Friday, June 29, 2012

Fabulous Blog Award!

Thanks so much to Jaycee Delorenzo for giving me this lovely award!

Name five of your most fabulous moments, either in real life or in the blogosphere:

1. The day LIFE ON THE EDGE was published. Seeing it on Amazon was surreal!

2. Graduating at the top of my business school class at Tulane.

3. Attending my first skating event, the 2001 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston. I sat in awe of how shiny the costumes were in person and how electric the atmosphere was. The entire experience was sensory overload.

4. Standing in front of the Olympic flame at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I never thought I'd realize my dream of attending the Games, and there I was among the throngs of people clamoring for a photo of the magnificent cauldron.

5. Singing The Hullabaloo cheer with hundreds of other Tulane fans in Rosenblatt Stadium at the 2005 College World Series. We were on top of the world.

Name five things you love:

1. My family

2. My friends near and far

3. Attending figure skating events

4. Travelling (especially to Boston, Cape Cod, and California!)

5. Italian food

Name five things you hate:

1. Writer's block

2. Airplane turbulence

3. When people only talk about themselves

4. Raw onions

5. Zydeco music

Five other bloggers:

Rachelle Ayala
Victoria Smith
Jennifer Lane
Christina Jean Michaels
DelSheree Gladden

Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Monday

Welcome to another edition of Music Monday! There are two songs I'm spotlighting this week:

"The Face" by Kings of Leon

I love everything about this song, especially the beat. And lead singer Caleb Followill has one of those distinctive voices that meshes with the beat and makes the song one big powerful hit of awesomeness.

"Parting Words" (from the LOST soundtrack) by Michael Giacchino

This was another piece I discovered through the Young Artists Showcase. I was looking for other videos of Garrett Kling's choreography and found this. I was a faithful fan of the show LOST and loved some of the score but had never looked up the soundtrack. It's a beautiful piece of music and another one I'd love to see used in a competitive skating program.

Tell me what songs you're obsessed with this week!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Blog Hop, hosted by Jaycee DeLorenzo and Victoria Smith. You might remember my Oh My Hero! Blog Hop post a few months ago, where I interviewed my swoon-worthy hero Sergei from LIFE ON THE EDGE. Well, the girls from EDGE want a chance in the spotlight, too!

Emily is a nineteen-year-old figure skater from Brookline, Massachusetts. She moved to Cape Cod two years ago to learn pairs, and while achieving success on the ice with her partner Chris, Emily has also found love with her twenty-five-year-old coach Sergei. Their relationship has some complications, however, mainly because the U.S. Skating Federation doesn't approve of coach-student relationships. So, Em and Sergei have to keep their involvement on the down-low.
Aubrey is Emily's best friend and roommate. She's the same age as Em but much more experienced in the dating arena. Aubrey grew up on the Cape and is also chasing the Olympic dream as an ice dancer.
Read what happens when Aubrey and Emily are stuck inside on a rainy day and Aubrey quizzes Em on her romantic life! (this is an extra scene created for this blog hop and not included in the book)

Thunder cracked over the townhouse, rattling the large picture window in the living room. Emily jumped and shot Aubrey a wide-eyed look. “I don’t think the beach is happening today.”

“And just when I wanted to wear my new bikini,” Aubrey said, curling her legs under her on the opposite end of the chenille couch. 

Emily stood and walked over to the window, where sheets of wind-blown rain washed over the glass. “I would’ve gone to Sergei’s if I knew I’d be stuck inside all day.”

“So you could snuggle together and listen to the rain?” Aubrey said in an artificially sweet tone.

“Just wait until you find ‘the one’ and you’ll be doing all the stuff you make fun of.”

“I’m not looking for ‘the one’ anytime soon. I’m enjoying free agency.” Aubrey picked up the magazine from her lap and flipped through its glossy pages. “Ooh, there’s a quiz in here. Let me ask you the questions.”

“Fire away.”

“Question one–how would you describe your perfect guy?”

“Well, I can just describe Sergei.” Emily smiled as she returned to the sofa.

Aubrey rolled her big green eyes. “Maybe we should skip this one.”

“Nope. You asked, so you’re getting an answer. I’ll give you the superficial stuff first. My perfect guy has to be in good shape, but not overly muscular. You know I don’t like bulky guys. And he has to be a great kisser.”

“Since that’s as far as you’ll go.” Aubrey gave Emily a teasing grin.

“Sergei and I do more than kiss. But he knows my boundaries.”

“And somehow he hasn’t self-combusted yet.” Aubrey laughed.

Emily tossed one of the green throw pillows at her. “He’s amazing, which reminds me of another quality in my perfect guy–patience. Also, he has to treat me with respect.”

“Is that all?”


“Next question." Aubrey smoothed the page. "What’s the best date you’ve ever had?”

“Oh, that’s easy!" Emily slapped the back of the couch. "It was last weekend. I haven’t had a chance to tell you about it since you’ve been out of town.”

“What’d you guys do?”

“We actually had a date out in public! We drove to Newport because we figured we wouldn’t run into anyone we know there, and we had dinner at this romantic little bistro. It had a bunch of tables secluded in their own separate alcoves, so it was perfect for us to stay kinda hidden.”

Aubrey peered at Emily over the magazine. “Don’t you think maybe there's something wrong with having to drive almost a hundred miles to go out to dinner?”

“Please don’t start on that again." Emily frowned. "I thought you weren’t going to give me any more grief about dating Sergei.”

“I was just making an observation.”

Silence fell between the girls. Only the whooshing of the rain against the window provided noise. Emily tugged on the end of her ponytail and cleared her throat. “Well . . . moving on . . . dinner was awesome, but the best part was after dinner. Sergei always said he couldn’t dance, but I convinced him to go to a club, the Boom Boom Room.” She laughed. “There were some interesting people there. No one that looked like they'd recognize us.”

“You didn’t get carded?”

“Sergei said I looked twenty-five in my dress.”

Aubrey's forehead wrinkled. “Which dress?”

“I got a new one. I’ll show you later.” Emily waved her hand. “Back to the date . . . so, I managed to get Sergei on the dance floor, and holy smokes. He didn’t full-out dance, but the slight hip-shaking he did do was seriously hot.”

“So, he does have some moves in him.”

“Oh yeah. He’s got moves.” Emily smiled to herself, remembering Sergei’s body pressed against hers, swaying in rhythm to the pulsating music. His breath had been hot in her ear as he'd mouthed the words to the song. A slow warmth spread through her just thinking about it.

“Did you go anywhere else?” Aubrey asked, snapping Emily out of her daydream.

“After the club closed, we went to the beach. Sergei was so sweet and let me sit on his jacket so I wouldn’t get sand on my dress, but I ended up lying on the sand, so that didn’t quite work out.” Emily laughed.

“Lying on the sand, huh? Doing some of that ‘more than kissing’ stuff?”

Emily’s smile grew bigger, and she played with a loose thread on the couch. “Maybe.”

“I think we should go to the next question before you completely swoon over.” Aubrey tucked her blond hair behind her ear. “What’s the worst date you’ve ever had?”

Emily scrunched up her mouth as she pondered the question. “I haven’t really had any terrible ones, but I didn’t have very many dates before Sergei. You should answer that one.”

“You can quiz me after I finish with you. Next one–what attracts you to a guy the most?”

“Hmm . . . I think if he’s a genuine listener. It’s one of the reasons I fell for Sergei. He remembers things I tell him weeks, months earlier, even trivial stuff like a book I’m interested in reading or a song I love on the radio.”

Aubrey scanned the magazine page. “Is there a question on here about listing your boyfriend’s faults? I’m drowning in the sweetness.”

Emily poked Aubrey’s leg with her foot. “I’m telling you–you mock me now, but when you fall in love one day, you’ll see how incredible it feels. And I’m going to be so happy for you.”

Aubrey set down the magazine and gave her friend a deep stare. “I know I give you a hard time . . . and I worry because your relationship is so complicated, but I am happy you’ve found something so special.”

Emily scooted across the sofa and gave Aubrey a tight hug. Aubrey embraced her in return and then broke away. “Okay, sappy time over. Back to the quiz!”

For a little additional insight into Emily, I've included a song below that says a lot about who she is. Emily had a tough time as a competitive skater in the past, but she's learning every day how to be more confident on the ice. As her confidence grows, so do her dreams . . .

Hope you enjoyed getting to know the ladies of LIFE ON THE EDGE! You can check out lots more fun characters at the other blog stops listed here!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Music Monday

Hi there! Since my blog has a shiny new look (courtesy of IM Designs), I thought I'd start a new posting schedule. First up is Music Monday! I love all kinds of music and am always looking for new artists and new inspiration for my writing. Every Monday, I'll post my current song obsessions, and I want you to share yours, too! This week, there are two songs I've been listening to on repeat:

"Rainy Zurich" by The Fray

I'm a huge fan of The Fray, and this song from their latest album, Scars and Stories, is one of my favorites. I particularly love the line "You are what I never knew I needed." Lines like that serve as great inspiration when I'm writing romantic moments in my stories!

"On the Nature of Daylight" by Max Richter

I discovered this piece of music when I watched Garrett Kling's Week 5 entry (which is GORGEOUS) in the Young Artists Showcase. I found it so beautiful and so perfect for skating. I'd love to see it used for a competitive program.

What are your song obsessions this week? 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Introducing Team Novi

The dust is starting to settle a bit after the big shake-up in Canton, Michigan, where the world's most successful coaching duo, Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva, parted ways in a publicly messy split. Igor has found a new coaching home at the Novi Ice Arena in Novi, Michigan, and he's taken some teams from Canton with him.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, fifth-place finishers at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, were the first team to announce their departure from Canton. Last season was their first together as a team, and I thought they had great connection for a new team. With the top three Canton couples all staying with Marina at Arctic Edge, I think this is a great move for Maddie and Evan. They'll be able to receive more attention at the new rink, and I hope to see more beautiful programs from them like their free dance from this past season:

Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas are the other team following Igor to Novi. They skate for Lithuania (Isabella is American) and had a great showing at Skate America last year when they captured the bronze medal. They are approaching their third season together, and I think the move to Novi will also be beneficial for them. They've made great improvements in their two seasons together, and I'd love to see them continue to grow and entertain us with programs like their short dance from last season:

Michigan was already considered the ice dance capital of the world, and now yet another dance center has been added to the mix. It will be interesting to see what other teams flock to Novi to train under Igor. Will some of the Russian teams find their way to Michigan to make a strong surge before Sochi? I'd like to see some young novice and junior American teams make the move so there's a continuous pipeline of talent rising through the ranks like there was in Canton the past decade.

Skate America in October will be the first time Marina and Igor will be behind the boards while representing two different camps. That will add another layer of intrigue to what promises to be an exciting event. I'll be there in Kent, Washington covering it all!

You may have noticed my blog has undergone a bit of a makeover. I'd like to thank IM Designs for her awesome design work. I love my new banner!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Team Canton - Thanks for the Memories

On the heels of the shocking news that uber-successful ice dance coach Igor Shpilband was fired from the Arctic Edge rink in Canton, Michigan, I thought it appropriate to take a moment and reflect on the greatness that has been Team Canton for the past decade.

With the apparent split of Igor and his coaching partner Marina Zoueva, it appears Team Canton is in a state of flux. What remains to be seen is whether some of the teams will also leave the rink and follow Igor to his new home, wherever that will be. If there are defections, it will be a sad end to one of the most successful camps in figure skating and the current powerhouse in ice dancing.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto were the pioneers of Team Canton. After Igor and Marina moved to Canton from the Detroit Skating Club in 2003, they added even more teams to their stable of ice dancers, and Tanith and Ben were the leaders of the pack. They picked up their first national title in 2004 and then put American ice dancing back on the map with their silver medal at Worlds in 2005. It was their title-winning performance at 2005 Nationals that I'll always remember, though.

The 2006 Olympics brought Team Canton its first Olympic medal, a silver won by Tanith and Ben. I'll never forget the night of the Original Dance, when a record number of teams tripped and flopped all over the ice. Tanith and Ben were last to skate, and my heart was in my throat as I thought about all the disastrous skates that had preceded them. But they rose to the occasion and gave their best performance of their fiery Latin OD.

Tanith and Ben picked up two more World medals as members of Team Canton, but it was the young teams that started to make waves. In the fall of 2006, Meryl Davis and Charlie White were the first team to earn level fours on all of their elements in a free dance. And at 2007 Worlds, Davis/White and Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir both finished in the top seven, an unheard of result for two teams fresh out of juniors. Tessa and Scott blew me away with their Valse Triste free dance.

After Tanith and Ben left Team Canton in 2008, Davis/White and Virtue/Moir really stepped up and put themselves at the top of North American ice dancing. Meanwhile, the junior teams in the camp were having their own successes. In 2009, Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein and Alex Shibutani/Maia Shibutani went 1-2 at Junior Worlds, showing just how deep the talent level in Canton was.

Then came 2010, the first of two banner years for Team Canton. Virtue/Moir earned the first Olympic gold medal in ice dance for North America, and Davis/White joined them on the podium with their silver. The teams and their coaches couldn't look any more joyous as they celebrated on the ice together.

Just when you thought they couldn't achieve any more firsts, Team Canton swept the podium at 2011 Worlds for the first North American sweep in ice dancing. Davis/White became the first American world champions in ice dance with their stunning and complex tango free dance. Every time I watch it, I marvel more at how intricate and difficult the program was.

Virtue/Moir picked up the silver medal, and the Shibutanis shocked everyone, including themselves, with the bronze. Their reaction when Igor told them they won a medal ("Don't have a heart attack.") is one of my favorite Kiss and Cry moments of all time.

Team Canton's success continued in 2012 with Virtue/Moir and Davis/White again finishing as the top two teams in the world. The camp seemed to be headed toward another year of victories in 2013, but with the firing of Igor, everything looks to be a muddled mess now. I just hope that all the teams can find the best situation for their personal and professional needs, and ice dancing in the U.S. can continue to thrive.

And now for a few of my favorite Team Canton photos . . . 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stylish Blogger Award!

When I saw I was tagged for this award, I wasn't sure at first what it meant since this is my first time receiving one of these. Thanks to the fabulous Jaycee DeLorenzo for passing it on to me!

For this award, I have to share the last time I dressed up. I really had to think about this because rarely do I dress up outside of work. I'm all about keeping it casual! I guess the last time I dressed up was for mass on Easter Sunday. My friend and I joked once that we should get all tiffed when we go to our next skating event and throw everyone off when they see us (because we're always in jeans, sweaters, and boots!).

Passing the award along to:

Carrie @ So You're a Writer
Christina @ The Muse of My Imagination
Melinda @ Melinda Dozier
Chantel @ Chantel Rhondeau
Clare @ Rachelle's Window