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When the Parts are Greater than the Whole

 

 

That the parts of a piece of music, a work of art, a novel or poem can inspire more than the whole won’t likely come as a surprise for those of us who see a story in everything. I was lucky enough to catch two exhibitions in London recently. While they were completely different in nature, what they had in common was that they were prime examples of the parts being greater than the whole.

 

The first exhibition was Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greeceat the British Museum. Presently some of Rodin’s most famous works are being exhibited side-by-side with a selection of the Elgin Marbles. Though Rodin never made it to Athens, his work was profoundly inspired by the art from the pediments that had once adorned the Parthenon.

 

“No artist will ever surpass Pheidias … The greatest of sculptors, who appeared at the time when the entire human dream could be contained in the pediment of a temple, will never be equalled.” Auguste Rodin

 

“The entire human dream … contained in the pediment of a temple.” Has there ever been a better description of what we as writers, as storytellers try to do in the pages of our work? And after seeing a photography exhibition at the Museum of Londoncalled London Nights, I couldn’t keep from noticing that theme played out over and over again.

 

Rodin’s temple with its pediment of the human dream is his Gates of Hell, a work I knew nothing about before the exhibition. The Gates of Hell, was to be a representation of Dante’s Inferno. Sadly only a small clay replica of that masterpiece was on display. For a better view and more details about Rodin’s Gates of Hell check out the YouTube link.

 

The sculpture was commissioned in 1880 for a museum that was never built. But Rodin was so pulled into the effort, so inspired by it, that he continue to work on it on and off until his death in 1917. Many of his most famous sculptures, including The Kiss and The Thinker (who originally represented Dante sitting in the tympanum of the sculpture) were inspired by and taken from his original work.

 

“None of the drama of Life remained unexplored by this earnest, concentrated worker … Here (in The Gates of Hell) was life, a thousand-fold in every moment, in longing and sorrow, in madness and fear, in loss and gain. Here was desire immeasurable, thirst so great that all the water of the world dried up in it like a single drop.”

Rainer Maria Rilke (Briefly Rodin’s secretary)

 

The following weekend I found myself at the Museum of London standing before two images that, like Rodin’s Gates of Hell, invited me to dwell on the intriguing details and secrets of the parts, rather than the whole. Since there was no photography allowed, I ended up frantically taking notes on my phone. The images were both temples, of a sort, both attempting to contain the human dream in their “pediments.” One was a photograph from Rut Blees Luxemburg’sLondon: A Modern Project. The image, taken in 1999, is of a London high-rise apartment building in what looks to be a lower middle class neighbourhood. I was pulled in because I could see into people’s windows, into their lives. I wondered about their stories; the bicycle sitting on the balcony of the top floor, the Christmas lights visible in several windows, the dark flat with “shadow monsters” from childhood dreams pressing to the balcony windows seeking entrance. At the center of the photo is a stairwell illuminated in garish florescence, bisecting the building from top to bottom. It’s the only apparent connection to the stories in the apartment framework. This building is a container for the human dream played out in a thousand different ways with a thousand different outcomes.

 

The counter to Blees Luxemburg’s high-rise of flats is Lewis Bush’s high-rise office building. The particular photo that drew me was taken at night when the offices should have been deserted. The image itself is slightly distorted in perspective, a view from below, but not from the ground. The glare of light reflected at certain angles obscures the view in some of the floor to ceiling windows. When I looked closer, I realized there were a few people still inside. And none of them looked particularly happy – though that could have been my imagination, because to me, this was a story waiting to be told. This “pediment” was a perversion of the human dream. There was nothing personal about it and very little human. Perhaps that’s why I was so drawn to the few people who were there. What was written on every face, at least to my observation, was the terrible cost of living that dream. Here are a few of my frenetic notes.

 

Soul captured in a photo. People still in the high-rise office at night? Why? What are their stories? What’s the guy at the bottom looking at? The one looking out the window, does he see the photographer? Would anyone stuck in the building believe him if he told them?

 

The one with hair hanging in his face — what’s he looking at on his screen? He looks frazzled. Woman with head down on desk? Why? And is there a man sitting in the reception area? Why’s he there? What’s he waiting for? 

 

Is there a guy in a priest collar???

 

Is that a gym?

 

Reflecting on the two photographs now, it seems interesting to me that there were no people visible in any of the windows of the flats, as though they might be able to hide in their private world. But there is nothing private about the office high-rise. The photo seems all about being exposed in the darkness.

 

The enclosures, the containers that hold the stories we long to tell, are high rises, homes, tunnels and caves underground, spaceships, battles being fought, beds being fucked in, and long roads travelled. We write them voyeuristically, as we look into the windows of our experiences and beyond. The stories we pen are the pediments for human dreams. They contain our Gates of Hell, our gods and goddesses and their epic toying with humanity. They contain our monsters in the dark and our unexplored lives. They will remain always only in the pediments where we can see them, and take them out, and explore them, and be uncomfortable with them, or aroused by them, or frightened by them, or totally pulled in to their tale. Their tale is always our own retold, and yet never quite like we’d planned it, certainly not the way we lived it out. What holds us within the framework are the once upon a times and the happily ever afters, the what ifs and the whys. What keeps us coming back for yet another look is the hope inspired by a dream kept alive when death looms ever larger.

 

 

It’s an overwhelming task we take on as writers, as artists. How could we endure it or
explore it if all we ever saw was the high-rise or the temple? It’s too much to take in.
It’s the secrets in the pediments, in the office at night, in the curtains not quite completely drawn that keep us telling our stories. In our imagination, in our urge to create, we’re drawn to the pediments for the dreams, the vignettes. We’re pulled in
by the questions that reveal themselves and startle us into realizing what they might mean. But we linger there because of how they surprise us when they’re suddenly the center of our focus — those things we didn’t notice before.

 

 

Beverley Oakley Launches Wicked Wager with Tour & Giveaway

 

♥♥ GiveAway ♥♥

Beverley is giving away a signed print copy of The Duchess and the Highwayman during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance to enter everyday so be sure to follow the Blog Tour. You may find the tour schedule and locations here https://goo.gl/XTRwwr

 

 

About Wicked Wager:

Can innocence survive the machinations of a malevolent society beauty
and a charismatic rake?

 

Two weeks before her nuptials to her cold, harsh cousin, virtuous Celeste Rosington finds herself in the arms of notorious libertine, Lord Peregrine.

 

The unexpected encounter is, at first, shocking, but as Peregrine’s charm weaves its magic, becomes a welcome distraction from Celeste’s troubles. Isn’t she already the subject of whispers due to her involvement in the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy plantation magnate? It was a role orchestrated by her demanding husband-to-be in which Celeste had failed spectacularly.

 

Nevertheless, Celeste has no intention of sacrificing all of her scruples for a man she knows is only toying with her. One kiss from handsome, charismatic Viscount Peregrine will surely be enough to give her the strength to fulfil her marital obligations?

 

But what if one kiss is not enough?

 

With her reputation in the balance, Celeste must navigate the treacherous waters of envy, intrigue and deadly secrets, unaware she’s the unwitting pawn in a wicked wager between a ruthless society beauty and delicious, dissolute Lord Peregrine.

 

Could Peregrine really be a party to such perfidious plans? Will his reckless charm be the final undoing of a young woman once respected for her virtue and piety?

 

Or will Peregrine discover that true love is more powerful than greed and ambition in time to save Celeste from the terrible fate that otherwise awaits her?

 

Genre: Georgian Historical Romance

 

Buy Links for Wicked Wager:

 

 

 

Wicked Wager Excerpt:

 

The last of the applause drifted away and for a few seconds the shrill cries of the orange sellers held sway. Rising from his ironic bow for the benefit of his companion, Lord Peregrine held back the red velvet curtain that had afforded them privacy so that Xenia could pass through and join the throng of theatregoers descending the sweeping staircase.

 

He saw that she had fallen into conversation with a club-footed general whose more than interested eye swept appraisingly over Xenia’s abundant assets, and once again Perry felt again the familiar heating of his loins that only Xenia could inspire with a mere incendiary glance.

The contours of her sack-back gown, adorned with a row of bows the length of her stomacher, recalled the more lascivious of those thoughts he’d entertained for the past decade: what it would be like to undress her, layer by layer by layer. He could only imagine how many layers there might be, but the prize would be worth the exquisite torture of restraint. He’d not revealed quite how much her proposition tonight had taken him by surprise, and the fact he’d agreed fuelled him with an odd combination of conflicting sensations: raging lust tempered by the knowledge that he’d just sunk to depths of moral depravity that might make even his uncle squirm in his grave: seduce an innocent on the eve of her nuptials.

 

Except that Xenia maintained the young woman’s ingenuousness was a ploy. Still, Miss Rosington retained her standing in society as a paragon of virtue. What right had he to assume otherwise, just because it was convenient?

 

He was diverted by a squeal to his left. Xenia was moving ahead, caught up by the crowd, her head bent to absorb the admiration of her club-footed general. Peregrine meanwhile found himself unable to continue, due to the fact the young woman in front of him had snagged her skirts on what appeared to be a nail or splinter protruding from one of the supporting beams. No one could move until she’d freed herself, and as Peregrine was directly behind her it was incumbent upon him to act the gentlemen and so enable the rest of the pulsing crowd to forge ahead.

 

‘Please be careful, sir, it’ll tear and it’s the first time I’ve worn it,’ the young woman warned as he took a handful of stiff silk in one hand. ‘It’s my finest.’ She twisted her head round to address him.

As her lips parted, revealing a set of near perfect small white teeth, and her worried blue eyes bored into his, Peregrine felt a jolt of something unidentifiable plummet like a stone to the pit of his stomach. No, further than that, for without a doubt his groin was reacting with something akin to roiling hunger. And, surprisingly, with an intensity that exceeded the dull throb of ten years of wanting Xenia like a frustrated schoolboy.

 

Close to, Miss Rosington was exquisite, her pale white and rose-blushed skin far more lustrous than when seen from a distance through opera glasses. Her powdered coiffure, dressed to fashionable heights, accentuated high, rounded cheekbones; and with growing excitement he followed the sweep of her graceful neck to a bosom that was rising and falling with surely greater rapidity than fear of what peril her gown might face. He liked to think that was so, as her candid look met his and the connection between them seemed like the sharp tug of some inner cord, forcing him forward, his hand brushing hers, nestled beneath a froth of silken furbelows, as they both reached for the undamaged silk petticoat, now released.

 

‘No harm done,’ he murmured as she drew herself up, her companion, the black-eyed viscount to whom she was affianced, returning to claim her, drawing her away with the barest of thanks.

 

All over in a matter of seconds, and at what cost? For while silk skirts and dignity had escaped with minimal damage, Peregrine was the first to concede, as he watched her graceful back with pounding heart and aching groin, that a great deal of harm had indeed been done.

 

 

 

About Beverley Oakley:

 

Beverley Oakley is an Australian author who grew up in the African mountain
kingdom of Lesotho, married a Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and started writing historical romances to amuse herself in the 12 countries she’s lived as a ‘trailing spouse’ (in between working as an airborne geophysical survey operator, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and writing for her former newspaper).

 

Her Scandalous Miss Brightwell series was nominated Best Historical Romance by the Australian Romance Readers Association. She is also the author of the popular Daughters of Sin series, a Regency-era ‘Dynasty-style’ family saga laced with intrigue and espionage.

 

Under her real name Beverley Eikli, she writes Africa-set romantic suspense, and psychological historical romances. The Reluctant Bride won Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition and her Regency tale of redemption The Maid of Milan was shortlisted in the Top Ten Reads of 2014 at the UK Festival of Romance.

 

Beverley lives north of Melbourne (overlooking a fabulous Gothic lunatic asylum) with the same gorgeous Norwegian husband, two daughters and a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback.

 

You can read more at beverleyoakley.com

 

 

 

 

A Shameless Excerpt from Toys for Boys

Just a little Sunday quickie shameless excerpt for you from my unusual M/M novella,
Toys for Boys. I had the pleasure of reliving my own walk across England on the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk while writing this totally fun and playful story. It felt especially appropriate now that the weather is leaning more heavily toward Spring.

 

Toys for Boys Blurb:

Alpha nerd Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

 

You’re Late: Toys for Boys Excerpt 

“You’re late,” Doc said to Will fucking Charles, who was supposed to meet him at St. Bee’s Head an hour ago.

AtToys for Boys, Will Charles’ moniker was ‘the Alpha Nerd.’ Doc had read some of his reviews and articles but never met him. Since T4B, as they all called it, was an online magazine, he’d never met any of the people who worked there, and he liked that just fine. The best part of free-lancing was no neurotic colleagues and no idiot supervisor looking over his shoulder. Will Charles reviewed computers, smart phones, and games—rubbish like that, while Doc reviewed all the stuff that gave the outdoorsy blokes a hard-on. It was late in the season to be walking the Coast to Coast, but T4B wanted the walk and the boys toys that would accompany Will and Doc on said walk to be a part of their big Christmas issue, which was always driven by shameless consumerism and chock full of the expensive shit to buy for the man who has everything. The article would be atmospheric, they said. It would be fun, they said.

Alpha Nerd, his left nut, Doc thought. The skinny geek with the expensive looking iPhone could have passed for a twelve-years-old—spotty face, heavy-rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Doc’s dream walk was about to become a babysitting job for some whimpy-arsed kid who would whine every time he didn’t have a Wifi connection for his little games on his little phone. Doc wondered how the hell the bloke could even heft the backpack sitting on the floor beside him, and those brand new, straight-out-of-the-box walking boots guaranteed major blisters. This was supposed to be twelve glorious days alone on the Wainwright Coast to Coast path across England. This was supposed to be total outdoor bliss. He had been looking forward to it for months and then, at the last minute, T4B ruined it all by insisting Will fucking Charles tag along with his expensive little camera phone to record the event. Bromance, they said. Adventure and companionship, they said. Merry fucking Christmas! T4B didn’t pay him nearly enough for this shit.

“We’ve got fourteen and a half miles to walk today, and the rain isn’t going to make it any easier.” He nodded to where his own pack sat by the table in the corner of the Seacote Hotel where he’d slugged back enough coffee to guarantee he’d be caffeine-fueled for at least part of that distance; the rest he’d be off in the bushes pissing.

As he turned to go, the lad just looked at him like he’d spoke Chinese. “Is that the Smart phone you’re supposed to be reviewing?” Doc snapped. “Do you need it to translate for you maybe? Hope it’s smart enough to figure out how we can make up for the lost time you cost us.”

“That’s just an iPhone,” came a voice from behind. “This is the device I’ll be reviewing.” To Doc’s horror, he turned to find himself being videoed by a man who definitely passed as an alpha—an alpha bastard at the moment. The sleek black device he pointed at Doc was labelledurBrainin gold letters. Seriously? Were T4B having a laugh?

Doc gritted his teeth and tried to count to ten, but only made it to three. “Perhaps you’d like to turn off urBrainbefore I cram it up urArse?”

Undaunted by Doc’s threat, the bloke continued to video as he added, “as for young Nigel here, well I rather think his boss at the Seacote might have something to say about him following us on the Coast to Coast. Nice boots,” he said to the kid.

Just then an American tourist the size of a bus blew in through the door, tipped Nigel and thanked him in a very southern accent. He hefted the backpack with a grunt, and headed out into the rain. “As for this little jewel,” Doc turned his attention back to the real Will fucking Charles, “well if I hadn’t had this lovely piece of kit to guide me on an alternative route, I’d still be sitting in traffic behind the overturned tractor with everyone else heading for St. Bee’s Head this lovely morning. So there, you see. It’s already saved us time. Oh, sorry,” he said, offering his hand. I’m Will.” Before Doc could do more than gop, the man slid an arm around him and guided him seamlessly into a selfie.

“Day one of the Wainwright Coast to Coast, and after a near disaster,” he spoke for the camera, “I’m here with Caradoc Doc Jones, the Welsh Woodsman and outdoorsman extraordinaire, about to head into the rain towards our first stop at Ennerdale Bridge. Say hi, Doc.”

Doc managed a wave and a grimace of a smile at urBrain, and Will continued. “We have 192 miles and twelve days to get from St. Bee’s Head on the Irish Sea all the way across England to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, with fourteen and a half miles to make today, so best get on with it.”

 

 

Spring Giveaways and Gossip

 

Spring is upon us at last my Lovelies!

 

Er … well according to the calendar, at least, and the wind March is so notorious for seems to have played itself out at long last. That’s a great start! There are buds on the trees, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths are blooming themselves silly and best of all, the days are getting longer. That means more hours of reading time! Well, okay, maybe not technically, but who doesn’t like to read in the sunshine? That being the case, let’s get on with this month’s fab giveaways and gossip.

 

 

Heat Heart and Happily Ever After Paranormal Giveaway

 

If you’re a fan of the fabulous love lives of witches and vamps, shifters and demons, this is the giveaway for you. Or if you just want to check out how the preternatural half lives, here is your chance. Follow the link and enjoy a great spine tingling, goose bump raising, steamy HEA!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/heathearthappilyeverafter/ai496xm99o

 

 

Spring Steamy Romances

 

We’re talking contemporary romance … LOTS of contemporary romance! Nothing says spring like a good HEA, unless it’s a whole bunch of good HEAs. And when those fabulous steamy romances are FREE for the grabbing, how could spring not be in the air. Follow the link and get yourself some seriously sizzling spring romance.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/f9h832hfkk/9mqvbc3mgo

 

 

Listening to my Inner Demon

 

And did I mention demons? Well at least one demon anyway. The Guardian has
pulled a bit of a switch-up on me, and so have Circe and Richard Waters AKA Poseidon, so there has been some serious back tracking and rewriting going on in A Demon’s Tale,but hopefully at some point all my characters will be satisfied with the plot enough to leave me alone and let me write.

 

There’s an excerpt from A Demon’s Taleon my blog you’ll want to check out, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the juicy interview with Elise North. Seems our Elise is full of surprises that even the Guardian is impressed by.

 

 

A New Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

It’s rough and ready … well getting that way, but here is a new excerpt from my WIP
A Demon’s Tale to tease you and appease you for the long wait. Book Four of the Medusa Consortium Series, and the novel in which all the characters decided to take control away from the writer. Sigh! Negotiations are in progress.

 

The Demon Begs a Favour

It was the early hours when he came to her again. Susan had drank more wine than she could have ever tolerated before she became a vampire, and still it barely took the edge off. She was considering taking on Magda’ drink of choice to up the ante, but it didn’t really seem to be any more effective on her, so she figured the woman drank single malt for comfort more than effect. She understood that. Upstairs in their room Michael slept. She figured everyone else in the house slept. Magda had sent the jet to Manchester for both Annie and Alonso. Annie didn’t need to be alone and she reckoned Reese would need Alonso, and Susan. And she would need them both as well as Michael if the shit hit the fan, and when was the shit not hitting the fan these days. She slouched in front of the fireplace where the fire she did not need blazed. Her Mac cast a pale light across her desk behind her, open to a nearly blank document. It said only “Just because you dream it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.” It made no sense in terms of anything but her own suffering, and yet that single statement kept coming back to her. The fact that everything would take place in the Guardian’s dream construct, perhaps was playing on her and not allowing her to see more clearly.

She still would not allow herself to sleep even though she had been assured she was safe in the dream world at the moment. Talia had even offered to take her to the dream world succubus style. But she couldn’t sleep even if she wanted to, not when the Guardian was soon to strip aside all that he was becoming and face the witch with everything that had made him so terrifying and so irresistible and dangerous to everyone in the world, human and otherwise. This he was doing, in no small part, because of her, and he had left thinking she did not trust him. So lost was she in her thoughts that when he all but burst into that space inside her mind, she jumped.

“Susan, I have very little time. The witch is stronger that I remember her to be. Oh do not worry, I shall succeed in my mission,” he crowded in tight and gave her no room to speak, and the pressure in her chest from the weight of him was almost unbearable. “I cannot linger, but I must beg of you a favor before the witch is upon me and I must be other than I am with you and those we love.”

“Anything.”

She regretted her words instantly at his request. “You must not believe anything you glimpse in my dream world, for I will not be myself, but I hunger, Susan, I hunger knowing what she will give to me willingly. I do not wish it so but it must be if I am to complete my task.” Still he gave her no room to speak. “I ask that when I have done what I must, when I return, if I … if I can no longer remember what I am, what you and all our friends are to me, that you will, without the slightest delay, return me to the depths of isolation in the dungeon deep inside you, for I do not wish any of those I care about to suffer because of me, nor to see me as I was.”

“That won’t be necessary,” she managed, her blood roaring in her veins, every muscle in her body aching to stop him. “You’ll come back to us whole and more yourself than ever. I trust you.”

“I do not trust myself, Susan, so I beg you promise me.”

“Please don’t –”

“Please, Susan, I beg you!” his urgency bled through into the room, terrifying her in ways she would have never expected.

“If it comes to that, I will,” then she added quickly, “but it won’t. I know it won’t.”

“Thank you, Susan,” the relief bled through his voice in a way she had never heard before. “I must go. She will come soon.”

“G,” she was surprised at how easily the simple name he had allowed Elise North to give him came to her now, and she sensed him turning, pausing, taking in the sound of it coming from her lips. “Do what you have to and hurry back to us.”

And then he was gone, his absence aching along her nerve endings and exploding into her chest into the vast chasm his absence always left. And just like that, she understood. Just like that, the spell appeared in her head.

She grabbed her cell phone and called Talia. “Get up here now.” She didn’t wait for a response, but settled in front of the computer, where the words she had written now made perfect sense, and the spell became clear. Typing frantically, she called the Guardian back to her for the briefest of moments, feeling his anxiety snake across her skin like static electricity. “Can you hold Circe off for just a little longer? The spell has come to me,” she said without pausing from her efforts. Then she opened her mind to him so he could see exactly what the spell involved.

“Will the succubus agree?” He asked with quiet calm.

Just then Talia knocked, but burst into the room without waiting for a response. “What?” was all she said, but her breath caught with a little hitch the moment she saw Susan at her laptop. Without another word she moved to stand behind her and read over her shoulder. Susan felt the Guardian as though he stood looking over her other shoulder. For a long moment Talia said nothing, and then she let out a long, slow whistle. “You are one crazy bitch, Susan Innes.” Then she bent and kissed her cheek. “I’ve always liked that about you.”

 

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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