The Huffington Post has revolutionized journalism in the last few years by taking over the news and news feature delivery business. (Check out "The New Yorker's" excellent piece, "Out of Print" for more details on the demise of newspapers and, simultaneously, the meteoric rise of the Huff Po!)
Now the blog has decided to venture into the fiction-publishing business! Starting this week, Seeing Red becomes the first novel ever to be serialized on The Huffington Post.
Serializing novels in a chapter-by-chapter format isn't new. Not at all. Charles Dickens and Mark Twain and many other Victorian writers published their stories in installments in weekly and monthly magazines back in the 19th century. Readers lined up to get new installments of the novels that Dickens and others wrote.
With the book publishing business in peril, and electronic books on the rise, it seems timely to try experimenting with books on a blog! We hope you'll join us in the first Huff Post blog-book!
What follows here is the first installment (the Prologue) of Seeing Red, a love story just in time for Valentine's Day.
Protagonist Ronda Cari is married and the mother of two and, oh yes, she also dances flamenco! Pretty soon she has a Spanish guitarist lover named Jesús and he's got eyes -- what else, the color of melted chocolate!
But while this book's got plenty of romance, and some decidedly hot encounters, it is definitely not a romance novel. It's a story about a woman's passion for her dancing, and her discovery that art -- and friends who do art -- can help us heal from the worst of heartbreaks.
We hope you'll take a few minutes to read the Prologue. Here's a note from a reader:
"I just finished Seeing Red and I LOVED it! I had trouble putting it down, and now I'm grieving my loss because the story is over. Seeing Red is about passion, but not only the romantic kind. I followed Ronda through Spain on her journey of love and self-discovery as she explores her marriage, motherhood, infidelity, and loss, all the while nurturing a once-forgotten passion for dance that transforms and empowers her. It is impossible not to experience Ronda's joys and pain, as well as reflect on your own, due to your gift for transporting readers via accurate and vivid details, along with your depth of insight and knowledge. I was transported, both there, AND to many personal memories. I love it when an author can do that for me -- although it is very emotional and draining, I love it."
-- Kellie LaCoppola, Palatine Bridge, New York
New installments will follow three times weekly, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Enjoy!
Later, much later, Ronda came face to face with the Spanish girl. She peered into the young woman's eyes, green and full of strange glittering light.
"What could you possibly want from me?" Ronda whispered.
The girl remained silent for a moment. But her eyes bore deeply into Ronda. She fixed her sight so tightly that Ronda felt pinned, and inside her blouse, sweat sprouted across her chest and in her armpits.
Ronda turned to Hernán, the man she had hired to drive the Mercedes. "Can you please ask her?" Ronda said. "Ask the girl what she wants from me."
Hernán nodded. Straightening up, he turned to face the girl. He cleared his throat and then, bending forward slightly, he spoke a few hurried lines of Spanish, all the while gesturing with one hand toward Ronda.
The girl lifted her head. Answered slowly. And defiantly. Hernán's eyes widened. His gaze dropped to the ground. He shook his head.
"What?" Ronda insisted. "Hernán, tell me. What does she want?"
He looked up at Ronda. He said nothing at first, as if he was deciding what to say. Finally he spoke. "She wants to know, señora, if...if when you go back to the United States, if you would be willing to take the little girl. The baby, that is. With you. To...to keep."
The words hovered around Ronda's ears, but they didn't go deeply enough. She didn't hear them. Or maybe she did, but she couldn't possibly process them, not so that they made any sense. She felt them twirling around in her brain, the same way she herself had been twirling these last months, her feet and legs learning to dance the complex steps of the alegría and the bulería and the fandango.
Ronda shuddered slightly and just stared at the girl. With no warning, the girl reached out and grabbed Ronda's hands in her own grimy hands. She held on. Despite the blazing heat, the girl's fingers were sticks of ice, as frigid as the pond back in Ronda's yard in New England.
Ronda struggled to break the fierce grip, tried to pull her hands away, but the girl just held tighter. She made one giant fist out of her own hands and Ronda's, and she shook fiercely, as if she were forcing them into a pact. Ronda shuddered again and wrenching her hands free, she stepped back.
"No..." she whispered. "Never."
She gave the girl one more look: the bronzed weather-beaten face, the green eyes, pleading.
That's when she noticed. The girl's lips. How could she not have noticed before? The lips were faintly purple now, and the pallor seemed moment by moment to be getting darker.
Ronda felt her stomach tighten. She turned toward the car, and as she did, she started to feel lightheaded.
"Hernán, I really need to...leave. Right away, we need to, please. Now."
Immediately Hernán was beside her, opening the door of the Mercedes and Ronda, casting one last frightened look at the greenest eyes she had ever seen, slipped inside the limousine.
READ ALL THE NOVEL SO FAR AT "Seeing Red on the HuffPost!"