Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Welcome guest author Caridad Ferrer!! And prizes!
I’m thrilled to have my dear friend Caridad Ferrer, the fabulous author of terrific young adult novels, drop by to talk about her new release, WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE, which is in bookstores today!! OK, tomorrow morning is Tuesday for you in the U.S., but I wanted to get a jump on this since it’s already Tuesday over here.
Since you, my darling readers, always tell me you prefer to get to the “juice” instead of a lot of background, I have for your reading pleasure an EXCLUSIVE excerpt of Caridad’s new book!! Also a chance to win prizes!! One lucky winner will win a signed copy of WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE and another will win a special, limited edition t-shirt created especially for the book. So dig in, and for more of the deets about Caridad, please check out her website HERE!
WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE, copyright 2010 Caridad Ferrer
A dancer driven to succeed.
A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.
The summer they share.
And the moment it all goes wrong.
Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.
But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.
* * EXCERPT * *
"Soledad, you ready?"
While Raj backed away with a whispered, "Break a leg," I ventured further out onto the floor, assuming my opening pose, breathing deep as I sank into my zone.
Okay, yeah, it had been tempting to choose something from Carmen, in a d'uh, sort of
way. Or, if I wanted to stay within the realm of classical ballet, Firebird, especially since it was polished to a diamond shine for the showcase.
But the last couple of days, weighing the pros and cons of everything I had in my repertoire, I'd kept coming back to this one piece—"El Tango de Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge—as being perfect. Dangerous, raw, sexy, angry, and above all, passionate. All of it building from a deceptively quiet and mysterious introduction. Only way to make it better would be chocolate.
While the piano and guitar traded delicate riffs, I prowled the expanse of the floor in a rough figure eight. At the strings' dramatic entrance, my footwork mimicked the sharp staccato precision, my upper body remaining taut as a wire. In contrast, my arms were fluid and sinuous, mirroring the vocals in telling the story of a professional seductress, paid for her favors, forced by circumstance to hold herself aloof until she meets the one man who's so different, who really wants her for who she is and who desperately tries to convince her she no longer has to sell herself. As the narrator's passion and fury grew, that fluidity traveled down my fingers, through my arms, into my body and legs, the precise, deliberate movements giving way to something more; something untamed and wild, as I veered between the security of a wealthy customer and the temptation of unconditional love.
During one quiet passage, I skirted the edges of thefloor, meeting all those eyes, weighing… deciding… finally extending a hand and pulling a smiling Raj—my chosen customer—up. Taking the cue, he fell into step with me, the two of us swaying together, perfectly matched for a few brief moments until the music crescendoed once again and I pushed him away, bursting free, covering the floor in a huge sweeping series of turning leaps. Soaring, feeling the familiar, glorious stretch and burn of my legs in full extension, lost in the beauty of the music, in the story, building toward that one moment—where the strings, the brass, the vocals all joined together in a brilliant cacophony, prompting one last series of rapid-fire steps before I began spinning on one leg, turning in the classic fouetté en tournant, my free leg whipping around and around, faster and faster, never touching the ground until the last, final crashing note where I dropped to both knees, head thrown back, both arms thrust up and out, imploring my lover to return.
My eyes closed, the only thing I heard was the sound of my own harsh breathing, whistling through my throat and nose. After a few seconds I managed to get my breathing under control, and still… nothing. My arms dropping to my sides, I blinked, the room fuzzy and gray for a second then, as it sharpened into focus, the first thing I saw was the owl convention in the bleachers all focused on a tight group that included Gray and Jonathan's dad, all of them whispering like a bunch of viejitas at one of my family's holiday barbeques. And clearly, they were whispering about me, since, well, they kept looking over at me and gesturing at me and then looking some more, the bleacher creatures following their every move.
Did I suck?
Don't be a moron. You didn't suck.
I rocked back onto my heels and stood, fisting my hands on my hips and trying for bravado as all eyes turned my way. And really wishing I'd driven myself, 'cause if I had sucked, I wanted to eighty-six this joint in a hurry and there's no way that could happen, not with Jonathan having to play at Responsible Guy. I looked up at him and found that he seemed to be stuck staring at the small group of instructors with that intense gaze of his I'd first seen back in the dressing room at school.
Like he was trying to will them to make a decision. The right decision.
Finally. Gray broke away, leaving the others huddled together and whispering.
Handing me a towel and a bottle of water, he said, "You can quit looking like that darlin'. You did fine. Better than fine, actually. And I think you know that."
"Thank you," I replied, meaning the bottle as well as the compliment. I took a long drink of water and ran the cold bottle along my forehead. "And yeah, it felt great, actually, but what do I know from your standards for suckage? Could be that it wasn't at all what you had in mind."
"No, it wasn't," he admitted, which sent my heart doing a dive into my stomach.
Good— but not good enough. Or too different. Or something.
A part that should be mine, slipping away.
"But you know what it was?"
I couldn't look at him. Instead, I stared down, carefully pointing and flexing one foot against the floor. "What's that?"
"The missing piece."
Slowly, I lifted my head. "What?"
"Yeah. You've just changed the direction of the whole show."
My grip tightened on the water bottle, plastic giving beneath my fingers with a loud crack. "Say what?"
"Using 'El Tango' is a perfect way in which to bring in a contemporary twist yet still keep within the show stylistically speaking. It's exactly what we've been missing—keeping Carmen from being the same old, same old and it's brilliant because really, Roxanne, Carmen… both opportunistic characters—creates a beautiful symmetry." And no matter how slow and easy that drawl of his was, each word still sounded sharp and measured—this wasn't any kind of a whim. He knew exactly what he was saying. In the four minutes and forty-four seconds it had taken me to perform, he'd completely reformulated the corps' show. Wicked impressive, even if it left me feeling just this side of queasy.
"We'll have to get started on new arrangements rightaway and new drill and we'll need to start brainstorming your exact routine—and I can already see your costume."
I swear, even the palm trees on that butt-ugly shirt were perking up with every idea he kept throwing out. The other instructors who'd joined us looked as hyped as Gray—all except for one whose expression was going more granite and hardass with every word.
"Three weeks before tour?"
"Not like we haven't done it before, Marc," Gray replied mildly. "And what else are the first few weeks of tour for, other than tweaking? Come on, name me one corps that's ever come out of the gate with the final product? What we need to do right now is get this girl set up—get the forms filled out, arrange for the stipend—"
"Hel-lo, 'this girl' is still here and what is the matter with you people that none of you know how to actually ask any damned thing?" I glared up at Jonathan in the bleachers, looking like he was going to crack up—and felt the temper that Mamacita kept warning would one day be my downfall ratchet up another notch.
"I mean, I haven't exactly said I'd do this yet."
* * *
So go forth and buy this wonderful book for yourself or for the teenager in your life. The holidays are coming! Here's a little help from me:
You can find WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE at Amazon
Barnes & Noble
For a chance to win a book or a t-shirt, please answer this question in the comments: Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, Survivor, or Amazing Race: which show would you be most likely to go on?
Posted by Alyssa Day at 2:12 AM