The U.S. Figure Skating Champs are done. Super Bowl is done. And I'm about ready for winter to be done. So when I woke up this morning to six inches of snow in my driveway, I was not excited. But a happy surprise awaited in my e-mail inbox: I'd won the luck lottery and gotten an advanced review edition of Losing the Ice. With Jennifer Comeaux's newest novella as inspiration, that driveway was shoveled in no time and I settled into my comfiest chair to read. To my delight, I found Losing the Ice like a cup of hot cocoa: a sweet and heartwarming story that left me both content and looking forward to the next installment. In short, it makes me feel like I did after watching this fluff bit from #NC2015:
The only problem is that I seem to be the first to have finished:
I need this book to be out already so I have some people to fangirl with! Official release day is February 23 but the cover is out today. (See below.) Hop on over to Jennifer Comeaux's site to get all the details, including a link to pre-order the novella for only $0.99 and a raffle entry for an Ice Series prize pack. And when you've read it, too, please comment below because we need to talk. Because this is such an awesome new twist on pair love stories AND that bit with Josh's sister was the most fantastic plotting genius ever AND I want Mrs. Cassar for my neighbor AND I can't wait to hear what everyone else thinks. :-)
As I've been discovering new book blogs during my own book's tour, I've decided I just have to get in on some of the fun. So this week I'm jumping in on the tradition started by Breaking the Spine and spilling what books are topping my when-is-that-going-to-be-out-already list. And to any family members reading this, yes, these would make excellent birthday gifts next month. :-)
The first is Heather Demetrios's I'll Meet You There, and I've been wanting to read this one since Heather read us a section of it at VCFA last July. Here's a description of the book from Heather's website:
If seventeen-year-old Skyler Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage-months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings them together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
As a bonus, there's a special promotion with this book. Order by Valentine's Day and get your own handwritten love letter from Josh, a signed bookplate, and a bookmark! Get the details here.
The second is Jennifer Comeaux's Losing the Ice, her second book about Courtney and Josh. The cover reveal is scheduled for February, so stay up to date on the release news here.
So not actual selfie shelfies since my husband took these, but all the same this is one ecstatic author at Barnes & Noble. Many thanks to Grandpa for watching two little girls and putting them to bed - and back in bed - and back in bed again - so my husband and I could go out to celebrate. And also to Grandma for knowing that a poem is an awesome way to celebrate a book birthday and for treating for dinner. Love you, Mom & Dad!
Alexa Scimeca adores her cat, Scarlet, who has an entire feline wardrobe including a pink boa. Chris Knierim digs driving and working on cars, especially his 1999 Chevy Camaro. They both love skating and each other and these U.S. pairs skaters are beginning their third season together with a special twist: they're engaged.
Here's the Swoon Index for this real-life skating couple:
Heat: Alexa confesses to being instantly attracted to Chris. In the November 2014 issue of Skating magazine, she remembered seeing him climb on her shuttle bus at a competition and said, “I noticed him. Definitely. I always thought he was the cute pairs guy.” Coach Delilah Sappenfield, who matched the pair, added, “I thought their styles of skating were perfect for each other, and in their first tryout, it was just instant.”
Tears: Sappenfield was not hoping for a romantic pairing off ice as well, but Alexa and Chris maintain that their off-ice partnership helps them get through the tough times on ice. The two have faced some recent tears, including an injured foot for Alexa and a broken ankle for Chris during the past Olympic year. Alexa admits that she cried on Chris's shoulder for days after their fourth place finish at Nationals kept them from Sochi. Chris says, “It was hard but it made it easier because we had each other.”
Laughs: Alexa loves to tease Chris about his car, texting him messages such as “Hey, bro, you still got those wheels?” So we'll forgive Chris for never letting her drive it!
Thrills: This year, they're skating to sultry Moulin Rouge music for their short program and excerpts from Gerschwin's An American in Paris for their long. Their impressive split triple twist, which they honed with video-assisted practice, has earned up to Level 4 credit. They are also developing two new lifts, one of which requires Alexa to be completely upside down.
And their most swoon-worthy moment? Chris proposed to Alexa with the help of her cat, Scarlet. He tied an engagement ring onto a white dress that was custom made for Scarlet, then threw a ball into Alexa's room. A minute later, he followed the cat in and got down on one knee. Of course Alexa said yes!
Visit Alexa & Chris online at: http://figureskatersonline.com/scimeca-knierim/ and follow them on Twitter
Just a few short days and The Boy Next Door hits the shelves. I'm so excited that my book debuts during National Skating Month and I'll be posting some fun skating extras here on the blog, including some real life skating love stories. I'll also be guest posting on several different blogs during the month of January. The bloggers have sent some great topics and questions so be sure to check them out. There will be spoilers about my own high school dating experiences - thanks to my then boyfriend and now husband for being a great sport about this! - as well as the greatest skating spoof ever (IMHO) and even some thoughts on Twilight. :-)
January 5: Q&A at http://toofondofbooks.com
January 6: Q&A at thecompulsivereader.com
January 7: Q&A at http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com
January 8: Romance advice at http://cuts-of-paper.blogspot.com
January 9: Favorite ice skating movies and books at http://nicksbookblog93.blogspot.com
January 10: Q&A at rainydayramblings.com
January 11: Figure skating experience at www.trippingoverbooks.com
January 12: The friends-to-more trope at http://booksandwhimsy.com
January 13: Fave romantic books and movies at starryeyedrevue.blogspot.com
January 14: Going from skating to writing at http://macteenbooks.com
January 15: Q&A at bibliophilesoprano.blogspot.com
Thank Goodness It's Over. I promised myself I wasn't going to leave a big chunk of writing until the end this year but...yeah. We finally got our work-in-progress house into a solid enough draft to move in and we spent most of the holiday weekend hauling boxes - starting at 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. Sunday I woke up and realized that somehow it had gotten to be Sunday? As in the last day of November? And I still had almost 5K to go. And I also wasn't entirely sure where I had packed my laptop?!
After yesterday's marathon typing session, I need to rest my fingers and I find there are few better ways to see if I wrote something cringe-worthy than packing a manuscript away for awhile. So I'll be taking a short break from noveling and blogging and working on some other projects - like unpacking my house. Hopefully when I get back to it, my house won't look like this anymore and I won't discover that my rough draft is even more of a mess. If it is? Well, it's time for December edits and fortunately I like few things better then revision - whether in house or novel form. :-)
Due to a move and lack of internet, I've been unable to post and unable to write since Wednesday night. So time for a last minute eight hour word sprint. I'll check in at midnight!
National Novel Writing Month consumes a lot of November but for synchronized skating teams, November is also the start of the competitive season. So a little time out from noveling and a little time in Kalamazoo at the Kick Off Classic with my fabulous Flurries and . . . drum roll please . . . a gold medal! Lake Effect is undefeated! Between final practices and the competition and a team after party at Erbelli's, though, I managed less than 200 words. So back to it . . .
Since I decided a couple of years ago to go back to school to get my MFA, it actually hasn't been that long since I had to write one of these. I took a risk with format writing my application essay for Vermont and instead of an actual essay, I wrote a mock interview with myself. As VCFA is the kind of school where this sort of creative experimentation is encouraged, it paid off and I got compliments from the admissions staff. Still, I had been a little nervous waiting for the response. Vermont was my top choice and I wanted in bad.
Today's writing goal is to get my character to write her college application essay, and Breelynn wants ESMOD even more than I wanted VCFA. Considering how many drafts I had to do just writing my own, this should be a good way to get my daily word count in. :-)
P.S. - Though Breelynn won't be doing an Elle Woods application video à la Legally Blonde, I couldn't resist posting this!
It might be the snow outside. It might be the shopping trip downtown with my aunt and all the holiday decorations. Whatever it is, I'm feeling a lot like Christmas.
I'm normally a firm no-thinking-about-Christmas-until-you're-digesting-turkey sort of person. But I'm also an obsessed-with-my-characters person (good if you're a writer). So I compromised a little today by letting myself think about what would be on my characters' holiday wish lists. Breelynn would totally swoon for the button-up, lace trimmed leg warmers and copy-cat the fabric "indoor snowballs" for her younger sibs. Jonah would score bringing them special glasses (think like 3D movie glasses) that make pictures appear over top of twinkle lights. For himself, though? I'm going to have to think about that one.
In addition to wish lists for characters, I also like to think about what my characters already have. What's in their lockers? Backpacks? Cars? Bedrooms? Our stuff tells stories about us, and your characters' stuff can set a mood through creating the setting, inspire memories about a particular object, give insights into their personalities, and so much more. Right now I'm off to write a couple scenes inspired by stuff Breelynn keeps in her bedroom. They probably won't be as good as what just went through your mind. ;-) But that's what December edits are for.
On second thought, might have to do that after I shovel. Psst - Michigan! It's not December yet! You can stop snowing now...
Reflections on Writing
I love few things better than a bottomless to-read list of books and firmly believe the world has room for all the stories we want to share. This blog is intended to provide resources and spark discussion about improving writing. Opinions are my own and not intended to discredit anyone else's work, only to open conversation. Thanks for reading!