Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More on Maddie Takes the Ice

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of one of the best middle grade novels, Maddie Takes the Ice by Nicolette House. Maddie is the story of a young girl who must face pressure from many different directions as she heads to an important regional figure skating competition. The book is written by Nicolette House who has competed in National and International competitions herself. Lauded by teachers, figure skating moms, coaches and fans--Maddie entertains readers and has a lot to say. Here is a small excerpt from the early portion of the book:

During warm-up, Madison imagined the upcoming competition. If she won or placed in the top four, she could go on to compete at U.S. Figure Skating’s Junior National Championships. If not, she could not qualify again until the next year.

She warmed up her crossovers and spins, then her jumps. A huge smile spread across her face as she felt the speed and power with which she skated. She loved the sport and the exhilaration of skating more than anything.

“Madison,” Liz called her over to the boards. “Run through your competition warm-up and then we’ll run through your long program.”

Madison took a deep breath, then skated to the blue line to begin her warm-up routine. She felt the familiar butterflies in her stomach as she warmed up the first element of the two-and-a-half-minute long program—a layback spin. As the competition grew close, Madison knew the time to learn new skills was over. Now it was all about drilling what she knew. Madison continued warming up her jumps—a double salchow, double flip-double toe, and a double Lutz.

She was just finishing her footwork when Liz called, “Time. Okay, go get in your starting position. Let’s run your long program now.”

Madison grinned. She loved her long program, set to flamenco music that matched the style of her hot pink and black competition dress.

“Oh, and do the double axel this time,” Liz reminded her.

Great, just as I was calming down, Madison grumbled. She hadn’t warmed that jump up on purpose. The double axel was the only jump in the whole program that worried Madison. At least as her first program element, she could get it out of the way soon.

The first strums of the Spanish guitar jerked Madison away from her thoughts and she quickly centered herself to concentrate on her program. She started out edging, gathering speed before she entered her double axel.

Breathe in, breathe out, bring your leg through, Madison repeated to herself. In the blink of an eye, the jump was over and Madison moved on to the next element. She breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed throughout the rest of her routine. As she finished her combination spin, she heard applause in the stands. She looked up and saw a tall woman with short black hair applauding her. Who’s that? she thought to herself.

“Skate laps,” Liz coached.

Madison skated two laps to catch her breath and stopped in front of Liz.

“That was pretty good. You need to skate just like that on Sunday. I noticed that you were really tense at the beginning, but after you landed the double axel you were fine.”

“That jump just makes me nervous, I guess.”

“Why? You do it all the time.”

Madison shrugged.

“See?” challenged Liz. “You can’t answer. There is nothing to worry about. You’ve worked hard. You just have to skate Sunday like you do in practice. What happens after that is out of your hands.”

Madison nodded.

“Okay,” Liz continued, “let’s run the long program in sections and then you’re done. Tomorrow we’ll run your short.” Copyright 2012 Sporting Chance Press

Maddie Takes the Ice received excellent reviews from Figure Skating and It was also selected as an America's Battle of the Books selection and has found fans as far away as Oslo. Maddie includes an appendix that provides helpful information on figure skating and a letter to readers from the author. The author, Nicolette House, is a four-time United States Figure Skating gold medalist. Skating since the age of three, she went on to compete in European, World, and international ice dance competitions with her skating partner, Aidas Reklys. She currently coaches and performs in professional shows. Along with her skating partner, the author creates an annual ice show that features several top international skaters. Nicolette is a recent graduate of DePaul University in Chicago.

You can order Maddie Takes the Ice directly from the Sporting Chance Press.

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