The Romance of Figure Skating- The Internationaux de France


Closing in toward the end, the Grand Prix of Figure Skating moved to France, specifically the beautiful city of Grenoble, for the Interationaux de France, this past weekend.
I was especially excited to see this competition, which was skated in the same city where Shining Through’s Winter Games take place.
Grenoble was host of the 1968 Winter Olympics, and seemed like the perfect location for my fictional version. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll say that one of my favorite scenes has Tabitha and Daniil looking out at this panoramic view.

But Shining Through’s French competition takes place in Paris, where Daniil faces off against his main rival, Tanzo Okuta of Japan. Okuta is rock-star popular in his homeland and even has his own Anime series.
One of my favorite male skaters is Shoma Uno of Japan, whose charismatic performances last season inspired me when I created the character of Okuta. Shoma Uno competed at the Internationaux de France, and while he didn’t skate quite as well as last year, he’s still fun to watch.
Internationaux de France winners included Javier Fernandez of Spain in men’s, Alina Zagitova of Russia in ladies’, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia in Pairs and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France in ice dance.
Next up is Skate America, Nov. 24- 26. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 24 and 25, and 26, on NBCSN Nov. 25 and NBC Nov. 26. Check local listing for broadcast times.
Enter a Goodreads #giveaway for a signed print copy of Shining Through! Or, to start reading right now download the ebook from your favorite online retailer:
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And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love
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The Romance of Figure Skating- The NHK Trophy

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

This past weekend the Grand Prix of Figure Skating’s fourth event, the NHK Trophy, took place in Osaka, Japan.
Figure skating is extremely popular in Japan and which isn’t surprising, considering that some of the world’s current top skaters are Japanese. The men’s discipline is especially strong with Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno among the top stars. Top Japanese ladies include Satoko Miyahara and Rika Hongo, who both competed at the NHK Trophy.
In Shining Through, Tabitha’s hopes for a victorious season that takes her straight to the Winter Games hits a big roadbump early on, courtesy of 14-year-old Japanese skater Machiko Furkawa, who stuns the world with her International Series debut.
Though the Japanese ladies weren’t as dominant in this year’s NHK Trophy, enjoy this video of Satoko Miyahara skating her long program, from the competition.
2017 NHK Trophy winners included Sergei Voronoz of Russia (mens), Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia (ladies), Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China (pairs) and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada (ice dance).
Next up is the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, France, Nov. 17- 19. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 17 and 18, and on NBCSN Nov. 19. Check local listing for broadcast times.
Enter a Goodreads #giveaway for a signed print copy of Shining Through! Or, to start reading right now download the ebook from your favorite online retailer:
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And come back next week for more Romance of Figure Skating!

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The Romance of Figure Skating- Cup of China

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

This past week the Grand Prix of Figure Skating traveled to Beijing, China. Though Chinese skaters are among the world’s best, especially in pairs, China’s figure skating program didn’t get started until the late 1970s. They’ve come a long way!

In Shining Through, Daniil’s jerky rival Viktor Domachev competes in the International Series’ China event and doesn’t do as well as he hopes. For Daniil, this is both good news and bad news. The Russian figure skating powers-that-be would prefer to have Domachev as the skater who goes to the Winter Games. With Daniil ahead in the standings, what will they do to keep him out?
I doubt any of the real-life skaters competing at the Cup of China are as nasty as Domachev. In fact, I have a fond memory of watching one of them at Skate America 2014, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia.
I recently learned she skated an exhibition program last season to Jeff Beck’s “I Put A Spell On You,” as Tabitha does in Shining Through. I had to dig deep into You Tube to find a video, but I did! While Liza looks nothing like Tabitha, it will give you a sense of the program I imagined— right down to the twizzles and deep edges. Fast forward through the announcements, her program starts about a minute in.
Cup of China winners included Mikhail Kolyada of Russia (mens), Alina Zagitova of Russia (ladies), Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China (pairs) and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France (ice dance).
Next up is the NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan, Nov. 10 through 12. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 10 and 11, and on NBC Nov. 11. Check local listing for broadcast times.
Or download a copy of Shining Through, from your favorite online retailer.
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The Romance of Figure Skating- Skate Canada

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

Last week, some of the world’s top skaters traveled to Regina, Saskatchewan for Skate Canada, the second competition in the Grand Prix of Figure Skating.
In Shining Through, Tabitha travels to Vancouver, where Daniil and her good friend (and rumored boyfriend) Brett, are skating in the Maple Leaf Classic. Though Tabitha isn’t competing, she hopes some extra time working with her choreographer, and with Daniil, will rekindle some of her passion on the ice. Returning to her roots as an ice dancer rekindles her passion on the ice. Teaching some moves to Daniil sparks passion off it.
Skate Canada included some of the world’s best ice dance teams, including Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who were the silver medalists in the 2014 Olympics. After Sochi, they sat out two competitive seasons before returning in 2016. They’re back again this year as strong as ever. Check out their Skate Canada short dance:
Virtue and Moir were the winners in ice dance. Other Skate Canada winners were Shoma Uno of Japan in Men’s, Katelyn Osmond of Canada in Ladies and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in Pairs.
Next, it’s on to Beijing for the Cup of China, Nov. 3 through 5. Catch it on the Olympic Channel Nov. 3 and 4, and on NBC Nov. 5. Check local listing for broadcast times.
Order Shining Through in print or digital from your favorite retailer.
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The Romance of Figure Skating

Shining Through Cover champion figure skaters in love

With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming, it’s going to be an exciting season for figure skating fans!
In my new figure skating romance, Shining Through, American skating superstar Tabitha Turner and Russia’s bad boy of the ice, Daniil Andreev, heat things up during a make-or-break season that they hope will take them both to the Grenoble Winter Games.
Along the way, in addition to sexy times in some of the world’s most romantic cities, they compete in a multi-event international competition known as the International Championship Series.
The series includes competitions in the United States, Canada, France, Russia and China, with a final championship held in Spain.
It (loosely) mirrors a real-life international skating competition series, the Grand Prix, which kicked off Oct. 20, with the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.
Check out this video of Russian skater Moris Kvitelashvili (competing for Georgia) skating to Imagine Dragons music, just like Daniil  does in Shining Through. Moris doesn’t look much like Daniil, though they have similar musical tastes—only Daniil uses the real version of Radioactive!
Rostelecom Cup winners include the USA’s Nathan Chen, Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia, pairs team Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia, and US Ice Dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.
Next up: Skate Canada, taking place Oct. 26- 29. Check out the competitions on the Olympic Channel on Friday 10/27 and Sat. 10/28, and on NBCSN, Sunday, Oct. 28. Refer to your local listing for broadcast times.
Learn more about Shining Through:
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Author Interview with Elizabeth Harmon

Thanks Splashes Into Books for having me on as a guest today, and for loving some Red Hot Russians!

Please give a warm welcome to Splashes Into Books to the amazing author of the Red Hot Russians series Elizabeth Harmon! I was delighted when she also agreed to be interviewed -read on to find out more about her writing process and the inspiration for her new release, Shining Through!

Where did you get inspiration for the book?

When I was writing Getting It Back, the third book in the series and created the character of Daniil, I knew I wanted to write about him. When that book came out and a number of reviewers commented on him, even though he was a minor character, I saw that readers wanted me to write about him too!

Since Daniil was already established as a bad boy, and I love casting opposites, I knew that the story’s heroine was going to be a wholesome good girl. But it wasn’t until I started fleshing Tabitha’s character out that I decided to give her a hard-scrabble background that was totally at odds with her Ice Queen image.

Who is your favourite character out of the story and why?

Aside from Tabitha and Daniil, both of whom I love, my next favorite character is Tabitha’s sister Samara. I found a photo of a model who captured Samara’s look so well, she became easy for me to picture and bring to life. I also love her snarky sense of humor and how she is totally unfazed by all the craziness going on around her. Though she’s two years younger than Tabitha, she’s more worldly and experienced. In some ways, she’s a female version of Daniil, which I think is part of the reason why Tabitha feels safe with him.

In fact, don’t be surprised if Samara turns up in a future book.

How about from the series?

Anton and Carrie from my first book hold a special place in my heart, and they’re in this book too.  Anton is Daniil’s coach and something of an older, wiser brother. He is determined to keep Daniil on track to earn a place on the Russian Olympic team, but he also remembers that love doesn’t conform to the figure skating season. Carrie is a coach as well, of a successful pairs team who train at the couple’s center in Lake Shosha, Russia. Fans of that book will be happy to know that after ten years together, Anton and Carrie are still enjoying their happy ending.

How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?

Daniil was simply a Russian name I liked and hadn’t used in any of the previous books. Tabitha’s name came from her mother Fiona’s background as a carnival fortune teller. An early version of Fiona had her obsessed with old TV shows, and I felt like she would have related to the character of Samantha on the old show, Bewitched. Samantha named her daughter Tabitha, so Fiona did too.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved learning more about ice dance, which is a skating discipline I’m not as familiar with. One of my friends who competes in the Adult division of figure skating skates a program to I Put A Spell On You, which was choreographed by Susie Wynne, who competed in the 1988 Olympics in ice dance. Cindy and Susie were so kind as to let me use the program in the book. If Shining Through ever becomes a movie, everyone will get to see it.

I also enjoyed bring back all of the Red Hot Russians couples for a final curtain call at the end of this book.

Shining Through with champion figure skaters in love
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Shining Through with champion figure skaters in love

Review: Shining Through by Elizabeth Harmon

I’m so excited to share this great review of my new release Shining Through from Coffee Books & Passion.

Shining Through is the fourth book in the Red Hot Russians series but it can be read as a standalone. I’ve read the second book in this series (you can read my review of Turning it on here) and honestly, after reading Shining Through, I think I need to go back and read the complete series!

Tabitha is America’s golden girl, some call her The Ice Princess and she has a high chance of winning a gold medal on figure skating. The ultimate dream of any athlete. But Tabitha is starting to slip, after all everyone’s expectations are high, her trainer, her family, her country, but the highest of them all – her own. She wants to make it up to her family, after all that they sacrificed for her career, but she can’t seem to find her passion while performing, she’s struggling to connect with her inner self and to let her emotions shine in the rink. Even though her technique is flawless, she finds herself at odds with her program and she knows she has to get it all together to really have a chance to win gold. She’s aiming for perfection but she feels she is still far from it.

Daniil is the hottest bad boy in the rink, a figure skater too, he’s known to get in trouble from time to time, oh well – most of the time. But Daniil is determined to succeed, he wants nothing more than to compete at his best level yet and to get a place at the Winter Games. He knows he’s far from perfect but his competitive nature, his anger, his passion sets him apart from his competitors. He takes it all and leaves it all, flawlessly executed, in the rink. And he absolutely loves to prove people wrong!

Tabitha watches Daniil practicing and loves his passionate and emotional performance, she knows Daniil has in his program what she’s been lacking and she’s drawn to him even before knowing who he really is. Daniil watched one of Tabitha’s interview during a troubling moment in his life and thinks she is stunningly beautiful, he actually hopes he gets to meet her and when he does… sparks are flying and their chemistry is undeniable. But… can they have a future together?

I loved how Elizabeth Harmon characterized both Daniil and Tabitha physically and emotionally. I have both of them perfectly pictured in my mind! There were a lot of secondary characters which some times could be a little distracting, even though I really enjoyed Tabitha’s sister and the coaches/choreographers moments. Daniil and Tabitha’s love story is unique, I loved the figure skating world: the pressure, the hard work, the competitiveness, the hopes and expectations. And mostly I loved how two strong characters that were fighting to reach their dreams, deeply needed one another to achieve something even more important than that: their true selves. Absolutely delightful!

If you love a heart warming romance I highly recommend Shinning Through: with hot Russians, intense chemistry, well developed characters, a not so glamorous figure ice skating world and a Winter Games competition, you won’t be able to put it down.

Shining Through with champion figure skaters in love
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Happy Book Anniversary Vlad & Hannah!

Male stripper and excited woman

Turning It On, the second book in the Red Hot Russians series was released this week, in 2015. To mark the occasion, I’m reposting this interview with Turning It On’s hero, Vladimir Shustov, aka. Vlad the Bad! The post originally appeared on Angela Highland’s Boosting the Signal blog.
Looks can be deceiving, especially when you’re a contestant on TV’s sexiest reality show.
 In “Turning It On,” (Red Hot Russians #2),  my new Carina Press release, due out June 29, shy book editor Hannah Levinson, tries to keep her fame-hungry fiancé from the clutches of a scheming dental hygienist,  with the help of an unlikely ally, sexy Russian male stripper, Vlad the Bad.
When it’s impossible to tell what’s real and what’s an illusion, can Hannah trust that there’s more to Vlad than meets the eye?
Read on, as Vlad reveals himself to Boosting The Signal….
Ei, pretty lady.  That’s right …you. Don’t be shy.  I see how you look at me.  That’s okay, I’m used to it.  If I minded, wouldn’t be standing here without a shirt, wearing skin-tight jeans made to tear right off my body. I wouldn’t spend hours in gym, or on beach, so I could look this way.  I’m not boasting, it’s just fact.  When you make your living as I do, looking good is part of the job.
My name is Vladimir Shustov, but here in Miami, most people know me as Vlad the Bad. Maybe you’ve seen me dance at The Male Room.  Nyet?  Well, The Male Room is a strip club for women, if you haven’t guessed.  I’m one of the top acts. Stella, my boss, says that’s because I know how to make every lady think I dance only for her.
Some women who come in, may not have a man pay attention to them in real life, so when they are here, I like to make them feel good.  They pay me very well, and for a guy who grew up with nothing, and came to this country with nothing, that is important. But is not the only reason I do it. It’s something I can give to another person, even for just a little while. May not mean much, but right now, is all I have.
Back in Russia, I was once an ice dancer.  My partner and I even won some medals and we might have had a chance to compete at Winter Games, until we took a bad fall. She broke her hip and decided she didn’t want to skate any more. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, only that I needed to make a lot of money.  Stripping was a way to do that.
But when you’re a stripper, people decide who you are without ever bothering to know you. People think I’m stupid, and that all I care about is getting laid. Or getting paid. And yes, most people assume I do one to get the other.  I don’t.   I won’t lie and say I have no regrets, but it is not who I am, nor is it all I want to be.
What I really want… is to be a writer.
I can tell you’re surprised. Most people are.  And it’s true…because I trained as figure skater, my education was miss or hit, as Americans often say.  Science I liked, but at math, I was no good.  History?  What about it?  Living in Russia in 1990s and 2000s, was like living in history as one nation died, and a new one took over.  Everyone for themselves…that was what my mother always said. With so many questions about future, who cared about past?
But reading, I always loved, and did whenever I had a chance. My favorite stories were those set in worlds even darker and scarier than mine. Compared to robots, demons and flesh-eating aliens, what does it matter if your mother and her boyfriend are in deep with Russkaya  Mafiya?   Whenever I wasn’t skating, I was often at library, escaping from home, escaping from everything. Before long, I wasn’t content only to read, I began to write.
So far, I’ve written  one novel and started a second one, called The Flesh Zone.  It’s coming of age story about hard working immigrant, who comes to United States and is paid fortune to take off his clothes. Then monsters attack his city. I try to do what they say…write what you know. Except for the monsters.
Most people would say two books is good, especially since I’m only twenty-five.  Why rush, they say.
Because I know  I can only dance for so long, and after, my future doesn’t look so bright. You see, the longer you stay in this life…the life that is lived mostly in the dark…the harder it is to get out.  Just ask my mother.  She never got out at all.
More than anything, I don’t want to end up that way.  Maybe what I really want isn’t simply to be a writer…it is to be someone good and honorable.  I haven’t known many people like that, but there have been a few.  Not in this life, but before, when I skated.  My Uncle Ivan, for one.
What would mean the most is to live a life of which I’m not ashamed…and to be loved by a woman who isn’t ashamed of me. I know, sounds crazy, to think that way.  But to me, dreams are like stories. They cost nothing and anybody can have one.
Even a guy called Vlad the Bad.
Get your copy of Turning It On!
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Turning It On cover shy girl and male stripper find love on reality TV
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Summoning the Mews

Tabby cat hiding behind vase of flowers

This post originally appeared on SourPuss Reviews, March, 2017

What one thing must I have close by when I’m writing? Hint– it’s small and furry, with pretty white paws. Sometimes it’s sweet and cuddly. Sometimes, it’s wild and insane.
My writerly must-have isn’t an “it,” but a “she.” Her name is Mango, and she’s an orange rescue tabby that joined our family in December, 2014. My husband was puzzling over Christmas gift ideas, and after hearing me squeal over an orange tabby in a Tidy Cat commercial, he decided that his cat-crazy wife needed a feline of her own.  After looking at area pet rescue websites, he found an adorable 6-month-old kitten at a shelter not far from where he works.
It was destiny.
Though I wrote my debut novel Pairing Off without Mango’s assistance, she’s become an integral part of writing each story since. She’ll often come and curl up in my lap, when I’m working at my computer. If I’m struggling with a plotline or character, a quick cuddle with a cute kitty relaxes me.  And her annoying habit of walking on my laptop keyboard helped me learn to use the undo arrow, and to remember to save my work!
She even inspired a feline character in my third book, Getting It Back. The book’s heroine Amy shares her apartment with an orange rescue cat named Milo.
Since my newest release, Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella, is set at an Antarctica research station, where no non-native animals are allowed, I couldn’t put a cat in this story. But Mango has helped me through the sometimes stressful process of writing my first-ever novella and putting out my first indie-published book.
With that challenge met, I can turn to my next one. How do I bring Mango along when I go out to write at Panera or Starbucks?
* * *
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Heating It Up cover- small town romance set in Antarctica
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Q&A, Elizabeth Harmon


Note: This post originally appeared on USATodayHEA, Feb. 2017

Please tell us a bit about your new release.
Heating It Up: A Red Hot Russians Novella is the latest installment in my current series, and is the story of Alexei Zaikov and Nora Bradford, who team up to save their small, close-knit community of Amity Bay. What makes this story unique is that Amity Bay is actually a research station in Antarctica. But while the setting is unusual, fans of small-town romance will feel right at home.
What’s coming next (or what are you working on now)? (This question will go at the end of the interview.)
I’m busy writing the fourth full-length novel in the series, which releases in September. Shining Through returns to the world of competitive figure skating and features Russian bad-boy skater Daniil Andreev, who was Misha’s nemesis in Getting It Back. Daniil meets his match in Tabitha Turner, the golden girl of American figure skating, who’s eager to take a walk on the wild side.
What inspires your book ideas?
I’m always drawn to stories that I’d like to read, but that no one else is writing. It’s what led me to write a sports romance series about sexy male figure skaters, and with Heating It Up, to set a warm-hearted small town romance in an unlikely place.
Is there anything funny/strange/interesting/choose-your-adjective that’s happened to you while doing research for a book?
I’m a big fan of using maps to help me understand my settings and bring them to life, but Antarctica is so vast and empty, it was hard to get my head around it. So I improvised a lot more than I typically do with a setting.  Though I did use photos of several other stations, Amity Bay is totally my invention. When I had the manuscript reviewed by two educators who’ve been to the continent several times, I was quite nervous, but to my immense relief, they told me I’d portrayed pretty accurately.
Do you have any particular rituals that help you get into the writing frame of mind?
Last year, I discovered a series of guided meditations created especially for writers, The Voice of the Muse, by Mark David Gershon. I downloaded the recordings and listen to one almost every morning. It helps me focus and be more relaxed about my writing and my process.
Do you write by the seat of your pants (pantser), or do you carefully plot your stories (plotter)? Has that changed at any point in your career or maybe it changes depending on the book? (You can treat this as one question.)
Over time, I’ve become much more of a plotter and find I really enjoy the process of thinking through the plot, romance and character arc beats, and I feel much more confident going into the first draft. While it’s still a lot of work to turn clunky first-draft writing into the story I’ve envisioned, I now use most or all of the scenes I planned, rather than having to cut out huge chunks of the story because I followed extraneous plot and character threads that went nowhere.
Is there a TV show that you’ve recently binge-watched?
Stranger Things on Netflix was awesome, and I can’t wait for Season 2. I’m also a big fan of This is Us, Colony, and The Americans. Fortunately, they seem to air at different times, otherwise, I wouldn’t have time to watch them all.
Do you have a pet that hangs out with you while you’re working? (Feel free to include a picture!)
My sweet kitty, Mango, is the perfect writing companion. She often lays on my desk, under the lamp, and if I’m really lucky, she’ll settle in my lap while I’m working. Occasionally, she gets interested in the keyboard, so I’m careful to save my work often.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are some tunes on your playlist?
I create playlists for each book, to listen to when I’m writing. Heating It Up’s includes songs specifically mentioned in the story, like the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Is This Love” by Bob Marley and The Wailers, upbeat, warm-weather songs like “Castaway” by the Zac Brown Band, and songs that connect to the story in other ways.
I don’t suppose you’d want to share a picture of you with your ’80s or ’90s hair or perhaps a prom picture?
Why not? This is my engagement picture from 1989, complete with frizz. Since I have naturally wavy hair, big 1980s perms didn’t work well for me!
Red Hot Russian Alexei is king of the Ice…Antarctic style
Alexei  Zaikov loves his life in remote Amity Bay, Antarctica, until a new luxury guesthouse threatens the community’s future.  As head of Amity Bay, he’s driven to save it, but first must discover who is hiding out in the supposedly deserted lodge…and why.
Nora Bradford has lost everything; a promising career and the man she loved.  Glacier Ridge Lodge, the architectural masterpiece she designed but was denied credit for, seems like the perfect place to grieve her loss, until a ruggedly handsome Russian arrives on her doorstep, determined to bring her in from the cold.
Desire sparks, leaving them hungry for more. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise, doom their romance?

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