far as live Grand Prix coverage goes, thanks for nothing! Universal Sports has been a big bust so far.

On to the Short Dance thoughts!

Xiaoyang Yu/Chen Wang - Cowboys! Yu is wearing what looks like a replica of Tanith Belbin's Western OD costume from the 2007-2008 season. She's rocking it and looks very perky! Noticeably slow on the Yankee Polka patterns. The lasso arm movements are too cliche for my taste. Oh, and a music transition to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" just like Tanith and Ben!

Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng - They look very elegant. I love Zheng's "princely" costume. Maybe they'll bring the costume craziness in the free dance? Also slow on the YP patterns and in the circular no-touching step sequence. Looks like Zheng had a little stumble there.

Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin - More country music :( Victoria's posture is a little Bobrova-ish (Hunchy McHuncherson). An oops moment at the end of the circular steps where it looks like Victoria almost runs into Ruslan. They do the YP to "Witch Doctor" ("Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang"). Not very pleasing to the ears. More lasso arms! This was kinda a hot mess to me. Score seems rather high....

Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri - First time I've seen this team. They're cute together. A bit far apart on the circular steps. Twizzles nicely done. Good performance with lots of energy. 

Madison Chock/Evan Bates - I'm one of the few people who likes Madi's costume. Love the colors and the cut of the collar fits the theme. Great job of keeping the character throughout the dance. Excellent twizzles - I can see definite improvement there from last year. I think this program with the playful theme suits them.

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev - She looks less "hunchy" in this program. I find the program rather snoozy overall. They have better speed than I remember them having last year. I think they could still use some work on their lifts. Not the most attractive. 

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje - Kaitlyn's new costume looks even more like Maria's blue dress in the movie (The Sound of Music). She has a flower in her hair now and Andrew's lost the flower on his pocket. The music cuts still kill me. They look very smooth on the YP. Slight wobble by Andrew on the twizzles? 

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat - I don't like the music cut of doing the Can Can music at the front and back end of the program. Something felt disjointed. The slowed down version they use with the YP sequences also feels off, like it doesn't go with the pattern steps. They look really cute and on top of their game technically.

I'll try to post thoughts on the Free Dance tomorrow night!