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!